Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition Review

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The brand new AMD Advantage program has a simple goal: partner with major laptop brands to synergize Ryzen CPUs and recently announced RX 6000M mobile GPUs to deliver the best performance possible for gamers on the go. The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is one of the first laptops out of the gate to showcase this initiative and it has some unexpected tricks up its sleeve. Complete with a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, Radeon RX 6800M GPU, an esports-ready 300Hz screen, and an AMD suggested price of only $1650, is this the high-value gaming laptop you’ve been waiting for?

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Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Design and Features

The ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition has a lot going for it. It’s one of the first gaming laptops to feature the new, unlocked AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor. It pairs this with one of AMD’s first-ever Radeon RX 6000M mobile graphics chips – in this case the top-tier RX 6800M. Together, these parts can take advantage of Smart Access Memory to increase gaming performance and AMD SmartShift to intelligently allot power to each part depending on what you’re doing. It also packs an NVMe SSD and 16GB of high-speed memory to ensure short load times and smooth performance in games and applications.

Here are the full specs of the sample I tested, as well as the available upgrade options.

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Specifications: 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HGPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800MDisplay: 1920×1080, 300Hz IPS screen (1440p, 165Hz version available)Memory: 16GB DDR4-3200MHz (up to 32GB)Storage: 512MB NVMe SSD (dual M.2 slots, 1TB version available)I/O: 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C (with DisplayPort and 100W PD), 1x RJ-45 Ethernet Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b Output, 1x Audio Combo JackNetworking: WiFi 6, Gigabit EthernetAudio: Dual Speaker with Dolby Atmos and Smart Amp, AI Mic Noise CancelationBattery: 90WhAdapter: 280w

The heart of the laptop is clearly in its CPU and GPU combo. The Ryzen 9 5900HX is a high-performance part, well-suited to match the RX 6800M graphics card. It features 8 cores and 16 threads, with a base clock of 3.3GHz and a maximum boost of 4.8GHz. This is slightly higher than the Ryzen 9 5900HS we’ve seen in several other recent laptops, but the bigger differentiator is its higher power draw and unlocked overclocking potential. Power is always at a premium in mobile products, but since you’re likely to be plugged in when gaming, this offers the HX an edge over the 5900HS.

The other half of the equation is the Radeon RX 6800M graphics chip. The Radeon RX 6000M series was only recently announced and represents the latest and greatest of what AMD-based gaming laptops can offer. The sample I was sent features AMD’s highest performance part, the RX 6800M, but AMD will also be offering 6700M and 6600M cards on different notebooks. Built on the RDNA 2 architecture, the 6800M features 40 compute units, complete with ray tracing accelerators for hardware-based ray tracing, 2560 shade processors, and a game clock of 2.3GHz. It also packs 12GB of GDDR6 video memory, which is a decrease from the desktop RX 6800 but still plentiful for a laptop graphics chip. Thanks to RDNA 2’s Infinity Cache technology, the effective bandwidth of that memory is improved allowing it to outperform traditional 192-bit GDDR6 memory.

The Strix changes its approach to cooling. Both the CPU and GPU utilize liquid metal to increase heat dissipation, a mod that’s become popular among overclockers in the desktop scene. It pairs this with a new vapor chamber cooling design, heat sinks with more fins, and 84-blade Arc Flow fans to increase airflow while also decreasing noise. AMD and Asus promise this new system will deliver improved cooling while simultaneously reducing noise, addressing two of the major concerns facing gaming laptops. It also claims to keep surface temperatures under 40C using an integrated IR sensor and tiny cooling vents around the WASD cluster to adjust power and fan speeds.

In Performance Mode, the system does indeed run quieter than any other gaming laptop I’ve tried this generation, including those that also use AMD CPUs or cost substantially more. Once you step up to the higher performance Turbo Mode, those sound benefits slip somewhat and the G15 Advantage Edition falls in line with the ROG Zephyrus G15 (reviewed here). Temperatures are definitely improved though. After an hour of intense benchmarking in Turbo Mode, my CPU was hovering around 88C but only peaked at 93C. The GPU hovered in around 75C and peaked at 78C. Both are within safe limits and should allow each component to ramp up and maintain higher clock speeds than they typically might. Surface temperatures were also very good. I didn’t have a thermal scanner on-hand to test Asus’s “40C” claims but it was noticeably cooler to the touch than other laptops I’ve tested. The warmest area was above the keyboard, directly on top of the heat-generating components, but it wasn’t uncomfortable to leave my hand on even when benchmarking, so it’s safe to say Asus gained ground here from its other models. 

