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For years Asus ROG laptops have been the standard for full-size and gaming computers with muscle power and cooling.
However, with advances in technology and people looking for more portable options, ROG laptops have lately been overshadowed by the cone for big boys. As a result, Asus decided to abandon its extensive ROG design, which was last used in 2019. ROG G703GX, and instead integrate the best specifications into a redesigned SCAR 17 chassis with an update in 2020.
Here’s a 17-inch ROG Strix SCAR 17 G732LXS gaming laptop with Intel 8Core i7/i9 processors and an overclocked Nvidia RTX 2080 Super 150W graphics chip, but this time in a more compact size that weighs 2.9 pounds (compared to the 4.5-pound G703) and requires a brick of power when fully charged, unlike the previous generation that requires two.
While the G703 offers a more powerful CPU and 200W RTX 2080 GPU, a larger battery and additional storage options, all at a high price and limited portability, and I think the new model is a more balanced laptop. However, the big question is how the revised model deals with heavy loads and how it plays out in terms of overall performance, temperature and noise levels, and we will answer these questions in this article.
We spent the last month with the ROG Strix SCAR 17 to gather all the impressions and thoughts in this review, so that you know what to expect from this product and whether or not it is the right purchase for you.
Specification sheet with overview
|ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 G732LXS|
|Screen||17.3 inches, 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, IPS, 300 Hz, matte, Optronics B173HAN05.1 AU panel|
|Processor||Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10875H, 8C/16T (i9-10980HK available as option)|
|Video||Intel UHD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 8GB (150W, Overclock, GeForce 446.14), with Optimus|
|Memory||32 GB DDR4 3200 MHz (2x DIMMs)|
|Storage||2x 1TB PCIe SSD in RAID0 (Samsung PM981), 3x M.2 slots, with RAID 0/1 support.|
|Link||WiFi 6 (Intel AX201) 2×2 with Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111)|
|Ports||3x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 1x USB-C gen2 with video&data, HDMI 2.0b, LAN, headsetµphone, Kensington Lock|
|Battery||66 W, 280 W Power supply unit|
|Size||400 mm or 15.74 inches (W) x 293 mm or 11.53 inches (D) x 27.9 mm or 1.1 inches (H)|
|Weight||2.91 kg (6.4 lb), 0.92 kg (2.02 lb) bricks and electric cables, American version|
|Besides..,||RGB backlit keyboard with NumPad, 2x 4.2 W stereo speakers at the bottom, no webcam, Keystone|
Our unit was one of the first samples Asus provided for this study, and it performed as we expected from the final retail models.
The 2020 ROG Strix SCAR 17 G732LXS retail configurations can have different amounts of RAM and storage, but the same 300Hz display, the same 2080 150W RTX GPU and the same i7-10875H or i9-10980HK processor. We also examined the i9-10980HK in the ROG Scar 15 chassis and included our findings in this article so that you also know what to expect from this configuration.
There are also cheaper versions of the ROG Scar 17 2020 with RTX-2060-90-W (G732LVS) or RTX-2070-Super-115-W (G732LWS) graphics, which are slightly thinner and lighter and have a simplified thermal design compared to the LXS examined here. If there is sufficient interest, we can also test the G732LWS.
In the meantime, follow this link to find out more about updated configurations and prices in your region at the time of reading this article.
Design and exterior
The ROG Strix Scar line has been completely redesigned for 2019 and the 2020 updates are based on the same chassis.
The 17-inch version is quite compact, but still slightly longer than other notebooks in this class, with a large chin underneath the screen and a bump at the back that houses parts of the thermal module. In addition, this particular variant of the G732LXS has a thicker bottom for the more flexible thermal module needed to cool the energy guzzling Comet Lake processors and the 150-watt GPU.
The weight is about 2.9 kg, with the power of 280 watts Brick adding 0.92 kg to your backpack. You should keep this main charger with you at all times as the laptop does not run on batteries for long periods of time and USB-C charging is not supported.
Regarding the choice of materials, the laptop cover is made of aluminium, with what looks like an anodized finish, but the interior and the D-panel are made of plastic. The wrist support is smooth and maybe not as stylish as some metal options, especially the thin and light ones like the Asus ROG Zephyrus or the Razer Blade, but I could live with it.
