The ROG Strix GL503VS is a powerful gaming laptop from ASUS, featuring Nvidia’s 1070 graphics and a 144Hz screen with G-Sync, making it a pretty nice laptop for gamers, so let’s see what it’s got to offer and find out how it performs in some gaming benchmarks.
Let’s start by checking out the hardware specs, it’s got an Intel 7700HQ quad core CPU running at 2.8GHz which can turbo upto 3.8GHz. There’s 32GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHz, although it typically seems to come with 16GB.
For storage there’s a 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD and a 1TB 5,400 RPM hard drive installed. For the graphics we’ve got Nvidia’s 1070 with 8GB of memory in combination with a 15.6 inch 1080p 144Hz IPS panel, and we’ll see how this performs later in the benchmarks.
For the network connectivity there’s a gigabit ethernet port, and Intel 8265 AC WiFi, as well as Bluetooth 4.1. The lid has a brushed metallic look to it and features the ROG logo, which has a mirrored finish and lights up red when the laptop is powered on.
The plastic material inside is smooth and has a carbon fiber look to it, which helped in hiding fingerprint marks. Overall I think it’s got a nice clean look to it without feeling too gamery. The physical dimensions of the laptop are 38.
5cm in width, 26.2cm in depth, and 2.54cm in height. Considering the powerful hardware inside I thought it was fairly thin, but we’ll see how the temperatures are later. The total weight of the laptop is advertised at 2.
54kg with the battery, which is exactly what I got, and this increases to just under 3.5kg when you include the power brick and cable for charging. As mentioned the screen here is a 15.6 inch 144Hz 1080p IPS matte panel with G-Sync.
The viewing angles are pretty good, the colours are still clear even on sharp angles. I’ve also measured the colours produced by the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 98% of sRGB, 68% of NTSC and 74% of AdobeRGB, so it pretty good in terms of colour reproduction, I’d have no issues using this for content creation in addition to gaming.
I’ve performed my usual backlight bleed test on the display, which involves having the laptop show a black screen in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding around the edges. I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test.
As you can see here there was no bleed at all, the screen was basically perfect in this regard, although this may of course vary between laptops. While moving the display there was only a little bit of flex, overall it was pretty sturdy owing to the hinges that were placed on the left and right corners, and you can open the laptop with one finger, demonstrating a fairly even weight distribution.
Above the display is a HD camera capable of 720p video. The camera looks fairly blurry, even with some decent lighting. The microphone doesn’t sound too bad, although it does seem to pick up some of the fan noise from the laptop.
The keyboard was alright to type with, the keys felt a little mushy but I had no problems using it. There’s RGB backlighting which can be customized in four separate zones through the included Aura software and you can either set a static colour, a breathing effect, or cycle through colours.
There was only little keyboard flex while pushing down fairly hard, overall it was fairly solid and this wasn’t an issue while typing normally. There are four extra buttons along the top left hand side, including volume up and down, microphone mute, and the ROG button which opens the ROG gaming center app, where you can monitor the system, change fan speeds and more.
Just next to these buttons there’s a grill which is another air intake for the internals. The touchpad was also pretty good, it’s got a nice smooth surface with two physical left and right mouse buttons which aren’t too clicky.
Moving onto the I/O on the left there’s the power input, ethernet port, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0 port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports and a 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack. Over on the right there’s an SD card reader, USB 3.
1 Gen 2 Type-C port with Thunderbolt, two more USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and a lock slot. There’s nothing at all on the front, and on the back there’s some air exhaust vents and the status LEDs can be seen with the lid closed, but they’re also viewable from the front when the lid is open.
Underneath there’s some more air intakes to keep everything cool, as well as some rubber feet which both help prevent the laptop from moving around on flat surfaces when in use, and also rise it up slightly to help let cool air in.
The speakers are also found underneath the laptop towards the left and right sides, and I found them to sound pretty good as far as laptop speakers are concerned, there was some bass, although that was hard to notice at higher volumes but overall the speakers still sounded fairly clear.
There’s also a panel that can be unscrewed to reveal the M.2 slot, 2.5 inch drive bay, and two RAM slots, allowing you to quickly and easily upgrade these components which is a pretty useful feature to have.
Powering the laptop is a 62 Watt hour 4 cell battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 2 hours and 3 minutes.
While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 51 minutes which is about in line with other 15 inch laptops I’ve tested. It’s also worth noting that G-Sync can’t be used while running on battery power.
Overall I thought the battery life was a little on the lower side for tasks outside of gaming, as there’s no option to swap to integrated graphics here, so the power hungry 1070 will be in use the whole time.
During normal use with an ambient room temperature of 26 degrees celsius, the CPU idled at 45 degrees while the GPU sat at around 39, and here are the external temperatures of the laptop where you’ll actually be putting your hands, getting to around 35 degrees or so.
With the CPU and GPU maxed out for half an hour with the default fan profile using the heaven benchmark and Aida64 stress test at the same time with the same room temperature, the CPU reached a maximum of 99 degrees celsius, while the GPU peaked at 76.
