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Asus’ ROG Mothership is like a Surface Pro on steroids, and it’s built for games

Over the years gaming laptops have become thinner, lighter, and more powerful, but Asus is now taking things to an entirely new  (and weird) level. At CES 2019, Asus brought the ROG Mothership, a detachable desktop replacement that sets out to redefine the form factor for gaming laptops.

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Designed so that the keyboard can detach and fold to fit in different scenarios, Asus’ new ROG mothership sports everything gamers need to get going, regardless of which position they’re sitting in. It comes with a design that leaves room for speakers to sit below the screen, as well as a kickstand.

Like a plus-sized Microsoft Surface Pro, the kickstand pops out from the bottom edge chassis whenever it touches a surface. A hinge allows for the screen to be pushed to a wide variety of angles. Asus is also using brushed anodized CNC aluminum throughout the ROG Mothership, ensuring that it stays strong.

Inside, the ROG Mothership is powered by the Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU, which can be overclocked to run at 4.8 GHz right out of the box. That is paired up with up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, which is linked up to a three-drive HyperDrive Extreme array, hanging two SSDs right above the CPU. Cooling is a unique element too, with vents in the top corners, eight heat pipes linked directly to the CPU, and four heatsinks lined with 375 ultra-thin copper fins.

Key Specs

  • 17.3-inch FHD IPS Gsync Display, 144Hz refresh rate, 3 ms response time
  • GeForce RTX 2080 graphics
  • Intel Core i9-8950HK CPU
  • Up to 64GB RAM
  • NVMe RAID 0 array
  • Four 4 watt speakers
  • 1080p Windows Hello Webcam
  • 802.11ax WiFi
  • HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, Type-C USB ports

You’ll also find the latest ray-tracing enabled GeForce RTX 2080 discrete GPU inside with 8GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory. As the FHD display is enabled with G-sync capabilities, there is a switch to enable G-Sync mode or an “Optimus mode” to help kick down the power and transform it from a gaming rig to a multi-tasking machine.

Finally, the keyboard can be pulled away from magnetic anchors and can fold to reduce its footprint by half. It connects via 2.4 GHz wireless for maximum flexibility, or can also connect manually with a USB-C cable. You’ll find that the function keys are separated, and 2.5 mm of travel within the keys (with per key lighting,) which are sporting curved caps to keep fingers centered. Of course, there is also RGB lighting embedded below the display and behind the kickstand. Asus is even separating the number pad, putting it in the touchpad, as it has in recent Asus Zenbook models.

PC makers have tried to product gaming all-in-ones and tablets before, but the Asus ROG Mothership is unique because it can convert between many different modes. We’re a bit skeptical that this will prove a hit with gamers — it’s a bit odd, after all — but the ROG Mothership may appeal to people who want a LAN party machine or very frequently travel. It’s much more portable than a desktop, yet has hardware that rivals an expensive high-end desktop rig.

Pricing and availability are not yet available.

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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