In 2020 Recap: Gaming Laptops, I highlighted the ROG Zephyrus G14, equipped with an octa-core Ryzen 4000 and GeForce RTX 2060 mobile version, as the most interesting gaming laptop to hit the market last year. There were several reasons for this. Firstly, AMD laptop chips turned out to be quite successful – the “red” ones successfully broke into the gaming mobile PC market. Secondly, with a mass of only 1.6-1.7 kg, ASUS engineers managed to make a device that does not overheat and does not make noise. So, when the representative office of the Taiwanese company offered me to get acquainted with the new version of the “fourteenth”, I did not have to think long.
⇡#Specifications, equipment and software
You can get acquainted with all versions of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 on the market here, but the table below lists the main characteristics of the new product.
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021)|
|Primary display||14″, 1920 × 1080, IPS, 144Hz
14″, 2560 × 1440, IPS, 120Hz
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS
|Video card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB 80W|
|RAM||Up to 32GB DDR4-3200|
|Install Drives||1 × M.2 in PCI Express x4 3.0 / SATA 6Gb/s mode|
|Interfaces||2 × USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
2 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
1 x 3.5mm mini jack
1 x HDMI
|Built-in battery||76 Wh|
|External power supply||180 and 100W|
|Dimensions||324 × 220 × 20 mm|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
|USD price||2800 for test model|
The most pumped modification of this laptop came to us for testing, because the mobile GeForce RTX 3060 and the 8-core Ryzen 9 5900HS were installed in the test version. ASUS on its website indicates that the maximum power consumption of the NVIDIA GPU in this case can reach 80 W – it is this parameter that most often determines the graphic performance of a laptop with RTX 30 graphics. In addition, the laptop uses a terabyte SSD and 32 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM . Also, our version of the ROG Zephyrus G14 (labeled GA401QM-K2100T) has a WQHD display and retails for $2,800.
All compact Zephyrs based on the AMD platform are equipped with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 wireless module that supports IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax standards at 2.4 and 5 GHz with a bandwidth of 2.4 Gbps /s, as well as Bluetooth 5.1.
Interestingly, the laptop comes with two power supplies at once. The computer supports USB Power Delivery 3.0 technology, so in field conditions you can use a compact 100 W source – its weight is only 250 grams. The main PSU with a power of 180 W weighs a little more than 500 grams with all cables.
⇡#Appearance and Input Devices
Externally, the updated ROG Zephyrus G14 has not changed in any way. Last year we tested the white (Moonlight White) version of the laptop, this time a gray laptop (Eclipse Gray) came to our office. The body of the laptop is still made of magnesium alloy with aluminum – including why the laptop weighs so little.
Versions with the AniMe Matrix display have not gone away – yes, the laptop turns out to be a little thicker (by 2 mm) and heavier (by 100 g) due to its use. Let me remind you that the laptop cover has 6536 holes, the diameter of which is chosen in such a way as to let in the right amount of light from 1215 miniature LEDs. The AniMe Matrix display is capable of displaying custom pictures, animated videos, visualization of the music being played, and system notifications (battery charge, incoming mail messages, sleep mode). And you can also get a virtual pet from the ROG universe.
AniMe Matrix is, of course, pampering, but I think young people will really appreciate this display. Those who do not need such a screen on the lid should choose a version with a prismatic film that shimmers in different colors at different angles.
There is no webcam on the laptop body (also included), so the top frame was also quite thin. As a result, the 14-inch screen occupies 85% of the cover area.
The laptop received very tight ErgoLift hinges – the lid is hard, but possible to open with one hand. The maximum opening angle is 140 degrees. When you open the lid, the base rises a few degrees – this trick provides more comfort for the user and creates additional space for air circulation in the area of the bottom panel of the case.
And yes, the Zephyr cooler throws the heated air directly onto the display cover.
The set of interfaces of the updated G14 has not changed. On the left, you’ll find a power connector, an HDMI output, a 3.5mm mini-jack, and a USB 3.2 Gen2 C-type combined with a mini-DisplayPort. It also supports USB Power Delivery 3.0 and G-SYNC (this feature will require a monitor with a G-SYNC module or at least with G-SYNC Compatible certification). On the right, the laptop has two USB 3.2 Gen1 A-types and another USB 3.2 Gen2 C-type.