The CPU was thermal throttling by around 25% as it was running so hot, but this stopped if I removed the GPU load. The keyboard area got a fair bit warmer, up to around 43c in the center. When I manually max out all fans the CPU temperature doesn’t change and we’re still throttling by about the same amount, but we’re able to drop a few degrees off the graphics, and it does get a bit louder as you’ll hear soon.
The keyboard area drops down a bit, and despite the internals being quite hot I’m surprised that this wasn’t worse, so it does seem to at least do a good job of taking the heat out rather than heating up the laptop itself, and in all cases the areas where you put your hands like the wrist rests and WASD keys stayed fairly cool in comparison.
The gaming result was from playing PUBG at high settings, and we can see that the CPU is the same but the GPU is slightly warmer when playing a real game rather than using a benchmark tool. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to each of these tests.
As you’ve probably noticed, under full load and even gaming it’s fairly loud, definitely louder than most other 15 inch laptops that I’ve tested, however most of those only run with 1060 graphics or lower, so there’s more power here in a thinner body which I think explains these temperatures.
I did expect the CPU to run a bit cooler than this too, especially considering the extra air intake above the keyboard, although it’s worth considering it was a pretty warm day here at 26 degrees celsius inside, so your mileage may vary.
I’ll also note that there was no noticeable coil whine while testing in my unit. Finally let’s take a look at some benchmarks, we’ll first cover some real world gaming benchmarks followed by tests with various benchmarking tools.
All tests were run at the 1080p resolution with all Windows and Nvidia updates to date installed. Overwatch ran really well, we’re able to take advantage of the 144Hz panel at high or lower settings, however even at higher setting levels the average frame rates were still quite high and the game ran nicely.
This is my first time testing CS:GO, as I thought it would be a competitive game people would actually be looking at this laptop for. High settings are essentially everything maxed out, while low was with everything on minimum settings.
Even with everything maxed out the averages were still crazily high and well above the refresh rate of the display, but we can increase those 1% lows by dropping the settings down. Dota2 isn’t too demanding but I’m testing with a fairly intensive replay, and to me it felt extremely smooth regardless of setting level used.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was tested with the latest 1.0 version using the replay feature. At high or lower settings we’re getting some pretty respectable frame rates, although these can dip quite a bit as shown depending on what’s going on in the game, I really wish this game was better optimized.
Shadow of war with the built in benchmark did quite well, you’ll probably want medium or lower settings assuming you want to best utilize that 144Hz refresh rate. Battlefield 1 ran very smoothly and needs medium settings or lower to fully make use of the 144Hz panel, however even at ultra settings the averages are still pretty high, and the 1% lows don’t change much regardless of setting level.
The Witcher 3 wasn’t able to make full use of the refresh rate even at minimum settings, but I’d argue that this game doesn’t need that, it ran quite well regardless of settings. Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive game, and another I don’t think really needs a high frame rate to enjoy, so averaging around 60 FPS on ultra settings was a really great experience.
Rise of the Tomb raider was tested with the built in benchmark tool, and even at max settings we scored over 100 FPS, so most setting levels should be able to make use of our display. Ghost recon is another fairly resource intensive game and was also tested with the built in benchmark tool, and we’re not really getting high enough frame rates for the panel unless we play at the minimum settings, but in any case these frame rates are quite good for this game compared to other laptops I’ve tested.
DOOM doesn’t change much regardless of the setting level used, however 120 FPS at max settings with fairly high 1% lows even with OpenGL meant that the game was running very nicely, expect even more with Vulkan.
Overall many of these games are able to take advantage of the 144Hz refresh rate of the display thanks to the Nvidia 1070 inside, allowing for extremely smooth gameplay, although depending on the game you may need to put the settings back a bit.
E-sports titles like Overwatch and CS:GO ran extremely well. Now onto the benchmarking tools, we’ll start with the Unigine benchmarks, this is how the laptop performed in Heaven benchmark with the tessellation set to extreme, and anti-aliasing set to x8, here’s how Valley benchmark performed with anti-aliasing on x8 at various graphics settings, and finally these are the results from their newest Superposition benchmark.
For the final graphics benchmarks I ran Fire Strike and Time spy from 3DMark as well as VRMark, and got some pretty nice scores thanks to the 1070. In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD performed around 3300MB/s in sequential reads but 1200MB/s in sequential writes, so really excellent read speeds, and although the writes are lower in comparison they are still about double that of a SATA3 based SSD, so pretty nice.
The 1TB hard drive gets around 140 MB/s in sequential reads and 120 MB/s in sequential writes, pretty good for a 5,400 RPM hard drive. As for the price this laptop comes in at $1,899 USD, so you’re definitely paying for all of these nice features such as the graphics, 144Hz display, and NVMe SSD, but as you’ve seen it does provide a great experience.
So what did you guys think of the ROG Strix GL503VS gaming laptop from ASUS? Overall I was pretty impressed, this is the first laptop I’ve used with a 144Hz screen, and combined with G-Sync and the Nvidia 1070 graphics it’s capable of providing high frame rates in many games while still being somewhat thin and portable, however this does result in it running quite warm and loud, so just throw on some headphones and you’ll be good to go.
Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and leave a like if you found the review useful. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe for future tech videos like this one.