We reviewed our last ROG Strix almost a year ago and absolutely loved it. Remarkably, you can still buy it at a bargain price and it’s still well worth considering. It even still sits on our Best Laptop list… that’s incredible! Well, now here’s it’s big, new sibling, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE. It sets out to be not just an ultimate gaming laptop, but THE ultimate gaming laptop. That’s quite an aim, does it succeed?
Table of Contents
- Specs of the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE
- Design, Features & Ergonomics
- Portability and Battery Life
- Price and Availability
Specs of the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE
|Screen||17.3-inch, matte, 360Hz, 1,920 x 1,080, IPS display with G-Sync|
|Processor||3.6–5GHz Intel Core i9-12950HX CPU|
|Memory||32GB DDR5-4800 RAM|
|Graphics||Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti 16GB GDDR6 RAM|
|Hard drive||2x 1TB PCIe NVMe|
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
|Speakers||4 x speakers|
|Additional Security Features||Asus ROG Keystone|
|Dimensions||400 x 282 x 28mm|
Design, Features & Ergonomics
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE has all the design elements you’d expect from a big-and-brash gaming laptop. The matte, black lid has a large, multi-zone-RGB ROG logo plus a variety of subtle, stylised etchings that all catch the light differently.
While the etchings won’t be to everyone’s taste, their subtlety makes them simple to overlook and, turning the RGB off, means you could actually get away with it in an office.
Addendum: It transpires that the subtle etchings are actually a code that’s revealed by shining a bundled UV light on it! The code is used within the Asus’ SCAR Runner game for extra loot. We didn’t see that coming.
Opening it up reveals the thin-bezel screen and RGB keyboard. The upper-right portion of the chassis is translucent which allows for additional RGB effects. However, looking through plastic at the circuitry beneath and some randomly blinking LEDs, struck us as a bit cheap. Others will disagree.
Behind the screen are the similar removeable ‘Armuor Caps’ that we saw on the previous Strix. To be honest, we’re not big fans of these either as they look more plasticy than funky. But feel free to disagree. Asus provides the schematics for them and invites you to 3D-print your own, which is very cool, though.
Underneath the chassis is an RGB bar which gives off an underglow to the front and sides. We’ll never get tired of that.
Asus ROG Keystone
To the right of the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE’s keyboard is a slot for the unique Asus ROG Keystone. This device can be carried around in a slot within an included keyring. It attaches magnetically and performs various configurable functions. It can change Performance mode, lighting effects and open a specific app. Removing it can either rapidly minimize all windows and mute sound (
The boss is coming Stealth mode) or lock Windows. Inserting it into another, compatible ROG laptop will activate these stored settings.
It also functions as a “Shadow Drive.” Setting this up in Asus’ Armoury Crate laptop-management app allows you to create a ‘secret’ partition on your hard drive that only reveals itself when the Keystone unlocks it (you’ll still need a password). The drive can be encrypted with Bitlocker protection (the Strix also has a TPM module for hardware-based security) but note that if you have to reset the Shadow Drive, you’ll lose everything saved in it. More info on its abilities can be found, here. While we can appreciate some of the Keystone’s benefits, we’d live in constant anxiety at the risk of losing it, especially as the magnetic attachment is so weak.
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The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE’s Scrabble-tile keyboard is well-weighted and comfortable and accurate enough for extended periods of typing and gaming. The arrow keys are squished, which we normally don’t like, but they’re separated from the rest of the keyboard in a way that makes it less of an issue. There’s also a number pad with reduced-width keys. While it’s good that it’s present, gamers who rely on a number pad for executing rapid commands might feel limited. Multimedia keys above the main area are easy to reach and very usable. Ultimately, even though some keys are reduced in size, the spread-out nature of everything makes it an excellent keyboard.
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE’s trackpad is smooth and accurate and the clickable areas work comfortably. We’d like to talk about the webcam and microphones but, yet again, the Strix doesn’t have any. This is beyond ridiculous in this the age of pandemics and streaming. We now deduct feature points for this deficiency in our new ratings.
Surrounding all this is Asus’ ‘Soft Touch’ paint which keeps the chassis and palm rest very smooth and repels fingerprints – something we’re beginning to appreciate more and more at High Performance Laptops.
