Thin. Quiet. Powerful. The holy trinity of gaming laptops.
It used to be a pipe dream - either you had a skinny, silent machine that struggled with anything more demanding than Solitaire, or you had huge, bulky machines with powerful GPUs - and fans that sounded like a hurricane to keep them cool.
The Zephyrus might be the first machine to break that trend: it's only 17mm thick, weighs less than 5lbs, but somehow manages to squeeze a GeForce GTX 1080 graphics chip inside that puts it almost on par with a desktop PC.
How? Well, it's apparently thanks to space rockets. Yes, really.
The Zephyrus is the first laptop we've seen that's built according to Nvidia's Max-Q design. In fancy-pants science talk, this is the point where aerodynamic stress on a space rocket is at its maximum, so you can dial down the thrust and still break out of the atmosphere.
But we're talking about laptops, not rockets. Here, it's an attempt to maximise efficiency out of the graphics card, instead of going for all-out performance, in order to avoid diminishing returns and squeeze the most amount of power out of something that's still thin and light enough to take on the move.
Basically, it means the GTX 1080 inside the Zephyrus uses half the power of an identical chip in any gaming laptop you can buy right now, but manages 90% of the performance. WIthout also sounding like a hairdryer.
Nvidia and Asus have worked together to make sure the cooling fans never spin up past 40db, making it significantly quieter than your usual gaming laptop. It stays impressively temperate, too, averaging a mere 40 degrees even when you're gaming. That is, quite literally, cool.
It wasn't just a case of adding more air vents until the Zephyrus had more holes than a colander, though.
Asus has shifted the keyboard towards the front edge of the laptop, bumping the touchpad over to one side and leaving the whole back half of the machine focused on cooling. It draws air in through the top and sides, then exhausts it out of the back.
Open the screen and a hinge pops open at the back, raising the laptop by another 6mm and leaving plenty of room for air to escape the chassis. It's a really neat trick, and one that'll mean you can game all day without overheating.
The lack of anywhere to lean your mitts might take some getting used to, but it wasn't as uncomfortable to use as I was expecting. A wrist rest might help if you were planning to use one to write a novel, but for gamers, it'll easily get the job done.
The Zephyrus is pretty restrained for a gaming laptop, with an all-metal build that looks pretty sleek - even with the massive Republic of Gamers logo on the lid. Asus has added a few flourishes, like the gold edging around the sides, but in case you'd forgotten there was a GTX 1080 underneath the hood, the keyboard is fully backlit. With customisable RGB lightning, no less.