Asus ROG Strix G15 (G513RW) Review: Power and Personality

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Gaming laptop brands have been pumping out new and refreshed models quite aggressively for the past few months. It’s a busy time for the industry since Intel, AMD and Nvidia have all recently released brand new high-end hardware, starting at the CES trade show in January this year. Laptops based on all these new CPUs and GPUs are now making their way to retail and we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on a few of them. Today, we’re going to talk about our first experience with AMD’s latest high-performance laptop CPUs, the Ryzen 6000 series. The company sent me an Asus demo unit based on the top-end Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, and we’re going to see how it compares to Intel’s high-end 12th Gen offerings.

The Asus ROG Strix G15 series is aimed at esports enthusiasts and gamers who want top-level performance but don’t need a super-slim or light device. It shares a lot of design and hardware elements with the rest of the ROG Strix (2022) family, which you might or might not like. If you’re a student or home user looking for a laptop that will be able to handle top-end games for a few years and also serve for everyday productivity, read on.

Asus ROG Strix G15 (G513RW) price in India

Asus offers multiple models and variants with slightly different specifications. The unit I have for review today is sold as the Asus ROG Strix G15 (G513RW). It will soon go on sale in India priced at approximately Rs. 1,90,000. While this unit has a 1440p 165Hz display, certain configurations will have an option for a 300Hz panel. The rest of the hardware is all top-of-the-line – an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

The ROG Strix G15 (G513RW) will be sold via Asus’ authorised stores and partners including Flipkart. A similar model, the G15RC, with a Ryzen 7 6800H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is currently listed at Rs. 1,12,990 while the G15RM with a GeForce RTX 3060 costs Rs. 1,53,990.

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The mirrored, edge-illuminated ROG logo on the lid looks striking

 

Asus ROG Strix G15 (G513RW) design

Asus has not gone for a subtle aesthetic for its 2022 ROG Strix models. We recently had a first look at the ROG Strix Scar 17 SE, and so the ROG Strix G15 looks quite familiar. This model has a simpler pattern on the lid but the same RGB LED light strip across the lower front and sides, the same raised hinge design with an angular half-cutout below the screen, and the same narrow screen borders leaving no room for a webcam. The ROG logo on the lid has white border lighting rather than RGB, but this also looks great.

The ROG Strix G15 is relatively compact considering its 15.6-inch screen. It’s only 27.2mm thick at its thickest point and weighs 2.3kg. Asus describes its aesthetic as “sporty” but there’s really a lot going on, from a grid of triangles and squares on half the lid and keyboard deck to a random paint-speckle pattern and rubbery texture on part of the raised lip behind the hinge, to a bright neon rubber patch on the bottom.

The finish of the unit I have is called Eclipse Grey, and there are also Volt Green and Electro Punk options, which have bright neon green or pink accents, respectively. The latter also has pink lighting around the ROG logo on the lid and random text on the lid that’s supposed to appeal to gamers, and will come with a matching mouse and mousepad.

The lid opens smoothly with just one finger. Asus decided to drop the webcam entirely in favour of narrow borders. My unit came with a USB webcam in the box. This isn’t very convenient but it’s better than being stuck with one below the screen that captures awkward angles. The webcam has a neat foldaway clamp and should be able to sit on top of any laptop, but sadly it blocks a bit of the screen.

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Having a column of media control keys is perhaps not the best use of space

 

You get per-key RGB backlighting with three brightness levels, and the effects are synced with the RGB light bar that wraps around the front of this laptop’s base. Asus has gone with island-style keys and a consistent layout. There’s no room for a number pad but oddly Asus has gone with a vertical column of dedicated media keys down the right side – these aren’t paging keys, as you might have expected. As a writer, this felt like wasted potential and it annoyed me, but maybe the target audience will appreciate it. The arrow keys are separated but still small. The trackpad is fairly generously sized and doesn’t have physical buttons.

There are two USB 3.2 Gen1 (5GBps) Type-A ports and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left, and the right is surprisingly blank. You’ll have to reach around to the back to get to the two USB 3.2 Gen2 (10Gbps) Type-C ports –one of which supports DisplayPort video output and 100W charging. AMD’s platforms don’t work natively with Thunderbolt but it’s surprising that USB4, which largely subsumes that standard, hasn’t been implemented. You’ll also find an HDMI 2.0b output, 2.5Gb Ethernet jack, and DC power inlet at the back.

Speaking of power, the ROG Strix G15 ships with an enormous 280W power adapter, and if you’re thinking of portability you’ll have to factor in this weight. My review unit came with a power cord with a 16A plug which seems unnecessary and might prove to be inconvenient for many users.

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The ROG Strix G15’s upper half has a dramatic cutout below the display panel

 

Asus ROG Strix G15 (G513RW) specifications and software

AMD has steadily gained ground against Intel over the past few years, ending its arch-rival’s effective monopoly over high-end consumer CPUs. Both companies are currently at the top of their games. What we have here is AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HX, an 8-core, 16-thread CPU with a 45W base TDP (which OEMs can tweak based on their laptop chassis thermal designs) and 4.9GHz peak boost speed. It’s based on the Zen 3+ core architecture and uses a 6nm node for the core chiplets. AMD claims significant performance and power efficiency gains with this generation compared to the Ryzen 5000 series. This chip also has an integrated Radeon 680M GPU based on the current-gen RDNA2 architecture.

