While the 2021 ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 has been on sale for a few weeks in some regions, it’s not yet available in this part of Europe, so I had to wait to share my thoughts on the series with you. So instead, I used a few units of the Zephyrus G to preview an article published in January. Still, I could not conduct the necessary tests with these units because they had not yet been released to the market.

Last week I finally got a review unit, and it’s the top-of-the-line Zephyrus G15 GA503QS, based on the Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, RTX 3080 laptop graphics, and a 165Hz QHD display. Derek also purchased his device a few weeks ago, the mid-range GA503QR available at Best Buy in the US and by far the cheapest configuration of the 2021 G15 at the moment. This article summarizes our impressions of the series and benchmarks and some performance comparisons between the two GPU variants.

I’ve looked at and read a few other reviews since I’m not patiently waiting for my camera, and most are full of praise for this updated 2021 G15. Having finally spent some time with it, I agree that it is a significant step up from the 2020 G15 GA502 and is very successful in the 15-inch notebook segment. It’s also a good printer. In addition, the benefits of a QHD screen with 100% DCI-P3 colors, some of the best speakers currently available in a laptop, and a large-capacity battery add to the overall experience of daily use.

But it is not without some quirks and even inconveniences, as you will learn in this article. These situations are expected when you compress this kind of hardware into a compact package. Others are software bugs or just odd decisions that affect the laptop’s functionality. I tend to complain about all these little flaws that you may not care about, but I’d rather you find out about all these flaws after you read the article, so you can then decide for yourself whether or not you can live with them.

Tested Specifications

2021 ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503QS and GA503QR
show 15.6-inch, 16:9, non-touch, matte, Chi Mei panel CMN152A
QHD 2560 x 1440 px IPS, 165Hz 3ms with 100% DCI-P3 and sRGB, with AdaptiveSync
Processor Cézanne’s money, the journey 9 5900H, 8C/16T
Video AMD Radeon Vega + Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Portable 8 GB (80 W, up to 100 W with Dyn Boost) to 503QR model
AMD Radeon Vega + Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Portable 8 GB (80 W, up to 100 W with Dyn Boost) to 503QS model
Memory 32GB DDR4 3200 MHz (16GB onboard, 1x DIMM, up to 48GB)
Storage 1 TB NVMe SSD (2 M.2 PCI x4 slots)
Link WiFi 6 (Intel AX200) 2×2 with Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111)
Ports 2x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C gen2 with video, data, and charging, HDMI 2.0b, microSD card reader, LAN, headphone, and microphone
Battery 90Wh, 200W power supply + USB-C charging up to 100W
Size 355 mm or 13.98 inches (W) x 243 mm or 9.57 inches (D) x 19.9 mm or 0.78 inches (H)
Weight 1.98 kg (4.36 lb), 0.63 kg (1.38 lb) bricks and electric cables, EU version
By the way.., keyboard backlit in white (RGB optional in some versions), 6x speakers, webcam not included

In addition to the configuration tested here, Asus also offers the entry-level Zephyrus G15 GA503QM notebook with Ryzen 7/9 processors, RTX 3060 graphics (80W + 15W boost), and FHD 240Hz or QHD 165Hz display. However, they are only available in certain markets.

Design and construction

The 2021 G15 is available in two colors: a white model with a white keyboard and a dark gray model with black keys. I have used both and would choose the second one.

2021 Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (left – grey version) and G14 (right – white version)

Subjectively, white laptops are a little too bright for my taste, and objectively, white-lit keyboards with white keys are disappointing to read under most circumstances, so much so that you should just turn the backlight off completely. Still, I fear that over time dirt will accumulate in the perforated holes in the laptop cover, in the speaker cutouts next to the keyboard, and even around the click pad, which is more visible on the white model. On the other hand, this white version makes it easier to hide stains and fingerprints, so you can win or lose in certain situations.

My 3080 tester is a white model; hence most of the pictures in this article are white. However, it is also important to note that you may not be able to choose one of the two colors in your area. For example, I now see that the GA503QR available at Best Buy is only available in grey, while the GA503QS blades recently supplied by Asus are all white. But if I could choose, I would choose the grey model.

Aesthetically, the G15 2021 follows the design lines of the G14 2020, with minimalist branding elements, the same dot overlay with a layer of prismatic material that reflects light in different shades on this 15-inch model, and without the AnimeMatrix light dot arrangement that was reserved for the Zephyrus G14.

Smooth magnesium alloys have been used for the entire exterior, which is pleasant to the touch, while plastic has been used for the frame around the screen. Unfortunately, it’s black, and I find this white version of the laptop distracting; it looks weird and cheap. I don’t think the white bezel would have looked better, but perhaps Asus should have used a smoother plastic texture for the part of the bezel that would have better matched the rest of the design.

Speaking of photos: There is still no webcam in this series, although there is room for one at the top of the screen; instead, there is only a set of microphones. There’s also a large chin under the screen, which may not look very attractive, but actually serves a practical purpose on this laptop by absorbing some of the heat emitted by the vents.

The Zephyrus G15 inherited its Ergolift hinges and thermal design from the G14: The notebook rests on rubber feet at the bottom of the screen, allowing for a slightly tilted typing posture and extra air to flow to the fans below. That’s good, but this design means warm air is expelled into the mesh, not behind it and not at the back like other ROG Zephyrus models.

The case includes some design elements on the radiators that are intended to direct airflow to the sides rather than directly into the display. However, the panel will warm up as you play, as you will see in the next section. This design may also give the impression that the laptop is louder than other ROG designs with vents behind the screens, but that could just be my impression. Anyway, fans are excited about this thing, especially the turbo profile. We’ll be there soon enough.

And while we’re at it, I should also mention that, for some reason, Asus put the worst status LEDs I’ve seen in years into this laptop. They are large and bright and are placed under the screen, directly in the field of vision. They’ve tilted these LEDs to hide behind the case, but you’ll still notice their ugly reflection in the bezel when using the laptop at night. And it’s not just the status LEDs that recur on the bezels but also a small portion of the keyboard lighting, just below the O in the ROG. Why would you do that?

And while I’m bored, I need to get a few things ready. The thing creaks and squeaks when I put my hands on the armrest, and especially when I lift it, not just in the corners. Derek noticed it in his unit, too, so it’s not an isolated problem. Find the cause, but it’s boring, and it’s something I’ve never felt on any other Zephyrus mobile phone.

And then the placement of the gate. Thanks to the Ergolift’s design, nothing can be inserted into the back edge, but everything is essentially projected onto the left edge. And since the back is reserved for the thermal module, that means all the ports are positioned towards the front half of the laptop, including power, HDMI, LAN, two USB-C, and audio, all the way to the front.

Most of you will probably only notice the annoying plug in the middle that comes loose, especially on this white version of the laptop, but good luck if you plan on connecting peripherals to this thing, especially the USB-C docking station. I realize there’s not much room in a portable design like this, but the Zephyrus G15 goes further than other ROG models by compressing everything from the left side to the front. On the other hand, it leaves the right side free, and I like that there is at least one extra USB-A slot; there is one on each side. But this SD card reader could have been of normal size, and I would have also appreciated the dual-sided USB-Cs, especially since they offer video support and charging.