The keyboard, of course, has not changed either. The travel of the buttons is 1.8 mm – pressing each button on the keyboard is processed independently of the others. I like large and comfortable Enter, Shift, Tab and Backspace. It will take some getting used to the “moving” of the Print Screen to the bottom of the keyboard – but hardly for a long time. As well as the partial absence of PgUp, PgDn, Home and End – these commands now settled on the “arrows” and are called using the function key.
There is no RGB lighting, but I didn’t really want to, to be honest. But the white three-level backlighting on the dark gray keys looks very good both day and night. I hope the problem of hard to read characters on the white keys of the ROG Zephyrus G14 has been resolved.
⇡#Internal design and upgrade options
The laptop is easy to disassemble, and one of the screws, when unscrewed, slightly raises the bottom panel, so you do not have to pry it with anything.
The cooler of the new ROG Zephyrus G14 has not changed – it still has four long copper heat pipes. The heated air is dissipated by four rather large copper radiators, each of which received 201 fins. A pair of tangential-type fans equipped with 84 blades each is attached to them.
Under the soleplate of the CPU is a layer of liquid metal Thermal Grizzly – an integral attribute of all ROG laptops of the last two generations.
The layout of the removable and non-removable elements of the ROG Zephyrus G14 has not changed either. The laptop is still equipped with only one M.2 port that supports the installation of a 2280 form factor SSD. In our case, the SK Hynix HFM001TD3JX013N terabyte drive is used – this storage device will not have to be changed for a long time (if at all).
We will not have to change the memory in the laptop either, since its maximum here is 32 GB. Moreover, half of the volume is soldered to the PCB, and the second part is installed in the SO-DIMM slot. In the younger versions of the “fourteenth” the amount of unsoldered memory is 8 GB.
The testing methodology for gaming laptops puts even more emphasis on PC gaming. Laptop performance was measured using various software.
Games (Full HD and WQHD resolution):
- World of Tanks EnCore RT. DirectX 11. Benchmark. Ultra mode, RT off
- Counter Strike: Global Offensive. DirectX 9. FPS Benchmark map. Multi-core processing – incl. Maximum quality.
- The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. DirectX 11. Novigrad and surroundings. Maximum quality.
- GTA V. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, FXAA + 2x MSAA, advanced quality settings on, 16x AF, image resolution scaling off
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. DirectX 11. Training mode. Ultra Mode
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, DXR – off, TAA.
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Highest mode.
- Battlefield V. DirectX 12. The Last Tiger mission. Ultra Mode, TAA, DXR Off
- Red Dead Redemption 2. Vulkan. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality (advanced settings – off), TAA.
- Gears 5. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Ultra Mode
- Metro: Exodus. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Ultra Mode
- Horizon Zero Dawn. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Top quality, TAA.
- Death Stranding. DirectX 12 Prologue. Maximum quality.
- A Total War Saga: TROY. DirectX 11. Built-in benchmark. Max mode, 4x AA (no AA in Ultra HD).
- DOOM Eternal. Vulcan. Beginning of the game. Ultra Mode
- Watch Dogs: Legion. DirectX 12. Built-in benchmark. Maximum quality, TAA, DXR off, DLSS off
- Cyberpunk 2077. DirectX 12. City trip. Impressive quality mode, DXR off, DLSS off
Gaming performance was measured using the well-known CapFrameX 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 performance fluctuations that were provoked by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.
Testing the laptop in games and applications 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 2.91.2. Determining the speed of the final rendering 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 R23. Measuring the performance of photorealistic 3D rendering in the 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, rendering and 3D 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 DisplayCAL 3 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.
In games and other applications, the results of the following laptops are considered:
|MSI GE66 Raider (2021)||15.6”, 1920 × 1080||Intel Core i7-10870H, 8/16 cores/threads, 2.2 (5.0) GHz, 45W||16 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Notebook 8GB GDDR6||SSD 512 GB||99.9 Wh|
|ASUS Zephyrus G15||15.6”, 2560 × 1440||AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS 8/16 cores/threads 2.8 (4.4) GHz 35W||16 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Notebook 8GB GDDR6||SSD, 1TB||90 Wh|
|GIGABYTE AORUS 15G KC||15.6”, 1920 × 1080||Intel Core i7-10870H, 8/16 cores/threads, 2.2 (5.0) GHz, 45W||16 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Notebook 6GB GDDR6||SSD 512 GB||99 Wh|
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021)||14”, 2560 × 1440||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS 8/16 Cores/Threads 3 (4.6)GHz 35W||32 GB DDR4-3200 Dual Channel||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Notebook 6GB GDDR6||SSD, 1TB||76 Wh|
⇡#Display and Sound
On sale, you will find versions of the ROG Zephyrus G14 with both Full HD screen and WQHD. The test model has an IPS-matrix TL140BDXP01-0, about which Google knows nothing. We only know that this WQHD display is 100% DCI-P3 compliant, supports Adaptive-Sync technology and has a vertical refresh rate of 120 Hz.
