ROG Mothership Review: The Ultimate Desktop Replacement

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Written by Soon Kai Hong


Welcome, the ROG Mothership. To cut to the chase, if you’re looking for the ultimate desktop replacement, look no further, this IS the one.

The first thing you will notice is that this is NOT your standard laptop. In fact, you could even say that it’s simply an oversized tablet in a way, or perhaps a portable AIO will be more accurate. All the internals are packed right behind the display, including the battery, which explains the thickness, while the keyboard deck is removable and works wirelessly too. To use the unit, simply flip open the kickstand, which also automatically opens up when you tilt the device and attach the keyboard.

The entire unit is made of CNC aluminium and it feels really nice, just as premium as I thought it would be. It’s definitely as sturdy as a brick, yet with a design flair which I’ll simply describe as “ROG”, and it looks most similar to their current lineup of ROG gaming monitors.

All this though, does not come light. The unit itself weighs just under 5KG, and if you couple the two AC adapters that come with the device, that number will now be nearer to 6.

But back to the display. You get a 17.3-inch 4K IPS that comes with 100% AdobeRGB coverage and support for G-Sync. The only gripe I have about this display is that it’s only 60Hz, and also doesn’t support touch, but the latter is just a minor issue. I would have much preferred a 1440p display that ran at 120Hz or more.

Moving down, we come to the keyboard, which as I’ve mentioned, is a separate piece.

You can use it docked, which uses an extension piece, and connect to the bottom of the main unit via magnetic latches. Or you can fold it up, and use the keyboard wirelessly.

In the event you need to charge it, you can either connect it back to the main unit or use a Type-C cable. When not in use, it can be folded up to cover the display, acting as a tablet cover would.

As for the keys themselves, they feel great, and definitely nice to type on, especially given that it has 2.5 millimetres of key travel. You of course, also get per-key RGB, which uses ASUS Aura Sync, but the RGB only works when the keyboard is docked or wired.

Due to the design, the trackpad has been shifted to the right. The trackpad is just, I would put it, usable. It does run Precision, so it supports all the gestures but it’s just too small.

You do, however, also get a virtual numpad, so I guess that’s pretty neat for those of you who use it, and the individual left and right clicks are surprisingly tactile.

But in any case, it’s just usable. Get a mouse if you can.

In terms of I/O, you’re in for a treat. On the right, you get an SD Card Reader, a Type-C port which supports DisplayPort out, standard USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0 output, and the ports for the two 280W power adapters.

Moving over to the left, you get a Type-C port which supports ThunderBolt 3, a standard USB 3.1 which supports fast charging, a combo jack along with a dedicated mic jack, RJ45 ethernet and a couple more USB 3.1.

In short, you have pretty much all you need for a desktop replacement.

The ROG Mothership comes equipped with an Intel Core i9-9980HK, 64GB of RAM, an RTX 2080, and 1.5TB of PCIe SSD storage configured in RAID 0.

The ROG Mothership will be able to handle almost, if not, all the games that you throw it at it, especially if you want to enjoy older titles, but at 4K, you can pretty much do so with relative ease.

Perhaps the only exception being the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, which seems to be the next hardware killer, but who knows?

And for those of you interested in the Read and Write speeds of the SSDs, it’s blazing fast, thanks to the RAID 0 setup. You get around 9GB per second of Read speeds, and almost 4 for Write speeds.

Temperatures are also really well-maintained, partly thanks to the use of liquid metal. The CPU capped out at 86 degrees celsius while maintaining clocks of around 4.8GHz, while the GPU hovered around 80 degrees celsius with clocks around 1920MHz.

So, needless to say, this is an extremely powerful piece of hardware. But as with all things like this, it comes at a price, literally.

The ROG Mothership comes in at just shy of S$10,000. It’s definitely not money most people can just fork out in the blink of an eye, especially so if you’re going for a desktop, where if you build with almost the exact same components, will most likely cost half that.

With that said, if you’re looking for something unique, if you’re lacking desk space, or perhaps if you’re looking for an extremely powerful yet portable AIO, the ROG Mothership might be something you can look at.

In the end, this is just an insane and ridiculously over the top, piece of hardware but it’s definitely pretty cool.

More information and purchase options for the ROG Mothership (S$9,998) can be found on the ASUS ROG website.