Asus ROG announced the ROG Strix SCAR 17 2021 and Strix G17 2021 not long ago at the company’s virtual launch event – ROG Citadel XV. Soon after, we’ve had the opportunity to review both of them before they hit the Malaysian market.
Essentially, the ROG Strix SCAR 17 and Strix G17 are basically the same laptops on the exterior. They may look the same, but their hardware variations make them a totally different beasts of their own class. Powered by AMD’s latest 5000 series mobile processors and Nvidia’s latest RTX30 series GPUs, these laptops pack a huge punch when it comes to gaming performance and design finesse.
So, we’ll talk about their design and similarities as a whole, but their performance and differences will be highlighted and distinguished throughout this review, especially in the benchmarks section. But before we dive into the review, let’s go through some specs to see where their differences lie:
Specifications – Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 2021 (G733Q) | Strix G17 (G713Q) 2021
|Asus ROG Strix G17 2021 (G713Q)||Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 2021 (G733Q)|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HX Processor 3.3 GHz (16M Cache, up to 4.6 GHz)||AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HX Processor 3.3 GHz (16M Cache, up to 4.6 GHz)|
|GPU||NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070|
|NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3080|
|RAM||8GB DDR4-3200 SO-DIMM x 2|
Max Capacity : 32GB
|16GB DDR4-3200 SO-DIMM x 2|
Max Capacity : 64GB
FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9
FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9
|Storage||1TB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 3.0 SSD||1TB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 3.0 Performance SSD x 2|
|Battery||90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion||90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion|
|Audio||Built-in array microphone|
2x 4W speaker with Smart Amp Technology
|Built-in array microphone|
2x 4W speaker with Smart Amp Technology
2x 2W tweeter
|Weight||2.70 Kg (5.95 lbs)||2.70 Kg (5.95 lbs)|
Bluetooth 5.1 (Dual band) 2*2
Bluetooth 5.1 (Dual band) 2*2
As mentioned above and I can’t stress this enough, these two laptops look very, very similar. They now have a cleaner, more minimalist industrial (black on the SCAR 17, grey on the G17) theme, with subtle ROG branding. When you look at it, it says more “ROG” than it does “ASUS”, and we’re liking this design approach. The lid has a metal matte finish, and a glossy pattern on the bottom left side that spells ROG.
The interior of the laptop as well as the bottom are both made from plastic. The inside has a nice smooth touch, but the bottom has a more rugged style. The plastic on the inside does feel better to the touch, but it leaves behind a tonne of smudges after long hours of use, which is more obvious on the Strix SCAR 17. Not a big fan of that, so I always keep a cloth handy.
As you can see from the pictures, the top right half of the Strix SCAR 17 is also translucent and yes, that means you can peek a little into the internal components underneath, I love this. As for the G17, it doesn’t get the translucent treatment, but instead it’s replaced with a sectioned ROG patterned design which looks nice too.
The other thing we have to talk about is the RGB. They both have the Aura Sync Light Bar on the bottom front, but only the SCAR 17 has the Aura Sync Logo and Aura Sync Bezel Glow. I’m a huge fan of RGB, and Ioved how ROG implemented these into the SCAR 17. They’re all fully customizable with the Armoury Crate software. Not the best, but it does the job.
Considering the amount of raw power you’re getting from these laptops, they weigh a decent amount of heft, and they’re pretty thin. Not at thin as the ZenBooks, but definitely lighter and more compact than the 2020 Strix SCAR and G17 models. The power brick is also slightly more compact, but it’s still a little too bulky for my liking.
Connectivity wise, these two laptops share the same amount of I/O ports:
- 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
- 1x HDMI 2.0b
- 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort / power delivery / G-SYNC
- 1x RJ45 LAN port
Most of these ports are lined at the back, and that’s great because it frees up more space on the left and right sides of the laptop so your hands aren’t restricted by cables. There are only two USB-A slots and the 3.5mm audio jack on the left, with the KeyStone on the right. I still would’ve liked to see a full-sized card reader though.
Do note that these laptops still do not have any biometric authentication (fingerprint sensor), card reader as mentioned above, and a webcam.
Moving on to the displays on the ROG Strix SCAR 17 and Strix G17. They both feature the same 17.3-inch FHD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and anti-glare coating. They both cover 100% of the sRGB colour gamut, and has a response time of 3ms with 300Hz refresh rate. They also have an IPS panel, which makes for great viewing angles, even from the sides without any discoloration. They also support Adaptive Sync, which handles screen tearing in games and can work with both AMD iGPU and Nvidia GPU depending on the task at hand.
Visuals looked amazing, regardless of the content I was going through. Be it games, movies, or just YouTube videos, the display was vibrant and vivid with just the right amount of brightness. Asus has already pre-calibrated the displays in the manufacturing line, so there’s not much to worry about colour calibration. The displays on both laptops looked very similar, there was no noticeable bleeding on the edges on dark backgrounds, and I couldn’t notice any difference between the two.
