It was on the occasion of IFA 2107 that Asus officialized its lareview portable juggernaut dedicated to video games, the Chimera. Or more precisely the ROG G703VI. Contrasting furiously with the ROG Zephyrus, a fine and powerful gaming machine, this 17.3-inch screen laptop is not intended to be discreet. Or even to move from home. Asus announces that the Chimera is more than 4 kilos of raw power for video games, with the best components of the moment. The configuration that we had in review is announced at a price of 3500 euros (G703VI-E5095T) and it is already available in store.
It’s been a long time since Asus had given us such a big laptop. Between the Zephyrus or the G701V, we were used to receiving much slimmer machines.
If power is still topical, as we will see below, finesse and lightness are a bit of a problem. Referring to an impressive mythological beast (a third lion, a third snake, a third goat), the Chimera is 5.5 cm thick and weighs … more than 4.7 kg! Weight plus that of the AC adapter: 1.46 kg. Considering these different statements, this 17.3-inch screen laptop is clearly a sedentary machine, somewhat designed like a desktop PC.
The video outputs (HDMI and mini DisplayPort) are, for example, deported to the rear, right next to the power socket and a USB 3.0 socket. Enough to connect a gaming mouse and a possible second screen without running the risk of hitting the cables with your right hand, the one that normally rests on the combat mice. There is nothing more annoying than missing a frag because the mouse race was stopped dead by a wire which had nothing to do there!
Always to avoid a possible field mouse accident, the network socket, two other USB socket (a 3.0, a Type-C / Thunderbolt 3) and the connectors for an analog headset are on the left side. A headphone jack which is supported by a DAC (ESS Saber HiFi) and several software overlays allowing to improve or spatialize the sound if the heart tells you. To close this musical interlude, know also that the Chimera has four speakers, two under the screen, two under the machine. The sound is not impressive, but the power is there.
Finally, note that the right side of the G703VI can still be seen with two additional USB 3.0 sockets and an SD card reader. Of course, the Wi-Fi n / ac module (Bluetooth 4.2 compatible) is part of it, hidden in the bowels of the machine.
Designed for very long play sessions
When it comes to making high-end gaming machines, Asus doesn’t skimp on materials. The heavy case is very robust, the back of the all-metal screen is very rigid and inspires confidence.
There may only be the bronze-colored plastic part located at the hinges which risks getting scratched fairly quickly. But for the rest, the machine is built to last.
We also appreciate that the manufacturer has thought of covering the keyboard tray with a material type “peach skin”, a little rubbery which is very pleasant to the touch and limits palmar perspiration. Besides, let your hands be reassured, they will be well wedged and will have room to move on the keyboard.
The latter is equipped with separate keys, at medium stroke and whose typing sensation is similar to that experienced on a mechanical keyboard. The icing on the cake is that the whole thing shines with a thousand colors. They are of course customizable using one of the software preinstalled on the machine.
Note the presence of seven shortcut keys, just below the screen. Thanks to them, it is possible, for example, to lower or increase the volume, to launch the ROG Game Center or the Windows 10 Xbox app.
Like a large bomber, the G703VI is just waiting for a signal to launch the offensive on the video game planet. As soon as the start button is pressed, the machine roars, the ROG logo on the back of the screen lights up, the keyboard also, and in just a few seconds, the Chimera is good for service.
This 17.3 inch screen had everything to make a cardboard
Considering the very high price of this Chimera, we expected to find a 1440p screen. It is not so. Asus is betting on a matte Full HD model, using an IPS panel, like many of its competitors. On the other hand, no question of an ordinary slab refreshed at 60 Hz. Here, we have the right to a billboard officiating at 144 Hz, a first in the world of gaming laptop.
And happiness does not usually come alone, Nvidia G-Sync technology is also part of it! This will delight the most demanding players, eager for extreme fluidity in their favorite games and who do not want to be bothered by annoying visual effects during their long hours of play.
We are thinking in particular of tearing (horizontal image tearing) or sudden slowdowns caused by a momentary drop in image per second (ips). Two effects that the G-Sync is responsible for countering by harmonizing the screen refresh rate with the number of fps generated by the graphics card (here, a GTX 1080).
