We just released a review of the fancy ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, and now the representative office of ASUS sends another top – the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 model, equipped with the most powerful components from Intel and NVIDIA. At the same time, the gaming laptop received a 17-inch matrix and clearly marks the place of the desktop in the home interior. And it seems that the new ASUS has everything for this.
⇡#Specifications, equipment and software
The ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is a big laptop, but don’t forget the SCAR 15 series, which has similar looks, features, and performance in a slightly smaller package. In the table below, I have indicated the characteristics of only 17-inch laptops: the G732LWS / LW / LV series models use 8-core Comet Lake, as well as GeForce RTX 2060 and GeForce RTX 2070 (SUPER) graphics; G732LXS laptops feature the fastest mobile graphics of 2020, the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER. The letter S indicates the use of NVIDIA SUPER graphics in the device (this applies to all models of the current generation of ROG). Moreover, unlike the previously mentioned ROG Zephyrus Duo 15, here we are talking about full-fledged versions of NVIDIA GPUs, and not about the Max-Q design with low frequencies. And again, we are only talking about 8-core Intel processors, although we have repeatedly proved that 6-core chips in 2020 look great in mobile gaming configurations. That said, the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 test unit may be the most powerful gaming mobile PC we’ve ever tested.
|ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17|
|Primary display||17.3″, 1920 × 1080, IPS, 300Hz, 3ms, 100% sRGB
17.3″, 1920 × 1080, IPS, 144Hz, 100% sRGB
|CPU||Intel Core i9-10980HK
Intel Core i7-10875H
|Video card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDDR6
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6
|RAM||Up to 32GB DDR4-3200|
|Installing Drives||3 × M.2 in PCI Express x4 3.0 mode|
|Interfaces||3 × USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1 x 3.5mm mini jack
1 x RJ-45
1 x HDMI
|Built-in battery||66 Wh|
|External power supply||280W and 230W|
|Dimensions||400 × 293 × 26-28 mm (depending on model)|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
Windows 10 Pro
|Price according to ASUS||Model G732LXS-HG115T (300Hz, Core i9, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD RAID 0, RTX 2080 SUPER) – $3900
Model G732LWS -HG081T (300Hz, Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD RAID 0, RTX 2070 SUPER) – $3,000
Model G732LW-EV064T (144Hz, Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD RAID 0, RTX 2070) – $2,600
Model G732LV-EV052T (144Hz, Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD RAID 0, RTX 2060) – $2,400
As I said, another laptop arrived with some completely sky-high configuration. In addition to the Core i9 and RTX 2080 SUPER, the laptop has 32 GB of DDR4-3200 installed at once, as well as two terabyte solid-state drives combined in a RAID 0 array.
The ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is powered by an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 processor that supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax standards at 2.4GHz and 5GHz with a maximum throughput of up to 2.4Gbps. with. And this controller supports the Bluetooth 5.1 standard.
The laptop came with a large and heavy 280-watt external power supply, as well as an external ROG GC21 webcam, which I wrote about many times.
⇡#Appearance and Input Devices
The design of the device is familiar to us. Almost a year ago, a review of the ROG Strix SCAR III (G531GW-AZ124T) was published – it is clearly seen that these laptops are very similar, you just need to take into account the dimensions of the compared models (it was a “fifteen”, and now we have a “seed”). And we also see that ASUS abandoned serial numbers in the SCAR series, and the test model is not listed anywhere as SCAR IV.
The body of the Scar is well made, although not all of its panels are made of metal. But the area with the keyboard does not flex, except that the display lid plays a little if you press hard on it. However, you don’t have to do that, you know. The manufacturer claims that the area of the case under the wrists is coated with a special paint that prevents smudges and fingerprints. I deliberately did not clean the laptop before taking pictures – you can judge for yourself whether ASUS is telling the truth or not.
The design of this laptop involved specialists from the BMW Designworks Group. As a result, the device looks … grown up. Yes, the ROG logo is illuminated on the lid. Yes, the RGB LEDs on the bottom are still there. But even with this “garland” ROG STRIX SCAR 17 looks strict and presentable. In the end, an adult boy or an adult girl can always turn off the backlight on her own. All illuminated elements of the laptop can be customized by turning on the AURA Sync program. Supports 8 operating modes and 16.7 million colors.