Another impressive thing about these laptops are their 300Hz refresh rate. If you’ve been used to 120Hz, you’re gonna love what 300Hz refresh rate looks like. Of course, it’d look smoother, but you would appreciate the fact that it makes every movement and animation on the screen flow so much better and natural. There is a 360Hz model available, but unfortunately, it won’t be making its way to Malaysia.
As far as user experience is concerned, these two laptops feel very similar too. There are certain days I even forget which model I’m reviewing, but as soon as I open the lid up and start typing, that’s where you can immediately tell the difference.
Apart from the translucent top right half section, the keyboard is also a dead giveaway in distinguishing the two. They both have numpads, but on the ROG Strix SCAR 17, it has full-sized keys, while the Strix G17’s function row and arrow clusters are squeezed to half a key. Honestly, I prefer the keyboard design on the Strix SCAR 17 more because of its more consistent key sizes, which makes it more comfortable and easier to type on.
When it comes to typing, both keyboards type great but my fingers are more inclined to the keyboard on the Strix SCAR 17. It has a more finger friendly key size and it has the newer optical-mechanical switches. Key isolation is great, and they keys provide a clicky and bouncy response with a tighter feedback. However, the five multimedia keys at the top are still rubber domes though, but that’s fine, since they’re pressed on that often.
The trackpads on both these laptops are now made with glass, and they are also much larger. The physical buttons have been removed, and it is a godsend. This is because there’s less chance of rattling to come out of those physical keys, and the trackpads are fast, responsive, and accurate during my time these laptops.
And no, there are still no fingerprint sensors on the 2021 ROG Strix SCAR and Strix G models, which would’ve been a very convenient feature to have, albeit a costly one.
As expected of a laptop that runs on the top of the line AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and Nvidia RTX3070/3080 GPUs, these laptops handle everyday apps and softwares with no issue at all. Remember when we said the internals is what separates these two laptops apart? They both use the same Ryzen 9 5900HX 8C/16T processor, but the Strix SCAR 17 has an RTX 3080 GPU with 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, 32GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and dual-channel 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.
While on the Strix G17, it has an RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, 16GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. It still has the AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor paired with latest class hardware, just half the memory configuration of the Strix SCAR 17.
There are four different power profiles to choose from:
- Silent – Quieter, limited CPU/GPU performance and power.
- Performance – Balanced performance with stock CPU/GPU settings. Slightly higher fan noise.
- Turbo – High performance profile, with increased CPU power allocation, faster fans, overclocked GPU, and louder noise.
- Manual – Similar to Turbo, but with user customization on CPU and GPU power, and manual fan profiles based on temperature limits.
Turbo and Manual are recommended when the laptop is plugged in for gaming, while the performance mode is for overall use, and silent is for movies and day-to-day use on light tasks.
Here are some of the synthetic benchmarks we ran on the two laptops, all running on Turbo Mode:
Test ROG Strix SCAR 17 ROG Strix G17 Fire Strike 23149 22531 Port Royal 6503 6092 Time Spy 10515 9861 PCMark 10 6543 8572 Cinebench R20 4951
Single Core: 574
Single Core: 561
Read: 3569 Mb/s
Write: 3018 Mb/s
Read: 3598 Mb/s
Write: 2892 Mb/s
Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers
(DX11, Best Looking)
112fps 110fps Genshin Impact
122fps 119fps Metro Exodus
(DX12, Ultra, RTX Off)
78fps 75fps Far Cry 5
(DX11, Ultra, SMAA)
Audio wise, this is a difference you can hear from both laptops. The ROG Strix SCAR 17 has a quad-speaker setup (two downward firing speakers on the bottom, and two tweeters under the screen between the hinge), while the Strix G17 only has a dual speaker setup. They both deliver great audio, but because of the two additional drivers on the SCAR 17, the audio sounds richer with better sound isolation.
The Strix SCAR 17 has very bright treble with clear mids, and bass that is commendable. It could still provide a decent kick from bass drops, while delivering crystal clear voice and acoustics. On top of that, it can also reach very high volumes with minimal distortion. As for the Strix G17, the treble sounds slightly muddier than the SCAR 17, but the mids are still crispy clear. For the lows, it lacks in bass compared to the SCAR 17, but still does a decent job at delivering clean, well managed bass.
Both these laptops have the same 90Whr 4-cell Li-ion battery in them, and they come with the same 240W AC Adapter. No USB Type-C charger included, but the laptops do support 100W USB Type-C charging.
They both offered about 12 hours of use in silent mode, with casual internet browsing and typing, and the screen set to 50% brightness. In performance mode, with the screen brightness set to 100% and casual Internet browsing with some light photo and editing, I could get about 3 hours of use.
The ROG Strix SCAR 17 and Strix G17 may look similar on the outside, but they are very different when it comes to internal hardware and design. They each have their strengths that correlates to their price point, which is the main factor when you’re choosing which laptop is for you.
If you don’t mind having less RGB flair, but still have decent next-gen performance in a beautifully designed minimalist chassis, then go for the ROG Strix G17. But if you want the best of the best, and you couldn’t care less about the dual-screen hype, then the Strix SCAR 17 is the way to go.