Asus ROG Strix Scar 3 review – 240Hz madness and ray tracing? (2019)


Hello this is the Provoked Prawn and this
is the Asus ROG Strix Scar III. This is a premium gaming laptop from Asus with a
compact 15.6 inch screen and a really high spec in a premium high quality
package that’s really interesting. Now, I’ve done a short initial thoughts and overview, with pros and cons on this laptop, so I’ll link to that in the
description but this is a more in-depth review as I’ve been playing around with
it for two weeks now using it daily for gaming working and having fun and I’m
happy to report it’s a really interesting gaming laptop. Now this is a
premium gaming laptop that will set you back quite a lot of money but it does
have a number of features that make it really interesting. The first that stands out
is obviously this RGB lighting underneath so you’ve got an RGB lighting bar
that goes around the sides, front and also has RGB lighting on the logo on the
rear and on the keys but also notice a brushed aluminium finish to it which is
quite common at the moment on these laptops and just a general really premium look and
feel to it. On the rear, you get an ethernet port which is not too common nowadays, HDMI and a
USB-C that’s DisplayPort capable. Bit odd not to have DisplayPort output to be
honest but you’ve got the display port USB-C if you need it and the power
connector on the left hand side. You have three USB ports and a mixed 3.5 jack
for headphones and microphone. There’s one of the downsides that I mentioned
previously is the USB connection is only on the Left apart from the USB-C, so
there’s nothing on the right, it also comes with this Keystone dongle which is kind
of gimmicky but mildly interesting perhaps. It is basically a little key that
you can plug into the laptop and program your settings within the ROG Armoury Crate, your favorite things and then you can stick that in there and it allows for personalization of that key so it works as a shadow drive, if you connect it with
your ASUS account. Not something I’ve played around with it in great depth, to
be honest, but another interesting option for you. You can buy multiple keys and then
swap them over and you get a nice little jingle when you plug it in and then it
changes the settings now this is a premium laptop as I said this one has a
really high spec to it this is a Core i9 9880H CPU, 32 gigabytes of 2666
megahertz ram, 15.6 inch 1080p display that’s capable of 240 hertz and, most
interestingly perhaps, a 1TB NVMe drive as the standard main boot
drive. Obviously this is a certain spec and you can get other specs to it which
I’ll link to in the description. Another highlight for me is the trackpad
which doubles as a numpad with a slight press on the top right corner, which is pretty cool. So you lose a numpad on the right hand side, because there’s a compact keyboard,
compact laptop, but you get it come back in a sort of touchscreen style
instead. You can see sort of membrane style keyboard that’s actually quite
pleasant and easy to use very comfortable, one annoyance I found
with it was the Enter key which is thin and kind of annoying as a layout
that you see quite commonly nowadays and then there are easy access buttons for
fan speed so you can switch between the different fan speeds and I’ll go into
that in a bit more depth later and if you press the function key you can
easily change the lighting sync and schema by pushing left and right on that and adjust the brightness up and down one thing notice I couldn’t find a
way to adjust separately the keyboard, the under lighting and the logo so if
you have the lighting on it’s all on or all off. You can change between the different
colors though so you can guess and you obviously get different schemes as usual
so you get rainbow, breathing, static various other different ones that you
can play around with and you can set within the Armoury Crate software
which you can it comes installed there you can go through the Windows
Store and it also you can get an app on your phone so you can remotely control
certain things which will show you a bit later on now I said I’ve been using this
for gaming in various different ways now be able to talk to in a bit more depth
about that. It is pretty capable, there are a few niggles with the gaming
first which is it gets very hot and very loud if you’re playing with it on your
lap I find a lot to be honest with these high-end gaming. I mean it supports an RTX 2070 GPU so it’s capable of ray tracing and it’s
obviously got a high-end Core i9 Intel processor but it is capable of
running Crysis and gets 530FPS on the load screen as well which is pretty impressive. This is obviously is a
bit daft test but I wanted to see if it could handle Crysis on max settings so I
ran Crysis, forced 1080p and turned everything up to max and sidenote, Crysis
still looks amazing all these years later and it runs really well
nice and smooth you can see. Even at these settings. Obviously this is recorded with ShadowPlay but then again I was getting between 60 and 120 FPS on a game that’s 12 years old that’s not a gripe against the laptop because it
performed pretty well then to put it through a more reasonable test as
requested by one commenter on previous video, to see how it would stack up in
CS:GO or Fortnite and I haven’t got Fortnite on my machine and to be honest, I can’t bring myself to play it at the moment but CS:GO I have got access to so
I’ll give that a go. Now I ran it on maximum settings and I
wanted to see how it handled that first Obviously you could then run it on low to
get a high performance but you’ve got 240 Hertz
a refresh rate on this screen obviously that means that if you can get your FPS
up that high you actually experiencing that fully getting the most out of your
screen and the power of the machine for a really smooth pro based experience. I
did actually manage it occasionally with the settings on high. If I turned them down to
medium which I also did then it did go over 200 but otherwise it wasn’t that
high 190 range then you see a little bit of that. You also know I’ve got a sound
level meter here because I wanted to demonstrate not where the second one
demonstrate just how loud the fans get under load and that is a thing of note
as well and one of my experiences with this laptop is basically if you’re running
games on it you need to have the fans on turbo running at maximum to get the
smoothest experience. I’ve found that several times when I was running them on
balanced mode trying to keep the fans quiet so I could just enjoy the game, although the game would run fine the FPS wasn’t quite
as high and also then I’d eventually hit wall where it suddenly hit a massive lag
spike and a framerate drop, a substantial framerate drop from like 90 frames to 30
or something like that. You could really feel it or even lower sometimes
and only turning the fans into turbo or waiting for it to come out there would
be enough to then fix that problem if you have I’m turbo it runs a lot
smoother and it runs well the only problem is that the fans getting very loud
and I’ll show you in a minute just how loud looking at over 60 decibels on the
sound level meter now obviously looking at now it’s not a fair representation
because I’m using the speakers so it’s picking that up. I’ll show you in a minute
without any sound on now the other thing to note here is the speak quality
speakers are actually fairly good though I did find, even on maximum, they weren’t
quite enough to drown out the sound of the fans and that fan noise gets really
obnoxious after a very short period of time.