Now let’s look at some of the things Asus got right here. First, the overall design is very tactile, with smooth materials and blunt edges and corners. The finish looks solid and has no chips, scratches, or bumps when I’ve spent with this laptop.

It also sits securely on the desk even when resting only on the small feet under the screen, and the hinge makes it easy to lift and adjust the screen with one hand. They also hold it stably in place, so it doesn’t wobble during daily use and allow it to open completely flat to the back, which is not the case with most other high-performance laptops. I think about you, but it’s very important to me.

I also appreciate the large wrist rest and glass control panel on the laptop and the finger sensor built into this series’ power button, which captures fingerprints when you press it and uses it to log into Windows without needing a second finger. It takes some time to get used to, but it worked well on my device.

The ones that cut off the sides of the keyboard, the ones that hide the bottom columns, and the ones that are supplemented by additional columns at the bottom, six in all. They look a little strange, and I’m afraid they pick up dust and dirt easily, but the sound is one of the best qualities I’ve experienced in a laptop so far!

Overall, the G15 does well on some conceptual and practical aspects, while others fail miserably. My biggest criticisms are the LED status lights and backlit keyboard that light up at night, the thermal design that pushes hot air into the display, and the IO pushed to the left side, to the front of the laptop. These LEDs can be a distraction, but maybe there is a way to hide them? A permanent marker can work, especially on a dark-colored model.

Keyboard and trackpad

The Zephyrus G15 2021 looks like a variant of the keyboard previously used on the Zephyrus G14 but with a shorter space key.

It’s a standard layout, nothing out of the ordinary, but without the NumPad area or the extra function key columns on the right, like Asus put on the Zephyrus M15/S15 or the previous G15 2020. Indeed, the space around the keyboard is reserved for the speakers of this series.

They include additional media keys on top and an Arsenal Crate button, plus a full Home / End / PgUp / PgDn button as secondary to the arrow keys, which seems to me to be a flaw that seems to me was missing on the G14 2020.

After typing thousands of words on this keyboard, I feel like it types very well, and I can see myself using it every day. I love the response, the clicking and movement, and the feel of the smooth plastic keyboards. They are a little talkative and louder than other applications, but they are still rubber keys, so I doubt they will attract attention even in a quiet environment.

As I mentioned earlier, the white version of this laptop has white backlit keys, which makes typing difficult in most conditions. However, that’s not a problem with the gray version of the G15, which has black buttons and single-zone RGB backlighting, at least in the Best Buy version Derek got. I’m not sure if this is unique to the Best Buy models or normal with all black keyboards, but my white model has no color options in the Aura software and also has far fewer lighting effects than Dereks on his model.

The white light is now quite bright, and Asus has included a physical cap lock indicator. However, some of the light comes from under the hoods, and for some reason, some LEDs are brighter than others, which I wouldn’t expect on a high-end laptop. Maybe Asus should take a look at this and improve the quality control of its retail models.

The clickpad, on the other hand, is pretty neat and among the best, I’ve tested on a Windows laptop lately.

I’m a little surprised, Asus had some issues with their paper weights on the part models, but they really cut through the clutter here. The surface is smooth glass, spacious and clean, with bumps, gestures, and ticks. Plus, it doesn’t crack while typing, like other large keyboards, and the physical clicks are quiet and smooth. Well done.

As for biometrics, I already mentioned the finger sensor in the power button, but you don’t have IR cameras.

Screen

Asus offers two display options for the G15, a 240 Hz FHD panel on the low-end models and a 165 Hz QHD panel on the high-end models, which Derek and I reached for on our devices.

This is the same panel from Chi Mei that is available in the 2021 ROG Scar 15. It’s just a great screen for just about anything: normal use, gaming, and professional use that requires superior color accuracy, as it’s ~100% DCI-P3 and ~85% AdobeRGB.

As for the 165 Hz refresh rate and ~10 ms GtG response time, these are more than adequate for casual gaming and AAA for casual gamers (when combined with ActiveSync), while those interested in a cooler display can opt for the 240 Hz FHD panel, but keep in mind that it won’t have the same color coverage, as it’s only a 100% sRGB panel.

This is what we got during our testing of this QHD panel with the X-Rite i1 Display Pro matrix:

  • Panel HardwareID : Chi Mei CMN152A (N156KME-GNA) ;
  • Coverage: 99.5% sRGB, 86.7% AdobeRGB, 96.5% DCI-P3 ;
  • Measured range: 2.02 ;
  • Maximum luminance at the center of the screen: 346.45 cd/m2 at power ;
  • Minimum brightness in the center of the screen: 17.08 cd/m2 at power on ;
  • Contrast at maximum brightness: 1040:1 ;
  • White dot: 6900 K ;
  • Black at maximum brightness: 0.33 cd/m2 ;
  • PWM: No.

There is little wrong with this panel, although the blacks can be darker in high light, which also results in higher contrast.

There is no light fade on our panel, but some customers have reported poor results on their devices, so make sure you view it correctly. We also measured a maximum brightness of about 350 nits, which is 10% less than the same panel on the Scar 15, but the colors and brightness are more consistent, so some variation is to be expected with these panels.

We also need to talk about QHD resolution and Windows scaling. During my time with the device, I kept the QHD resolution and the 125% scale, and although I found it very small for my eyes at first, after a while it went well. However, some older Windows applications do not easily reach 125%. An alternative would be to increase the zoom to 150%, but at this level, everything looks huge, and not that much information fits on the screen, so I can’t imagine using my laptop that way. Anyway, it’s hard to say whether you’ll be happy with the QHD 125% mode without having tried it for a while and with an open mind, as it may not be ideal at first glance, especially for those of us over 35.

Finally, I should mention that this is only a 16:9 screen. So you need to know how it compares to the 16:10 QHD+ panels available in some of Lenovo’s notebooks this year. We’ll see, I haven’t tested it yet, but as far as I know, it has one major advantage: it supports a wider color gamut. What you prefer between the 16:10 format and richer colors is yours.

Hardware and power supply

As mentioned earlier, my research unit is a high-end configuration of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GA503, codenamed GA503QS, based on an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS 8C/16T processor, 32GB dual-channel 3200MHz DDR4 memory, 1TB high-speed SSD storage, and dual graphics: Nvidia RTX 3080 dGPU with 8GB VRAM and AMD Vega iGPU integrated into the AMD processor.

In addition, Derek also has versions of the GA503QR laptop with the same processor but with 16GB of RAM and a dGPU for the Nvidia RTX 3070.

Before moving on, remember that our review unit was sent by Asus and is a retail model identical to the one you can buy in stores, while Derek bought it from Best Buy. Both run on software available since early March 2021 (BIOS 404, Armoury Crate 3.3.7.0, GeForce 461.40 drivers).