The other components in the ROG Strix G15 are equally suited to delivering a great gaming experience. It features an unnamed NVMe SSD that offers fast read and write speeds to keep load times to a minimum. My model came with a 512GB drive, which filled up with only a handful of games and benchmarks, so I’d recommend upgrading to the 1TB version or picking up a second drive to install in the laptop’s second M.2 slot. The Strix also comes with 16GB of user-replaceable DDR4 memory that can be upgraded to 32GB if you find yourself running short.

Even the best components only mean so much if the display is no good. Thankfully, Asus has equipped the Strix with a bright 300-nit FHD IPS display. It runs all the way up to 300 Hz, which is excellent for shooters where reducing motion blur may make the difference in landing that all-important game-winning shot. If you’re already used to a high refresh rate panel, the jump to 300 Hz will be more subtle, but the added frames do make a difference in how responsive the panel feels. Backlight bleed was also very good on this display without any hotspots on the edges or in the corners. 

Pulling back to the physical build of the Strix, we find the same high level of build quality we’ve seen on other Asus laptops. It features a metal body with some stylish ROG lettering that cuts a hard line across its face, right down the hinge to a red hinge cap. The red on the hinge cap is distinctly AMD, so I dig it on this model, but if it’s too overstated Asus says you’ll be able to 3D print custom versions on Shapeways. There’s no mistaking this for anything other than a gaming laptop, however. If the red hinge cap didn’t do it, the RGB underglow certainly will. It’s not a PC I would take into a professional setting without turning these lights off, but they add a healthy dose of bling that I quite enjoy.

Despite the definite gamer vibes this laptop gives off, it’s powerful enough for most people’s work or school tasks – but this isn’t the lightest notebook on the market nor the thinnest. At 6.5 lbs and nearly an inch thick, I was definitely feeling its weight in my bag all day. You’ll also need to invest in a separate webcam if you need video for classes or conference calls since there’s none included here. There’s also no fingerprint scanner, so biometric login is out. It does feature Asus’s AI noise cancellation for your mic, however, so at least you’ll be heard clearly.

On the plus side, the G15 offers plentiful IO and connectivity options to suit anywhere you’d like to throw down and game. They’re smartly laid out between the left-side and rear of the PC, leaving the right side open for unimpeded mouse movement. Along the left are two USB 3.2 Type-A ports and an audio combo port. Around the back is a third USB Type-A, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (with DisplayPort and 100-watt power delivery), an RJ-45 for wired ethernet, and HDMI 2.0b output, and the port for the AC adapter. There’s enough here to mimic a desktop PC setup with keyboard, mouse, and headset plus an external SSD hidden behind the computer and out of the way.

The keyboard was a definite high point. As a writer, I spend a lot of my time cracking away at the keys and I found these to be easy and satisfying to use. They feature 2 mm of travel distance and offer excellent tactility. The keyboard also features four zones for customizable RGB lighting as well as nine different preset effects. Asus has also made some clever changes to the navigation and editing cluster to include dedicated media buttons. Rather than have Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End take up the entire right column, these are now secondary functions on the arrow keys. Along the top of the keyboard are five additional buttons to control volume, mute the microphone, change fan settings, and launch the Armory Crate configuration tool. It’s a touch more compact than many other 15-inch laptops but I didn’t find that hindered me at all, except when it came to the touchpad.

On its own, the touchpad is fine. It’s big, which makes navigation a breeze, and easy to move your finger across. When typing, I found myself having to turn it off, however, because my palm would constantly move the mouse, sometimes clicking or highlighting text. This was really only an issue when writing for extended periods of time but definitely became a pain point in my user experience.

