How does it feel to play games on the fastest laptop money can buy? At least, it’s the fastest gaming laptop from Asus. Gaming laptops can be powerful, running AAA titles but if you want them to run without any hitch, you need the Asus Strix Scar 17 SE.
It literally offers desktop performance in a laptop and making that possible is a surprisingly good chip from Intel. When the company had introduced the 12900HK, I thought that was enough for the year. Here we have 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12950HX that works 20-25 per cent faster in certain areas and dominates Cinebench R23 multicore scores. In case you are into editing high-resolution video content, the chip can render your efforts in no time. It works well for any application that takes advantage of lots of cores.
Strix got the looks
Out of the box, it comes with crazy levels of RGB lighting. Looking at it, you know that performance is going to be epic. There are some subtle design changes, like the UV reactive coating on the lid. There is a torch in the box and when light from the UV spectrum hits the cover, it reveals ROG glyphs. I agree that nobody is going to shine a torch on the lid all the time but the laptop is for the gaming community and they like such out-of-the-box moments.
Before getting into the performance aspect, let me take you through the other components. It’s a 17-inch high-res panel with good colour reproduction. The aspect ratio here is 16:9, meaning there is a bit of a chin and I don’t mind it because the aspect ratio helps while playing shooter titles. The screen doesn’t tilt back as much as other laptops but at 122 degree angle, it offers a good viewing angle when sitting at a desk.
Like other Scar laptops from Asus, the lid is metal with a matte black finish while the interior is black plastic with a translucent triangular area. A black finish means fingerprints are easy to spot but it can be handled easily with a microfibre cloth.
Asus has added some cool touches to the machine. There are three removable plastic pieces that the company calls “armor plates”. And you can swap the one that’s installed on the corner of the laptop to get a different look. And I have not tried this, but you can also download files for 3D printing your own for more customisation.
Coming to the hinge, it feels nice and smooth while the keyboard is fairly solid with very little flex. The laptop weighs around 2.9 kg but the weight goes up when you add the charging brick. Remember, this is not a laptop that you will use for keying in documents, yet the keyboard is very comfortable, complete with a numpad. The same goes for the trackpad, which is free of flex.
Needless to say, the Strix Scar 17 SE is an extreme performer thanks to the 16-core i9-12950HX processor (up to 55W TDP). Plus, there is the RTX 3080 Ti that can reach 175W (150W+25W with MUX switch) with dynamic boost making it the fastest laptop GPU.
By way of thermals, Asus has done a great job and the laptop can handle a huge amount of wattage that the CPU can use. If you are using a CPU heavy application this chip will pull massive amounts of power and this laptop can sustain it comfortably. It gets warm but never hot. If you are gaming and you are pushing the CPU and GPU at the same time, this pulls in even more power. The laptop is incredibly power hungry but the system can handle it. It’s a 16-core chip and big chips need a lot of wattage.
The SSD scored impressive reads speeds in CrystalDiskMark while the top-of-the-line performance gets carried over into gaming even in ray-traced titles at the highest settings, like Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. If it’s about e-sport titles like Valorant, it comes close to the panels 360Hz refresh while with most AAA titles, these run over 100 FPS at ultra settings.
For a laptop this power hungry, it’s an awfully quiet machine. The Armoury Crate software lets us change between performance modes — silent, performance, turbo and manual mode. The last mentioned gives us plenty of customisation — we can change the fan curve for the CPU and GPU and adjust power limits. Both turbo and manual modes apply the same overclock to the GPU, though manual mode gives you the option to customise it.
The speakers sound amazing for a gaming laptop. There’s plenty of bass, yet music sounds clear at high volume levels and the palm rest vibrations are noteworthy. There is something called Panel Power Saver, which lowers the screen refresh rate to 60Hz, but who wants to save power?!
The Scar comes with a MUX switch, so you can disable Optimus to get a speed boost in games but at the expense of battery life. When the MUX switch is toggled (using the Armoury Crate app), the Intel GPU is disabled and the Nvidia GPU outputs directly to the screen.
The whole backside is covered by a thermal chamber, with two fans. There are holes on the bottom panel for air intake and it gets exhausted from both sides through the outlets. The Scar is using Thermal Grizzly’s Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal on both the CPU and GPU with a vapour chamber cooler. An ultra-high performance thermal interface material, Conductonaut Extreme can keep these components up to 15 degree Celsius cooler than traditional thermal pastes. Unlike conventional heat pipes that only transfer heat along their axis, vapour chamber designs spread heat across their entire surface, allowing the vapor chamber to rapidly absorb and dissipate waste heat without adding extra bulk to the machine. This efficient heat transfer also keeps the surface of the laptop cooler.
Should you get it?
This is a gaming machine and one of the fastest (if not the fastest) laptops you can buy. So don’t expect battery life to be great. We got around 4.5 hours, which is not unexpected given the power consumption of the machine. What’s missing? A webcam. I don’t miss it on a gaming laptop but yes, it would have helped dive into videoconferences now and then. Otherwise, if you are planning to slay monsters and drive through a virtual world, Asus Strix Scar 17 SE is the machine to have.
At a glance
Device: Asus Strix Scar 17 SE
Price: Rs 399,990 (review device; Rs 359,990 for base variant)
Ports: Two Type A support USB3.2, Type-C USB3.2 Gen2 (support DP+PD), Type-C with Thunderbolt 4 with DP (iGPU output), LAN RJ-45 jack, one HDMI 2.1, keystone, audio combo jack
- Uncompromised performance
- Excellent cooling system
- Out-of-the-box design
- Beautiful RGB lighting
- No in-built webcam