Oh yes, laptops with latest RTX Nvidia graphics cards are finally here and this one in front of you, Asus RoG Strix SCAR II Edition, is one example of what you can expect from such machine, carrying the laptop version of the RTX 2070 graphics card with 8 GB of GDDR6 video memory in combination with Intel’s 8th Gen 6-core CPU and 16 GB of RAM.
Right of the bat, I assume you’re all interested in its gaming performance before all, so I’ll cut right to it. Although my first encounter with the RTX series was with a pretty beefy RTX 2080 Ti desktop version, you can check it out in the right top corner if you’ve missed out on it, I had my expectations in-line considering that this is an RTX 2070 GPU in question, which is also a laptop version of its desktop brother, so it has a significantly lower base and boost GPU clocks, especially comparing it back to back to the mobile Pascal generation and its relation with its desktop counterpart, while it’s also missing out on 7 RTX TOPS. Nevertheless, I was pretty impressed to see what kind of gaming performance output can this laptop with this GPU deliver, especially considering its rather compact form factor. As you can see it in the video down below, you’ll get high frame-rate results in basically every triple-AAA game with settings cranked all the way up.
But, not everything was hunky-dory. I’ve noticed some weird performance issue in some of the games, where the GPU utilization was way down from its top end, roaming anywhere from 50 to 70%, only Battlefield 5 manages to fully utilize it as you can see it here. Although it’s not completely clear what’s going on here, my first thought was that this is something BIOS or driver related, but then I got some feedback it could be the fact that laptop in this configuration only comes with a single 16 GB RAM stick, which means that it doesn’t run in dual channel mode, which again means you won’t be able to fully take advantage of laptop’s hardware potential, and nowadays missing out on a dual channel mode can in some scenarios result with a certain level performance loss in terms of gaming, and that’s fact is hard to face when you count in the price of this machine.
GL704GW is a beast
Of course, trying to pack components as strong as ones found in this laptop, it can have some drawbacks in terms of thermal performance. The CPU temperature was roaming around 85°C, which is pretty high, but it seems that the chassis and it’s cooling can handle it easily as I haven’t experienced any thermal throttling, even the area around the keyboard is reasonably warm. That was with the Asus Turbo profile for the laptop being, as it brings in highest performance output, although it’s pretty loud, uncomfortably loud to be more precise. The Balanced profile is a bit quieter, but still noticeable, while the Silent tones everything down and it’s meant to be used in your everyday web browsing, document handling scenario. With all that said, you will definitely need a headset if you really want to immerse yourself into game-play without being distracted.
And you would want to immersive yourself because the screen which Asus SCAR II actually offers a 144 Hz refresh rate with a fast 3 ms response. It carries an IPS panel, which is of an OK performance, has a good color accuracy, more than enough brightness, although it carries some problems with color and brightness uniformity. As you’ve noticed by the test result, it has a FullHD 1080p resolution, which makes sense considering the high-refresh rate feature, so it ended up as a perfect pair with this very capable GPU. This is why I generally speaking love having 1080p screens on a 15 or 17” gaming laptop, 1440p at the most if paired with an even stronger GPU, cause you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a very high frame-rate performance output if the hardware configuration of such a laptop is remotely stronger than your average example of a gaming laptop.
Asus SCAR II brings in a lot of RGB, but only one RAM stick
Compared to the first generation of Asus SCAR series, the SCAR 2 chassis dimensions were more or less kept the same, it’s just a tad narrower and taller, with the basically the same weight. It’s still overall a very compact chassis taking into consideration what they’ve hardware wise put into hardware wise. The design was revamped a bit, it’s a slight evolution from the original, you can notice that around the screen area, where we now have a much thinner bezel, with a fat chin that carries a webcam, reminding me of Dell’s solution on their XPS line-up.
The build quality is actually pretty decent, it feels really premium and sturdy, this brushed aluminum lid cover give it that extra something, combined with the RGB LED lit ROG logo from before, a new RGB LED strip on the front, although I’m not that big of a fan of this new added camo texture on top of the carbon-like one around the keyboard, which is probably here to follow the Asus SCAR II weapon theme.
As for the I/O’s and ports, it comes in with a nice lineup, with one USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C, one USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, and full size SD card reader on the right, while on the left we have a miniDisplay Port, HDMI 2.0b, three USB 31 Gen1, combo audio jack, and a LAN port. On that same side you can also notice the AC plug, which is a better solution compared to it being on the right, although the best place for it would be on the back, you can’t have it all. The power brick is expectedly big and bulky, it’s a 230 W one, and it’s here to stay if you want to play games on longer periods and you also need it to enable the laptops full performance potential.
If you plan to do any upgrades in the feature, you can easily do that on this laptop, the whole bottom plate just comes off after you remove 11 screws, which takes a bit longer, and with doing that you’ll get access to your regular interchangeable components, that being the RAM, M.2 SSD’s, 2,5” drive bay and Wi-Fi card. The M.2 SSD drive, although an NVMe one, is unfortunately not blazingly fast, at least they’ve put an SSHD for the larger storage option.
Here you can also see the cooling solution and those fans which are making the noise and they claim to hold down less dust than a conventional one. The whole cooling solution is pretty beefy as you can see, there’s a lot of heat-pipes and heat-sinks surrounding it, which is why it’s able to keep everything under control. Most importantly, here you can see the battery, which comes in at 66 Wh of capacities and it seems to be easily removable. With it, I got anywhere from 4 to 6 hours off so to speak regular use, web browsing and office environment (Windows Battery Saver Off and Asus Silent profile).
Combining the Asus ROG Strix SCAR II with a different RTX GPU for a better deal?
The speakers are side mounted, and they’re in my opinion average at best considering that they are laptop speakers, so if you want to really be a part of the game-play, you’ll be better off with a headset or a dedicated speaker set. The track-pad is pretty good, with this now sort of old-school left and right dedicated mouse keys, remember those? It was precise and big enough, nothing that I could complain about As for the keyboard, if you ask me it’s as standard as it can be for being a laptop one, it has a decent amount of spacing between keys, travel distance is OK, it’s good for typing on a longer run, and I like how they’ve offset the arrow keys for one row, they stick out a bit on the bottom, so it’s easier to find them without looking directly at that spot. Above the keyboard itself, there’s an added row of keys for volume control, as well as a dedicated key for Asus Armory Crate Control center utility.
Speaking of that, here you can control everything, the before mentioned performance, and fan profiles, check temperature and clock speeds, everything else laptop configuration related, and of course change the effect and color of the RGB LED’s or you can also toggle them using these hotkeys on the arrow keys. I just wish they tone down the preinstalled software, there’s a bunch of things going on in the background, McAffee’s anti-virus utility being the most annoying one, prompting you every so often to get that subscription.
All-in-all, this is a very solid laptop when you draw the line, but as I said, be sure to pick out the right configuration for yourself, as I think you can get a better value deal with choosing the RTX 2060 without compromising that much performance, or maybe even the last gen GTX one, as they are still in offer even with the SCAR II Edition model, that being GTX 1070 and 1060 models, maybe you can get a good price for it or one that maybe makes even more sense when it comes to value for money. Also, as it seems, try to avoid getting the model with the single RAM stick configuration, or if you’re still going to buy it anyway, at least be sure to buy yourself another RAM stick to fill out that the second slot and enable dual channel mode. That’s it for this time, I hope my Asus ROG Strix SCAR II Review helped you at in making your final decision, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!