I did find I had to switch to a headset quite a lot which is why I wanted to try
and play without having the fans on turbo but just can’t manage it
reasonably on a decent high-end game it’s kind of frustrating. You’ve got
something with this amount power you want to be running your games and most
beautiful settings right? Unless you want to put everything on medium and play like
a pro so you can get really high frames but not necessarily need all that power
but the noise of the fans is very obnoxious. It’s too much. You do find that a lot with gaming laptops especially something as thin and
compact like this, yet packs a lot of power under the hood. You’re gonna get
very hot. It gets hot on the lap, it’s hot to use, it’s noisy, very noisy and that’s one of my main gripe with this machine is the noise that it puts out
however it is a good performer it does really well and it’s done really well on all
the different tests I’ve run it through. There’s various 3DMark tests, I also ran a
benchmark on Shadow the Tomb Raider that got over 55 frames per second I believe as you can see here is getting well in the top 100 nearly 200 range on high
settings, don’t forget, on CS:GO it does a good job nice and smooth experience with
the fans on turbo yeah and it’s a pretty joyful experience the screen itself is
also really good you can adjust the visuals within it and that’s one of the
things I liked about these new ASUS laptops. The armoury crate software
lets you change the visuals of different styles. You’ve got FPS, racing, vivid, eyecare
mode which is great if you’re, you know, using spreadsheets during the
day working and you want to to take away the blue light make it easier on the eye, you
can do that switching to Windows mode and whatever else. The screen itself is
beautiful when gaming. One thing I did note is it doesn’t, even at max brightness,
it doesn’t seem to get very bright now I didn’t really notice that while I was
playing however when I was working it was really prominent and I think if you were
trying to use this outside you’d probably struggle and I got some footage
of it outside or you can basically see it was a bright day and it just can’t
handle that brightness levels very well I wouldn’t say this is great outside basically, it’s
not bright enough not vivid enough however for indoor use, gaming generally it’s
pretty fantastic and it does a really good job through multiple angles and
obviously you’ve got those different settings that you can tweak between and find a preference on as well. The fact it can smash out such high frames is also appealing
now I’ll show you the fan levels and what that’s like. Here you know it’s getting
the low decibels it’s just turned on I found after playing the game, which I’ll also show you, it was it’s pushing 60 if it’s been under load, 60 to 65 maybe 70
decibels, painfully, painfully loud. And I just wanted to show you quickly what
it’s like if you press the buttons just boot up the armory crate you just got
one button press and you can get straight into that you can obviously
change the fan settings within there and get more power out of it you can change
various other things as well lighting and what not. You can also, as I
said, just press the button on the keyboard to go between the different fan
modes and you can play around with the software and adjust various speeds of
things enhance that experience there’s also access to the sonic sound settings
and things like that and if you’re familiar at all with the armory crate software, I’ll
link to that in the description to show you the different things that you can do
with it, one thing of note which I will show you a bit later on, is you can also
control it with the app on your phone as I said you don’t seem to be able to
adjust the keyboard lighting from the app which is a bit odd and do that
within these software and desktop but you can adjust the fan speed and the
screen visuals and also monitor the performance check on temperatures and
speeds and things like that within the app so that’s one benefit and a nice way
to not have to bother with alt tabbing or worrying about that and the software
itself is pretty easy to use and updates nicely. Now you can see muting the
speakers after being in the middle of CS:GO, you’re looking at 62.5
decibels and then back in Windows it’s doing again now this is it obviously
after you’ve been playing the game so the fans and everything had been at Full
Tilt and it’s still hot it’s obviously cooling down there but it’s 60 decibels
which you know it’s gonna be difficult to compare I haven’t done any other
videos with that as a comparison yet unfortunately and I only just purchased
this level meter but you’ll just have to take my word for it that it is very loud, this is
too loud unfortunately, well you’ve got a good gaming headset it’s not gonna be a
problem, the mic on the laptop also doesn’t seem to pick up that fan noise so it’s
not been an issue in gaming with friends on Discord. They weren’t constantly
complaining about hearing the white noise in the background and that would have been very upsetting
but yeah I’d recommend using a headset but that is a gripe as well there are
only three USB ports as I said which means that you can only plug in and
several things and depends on your headset so but if the other USB headset
and you want to plug in a USB keyboard and a USB mouse is where you’ve then
used up sockets basically apart from the USBC