Specifically, the 2021 ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is based on the latest AMD Ryzen HS and Nvidia RTX 3000 hardware, which will be available in early 2021. We are interested in the Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, the first mobile processor for ultraportable formats, which is part of the HS series, with a clock speed of 8C/16T to 4.6 GHz and estimated power consumption of 35W. Asus offers several performance profiles in the Armoury Crate application that allow you to juggle constant power, temperature and noise limits to meet your needs. As you’ll learn in this review, the Ryzen 9 processor runs at a higher constant power for most profiles.

As for GPUs, the G15 series is based on the 80W variants of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080/3070 graphics chipset. In addition, the low-end Max-Q variants are overclocked with ROG Boost in turbo profile and can deliver up to 100 watts of power with Dynamic Boost 2.0 in supported titles. Dynamic Boost 2.0 is a technology that allows up to 20 W of CPU power to be converted to GPU power when needed, which affects some games.

However, it is important to understand that with this series of RTX 3000 chips, you are getting a more powerful and frequency-optimized version, not the one available in the ROG Strix and Strix Scar models. This should come as no surprise, as the Zephyrus G15 has a sleeker and more compact design, with an adjustable thermal module and a more affordable price.

In terms of RAM and storage options, the notebook comes standard with either 8 or 16 GB of RAM, and an available DIMM. Our device comes with 16 GB onboard and 16 GB DIMM, for a total of 32 GB in dual channel. Make sure you have dual-channel memory on this laptop; it makes a big difference when you play. For storage, there’s a fast Hynix PCIe x4 SK and two M.2 slots in the device for when you want to add more. We didn’t notice any thermal or performance issues with long file transfers, but keep in mind that the exact SSDs included may vary from region to region.

Accessing the components is pretty easy, just open the back panel and hold a couple of Phillips screws. Be careful, they are of different sizes, and three of them, in the middle of the notebook, are hidden behind rubber caps. Inside you’ll find an SSD and RAM slot, a thermal module, 90W and an audio system. Everything is well packed to make efficient use of the limited space.

In addition to the specifications, Asus offers four performance profiles for the ROGZephrys G15 GA503 :

  • Quiet – fairly powerful fan and limited CPU and GPU speed and performance;
  • Performance – balanced profile with default CPU/GPU settings, moderately noisy fans – GPUs run at 80-100W and default clock speeds ;
  • Turbo – High performance profile with improved CPU power distribution, faster fans and overclocked GPU (80-100W, +100MHz core/+120MHz memory).
  • Manual – allows you to adjust CPU and GPU/clock performance and manually create fan profiles based on temperature limits.

Turbo/Manual is only available with a connected laptop and is designed for gaming and other demanding tasks. Performance is an asset for all professions, while Silent is made for video and everyday light. For the first time for this 2021 generation, both fans can be completely disabled in the Silent profile as long as the CPU/GPU stays below 60 degrees Celsius, allowing for quiet operation in daily use. However, the components usually peak above 60°C during everyday tasks, so the fans are only quiet during video streaming and other very basic activities.

You can also power your laptop via USB-C. In this case, you can use it in performance mode without draining the battery, but with a performance bonus for demanding combined loads. In the next article, we will examine the performance when connected via a 100W USB-C charger.

TYou can expect this in terms of performance and temperature during daily multitasking, browsing and video.

Performance tests and benchmarks

We first tested CPU performance for more demanding workloads by running the Cinebench R15 test 15 or more times per cycle, with a 1 to 2 second delay between each run. Note that we primarily tested the GA503QS configuration with the Ryzen 9 processor and the RTX 3080 notebook GPU, and added comparisons to the GA503QR model with the 3070 where possible.

The Ryzen 9 5900HS processor stabilizes at a continuous power of 65+W on the Turbo setting, resulting in 3.9+GHz, temperatures of 86-90C, scores of ~2000 points, and fan speeds at main level of around 48-49dB. In addition, no decrease in throttle performance was observed throughout the test period.

Switching to the performance profile means the processor will run at 65 W for a while and then stabilize at 45 W, with temperatures in the low to mid 80s and fans fluctuating between 37 and 42 dB.

On Silent, the CPU quickly stabilizes at ~25W with barely audible fans (down to 35dB) and temperatures in the low 70s. It gives very good results with about ~1600 points, about 25% less than the Turbo profile.

Finally, depending on the performance profile, the processor runs on a ~35-40W battery, with a still excellent score of 1850+. Details below.

To put these results in perspective, here’s how the Ryzen 9 5900HS compares to a few other modern AMD and Intel 8C/16T processors in this review :

  • 2 to 5% less than the Ryzen 9 5900HX in the ROG Scar 15/17 and the Zephyrus DUO ;
  • slightly faster than the Ryzen 7 5800H in the games Asus TUF A15 and ROG Strix G17 ;
  • ~20% faster than the Ryzen 9 4900HS in the Zephyrus G14 GA401 and G15 GA502 2020 ;
  • ~20% faster than a stressed Core i7-10875H in 2020. Asus ROG Zephyrus S15.

A comparison with previously available Intel 6Core processors makes no sense in this test, the Ryzen 9 5900HS outperforms them by 30+%.

We then tested our results with the most demanding Cinebench R23 running test and the dreaded Prime 95 with a Turbo profile. The processor stabilizes at 65+W in Turbo and only ~55W in Prime95 in Cinebench R23, at lower clock speeds and constant temperatures of ~80 degrees Celsius.

We also ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests with this laptop. Stress 3DMark runs the same test 20 times per cycle, looking for changes and performance degradation over time. This unit outperformed it only slightly, indicating a slight drop in performance as the heat increased. We will examine this aspect below.

Then we ran all the tests and reference tests with the original Turbo profile in the weapon case and FHD resolution. This is important for consistency between the different laptops tested, as 3DMark tends to give slightly different scores for FHD, QHD and 4K on the same tests. So it’s FHD, and we’ll add a few QHD points below.

  • 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 22355 (Graphics – 25308, Physics – 24554, Combined – 11127) ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal : 6307 ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 10051 (Graphics – 10148, CPU – 9537) ;
  • Engine Overlay – 1080p Extreme : 6609 ;
  • Uniengine Overlay – Environment 1080p : 18359 ;
  • Manual brake 1.3.3 (4K encoding at 1080p): 45.99 fps on average ;
  • PassMark 10: Evaluation: 5130 (CPU designation: 24434, 3D graphics: 14182, player designation: 18213) ;
  • PCMark 10 : 7020 (Fundamentals – 10461, Productivity – 9502, Digital content creation – 9445) ;
  • GeekBench 5.33.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1477, multi-core: 7939 ;
  • CineBench R15 (best performance): processor 2205kb, single-core processor 239kb;
  • CineBench R20 (best mileage) : Processor 5136 kb, single-core processor 572 kb ;
  • CineBench R23 (best mileage) : Processor 13088 kb, single-core processor 1462 kb ;
  • x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 28.11 sec.

These are excellent results. To put this in perspective: The full-scale Scar 15 with Ryzen 9 5900HX + RTX 3080 Laptop 115W+ has roughly identical performance in single-core CPU tests, 2-5% higher in multi-core CPU tests, and 5-8% higher in GPU tests. And it’s thicker, heavier, more expensive. However, I would add that the Zephyrus G15 is significantly louder in turbo mode (48+ dB) than the Scar 15 (44+ dB).

