Last week I talked about the HP Zbook Firefly and how it compared to the HP Dragonfly Max. This week, I’d like to talk about an alternative path for some high-performance notebooks, the Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition.
The industry’s dirty little secret that many users looking for power have gone to gaming desktop solutions over certified workstations solutions when they don’t need the certifications. It isn’t an alternative for everyone, certifications are essential, particularly for support, but Workstations don’t make good gaming machines.
If you want a system that will do both but with the emphasis on gaming, this might be a decent alternative to a dedicated workstation, though, be aware. At the same time, it costs nearly $1K less, there are some tradeoffs, and you can get the HP Zbook for less with a lower configuration.
Let’s start with this laptop’s performance. You may recall the Zbook scored a PCMark ten score of 4,565, a 3DMark score of 1,728, a Geekbench score of 5,556 single-core, and 19,776 multicores had a list price in the $2,600 range as configured.
The Asus ROG Strix, priced below $1.6K, is a powerhouse scoring a whopping 7,190 in PCMark, 10,217 on 3DMark, and Geekbanch has it at 5,476 Single-Core an impressive 38,646 on multicore. It sounds like a no-brainer, right? Save a grand and get a ton more performance, but the tradeoffs are significant.
On battery life, the Zbook will at least get you through the day and may get you through several, the ASUS around 6 hours, so you need to bring the charger. And that charger isn’t light; unlike the little light charger the Zbook uses, this charger alone weighs two thirds of what the Zbook weighs with its charger.
The laptop isn’t light either; together, it and its charger weigh over twice what the Zbook weighs, and you have to carry that charger if you want to use it for a full day. No high color-matched display for the Asus either, nor do you have the option of an outdoor viewable display but, given how heavy this thing is and that it’s overclocked (read: it’ll run hot), expect it to iron your lap, which isn’t a feature I’d want.
Ironically, it is more what you’d think a laptop workstation would be, oversized and heavy (it has a nice s300 nit 15.6” display).
One other tradeoff is that the Asus doesn’t have a camera so, if you want to do Zoom calls on it, you’ll need to buy a portable camera which will add to its already significant weight.
You can customize the case with colors, and it comes with two replaceable ROG plates in different colors that go under the keyboard. It is a lovely laptop, despite its size, and, like a lot of gaming notebooks, it has impressive lighting on the trim and keyboard.
Recall this is a notebook that is naturally overclocked and puts out an impressive amount of heat. To the point where my hand, on the mouse, next to the notebook, got uncomfortably hot. I’d say you wouldn’t want to play games on a plane with this thing, but unless you are in Business or First Class, a 15.6” notebook won’t work on a coach tray regardless.
Like it was with my earlier comparison of the HP Firefly and Dragon Fly notebooks, it seems unlikely the same class of buyers would consider this. Still, for those that want a gaming notebook that performs in line with gaming desktop computers, this could be the current best in the market.
Think of this as the difference between buying a high-performance car you can take clients out to lunch with and buying a race car you can drive to work. The Zbook is an actual notebook with decent carry weight, elegant but not overstated looks, and those software certifications that engineers often demand in their PCs. The Asus Rog Strix is a performance monster but gives up portability, those certifications, battery life, and nothing subtle or elegant about it; it is an in-your-face performance-focused offering.
It is also a showcase for AMD Advantage, which helps push these overclocked benchmarks to desktop ranges. As a flagship halo product for AMD and Asus, this is a stellar offing, but this is tightly focused on gamers and high-performance gamers at that, and for them, this is a godsend. But, if you want something more like today’s notebooks and don’t have a burning need for a ton more power, then one of the notebooks I mentioned last week would likely be a better choice.
For someone who wants the highest performing laptop at an affordable (for a high-grade gaming rig) price for the right person, this could be your ideal laptop. But that gaming capability better is at the top of your requirements because the tradeoffs to get this massive performance jump are still significant when you put that performance in a laptop.