New with this generation for AMD is DDR5 RAM support, and you also get PCIe 4.0 connectivity for SSDs. Asus has gone with 16GB of DDR5-4800 RAM which is fully socketed and replaceable, and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD plus an empty M.2 slot for a second module.

Asus says it has used a liquid metal interface material between the CPU and cooler for improved heat transfer, plus improved fans that can maximise airflow despite being slim. The fans can spin down completely when not needed, for silent operation.

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You might find having these ports on the rear of the ROG Strix G15 inconvenient

 

This model has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU which has a 125W TDP of its own, but can take advantage of an extra 25W which Asus says it provides. Asus also says all 2022 ROG laptops have a Mux (multiplexer) switch to allow the discrete and integrated GPUs to feed the display directly, rather than being chained through one another, which can reduce latency. You can choose between a full-HD 300Hz panel or 2560×1440 165Hz panel, and I have the latter. There’s a 90Wh battery, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Asus’ own Armoury Crate control panel lets you tweak RGB colour effects and sync compatible accessories, tweak some display settings, and set up profiles for these settings based on which games or programs are running. You can also of course monitor system resource usage and temperatures. The app does contain some promotional content but this didn’t feel invasive at all. The MyAsus app links you to customer support, a warranty extension option, and a separate set of systemwide controls for things like battery health and network traffic prioritisation.

You can link to MyAsus which is said to let you transfer files to or from an Android phone and manage its functions from your laptop. A new feature called GlideX lets you use a phone or tablet as an external monitor. Asus Switch is for importing settings and files from an older laptop. You also get a one-year McAfee LiveSafe subscription, a full license for Office 2021 Home & Student, and a one-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.

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There are some USB ports and the audio jack on the left, but no connectivity on the right

 

Asus ROG Strix G15 (G513RW) performance

As far as everyday performance goes, the ROG Strix G15 is pleasant to work with. The 2560×1440 display resolution definitely made a difference to my work and gaming, especially after I adjusted Windows’ default 150 percent scaling down to 125 percent. At this screen size, the density is great for reading and productivity. The screen is thankfully non-reflective and while it isn’t the most vibrant for watching videos on, it’s perfectly fine in terms of viewing angles, brightness, sharpness, and colour reproduction.

The speakers are surprisingly good, producing a deep, rich, spacious sound across various media types. Sound effects in fast-paced games were great, when fan noise wasn’t interfering with it.

Speaking of the fans, the ROG Strix G15 ran relatively quiet. and I didn’t notice the fans spinning up unless a game or heavy test was running. Under heavy load they did produce a dull whoosh, but they also spun down pretty quickly after getting back to the Windows desktop. The keyboard and space around it can get a little warm with ordinary use and I did notice the WASD key area get a little hot while gaming, though it wasn’t too uncomfortable. You’ll be able to feel hot air jetting out the sides and rear of this laptop when it’s stressed.

One tiny annoyance was that with USB Type-A ports only on the left, I needed to run my mouse cord all the way around this laptop when playing games. Type-C ports might not be needed that often but I did use a few portable SSDs and would have liked ports on the sides. An SD card slot would also have been nice, considering that the hardware you get could be useful for creative work as well as games.

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The ROG Strix G15 runs relatively quiet except when processing heavy workloads

 

Benchmarks are the main way to objectively see how a laptop performs. Starting with synthetic tests of performance in everyday tasks, PCMark 10’s standard and Extended run-throughs produced scores of 6,737 and 8,906 respectively. The more intense UL Procyon Office Productivity and Photo Editing test runs managed 5,571 and 6,943 points respectively. These numbers are behind what the MSI Raider GE76-12UHS, based on Intel’s current top-end Core i9-12900HK, delivered but that is a far more expensive laptop with a much more powerful discrete GPU. We can also compare these scores to those of the Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED, based on the previous-gen Ryzen 9 5900HX, to see that there is significant uplift.

Cinebench R20’s single-core and multi-core render test produced 577 and 4,351 points respectively and POV-Ray’s render benchmark took 1 minute, 7 seconds to complete. The newer V-Ray test showed CPU and GPU render scores of 12,370 and 402 respectively and the Corona benchmark ran in 1 minute, 58 seconds. Intel seems to have the advantage here in multi-threaded workloads, thanks to its heterogenous core architecture pushing up the total thread count.

As for common workloads, the ROG Strix G15 managed to compress a 3.24GB folder of assorted files in 1 minute, 28 seconds using 7zip, and transcoding a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265 took 41 seconds. CrystalDiskMark showed somewhat middling SSD performance, with sequential reads of 2,879.3MBps and write of 1,487.9MBps. Random reads and writes were measured at 988.2MBps and 1,490.4MBps respectively.

