CES 2022 is still weeks away in early January, but it looks like Asus is teasing a long overdue update to its ROG Mothership GZ700. You know, the gaming “tablet” that looks like the offspring of a torrid affair between a Surface Pro and a ROG gaming laptop.
The original GZ700 came out more more than two years ago and featured nifty features like liquid metal compounds for the CPU, a kick stand, and a real gaming-class GPU. Although technically a tablet, the ROG Mothership GZ700 was probably a little too ahead of its time with its thick body. The GZ700’s age shows in its hardware too, with a 9th-gen Intel Core i9 CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics.
We’d guess Asus was in no rush to update the GZ700 but the video released on Friday hints of what may come. You can the video on YouTube below, but we pulled out all the hints of what may come.
If you watched the video, you probably couldn’t even see what was going on because it was so dark. To help you see it, we captured a frame and enhanced frame 224 to 176 for you. With the background and image brightened up, you can see clearly see what looks like the sequel to the ROG Mothership GZ700. We think it has a keyboard on the front, which means it may be considerably thinner than the original model—a device that barely qualifies as a tablet in most people’s books.
A thin body typically means real graphics performance is left on the floor, especially something as hot as the original GeForce RTX 2080 GPU. If you look closely at the image above though, you can see what looks like an external GPU port. Can’t see it? No problem, we enhanced that frame too. You can see a port similar to the one Asus used on its pretty crazy (but less crazy than the Mothership) ROG Flow X13 laptop.
Here’s the picture of the port from the ROG Flow X13 for comparison:
That port likely indicates Asus will repurpose its proprietary XGm GPU port for whatever this tablet is. That’s a good idea too, because it means if you have an existing ROG XG Mobile GPU with a GeForce RTX 3080, you’ll hopefully be able to use it on this tablet. We say hopefully because there’s no guarantee. The original Flow X13 and ROG XG Mobile used a custom x8 PCIe connection plus USB 3.2 to connect the GPU to a Ryzen 9 CPU inside the Flow X13.
Since the original Mothership GZ700 was built on an Intel CPU and the Flow X13 was built on an AMD CPU, we don’t know which way the company will go. For all we know, Asus is going to take advantage of any increased PCIe support on new CPUs next year to buff up external GPU access. The original ROG XG Mobile already had a decent eight lanes of PCIe Gen 3.0 bandwidth, more than plain Thunderbolt 3’s four lanes of PCIe Gen 3, but with PCIe Gen 4 and PCIe Gen 5 now available we can’t predict which way the company will go.
If we’re right though, we do hope there is compatibility with the ROG XG Mobile, because carrying hardware forward is always far better than sending it to the great e-waste bin in the sky. Like you, we won’t know until Asus’s CES 2022 ROG launch event at 11 a.m. Pacific time on January 4, 2022.
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One of founding fathers of hardcore tech reporting, Gordon has been covering PCs and components since 1998.
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