Asus ROG GX501VI Zephyrus review – thin-and-light laptop with Max-Q GTX 1080 graphics


  1. Brian Hobbs

    July 3, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Max-Q certification is supposed to have a 40dB ceiling. Can you talk more about your 50dB readings? Would you say it's noticeably much quieter in general than other 1070- or 1080-style laptops?

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      I'm pretty sure their spec is at ear level. I can't imagine the limit being 40dB at the fan exhaust. My readings in the back we're pretty close to the fans – not somewhere you'll normally be.

  2. Nicolò

    July 10, 2017 at 6:16 am

    In your opinion, excluding the ridiculous price that razer choosed for its laptop, which one is better between the asus zephyrus and the razer blade pro?
    Considering the touchpad, build quality and additional features ( 4k touch screen, excellent speakers etc. ) it would be a nice battle between the two in my opinion

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

      Tough call. If you can get over the keyboard and the price, the RBP is a pretty decent laptop. I could not get used to that keyboard, though, no matter how hard I tried. I'm very much accustomed to the Asus keyboard now.

      I think I'd probably pick the GX501. Realistically, the only thing the RBP has over the Asus is the trackpad. Maybe the build quality as well, but the RBP is significantly thicker and heavier. That 120 hz FHD screen is much more suitable for gaming than the 4k screen. I'd also rather not deal with the CPU throttling on the RBP.

      • Nicoló

        July 11, 2017 at 3:06 am

        Makes sense haha, thanks for your opinion :)

      • Kev

        October 24, 2017 at 12:00 am

        The keyboard up front make perfect sense, I don't need to lean forward to game and have my palm being fried like on a frying pan while under load.

        The keyboard at the edge feels like desktop keyboard pretty much and desktop keyboard some do have built in wrist rest or some needs to buy a gel wrist pad.

        Keyboard design is win win, notebook not really meant to sit on your lap. It works but it's hard to hold your laptop in place without flipping it over.

  3. David

    August 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Great review as always. What would you go for out of the Asus Zephrus, Razer Blade Pro and Aorus X7DT v7 QHD? And why?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      Funny you should ask – I was just talking about this with someone, yesterday.

      First, let's just take the RBP out of the equation, as it has the same heft of the Aorus X7 DT and worse performance than the Zephyrus. On top of that, it's much too expensive, possibly has Gsync issues and also is thermally challenged.

      The other two choices are different animals and it'll all come down to whether or not you value portability over a little better performance and more hard disk space.

      Both screens are 120hz and have about the same pixel densities. The Zephyrus screen has a slight edge being IPS. Both keyboards and trackpads are good. The Aorus outperforms the Zephyrus, for sure, but it's a lot larger – the main trade-off. But the Aorus has 2x m.2 SSD slots and a 2.5" slot, while the Zephyrus only has a single m.2. the Aorus also has a battery nearly twice the size and can handle over double the RAM.

      To answer your question now, do I think the Zephyrus is the better machine? In many ways, yes. But could I live with it? For me – no. In my case I'm actually sticking with the Aorus X7 DT and it's mainly because I have a 2 TB 2.5" SSD, 32gb of RAM and a 1 TB m.2 SSD that would go to waste if I stuck with the Zephyrus. If I didn't need all that though, I'd probably stick with the Zephyrus.

      Hope this helps!

      • David

        August 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

        Really helpful. So you prefer the Zeprhus screen even though it's 1080p vs QHD on the X7 DT?

      • Derek Sullivan

        August 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

        Well because it's FHD, games will play the same or even better, even though the GPU is throttled. It's also IPS, so the viewing angles and contrast are better. Even though the resolution is higher, the Aorus display is still a larger display, so the pixel density is only 26ppi higher than the FHD display. Depending on how close you are, you might not be able to tell the difference in sharpness.

        There's minor trade-offs to both but I consider both screens to be excellent and could live with either. Literally, the only thing I don't care for on the Aorus is when looking at it from above when it's on a desk. The vertical viewing angles are just not as good as an IPS screen.

      • David

        August 6, 2017 at 1:22 pm

        Great, been back and forth between the two for a while and was going for the X7 DT but if the difference between the screen is negligble the Zephrus seems the better as I don't need lots of storage. One last question, how much quieter is the Zephrus if at all? Thanks again

      • Derek Sullivan

        August 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        My sound meter says they both are nearly the same, but it didn't take into account the time and how annoying the fans are. I found the Aorus to be ok but I much prefer the Zephyrus, as the fan noise is directed downward and away from the user. Any sound created is very dampened.

