Asus provides a few of the higher mid-range gaming laptops available in shops with their ROG Strix strains, and for 2018 they’ve utterly revamped the 15-inch fashions, upgrading the design, screens and internals.
We’ve appeared on the ROG GL504 collection in a earlier article, and within the meantime we’ve additionally spent extra time with the ROG Strix GL504GM SCAR II mannequin and gathered all our impressions on this review article.
You’ll discover all about its robust factors and quirks within the paragraphs under, however as a fast spoiler, Asus did a very nice job with this pc.
Not solely is it extra compact than the earlier GL503s, nevertheless it additionally performs higher, runs cooler, packs a bigger battery and a 144 Hz display. There’s nonetheless no GSync within the GL504GM mannequin that comes with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, and there’s no Thunderbolt Three port both, however these apart, there’s truly little or no to complain about it. Properly, maybe apart from the worth, because the ROG GL504GM is costlier than equally configured laptops provided by different OEMs, albeit the premium is general justified by what you’re getting.
Hold studying to seek out out extra.
The specs sheet
Asus additionally gives an ROG GL504GS mannequin, just like the GL504GM in each approach, apart from the truth that it will get a extra highly effective Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics chip. It’s costlier, however an choice for these of you interested by enjoying video games at greater than FHD resolutions or maintaining the laptop computer for a really very long time. Regardless, we’ll speak concerning the GTX 1070 mannequin in a special article as soon as we get to review it, this one is all concerning the mid-range GL504GM with the GTX 1060 GPU.
Design and exterior
The 2018 replace of the ROG Strix line follows a development we’ve seen with different producers: is extra compact than the predecessors, with a smaller footprint and narrower bezels across the show. There’s little question this specific facet makes it extra aesthetically interesting, however I don’t assume it’s going to make that massive of a distinction in precise use. I do nevertheless like the truth that the bezel beneath the panel is greater and pushes the display greater right into a extra ergonomic place in entrance of my eyes. What I don’t like is the digital camera’s placement on this bezel, and never even within the center, however in the direction of the appropriate nook, which makes it somewhat annoying to make use of.
These apart, the GL504s are literally a tad heavier and thicker than the GL503 fashions, and the general weight issues extra imo than the dimensions within the grand scheme of issues. One step at a time although, this time they went after the measurement, subsequent time they could do one thing concerning the weight as properly. At 5.Three lbs although, the GL504GM sits between its direct rivals, heavier than the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny, Gigabyte Aero 15x and even the Lenovo Legion Y730, however lighter than the Dell G7 7588, the MSI GE53 Raider or the Acer Helios 300, so it’s not troublesome to lug round by any means.
So far as the construct goes, the ROG GL504GM is sturdily made, with no vital flex within the keyboard deck or the display body, even though plastic is used for the internal chassis and a lot of the outer shell, with only a metallic sheet on the lid-cover. The design strains borrow from the Zephyrus fashions, with a boxy development and straight minimize sides with beveled edges, in order that they’re not sharp or uncomfortable on the wrists.
Apart for the selection in supplies, the 2018 ROG Strix retains a lot of the design gimmicks that scream GAMING. The outside is pretty easy at the least, with brushed metallic on the hood, but in addition with an enormous backlit RGB ROG emblem out right here, which can make this pocket book arduous to simply accept in additional strict enterprise environments. There’s additionally a light-bar on the entrance lip, and though I usually hate mild bars, this one is pretty delicate and provides the laptop computer a pleasant contact. My pattern had some points with the Aura software program that controls the keyboard’s illumination and will permit to regulate the brand and lightweight bar as properly, so I can’t inform for positive if there’s a strategy to management these two independently of the keyboard. That is one thing I ought to additional look into.
And then there’s the inside, with a mixture of carbon fiber on the palm-rest and decrease half, mixed with a camouflage sample for the remaining. All these design parts are considerably impressed from the weapon that provides the collection’ identify, the FN SCAR riffle, and suggests this can be a laptop computer for FPS video games, in corroboration with the hardware inside and the quick display, however imo significantly limits the pool of potential consumers which may not recognize such gimmicks or just need a pc they will additionally take to work. That’s subjective in fact, so in the long run it’s as much as you if this laptop computer’s seems to be rubs you the proper method or not.
