Asus kicks up second ROG Strix laptop, sticks with Maxwell graphics

Followup act features a GTX 960M GPU.

Not ultra thin and not ultra thick.

Asus introduced its first laptop under its ROG Strix badge earlier this year, the GL502, and now it's following that up with a second offering that combines both gaming monikers, the GL553VW.

Like the GL502, the new GL553VW is a 15.6-inch laptop for gamers, though it has a smaller overall footprint measuring 7cm in width and 11cm in length. It also has a thinner bezel all around, which Asus pitches as a better fit for backpacks even though it's "slightly thicker" than its predecessor.

If shopping a GL553VW, pay close attention to the panel type. Asus lists two different options, TN and IPS, the latter of which typically produces better color reproduction and more flexible viewing angles, albeit sometimes at the expense of response time (neither option comes with G-Sync support). Both are Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) and powered by either an Intel Core i5-6300HQ or Core i7-6700HQ processor and up to 32GB of DDR4-2133 RAM.

For graphics, Asus is sticking with Maxwell, and specifically the GeForce GTX 960M with 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory (depending on the model). That should suffice for 1080p gaming, though it obviously doesn't have the legs of Pascal and may struggle to keep up with more demanding titles.

Storage consists of up to a 512GB PCIe x4 SSD, though less expensive models will wield up to a 256GB SATA SSD or up to a 2TB HDD. 

On the connectivity front, the GL553VW sports 802.11ac wi-fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, GbE LAN, 2-in-1 card reader, audio combo jack, and HDMI output.

Asus outfitted the GL553VW with a gaming keyboard that uses red backlighting and scissor-switch keys with 2.5mm of travel distance. It also has distinctly colored WASD keys, a larger space bar than usual, and isolated arrow keys.

It looks like a solid setup, though it's hard to get excited about a mid-range Maxwell mobile GPU at this stage. Depending on the price (which Asus hasn't announced), you may kick yourself for grabbing this a month or two down the line.

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