However, I don’t like the design line with graphic elements inside and RGB elements: the ROG logo on the lid and a solid light bar at the bottom. I understand that some people like them, and I think the light bar looks cool in the dark, but the illuminated ROG logo is not something I personally like. Asus finally offers individual control over these RGB elements so that you can switch them off if desired. This is possible in Aura Creator, where the ROG logo and light bar elements are set as individual options, but the program isn’t that intuitive, and I had to look at a tutorial to understand it.
In addition, the laptop is undoubtedly very well built, with a sturdy main frame, no bending in the keyboard area and a sturdy screen held in place by two sturdy hinges. This allows you to easily tilt the screen up and down with one hand and reset the screen approximately 145 degrees, which is quite standard for a full-size 17-inch laptop that will sit on a desk most of the time.
Asus has also mounted non-slip rubber feet (but small and thin, we’ll come back to that in the chapter on the thermostat) that perfectly match the table, as well as rounded and blunt edges and corners. In some situations you will still feel your lip before pressing your wrists because of the thicker profile of the laptop, but on a large table with enough support for your hands this will not be a problem.
If you look at the design of panel D, you will notice that this implementation achieves large reductions at the inlet on top of the fans, with some further reductions in some places. It’s different from the Asus gun on the Scar 15. There is no sound cut in the bottom plate yet, because the sound comes out through narrow cuts on the sides.
As far as the I/O is concerned, it extends along the left and back edges, and the right side only includes the keystone. It’s a gimmick for me, and that’s all I’m gonna say.
It is good that the ports and the plug are on the back, so that there are no unnecessary details when connecting devices. You can still see the cables through the strange recess under the screen, which is meant to display the status LEDs when the lid is closed, because they are always directly under the screen. However, they are weak and hardly noticeable when using the laptop in the dark. As always, the LED power button, although I hope Asus will ensure a future upgrade of the SCAR 2021 by implementing their new smart finger sensor power button and adding LED status indicators on the sides.
To return to the ports, I must note that the USB-C port still does not support Thunderbolt 3 or charging, only data and DP video, and there is no card reader, and I think implementing one of them would be more useful than Keystone. And before we get started, this generation of SCARs still has no biometrics or internal webcam.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard of the ROG Strix SCAR series is similar to the keyboard that Asus also installed in the ROG Zephyrus S15, but this 17-inch model has a NumPad zone.
This is the standard chiclet layout with divided but small arrow keys, a narrower NumPad, and an extra set of media keys in the top left corner.
The keys are soft and pleasant to the touch, and the overall operation is quick and quiet. However, as with the S15, the deep pressure point and increased switching resistance affect my accuracy, while I’m used to the softer, flatter keyboards available on Ultrabooks today. You’ll appreciate it a lot more if you get it from an old laptop or desktop keyboard.
The bright, uniform backlight makes it possible to control multiple effects available in the Armour Crate application with a single RGB button. The inscription F1-F12 on the top row of the function keys is not illuminated, so get used to finding the right key in the dark.
Other than that, there’s nothing to complain about. The light does not escape under the keys, there is a physical indicator in the Caps Lock key, and the backlight is activated by a small slide on the touchpad.
To be honest, the Asus mouse was chosen for a rather small and sturdy plastic surface with smooth special buttons. For daily use and gestures it works well, but the interface continues to vibrate when touched.
As far as biometrics are concerned, there is none on this PCOL 17 2020 ROG Strix.
As you would expect from a real gaming notebook, it features a matte FHD IPS screen with 300 Hz and 3 ms (the same as the ROG Zephyrus S17), an excellent option for everyday use and an excellent option for gaming.
However, the Scar series lacks GSync support, unlike some high-end Zephyrus S models or its predecessor ROG G703. Instead, it only gets Optimus mode.
Implementing GSync in this configuration would require an overhaul of the motherboard to accommodate the required MUX switch, and Asus has removed it in this generation. Honestly, GSync support is not required on a 300Hz panel, even with these hardware specifications, and is available for external monitors.
In terms of games, the panel offers deep blacks and excellent contrast, wide viewing angles and pretty good colors, with 72% AdobeRGB coverage in our tests. With a maximum measured brightness of 334 Hz at the default settings it is not very bright, but it is one of the best in terms of uniformity of lighting, and we have low light bleeding at the edges, unlike other 300 Hz panels that have been tested recently.