  4. David

    August 8, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Hi Derek just looking at where best to buy the Zephrus in the UK and from Amazon Hi Devolution have customised options with up to 24GB Ram and also up to 2T PCIe SSD but they are much more expensive (circa £1k for the top specs). What are your thoughts on this given the limited 512Gb standard storage and 16GB Ram? Worth the extra investment? Thanks

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

      2TB PCIe drives are expensive – there's not much way around it. If you can source the drive and ram and do it yourself, I'd say go that route. If it were me, I'd definitely be updating it myself over paying that much for more storage. It's a pretty involved teardown though, and not very straightforward, so I can see paying the extra to have someone else do it. Is it worth it? For me, I would do it if I had no other choice. But everyone is different and most could probably live with 512GB and deal with external storage. Don't forget that TB3 port can support an external drive as well.

      • David

        August 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

        Hi Derek do you have an ETA on the X7 DT review.

      • Derek Sullivan

        August 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

        It's done. Andrei is editing it and should have it up today.

  5. matheus

    August 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

    hey derek
    i would like to know about the moving plate.. does it get dust when you use zephyrus for a long time?

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 9, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Long term, I'm not sure the extent of it. I didn't use it long enough to find out. I think it's safe to assume it collects dust though, otherwise Asus wouldn't have included a phillips screwdriver to take the bottom cover off. They actually include maintenance directions on how to properly clean it.

      • matheus

        August 9, 2017 at 10:39 am

        Thank you for helping =)

  6. Akhil

    August 14, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Hi Derek, fantastic review. I was looking for something as indepth as this. I have a couple of questions which I'd greatly appreciate your answer to.

    1.) How durable did this laptop feel to you? If I were to purchase it, I would want a minimum of 3 years of function, do you think the build quality, thermals and such would give me this?

    2.) The competitor to the Zephyrus seems to be the Asus Triton 700, to my knowledge they seem to have the exact same, if not similar specs. What is your opinion on the Asus Triton 700 over the Zephyrus? Which one seems like a better investment?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Derek Sullivan

      August 14, 2017 at 9:58 am

      With the exception of the bottom panel, the laptop is pretty well built and durable. Could easily last 3 years. But that bottom panel is the wild card. It's a little flimsy and it's a mechanical moving part, so there's no telling if and when it'll break. As much as I got my power cord caught in it, I could certainly see something snagging an edge and potentially harming the cover. The good news is that even without the cover, the laptop will still work. You'd either have to replace it or put some new rubber feet on the bottom though.

      As for the Acer, I have no opinion on it. It's still not released, so there's no telling how well it compares to the Asus.

  7. Ron

    October 7, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I just purchased one, after reading your review, as well as many others. Quiet gaming is my top priority. I don't have to have the fastest equipment, but I do need the quietest. Having a machine designed for top gaming performance makes for a lot of leeway in throttling back. I'm actually able to run my older game titles with all the FPS I need and no fan noise at all.

    That said, I have one big glaring issue: Accent lights. Just like you said in your review, they won't turn off. I've been scouring the web for any indication of a way to disable them and not one clue. I can see no other option but putting tape over the lights (gasp).

    If you have Asus contacts, I'd be interested to hear their plans for those lights. Is it possible to access them via software, or are they 100% hard wired in to the power cord charging?

    Thank you for the review!

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I don't personally have a contact but I think Andrei does. Maybe he can ask. I really doubt it'll help though. It's most likely something that's built into the charging circuit. Totally dumb if you ask me but this isn't the first time Asus had done something like that. One of my first Zenbooks had a similar feature with the charging cable that I ended up putting tape over.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 7, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      I haven't touched the Zephyrus, but with most Asus laptops there has never been an option to control the lights through software, so I'd reckon most of them are hard-wired, while the logos on the lid are usually lit by the screen's panel. In this latter case there should be a way to go inside and place something between the panel and the outer shell to block the light.

      With the others, if you're very technical you could open the laptops, find the LEDs and somehow disconnect them, but you'd void warranty and really have to know what you're doing there. Other than that, I'd reckon your best bet are some sort of decals.

      For some reason Asus considers these lights a feature, a selling factor. Perhaps some people appreciate them, otherwise OEMs wouldn't keep putting them on so many laptops.

  8. Cristobal

    October 25, 2017 at 10:08 am

    So how do you make a screenshot if it doesnt have the printscreen button?, its driving mad, is there another way?

