The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 is an astonishingly powerful gaming rig with a lot of appeal, but all that pixel-grinding power sure does a number on its batteries.
|Superb gaming power||Battery life expectancy can be measured in minutes|
|RTX 4090 just flies||Fans get very loud|
|Good audio||It’s an utter fingerprint magnet|
The ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) is a big, bold gaming laptop. That’s totally in line with the territory for any 17 inch gaming laptop, because the sheer size of their screens mean that they can’t relaly pull off being subtle beasts easily.
The big story here is the inclusion of an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX CPU, paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 GPU. It’s a great combination for gaming power, although as certain copyrighted superhero characters teach us, with great power comes great battery drain.
At least, I think that’s what those movies were trying to teach me. It’s certainly true for the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023), because while this is one of the most powerful gaming laptops I’ve ever tested, that power comes at a serious price when it comes to battery life.
For a gaming laptop, in some ways, you could accuse the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) of being just a little bit subtle.
Not in size terms, for sure; at 39.5×28.2×2.83 cm and 3Kg this absolutely fits into the category of “luggable” rather than being truly portable.
But still, while it’s RGB-equipped, this is kept to a minimum compared to many competing products. Naturally it’s configurable, so if you do want a laptop that doubles as a disco floormat, it’s ready to serve. Actually, that would be an awful and expensive idea, so maybe don’t do that.
While I appreciate the relatively plain black style, like so many matte black laptops, it’s an utter fingerprint and dust magnet. Expect it to look like a crime scene minutes after you unpack it from the box unless you like wiping it down a whole lot every single time you play.
The keyboard layout is fair, but far from the best I’ve hit on a gaming keyboard. Yes, you do get RGB lighting for each key, and there’s a number pad on the side, but the sizing feels a little strange to my hands. Then again, I’m very fussy about keystroke response for the purposes of direct typing, and in a game situation I didn’t hit any problems at all with the keyboard. The trackpad is likewise functional, but not exciting in any way worth noting.
Asus has made some interesting choices when it comes to ports and port layout. Down the right hand side there’s a pair of USB-3 ports – not Thunderbolt, because this isn’t an Intel-based machine and a headphone jack. Down the left hand side, there’s nothing but an air escape vent.
Where did all the ports go? Around the back, although even here “all the ports” doesn’t actually mean all that many ports. There’s power, ethernet, HDMI out and two USB-C ports, and that’s your lot. If your laptop needs extend to card readers, multiple side ports, biometric authentication or anything of the style, then this won’t be the laptop for you.
The display on the Scar 17 is a WQHD (2560×1440) IPS panel with support for up to 240Hz refresh rates; given the inclusion of NVIDIA it’s also G-Sync compatible. That’s fine, but I was a little less impressed with the included webcam, which is just a 720p capable model. For a laptop of this price, 1080p really ought to be the default.
Still, so far, so pretty much the same as prior Asus Strix models, really. But like your mother used to tell you, it’s what’s inside that counts.
The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) runs from an AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX CPU, paired up with a 16GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 GPU. The model loaned to me for review had 32GB of RAM and a 1TB internal SSD, though it appears that other memory configurations are available; the low bar would appear to be 16GB for this particular model.
AMD is often sold as the better price-to-performance solution, and I was keen to see how the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) compared against other gaming laptops I’ve tested in the past. I don’t still have those laptops to hand for direct comparison, but I do have benchmark results, which isn’t a bad place to start, though it should be noted some of these are older gaming laptops. Then again, if you’re looking to upgrade, that could give you useful perspective.
Here’s how the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 compares using 3DMark and PCMark:
Yep, that’s quite the power advantage right there.
Benchmarks can only give you a synthetic view of actual performance, so to put that to the test, I ran the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 through Forza Horizon 5’s FPS test. Here I’ve only got the one set of comparative data to use, however:
All very neck and neck, with the SCAR 17 narrowly taking out the maximum FPS score there, though it settles on average at the same exact result – which is, ultimately, remarkably fast and smooth gameplay. That’s exactly what you’d want out of a system like this.
Running that fast does bring with it one notable disadvantage, however. The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 has to keep itself cool, and it does so with some of the noisiest fans I’ve hit in any gaming laptop, period. Not too bad to warm your fingers on cold winter mornings, if I want to look for an upside, but also far from subtle if you want to game in relative peace and quiet.
Gaming laptops are notorious for poor battery life, even when they’re in behemoth cases like the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) happens to be.
Given the weight and size of the unit, it’s fair to argue I think that it’s likely to spend much of its life on a desk anyway, but what happens when you do want to take it on the road?
It goes flat, that’s what happens.
To put this to the test, I ran the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) through PCMark’s more brutal Gaming Battery test, as well as a simple local 1080p looping video test. The former gives a good “worst case” battery life scenario, while the latter provides something of a “best case” figure.
Here’s how the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) compares:
OK, so the older G15 did do marginally worse in the PC Mark test, by a whole 12 minutes, so it’s not the worst there. But it hardly matters when for even a basic task like local video playback you’re maybe only just going to get to the end of many movies these days. If you have to travel with the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023), bring its hefty power brick. You’re going to need it.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023): Alex’s Verdict
The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) is, like so many gaming laptops, a very specific kind of machine. If you’ve got the desire for a hefty gaming laptop, it’ll deliver the kind of performance you crave without a doubt… but not for long if you don’t have a power socket nearby.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023): Pricing and availability
The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) in the configuration supplied retails in Australia for around $5,500.