This is what we got in our tests with the X-Rite i1 Display Pro Matrix:
- Panel HardwareID : AU Optronics AUO519D (B173HAN05.1) ;
- Coverage: 97.0% sRGB, 72.6% AdobeRGB, 74.8% DCI P3 ;
- Measured range: 2.19 ;
- Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 334 cd/m2 per power supply;
- Minimum brightness in the center of the screen: 15.66 cd/m2 at power ;
- Contrast at maximum brightness : 1360:1 ;
- White dot: 7400 K ;
- Black at maximum brightness: 0.24 cd/m2 ;
- PWM: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
- Answer: 5.6 ms GtG (source).
The standard oblique white dot panel calibration limits the maximum brightness to approximately 300 nits, which is good for indoor use but not so good for brightly lit environments.
Equipment and performance
Our test model is a superior configuration of the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 in the G732LXS configuration with an Intel Core i7-10875H processor, 32GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz, 2TB Raid0 storage and dual graphics: Nvidia RTX 2080 Super dGPU and Intel UHD as part of the Intel platform. We are also talking about the i9-10980HK processor option available for this notebook and how it relates to the i7.
Before continuing, remember that our review unit is an early production model with software available from the end of May 2020 (BIOS 303, Armoury Crate 2.7.8, GeForce Game Ready 446.14 drivers). Based on our findings and experience with these platforms, future software updates are unlikely to make much difference, so our results are quite similar to what you get with sales models.
In particular, the Strix SCAR 2020 receives the 8Core Intel Comet Lake i7-10875H or the 8Core i9-10980HK. The second is a more compact version of the first, which is able to reach higher frequencies of single or multi-stage turbo speed when sufficient power is available. The Out Scar 17 is equipped with a Core i7 processor, but we also tested the Core i9 option on a similar Scar 15 chassis.
As far as the GPU is concerned, here we have the top-of-the-line Nvidia 2080 Super with a full 150W implementation, but with variable TDP and frequency limitations between the different power modes available in Armoury Crate :
- Quiet – priority is given to the reduction of fan noise and the speed and power of the CPU/GPU – the GPU power is limited to 115W ;
- Performance – Balanced profile with default CPU/GPU settings – GPUs running on 150W and standard frequencies ;
- Turbo – High performance profile with increased CPU power allocation and overclocked GPU (150W, +100MHz core/+130MHz memory).
- Manual – as with Turbo, but you can manually create fan curves for the CPU and GPU based on temperature thresholds and further overclock the GPU.
The thermal module in this version of the Scar-17 is suitable for a 150-watt GPU, while the standard RTX-2070 models benefit from the same cooling as the 2019 model, which is designed for a 115-watt GPU. Asus also uses a liquid metal compound on the plant’s ROG 2020 series CPUs, which helps to slightly lower the temperature.
Intel’s updated platform also supports 3200 MHz DDR4 memory. Our configuration receives 32GB of RAM in dual-channel mode and includes two DIMMs, so you can install up to 64GB of RAM on this laptop with the right memory cards.
In terms of storage, our device receives two Samsung PM981 Raid0 SSDs, making it the fastest laptop storage solution, not to mention the processor-linked implementations available on some models. The detailed configuration may not be included with the Samsung PM981 players, so please check this detail with your dealer.
Access to the components is relatively easy. You must remove the rear panel, which is held in place by several visible cross head screws on the sides. However, the back panel is attached to the laptop with two straps that power the LED strips, so be careful not to break the connections. Inside, you also have access to the thermal module, battery, speakers, Wi-Fi chip and three SSD slots. In this 2020 update, the Scar no longer has 2.5-inch storage space, which has been replaced by two additional M.2 slots for a total of three.
You will notice a lot of unused space in this redesign after replacing 2.5″ with two extra M.2 slots. With a few adjustments, Asus was able to push the SSDs aside and make room for a large battery, but also add an SD card reader to the right edge. Or great orators.
The ROG Strix Scar 17 is not only a high quality notebook, but can also multitask, surf the web and process videos on a daily basis, while being quiet and cool in the Silent profile. That’s what you can expect:
However, you don’t buy it for Netflix, because the cargo is so demanding and the platform shines.
Let’s start by testing the performance of the CPU load by running Cinebench R15 15 or more times in a loop, with a delay of 2-3 seconds between each run.
With the standard turbo settings, the i7 processor stabilizes at 70+W, resulting in 3.5+GHz and temperatures of ~70C and a score of ~1550.