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 25, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Besides the snipping tool, I never found out about way. Annoying, I know…

  9. MitoWorld

    October 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Really awesome thank you for the undervolt. I did -0.100v on the CPU, I dropped from 96c to 88c average CPU package temperature. It's more sustainable without throttle and for the long run.

    I don't understand why Intel set the 7700HQ so high voltage.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      They only set it that way because not all 7700HQ CPUs are equal. While most can be undervolted .1V, there's probably 1% that will crash and that is unacceptable in Intel's eyes. They all need to work so they pick a standard voltage that will work for all CPUs. And then they leave it to the user to fine tune it if necessary, hence their software being called a tuning utility. Glad it's working better for you though.

  10. Steven Huang

    November 20, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for this review. I also found you talked about external batteries on other sites but haven't seen your full resolution. will you mind telling me more about it?

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 20, 2017 at 8:52 am

      I remember discussing them on the forums but I never actually got one. As long as the connector and voltage are the same, I don't see why it wouldn't work. I doubt it'll work for gaming though – the power draw is generally too high for batteries of that size.

  11. Saqib

    November 29, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Can I charge the laptop with usb-c port, like with the anker power core+ 26800 PD

    Thanks in advance :)

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 29, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      I don't recall there being a charging circuit on the USB-C port. I could be wrong though. I have another unit coming in with the 1070 tomorrow, so I'll take a look

  12. Zorn

    December 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Great review. Have you tested this with the Razer Core, and if so can you give any thoughts on how well it works? Does it require a lot of tinkering, and is it stable? Thanks!

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 19, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      I have not. I'm not sure what you would gain from using the Core though. The performance drop I detected with the Core is about the same drop you see with a Max-Q version of the 1080. Unless you but the 1070 version of the Zephyrus, there's really no point in having the Core.

  13. naif

    December 29, 2017 at 12:57 am

    is this good for video editing and 3d modeling ? is it better and faster than MBP 2017 ? as I Will never use it for gaming .

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 29, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Yes, it's fine for both. Couldn't tell you if it's better though. I've never 3D modeled on a MBP, as most 3d software that is worth using is windows only. If you get a 15" MBP with dedicated graphics and load windows on it, the MBP might perform a little better if you get the i7_7920HQ version. But it will cost you a lot. I'm not sure I would recommend this machine over any normal laptop if you aren't gaming though. A GTX 1080 is way overkill for both video editing and 3D modeling so the drawbacks of the weird keyboard/trackpad placement and bad battery life make it less worthwhile. An XPS 15 would be a far better choice in my opinion.

  14. Chris

    January 18, 2018 at 4:52 am

    You had already time to test if the notbook is charing via usb C ?

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

      I did and I'm sorry I didn't get to reply back sooner. Unfortunately, it's not a charging circuit though. I tried a 15v charger and even a variable voltage (up to 15v) charger and neither worked. It's pretty much what I expected though – I have yet to see a laptop with a high end dedicated GPU that can charge via usb-c. There most certainly are some power limits involved.

      • Chris

        January 18, 2018 at 9:03 am

        Hi Derek, Thanks for replay .. so means you not tested with more than 15V so means then less than 30Watts ? i have already a powerbank that can deliver 45 watts (search on amazon for imuto) and there are also a lot of charger that bring already 65 watts and somethmes more… it makes sense that ther is a limittation but the limitation from usb type c itself 100 watts. so it should be in the end possible to charge in idle. Will it possible for you to try this out ?

      • Derek Sullivan

        January 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

        It's not the wattage that matters, it's the voltage. It has to match the battery or it won't charge. There are exceptions but they have to have the proper circuitry for it to work. Up until now I've never had a charger more than 15v. I did just see a 20v one on Amazon for a decent price, so I'll try that one out. Considering the laptop didn't even recognize my other one as a charger at all though(no warning of insufficient charge or anything), my best guess is there's no charging circuit.

      • Chris

        January 18, 2018 at 9:32 am

        that is true but i guess you not using a 15v charger with more than 3Amps so thats why…. it can be possible about that there is no charging circuit but i know from my Razer blade stealth he is also not recognizing anyhting first if you give him nearly the same what the original charger is delivering… thanks for help and let us know if you try the 20v charger.

      • Derek Sullivan

        January 23, 2018 at 1:46 pm

        So I just tried the 20V charger and it doesn't charge either. I guess Asus decided against allowing charging via USB-C. Shame…

      • Chris

        January 23, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        True! this is a shame! I hope the next version will work with usb c charging

  15. Arthur

    January 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    I recently bought one. And I found out there's a gap between the screen and the bottom bezel(where the rog logo is located). The gap is not huge but noticeable. I can even insert several pieces of paper in it. Do you think it is normal or you suggest me to exchange? Besides the gap, there are no other issues for now.

