ASUS ROG Strix Scar III Review

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The Scar 3 has some serious power; it’s running a brand new 8 core Intel Core i9 processor, that clocks to about 2.3 gigahertz.

The CPU turbos well over 4 gigahertz depending on the right thermal conditions.

The Strix also has a mobile edition of the RTX 2070, a solid GPU with 32 gigs of Ram, and one terabyte NVME SSD, but the main event is the 15.6 inch IPS level 240 hertz display with a three millisecond response time.

The Strix Scar 3 has a very stiff keyboard and mousepad, they’re rigid and don’t flex too much, the same can be said for that this screen.

There’s a bit of flex on the hinge, but there’s not too much, it feels pretty solid, most importantly the hinge and the lifting mechanism is very good.

 

ASUS ROG Strix Scar III (2019) Gaming Laptop

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You can do a one-finger open nicely; obviously, that helps with the laptop which is slightly over 4.4 pounds, so the weight is a counterbalance.

In regards to port selection, the Scar 3 has three USB type ports, a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, HDMI video output.

Ethernet is also good to see on a streaming laptop, there is gigabit Wi-Fi through an Intel adapter that performs pretty well doing in our test, and we didn’t see any dropouts any significant performance losses.

It has another type C port, also a DisplayPort, and finally a barrel connector for the 280-watt power brick.

The RGB throughout the laptop is pretty good, you’ve got a bunch of different modes on the keyboard, the backlighting is good,

You can change the backlight brightness very quickly with a few clicks of a button; you can also change the mode to something like rainbow static breathing.

You also have a nice edge around the bottom of the laptop, so you have a subtle RGB glow, we quite like that it illuminates the table or the streaming surface.

The Strix has a relatively slender chassis for a 15-inch gaming laptop; we enjoyed using the keyboard.

The key travel was pretty good; the keys feel nice, they’re not too soft, there’s a bit of punch to them, we also love the RGB, it’s quite responsive, as soon as you press the keys it responds.

We did like using this keyboard as far as hotkeys go, you get a good selection, your quick access to volume up and quick access opposite volume down.

You’ve also have a microphone mute, you’ve got a fan button which allows you to switch the thermal modes between silent balanced.

Internet Browsing

For example, you have a switch to reduce that fan speed when you don’t need the performance, like when you’re browsing the internet.

The trackpad isn’t too sticky, it isn’t overly resistive, it is pretty fast, and obviously, gestures in the windows interface worked well, like double finger scrolling.

The trackpad also has dedicated right and left keys, and this is, in our opinion, is better than the all in one integrated trackpad with the built-in keys.

The trackpad doubles as a number pad, when you hold the number lock key on the trackpad, you get a lighter interface for your number keys.

When you turn the num lock on, the mouse movement function is disabled, so we can see scenarios where you could activate it accidentally during gaming.

The CPU is quite an interesting one, it is rated at 45-watt TDP, and Asus gives you a 45-watt power budget.

When you’ve got eight cores all wrestling for 45 watts worth of power budget you have to do some sound engineering, fundamentally what we would assume it does is that it reduces the frequency per core, because there’s less power available per core.

We see this with CPU only loads; you will see the short duration power limits go effectively through the roof.

If you run the laptop standard at the 1890 watt region, this allows a high turbo boost clock speed for those short durations, so for those punchy workloads like streaming, it makes the laptop zippy.

Great Gaming Performace

The Strix has a mobile edition of the RTX 2070, we were getting 100fps in specific scenarios at a good setting on battlefield 5, reducing the image quality a bit and it was well over 120 FPS on average.

You can expect around 1300-1500 megahertz range for the GPU core clock.

Powerful Streaming GPU

CPU clock speed is generally around about 2.7 to about 3.0 gigahertz during streaming.

The Core i9 chip is an 8 core chip, we think you should get the 6 core chip, and the reason being is you don’t need the eight-core chip for gaming.

We found the fan speed to be a bit annoying; the fan seems to ramp up needlessly in low load situations like web browsing.

The fan speed curve changes quite rapidly. So, you’ll notice the fan cycling up and down, which is a bit more annoying and more noticeable than just a consistent, even higher fan speed.

We didn’t see the GPU cross the 90 degrees Celsius point, even when we were thrashing it.

The CPU temps are mostly in check, and the clock speeds were decent. The clock speeds were above the base clock, so we don’t have any complaints as far as the cooling performance goes.

The laptop’s cooling system is prioritizing the RTX 2070 discrete GPU over the Intel CPU.

The cooling does force CPU clock speeds for each core on the eight-core chip down below the base clock levels, so technically that would be throttling, but this is quite a unique scenario.

The CPU temperatures are excellent, and as we said, the GPU temperatures were suitable, but that does come at the price of relatively high noise output.

Cheaper Battery Choice

Battery life is not particularly great. No surprises there, there is a 66 Watts power unit inside, we got about an hour and a quarter, not a particularly great result, but we didn’t expect anything.

The screen worked well in direct sunlight; it’s not a highly reflective screen you get with the type of glossy finish.

The screen is anti-reflective and is pretty decent, not the best we’ve seen, but it is decent enough to use outside in a decent amount of sunlight.

Storage SSD

Scar 3 has one terabyte intel SSD 660 P, which in its own right is a decent enough NVME SSD, it’s in the bargain-basement category as far as NVME drives go.

The write speeds and read speeds are about 1.7 gigabytes per second, but that’s about half of what you’d see from a Samsung 1969 69 70 Evo type drive.

It’s quite tricky to get inside the chassis; you have to remove a bunch of screws on the bottom, then you’ve got two ribbon cables which connect the RGB LED lights around the bottom.

You have to be quite careful with ribbons as anybody who’s worked with a laptop before will know, ribbon cables are awful it is as simple as that, they’re just awful to deal with, and this is no different.

Only One SSD Bay

There’s no additional m2 SSD slot, so if you want to make a switch, it’s going to have to be a straight switch.

Our unit did ship with an empty 2.5-inch bay, so if you needed more SSD space or a bigger hard drive, for example, you could leverage that 2.5-inch slot.

The Ram is in the form of two SODIMMs, so we had two 2666 megahertz ddr4 in our unit.

We think the screens are fantastic; with IPS screens you’re not going to get a hundred percent RGB coverage, but we found the color to be perfect.

We enjoyed the visual experience; we thought the brightness was suitable for outdoor usage, which is quite surprising on a gaming laptop because brightness and color accuracy can be the things that are skimmed over.

The response time and high refresh rate are fantastic, even if it is challenging to drive the monitor anywhere near its default refresh rate at 240 Hertz, but the screen is fantastic.

The bezel is also excellent, it’s less than 10 millimeters or 81.5% screen to body ratio but comes at the cost of an internal or built-in webcam.

Fortunately, the bundle does come with a USB webcam, and the USB webcam is better than any built-in webcam that we typically see on laptops with slim bezels.

Overall, the Asus Strix Scar 3 is a reliable gaming laptop with a powerful CPU, the CPU should have no problem encoding a stream, and it should deliver stellar performance.

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