We like a good Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 at High Performance Laptops. They have a habit of redefining the industry with their absolutely massive leaps in performance. This particular model arrives after we’ve reviewed some of the latest and greatest rivals (including it’s Intel-based, 2022-model, 17-inch predecessor and new 18-inch siblings). This model eschews Intel’s best processors for AMD’s best processor while keeping Nvidia’s best GPU to create an unholy AMD-Nvidia alliance. We’ve seen this work very well in the past, although it can also cause compromises. So, will there be any and what can this $1,900 cheaper(!) AMD model achieve?
Related: Check out the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 X3D review
Table of Contents
|Screen||17-inch, matte, 240Hz, 2,560 x 1,440 IPS display|
|Processor||2.5-5.4GHz AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX CPU|
|Memory||16GB DDR5-4800 RAM|
|Graphics||16GB Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU|
|Hard drive||1TB PCIe NVMe|
2.5GbE LAN port
USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (with DP 1.4 & PD 3.0)
USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (with DP 1.4)
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x 3.5mm audio
|Dimensions||395 x 282 x 28mm|
Features, Ergonomics and Design
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 is another large, black, monolithic, gaming laptop from Asus. The lid is adorned with a large, glowing ROG logo and a discreet glossy stripe running diagonally down the lid. At the rear left is a plastic, ROG-labelled section that, on Intel models is removable but here, is fixed. It’s appearance can light-up a LAN and, with the RGB turned off, it’s just about discreet enough to fit into an office.
Opening it up reveals the Asus ‘Aura’ RGB, touch-type keyboard. This is generally well laid out and very comfortable and accurate to game with (and type upon) for extended periods. It looks great with the per-key RGB lighting and it even has a reduced-width number pad. Our only gripe is the squished arrow keys, but this isn’t too terrible as they’ve been isolated away from the other keys – ameliorating the fat-fingered errors that normally drive us mad. The trackpad is large, smooth and accurate.
Asus doesn’t tell us what speakers are in the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 – only that there are two of them. What we can say is that they’re excellent with great fidelity and extraordinarily punchy bass. Perhaps they could get a little louder, but few would complain.
The UHD, 17-inch, IPS screen isn’t one of Asus’ new Nebula-branded models, but we’re not sure why. It gets bright, displays a crisp and clear Windows Desktop with its 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and can display 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour space. It also has a 240Hz refresh rate which combines with a fast pixel response time (and Nvidia G-Sync) to keep motion in fast and frantic games rendered very sliky smooth indeed.
Multimedia looks great thanks to the vibrant colours on offer. It also displays impressively smooth transitions in both colourful and monochromatic gradients, which is unusual for a fast, gaming screen. Contrast is decent with details showing up in bright and shadowy areas. Blacks can be a bit washed out though. All in all, it’s an excellent screen.
Above the screen is an HD webcam (and microphone array) which works well enough. But, we’ve seen better low-light, grain-cancellation and background-noise cancellation elsewhere. At least it’s present though… older ROG laptops didn’t have webcams!
All in all, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 looks great and is a joy to interact with.
Inside the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 is 2.5-5.4GHz AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX processor which has 16 cores and 32 threads. This is flanked by 16GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a speedy 1TB NVMe hard drive.
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In the PCMark 10 benchmark, which measures all-round, general-computing performance, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 scored 9,555 which is *clears throat* the fastest score we’ve ever seen. And we’ve seen a few fastest scores we’ve ever seen, lately.
In the Cinebench rendering tests it scored 5,787 in the drag-race R15 test and 32,773 in the longer R23 test.
All of these scores are 2.5 to 12 per cent faster than the SCAR 18 which uses Intel’s flagship 13980HX processor. Congratulations AMD!
3D Performance comes via Nvidia’s best GeForce RTX 4090 GPU which has 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. In the complicated ray-tracing tests it scored 14,180 in 3DMark Port Royal which is an average of 65.7fps – the fastest score we’ve seen. In the newer Speed Way test it scored 4,944 (average 49,4fps) – the second highest score we’ve seen.