By default, the reduced voltage is disabled in the retail BIOS of the i7 17-inch Scar, but in the advanced BIOS settings there is a voltage control option that allows you to set the reduced voltage to -80mV at the BIOS level. Our sample showed a constant power of -80 mV, which translates into a constant power of 3.7+ GHz and 1600+ points, in the same power range of 70W.
Switching to Performance Mode gives similar results for the same 70W power limit, but with quieter fans and slightly higher temperatures of 73+ C. The Silent profile, on the other hand, limits the CPU to more than 45 watts.
Finally, the battery power is limited to 45 W in performance mode (in which case the turbocharger is deactivated). Details below.
For comparison: the i9 processor of the ROG SCAR 15 stabilizes at 80+W and runs a little longer. It also comes with a standard applied surge current of +50mV (so it heats up quickly in this test) and XTU support (with the low voltage option in the BIOS).
We were able to reduce the voltage to -80mV, but this caused irregular drops with combined loads, so we went back to -50mV to avoid stability problems. In this test the i7-10875H is always more than 10% better than the i7-10875H.
To be honest, we probably did a bad job with this Scar 17, because the same i7-10875H processor worked slightly better in the small Zephyrus S15 and the recently tested 17-inch Gigabyte Aorus 17G.
However, all these Intel Comet Lake processors require a lot of power at maximum load, and the fact that the Ryzen 7 and 9 processors of the smaller Zephyrus G14 chassis end up with the i7-10875 at almost half the power consumption (35W versus 70W) shows the current state of the AMD Zen2 platform and how much Intel needs to catch up with its next-generation hardware. The i9 still outperforms Ryzen processors, but operates at a lower voltage, 80+W, and with more demanding cooling.
We then tested our results with the longer grinding test Cinebench R20 and the dreaded Prime 95. With Prime, the i7 processor reaches 115+W for 20-30 seconds, then descends and stabilizes at 70W.
We also performed our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this laptop with the Turbo profile.
Stress 3DMark performs the same test 20 times per cycle, looking for variations in performance and degradation over time, and this device passed without a hitch. Luxmark 3.1 takes full advantage of the advantages of the CPU and GPU at the same time. In this test the GPU runs constantly at about 150W, and the CPU hits hard in the beginning and then stabilizes at about 50W. With battery power, both the CPU and the GPU reduce power (30W for the CPU, 20W for the GPU).
Then we performed all tests and comparative analyses with the original Turbo profile in Armoury Crate on the Scar-17 model tested with the Core i7 processor.
- 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 21013 (Graph – 25277, Physics – 20984) ;
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal : 6152 ;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 9948 (Graph – 9968, CPU – 9840) ;
- AIDA memory test64 : The writing: Read this: 48533 Mbps, playback: 46533 Mb/s, latency: 59.3 ns ;
- Motor Overlay – 1080p Extreme : 6473 ;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K coding at 1080p): average transmission speed of 40.55 fps ;
- PassMark: Assessment: 7517 (CPU Identifier: 20780, 3D Graphics Identifier: 13522, Player Identifier: 27491) ;
- PCMark 10 : 5746 (Foundations – 10008, Productivity – 9088, Creation of digital content – 5663) ;
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit : Mononuclear: 5877, multi-core: 33437 ;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1279, multi-core: 8577 ;
- CineBench R15 (best odometer reading) : Processor 1858 kb, single-core processor 201 kb ;
- CineBench R20 (best odometer reading) : 3861 kb CPU, 455 kb single-core CPU ;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit : Pass 1 is 249.32 fps, Pass 2 is 101.18 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 36.97 s.
By comparison: Expect a performance increase of about 2-10% on the i9-10980HK under high CPU load, with little impact under combined load.
- 3DMark 13 – Shooting : Physics – 23523 ;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : PROCESSOR – 9858 ;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K coding at 1080p): average speed of 42.65 per second ;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1383, multi-core: 8793 ;
- CineBench R15 (best odometer reading) : CPU 1912 kb, single-core CPU 208 kb ;
- CineBench R20 (best odometer reading) : Processor 4251 kb, single core 499 kb ;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit : Pass 1 is 264.12 fps, Pass 2 is 108.88 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 35.74 s.
Returning to our i7 configuration, we have also conducted silent profile tests if you are interested in carrying out high loads at low noise levels (<40dB).