On the subject of the extra sensible points of utilizing this pc on a regular basis, there are few issues to complain about. It sits nicely on the desk because of the large rubber ft on the underside. It will get all the appropriate ports lined on the edges, with most of them positioned on the left edge, which leaves area for a mouse on the appropriate. It additionally will get a properly anchored display that leans again to about 145 levels, maintain in place by two small, however sturdy, hinges. The display can also be simply adjustable with a single hand, and there’s even a knob on its lip to permit you to simply raise it up.
Cooling is in fact an important facet on a gaming laptop computer, and the earlier ROG Strix GL503 fashions struggled on this facet. With the GL504, Asus improve each the outer and internal designs of the cooling system, with greater followers and a extra complicated heatpipe system inside, but in addition spacious consumption and output grills on the underside panel, on prime of the keyboard and across the again and proper edge, for additional GPU cooling. We’ll get in-depth on these additional down within the Emissions part.
One ultimate facet I don’t like relating to utilizing this laptop computer is the truth that the facility button is all the time lit and the standing LEDs are positioned beneath the display and may get somewhat annoying when enjoying video games in a darkish room or particularly when making an attempt to observe a film at night time.
All in all although, I really feel that the ROG Strix GL504 improves on the earlier GL503 fashions when it comes to construct and design. It’s extra compact and with only a few exceptions, ergonomic to make use of. On the similar time, with a few of the rivals adopting extra delicate design strains in 2018 with fewer graphic patterns and lit parts, Asus determination of staying put with the aggressive GAMING design is antagonizing and may steer some potential consumers away, whereas on the similar time it’d nonetheless appeal to others.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard hasn’t modified a lot from the GL503s and actually from earlier ROG Strix laptops, and that’s principally excellent news, because it’s a superb typer with correct suggestions and no main format points.
The directional keys and NumPad part are a bit cramped although, however that apart, there’s little co complain about. Except for the traditional set of keys, Asus features a few additional multimedia keys on the prime, and as a particularity of this collection, the WASD keys are constructed from clear plastic, permitting the illumination to be extra seen.
Talking of illumination, the keyboard comes with 4 RGB zones that may be tweaked from the included AURA software program. That’s good, however different OEMs truly supply the power to individually management every key, so sticking to zone illumination solely won’t fulfill a number of the pickier customers on the market.
So far as typing goes, this keyboard is pretty quick and correct, with a pleasant suggestions and click on response that don’t require a lot time to get used to. It’s not precisely down my alley, because the keys really feel a tad mushy and I needed to hit them a bit more durable with a view to actuate correctly, however for many customers I’d reckon it is going to do exactly nice. Take note this keyboard is additionally a bit on the loud website, resulting from its longer journey, so won’t be superb for typing in very quiet locations.
The trackpad however is just about wonderful, with a glass floor and Precision drivers, in addition to clean and quiet devoted click on buttons. Properly accomplished right here.
For the display Asus went with a matte IPS FHD panel made by AU Optronics, with 144 Hz refresh price and similar to the one MSI makes use of on the GS65 Stealth Skinny.
It’s not the sort of display you’ll use for colour correct work, because it solely covers 75% of the Adobe RGB gamut, however that apart it’s a reasonably strong choice for on a regular basis use, multimedia and particularly gaming, as a result of its larger refresh price. Particulars under.
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO82ED (B156HAN08.2);
- Protection: 97% sRGB, 73% NTSC, 75% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.32;
- Max brightness in the midst of the display: 321 cd/m2 on energy;
- Distinction at max brightness: 750:1;
- White level: 6600 Okay;
- Black on max brightness: zero.37 cd/m2.
The panel is properly calibrated out of the field, however you may also attempt our calibrated profile obtainable over right here.
