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Hands on: Asus GX700

Asus’ new gaming laptop has an alien parasite attached

The Asus GX700 may not be the next great gaming notebook, but it’s sure fun to dream about.

Overclocking is one of the main reasons gamers tend to choose a desktop over a laptop. By tweaking a few settings, an enthusiast can often gain 10 to 15 percent in performance — the difference between perfectly smooth 60 FPS gameplay and stuttering from dropped frames, or the extra juice needed to turn on fancier graphical details.

Now, for the first time, mobile players can gain the same advantage. That’s thanks to Intel’s recently announced K-series for mobile, which can be overclocked just like the K-series for desktop. Details about the processor actually remain surprisingly scarce – it wasn’t included in Intel’s big release of Skylake at the beginning of the IFA 2015 show, for example – but several manufacturers are talking it up, and Asus actually has a laptop to show.

Related: Asus Zenbook UX305 review

Well, kind of. From what I saw, it’s not right to treat the GX700 as an entirely unique model. It’s more like a variation on the G752. From the outside, the two appear almost identical. The main difference can be found around back, where the G752’s massive exhaust is replaced with a series five round ports. These are used to attach the liquid cooler – and that’s where things start to get weird.

The GX700’s liquid cooler could be a mechanical parasite in some cyber-punk horror flick.

The liquid cooler itself doesn’t look at all like you might expect. Radiators are square, so it’d be reasonable guess a liquid cooler would be so as well, but the GX700’s dock defies that expectation. It’s instead a huge, bulbous apparatus that could be used as a mechanical parasite in some cyber-punk horror flick. It has a strange wing on the top, apparently used to support the display when it’s tilted far to the rear, and it appears to offer an LED readout – though that wasn’t working on the units I saw.

Related: Hands on: Asus ROG G752 gaming notebook

In fact, the GX700 wasn’t working at all. While the floor models were attractive, none of them turned on. That shouldn’t reflect on the final quality of the product, and I didn’t need to see it on to know what it’s like. As mentioned, the GX700 is a dead ringer for the G752, which is shaping up to be an absolutely stellar system. But that lack of functionality is surprising for a system that’s supposed to be out this holiday season. It’s only four months until the new year, after all.

Asus GX700

Matt Smith/Digital Trends

The dock itself is a bit of a quagmire as well. Obviously, it’s needed to get the most out of overclocking such a small computer, but it’s not a piece of hardware you’ll easily tote around. As mentioned, it was ripped straight from a sci-fi horror film, so it’s not sleek. It’s larger than some small form factor PCs, and heavier as well. Even if you have a pack large enough for the GX700 itself, I’m not sure there’d be room left over for its cooler. I’m told you don’t need the dock, but performance will be reduced significantly without it.

Honestly, the GX700 feels like a bit of a gimmick. The entire idea of overclockable gaming laptops remains unconvincing. It’ll be nice to have the option, but it’s unlikely that players will see a great gain in performance without contrivances like this notebook’s strange liquid-cooling dock. This approach may make notebooks more competitive with desktops in performance, but it also almost entirely sacrifices portability – and if you need a duffle bag to take your laptop to a LAN party, what’s the point?

Related: Asus prepares for the future with USB 3.1 front panel upgrade kit

But that doesn’t mean the GX700 isn’t cool. This probably won’t be the next great gaming notebook, but it’s fun to look at, and fun to dream about. Maybe one day, when processors are wildly more efficient than even today’s lofty standard, a project like this will be viable. Until then, you can stare at this notebook with lust.

Highs

  • Interesting design
  • Based off the excellent G752

Lows

  • Liquid cooling dock is massive
  • Functionality away from dock is unclear
  • Intel K-Series for mobile remains mysterious