- 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 18300 (Graph – 23607, Physics – 16956) ;
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal : 5872 ;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 8874 (Graph – 9137, CPU – 7632) ;
- Uniengine Overlay – Environment 1080p : 14115 ;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (coding from 4K to 1080p): average fps of 35.94 ;
- PassMark: Assessment: 5626 (CPU score 16631, 3D graphics score 11135, drive score 20848) ;
- PCMark 10 : 4418 (Foundations – 8164, Productivity – 6974, Creation of digital content – 4111) ;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 974, multi-core: 6983 ;
- CineBench R15 (best performance): 1443 cc processor, 153 cc single-core processor ;
- CineBench R20 (best odometer reading) : CPU 3273 kb, single-core CPU 360 kb ;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit : Pass 1 at 185.02 fps, Pass 2 at 88.11 fps ;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 43.16 s.
We have seen a reduction in CPU and GPU performance of about 15-25% compared to the Turbo profile, but we have also seen a significant reduction in noise: up to 39dB in headroom versus 51dB on the Turbo.
Finally, we repeated some tests with the -80mV subvoltage turbo profile, which resulted in a slight increase of 2-5% in most references.
- 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 21663 (Graph – 26057, Physics – 21798) ;
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal : 6180 ;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 10093 (Graph – 10092, CPU – 10101) ;
- PCMark 10 : 5680 (Foundations – 9857, Productivity – 8855, Creation of digital content – 5697) ;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1273, multi-core: 8577 ;
- CineBench R15 (best odometer reading) : Processor 1859 kb, single-core processor 203 kb ;
- CineBench R20 (best odometer reading) : CPU 3991 kb, single-core CPU 475 kb ;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 34.88 s.
The GPU is already overclocked in the Turbo profile (+1oo MHz core, +130 MHz memory), in the Manual profile it is slightly overclocked with +130 MHz/+150 MHz core memory. So we didn’t go into depth in our tests, but you can look at it if you want, and also consider lowering the GPU voltage a little in the MSI afterburner to maximize performance and temperature.
Finally, we have also produced some workloads in this i7 configuration, in turbo and profile:
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Car Stage – CPU calculation: 4m 32s (Silencer), 3m 44s (Turbo), 3m 27s (Turbo UV) ;
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Car Scene – GPU Computing for Car Scene : 50 (CUDA), 26s (Optix);
- Blender 2.82 – cooling stage – CPU: 14m 21s (Silent), 12m 3s (Turbo), 11m 17s (Turbo UV) ;
- Blender 2.82 – Cool Scene – GPU Computing: 2m 40s (CUDA), 1m 32s (Optix) ;
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPU + GPU Evaluation : 36541 (Turbo) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder 13 – 3DSMax : 190,7,52 (Turbo), 164,47 (Silencer) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder Page 13 – Katia : 153.45 (Turbo), 126.51 (Silencer) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder Paint 13 – Creo : 188.32 (Turbo), 155.77 (Silencer) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder 13 – Energy : 23.16 (Turbo), 21.14 (Silence) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder Paint 13 – Maya : 226.74 (Turbo), 185.05 (Silencer) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder 13 – Medical : 63.15 (Turbo), 55.79 (Silence) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder 13 – Showcase : 115.11 (Turbo), 105.71 (Silencer) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder Paint 13 – SNX : 22.38 (Turbo), 19.87 (Silence) ;
- SPEC Viewfinder 13 – SW : 92.13 (Turbo), 66.87 (Silence).
And that is exactly what you can expect from the i9 in these tests:
- Blender 2.82 – BMW Auto Scene – CPU calculation: 3m 27s (Turbo), 3m 14s (Turbo UV) ;
- Blender 2.82 – cooling scene – calculation processor: 11m 17s (Turbo), 10m 37s (Turbo UV).