Except for these, this panel doesn’t use PWM for brightness modulation and it’s additionally pretty quick, which can as soon as extra fulfill these concerned about video games. I did nevertheless discover vital colour and luminance uniformity points with our pattern, as you possibly can see within the footage above, so that you’ll need to additional look into this matter and discover out if it’s an remoted prevalence, or one thing that plagues all GL504 fashions. I’d in all probability put my cash on a top quality management challenge with our pattern, as I haven’t seen others complaining about the identical quirk.
Hardware and efficiency
We obtained to check a excessive finish configuration of the ROG Strix GL504GM pocket book, with the six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 32 GB of RAM (2x DIMMs), twin storage and the Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB graphics chip.
The included SSD is pretty quick, whereas the HDD, nicely, it’s a 5400 rpm HDD… Asus will principally promote this laptop computer with 16 GB of RAM, however the hardware is straightforward to improve in case you need to add extra. You’ll should take away all the again panel, maintain in place by a handful of Philips screws, with a purpose to get to the internals, as there’s no fast entry bay.
Most of you may be involved in how this laptop computer offers with video games and heavy load actions. We’ll get to that in a second, however first right here’s what to anticipate when it comes to efficiency and temperatures with every day use situations.
OK, with that out of the best way, let’s bounce to the precise exams. First we examined the CPU’s efficiency in 100% masses, simulated by operating Cinebench R15 in steady loops on the Balanced fan profile. Asus additionally presents an Overboost profile that pushes the followers to greater speeds, but in addition makes the laptop computer obnoxiously noisy, so we carried out most of our exams on the extra humane Balanced fan profile. As you possibly can see under, there’s completely no efficiency drop, the CPU runs at at a continuing TDP of round 43-44W, however does attain excessive temperatures of 95-96 Celsius.
Provided that undervolting the CPU is in our opinion a protected process that improves efficiency and lowers temperatures, we undervolted the laptop computer with ThrottleStop (the method is defined on this article). Our pattern wasn’t secure at -120 mV, so we bumped the voltage to -100 mV to eliminate the crashes after which we ran the Cinebench R15 loop check as soon as extra. The image under exhibits that the CPU runs at a better common TDP of round 52 W on this case, but in addition at decrease temperatures of solely 86-87 Celsius. There’s no vital improve in efficiency although, because the default setup already ran at fixed most Turbo Frequencies, however undervolting is sensible right here anyway, because it improves the laptop computer’s thermals.
These excited about numbers will discover our benchmarks outcomes under, on the default out-of-the-box settings:
- 3DMark 11: P13877 (Graphics: 14595, Physics: 12388);
- 3DMark 13: Time Spy – 4052, Hearth Strike – 10235, Sky Diver – 29661;
- 3DMark 13 Graphics: Time Spy – 3811, Hearth Strike – 11466, Sky Diver – 39166;
- PCMark 08: Residence Typical – 4001;
- PCMark 10: 5121;
- PassMark: Score: 5839, CPU mark: 14386, 3D Graphics Mark: 9381;
- GeekBench Three 32-bit: Single-Core: 4068, Multi-core: 22744;
- GeekBench Four 64-bit: Single-Core: 5039, Multi-core: 22113;
- CineBench R15: OpenGL 103.12 fps, CPU 1224 cb, CPU Single Core 172 cb.
We additionally ran a few of them on the -100 mV undervolted profile:
- 3DMark 13 Graphics: Hearth Strike – 11413;
- GeekBench Four 64-bit: Single-Core: 5037, Multi-core: 22317;
- CineBench R15: CPU 1226 cb, CPU Single Core 173 cb.
As already talked about above, undervolting has restricted to no influence on the precise efficiency numbers, because the default configuration presents just about what you’ll be able to anticipate from this type of hardware.
So far as gaming goes, right here’s what to anticipate.
|Shadow of Mordor||122 fps|
|Grid Autosport||129 fps|
|Tomb Raider||98 fps|
|Tomb Raider – Silent Mode||78 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||62 fps|
|Bioshock Infinite||109 fps|
|FarCry Four||87 fps|
|FarCry Four – Silent Mode||68 fps|
You may also take a look on the HWinfo logs under, logged on each the usual and the undervolted CPU profile. The CPU and GPU run flawlessly in each instances, however you possibly can discover Four-5 levels Celsius decrease temperatures on the CPU with the undervolted profile, with little to no impact on the GPU aspect.