If you haven’t seen a single ROG STRIX SCAR since the third generation up to this point, then you will probably immediately pay attention to the laptop lid hinges. They noticeably raise the metal lid with the display above the rest of the body – it seems that the screen is floating in the air. And if you play on a laptop in the evening, it will seem that the computer is levitating over the table, overcoming the force of gravity. And the hinges are installed in such a place that the display is, as it were, closer to us – 3 cm, but closer.
The promo video is attached.
The laptop is large, and here, as I see it, there is a clear positioning of ASUS models. Even ROG STRIX SCAR 15 weighs more than 2.5 kg, and the weight of the “seed” reaches 2.9 kg – it is clear that we have a device designed to replace the desktop at home (in the country, in a rented apartment, and so on). Such a laptop will fit into a large backpack, and if you wish, you can go somewhere with it – for example, on vacation. But if you need a really compact gaming model, then you should already look for something suitable among the various laptops of the Zephyrus series: Scar is clearly too big and heavy to go somewhere with it every day.
The main ports in the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 are located on two sides: on the left and on the back. The user has access to three USB 3.2 Gen1 A-type and one USB 3.2 Gen2, combined with DisplayPort. There is no support for USB Power Delivery 3.0, but it is understandable. The least commonly used HDMI output and RJ-45 are brought to the back side of the laptop case.
On the right side of the ROG STRIX SCAR 17, if we talk about connectors, there is nothing. There is only a port for a Keystone II key fob equipped with an NFC tag. When it is connected, a user profile with settings is automatically loaded and access to a hidden drive intended for storing confidential files is opened. Disabling the key fob is also programmed for any commands, such as minimizing all windows (stealth mode) or instantly logging out of the Windows account. Customized profiles are created in the ROG Armory Crate app.
The keyboard on the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 was a pleasure to work with. All keys feel good tactilely, pressing is clear, with tangible feedback. At the same time, the keyboard works almost silently. To the layout, however, there are a couple of quibbles. First, it’s not very convenient to use tiny arrow buttons. Secondly, a number of buttons that I often use – Delete, Pause, Print Screen and Home / End – are also shrunk as much as possible, although we seem to be dealing with a 17-inch gaming machine. Otherwise, I had no complaints about the keyboard.
The power button is located where it should be – away from the rest of the keys. Five more buttons are located separately from the main keyboard: with their help, the volume of the speakers is adjusted, the built-in microphone is turned on and off, and special operating modes of the cooler and the main components of the system are activated. Pressing the brand logo button opens the Armory Crate app.
In the same place it is possible to adjust illumination of each key. The keyboard has three levels of brightness. With a little fiddling, you can create multiple profiles for work, play, and other entertainment at a specific time. For example, when watching movies, the backlight will only interfere – turn it off. When working on a laptop at night, it makes sense to make the brightness lower, and higher during the day, or, conversely, turn it off completely.
As for the touchpad, I have no complaints about it. The touch surface is pleasant to the touch and works very responsive. The touchpad recognizes multiple simultaneous touches and, as a result, supports gesture control. The buttons here are separate, mechanical – not too tight, but they are pressed with noticeable effort and with a well-felt return.
⇡#Internal design and upgrade options
The laptop is very easy to understand. Yes, you need to unscrew 11 screws, but one of them is equipped with a spring mechanism – you unscrew this one, and the cover itself is separated from the base. Very convenient, by the way. Just be careful when removing the bottom, as backlight cables are attached to it.
The ROG STRIX SCAR 17 cooler inspires confidence. This is a separate system of heatpipes and fans, equipped with a total of four fairly large all-copper heatsinks. The heated air is pushed out in two directions. Three heat pipes are responsible for cooling the 8-core and graphics. Another copper element is designed to remove heat from the memory chips and elements of the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER power converter.
The manufacturer claims that Thermal Grizzly liquid metal takes part in cooling the CPU, which reduces its temperature by 12 degrees Celsius compared to what conventional thermal paste can provide. n-Blade fans received 83 blades, and this number is due to the thinning of each “petal” by 33%. In addition, each heatsink consists of copper fins only 0.1 mm thick, which reduces airflow resistance by 8.2%.
Well, no matter how beautiful the manufacturer’s statements regarding the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 cooler are, we will study in detail the features of its work a little further.