The screen of our review unit is all about extremes. It’s an 17.3-inch, matte, IPS offering with a Full HD resolution and an incredibly fast refresh rate of 360Hz. Those specs scream that this SKU of the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is designed with a focus on competitive FPS players who demand the smoothest, most accurate motion performance at insane framerates.
For other gamers, the hefty internals will be wasted as the screen’s low resolution will act as a performance bottleneck: there’s no point in splashing for hardware that will play AAA-titles, with epic ray-tracing and eye candy, at sub-UHD resolutions. Fortunately, for those people, there’s another SKU which swaps in a UHD 2,560 x 1,440 alternative with a lowly(!) 240Hz refresh rate. Nonetheless, today we’re reviewing the 1080p SKU.
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE’s screen displays a crisp and clear Windows Desktop that’s bright and offers decent colour vibrancy. The crazy-fast 360Hz blends with the fast pixel response time to all but totally eliminate and blurring or smearing of objects. Some gaming monitors can offer even better performance, but we haven’t seen better on a laptop. It also supports Nvidia G-Sync to further ensure that image tearing and fluctuating framerates don’t cause any drop in motion clarity.
In multimedia, the smooth motion performance carried across although we weren’t surprised to see some minor banding in colour gradients which often blights fast screens. Furthermore, when when highly-detailed areas collided there could be some minor image aberrations – partly owing to the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE screen’s low resolution but it wasn’t too distracting.
In dark and monochromatic areas, banding and blocky artefacts were slightly more pronounced, but not by much – we’re used to seeing fast screens effectively give up in these tests in lesser rivals. Contrast is generally impressive with details remaining visible in dark areas which will help reveal enemies hiding in shadows. However, some details can get lost in blown-out highlights. The latter is not too bad for a laptop, though. Colour performance isn’t quite the best, but there will always be compromises on such an obscenely fast screen using IPS technology.
There are four speakers within the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE although their specs aren’t specified. We’re not too fussed though because they sound excellent with great fidelity from top to bottom including some punchy bass and a reasonably high volume.
Armoury Crate & Aura RGB
It’s worth mentioning a bit more about the Aura RGB in that it can be synchronised with special, brightly-coloured dynamic Windows backgrounds to great effect. However, activating this means there’s extra energy consumption by the GPU and this can lead the fans to lightly ramping up.
Ultimately, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is a joy to interact with, whatever you’re doing on it, but it’s definitely more suited to gaming than immersing yourself in media. Just remember, and to labour the point, there’s no webcam or microphone.
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE wields a mighty Intel Core i9-12950HX processor which is the fastest 12th Gen chip we’ve seen and a perfect way to celebrate this generation of technology before the imminent arrival of 13th Gen, which we’ll see in the next week. Hopefully.
The processor utilises 8 Efficiency Cores and 8 Performance Cores which, between them, make use of 24 processing threads. It typically runs between 3.6 to 5GHz and the HX designation means it can suck down extra power to rival desktop PCs. Indeed, nerdy folk will like that the GPU – a mighty Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, no less – supports 175 Watt TGP while the processor can simultaneously supports a 65 Watt TDP (click here for an explainer of those terms.) In short, this is even more powerful than MSI’s immense Titan and Raiders. So, we expected great things.
For our 2D Performance tests, the CPU combined with two, 1TB, NVMe 4.0 hard drives running in a RAID 0 array and 32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM, to score 8,502 in our PCMark 10 general computing test. This is the highest score we’ve yet published on High Performance Laptops. In the Cinebench CPU rendering tests it scored 3,546 in R15 and 21,247 in the longer R23 test. Only the Lenovo Legion 7 (unpublished review – watch this space) which has a similar processor, can rival it and the two are effectively neck-and-neck for 2D performance at the head of the field.
In our 3D performance tests, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE scored 13,975 in the AAA-gaming-title-alike 3DMark Time Spy which is an average of 84fps. It also scored 16,244 in the similar Fire Strike Extreme test (average 73.6fps). Both scores are the fastest we’ve ever seen.
In the difficult ray-tracing tests it scored 8,399 in Port Royal (average 38.9fps) and 3,438 in Speed Way (average 343.4fps). The latter is the fastest score we’ve seen while the former is just a smidge behind the mighty Raider GE77 HX.
