The Asus ROG Flow X13 is a thin and light laptop with a 13.4 inch touchscreen display, a 360-degree hinge, up to an AMD Ryzen 9 5980HS 35-watt octa-core processor, and NVIDA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics for gaming on the go with this 2.9 pound notebook that measures just 0.62 inches thick.

Disappointed in that GTX 1650 GPU? No problem the laptop is designed to work with an optional XG Mobile external graphics dock. It that weighs 2.2 pounds and packs an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics.

Asus says the ROG Flow X13 and optional graphics dock will be available by the end of the first quarter of 2021, but the company hasn’t announced pricing for all models, but a top-of-the-line model bundled with the graphics dock ain’t cheap.

Asus says the laptop will be available with either a 1920 x 1200 pixel IPS LCD touchscreen display with a 120 Hz refresh rate or a 3840 x 2400 pixel 60 Hz LCD touchscreen.

The laptop supports up to 32GB of LPDDR4X memory, up to 1TB of PCIe NVMe solid state storage, and features ports including:

  • 1 x HDMI 2.0b
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
  • 1 x 3.5mm audio
  • 1 x ROG XG Mobile interface

The laptop has stereo 1 watt speakers, a 720p camera, WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support, and a 62 Wh battery plus a 100 watt power supply that Asus says can give you a 60-percent charge in 39 minutes.

It also has a cooling system consisting of three heatsinks and fan outlets and new Arc Flow fans that Asus says improves airflow by up to 15 percent without generating any more noise than previous-gen Asus ROG fans.

While the laptop can obviously be used while plugged in or unplugged, you will need to connect the XG Mobile to a wall outlet if you want to use its RTX 3080 graphics card. But the lightweight graphics dock should be easier to carry from place to place than a gaming desktop.

The mobile graphics dock connects to the ROG Flow X13 via a proprietary ROG XG Mobile Interface and can charge the laptop while it’s plugged in. The dock also has HDMI 2.0a, DisplayPort 1.4, and Gigabit Ethernet jacks as well as an SD card reader and four USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports.


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8 replies on “Asus ROG Flow X13 lightweight gaming laptop supports a mobile eGPU for higher-performance gaming”

  1. This would be a great option… except that it seems the eGPU / dock connects via what appears to be a proprietary connector.

    Would have been better for Asus to go with the now-accepted Thunderbolt eGPU option, even with its 25% GPu performance hit.

    1. I don’t think Asus had a choice here going proprietary as long as they are keeping with AMD chips, due to Intel having the sole rights to Thunderbolt.

      When this Flow X13 gets in to the hands of the reviewers, I’m sure we’ll find out the limitations of Asus having to go down this road, but I’m still extremely impressed by Asus’s thinking outside of the box. Biggest hurdle is that price tag, but we’re getting a lot of innovation and external GPU power for your money here while still making this laptop extremely portable to carry around and use for other purposes than just gaming, so for me, I’m overall extremely impressed with this one.

      1. The stance on TB3 changed a while ago: Intel opened it up in 2017.

        While AMD has not (yet) built TB3 onto the chip itself as Intel has done, a few AMD motherboards and laptops have been getting certification in the past year. I would think it’d make sense for Asus to go down that route rather than having a proprietary connector.

        This looks to me like the Sony Z from 10 years ago turbo’d, which should be great – I almost bought that Z, but ended up with a Sony S due to budget.

        But no TB3 is just a missed opportunity in my view. My criteria for a laptop these days is that TB3 must be mandatory (or USB4 w confirmed eGPU support). Technically it does offer the needed capability, but having a single-use port and no TB3 makes me turn away immediately. (I had the same issues when considering the Surface Book 3.)

        Guess I’ll still hold on to this old clunker for now.

        1. I did not know that about Intel being more relaxed about their control over the thunderbolt port. I was just basing that information on every article I’ve read about the Flow X13 and everyone parrots the same information that asus went proprietary because of that AMD chip and was restricted due to Intel’s control over thunderbolt. You’re the first person that made me aware that they’ve all been wrong, and that Asus wasn’t forced into proprietary.

          I’m interested in this Flow X13 to a point or the new zephyrus rog 14. I have, or had, depending how you look at it, a Dell XPS 13 with Iris plus graphics that didn’t shut down properly and was in a closed bag running hot until the battery died and then I discovered a major hardware failure from that and now I’m still deciding whether its a write off due to an expired warranty or worth repairing and I’ve now switched to looking at what’s currently available in the 13 to 14 inch category of laptop with a passable GPU for on the go. The new XPS 13 or the Razer book or Razer stealth 13 were early candidates, but I’m just taking a step back to see the full scope of what will be available in 2021. To be honest, I’m kidding myself to think I would spend $3000 on this Flow X13 setup, but it is in line for what would be my ideal combination of both light weight gaming on the go and having the fire power of the e-GPU at home. Just a bit out of my price range unfortunately.

          Just having the temptation to spend $3000+ on a combination package means I really need to hide my wallet, give myself a reality slap and then after that, continue to look for something that’s within reach, that can do the job, without breaking the bank.

          1. Yes: while it’s started to happen, unfortunately AMD computers/mobo’s still by and large get released without TB3 chips & certification. Would love to see that change, but seems it’s very slow going.

            Still, Asus invested in creating a proprietary solution, which will likely end up being low volume (given the price). Not sure the numbers, but I’d think that’d be a big upfront investment, when they could have paid more for the TB3 controllers & certification.

            Making both the laptop and the dock TB3 certified would mean increasing the potential market size significantly for both.

            Then again, that does seem to be Asus’s thing…
            (Loved the Padphone’s concept!)

            And the cost… yea, it’s steep. Still, I keep my laptops 6+ years, so just like a phone now, that’s only $500 / year! 😉

      2. I will say, though, the form factor of this 3080 eGPU appears impressive and compares well with the slimmest eGPU enclosures out there, even more-so given its capabilities (100W, Gbit ethernet, etc.) and also that it packs the 3080 in.

        Just like the laptop itself, I would think they’d move a lot more volume if it was TB3/TB4/USB4…

    2. After reading some more, it seems this “ROG XG Mobile Interface” may be related to OCuLink-2. So it might be useable outside the ROG eGPU.

      But, also found some other details:
      – Not hot-swappable
      – MXM GPU card (i.e. a laptop GPU… explains the dock size, I guess)
      + As against TB3 or TB4, this is PCIe 4.0, so it’ll be faster (though the question is: by how much?)
      • The plug uses one of the USB-C ports, and drives the non-GPU features through it

      So, this is more a Alienware Graphics Amplifier style solution, but now using a built-in laptop GPU rather than a upgradable case.

      So, yea, definitely not the laptop for me… though, kinda wish it were.

      1. Here’s video showing the ROG software performing the hot-swap. Takes a few seconds.

        It’s encouraging to see the standard USB-C with Power Delivery integrated into the port… and even more so to think the rest is simply OCuLink-2. If so, we could build out our own eGPU enclosures and 3D print the connector’s jack for it.

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