Asus ROG Zephyrus S17, M16 gaming laptop designs evolve with CPU, GPU updates

Asus throws a redesign party to celebrate the Intel 11th-gen H-series CPUs and Nvidia RTX 3050 GPUs.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
3 min read

Rather than just stick with ho-hum speed bumps -- though it certainly has rolled out the new 11th-gen Intel Tiger Lake-H CPUs and in some cases, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 series GPUs -- Asus has also spiffed up the designs of several of its gaming notebooks . In some cases, the updates are dramatic, such as a complete overhaul that includes bringing the lift-up keyboard from the ZenBook to the ROG Zephyrus S17. In others the differences are a little more subtle, like the sleeker profile and colorful lid of the Zephyrus M16, which also graduates to a 16-inch display in the same size chassis as the M15 thanks to the ubiquitous bezel shrink ray and 16:10 aspect-ratio fairy dust. The company also announced updates to its TUF F15 and F17 gaming laptops.


The slim 17-inch S17's keyboard lifts up five degrees, while the palm rests remain horizontal, to provide a more comfortable typing experience along with exposing vents that improve the airflow. It's also a big change from the previous model, with its awkwardly located, pulled-forward keyboard and meh touchpad. The keyboard is now optomechanical as well, the same one that's used on the ROG Strix Scar.

It also upgrades to a six-speaker array with two woofers and Dolby Atmos surround support and a choice between a G-Sync-enabled 165Hz QHD screen or a 4K 120Hz display.  

Plus, the new model not only adds a webcam, it's a 1080p version as well!

Inside, the S17 updates to the new Core i9-11900H CPU, along with all the accompanying perks, such as PCIe Gen 4, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6E and so on. Though it doesn't use the new GPUs -- and it shouldn't given that they're for entry-level in this class -- it does switch to Nvidia's Advanced Optimus for more intelligent switching between the integrated and discrete GPUs. 

You're more likely to find a RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti option for the Zephyrus M16, which is lighter and smaller than the M15 despite the new 16-inch display from which it gets its name. It too gets a lift, in this case Asus' ErgoLift hinge which raises the rear of the laptop when you open the lid; the hinge on the M16 also has flatitude, capable of opening a full 180 degrees. The increased ventilation ErgoLift adds is one aspect of the laptop's improved cooling system, which also includes liquid metal thermal paste (for better heat dissipation off the CPU).


The LED-lit lid that debuted with the G14 inspires the new lid design, but the M16 uses more practical and energy efficient -- but no less cool -- prismatic film that changes color based on the angle and light in the environment. 

Like the S17, it upgrades to a 1080p webcam, six-speaker array, 165Hz 2,560x1,600 screen option (which I'm tempted to start calling 1600p), with similar 11th-gen features such as PCIe Gen4, dual Thunderbolt 4 ports and more. Plus, like the S17, you can configure it with Asus' HyperDrive Ultimate RAID array, comprised of three NVMe SSDs. It does not use Advanced Optimus, though.

Other ROG laptops, including the ROG Zephyrus G14 and G15, Zephyrus Duo and Flow X13, will also see some updates to their designs, get QHD screen options and in some cases AMD Ryzen 5000 H-series processors as well.

The ROG Zephyrus S17 and M16 are slated to ship by the end of June; we don't yet have pricing.