ASUS’s bet to be committed to the AMD Ryzen 4000 series has yielded good results even for their most unique form factor last year. Although our Zephyrus G14 review was influenced by a unit that was heated like a toaster, it was well received around the world. Now, ASUS is doubling its bet, giving AMD a significant presence across its entire laptop portfolio. One of them is the e-sports-centric Scar 15, which is powered by the new Ryzen 5000 series processors and, finally, the high-performance Nvidia GPU.
The unit we received for review is fully configured, including an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, 32GB DDR4 memory, 2TB NVMe storage, and NVidia GeForce RTX 3080 with 16GB VRAM. It also has a 1440p 15.6-inch IPS-level panel with a refresh rate of 165Hz. On paper, it’s an animal of a machine but how does that translate into real-world performance? You can watch the video below or read our necessary analysis.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 Performance Review
Although the spaces of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 are impressive, the GPU is particularly noteworthy here. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 We have 15GB boost with 16GB GDDR6 memory and 115W TGP. To give a clearer picture of where the Scar 15 stands, we contrasted it with the MSI GS66 Stealth in our lab a few months ago.
What we find even more astonishing is that MSI GS66 Stealth, despite having the same GPU as the Intel Core i7-10875H processor, with a lower TGP, surpasses the score 15 in upcoming games. We noticed another interesting, but tragic, event. In all our game tests, at both 1440p and 1080p resolutions, we’ve never seen GPU VRAM use go above 8GB. We contacted Asus to determine if this was a local machine-based issue. They examined our data logs and conducted their own tests, concluding that our results were indeed accurate. During the test, no game was able to take advantage of the huge VRAM pool, which, in fact, seemed like a waste of resources.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 Display Review
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 with an IPS-level display Asus claims 100 percent DCI-P3 coverage. Our analysis of the camera’s outer panel shows that the panel has 96.1 percent DCI-P3 coverage, which is not bad. The display shows a maximum brightness of 333 nits, but a black light level of only 0.35 nits, which gives a contrast ratio of 935: 1, which is by no means bad for an IPS display. However, where the display gets really bad is the out-of-the-box calibration. It has a very strong blue-boss with an average color temperature of 7558K, and extremely poor gamma tracking. Our ColorCeckr analysis reveals an average DeltaE of 4.7 and a maximum error of 9.5. With the exception of a few shades of light blue, almost all the colors of the gamut are transferred by a significant merging. We’ve tried to calibrate the display many times, but haven’t found a very different result, so we believe it’s not the right panel for content creators or anyone who wants to do color-sensitive work. This is a real pity because the 16GB VRAM on Nvidia RTX 3080 can be easily gained by content makers, but due to poor panel accuracy, this is not something we recommend.
Calman analysis for color gamut
Calman analysis for color accuracy
Callman analysis for grayscale and gamma tracking
Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 Thermals
It’s no secret that the Scar series is one of the most powerful cooling machines in Asus’s portfolio. They need to be cooled well as they are aimed at e-sports players who cannot be stopped by any kind of throttling. And this is where Scar 15 gives mixed results. In all our experiments, the Ryzen 9 5900HX or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is not a throttle, but the Ryzen 9 chip hovered around the 98-101 degree Celsius range for a long period of our gaming sessions. However, the surface temperature was a matter of some concern. The top of the keyboard was recorded at 48 degrees while the center of the keyboard recorded a temperature of 46.4 degrees Celsius. Perhaps most worrying was the 41.8-degree on the WASD keys.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is an impressive specialized laptop and the top-tier variant that we’ve reviewed here certainly sheds light on the future of portable gaming. The spread of high-resolution high-refresh-rate displays is certainly commendable. Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 AMD Ryzen 9 packs 5900HX, a BFI 8-core 16 thread processor that is bound to find favor with anyone who needs maximum performance. However, not being able to take full advantage of the 16GB VRAM on the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 was very disappointing. The display, though impressive for gaming, has very little color accuracy and no way to switch between DCI-P3 and sRGB color spaces, making color management no-go for color sensitive work.