As for the battery of this 2020 notebook, I compare it to Asus’ ROG Zephyrus S15, which is based on an 8Core i7-10875H processor and an RTX 2080 Super 80+ graphics chip. The G15 2021 performed about 12-20% better in single-core tests, 10-25% better in multi-core tests, and about 7-10% better in graphics tests.

Here are some QHD results from the two Zephyrus G15 configurations we tested.

Benchmarks for QHD resolution GA503QS – Notebook Ryzen 9 + RTX 3080 GA503QS – Ryzen 9 + RTX 3070 notebook computer
3DMark 13 – Fire Explosion 21377 (Graphics – 23832, Physics – 24609, Combined – 10856) 20246 (Graphics – 22401, Physics – 23350, Combined – 10541)
3DMark 13 – Port Royal 6307 5792
3DMark 13 – Temporary Spy 9941 (Graphics – 10041, Processor – 9410) 9470 (Graphics – 9643, Processor – 8597)
CineBench R15 (best mileage) CPU 2205 kb, single-core CPU 239 kb CPU 2193 kb, single-core CPU 231 kb
CineBench R23 (best mileage) Processor 13088 kb, single core processor 1462 kb Processor 12983 kb, single-core processor 1437 kb

We see only ~5% below the 3DMark FireStrike/TimeSpy score for the 3070 laptop and a little more for the RayTracing Port Royal test. The PF values are almost the same (with a 3% margin of error). Not bad for a much cheaper G503QR configuration.

Due to the high fan noise level in turbo mode, we also ran silent profile tests if you want to run high loads at a lower noise level (<39dB). Here’s what we got:

  • 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 13957 (Graphics – 13800, Physics – 18898, Combined – 10680) ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 7372 (Graphics – 7162, CPU – 8845) ;
  • Engine Overlay – 1080p Extreme : 4684 ;
  • Uniengine Overlay – Environment 1080p : 8018 ;
  • GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1452, multi-core: 7668 ;
  • CineBench R20 (best mileage) : CPU 4011 kb, single-core CPU 551 kb ;
  • x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 34.21 s.

We still see good results, with almost no drop in single core tests, but ~25% in multi-wire tests because the processor is running quietly at the lowest constant power. The GPU is also very limited under sustained load, around 55-60W, so the GPU score is around 60% of what we get on Turbo.

Finally, we also ran some workstation workloads in this Ryzen 9 + RTX 3080 configuration in Turbo profile :

  • Blender 2.90 – BMW Autostage – CPU Computing: 3m 14s (Turbo) ;
  • Blender 2.90 – BMW Auto Scene – GPU Computing: 40 years (CUDA), 17 years (Optix) ;
  • Blender 2.90 – Cold Scene – CPU Computing: 8m 19s (Turbo)
  • Blender 2.90 – Cool Scene – GPU Computing: 2m 20 (CUDA), 59s (Optix)
  • Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPU + GPU score
  • SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax : 191.7 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Katia : 150.35 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Creo : 174.32 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Energy : 23.19 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Maya : 225.5 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Medical : 65.38 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase : 118.85 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – SNX : 20.86 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 13 – SW : 98.18 (Turbo)

And the new SPECviewperf 2020 test:

  • SPECviewerf 2020 – 3DSMax : 89.73 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Katia : 62.81 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Creo : 84.6 (Turbo)
  • SPECVIEWERF 2020 – Energy : 23.29 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Maya : 242.26 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Medical : 30.57 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – SNX : 20.83 (Turbo)
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – SW : 169.1 (Turbo)

These results are again within 10% of a Scar 15 implementation on the more powerful Ryzen 9 + 3080 hardware, with more difference in the few workloads that can benefit from higher GPU hours, extra CUDA cores and extra vRAM on Scar, such as 3DSMax or Studioworks.

Game performance

On that note, let’s see some matches.

We ran a number of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles with the default Turbo, Performance, and Quiet profile at FHD and QHD resolutions on the internal laptop screen and on an external monitor connected via DP to document the performance costs Optimus charges. Whisper mode is enabled in GeForce Experience in Silent mode, and I’ll explain why below.

These results concern the Ryzen 9 + RTX 3080 version of the Zephyrus G15 laptop, we will go into detail about the configuration of the RTX 3070. Here’s what we got:

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS + RTX 3080 Laptop 80+W FHD Turbo FHD Turbo, external FHD performance FHD Mute (WM On) QHD Turbo QHD Turbo, external
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
116 fps (90 fps is 1% less) 134 frames per second (80 frames per second is 1% less) 108 frames per second (72 frames per second or 1% less) 60 frames per second (58 frames per second, or 1% less) 92 frames per second (70 frames per second is 1% less) 108 frames per second (76 frames per second, or 1% less)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
59 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% drop) 63 frames per second (43 frames per second – 1% drop) 56 fps (45 fps or 1% less) 37 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% drop) 44 frames per second (35 frames per second is 1% less) 45 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% drop)
Dota 2
(DX 11, best preset appearance)
116 images per second (62 images per second – 1% drop) 116 frames per second (64 frames per second, or 1% less)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
109 fps (64 fps – 1% low) 114 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop) 103 frames per second (82 frames per second – 1% drop) 60 frames per second (58 frames per second, or 1% less) 85 fps (58 fps is a low of 1%) 91 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% drop)
Metro Exodus
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX AUS)
70 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% drop) 65 frames per second (44 frames per second – 1% drop) 64 frames per second (43 frames per second is 1% less) 50 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% reduction) 56 frames per second (34 frames per second – 1% drop) 51 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% drop)
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
(DX 11, Ultra-preset)
181 fps (127 fps – 1% low) 169 fps (123 fps – 1% low) 60 frames per second (60 frames per second is 1% less) 131 frames per second (98 frames per second – 1% drop) 135 frames per second (101 frames per second – 1% drop)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra-optimized, TAA)
92 frames per second (60 frames per second, or 1% less) 60 frames per second (56 frames per second or 1% less) 90 frames per second (60 frames per second is 1% too low) 60 frames per second (51 frames per second – 1% drop) 75 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% drop) 60 frames per second (54 frames per second – 1% drop)
Tomb Raider Rise
(DX 12, very high preset, FXAA)
108 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% drop) 132 frames per second (62 frames per second – 1% drop) 109 frames per second (60 frames per second, or 1% less) 60 frames per second (57 frames per second, or 1% less) 89 fps (52 fps – 1% low) 102 frames per second (49 frames per second – 1% drop)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
(DX 12, highest preset, TAA)
97 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% drop) 109 frames per second (61 frames per second – 1% drop) 92 frames per second (59 frames per second – 1% drop) 59 frames per second (48 frames per second is 1% less) 78 frames per second (60 frames per second, or 1% less) 81 frames per second (56 frames per second – 1% drop)
Strange Brigade. (Vulcan, ultra-presumptuous) 172 frames per second (131 frames per second – 1% drop) 184 images per second (138 images per second – 1% drop) 161 frames per second (125 frames per second – 1% reduction) 102 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% drop) 130 frames per second (98 frames per second is 1% less) 135 frames per second (108 frames per second, or 1% less)
Witch 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra preset, Hair Work On 4)
111 frames per second (85 frames per second is 1% less) 118 fps (82 fps – 1% low) 106 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% drop) 60 frames per second (58 frames per second, or 1% less) 82 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop) 93 frames per second (74 frames per second – 1% drop)
  • Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recording with the Fraps counter/in game FPS in campaign mode ;
  • Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider Games – Registered with reference utilities enabled ;
  • Red Dead Redemption 2’s optimized profile is based on these parameters.