Regarding gaming on this laptop, we have run some DX11, DX12 and Vulkan titles in the standard Turbo/Performance/Silent modes on FHD (on the notebook screen) and QHD (on an external monitor) resolutions. Here’s what we’ve got:
|Core i7-10875H + RTX 2080 Super 150W||FHD-turbo||FHD Turbo UV||FHD performance||FCD Silence||QHD Turbo, external|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, ultra-pre-set, beam tracks AUS)||138 frames per second (96 frames per second, or 1% less)||–||130 frames per second (111 frames per second – 1% drop)||122 frames per second (103 frames per second – 1% drop)||109 fps (64 fps – 1% low)|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Beam Tracking Mode On, DLSS Off)||75 frames per second (56 frames per second or 1% less)||–||67 frames per second (56 frames per second or 1% less)||60 frames per second (50 frames per second is 1% less)||–|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||105 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% decrease)||115 frames per second (81 frames per second – 1% decrease)||110 frames per second (81 frames per second – 1% drop)||97 frames per second (57 frames per second – 1% drop)||98 fps (59 fps, 1% less)|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)||219 frames per second (141 frames per second or 1% less)||229 frames per second (146 frames per second or 1% less)||239 frames per second (154 frames per second – 1% decrease)||182 frames per second (110 frames per second – 1% drop)||209 frames per second (150 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, ultra-optimized, TAA)||90 frames per second (71 frames per second is 1% less)||103 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% drop)||85 fps (66 fps or 1% less)||76 frames per second (53 frames per second – 1% decrease)||91 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, high preset, FXAA)||135 frames per second (74 frames per second – 1% drop)||137 frames per second (74 frames per second – 1% decrease)||132 frames per second (61 frames per second – 1% decrease)||115 frames per second (56 frames per second – 1% decrease)||111 frames per second (70 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, high preset, TAA)||113 fps (77 fps is a low rate of 1%)||118 fps (82 fps – 1% low)||113 fps (75 fps is a low rate of 1%)||103 frames per second (54 frames per second – 1% decrease)||84 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|The Foreign Brigade. (Volcano, ultra predetermined)||186 frames per second (136 frames per second – 1% decrease)||192 frames per second (142 frames per second, or 1% less)||178 frames per second (132 frames per second – 1% decrease)||173 frames per second (122 frames per second – 1% decrease)||–|
|Witch 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Haircut at 4)||98-132 min-max fps
(115 fps average, 78 fps – 1% low)
|96-148 min-max kc
(average 119 kc, 86 kc – 1% less)
|96-134 min-max fps
(115 fps average, 83 fps – 1% low)
(100 fps, 70 fps – 1% decrease)
(86 fps average, 68 fps – 1% low)
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recording with the Fraps counter/in game FPS in campaign mode ;
- Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider Games – registered with reference utilities enabled;
- The optimized profile of Red Dead Redemption 2 is based on these parameters.
The HWinfo logs below show CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Farcry 5, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Witcher 3 with the standard Turbo profile.
Both the CPU and GPU run in warm mode, with the fans at 50-51 dB upside down. For demanding titles, the CPU stabilizes at 88-92 C and the average temperature of the GPU is 82+ degrees. In any case, it is about 10 degrees warmer than the ROG G703GX from 2019.
A low voltage makes a very small difference because it allows the CPU to run at a slightly higher clock speed but at the same high temperature without affecting the GPU.
Instead, by lifting the laptop only an inch from the table, the temperature immediately drops in all titles tested. In all titles the GPU goes down to about 73-75 degrees, and the CPU stabilizes in our tests at 82-88 degrees. This suggests a design flaw: With small rubber feet and little space underneath the notebook, the fans can’t suck in enough air to cool the components properly when the notebook is on the table.
This has an even greater impact on the performance and smoothness of the profiles. Fan noise drops to approximately 47-48 dB at the head with low CPU limitation and GPU temperatures so high in terms of performance. However, after starting up, the GPU runs at a lower level and offers better performance.
The Silent GPU is limited to 115W with fans running at 38-39dB, but in fact goes below 100W in all the titles that we have tested.
As soon as you pick up the notebook, the GPU is cooled and runs comfortably at over 115 watts and approximately 74 degrees C, while the CPU is limited to 25 watts and less than 80 degrees C. The open D-panel design with suction slots on the fans contributes to this.
In this scenario the ROG Scar 17 offers excellent performance, almost as much as one would expect from a RTX 2070 Super or RTX 2080 Super Max-Q at full power.
