Asus debuts ROG desktop, mechanical keyboard, cool lighting accessories at CES

Asus
Asus unloaded a truckload of announcements prior to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, some of which fall under its Republic of Gamers label. One product is already on the market, while another device – a limited-edition laptop – finally received a launch date and price. Everything else listed here appears to be sparkly new products.

The company’s game-centric portfolio for the show isn’t exactly robust. For starters, we have a new desktop supporting up to an overclocked eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, and up to a GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card. The lineup also consists of a new mechanical keyboard that relies on Cherry MX RGB switches, while all other products are cosmetic in focus and bring illumination to your physical gaming space.

ROG Strix GL12 Desktop

Key Specs

  • CPU: Up to an overclocked 8th Gen Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Up to a GeForce GTX 1080
  • Storage: Easy-swap SSD tray
  • Lighting: Customizable Aura Sync RGB
  • Release date: April 2018
  • Starting price: TBD

The first product in the gaming-themed batch is the ROG Strix GL12 desktop. According to the company, it will be configurable with up to a six-core eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor with an out-of-the-box overclocked maximum speed of 4.8GHz. That tease points to the Core i7-8700K chip released in the third quarter of 2017 with a base speed of 3.7GHz and a maximum speed of 4.7GHz. It’s joined by graphics options of up to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 add-in card.

Outside the processor and GPU aspects, Asus says the new desktop includes an easy-swap SSD tray for quick storage upgrades. It also supports the Aura Sync platform for synchronizing colors and lighting effects across all compatible platforms. Supporting more than 16 million colors, this platform illuminates two angular “slashes” embedded in the front, and the water block’s red ROG logo seen through the left side’s transparent panel.

Unfortunately, that’s all the information we have prior to the official reveal during the show. Product images show two USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports, two USB-A 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack on an I/O panel mounted at the top of the front panel. We expect to hear more details in the following months.

ROG Strix Flare Mechanical Keyboard

Asus

Key Specs

  • Cherry MX RGB switches
  • Dedicated media keys and volume wheel
  • USB pass-through port
  • Customizable Aura Sync RGB
  • Launch date: First half of 2018
  • Starting price: TBD

As the highlights show, this new mechanical keyboard built for gamers relies on Cherry MX RGB switches, which include surface-mounted LEDs supporting 16.7 million colors. The company doesn’t list the exact types it will offer in this keyboard, but the MX RGB family includes blue, red, brown, and black flavors offering different styles of feedback and actuation force.

Outside the switch aspect, the Strix Flare stuffs all the dedicated media keys you need into the upper left-hand corner, including a volume wheel – perfect for right-handed gamers. There are no dedicated macro keys, but gamers will find an embedded, illuminated acrylic “badge” toward the upper right side sporting the ROG slash design. Gamers can swap this badge out with another blank badge provided with the keyboard, which can be used to display the gamer’s team logo or a unique design.

Like the desktop, the details surrounding the new mechanical keyboard were slim ahead of the official reveal. But Asus confirmed that the keyboard includes a USB-A pass-through port for connecting a mouse, USB headset, or some other peripheral. It also includes support for the Aura Sync platform, programmable RGB backlit keys, and a detachable wrist rest.

ROG Aura Terminal

Asus

Release Info

  • Release date: First half of 2018
  • Price: TBD

This is a quad-channel addressable RGB illumination controller for adding color and lighting effects to your desktop. Quad-channel essentially means it controls up to four LED strips gamers can mount within their PCs, behind a desktop monitor, or anywhere in their physical gaming space. It’s backed by the company’s ROG Halo technology.

“When LED strips are mounted behind a monitor, ROG Halo instantly determines the colors displayed at the edges of the screen and illuminates the LED strips with matching colors, creating a dynamic halo of lighting around the display for captivating gaming,” the company says.

The ROG Aura Terminal synchronizes colors and effects with your game’s on-screen action. It also synchronizes colors and effects across all Asus products that support the Aura Sync RGB platform, including the new Strix Flare and Strix GL12 products. The device likely includes a USB port for tethering to a parent desktop or laptop, although that’s a presumption given we weren’t given any hardware specifics prior to the product reveal.

ROG Spotlight

Asus

Release Info

  • Release date: First half of 2018
  • Price: TBD

While we’re on the subject of illumination, the ROG Spotlight projects the ROG logo on a wall or surface. It supports the Aura Sync platform, which covers more than 16 million colors and a handful of effects. It also synchronizes with your other Aura Sync-compatible products — including the three mentioned above — for a full visual experience across your physical gaming space.

The new spotlight is enclosed in a matte-black aluminum frame resting upon a magnetic base. It can stick to any metal surface, and includes 360-degrees of adjustment so it’s always pointed in the desired direction. There’s no indication that you can customize the actual logo with your team’s logo, or a unique design, but maybe that’s a feature we’ll see in version two.

Bezel-free Kit

Release Info

  • Release date: First half of 2018
  • Price: TBD

The last ROG-related product to be introduced at the show is an accessory connecting three monitors of equal size together to create the appearance of one long, wraparound view. The kit includes easy-to-attach mounts that snap onto the sides of each monitor, angling the left and right panels at 130 degrees (that’s purportedly an optimal view).

To create the single-screen illusion, the kit also includes vertical lenses that cover the face of each screen from side to side, hiding their ugly bezels. Asus says they rely on light refraction to make the monitors underneath disappear until the screens are illuminated. The company didn’t say if it plans to release kits for more than one display size.

And so on …

Asus

The only other new hardware news stemming from the Asus ROG announcement is the release date and price of its ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition laptop, which was teased in November. This limited-edition model sporting the ROG and SK Telecom T1 logo will finally hit North American shores in the first quarter of 2018 with a price tag of $1,699. It will include a 15.6-inch screen with a Full HD resolution, a GeForce GTX 1060 discrete graphics chip, and a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor.

The company also talked about its Aura SDK program, reporting that AIDA64, Tobii, and Cooler Master will showcase the products throughout the week. The AIDA64 software for monitoring PC hardware now supports the Aura Sync platform, while Tobii will demonstrate how eye-tracking and Aura Sync can work together to “provide real-time visual feedback for in-game events.”

Meanwhile, Cooler Master will display a system build highlighting Aura Sync. The PC will consist of an Aura Sync-compatible motherboard and graphics card that are visually customized using Cooler Master’s MasterPlus+ desktop software. It’s a demonstration of cross-brand integration, and an example of how Asus plans to work with other manufacturers to make the Aura Sync platform more prominent in the PC gaming market.

Finally, the ROG G703 laptop made an appearance, too. It originally launched in November with a starting price of $3,499

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