While most of my finds are bargains, refurbs etc., this laptop is a bit different- I paid full price. In general, I don’t like paying full price for a system but in this case, the reviews I saw were so overwhelmingly good, I bought it. Here is the ad from Best Buy. The system can be found here. LINK
Most of the specs are listed in the ad above, but listing them out:
AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS
16GB Micron Memory DDR4-3200Mhz CAS 22 (8GB soldered onboard, 8GB in a slot expandable to 40GB)
NVIDIA RTX2060 Max-Q 6GB DDR6 Video Card (running x8 PCIe)
1TB Intel 660p SSD
Realtek Audio Card
Intel Wifi 6 AX200 Card
14-inch CEC LM140LF-1F01 1080p/120Hz Screen
79Wh Battery (fully charged)
Included in the box was very few items. A little bit of paperwork, the laptop, AC brick (which is decent sized considering its 180w)
When I received the system, I automatically checked for newer drivers and there was a newer BIOS out. I want to say this is one of the slickest BIOS updates I have done, as far as ease of use. I loaded the firmware update from inside Window’s Device Manager by just clicking on the Firmware and telling it to automatically update. It grabbed the new file from Windows Update and then prompted me for a reboot. It proceeded to load the BIOS after reboot and that was that. Truly we are finally living in the future! Kudos Asus for that.
I started off doing most of my benchmarks and then realized that I hadn’t enabled the high-end profile on the ASUS program. I was set on “High Performance” profile when I needed to be on “Turbo”, after which the machine performed about 200 points better in most of the benchmarks.
Before I get ahead of myself – unboxing. The box was in typical ROG fashion and looked good (Yes, I know my desk needs cleaning):
The system itself feels solid and well put together. They keyboard had great feel to it and has extremely (to my fingers) great feedback. The touchpad worked flawlessly and felt solid no matter what area you pressed on to click. The keyboard’s backlighting IS very uneven. It works but it doesn’t look very gaming like. Single backlighting color only, white. The bezels are nice and small and I agree with most of the other reviewers out there – it would have been nice for Asus to include a webcam. It can be done on small bezels as proven by the XPS line. Overall, I’m satisfied with fit and finish of the machine.
The size is decent as well. I like the 14″ size. Definitely feels better than most 15.6″ laptops. It still has some size to it, (considering I’ve been using the XPS 13 it is bound to feel that way) but at 3.5lbs, it stays easily carriable. Here you can see it next to the XPS 13.
Processor: The new Renoir 4000 series finally feels like a high end finished processor. The 3k series such as the 3750 wasn’t bad and it did an admirable job, but this 8-core processor just adds another level of speed. Details on the processor:
Ryzen 9 4900HS
Base 3.0GHz- 4.4GHZ Turbo (according to HWINFO)
8 Cores / 16 Threads
12MB cache (512KB L1, 4.0MB L2, 8.0MB L3)
7nm with TDP 35W (regular ‘H’ processors add 10W)
RAM: As mentioned above, due to the thin and light aspect of this system, Asus opted to solder 8GB of RAM onboard and have one slot available for upgrade purposes. This makes for some interesting RAM combos. You can change the included 8GB RAM for a 16GB or a 32GB stick for a total of 24GB or 40GB. The packaged Micron RAM is 3200MHz and has CAS timings of 22/22/22/52.
NVMe Intel 660p SSD: This is the second time I have gotten an Intel 660p in an Asus Laptop so I can’t say I’m surprised. While I would have preferred a TLC drive, for most people the QLC SSD will work fine.
Video Card: NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q. While this is a bit slower than the normal Mobile 2060, this was done for battery life and heat I’m sure. There is not a whole lot of room in the 14″ frame to put a lot of heat pipes and fans hence the decision. I definitely would prefer the full 2060 but this card didn’t do too bad in testing, and I’m willing to accept some tradeoffs for the price and portability.
Video Panel: CEC LM140LF-1F01. This is one of the areas I wish they had spent a little bit more of the budget. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. It’s 120Hz but from what I’ve read says that it will only run at 120Hz when playing games or other apps that really need it and will normally default to 60Hz. I’d prefer 120Hz all the time, but understand they did it for battery life. There is more out there on this panel HERE.
So on to the benchmarks!
One of the tests I ran this time was transcoding. I took a 5 min 4k Video and transcoded it to Std quality 1080p. The transcode took almost exactly 3 min long.
In the benchmarks below, I’m not sure exactly why it didn’t recognize the RTX 2060 Max-Q. It was definitely using it though and the NVIDIA driver was at the latest version. Here is my 3DMark results. First, I ran Time Spy 1.0:
The New Asus did 5962 vs the older Ryzen 7 3750s 4471. Nice upgrade.
Next benchmark up was Spy Diver:
New Asus G14 turned in 33,001 vs the older Ryzen’s 22,004. A nice upgrade. This still trails a bit behind my Alienware at 45,482. But according the graph it is right in line with Intel’s gaming laptops with the same video card.
Next up was Fire Strike.
Final tally was 14,102. I didn’t run this test unfortunately on the previous Zephyrus, so I can’t get a good comparison.
This was surprised me as this wasn’t very far off from my Alienware desktop. The Alienware received a 6004, and the previous gen Zephyrus 4288.
I then ran Cinebench R20.
This was a nice jump over both previous gen and even my Alienware desktop. This was a big surprise. The Alienware got a Single CPU score of 454, and Multi of 3031. The previous gen Zephyrus with the Ryzen 7 3750 received a score of 361 for Single Core and 1745 for Multicore. This is a HUGE bump over the previous Ryzen. I wasn’t expecting the increase over the i7-8700 desktop processor though.
I next ran a User Benchmark and Tomb Raider’s Benchmark on it.
I think it was completely respectable for a Laptop vid card. Finally, I did a disk performance test on the Intel 660p. I didn’t go much beyond that as it has been written up about plenty.
Not bad overall. I know it will slow down with longer transfers but I’m fine with that. The last thing I really wanted to highlight was the Wifi 6 card bandwidth. I copied a 50GB movie file from the laptop over my network. I am using a TP-Link Archer AX50 router. My distance to the router was about 3 feet so, hard to get much better than that. It would fluctuate on connection speed between 1.0Gbp and 1.1. The transfer averaged about 70 MB/s which is pretty good in my opinion considering Wifi overhead and occasional frame loss / retries.
I’m enjoying this machine and now I need to finish customizing it to properly use it and finish my assessment (Battery Life still needs to be tested). Based on the previous iteration with the Ryzen 7 3750 and even against current Intel processors, this machine will compete. My opinion, this machine is highly recommended and will be occupying a space in my stable of PCs. I look forward to seeing AMD continue to put out highly competitive and cost effective products.