I added a small comparison under this Scar 17 on Silencer next to the RTX 2070 Super 115W powered by the Zephyrus S15 and the RTX 2070 Super Max-Q powered by the Zephyrus S15, both with turbo.
|FHD silencer – Scar 17
RTX 2080 Super 150W
|FHD Turbo – Scar 15
RTX 2070 Super 115W
|FHD Turbo – Zephyrus S15
RTX 2080 Super 90+W
|Battlefield V (DX 12, ultra-pre-set, beam tracks AUS)||122 frames per second (103 frames per second – 1% drop)||–||117 frames per second (83 frames per second – 1% decrease)|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Beam Tracking Mode On, DLSS Off)||60 frames per second (50 frames per second is 1% less)||–||68 frames per second (52 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||97 frames per second (57 frames per second – 1% drop)||113 fps (90 fps is a low rate of 1%)||115 frames per second (92 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)||182 frames per second (110 frames per second – 1% drop)||145 frames per second (105 frames per second is 1% less)||158 frames per second (109 frames per second or 1% less)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, ultra-optimized, TAA)||76 frames per second (53 frames per second – 1% decrease)||85 fps (68 fps is a low rate of 1%)||85 frames per second (65 frames per second is 1% less)|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, high preset, FXAA)||115 frames per second (56 frames per second – 1% decrease)||109 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% drop)||136 frames per second (76 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, high preset, TAA)||103 frames per second (54 frames per second – 1% decrease)||101 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop)||102 frames per second (72 frames per second – 1% decrease)|
|The Foreign Brigade. (Volcano, ultra predetermined)||173 frames per second (122 frames per second – 1% decrease)||153 frames per second (117 frames per second – 1% decrease)||156 frames per second (121 frames per second – 1% drop)|
|Witch 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Haircut at 4)||100 fps average, 70 fps – 1% low||105 frames per second on average, 74 frames per second – 1% lower||108 fps average, 51 fps – low 1%.|
Don’t forget that you’ll need to somehow lift the laptop off the table to get the best gaming experience, or perhaps place it on a suitable cooling rack.
It can also be interesting how this happens when the lid is closed and you are connected to an external monitor and keyboard/mouse.
Both the CPU and GPU heat up when the notebook is on the table, and the temperature drops when the notebook is in an upright position, as explained above. In this scenario I couldn’t notice any difference in recording or temperature when I used the laptop with the lid open or closed, suggesting that most of the fresh air is drawn in from below and not from the keyboard. You also don’t have to worry about the thermal load on the display, as the inside of the laptop does not exceed 40 degrees Celsius in any of the performance profiles.
Note that use in a vertical rack can be difficult due to the video connections on the rear panel.
Finally, from our experience with this monster, it is not really possible to play on the battery, since in this case both the CPU and the GPU flicker and accelerate.
Sound, heat, communication, speakers and other
The heat sink is specially designed for this RTX 2080 SUper 150W version of the ROG Strix SCAR 17, with two powerful fans and large heatpipes and heatsinks, with two separate heat sinks for the CPU and GPU. The fans are larger and probably have more cfm than what Asus used in the Scar 15 and the lower versions of the Scar 17.
Asus also supplies the processor with a thermal paste of liquid metal from the mill, and the design places the D-panel notches above the fans, unlike the 15 inch Scar 15 ROG.
However, as explained above, an advanced thermal module cannot do much if the air around these inlets does not circulate properly. As a result, the components here become hot when the laptop is on the table, and the temperature and performance can be dramatically improved by raising them a centimetre or two.
As far as the outside temperature is concerned, the laptop does not exceed 40 degrees in any of the operating modes, with some small spaces around the heat sinks warming up silently.
Both fans remain constantly active, even in light operation, but start up silently and are only noticeable in a quiet room. There were no electrical noises with this device, but that’s no guarantee that they won’t occur with yours.
Here you will find an overview of our noise measurements for fans:
- Turbo – 50-51 dB in games (47 dB for weapon marking), 50-51 dB in the Cinebench loop test ;
- The achievement is 47-48dB in the game (45dB Weapon Tag), 43-44dB in the Cinebench loop test;
- Silencer – 38-39 dB in games (35 dB for marking weapons), 38-39 dB in the Cinebench loop test, 30-33 dB in daily use.
And this is what we measured in terms of the temperature of the crate.
*Daily use – Netflix streaming in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet Profile, fan at 27-33 dB (23-29 dB in the gun cabinet)
*Games – Turbo play Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Turbo Profile, fan at 50-51 dB (47 dB in the gun cabinet)
*Games – Quiet Profile, Far Cry 5 30 minutes fan, Quiet Profile, fan at 38-39 dB (35 dB in the gun cabinet)
We use a CAT S61 smartphone with a FLIR module to perform heat measurements.