Switching the fan mode to Overboost lowers these temperatures by 2-Three levels, however given the noise distinction (~52 dB for Balanced, ~57 dB for Overboost) and the best way the laptop computer performs on Balanced mode, there’s completely no purpose to ever use the Overboost mode. You may nevertheless need to use the Silent profile, which retains than followers at bay and considerably lowers the noise degree perceived at head degree to solely 41-42 dB, however as you’ll be able to see within the following log, this takes a big toll on efficiency, decreasing the GPUs clock speeds by about 30%.
Gaming on battery can also be principally a no-no, as each the CPU and GPU are drastically snipped on this case.
Noise, Warmth, Connectivity, audio system and others
Asus developed an fascinating cooling answer for this laptop computer, an improve from what they’ve beforehand used on the GL503 collection. It will get two 12V followers and three heatpipes, with a redesigned format, with an extended and thick heatpipe for each the CPU and GPU, but in addition devoted heatpipes for every of them. The GPU heatpipe is longer and the GPU fan truly will get two radiators, one on the again, and one other on its aspect.
As instructed by what we coated within the earlier part, this implementation does a superb job at retaining the i7 and GTX 1060 configuration at bay. Asus provides three fan profiles, like with most of their current ROG laptops: Silent, Balanced and Overboost. I recommend retaining the laptop computer on Balanced more often than not, because it retains temperatures inside good margins and it’s not that noisy both. With day by day use the GPU fan is switched off more often than not on the Balanced mode, and whereas the CPU fan is lively, it’s barely audible even in a quiet surroundings. Switching to Silent makes little to no distinction. I did nevertheless discover a good quantity of digital noise on our pattern, and also you’ll additionally hear the spinning HDD when lively.
Each followers ramp up with video games. On Balanced mode, we measured about 51-52 dB at head-level, which is noisy, however not noisier than on different laptops with comparable hardware. Switching on to the Silent mode lowers the noise to only 41-42 dB, however on the similar time takes a toll on efficiency, so it’s not advisable in most conditions. Switching to Overboost ramps up the followers and makes them a lot louder, at as much as 56-57 dB at head-level, whereas barely decreasing the CPU/GPU temperatures by 2-Three levels Celsius in comparison with the Balanced profile, however given the truth that temperatures are nicely inside limits on Balanced, particularly after undervolting the CPU, I see no cause to ever use Overboost on this laptop computer.
Her’s what to anticipate when it comes to outer-shell temperatures, on the Balanced fan profile.
*Every day Use – 1080p Youtube clip in EDGE for 30 minutes
*Load – enjoying Far Cry Four for 30 minutes
For connectivity there’s Wi-fi AC, Bluetooth and Gigabit Lan on the ROG Strix GL504GM, they usually all work simply as anticipated. The Wi-fi connection is just not as quick as on different trendy laptops we examined lately with our setup, even if Asus went with a second Wave Intel 9560 chip right here, nevertheless it’s not sluggish by any means both. I’d reckon future drivers also needs to assist with the efficiency.
The audio is ensured by a pair of punchy audio system that fireplace by way of cuts on the laptop computer’s sides. They’re pretty loud, at as much as 80-81 dB at head degree, they usually sound pretty good and wealthy, with little distortions at larger volumes.
We had a problem with the audio system on our pattern out of the field although, with one among them distorting massively. Once we opened the laptop computer we observed that the precise audio system are related to the primary body by means of some small rubber gaskets, the orange items within the following footage, which are supposed to scale back vibrations and distortions. Considered one of these gaskets wasn’t correctly put in on our unit although, which prompted the complete situation, nevertheless it was a simple repair as soon as we acquired it again the place it was designed to be positioned.
One ultimate facet to say right here regards the webcam, which is relatively crappy. On one aspect, it’s a nose-camera, positioned beneath the display, in the direction of the appropriate nook, and on the opposite it additionally takes poor footage, even in nicely lit rooms. So for those who plan to make use of this digital camera for streaming or something aside from occasional calls, you’ll be disenchanted.
