We tested for a week the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 PC G532LWS, an update to the G531 with a 10th generation Intel chip (Comet Lake-H), a GeForce RTX Super GPU (8 GB of VRAM) – all with 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD storage. Our verdict?
Prices and alternatives
The Asus ROG Strix Scar G532LWS-HF061T is available at retailers from € 2,599.00, at the same price as the Aus Zephyrus S GX532 that we tested in August 2019. Among the alternatives we can also mention the Razor Blade Pro 17 (€ 2,449.00), or the Dell Alienware M17 R2 (€ 2,998.56) for a similar level of performance.
What’s in the box
Asus is once again offering its new Strix Scar in a very elegant box, although less “premium” than the one supplied with the Zephyrus S. The black case incorporates a clever mechanism that “presents” the PC by raising it slightly when we open the box. In addition to the Strix Scar, Asus / ROG provides a single 230 W charging unit (appreciable, because on some gaming PCs you have to connect two…), a Keystone key and its key ring and a user manual.
|Asus ROG Strix Scar G532LWS-HF061T|
|Screen||– 15.6 ’Full HD IPS
– 300Hz refresh
– latency 3 ms
– 100% sRGB
– Contrasts 1: 1000
– 1920 x 1080
|Processor||– Intel Core i7-10875H Comet Lake-H
– 2.3 GHz
– 8 Hearts / 16 Threads
|GPU||Intel UHD 630 and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 8GB 115W (GeForce 430.64)|
|RAM||– 16 GB
– DDR4 3200 MHz
– 32 GB maximum
|Internal memory||1 TB SSD:
– 2x M.2 512 GB (NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4)
– Free M.2 slot
|Keyboard||– Backlit Keyboard
– RGB on each key
|Connectivity||– 1x Audio + microphone combo jack
– 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
– 1x USB-C 3.2 + DisplayPort 1.4 + G-SYNC
– 1x HDMI 2.0b
– 1x Gigabit Ethernet
|Dimensions||-Width: 360 mm
-Height: 24.9 mm
-Depth: 275 mm
Connectivity and network
One finds as often at Asus a rather complete connection. On the left side there are three USB type A 3.2 Gen 1 ports which allow transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps – next to a microphone / headphones combo jack. At the rear, the Strix Scar offers a single USB type C port compatible with USB 3.2, DisplayPort 1.4 and G-SYNC standards. Unfortunately, we can nevertheless blame this model for the absence of Thunderbolt 3 to take advantage of ultra-fast external hard drives or to easily add 10 GbE connectivity. The rest of the connection offers a full-width HDMI 2.0b port – a revision of the standard that better supports HDR content, provided you connect your PC to a compatible TV and launch suitable content.
Note the presence of a single power port to connect the 230 W brick to it. A good point because we told you, some competitors still offer animals that require you to connect two chargers to take advantage of the full performance. . ROG has also included a proprietary technology, Keystone, which is entitled to some sort of port on the right. Keystone is a small NFC dongle sold with the machine.
You can use it to completely secure your Windows installation, and access to your games. Keystone can also reveal a hidden partition called Shadow Drive. Using Keystone comes down to placing the small NFC key in its slot to the right of the chassis. ROG provides a silicone keychain to carry the key wherever you go.
On the network side, ROG has certified its computer for WiFi 6 – which you will enjoy provided you have a compatible router. The ROG Strix Scar does, however, offer a single Gigabit Ethernet port – which is a bit of a shame given that gamers may need transfer speeds of over 1 Gbps, and the wired port can perform just that role more reliably than wireless.
The 2020 ROG Strix Scar is built around the same chassis as the 2019 model. The casign is partially made of metal. We find in particular black anodized aluminum on the back of the screen with a brushed finish. The top case – the part that includes the keyboard and trackpad – is painted with relatively understated printed designs and a finish that marks less fingerprints.
The underside of the device is made of particularly sturdy plastic. When on the back of the screen, it is in black anodized aluminum. There is also RGB light everywhere. On the back of the screen, on a particularly prominent ROG logo. On the underside of the PC, via three strips on the left side, on the front and on the right side.