We start our graphics and gaming tests with the trusty 3DMark synthetic benchmark. The Port Royal scene tests ray tracing, and managed 6,204 points while the more general-purpose Time Spy Extreme test returned 4,903 points. The DirectX Ray Tracing Feature Test ran at 27.28fps and the DLSS Feature Test showed 29.39fps with Nvidia’s upscaling tech disabled but jumped to 67.72fps with it on. Unigine’s Superposition ran at 49.46fps using its 1080p Extreme quality preset, and that actually went up to 63.74fps using the 4K Optimised preset.

All gaming tests were performed at the ROG Strix G15’s native panel resolution of 2560×1440 using the highest possible quality presets, unless specified otherwise. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is capable of pushing this resolution in most games but turning on ray tracing does have unpredictable effects.

Our old favourite, Shadow of the Tomb Raider managed 88fps on average in its built-in benchmark at the Highest setting. With ray tracing enabled and set to Ultra, the average dipped quite a bit to 56fps and visuals were noticeably jittery in parts. Nvidia’s DLSS upscaling halped bring the average back up to 88fps when set to Balanced quality mode but you might perceive some tradeoff in image quality at this setting.

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The RGB LED light strip running around the front of the ROG Strix G15 is synced with the keyboard backlighting

 

Similarly, Metro: Exodus pushed out 57.43fps on average at its Ultra preset without ray tracing, and that fell to 45.28fps with RTX effects set to High. DLSS can be enabled but no quality setting is specified. The result of turning it on was a marginal improvement to 51.37fps on average.

Far Cry 5 averaged a smooth 86fps at its Ultra preset at 1440p, and Middle Earth: Shadow of War also comfortably averaged 89fps at Ultra quality. Gears Tactics came in at 87.8fps at Ultra quality as well. On the other hand, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey managed about 58fps with a little tearing and inconsistent frame delivery using its Ultra High preset.

AMD’s own FidelityFX Super Resolution game upscaling tech works across its competitor’s GPUs and one of the games that supports it is Anno 1800. Set to Ultra High quality at the native 1440p panel resolution, this game averaged 65.47 in its built-in benchmark. With FSR set at the Quality level, that increased to 93.62fps. Quality differences might be slightly noticeable, but like with Nvidia’s DLSS tech, the benefits are magnified because 1440p on a 15.6-inch screen is quite crisp anyway.

As for gameplay, Doom Eternal easily ran at its Ultra Nightmare quality setting and I stayed above 150fps even in heavy battle scenes. Surprisingly, enabling ray tracing absolutely tanked the frame rate to below 30fps. The experience was extremely choppy and badly affected gameplay. DLSS was able to push that back up to 60fps in Balanced mode but the tradeoff didn’t seem worth it at all.

Control is another game that can leverage RTX ray tracing well. At its High preset, this game averaged roughly 70fps in a section that wasn’t too heavy on action. Setting RTX to High brought that down drastically to just around 35fps. With the DLSS target resolution set to 1485×835, that went back up to around 60fps.

Compared to the Intel-powered MSI GE76-12UHS, these scores might seem low. However, that laptop has a more powerful GPU and lower-resolution display, plus other advantages considering its much higher price. What’s interesting is that when running on battery power, the ROG Strix G15 managed 4,130 points in 3DMark’s Time Spy test and 2,424 in the Port Royal test, which are quite good compared to the scores we saw while plugged in. You might be able to play some lighter games at reasonable settings while traveling.

Speaking of the battery, I was pleasantly surprised that I could get through a full day’s work and wasn’t in danger of the ROG Strix G15 shutting down automatically. This is fairly unusual for a gaming laptop and you should be able to get around 6-8 hours of casual use per charge. The graphics-heavy Battery Eater Pro test ran for 2 hours, 33 minutes which is also longer than expected.

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Asus has tried several different design elements, and the overall effect is far from subtle

 

Verdict

The latest generation of ROG Strix G15 laptops, and the G513RW in particular, aren’t aiming to be the absolute best gaming laptops out there, but are more about striking a balance between cost, features, and performance. This unit benefits from an efficient processor and high-resolution display along with current-gen standards for everything from RAM to storage to communications. Gaming performance is pretty good at 2560×1440 as long as you don’t want ray traced effects turned up to the highest quality. If you have the budget for it, there’s enough power here to keep you happy for a few years.

While not exactly light, the ROG Strix G15 is compact and portable enough to be your everyday laptop and it can fulfil multiple roles. The keyboard and trackpad are comfortable, and the speakers are a pleasant surprise. I’m not a huge fan of the styling, and I would have liked better port placement as well as better use of the space taken up by media playback controls. The clip-on webcam is not ideal but is better than having one below the screen. It might be worth waiting a while to see what other companies launch in this price segment.

It isn’t possible to compare the performance of Intel and AMD’s laptop CPU’s directly, since laptop OEMs’ decisions about other components, thermal design, and of course price are what determine overall laptop performance. It seems as though Intel has the edge in terms of absolute performance, and that’s not even counting the just-announced 55W-class Alder Lake HX series. Still, not everyone has the budget for top-end parts, so if this feels like the right balance of power and price for you, the ROG Strix G15 is a solid option.



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