Above are the pure grid tests and also some results for RTX games. For some reason Metro Exodus crashed with the RTX settings, so we’re still at that point.

Ryzen 9 5900HS + RTX 3080 Notebook 80+W FHD Turbo FHD Turbo, external FHD performance FCD Silence QHD Turbo QHD Turbo, external
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
81 frames per second (61 frames per second, or 1% less) 94 frames per second (54 frames per second – 1% drop) 81 frames per second (62 frames per second – 1% drop) 40 frames per second (39 frames per second is 1% less) 59 frames per second (42 frames per second – 1% drop) 67 frames per second (51 frames per second – 1% drop)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Auto)
54 frames per second (43 frames per second – 1% drop) 59 frames per second (42 frames per second – 1% drop) 51 frames per second (40 frames per second is 1% less) 29 frames per second (23 frames per second or 1% less) 44 frames per second (37 frames per second, or 1% less) 47 frames per second (38 frames per second is 1% less)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
(DX 12, highest preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)
73 frames per second (28 frames per second – 1% drop) 74 frames per second (28 frames per second – 1% drop) 69 frames per second (26 frames per second – 1% drop) 49 frames per second (24 frames per second – 1% drop) 50 frames per second (24 frames per second is 1% less)

There are a lot of numbers here, so let’s put it in context. First we explain the differences between the tested profiles, then we compare the G15 with the Scar 15 and last year’s top ROG model, the Zephyrus S15.

Playing on turbo, power and silence

Let’s look at the performance logs showing CPU and GPU speed and temperature in Farcry 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Battlefield V and Witcher 3 under different profiles.

As with all the other Rzeyn 5000 laptops we’ve tested so far, there are two types of games to consider: games that support Dynamic Boost well and switch from CPU to GPU (Cyberpunk, Red Dead, Witcher), and games that don’t (Far Cry, Battlefield). This is even more important on this laptop, which does a good job of thermal work with the GPU, but struggles with the higher-powered CPU.

In games that support Dynamic Boost, the average CPU temperature is 82-90 C and the GPU runs at 78-81 C, with a Turbo profile. However, peak processor temperatures are very high on all titles, with temperatures around 95 C or higher.

In Far Cry 5, where the system is giving more power to the CPU, the average temperature in Turbo is 96.9°C and the GPU is 79°C. So it seems that the CPU is responsible, at least in the example we have here.

FHD results in the tested games can be found in the logs below.

And here are the QHD result logs with increased resolution, which shifts some of the load to the GPU.

So, how do we solve these high CPU temperatures?

Lifting the laptop is what we first tried to do to facilitate airflow to the fans through the open air intakes on the back. This helps a bit and allows you to lower the temperature by 1 to 3 degrees for the CPU and GPU. However, this is not enough for Far Cry 5, where the processor still sits at 95 C average.

However, there is one more element to consider: the noise of the fans. In Turbo, fans reach 48-50 dB at head height in all games tested, meaning you’ll need headphones to cover up. Personally, I prefer a more aggressive fan profile in turbo mode, with performance mode being the average power and quieter option, but that’s not necessarily the case.

On average the fans run at around 44 dB in Performance mode, temperatures are still correct and the frame loss is around 5-8% as the GPU is no longer overclocked in this mode, but the Dynamic Boost still works in compatible games.

It is possible to play soundlessly as long as you select Whisper mode, especially when Whisper 2.0 mode is active, which limits the number of frames per second to 60. However, not all games can run at 60 fps in silent mode with Ultra settings, as the GPU is limited to 0.99 MHz and 45-55 W in this mode. However, you can always remove the details if you want a gaming experience of only 40 dB. Note that the system will only operate at 35-36 dB for most games, and will increase to 40 dB for more demanding games.

Attention: We’ve noticed a problem on my and Derek’s machines, where the system sometimes crashes in this silent mode (this seems to happen after the laptop has been used in silent mode for a while, or after resuming sleep mode). This means that even if you select Performance or Turbo, the GPU will not exceed 55W and will not work as expected. It’s easy to tell when this will be the case, because the fans will be much quieter than they normally are on these profiles. However, a quick reboot is all it takes to get everything back in working order if this happens.

Reference temperature/noise

But what if you don’t want to sacrifice that much performance, but are willing to do anything to better control the CPU temperature and fan noise?

This is what I’ve been trying to do. On one hand, you can use manual mode, which allows you to set different fan curves for the CPU/GPU and also overclock the GPU.

This may help with the temperature, but it actually increases the noise profiles. Since CPU is a touchy subject here, I created a profile that sets the CPU fan to 95% if the CPU goes above 90C. The noise level rose to 52+ dB in games like Far Cry 5, while it averaged 48+ dB in other games that are less CPU intensive. If you set both fans to 100%, the noise level rises to 55+ dB.

The effects have been documented in the following journals. Games that support Dynamic Boost run at excellent temperatures in this manual mode, but the CPU always peaks above 90 C, especially in FarCry 5 and Battlefield V.

And here you can see what happens in the same mode, but when you lift the laptop off the table.

What’s next? Well, since AMD Master does not support the Ryzen mobile platform, disabling the CPU Boost (as explained here) is pretty much the only way to solve the problem. Without Boost, the processor only operates at 3.3 GHz, and these are the performance implications in the game we tested:

Ryzen 9 5900HS + RTX 3080 Notebook 80+W QHD Turbo QHD Turbo, Boost for the Disabled FHD performance FHD performance, a helping hand for the disabled
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
44 frames per second (35 frames per second is 1% less) 44 frames per second (36 frames per second is 1% less) 56 fps (45 fps is a minimum of 1%) 59 frames per second (48 frames per second is 1% less)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
85 fps (58 fps is a low of 1%) 89 fps (66 fps – 1% low) 103 frames per second (82 frames per second – 1% drop) 108 fps (85 fps is a low of 1%)
Metro Exodus
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX AUS)
56 frames per second (34 frames per second – 1% drop) 58 frames per second (40 frames per second is 1% less) 64 frames per second (43 frames per second is 1% less) 66 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
(DX 12, highest preset, TAA)
78 frames per second (60 frames per second, or 1% less) 81 frames per second (38 frames per second – 1% drop) 92 frames per second (59 frames per second – 1% drop) 92 frames per second (42 frames per second, or 1% less)
Strange Brigade. (Vulcan, ultra-presumptuous) 130 frames per second (98 frames per second is 1% less) 134 frames per second (104 frames per second is 1% less) 161 frames per second (125 frames per second – 1% reduction) 165 frames per second (125 frames per second, or 1% less)
Witch 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra preset, Hair Work On 4)
82 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop) 87 images per second (71 images per second – 1% drop) 106 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% drop) 110 frames per second (84 frames per second – 1% reduction)

Surprisingly, most games run better without CPU Boost, as this profile provides extra thermal space for the GPU, which then runs at a higher clock than with the standard Turbo profile. However, the fans still averaged 48+ dB on Turbo and 44+ dB on Performance, but this time with higher temperatures in all games.