According to our tests, this is a laptop with a very good display. It may not suit professional photographers and people working with graphics and video, but for games and watching movies, the screen is just fine.
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021) (Matrix – TL140BDXP01-0)|
|Minimum brightness||16 cd/m2|
|Maximum brightness||337 cd/m2|
|Color temperature||7100 K|
|Adobe RGB color gamut||84%|
|Grey scale deviation: average (maximum)||2.29 (3.36)|
|Extended test deviation: mean (maximum)||1.69 (3.34)|
|Viewing angles||correspond to the declared|
|PWM||not seen at all brightness levels|
The sound in the ROG Zephyrus G14 has not changed after a year. I will characterize its quality as excellent – with the amendment that we are dealing with a compact and thin 14-inch laptop, of course. The speakers have a decent volume margin, but the most pleasant surprise was the presence of a good, tight bass.
⇡#Efficiency of the cooling system
As we previously found out, ROG Zephyrus G14 has a very high-quality cooling system for such a compact laptop. In addition, it is known that the previous version of the laptop was relatively cold and quiet. But the filling of the model has now completely changed.
|Summary of laptop operation and setup|
|Declared GPU Speed (Boost) and Memory Speed||1382 MHz, 12.2 Gbps||1282 MHz, 12 Gbps|
|Cyberpunk 2077 Real GPU Clock: Min, Max, Average||1462 MHz||1320 MHz|
|1867 MHz||1770 MHz|
|1779 MHz||1635 MHz|
|Max noise level||44.5 dBA||41.5 dBA|
|Average Power: GPU, CPU||73 W||72W|
|13 W||13 W|
|GPU Temperature: Average, Maximum||76 °C||79 °C|
|78 °C||80 °C|
|CPU temperature: average, maximum||73 °C||77 °C|
|86 °C||92 °C|
|3DMark Time Spy, points||7766||7245|
|3DMark Fire Strike scores||17060||15772|
|Unigine Superposition, 1080p Extreme, points||4631||4423|
The updated “fourteenth” began to work louder – in the “Turbo” mode it can be safely called noisy, and you want to play in a headset. In Performance mode (“Efficiency”), the laptop is noticeably quieter, but, as we can see, it is also slower – in graphic benchmarks, the difference is 4-8%.
But the main components of Zephyrus obviously do not overheat – I did not find critical temperatures in games. The same graphics work within the specified limits declared by the manufacturer, although the promised 80 watts, judging by HWiNFO 64, do not last very long – after two hours of load, the average power consumption of the graphics processor was 72 watts.
It is felt that the inclusion of Performance mode makes the laptop noticeably quieter. Only here the decrease in decibels is accompanied not only by a decrease in the frequency of the chips, but also by an increase in their temperature. But overall, the ROG Zephyrus G14 cooler does its job perfectly.
As I said, the chassis of the case is assembled in such a way that heated air is thrown directly onto the display cover. At the same time, the upper part of the keyboard also noticeably heats up. However, such heating does not interfere with playing and typing.
Interestingly, in Turbo mode, the laptop processor, so to speak, works with noticeable acceleration. The average power consumption of the Ryzen 9 5900HS was 68 watts, which is almost double what is indicated in the data sheet of the chip. Yes, the 8-core Zen 3, running at an average frequency of 4.2 GHz, is quite a powerful solution – however, you will see for yourself in the next section of the article.