Admittedly technologically advanced, this screen, when passed through the probe, is not as good as we hoped. The average maximum brightness was measured at 279 cd / m2 and the contrast ratio, at just over 1000: 1. Nothing to be ashamed of, although the mention ” Pretty good »Is only just picked up.
A little more light would not have hurt! It is clear that this would have affected the autonomy (2 hours measured maximum). Is. But as the machine is intended to stay on a desk for long hours rather than traveling, why not have made the choice to push the intensity of the backlight in order to reach a good 300 cd / m2 ?
Finally, we cannot say that color fidelity is the strong point of this screen. To the naked eye, there is a slight dominance of blue and yellow in some photos or videos. In games, however, it is a little less noticeable.
The best for the game
The high price of the machine leaves little doubt as to the configuration of the Chimera. This revolves around an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor, 16 GB of RAM, a RAID 0 SSD (2 x 256 GB in M.2 PCIe format) and a hybrid hard drive ( SSHD) 1 TB Seagate Firecuda.
On the graphics card side, it is of course Nvidia who is at the helm, with a GTX 1080. By combining the power of the latter and the Full HD definition of the screen, as much as to mount the details and filters in games is done without asking too many questions.
With such a technical platform, all video game applications or even those of editing, retouching and other digital drawing work wonderfully: the proof, the note in performances approach 9.5 / 10.
In our panel of review sets, rare are those that go below 70 frames per second displayed, with levels of detail in “High”, “Very High” or even “Ultra” for the oldest. So The Division, Passing by Rise of the Tomb Raider or Assassin’s Creed Origins, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 or Destiny 2, it’s the feast of beautiful polygons!
With so much power under the keyboard, it is difficult to effectively combat the noise generated by ventilation. Moreover, according to figures given by Asus, the duo of fans and the entire network of copper pipes alone weigh a little over 700 grams.
During our intensive games, the sound level meter indicates a maximum of 45.9 dB. A noise level that can be described as really high. Even annoying in the long run. However, the temperature recorded on the back of the machine does not exceed 47.2 ° C and no phenomenon of throttling did not appear. Even stronger, the processor manages to maintain its boosted frequencies at Turbo Boost for a very long time. It’s been a while since we saw such benefits!
And for those who always want more, Asus offers an “Extreme” operating mode to activate via the software interface ROG Gaming Center.
An “Extreme” mode with variable efficiency
With a simple click of the mouse, you pass the sixth. The Intel processor and graphics card are overclocked, the algorithm that manages the ventilation adapts and the Chimera roars all the more. The processor goes up to 4.3 GHz (in Turbo mode) and the graphics card, up to 1974 MHz (still in GPU Boost). However, let’s be honest, the main gains brought by the mode Extreme are mostly visible in analytical reviews like PC Mark 8 or PC Mark 10.
In games, Extreme mode doesn’t hit the bull’s eye every time. We managed to gain up to 27 frames per second in very old titles (The Last Remnant or Dirt 3) already running at more than 200 or 300 fps on the Chimera.
On more recent titles, the differences are not so great. For example, in Rise of the Tomb Raider in DX 11, the score increases by 14 ips (from 92 to 106 ips) and from 2 to 3 ips when switching to DirectX 12. And in The Division, performance remains the same, with or without Extreme mode.
Conclusion: depending on the engines and the type of games, do not expect to systematically gain astronomical numbers of images per second by activating this mode. On the other hand, if the latter increases the consumption of the Chimera by a few watts (306 to 321 watts), the noise produced by the ventilation does not vary by an inch according to our measurements. Impressive and a real relief for our eardrums!
Also, if you feel like a budding overclocker, know that a Manual mode allows you to adjust a few parameters as you see fit. However, Asus has placed many safeguards to prevent you from damaging your precious monster.
Finally, note that the note of performances indicated below was calculated from the results obtained in mode Normal. If we postpone the variations observed with the Extreme mode and we redo our calculations, then the Chimera borders on … 5/5.
By unscrewing the small hatches located under the machine, you have access to two empty slots for DDR4 RAM. Enough to go from 16 to 32 GB easily.
The two M.2 SSDs in PCIe format are hidden under a plastic cover on the right, the cradle of the hard drive being located on the left. Right next to the latter, a slot for M.2 SSD in SATA format (only) is vacant, ready to accommodate additional ultra-fast storage.