Here are some logs for the Turbo profile with Boost disabled, with QHD resolution.

And this is what happens in the quieter performance profile with Disabled Boost, at FHD resolution.

 

Other settings are available in the manual profile with Boost disabled, and you can set the fans to around 42 dB (at 60% of their speed) while maintaining a normal temperature in most games. I’ll let you play with the settings too, for me the performance + Disabled Boost profile on my computer is pretty smooth.

Most people don’t want to go to that trouble. And even if you’re willing to turn off Boost, which isn’t hard to do, it’s hardly ideal on a computer you probably bought primarily for its excellent CPU performance.

AMD’s key support for the Ryzen 5000 mobile platform will certainly come in handy here, especially the ability to disable certain cores in games without affecting the boost frequency increase. Such a configuration would take this laptop to another level. However, this has not been possible so far and as far as I know it will not be possible in the near future (if ever).

Power supply for internal/external monitor

Since the Zephyrus G15 uses Optimus to seamlessly switch between the iGPU and dGPU when needed, the video signal displayed on the internal monitor is always routed through the iGPU, which affects gaming performance, especially at FHD resolutions and games already running at high frame rates, such as CS:Go, Fornite, and so on. Our tests found a difference of more than 10% in fps in Strange Brigade, Battlefield V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on one side, while some games ran even faster on the internal monitor, for example. B. Metro.

Performance loss is reduced when playing games at QHD resolution.

Our logs also show that the CPU and GPU are slightly down when the laptop is connected to an external monitor. Here are some protocols with laptops on the table. in turbo mode.

Here are some logs of the operating modes, with quieter fans and slightly less power.

 

And here are some of the laptops in a vertical dock, with the lid closed and in turbo mode.

Overall, this Zephyr is ideal for use in a vertical docking station with peripherals and an external monitor. I’ll let you test the profiles again to find the right balance between power and noise, but I’m satisfied with the performance of this unit in Turbo mode.

Zephyr G15 – 3080 Versus 3070

I already showed you in the benchmarks the minute differences in performance between the 3070 and 3080 versions of the G15. But what about the games?

I can’t go into details because I tested the 3080 and the Derek 3070, and we don’t have the same names or test procedures. But here are some results for you:

3080 – QHD Turbo 3070 – QHD Turbo 3080 – FHD Turbo 3070 – FHD Turbo
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
92 frames per second (70 frames per second is 1% less) 85 frames per second 116 fps (90 fps is 1% less) 98 frames per second
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
59 frames per second (42 frames per second – 1% drop) 45 frames per second 81 frames per second (61 frames per second, or 1% less) 63 frames per second
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
44 frames per second (35 frames per second is 1% less) 44 frames per second 59 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% drop) 67 frames per second
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX, DLSS Auto)
44 frames per second (37 frames per second, or 1% less) 38 frames per second 54 frames per second (43 frames per second – 1% drop) 48 frames per second
Witch 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra preset, Hair Work On 4)
82 frames per second (66 frames per second – 1% drop) 79 frames per second 111 frames per second (85 frames per second is 1% less) 112 frames per second

Take them with a piece of salt, as described above.

I don’t expect more than 10% difference in display performance in FHD between the two GPU versions, and maybe a little more in QHD.

In RTX games, the 3080 wins, but in the more demanding RTX games of both versions, you’ll probably have to lower the details to 60+ fps.

VS Scar 15 and Zephyr S15

So what about some other 15-inch laptops, like the ROG Scar 15 (Ryzen 9 + RTX 3080 Laptop 115+W) and last year’s ROG Zephyrus S15, one of the fastest Intel processor ultraportables of the generation (i7-11875H + RTX 2080 Super 80W+).

Here’s what we got:

Zephyrus G15
FHD Turbo
Scar 15
FHD Turbo
Zephyrus S15
FHD Turbo
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
116 fps (90 fps is 1% less) 122 frames per second (76 frames per second – 1% drop) 117 images per second (83 images per second – 1% drop)
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Off)
81 frames per second (61 frames per second, or 1% less) 89 frames per second (56 frames per second – 1% drop) 68 frames per second (52 frames per second – 1% drop)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
59 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% drop) 68 frames per second (56 frames per second is 1% less)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
109 fps (64 fps – 1% low) 118 frames per second (72 frames per second – 1% drop) 115 frames per second (92 frames per second – 1% drop)
Metro Exodus
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX AUS)
70 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% drop) 82 frames per second (41 frames per second – 1% drop)
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
(DX 11, Ultra-preset)
181 fps (127 fps – 1% low) 198 frames per second (140 frames per second or 1%) 158 images per second (109 images per second or 1% less)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra-optimized, TAA)
92 frames per second (60 frames per second, or 1% less) 104 frames per second (80 frames per second is 1% less) 85 frames per second (65 frames per second is 1% less)
Tomb Raider Rise
(DX 12, very high preset, FXAA)
108 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% drop) 112 frames per second (60 frames per second is 1% less) 136 frames per second (76 frames per second – 1% drop)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
(DX 12, highest preset, TAA)
97 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% drop) 103 frames per second (52 frames per second – 1% drop) 102 frames per second (72 frames per second – 1% drop)
Strange Brigade. (Vulcan, ultra-presumptuous) 172 frames per second (131 frames per second – 1% drop) 102 frames per second (88 frames per second is 1% less) 156 frames per second (121 frames per second – 1% drop)
Witch 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra preset, Hair Work On 4)
111 frames per second (85 frames per second is 1% less) 124 frames per second (96 frames per second is 1% less) 108 frames per second (51 frames per second – 1% drop)

Compared to the Scar 15 2021, one of the fastest 15-inch gaming notebooks currently available, the Zephyrus G15 lags about 5-15% in FHD resolution and slightly more in QHD.

The comparison with the Zephyrus S15 is not that accurate, as we tested them with different drivers and in different time frames. However, based on these results, the exchange of two laptops is the main source of losses: G15 wins some matches, and S15 wins others. Nevertheless, expect an update to the S15 once Intel’s 11th generation is released. In addition, core H generation hardware will be available later this year to allow for a more meaningful comparison.

Noise, heat, communication, loudspeakers and other

ASUS redesigned the thermal module of the Zephyrus G15 2021 so that the air intakes on the bottom are no longer blocked, and fresh air can easily flow into the fans this time. In addition, this series has better VRM modules installed and liquid metal in the AMD processor. Normal thermal paste is always used for the GPU.