For the network connection, this device has Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5 via the Intel AX201 chip, as well as Gigabit Lan. Our unit works well, both close to the cutter and above 30 feet with obstacles in between, without stalls or other problems.
As for the speakers, they shoot through narrow slots on the sides, and they’re pretty good. Asus has physically integrated larger speakers than the ROG Zephyrus range, so we have high volumes of 82-84 dB measured at the head (in the music profile in Audio Assistant), and the sound comes out clean and reasonably accessible at the bottom, for a gaming laptop. You should always use headphones to properly block the sound of the turbo fan.
As for the camera, there is no camera on this laptop, but there are some microphones at the bottom of the screen. An external FHD webcam can be recorded in some regions, but not everywhere.
The ROG Strix Scar 17 only has a 66 Wh battery in it, so it’s not surprising that it doesn’t last long on a charge, even with Optimus.
Asus has ensured that the display automatically switches to 60 Hz when the laptop is switched off. In addition, I recommend turning off the light bar and the illuminated ROG logo to maximize the running time, as we have done in our tests.
On our device, the screen brightness is set to approximately 120-nits (60%) :
- 15W (~4+ used) – Google Drive text editing, sleep mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
- 15.5 W (~4+ hours usage)– Full screen 1080p video on Youtube in edge mode, silent mode, screen set to 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14W (~4 h 30 min. usage)– Netflix full screen in Edge mode, Silent mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
- 22W (~3 hours operation)– Side View, Power Mode, 60% Screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
- 70 W (~50 minutes usage)– Games – Witcher 3, power mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON, no fps limit.
Asus combines the notebook with a rather bulky 280 watt power supply, which in this American version with the included cables weighs 0.92 pounds. You will have to take it everywhere with you, because USB-C charging is not an option here.
Prices and availability
At the time of writing the ROG Scar 17 is on the list in some parts of the world.
The RTX-2080 Super variant tested here, but with the i9-10980HK processor, starts at 2999 dollars in the US and about 3500 euros in Germany.
The i9-10980HK in combination with RTX 2070 Super 115W (Scar 17 G732LWS) graphics is also listed here: $2,699 or 3,000.
Follow this link for the latest configurations and prices in your region at the time of reading this article.
On paper, the 2020 ROG Scar 17 is a drop in the ocean compared to the 2019 ROG G703 it replaces because it no longer has a 200W GPU, 100W processor, 4 RAM cells, large battery and GSync.
At the same time, it’s a much more portable laptop that only needs one power supply when fully charged and still outperforms most gaming laptops in the world. We will discuss both aspects in a future article, but for the most part the Scar 17 2020 is close to its predecessor under combined load, losing only the performance of the resource-intensive processor, while the i9 of the previous implementation could run constantly at around 180W in turbo, with associated power consumption and noise.
The 2020 is quieter than the G703, even at full power, and its chassis keeps it cool during races and other strenuous tasks. Even in the Silent profile, where fans work with less than 40 dB, this is a solid performance almost equal to what many other top gaming notebooks achieve in their Turbo profile.
But here’s the problem: You must lift this pad off the table to ensure sufficient airflow to the fans and heat sinks. For some reason Asus has placed very thin rubber feet on this laptop, about 2 mm high, which stifles the thermal module and heats up the equipment. If you want to optimize this aspect, the ROG Scar 17 in this RTX 2080 Super 150W implementation is perhaps the most versatile gaming notebook of its generation, with outstanding performance in turbo mode and unsurpassed image balance and noise reduction in silent mode.
Of course, there are also a number of aspects to consider here, such as the lack of certain features (biometrics, webcam, Thunderbolt 3, card reader, GSync), the limited battery life and the price of $3,000. If you’re looking for game performance above all else and if your budget allows it, I expect the ROG Strix Scar 17 will be good for you. You may also consider cheaper and less expensive 17-inch laptops, such as the Alienware Area 51, the Gigabyte Aorus 17, the MSI GE75 Raider, or smaller 15-inch versions of the ROG Scar 17 or their smaller 15-inch alternatives, including Asus’ own ROG Strix Scar 15.
That way we close this review here, but I would like to know what you think of this laptop, so please contact us below with your comments or if you have any questions about it.
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Andrei Girbea, editor of Ultrabookreview.com. I’ve been involved in mobile computing since the 2000’s, and you’ll find here mainly reviews and detailed tutorials written by me.
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