The keyboard is also backlit key by key, which allows for very sophisticated effects. As well as the ignition button. Everything is configurable in the Armory Crate builder suite. It is possible to synchronize RGB effects with other compatible devices via Aura synchronization. We may regret, as in previous editions, the lack of intuitiveness of this software suite for common customers – we will come back to this.
Overall the design of this PC remains thicker than most computers of its generation – which is normal for many brands of gaming laptops. There is a very thick border under the screen, and a tip that protrudes at the back, a powerful cooling solution requires. It is also quite heavy, with a total of 2.32 kg – not counting the weight of the 230 W (1 kg) charging block offered with the machine. The construction nevertheless exudes strength and durability – you won’t risk breaking the display hinge, for example, when opening it with one hand. Note that this model does not include a built-in webcam. There is, however, a voice capture system integrated in the front.
We had already tested a PC with a 144 Hz screen that we already found very impressive. Asus offers on its ROG Strix Scar 2020 an extremely striking 300 Hz (3ms) screen. This is probably one of the best options on the market today for this category of product.
Note, however, that the 300 Hz mode is only active when the PC is plugged into the mains – except when manually activating Performance mode. The rest of the time you have to be content with a more classic refresh rate of 60 Hz. As for the colors, the panel is well calibrated right out of the box. It offers approximately 75% of the AdobeRGB color space. The maximum brightness nevertheless leaves a little to be desired. This is not annoying inside, but quickly makes the screen unreadable outside, especially when it is sunny.
We have also noticed on our unit small problems of uniformity and light leaks which are particularly visible when the image is dark. After some research on the net, we understood that the problem could come from the panel manufactured by Au Optronics which is included in this model. The problem is limited, but it remains visible on our unit – a compromise to benefit from this exceptional 300 Hz technology? It’s for you to see.
Because the effect of 300 Hz in games is very striking, with an almost unreal fluidity of movement. Small uniformity problems then appear very minor. We find the same pleasant surprise when simply browsing the web. The scrolls are again breathtakingly fluid, it’s almost as if you were physically moving what is displayed on the screen.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard offered on this model has a very pleasant stroke with relatively comfortable spacing and good rigidity. The color of each key can be changed individually. With particularly advanced animated effects that we can all configure in Armory Crate (accessible via a dedicated physical key). We are nevertheless a little less convinced by the trackpad – which doubles as a numeric keypad. The touchpad works like any laptop trackpad, with gestures that work as expected in most cases. But the addition of a numeric keypad on the trackpad paradoxically makes the user experience less pleasant.
It is indeed easy to inadvertently activate the numeric keypad by accidentally pressing the upper right for more than two seconds. But the problem is undoubtedly wider, and goes beyond this device or even this manufacturer: there is indeed something to be prohibited in the face of the lack of comfort offered by the touchpads of portable PCs. Especially in comparison to what Apple has offered on its macs for over two decades.
We can see that manufacturers try to maximize utility with functions that are not always well mastered by users. And that’s a shame. Rather, we would like manufacturers to take over the famous adage Less is more, by offering on the contrary fewer functions, but increased comfort, by taking care of the detection of gestures, detection of accidental touches and by enlarging its surface.
The touchpad functionality is all the more incomprehensible as this computer is aimed at gamers (and not accountants). In any case the touchpads are there only to “troubleshoot” – a real mouse or a gamepad is necessarily required for games or even a little advanced use.
For a gaming laptop, the sound isn’t that bad. The bass is rather rich, although overall the sound is more treble, at the risk of sometimes giving a feeling of “nasal”. The sound is thus not exceptional – much better options are available on the market just on this aspect – besides being quickly covered by the noise of the fans in games. As with the whole category, a good headphone is a must.
Performance, thermal management and noise
The cooling solution offered on the Strix Scar draws air through slots on the underside of the machine, the keyboard, and the rear protuberance before blowing it out through the rear. The GPU has two heat sinks and heat pipes, while the CPU has a single heat sink to dissipate heat. Rather than comparing scores that are often not very meaningful, we have chosen three cases to get the machine going. Enough to see how hot it gets, if it reaches the level of throttling (performance limitations caused by excess heat) and in which case the whole thing becomes unpleasantly noisy.