The cooling module fits well on the GPU side with these updates, but the CPU reaches high temperature spikes during certain activities and games, as explained in the previous section.

Fans were also quite noisy, averaging 48+dB on Turbo, 44+dB on Performance, and less than 40dB on Silent with complex CPU+GPU action and games, but with a noticeable loss of performance on this Silent profile.

I am not opposed to a more aggressive fan profile in turbo mode, especially if you can revert to performance mode for a quieter experience with a slight drop in cadence. However, the AMD Ryzedn 9 processor is hard to tame in this case, even with the noisier Turbo profile. As a result, you may want to consider turning off the CPU Boost feature to better control the processor temperature.

At the same time, the Zephyrus G15 operates silently in the Silent profile during daily multitasking and light use, with the fans operating at an almost inaudible level of about 30-33 dB. However, it is not really quiet in multitasking mode, but only in video streaming mode and very easy to use. The fans have the ability to completely shut down as long as the hardware is running below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but multitasking easily causes the CPU to exceed this limit, waking up the fans. In comparison, the thicker SCAR 15 is not as sensitive to heat and rests quietly while multitasking.

The temperature of the outer jacket is also quite high, both in daily use and under heavy load. In daily use, we see temperatures in the mid to upper thirtys around the keyboard, the warmest spot being near the multimedia key in the upper left corner, and the highest thirty to forty in the background. This shouldn’t be a problem, especially since the fans rest quietly and are mostly inactive during light use, but more complex multitasking will result in an increase in fan speed and temperature.

Daily use – stream Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, silent profile, fan set to 0dB (up to 33dB for daily multitasking).

While playing, you will notice that the areas near the fan stay cool because the system draws air from above and below. This keeps the temperature around the WASD zones and arrows at a comfortable level and in the low to mid 40s range for all power profiles.

However, in the middle of the laptop, where the CPU and GPU are located, the temperatures inside are 50 and 60 degrees higher, while it is 60 degrees at the back. Usually, you won’t touch these sections, but in some games, you’ll use more shortcuts that you might not want to touch. Note that we performed the tests in a room with a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and that these results may vary depending on the temperature of your room.

I would like to add that, as mentioned in the previous section, thermal elements blow hot air into the frame of the screen, and as a result, this frame is actually the hottest part of the entire laptop. Fortunately, it is thick enough to absorb most of the heat generated, yet some of this heat also spreads to the screen, reaching around 50°C in the hottest areas near the radiators.

I’m definitely not a fan of this type of design that heats up the screen, as liquid crystals and high temperatures can go bad together for long periods of time. Asus says this kind of heat shouldn’t affect the panel anyway, as it’s within the guaranteed operating temperatures, but I prefer a design that pushes warm air behind the screen, like the other ROG Zephyrus models, which eliminates this potential problem and may also help with the perceived noise.

 

*Games – Silent – plays Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Silent + Whisper profile, fan at 35-36 dB
*Games – Performance – plays Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fan at 44+ dB
*Games – Performance, CPU Boost disabled – plays Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fan at 44+ dB
*Games – Turbo, Tabletop – plays Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fan at 48+ dB

For network connectivity, this device features Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5 via the Intel AX200 chip and Gigabit Lan. Our review sample showed good WiFi performance both close to the router and at over 30 feet with obstacles in between.

The audio system includes 6 speakers in a 3080 G15 configuration, with two woofers on the bottom and 4 tweeters running through the grilles around the keyboard. Quality and volume are excellent here, even with a decent bass. This is by far one of the best audio systems you can find in a laptop today.

Asus seems to have some issues with the sound quality of these speakers, although some of the BestBuy models come with bumpy and almost unusable speakers. Test it with different types of audio content and at all levels once you have the laptop to make sure you don’t miss anything. If you’re not satisfied, send him away.

I mean, the camera… Well, it’s still not here, and the external FHD webcam that Asus installs in some parts of the world with its high-end ROG laptops is not here.

Battery life

All 2021 ROG models, including the G15, come with a 90Wh battery, an increase from the 76Wh of previous generations.

We got this on our test device in terms of battery life, with the screen brightness set to around 120 nits (~60 brightness).

  • 11 W (~7-9 hours of operation)– Google Drive text editing, sleep mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 9.5 W (~9+ hours of use)– Full screen 1080p video on Youtube in edge mode, silent mode, screen set to 60%, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 9W (~10 hours of use)– Netflix full screen in Edge mode, silent mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 12.5 W (~5-7 hours usage)– Edge mode display, balanced mode, 60% display, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 80 W (~1+ hours of use)– Games – Witcher 3, power mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON, no fps limit.

This is an excellent runtime, especially on a laptop with a QHD screen.

The system automatically switches the display to 60 Hz on battery and iGPU, and the AMD platform is very efficient at low load. There is also an iGPU/dGPU switch in the armory that can be used to completely disable the Nvidia card when it is disabled. This ensures that no unauthorized programs running in the background wake up the card and eat away at battery life.

This ROG Zephyrus G15 configuration comes with a 200W block, smaller and lighter than the variants used on previous Zephyrus models. The battery is full in about 2 hours, with a quick charge during the first half hour, USB-C charging up to 100W is also supported. Unfortunately, a USB-C charger isn’t included, but Asus says a 100W USB-C charger from the ROG brand will hit stores later this year.

Here is a comparison of the two stones. Not much, if you ask me, with all those wires.

Prices and availability

At the time of writing, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 2021 is available in most parts of the world.

The Zephyrus GA503QS variant tested here with Ryzen 9 + RTX 3080 + 165Hz, with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage costs 2499 USD in the US, 2799 EUR in Germany/France and 2599 GBP in the UK. But I wouldn’t understand.

Instead, look for the mid-range versions of the Zephyrus GA503QR and QM, as you can still get a QHD screen. The 3070 laptop model Derek received is still available at Best Buy in the United States for $1,799 and at other retailers between $1,800 and $2,000, while in Europe the QR variant starts at £1,899 in the UK and €2,000 in Germany. The QM model, which is based on the RTX 3060 graphics, is about 200-300 USD/GBP/EUR cheaper than the current QM.

I would be particularly interested in a Ryzen 5 5600HS + RTX 3060 configuration of this laptop, especially if the 5600HS works as well as the desktop Ryzen 5 5600. A 6-core processor can run much cooler than the 8-core 5800/5900 models, which solves the problem of processor heat and positively affects fan noise. It is hoped that Asus will offer such a configuration in the near future, as this has not been the case so far.

Final Thoughts

After a few weeks with the 3070, I have to say that I am really impressed with the value of this machine.  For $1800 you get an impressively fast processor, an RTX 3070 and 1TB of storage right out of the box.  Sure, you could say it’s not a powerful 3070, but other laptops with less powerful 3070s aren’t that cheap either.  Add to that the keyboard, trackpad, and screen, which I found perfect, and it becomes an incredible purchase.  I was very excited to see what this car could do on paper, and it did most of it.