CPU temperatures in this mode can scare someone, but quite often I see laptop manufacturers literally squeezing the maximum out of cooling systems and PC components. Well, it means that they are confident in the stability of their products in such conditions and with such settings.
|Laptop cooling performance in Adobe Premiere Pro 2020|
|CPU temperature||Maximum||96 °C|
|Noise level||Maximum||46 dBA|
|CPU Power Consumption||Medium||68W|
|Test task execution time (less is better)||787 s|
We have already tested laptops with GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, such as the GIGABYTE AORUS 15G KC model, which limits the maximum GPU power consumption to 105W. In theory, this means that the ROG Zephyrus G14 test instance will run slower in games and work applications.
Indeed, in gaming benchmarks, a model with a more powerful GeForce RTX 3060 is faster by 2-4%. The difference is tiny, and it is due not only to the parameters of the GPU, but also to differences in other components of the system. So, we see that in the 3DMARK processor subtests, the 8-core Ryzen 9 5900HS is consistently ahead of the 8-core Core i7-10870H.
Naturally, in games we can see a different picture. Most gaming laptops still use Full HD resolution, in which (even though mobile Ampere chips are seriously inferior to desktop ones) games in some cases show processor dependence. This is clearly seen from the results in the table below. Plus, the Dynamic Boost 2.0 function has a serious impact on FPS, which adjusts consumption and frequencies to the configuration of the laptop and the capabilities of its cooling system. All this leads to the fact that it makes no sense to compare graphics in different laptops, as they say, head-on – now it makes sense to talk only about the performance of a laptop in games in general.
Let’s not forget that the ROG Zephyrus G14 is equipped with a WQHD-matrix, and in most cases, the speed of this laptop is enough to comfortably play modern games at this resolution.
|Test results in games, FPS (more is better)|
|AVG||1% MIN||AVG||1% MIN|
|World of Tanks||157||104||104||71|
|The Witcher III: Wild Hunt||86||58||62||42|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||83||66||60||46|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||53||37||39||29|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||58||48||46||39|
|A Total War Saga: TROY||59||46||42||32|
|Horizon Zero Dawn||72||55||59||48|
|Watch Dogs: Legion||47||34||33||25|
Now let’s compare the ROG Zephyrus G14 with the recently tested ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503. The hero of the review has a Ryzen 9 5900HS, which in Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 runs at an average frequency of 4.2 GHz. In the larger Zephyrus, the Ryzen 7 5800HS model is used – also 8-core, but with a frequency of 200 MHz lower. And we see that the ROG Zephyrus G14 is consistently faster. Plus, in some cases, the difference in performance is also associated with different amounts of RAM.
As usual, in the end, we present the results of testing the laptop in the PCMARK10 comprehensive benchmark, which simulates the typical workload of a computer at home. Basically, we are talking about the execution of non-resource-intensive single-threaded tasks. Here, the ROG Zephyrus G14 was faster than the GIGABYTE model by 363 points, or 6%.
Do not forget that in a number of tests (such as archiving, working with graphics and photo and video content, interacting with browsers, as well as office applications), the laptop drive plays an important role.
The laptop uses a 76 Wh lithium-ion battery. ROG Zephyrus G14 of the last generation had simply excellent autonomy. The novelty did not break the record of the ancestor, but showed similar results. So the updated Zephyrus is a great option for those who need a powerful system at hand anywhere and anytime.
And the laptop also supports the function of accelerated charging – in the off state, using the included 180 W power supply, you can charge the battery from 0 to 50% in just half an hour.
|Battery life, screen brightness 200cd/m2|
|View video||10 hours 8 minutes|
Is the updated ROG Zephyrus G14 better? Definitely! Firstly, the laptop noticeably increased in speed. Yes, at the same time it became noticeably louder, but it is important to understand that the previous generation Zephyrus was equipped, for example, with a processor that worked with much less power. And here, ASUS engineers are squeezing almost the entire maximum out of the 8-core Zen 3.
Secondly, the ROG Zephyrus G14 retains many of the features of the previous version. We have already found out that the body and functionality of the laptop has not changed. The laptop is still equipped with a high-quality display and has excellent sound. Finally, ROG Zephyrus G14 lasts a very long time on a single battery charge, and those who do not have enough survivability can always take a compact PSU or any other charger that supports USB Power Delivery 3.0 with them.
At the same time, nit-picking the ROG Zephyrus G14 remained the same. As before, I would like to be able to upgrade the model more flexible – by installing a second SSD, for example. And I would like to get an external webcam for free without purchasing it separately.