Cinebench R15 and R20
The first test is to run the Cinebench R15 GPU and CPU benchmark followed by Cinebench R20 which is almost 4 times heavier in terms of system resource use. The first GPU test gave, without too much surprise, a score of 124.54 fps. The fans did not rev up much, as did the temperature of the components, which was stable, with the exception of the graphics card which heated up to 49 ° C. The difference in terms of noise was not really noticeable compared to the usual 24 dBa of the machine (according to Armory Crate).
The CPU test turned out to be slightly more demanding, with CPU temperatures rising to around sixty degrees. The fans cranked up to 3100 RPM during the test – the noise difference was audible, but within reason. Armory Crate then displayed 28 dBa. The Cinebench R15 score reached 1533 cb – a very high score which is no surprise given the machine’s spec sheet.
With Cinebench R20, and despite the increased resource usage, the fan speed remained around 3100 RPM with a noise level similar to the CPU test in Cinebench R15. The temperatures of some cores have nevertheless approached 100 ° C but the GPU was not used by this benchmark, probably explaining these figures.
We launched Fortnite and let the game run for about ten minutes. Armory Crate indicates a noise level of 44.6 dBa with the CPU and GPU fans at 5500 RPM. The sound of the fans is clearly too present, to the point that playing in these conditions is much more pleasant with headphones. While we had started with temperatures around 40 ° C before launching the game, part of the hearts are now 98-99 ° C. This shows that under these conditions the machine can limit performance on its own (throttling) to reduce the temperature. The GPU, on the other hand, remained at a rather moderate average temperature of around 73 ° C.
Exporting a 10-minute 4K video to Adobe Premiere Pro
An attempt was also made to export a 10 minute 4K video to Adobe Premiere Pro. The fans then peaked – up to 5700 RPM. The sound level was 44.3 dBa. The machine is nevertheless very fast – the task was completed in just over 4 minutes.
Autonomy is not usually the strong point of gaming PCs, and the 2020 ROG Strix Scar with its 66Wh battery is no exception. By removing all RGB effects and setting the screen brightness to 60%, we achieved up to around 4 hours of streaming full screen video in Microsoft Edge. The in-game experience is much more fleeting, especially if, like us, you still have the Performance mode activated. In this case, we did not manage to exceed three quarters of an hour in a single charge. The case should nevertheless be unusual. The machine gets too hot to use it comfortably on the thighs.
The trackpad implies that you’ll be using an external mouse or gamepad – as well as headphones for sound. We are on machines that are clearly more “transportable” than “portable” – at least as can an ultrabook, for example. A feature reinforced by its weight of more than two kilograms, without counting the 230 W power supply unit which weighs almost an additional kilogram. Let’s be clear: this won’t be your everyday computer, and you will likely tend to plug it in wherever you go. Even if having a little autonomy is always appreciable.
ROG is satisfied on the Strix Scar with the bare essentials. The computer is sold with the Armory Crate suite and various utilities preinstalled. This software, moreover accessible via a dedicated key on the keyboard (in the form of the ROG logo), allows you to finely adjust all the parameters of the computer, whether to optimize performance, overclock the graphics card or change the RGB backlighting. . Everyone can find their account, even if we remain rather circumspect about the lack of intuitiveness of this suite.
A new customer who has never used an ROG computer will probably take a while to find the utility. However, when you open Armory Crate, you can easily have the impression of finding yourself on another planet, at the risk of getting lost there. The application is a little over-worked from a graphical point of view, the icons and names of the sections are not by themselves meaningful to understand what each of these sections can configure.
For example, if you want to change the RGB lighting, you have to understand that you have to go to the section Aura Sync (which seems to indicate when you do not know something related to synchronization), click on a very small arrow or on the tab (barely visible) Aura Effects to finally access more intuitive settings. We won’t even tell you about Aura Creator, the sequel to create personalized backlights, the use of which can be learned in pain. Too bad for a sequel supposed to make life easier for players.
Something better integrated with the rest of the Windows 10 configuration, and with more explicit titles when a dedicated program (for example using RGB in the name of the utility to change the lighting) would undoubtedly be appreciated by customers of ROG machines.