But even with all this, there are a few things I had a hard time swallowing.  First up was the fan noise, which I found incredibly loud and is definitely due to the octa-core processor.  The only way to solve this problem is to disable the CPU Boost.  Because if I leave this phone, I’m leaving it forever.  But then why am I paying for such a nice processor – I could have gotten a hex Intel processor that would have been properly configured to make the cooler work.

Then there’s the quality of the construction, which I found a bit cheap.  The magnesium plastic casing used by Asus causes frequent squeaks when handled.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.  But I also noticed it in a negative way.  Also, I found the hinge and lid to be a bit fragile, and the plastic rim was also cheap.  I’ve held a few of the original Zephyrus models in my hands, so I expected better.

The rest of my pain points were minor.  I found the layout of the front port (and cramped!) distracting.  Two USB-C ports on the same side doesn’t seem logical to me.  And the microSD slot could have been a full size.  And those screens constantly reflecting the light onto the telescope were annoying.  But none of these reasons would be enough to not buy this car.

The biggest red flag for me is quality control.  All buyers should spend some time testing everything on this laptop while still in the return window.  My problem was that my computer would hang up when I clicked the Play Paused Media button on Netflix and Amazon.  To prevent it, this required a hard reset to restore it and dGPU mode operation.  I also had a faulty fingerprint reader that almost never worked. However, in solving these problems online, I was hampered by several other problems that other people were having.  Blown up speakers were very common.  BSODs, broken screens, and significant backlight bleeding were also reported.  Best Buy magazines are also full of these complaints.

Because if I had a flawless car, I would definitely want to keep it.  This is one of the best laptops in this size and price range.  For me, though, the exclusion is a good reason to bring it back and evaluate my other options.  Another factor contributing to my success is that I already own a Razer Blade 15 with 2080MQ.  The G15 is a meager improvement for me in terms of performance, especially since I disabled processor acceleration to avoid noise.  The trade-off would be a much better screen, better speakers, and a slightly improved keyboard, resulting in lower build quality, loss of control over the FIVR processor, no biometrics (or webcam), and RAM soldering.  As for my mistakes, I should add that I will have to keep them under wraps for the time being.

But this is probably not the upgrade scenario most others face.  And let’s face it: The 15-blade is expensive.  So recommend it to people who are looking for a good price?  Absolutely right. Just do what you need to do and make sure it is in perfect condition.

Last Thoughts

Although I’ve only been using my G15 sample for about two weeks, I completely agree with Derek’s conclusion above. On paper, the Zephyrus G15 is an incredibly worthwhile 15-inch notebook with the fastest hardware available in the segment as early as 2021, good inputs and outputs, great speakers, an excellent battery, and, in my opinion, the best multi-function display available.

All this is available at a good price if you want a 3070 and 3060 configuration, both here in Europe and in North America. However, as our tests have shown, the 3080 is expensive and not necessarily recommended given the small performance gain.

In a way, Asus might encourage some of you to opt for the QS top configuration, and that’s because some of the RAM is soldered to this laptop’s motherboard. The 3080 tested here comes with 16GB of soldered RAM, so you can add 16GB of additional DIMMs for a total of 32. However, the Derek 3070 is equipped with 8GB of RAM. As far as I know, this applies to most 3060/3070 configurations, meaning they can realistically be expanded to 16GB of usable dual-channel memory; DIMM should support a 32GB RAM card. Currently, 16GB is sufficient for everyday use and gaming, but some of the most demanding workloads this hardware can handle could benefit from 32GB or even 64GB of storage. Unfortunately, 32 is only possible on the more expensive 3080 configurations, while 64 is impossible on any model.

I won’t repeat the other little things mentioned in the article, but I do want to warn you about potential issues related to build quality, bleeding or uneven panels, opening speakers, and software bugs. So make sure you check everything about this laptop when you return it.

I go into more detail about the performance and temperature you should expect on this laptop, and why I think the best buyer would be a Ryzen 5 5600HS with RTX 3060/3070 graphics, although that’s not even an option at this point.

This is mainly due to the fact that the hardware, especially the AMD processor, of this laptop is in high demand and there are many games. Additionally, if you want to get the best performance possible, you should use the Turbo profile, where the fans also rise quite aggressively to 48+dB at the head.

I’ve already mentioned that I prefer a more aggressive Turbo profile if it lowers internal/external temperatures and extends component life. Still, the fact is that the CPU always gets hot, averaging 90+ C, during some activities on this laptop, even with noisy fans. In addition, much of the internal heat ends up in the outer case, heating not only the center of the keyboard and back panel, but also the edge of the screen and the display itself, since the thermal system is designed to allow hot air to hit the screen.

Limiting CPU boosts and using a laptop with the GPU unlocked is, at least according to my tests, the best solution in terms of performance, temperature, and noise. But that means you’re buying a powerful 8Core processor and an overclocked GPU, but you can’t really take advantage of the features, so you should at least try to spend the minimum for the configuration you’ll end up working with. So I recommend considering the Zephyrus G15 GA503QM, preferably with a QHD display and preferably with a 5600HS processor if it ever becomes available (which is not an option at the moment), which should work at much lower temperatures in this chassis.

Of course, you still have to look for hidden flaws and accept other peculiarities of this laptop, such as B. Incorrectly placed input/output and status indicators, a squeaky case (which, by the way, is made of magnesium and not plastic, as it seems) and an exhaust that blows into the screen.

As for alternatives, there is currently no other notebook with the same performance-based on AMD 5000 hardware and RTX 3000 hardware. However, you’ll find them in larger devices like Asus ROG Strix/Scar 15 or Lenovo Legion 5Pro/7 laptops when available and several other options built on Togfang barebones (sold by Eluktronics, XMG, Schenker in various markets, etc.) So if you’re looking for a 2021 laptop with maximum performance, I’d choose these, as these larger laptops are better able to support the thermal requirements of the Ryzen 9 5000 processor and also have more powerful graphics chips.

On the portable side, the alternatives are still Intel-based, and most of them are expensive, like the Blade 15 GS66 Stealth. However, with these two devices and the ROG Zephyrus M15/S15 and the Gigabyte Aero 15 being among my favorite options in this class in recent years, I would expect updated 11th generation Intel to be available in Core H configurations. The generation waits.

Anyway, this is pretty much my review of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503QS. Great on paper, but with a few flaws that might not work in real life. Therefore, my final rating ends at 4/5 for the RTX 3070 models, unconvincing for the RTX 3080 configurations, and possibly a full recommendation for the 3060 variants with a 6-core processor if such a processor ever becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 in good condition?

A: Synopsis: The Zephyrus G15 is a capable and versatile 15 laptop. It handles demanding workloads perfectly, combining a compact design with a powerful and fast display, ideal for everyday use and gaming, and even for precise color work.

Is the G14 Asus Zephyr worth it?

A: All in all, it is a good laptop if you are looking for a high-end laptop that is user-friendly, stylish, robust, etc., but if you are looking for a laptop on which you can safely game, we do not recommend this laptop because it is not a mid-range or low-end laptop, it is expensive and high-end.

Will the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 be upgraded?

A: This device has 8GB of soldered memory, but you can upgrade the open slot to a 16GB SO-DIMM, for a total of 24GB.

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