The ROG GL505GM will get a 66 Wh battery, a bump from the 62 Wh one used on the earlier strains. It’s nonetheless pretty common in measurement, however greater than what most different OEMs placed on a few of the extra reasonably priced options. There’s additionally Optimus carried out on this notebooks and no GSync, besides the high-refresh price does take its toll and the battery life expectations are about common.
Right here’s what we obtained in our check, with the display was set at 30% brightness, roughly 120 nits:
- 17 W (~Three h 50 min of use) – textual content modifying in Google Drive, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 16 W (~Four h 10 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Web Explorer, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14 W (~Four h 40 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14 W (~Four h 40 min of use) – 4K fullscreen .mkv video within the Film app, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 19 W (~Three h 30 min of use) – searching in Edge, Balanced Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 44 W (~1 h 30 min of use) – gaming on battery, Excessive Efficiency Mode, display at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.
Asus pairs this configuration with a 180 Wh energy brick. It’s averagely sized and weighs round 1.35 lbs (.6 kg) for the European model, together with cables. A full battery cost takes about 2 hours.
Worth and availability
The ROG Strix GL504GM Scar II Version is accessible in most areas of the world as of July 2018.
Probably the most extensively unfold configuration and the one which makes probably the most sense to purchase will get you the Core i7-8750H processor, 16 GB of RAM (1 stick), the GTX 1060 6GB graphics, a 256 GB PCIe SSD and a 1 TB HDD, in addition to the 144HZ matte display, for an MSRP of $1699 within the US. In Europe yow will discover barely decrease finish configurations with only a 128 GB SATA SSD for round 1500-1600 EUR, so I’d anticipate the GL504GM to get cheaper within the US as properly within the following months.
Comply with this hyperlink for up to date configurations and costs on the time you’re studying the article.
There’s little or no to not like about this 15-inch Asus ROG Strix GL504GM. The construct, the keyboard, the show, the audio system, the hardware and particularly the best way this laptop computer performs in on a regular basis use and with video games are among the many greatest yow will discover in a mid-range full-size gadget. In fact, there are nonetheless some quirks you’d have to simply accept, just like the crappy webcam, the digital noise, the shortage of a Thunderbolt Three connection or the debatable design selections with all of the lights and graphics patterns, however for probably the most half these shouldn’t be deal breakers for many of you.
The worth however is perhaps. For those who’re in search of the most effective gaming efficiency you will get on your buck, this isn’t the laptop computer to get. The Acer Helios 300 as an example presents the identical type of hardware and an identical 144 Hz display for simply $1200 on the time of this publish, albeit in a bigger physique and with a smaller battery. Then there are additionally the the Sager NP7851/ Clevo N850EP6 and the quickly to be out there Lenovo Legion Y730, each comparable when it comes to specs, with smaller batteries, but in addition extra reasonably priced. After which for those who don’t care about a 144 Hz display, you may also think about laptops just like the Alienware 15, MSI GE63 Raider, Asus TUF FX504, Dell G7 7588 or the HP Omen 15.
Final however not least, if gaming is all you’re desirous about, you may additionally think about one of many older GTX 1070 choices on the market with seventh gen quad-core CPUs, just like the Asus ROG Strix GL503VS, Alienware 15 or the Acer Predator 15, which can carry out higher in video games, regardless of having a slower processor.
Then again, it’s true there are additionally costlier GTX 1060 laptops on the market, just like the MSI GS65 Skinny, Gigabyte Aero 15X or the Razer Blade 14, however these are premium ultraportables with smaller, lighter and general higher builds.
So whenever you take a look at the entire package deal, all in all the Asus ROG Strix GL504GM Scar II is a wonderful mid-range gaming laptop computer and it ought to serve you properly, however it’s a must to settle for that you’ll pay a premium in most areas for the extra compact type issue, the 144 Hz display, the larger battery and the beautiful a lot flawless general efficiency. Simply make certain to purchase your unit from a retailer that permits straightforward returns in case you find yourself drawing the brief stick, as Asus’s high quality management hasn’t been that nice in recent times.