Last year, ASUS’ bet on committing to AMD Ryzen 4000 series processors even for their most distinctive form factor came off handsomely. Despite the fact that our Zephyrus G14 review was hampered by a unit that got as hot as a toaster, the device was highly welcomed across the world.
ASUS is now doubling down on its bets, giving AMD a strong presence throughout its whole laptop range. One of them is the Scar 15, which is designed for e-sports and is powered by the latest Ryzen 5000 series CPUs and high-end Nvidia GPUs.
The review model includes an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, 32GB DDR4 memory, 2TB NVMe storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 with 16GB VRAM.
A 1440p 15.6-inch IPS-Level panel with a refresh rate of 165Hz is also available. On paper, this is a beast of a machine, but how does it function in practise? You may either watch the video below or read our key analysis.
While the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15’s specifications are remarkable, the GPU deserves special mention. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 we’re looking at has 16GB of GDDR6 memory and a TGP of 115W with an additional 15W of boost. We compared it to the MSI GS66 Stealth we have in our laboratories for a clear picture of where the Scar 15 stands.
What is remarkable is that the MSI GS66 Stealth, with its Intel Core i7-10875H processor, outperforms the Scar 15 in several games, despite having the same GPU but a lesser TGP. Another intriguing, though worrisome, phenomenon was also seen by us.
In all of our game testing, we never observed the GPU VRAM use exceed 8GB at both 1440p and 1080p resolutions.
We contacted Asus to determine if this was a machine-specific issue. They examined our data logs and conducted their own tests, determining that our conclusions were true. During testing, no game was able to take use of the huge VRAM pool, which felt like a waste of resources.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 features an IPS-Level display with 100 percent DCI-P3 coverage, according to Asus. Our inspection of the panel straight from the camera shows that it offers 96.1 percent DCI-P3 coverage, which isn’t awful.
The display had a peak brightness of 333 nits but a black luminance level of just 0.35 nits, resulting in a contrast ratio of 935:1, which isn’t bad for an IPS panel. The display’s out-of-the-box calibration, on the other hand, suffers greatly.
It has an unusually strong blue-boas, an average colour temperature of 7558K, and extremely poor Gamma tracking. Our ColourCheckr examination likewise showed a Delta E of 4.7 on average and a maximum inaccuracy of 9.5. Except for a few hues of pale blue, almost all of the colours in the gamut are displaced by a significant margin.
We tried calibrating the display several times but didn’t get much of a difference, leading us to assume that this isn’t the suitable panel for content creators or anybody who has to conduct color-sensitive work.
This is a big shame because the Nvidia RTX 3080’s 16GB VRAM could have easily been used by content makers, but owing to the panel’s low accuracy, we do not suggest it.
It’s no secret that Asus’ Scar series has some of the most robustly cooled PCs in the company’s lineup. These must be thoroughly cooled since they are geared towards e-sports players, who cannot be slowed down by throttling. And this is where the Scar 15 produces inconclusive results.
Neither the Ryzen 9 5900HX nor the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 throttled throughout our testing, however the Ryzen 9 chip did stay in the 98-101 degree Celsius region for the most of our gaming sessions. Surface temperatures, on the other hand, were a little more of a problem.
The temperature directly above the keyboard was 48 degrees Celsius, whereas the temperature in the middle of the keyboard was 46.4 degrees Celsius. The 41.8-degree angle on the WASD keys was maybe the most worrying.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is a well-spec’d laptop, and the top-tier model we’ve tested here sheds insight on the future of portable gaming. The emergence of high-resolution, high-refresh-rate screens is unquestionably great. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, a hefty 8-core 16-thread CPU that’s sure to please anybody looking for maximum performance.
What was unfortunate, though, was that no game was able to fully use the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080’s 16GB VRAM.
Hopefully, this will change in the future, but for the time being, everything is how it is. While the display is amazing for gaming, it has poor colour accuracy and no method to transition between the DCI-P3 and sRGB colour spaces, making colour management for colour sensitive jobs impossible.