ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II GL504 (RTX 2060)
Last year we reviewed the ASUS ROG Strix HERO II
, where we described it as “a truly impressive laptop with a brilliant 144Hz display, 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, fast memory, and sleek new look”. A sentiment that can be wholeheartedly transferred to the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II because it’s essentially the same laptop – but now powered by an NVIDIA RTX 2060. A change that has surprisingly kept the pricing in line with the GeForce GTX 1060 model we tested the first go-around. And based on the performance captured, makes this one of the best gaming laptops available in its price-range.
A statement that shouldn’t be glanced over either, as what has seemingly set the ASUS ROG line apart in recent years has been a focus on quality that extends beyond the components that sit under the hood. With the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II, the result is a truly vibrant display with exceptional colour output and a tough angular aluminium frame that is as sturdy as it is stylish.
Look and Feel
And by stylish, the revised ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II is very much a 2019 gaming product from the hardware maker’s Republic of Gamers range. Where in addition to the full RGB back-lit keyboard there’s an RGB strip running underneath the front of the base with the angular design sporting a series of funky Cyberpunk-inspired patterns. Coupled with the sturdy brushed metal finish and thin form-factor, it’s a package that surpasses expectation.
This redesign of the Strix laptop range, again, first appeared last year – and with it came the semi-detached display that features minimal bezel. With total weight at 2.4kg and thickness measured at 2.61cm, it’s certainly portable and on the verge of entering the ultrathin realm – but also the same as the GTX 1060 model we tested. In that a year later, going thinner and lighter would have been nice to see. If ASUS chose to remove the mostly unneeded full-size Ethernet port, then no doubt the SCAR II could have gone that route. So then, a missed opportunity on that front.
Under the Lid
Processor: Intel Core i7-8750H
Display: 15.6-inch Full HD (1920x1080) IPS-level panel, 144Hz, 3ms, 100% sRGB
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
Memory: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
Storage: M.2 NVMe PCIE 512GB SSD
OS: Windows 10
Interfaces: 1 x USB3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 2x USB3.1 Gen 1, 1x USB3.1 Gen2, 1 x mDP 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x RJ-45 Jack, 1 x SD card reader, 1x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack, 1x Kensington Lock
Which brings us back to our introduction, where the only difference in the underlying components that make up the 2019 ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II is the inclusion of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics. And that’s no small update either as the new RTX 2060 represents a sizable performance boost over the GTX 1060 – which up to now was the best option, price wise, for high-end 1080p gaming. Although it’s capable of making use of the RTX line’s advanced ray-tracing and AI features, it’s only the latter that seems practical in the RTX 2060. As seen in Wolfenstein II, the advanced rendering of the Turing-based RTX line can lead to massive performance gains over the last generation of cards.
Featuring the same cooling, this new model also tends to err on the noisy side when under load as seen previously. Or, heard. Battery life seems to be roughly the same too, measured in a few hours when gaming. But the updated ASUS Armory software does lets you quickly switch between performance and various power-saving modes with ease. And with full hardware information and numbers and graphs and other cool stuff to monitor, it’s a great fit.
In terms of performance the RTX 2060 coupled with the 8th Gen Intel Core i7 proves to be a far more impressive fit for the 1080p 144Hz display than last year’s GTX 1060. And sure, that was expected heading into this review – but as we performed similar benchmark tests on the GTX 1060 model of the ASUS ROG Strix HERO II - we can see just how much of a difference the RTX 2060 makes.
For Ubisoft’s The Division, running at 1080p at Ultra or maximum settings, the RTX 2060 performed 20% faster than the GTX 1060. For Overwatch this is roughly a 14% increase in performance. In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, with the advanced rendering specific to the RTX line, the performance increase sits in the 35% range. Overall the RTX 2060 numbers are comparable to the GTX 1070 line found in gaming laptops – at a lower overall cost. Which is something that can’t be said about the desktop RTX 2060 line, which features a price point noticeably higher than the GTX 1060.
For the 3DMark results, compared to the GTX 1060 the increase is roughly 20%. Which is a figure that can be taken as, for lack of a better term, a benchmark for current laptop gaming with RTX 2060 over a GTX 1060. A nice little bump, that again comes with a 0% price increase.
When it comes to choosing the right gaming laptop the components and hardware only make up a part of the overall picture. The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II is certainly covered in that department from the CPU to the GPU to the storage and even quality of cooling and peripheral stuff like keyboard and touch pad. Where it all jumps to the next level comes with the brilliant display, with the sort of clarity and colour accuracy we find in more expensive offerings. Wrap it all up in the stylish and sturdy new design that made its debut last year, and even though we would have liked to see some refinement here or there – there’s no doubt that this one of the best value-for-money gaming laptops on the market.