In the AAA-gaming-title tests, 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 scored 20,522 (average 138.5fps) and 25,107 (average 115.3fps) respectively. These too, are the fastest scores we’ve seen.
In the easier 3DMark Night Raid test, which looks at a laptop’s ability to play casual and competitive games, it scored 76,277 (average 838.8fps). That’s not the highest score we’ve ever seen but this lightweight test seems to get a bit screwy, at the very top end, with the ultra-powerful new 4090s.
We also ran our CS:GO test which is a horribly optimised game, that stresses an entire system and is one of the most popular video games, ever. It averaged a very high 534fps during our benchmarking and this dropped to 113.3fps in the slowest one per cent of frames (when smoke grenades are going off). This can reassure competitive gamers that their game won’t slow to a crawl when things get thick and fast, while informing us that these are among the very highest scores we’ve ever seen on a gaming laptop.
At the end of the day, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 finishes our 3D Performance tests a whisker behind the winning Pioneer Dreambook Power X370 in the three-way photo finish with the SCAR 18. All of these 4090-sporting behemoths will play the latest and greatest games at the highest resolutions and settings.
It’s also worth noting that the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 has an excellent cooling system. While the fans can ramp up to a robust whoosh, they only do so under sustained heavy load. What’s more, this is also the case when set to the maximum Turbo mode – other gaming laptops force the fans to max-out regardless of whether they’re needed or not. Furthermore, it rarely gets particularly warm and we suspect there’s substantial room for overclockers to push performance much further.
Inside there’s the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 wireless connectivity. We’d like to see Thunderbolt 4 but there are political issues for AMD to use Intel’s open standard here. Still, few people will complain – this is a considerable complement of connectivity.
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17’s chassis is built like a tank and we expect it to easily survive life on the road being lugged between LANs. The hinge is robust and the lid barely flexes when a twisting force is applied.
It’s not light (17-inch gaming laptops generally aren’t) at 2.95KG though. Also note that the large (albeit slimline) power brick and cables add an extra 1.13KG to the considerable bulk.
You’ll need to carry them around too, as the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17’s battery life ain’t great: having only run the PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for 5 hours 51 minutes. It seems that Intel CPUs’ compatibility with Nvidia – when it comes to power saving – is significantly more evolved. Still, at least the SCAR 17 has fast-charging technology that allows it recharge 50 per cent in 30 minutes.
Price and availability
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 costs $5,599 and is available right now. That’s $1,900 cheaper than it’s Intel-sporting sibling, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 18 which is marginally slower but has better battery life.
Alternatives to the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17
Asus ROG Strix SCAR 18: The’s 17’s Intel-sporting sibling is $1,900 dearer, has similar performance and slightly better connectivity and features.
Pioneer Dreambook X370 RTX 4090: This Aussie beast might be unrefined in terms of ergonomics, but it’s still got the fastest 3D Performance we’ve yet seen. It costs several hundred dollars more, though.
Asus ROG Zephyrus 16: The 17’s smaller-and-cheaper sibling has stunning looks and a more-portable form factor. It’s noisier though.
MSI Pulse 17: MSI’s budget gaming laptop will save you a lot of money. But, it can’t rival the performance or ergonomics on show here.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro: Lenovo’s 16-inch gaming laptop looks great at a LAN and also an office. It’s a great all-round laptop with great ergonomics and is often on sale at huge discounts.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17?
At $5,599 the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 is, frankly, a steal. It’s a massive win for AMD over Intel – in terms price and performance if not power-management boost to portability. History tells us that it might well sell out fast, so don’t dally!
Outstanding 2D Performance
Top-tier 3D Performance
Poor battery life
Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 Scores
The AMD-sporting Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 (2023) is not just our new best gaming laptop, it’s our overall Best Laptop. It offers unsurpassed performance at a price that undercuts the rest.