ASUS’ Republic of Gamers (ROG) Brand is their Extreme! gamers brand. Whereas TUF focuses on military-grade and somewhat utilitarian industrial design, ROG is in your face and announces to the world that the owner of this piece of equipment is a GAMER!.
Despite the painful marketing, and my hatred for nearly all things RGB, the laptops sold under this moniker tend to be impressively specced and highly desirable and yes, that means that even I, the ultimate RGB hater, would gladly buy one.
No Mistaking What the Primary Function Is
The SCAR 17 is immediately recognisable as a gamers machine. The RGB underlighting gives it away as does the ROG logo and start-up sound on boot. The underlit chassis is a bit much - think streetcars circa 1997 when The Fast & The Furious first graced our screens. I have to admit that the underlighting can be quite tasteful if you spend the time deleting all the unicorn puke profiles in the "Armory" software and create a tasteful lighting scheme all your own.
In terms of build quality, the SCAR17 shines. There is absolutely no deck flex in the keyboard and the panel does not twist unnecessarily or feel cheap. The only, only downside when it comes to inputs is the touchpad, which is quite small for a 17-inch laptop. Gaming laptop manufacturers take note, it is time to copy Apple and the Microsoft Surface’s large, brilliant touchpads.
The keyboard itself is a good chiclet designed keyboard. Decent for typing, but not going to replace your mechanical gaming keyboard anytime so. It will do when out and about, but at home, you will plug in your “proper” keyboard. I appreciate that unlike the Razer Blade 15 ASUS managed to cram in per-key RGB lighting. For gaming, being able to customise your board for quick reference (usually WASD in a different colour) enables you to be a little bit more efficient in your gaming habits. Thankfully, as a 17-inch laptop with plenty of space, you get a full keyboard and number pad just in case you need to play Excel on this beast.
In terms of I/O the Scar 17 is well specced:
• 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort™
• 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
• 1 x HDMI 2.0b
• 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack/ 1 x Audio Jack Mic-in (Combo Jack)
• 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack
• 17.3 inch IPS Panel, 300Hz refresh rate.
Again, the Type C port isn’t a Thunderbolt 3 port, allowing for charging as well as Displayport output, but that can be forgiven.
The Real Power is Inside
Inside the Scar 17 is where the action lies. This is a laptop that will give most desktops a run for their money.
• CPU – Core i9-10980HK
• GPU - GTX 2080 Super
• RAM – 32GB 3200MHz DDR 4
• Storage – 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD with expansion for up to two more.
• Wi-Fi – 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6
• Bluetooth 5.0
Basically, this laptop will run any modern game on ultra, at high FPS, at native resolution, and not break a sweat. To prove it I ran 3D Mark’s Timespy as my first test. Yes, it is a synthetic result but it gives you a really good idea of what the system is capable of.
The overall score of 9 351 is an excellent score but look at the details. This test stresses the hardware and under this load, both the first GPU test managed an average FPS of over 60 and just over 55 for the second.
I also ran the Heaven benchmark on Ultra and, while an older benchmark, it is a good program to run for thermal testing. Running for over 30 minutes the FPS never dropped below 140FPS on Ultra settings and the system never thermal throttled and while the fans did ramp up and were a bit loud the palm rests never got hot.
Games are Where it Shows its True Power
The machine was made for gaming, which is obvious from the design. Now sure you can use it for work, but who is spending this kind of money on a work machine.
In the Division 2 Benchmark the game suggested the Ultra graphics preset and averages 78FPS. Impressive especially when coupled with the Scar’s 300Hz panel. In a game relying on your aim and ability to track opponents across great distances a stable, high FPS is paramount, and this machine delivers. The game averaged a slightly lower average of 70, but only dropped once below 60 so maintained a high fairly stable framerate throughout.
To stress the CPU, I ran Total War: Warhammer 2, setting up a custom battle with hundreds of units on the field of battle. While the framerate drops to a less impressive average of 29FPS, high framerates are not important in a game like this. What the graph does show is that it is relatively stable experiencing few hitches, although there were still some.
As a final test, I ran Doom (2016) because you need high framerates for twitch shooter. The game impressed, averaging over 80FPS.
Yeah, You Don’t Really Need Two Kidneys Do You?
This laptop is a powerhouse and, if you have the budget, it will keep you in high FPS, at high graphical fidelity for years. The combination of a 10th gen i9 CPU and the 2080 Super makes this the envy of mobile gamers everywhere.
My only nitpick is that it ought not be at this price. Hunting online, the system can cost up to R66 000. Yep, that is about a third of most small economy class cars these days. However, if you can afford it and you love high-performance gaming, this is the laptop for you.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
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1 October 2020
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