It is noteworthy that ROG STRIX SCAR 17 has three M.2 ports at once, supporting the installation of 2280 format solid state drives. In the case of the test model, a couple of slots are already occupied by Intel SSDs belonging to the 660p series. One way or another, it will take a long time to supplement the disk subsystem of the laptop. The same words apply to RAM, because the laptop has 32 GB of DDR4-3200 memory – manufactured by Samsung.
The updated testing methodology for gaming laptops puts even more emphasis on PC gaming. Laptop performance was measured using various software.
Games (Full HD resolution):
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive. DirectX 9. Map Benchmark. Maximum quality, MSAA 8x + FXAA.
- World of Tanks enCore. DirectX 11. Benchmark. Ultra mode, TSSAA HQ.
- Dota 2. DirectX 11. Match recording. Maximum quality.
- The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. DirectX 11. Novigrad and surroundings. Maximum quality.
- GTA V. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark (last scene). Maximum quality, FXAA + 2x MSAA, advanced quality settings on, 16x AF, image resolution scaling off
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. DirectX 11. Riverwood and surroundings. Maximum quality, TAA. No mods.
- Total War Three Kingdoms. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Max mode, TAA.
- Far Cry New Dawn. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, HD textures – on, TAA.
- Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Highest mode.
- Metro: Exodus. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Ultra Mode
- Battlefield V. DirectX 12. The Last Tiger mission. Ultra Mode, TAA, DXR Off
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, DXR – off, TAA.
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, 2x MSSA.
- Gears 5. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Ultra Mode
- Red Dead Redemption 2. Vulkan. Built-in benchmark (last scene). Maximum quality (advanced settings – off), TAA.
- DOOM Eternal. Vulcan. Beginning of the game. Ultra Mode
Gaming performance was measured using the well-known MSI Afterburner program. It allows you to get the rendering time of each frame. The use of the 99th percentile instead of the minimum frames per second is due to the desire to clean up the results from random bursts of performance that were provoked by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.
Testing the laptop in games was carried out with the activation of the fastest mode suitable for these tasks.
- Corona 1.3. Testing rendering speed using the renderer of the same name. Measures the build speed of the standard BTR scene used to measure performance.
- Blender 2.83. Determination of the final rendering speed in one of the popular free packages for creating three-dimensional graphics. The duration of building the final model pavillon_barcelona_v1.2 from Blender Benchmark is measured.
- x265 HD Benchmark. Testing the speed of video transcoding to H.265/HEVC format. The tables and graphs show the average integer value obtained after five runs of the test.
- CINEBENCH R20. Performance measurement of photorealistic 3D rendering in CINEMA 4D animation package, CPU test. The tables and graphs show the average integer value obtained after five runs of the test.
- Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 – Rendering a project in 4K resolution.
- Topaz Video Enhance AI v1.2.3. Performance testing in an AI-based program to improve video detail. The test uses the original video at 1280×720 resolution, which is scaled up by 150% using the Artemis-HQ model: P, HQ, MC.
- Futuremark PCMARK10 Professional Edition 2.1.2177. Testing in Essentials scenarios (typical work of an average user: launching applications, surfing the Internet, video conferencing), Productivity (office work with a text editor and spreadsheets), Digital Content Creation (creation of digital content: photo editing, non-linear video editing, 3D rendering and visualization -models).
- 3DMark Professional Edition 2.11.6846. Testing in Time Spy and Fire Strike scenes.
- Unigine Superposition Benchmark. 1080p Extreme testing.
Notebook testing in resource-intensive applications was carried out in the default mode without any adjustment of the parameters of the central processor and cooler.
Display testing is performed using the X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and the HCFR application.
The battery life of the laptop was tested in two modes. The first load option – web surfing – involves alternately opening and closing the tabs of the Computeruniverse.ru and Unsplash.com sites with an interval of 30 seconds. For this test, the current version of the Google Chrome browser at the time of testing is used. In the second mode, video in .mkv format and Full HD resolution is played in the built-in player of Windows OS with the repeat function activated. In all cases, the same display brightness was set to 200 cd / m2, and the keyboard backlight (if any) and the sound were turned off. When playing video, the laptop worked in airplane mode.