Underneath that keyboard are some of the best speakers I’ve heard on a gaming laptop this year. Powered by Asus’s twin amp technology, the speakers are able to offer enough volume to enjoy a movie set up on the coffee table or to kick back and game without the need for headphones. To have the best surround sound experience, you’ll still want to plug in, but I was surprised at just how full and detailed these were able to sound.

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Software

All of the customization and performance monitoring on the Strix is done through the Armory Crate software suite. Over the last few years, Asus has done an excellent job of improving this program and it now feels feature rich. The key configuration options are all available on the first page, alongside important diagnostics like your current CPU frequency and memory usage. This is also where you’ll select your power mode and, should you feel adventurous, try your hand at some basic overclocking.

Along the left-hand side, you’ll find tabs for customizing your lighting, choosing your current screen profile between different genres and types of content, or even creating different profiles to group settings based on what game or application you might be using. Asus even has a built-in game-scanner so you can associate them with individual profiles and have them automatically apply every time the game is launched. 

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Having everything localized really is useful. This is especially true on the System tab which pulls in elements of the Task Manager and Radeon’s Software suite to free up system memory, monitor resources, and toggle graphics settings like Radeon Anti-Lag or Radeon Chill when I’m entering a shooter or wanting to save battery. There’s also a handy GPU Power Saving tab that allows you to disable the RX 6800M and use integrated graphics when battery life is at a premium (this also goes into effect when in battery saver or Silent modes).

When it comes to additional software, there was a bit of bloatware that needed to be removed. MyAsus, the company’s update tool (separate from Armory Crate) insisted on launching with the PC. It also came with a trial version of McAfee Antivirus which I promptly uninstalled. Other than these, however, it was a mostly stock Windows installation.

One odd thing to note that astute viewers might notice in the pictures is that my Windows installation managed to deactivate following a series of updates using AMD’s automatic detection tool. I was using an early version of the laptop, which I attribute to the issue, but if you notice the watermark, that’s why.

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Performance

With overview and impressions out of the way, it’s time to look at how the G15 Advantage Edition performs. To test its performance, I ran the G15 through a series of synthetic and in-game benchmarks. The laptop was set to Turbo performance mode and plugged into wall power to remove any hidden limits that might come into play on battery power. All games were set to Ultra settings with the exception of Metro Exodus which was set to the RTX preset for a direct comparison against other laptops our team has tested. 

The ROG Strix G15 Advantage blew me away. Put up against one of the best (and most expensive) laptops on the market, the Alienware M17 R4, the Strix stands firm. It didn’t outright win every benchmark, so performance lands somewhere between the RTX 3070 and 3080 overall. Given the very reasonable $1650 price tag, this level of performance is impressive. It’s not limited to just these laptops either. Even put against our larger collection of thirteen current-gen laptops, the Strix comes in near the top of our list in performance thanks to the combination of the Ryzen 9 5900HX and Radeon RX 6800M. 

The one area where it fell short was ray tracing. On the RTX preset with ray tracing set to High, it averaged only 48 FPS. The comparison isn’t exactly fair since the RX 6800M isn’t able to benefit from DLSS like Nvidia’s mobile GPUs, but does highlight one of the trade-offs with opting for a Radeon laptop versus one powered by Nvidia. With FidelityFX Super Resolution right around the corner, that may be changing, but time will tell.

Since Asus didn’t share many details on the SSD, I ran a quick series of passes with CrystalDiskMark. The SSD isn’t the fastest on the market, even by PCIe Gen 3 standards, but runs plenty fast for gaming and hobbyist content creation. Peak read and write speeds were 3.1 GB/s and 1.8 GB/s respectively, enough to cut load times to a minimum.

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Battery Life

The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition features a large 90WHr battery. Overall battery life will vary depending on what you’re doing but for normal work, browsing, and watching videos, it’s out to impress. I tested the battery using PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test and found it lasted just over nine hours. This test is designed to represent mixed use, but for pure video playback Asus quotes 11.4 hours and 17 hours maximum. 

Purchasing Guide

The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is expected to begin sales later this month with prices ranging up to $1699.

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