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 22, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Yup, I have a similar gap. Surprised I never noticed it before. Thanks – now I'll probably notice it every day now. :) It's probably not worth returning since the next one will probably have the same issue. Usually they put double sided adhesive behind the bezel, but I guess they opted not to on this model. It probably created too much backlight bleed.

  16. Kevin

    February 27, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Hi Derek,

    What are your thoughts if you had to choose either the ROG Zephyrus or the Triton 700?
    Both have similar hardware with the triton being slightly superior with raid 0 SSD over the zephyrus. The RAM 32 GB vs the 24 GB are quite a difference but when tested, it only leave a slight performance difference.

    I really dislike the whole idea of having that glass trackpad with no clear right click, so asus wins the trackpad area for me. but the triton 700 have brighter screen and better speaker comparing to zephyrus (ive also read some cases where the speaker on the zephyrus broke due to maxing the volume over time when watching movie).

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 27, 2018 at 7:55 am

      Tough call. You're right, the speakers on the Zephyrus are crap in comparison. I've also read that there's a hardware defect inside the casing that makes them rattle. And even another hardware defect with the trackpad that makes it unresponsive at times.

      If money were no object, I'd go with the Acer. Dual M.2 slots, more ram and a mechanical keyboard pretty good advantages. I didn't care for the trackpad at all, but it's something you can get used to. The screens are actually the same model on the high end models, so one being brighter than the other is just a subjective comparison.

  17. Emre Akca

    December 20, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    Hi Derek,

    It's a bit late to comment on this device but I'll ask about swapping it.

    I can get about 500$ if I trade in my Zephyrus for the new GL703GS. Would you say it would be worth trading in for the new 8th Gen CPU and 144Hz 17.3" Screen? As far as I know there is not much of a difference between 1080MaxQ and 1070 and GL703 has slightly more RAM (32Gigs.)

    What would you do?

  18. raphael

    March 6, 2019 at 5:39 am

    if you had the choice of this zephyrus i78750h with gtx 1080max q vs scar2 with rtx2060 with the same price, which would you choose, i like the zephyrus because of the thunderbolt3 future proofing and normal placement of webcam. the Scar 2 has RTX 2060 with 144hz 3ms display but no thunderbolt and terrible placement of webcam. which one would you choose value wise if they were both the same price.

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 6, 2019 at 6:19 am

      If you can deal with the thickness, I'd choose the Scar 2. There are too many sacrifices with the zephyrus to be made that make it harder to tolerate. Unless you absolutely need thunderbolt 3 for something, it's easy to work around.

      • Rapha

        March 6, 2019 at 11:42 am

        Thunderbolt three is vital for future proofing tho right? The possibility of having any exteral graphic card is awesome.
        $1500 Scar 2 spec:
        +Rtx 2060
        +Display 144hz 3ms
        +512nvme ssd + 1empty 2.5 drive bay
        +longer battery?

        -Terrible cam placement
        -no thunderbolt3

        $1500zephyrus spec:
        +gtx 1080 max q
        +512nvme + (is there any expansion slot here)?
        +thunder bolt 3 future proof
        +120hz sscreen more accurate colors for my web dev work

        -terrible battery
        -terrible keyboard placement.

        I guess i just want the zephyrus cuz of future proofing but scar have more storage?

      • Derek Sullivan

        March 6, 2019 at 2:48 pm

        My opinion is storage, ram upgrade and CPU speed is more future proof than updating a gourmet through an external GPU. That's just me though. I know that it's doubtful that I'll ever go the external GPU route again.

      • raphael

        March 8, 2019 at 3:03 am

        so they both have same CPU of i7 8750 and the scar only have a 2060 the zephyrus have a 1080 maxq.

        isnt the 1080 maxq a much better performer than the 2060?

        but i do see your point on the storage especially… ugh im still torn between the giving up the gpu diffrence for storage expansion.

      • Derek Sullivan

        March 8, 2019 at 3:19 am

        Yeah the 1080 is a better performer for sure. If that's really important to you, then there's no question.

  19. Justin Craypo

    May 16, 2019 at 4:28 am

    My keyboard for this model just stopped working after 2 years of what I would consider to be very light usage. ASUS won't help you out on it at this point. These computers are generally troublesome (even later models). Good for power but made of the cheapest stuff and not supported at all.

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