In games and other applications, the results of the following laptops are considered:
|Lenovo Legion 7i||15.6”, 1920 × 1080, IPS||Intel Core i9-10980HK, 8/16 cores/threads, 2.4 (5.3) GHz, 45W||32 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q 8GB GDDR6||2TB SSD||80 Wh|
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15||15.6”, 3840 × 2160, IPS||Intel Core i9-10980HK, 8/16 cores/threads, 2.4 (5.3) GHz, 45W||32 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Max-Q 8GB GDDR6||2TB SSD||90 Wh|
|ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17||17.3”, 1920 × 1080, IPS||Intel Core i9-10980HK, 8/16 cores/threads, 2.4 (5.3) GHz, 45W||32 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB GDDR6||2TB SSD||66 Wh|
⇡#Display and sound
In models with GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER graphics and below, IPS matrices with a refresh rate of 144 and 300 Hz can be used, but in the older and coolest version of the ROG STRIX SCAR 17, only a 300 Hz screen is used. This is a Sharp LQ173M1JW03 matrix with a response of 3 ms and a color gamut of 100% sRGB. And this is a great gaming display, comrades.
The key word here is “gaming”, because the contrast level of the matrix is not very high – only 849: 1. The minimum white luminosity is 16 cd/m2 and the maximum is 312 cd/m2. On the one hand, for watching movies or for working on the street, I would like to see higher performance. On the other hand, for games at home, such brightness and contrast are quite enough, everything suited me.
Sharp LQ173M1JW03 is doing well with calibration. The stability of shades of gray in this matrix is at an excellent level. The gamma is slightly lower than the reference value of 2.2 and is 2.11. The average deviation of DeltaE on a gray scale is 1.43, the maximum is 6.94.
The average score in the ColorChecker24 test was 2.3 with a maximum deviation of 5.5. The color gamut of the matrix turns out to be even slightly larger than the sRGB standard. For games, this image quality can be called excellent. Perhaps the Sharp LQ173M1JW03 will also appeal to professionals – however, for these purposes, you will have to apply a colorimeter to it.
I did not reveal the presence of PWM in the test sample, that is, the laptop matrix can be safely attributed to the category of Flicker-Free solutions at any brightness level – the eyes will definitely not get tired during games due to the display. At the same time, the matrix has a Glow effect, but in general, everything is very good with viewing angles.
A pair of 4.2-watt speakers is integrated into the system. By laptop standards, the sound of the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is doing just fine.
⇡#Efficiency of the cooling system
As always, ASUS ROG laptops have several profiles that are responsible not only for the operation of the cooler, but also for the frequencies of the chips. In the review, as usual, I analyze the presets responsible for the high performance of the laptop. In ROG STRIX SCAR 17, these modes are Efficiency and Turbo.
|Summary of laptop operation and setup|
|Declared GPU Speed (Boost) and Memory Speed||1590 MHz, 14 Gbps||1690 MHz, 14.3 Gbps|
|The Witcher III Real GPU Clock: Min, Max, Average||1665 MHz||1710 MHz|
|1815 MHz||1995 MHz|
|1695 MHz||1759 MHz|
|Maximum noise level||44.3 dBA||47.8 dBA|
|Average Power: GPU, CPU||149 W||149 W|
|GPU Temperature: Average, Maximum||76 °C||76 °C|
|77 °C||77 °C|
|CPU temperature: average, maximum||81 °C||82 °C|
|85 °C||90 °C|
|Test results in 3DMark Time Spy||9702||10137|
|3DMark Fire Strike test results||20722||22241|
|Test results in Unigine Superposition (1080p Extreme)||6103||6403|
|Performance gain in benchmarks||+4%, +7%, +5%|
The performance difference between Efficiency and Turbo modes isn’t significant, but it’s there. In the first case, the laptop is loud, but purely subjectively, I can call this noise level comfortable (it is low-frequency, it is perceived quite easily by ear). In the second case, I already want to put on headphones.
Turning on the “Turbo” preset slightly increases the frequency of the GPU, and also slightly overclocks the VRAM. If we compare the averages, it will be seen that the frequency of the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER core increases by less than 100 MHz – in both cases, the GPU power consumption tends to 150 watts. But the Core i9-10980HK works differently. In the “Efficiency” mode, the average frequency of all its cores is kept at 3.9 GHz, and in the “Turbo” mode – 4.1 GHz. That is why in Unigine Superposition the inclusion of the “Turbo” mode accelerated the system by only 5%, and in 3DMark Fire Strike – already by 7%.
