Asus’ ROG Mothership Is the Weirdest and Wildest Gaming PC of the Year

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LAS VEGAS -- The Mothership has landed, and frankly, I don't know what to make of it.

Asus’ new ROG Mothership is part gaming laptop, part desktop and totally awesome. Launching sometime during Q2 2019 (price TBD), the hybrid device includes an adjustable kickstand and a detachable keyboard.

Design

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At first, the Mothership looks kind of like a regular gaming laptop. There's a psuedo-lid with a glowing Republic of Gamers logo and everything. And then I watched the Asus rep pick it up and deploy a kickstand, turning the lid into the undercarriage.

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Things got even stranger when the rep lowered the lid/undercarriage to reveal a full keyboard and touchpad of the rather unconventional laptop. Similar to the ROG Zephyrus S and the original ROG Zephyrus, the Mothership’s keyboard is pushed to the edge of the bottom lip. The touchpad sits in the right corner and doubles as digital Num pad.

Along the rear of the device, above the kickstand boasts a funky, futuristic pattern that functions as a large air vent. The space below the kickstand glows thanks to some well-placed LED lights.

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But as weird as the design seems, the fun really begins when the rep removed the keyboard, folding it in half to reveal a Bluetooth-enabled peripheral. The Mothership essentially transformed from a laptop to an all-in-one complete with a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 screen with a 144 Hertz refresh rate.

At 10.4 pounds, the 16.1 x 12.6 x 1-inch system isn't the most portable desktop replacement, but it's definitely an uber-mobile all-in-one.

MORE: Asus Laptops - Brand Review and Rating

Specs

Something with such a ridiculous design sure as hell better have some crazy specs to match. Luckily, the Mothership delivers, serving up an overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9-8950K processor, up to 64GB of RAM, a trio of NVMe M.2 PCI SSD in RAID 0 configuration, a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. In order to prevent performance bottlenecks, two of the SSDs are connected to the CPU. That means file transfers and game launches should be exceptionally fast.

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In terms of networking, the system has a Realtek 2.5G Ethernet port that Asus claims will more than double the speed of current wired ports. On the wireless front, you've got Intel’s next-generation Wi-Fi6 AX200 tech which plays nicely with Asus’ new RT-8X88U router.

Bottom Line

Asus continues to stay on the cutting edge of gaming hardware. The Mothership is an outlandish device that I didn't know I wanted. While the hybrid design seems impractical on paper, it makes a compelling argument in person.

I’m eager to get my hands on it to see how it handles our stress test. But overall, Asus has changed the way I think about desktop replacements and gaming desktops.

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1 comment
  • Sarah Balfour Says:

    I’m confused - it’s only got 1.5TB internal storage…? That seems to be remarkably little considering the size of most game downloads. Hopefully it’s going to come in at (well) under the £6.5k Apple’s demanding for the latest top-spec MBP, which has 4TB.

    I’m NOT wedded to Apple’s hardware, but I am to its OS - despite all it’s irritations and annoyances (iPhoto I’m looking at you - the Photos app is the biggest space hog on my current MBP (which I’m determined to make my last) due to Apple’s nonsensical ‘delete from HD, delete from everywhere’ approach, it’s utterly ridiculous).

    The other thing I see no mention of is VR/MR support. Presumably, that’s a VR-enabled GPU, yes…? If so, which headsets are supported…?

    64GB RAM is extremely attractive, considering my current 2016 MBP has just a quarter of that but, unless the storage is configurable, I can foresee that being a sticking point, if it’s as portable as ASUS claims, people aren’t going to want to lug around additional external storage. I’d say double that is probably the sweet spot.

    Still, that all said, I’ll look forward to seeing it benchmarked. Now how would I turn it into a Hackintosh…? That’s the thing, Apple makes it very easy to run Windows on its hardware (I’ve got Windows 10 Pro running via Parallels) but it’s always balked at allowing MacOS to run on anything else - at least not easily and legally. This has always seemed like a poor business decision, especially since Apple computers are simply just another brand of PCs now, the exclusivity was lost when it switched from PPC to Intel. I’d like to say that Apple knows what it’s doing but, these days, it’s becoming more and more patently obvious that it doesn’t. If you costed the latest MBP by components, I honestly reckon that £6.5k tag would drop by almost two-thirds. It’s this arrogance that’s driving me to seek alternatives - sorry, Apple, but I think I can learn to live without your OS in exchange for a better computer for far less money. Time to realise Macs simply aren’t special anymore…

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