one on the rear so it limits you to what you can plug in or so the fact that is
all on the Left I find a bit odd because if you’re plugging in a mouse naturally
I’d plug that in on the right but you can run the cable round the back and plug it in and
you know oh you can see that basically I’m finding small niggles with this machine
because generally it’s done a really good job and I’ve really enjoyed using
it. Here you can see maximum brightness outside, obviously it’snot plugged, but it is at maximum brightness and it was a fairly bright day but the screen
just is quite dim unfortunately now another thing I tested is plugging it into
a larger screen so this is 1440p ultrawide monitor it’s running through
the HDMI cable, its Cuisine Royale, I’m running left on the main screen and obvious
being powered by the laptop and it ran pretty smoothly although the frames
weren’t nearly as high, I was only getting around 60 frames per second not much
higher than that really this monitor goes uptp 100 Hertz, so it is
possible to get more out unfortunately it couldn’t manage it one point of note which you shall
see in a second however and I was really surprised by this but basically trying
to run to an external screen and record using OBS just didn’t work at all the
frames completely bottomed out I was looking at about between 25 or 30 frames per second and lower and it was painfully so
it’s just in the process of setting it up here when someone came into the game and
started trying to attack me which is rude when I was AFK and managed to
deal with them you probably can’t see it you have to take my word for it but the
frames quickly became unbearable and I had to turn OBS off and stop recording
because you just couldn’t manage it and you know it’s not been a problem
recording footage using the laptop without being plugged into another
screen so if you’re planning on streaming or recording anything the laptop
itself could probably handle it but if you want to push out to another screen
at the same time probably gonna be a problem I just found the games were
unfortunately unplayable or at least Cuisine Royale was that’s what the fans on maximum and
everything upto date so it’s just struggled with it which I was surprised by,
considering the spec it couldn’t handle it all you are asking it to put
out two screens at once and maybe there’s some things change around now
quickly taking the underside off just to show you it’s like the design of it I
was curious whether you could actually add any extra drives in or play around
and upgrade it in any way and one thing though is you have to be careful on
taking it apart because the LED bar on the underneath and sides is attached to
this so if you do want to do this you to be careful doing it how you put it back
together otherwise you might damage that and unfortunately there is no spare and
NVMe slot, you can access the main drive to remove if you so wish and you can
see that underneath fans so you can see all the heatsink fans and the two fans
main fans and then underneath from the bottom left there this the main nvme SSD
drive and you can remove that and theoretically upgrade it. This one comes with
a 1 terabyte so you could theoretically buy a two terabyte and
swap it out but unfortunately there’s no way to add an extra one which is a bit of a
downer I think however the fact that it comes with such a high spec anyway is
probably fine you can see you can access everything else basically quite easily
and see all the different setup of it quite nice bit of porn for you if
you’re into this sort of thing and it comes apart pretty easily and goes back
together easily as well as long as you remember which screws go where. The next thing I
wanted to show you was a taste of the app so this is the armory crate app
that’s available for Android or iOS I’ll leave links in the description. Basically
you can connect that with your laptop now we need to do is launch the Armoury
crate software and then click to connect then you launch the app you can
basically scan a QR code and easily pairs the two devices once you’ve done that
you can then use the app to control various things that includes the fan
speed so you can see you can switch between Windows, silent, performance and turbo mode and
the fan speed and that allows you to easily adjust the performance of the laptop
on fly so if you are in the middle of the game and you want to do
you can just blow up the software on the app do that you can also see system
information so what hertz and things everything’s running it and how the
computer is performing remotely without them and see the atmosphere Cisco geeky
nerdy thing we can do nothing you can do is you can adjust the screen visuals or
some things are like play around with as I said they are offices to switch
between the different modes you can also turn the sonic studio and see game
visuals you got racing scenery RTS fps all those different ones you can easily
switch between them here and you’ll see that just in this video and on the
screen says click 8 we press ok change which changes massively on the screen
that’s nice to be able to do that one thing I said odd you can’t change the
lighting partners keyboard lighting on backwards
but it’s another easy way to control your laptop and a nice touch I’ve seen
elsewhere on the Spheeris s well this has been a pretty in-depth review hope
you found it useful this has been the provoke crawl and please like subscribe
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