Overall, the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 cooling system does an excellent job, albeit with a high level of noise.
|Laptop cooling performance in Adobe Premiere Pro 2020|
|“Efficiency”||“Turbo”||Turbo + Intel XTU|
|CPU frequency||Medium||3.8 GHz||3.85 GHz||4.3 GHz|
|CPU temperature||Maximum||96 °C||95 °C||89 °C|
|Medium||79 °C||78 °C||77 °C|
|Noise level||Maximum||44.8 dBA||46.7 dBA||46.7 dBA|
|CPU power consumption||Average||88W||92W||91.7W|
|Test task execution time (less is better)||754 с||748 с||671 с|
Liquid metal is a thing, although in the case of ROG STRIX SCAR 17, the whole cooler is worthy of applause. Yes, the temperature of the Core i9 at its peak rises to 96 degrees Celsius, but the processor is running at a power of 140+ W! Later, the power consumption of the chip drops to 70-90 W – this is how the PL1 threshold is set in the laptop. And with it, the temperature also drops – the average heating over the hottest core was 79 degrees Celsius. The laptop is noisy in such conditions, although quieter than the recently tested MSI GF65 Thin 9SEXR with a 4-core Core i5-9300H on board. As you know, everything is known in comparison.
The “Turbo” mode does not improve the situation much, but lowering the VCore voltage in the Intel XTU program allowed us to raise the average frequency of all eight cores of the Core i9-10980HK to 4.3 GHz – the processor worked almost at the maximum laid down by Turbo Boost technology! It is not surprising that the laptop has become noticeably faster in processor-intensive tasks: in the Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 editor, we managed to get an increase of 10% right away.
So, we are again discussing a laptop with GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics. However, this time we are talking about a full-fledged GPU, and not a Max-Q version with reduced frequencies. And what happened in the end? And the fact that the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is so far the fastest gaming laptop that has been on our reviews. In the same 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the hero of the review turned out to be 17% faster than the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 when comparing the operation of both laptops in Turbo mode. Even the monstrous MSI GT75VR 7RE Titan SLI, equipped with two GeForce GTX 1070s, scores less “parrots” in this benchmark.
Naturally, ROG STRIX SCAR 17 pulls all modern games, as they say, at maximum speed – and I like that the manufacturer did not introduce a 4K resolution matrix into this model.
|Test results in games, Full HD, FPS|
|World of Tanks enCore||210||141|
|Counter Strike: Global Offensive||261||92|
|Old but still popular games|
|The Witcher III: Wild Hunt||122||75|
|The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition||164||121|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided||74||55|
|(Relatively) modern games|
|Assassin’s Creed Odyssey||70||56|
|Far Cry New Dawn||100||70|
|Total War Three Kingdoms||82||62|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||76||59|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||118||92|
And it is no less natural that the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 will be an excellent mobile workstation. Well, where to go, because the laptop has the fastest solutions from Intel and NVIDIA.
Below are the results of testing the laptop in the PCMARK10 comprehensive benchmark.
In a number of tests (archiving, working with graphics and photo and video content, interaction with browsers, as well as office applications), the laptop drive plays an important role. The ROG STRIX SCAR 17 has two terabyte SSDs at once, combined into a RAID 0 array. The Intel SSDPEKNW010T8 model belongs to the 660p series, and this is far from the most productive solution today. The same ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 uses an OEM version of the notorious 970 EVO Plus model. In general, in the tasks of the average user, Scar could be even faster – this is a fact.
The laptop comes with a 66 Wh lithium-ion battery. In fact, the battery in any large 17-inch mobile PC can be considered more like a UPS – it allows you to carry a laptop from one outlet to another or hold out for a while with unstable mains voltage. However, with a fairly bright display, the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 lasted almost six hours in both system load scenarios. Not bad, I think.
|Battery life, screen brightness 200cd/m2|
|Web||5 h 42 min|
|View video||5 h 38 min|
ASUS turned out to be an excellent laptop – and it’s hard to argue with this statement. The manufacturer uses the most powerful components from Intel and NVIDIA, but the laptop cooler does an excellent job of cooling them. Yes, the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is quite noisy under load – this is perhaps the only complaint about the tested device. But what’s next? The keyboard in the laptop is excellent; good screen and sound in a laptop; even autonomy is not lame, but the device uses Core i9 and RTX 2080 SUPER. Finally, this computer is very easy to upgrade, if you ever need such a need in the near future – in general, you have a worthy desktop substitute that can run any modern game in Full HD resolution.
True, it is also worth noting that ASUS turned out to be a very expensive laptop – and you can’t argue with this statement either.