In the super easy, casual-and-competitive-game benchmark, Night Raid, it managed a ridiculous 70,577 which is an average of 707.5fps. However, this is exactly the area where the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE wants to be as gargantuan framerates like this are what’s needed to justify a 360Hz screen.
The latter is underlined by our new, old, GS:GO benchmark. On the surface, it runs very smoothly as an average framerate of 540fps illustrates (that’s the best score we’ve seen, by the way). However, when smoke and fire bombs start going off, a laptop’s entire system goes into meltdown as the processor, RAM and GPU all max-out to cope with the old, unoptimized processing requirements. On many laptops, smooth framerate performance can drop to a slideshow which is why we now also look at the average framerates of the slowest one per cent of the test.
On the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE, this ‘1% Low’ score for CS:GO was 123fps. That means that not only will most of a CS:GO match be rendered silky smooth on the super-fast screen, but it will only drop to around (a very-fast 123fps) when the going gets tough which is more than enough to eliminate any gaming lag and ensures that players will remain competitive. This caries over to all other competitive shooters like Valorant, Apex Legends, Rainbow 6 and Overwatch etc.
It’s worth labouring the point, though, that most buyers will be far better off with the UHD screen SKU as only professional-grade players need overpowered specs like these on such a fast, low-resolution screen.
Nonetheless, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE offers the fastest 3D performance we’ve ever seen – though it’s a close race at the head of the pack and anything with a 3080 Ti GPU seems to be within touching distance of rivals. Still, the SCAR does offer additional headroom (and chassis size) for extra overclocking. Also remember that, the 3080 Ti comes with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and this is required on games like Far Cry 6 with its 12GB-minimum, HD texture pack.
In terms of noise, under load the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE doesn’t get particularly loud. The fans can ramp up considerably in Turbo mode, but for the most part, they offer a brooding, high-pitch whoosh – but only in the background. It never really gets distracting. That’s thanks in part to the special liquid-metal cooling material (Conductonaut Extreme) that replaces standard thermal paste plus a custom vapour chamber with enhanced, integrated heat pipes. There are also twin, high-performance fans and four dedicated exhaust vents. It all works very well and there should be serious headroom for further overlclocking.
Inside the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Altogether it’s a very good complement of latest-gen ports.
Portability and Battery Life
Despite the bulk, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE can call itself a sub-3cm laptop with its 28mm thickness and a sub 3KG laptop with its 2.92KG bulk. The hefty power supply needs to be capable of reliably supplying the CPU and GPU with 240 Watts so we’re actually surprised the 330-Watt PSU and cables amount to 1.08KG. It can also recharge 50 per cent of the laptop in just 30 minutes. Rival top-tier gaming laptops can be 50 per cent larger. So, it’s a big system but not unmoveably heavy.
Build quality is generally impressive. The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE’s lid is solid and should survive the odd bash when being carted between LANs. However, the hinge isn’t the strongest we’ve seen. Note too that the screen doesn’t go back far beyond vertical. But, these are very minor issues.
There’s a 90Wh battery which we’d ordinarily treat with a pinch of salt, as gaming laptops like this tend to use batteries merely as UPS devices. However, we were very pleasantly surprised to see that the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE ran PCMark 10’s Modern Office test for 9 hours and 9 minutes. That’s a full day out of the office!
Price and Availability
The Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is available now for $5,699. That’s not cheap but market leading performance often comes in much more expensive. Indeed, rivals from the likes of MSI and Alienware tend to cost a whole lot more when not on sale, so the Strix represents very good value. Just note that the variant with the UHD screen does not appear to be widely available yet.
Quite simply, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is currently our new number 1 Best Laptop. As for whether it will be there for long… be aware that we’ll shortly be publishing our Lenovo Legion 7 review and that’s a serious contender. Still, that’s 15-inches in size and fundamentally a different beast.
Remember that this particular Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE SKU will severely limit many gamers with its low-resolution Full HD screen. Nonetheless, the combination of extreme power, portability, features, ergonomics and value mean this is a fantastic machine that will both act as a great desktop replacement or a portable tool for professional (or competitive) FPS players.
Low resolution screen
Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE Results
The immense Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is arguably the ultimate gaming laptop. However, be sure to choose the right version with the right screen or you may find yourself severely bottlenecked.