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Product Listing

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW review: Speedy GeForce RTX graphics

By Koh Wanzi - 8 Mar 2019
Launch SRP: S$3698

Performance benchmarks

Test setup and performance

Here's a full list of the notebooks we're looking at:

  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GM
  • Razer Blade
  • ASUS ROG Strix Scar II
  • Gigabyte Aero 15Y v9
  • ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501

I've included a mix of notebooks equipped with both the Max-P and Max-Q versions of the GeForce GTX 1070 to see how the GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q stacks up against its Pascal equivalent. In addition, the Gigabyte Aero 15Y v9 was thrown in to provide an idea of the performance differential between the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q and GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q. Finally, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GM was included as well to provide a measure of how the notebook has improved over its predecessor. 

Test notebooks compared
  ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GM Razer Blade (2018) ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL504GS Gigabyte Aero 15Y ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501
  ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GM Razer Blade (2018) ASUS ROG Strix Scar II GL504GS Gigabyte Aero 15Y ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501
Launch SRP
  • From S$3698
  • From S$3198
  • From S$3899
  • From S$3398
  • From S$6099
  • From S$4898
Processor and Chipset
  • Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz, 9MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz, 9MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz, 9MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-8750H (2.2GHz, 9MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i9-8950HK (2.9GHz, 12MB L3 cache)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Operating System
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10
System Memory
  • 16GB DDR4-2666 dual-channel RAM
  • 16GB DDR4-2666 dual-channel RAM
  • 16GB DDR4-2667 dual-channel RAM
  • 16GB DDR4-2666 single-channel RAM
  • 32GB DDR4-2666 dual-channel RAM
  • 24GB (8GB + 16GB) DDR4-2400 RAM
Video & Display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz IPS-type display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz IPS-type display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
  • 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz IPS-type display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  • 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160-pixel 60Hz IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design
  • 15.6-inch Full HD with 120Hz Anti-glare, G-SYNC
Storage
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Samsung PM981 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Toshiba XG3 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Intel 760p 2TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe SSD
Optical Drive
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
  • None
Connectivity
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9260
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Intel Wireless-AC 9560
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Killer E2500 LAN
  • Killer Wireless-AC 1550i
  • Wi-Fi: Integrated 802.11 AC (2 X 2) 10/100/100 Base-T
  • Bluetooth: 4.1
Audio
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • 2x 3.5W speakers with Smart AMP technology
  • Built-in stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • Built-in Stereo 2 W speakers And array mic
I/O Ports
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack
  • 1x Kensington Lock
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack
  • 1x Kensington Lock
  • 1x microphone-in, headphone-out jack
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3
  • 3x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A
  • 1x HDMI 2.0b
  • 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C
  • 2x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
  • 1x audio combo jack
  • 1x SD card reader
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 2x USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x Mini DisplayPort 1.4
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x audio combo jack
  • 1x SD card reader
  • 1x RJ-45
  • 1 x microphone-in, headphone-out jack
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (GEN2) Thunderbolt
  • 4 x USB 3.0 port(s) Type A ports
  • 1 x HDMI (2.0 support)
Battery Type
  • 60Wh
  • 50Wh
  • 80Wh Li-ion polymer
  • 66Wh Li-ion
  • 94.24Wh Li-ion polymer
  • 50Wh
Dimensions
  • 360 x 268 x 15.35-16.15mm
  • 360 x 268 x 14.95-15.75mm
  • 355 x 235 x 17.3mm
  • 361 x 262 x 26.1mm
  • 356.4 x 250 x 18.9mm
  • 379 x 262 x 16.9-17.8mm
Weight
  • 2.1 kg
  • 2.1 kg
  • 2.1 kg
  • 2.4kg
  • 2.0kg
  • 2.25 kg
Miscellaneous
  • Per-key RGB illumination
  • HD webcam, illuminated chiclet keyboard

I ran the notebooks through the following benchmarks:

  • PCMark 10
  • PCMark 8
  • 3DMark
  • VRMark
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Tom Clancy's The Division

 

How does it do in daily computing tasks?

The ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW did surprisingly well in PCMark 10, topping the charts in terms of overall scores. What's impressive is that it even managed to edge out the Gigabyte Aero 15Y, which comes with a more powerful Intel Core i9-8950HK processor and a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. 

On the storage front, the new Zephyrus S managed to keep pace with the other laptops in terms of overall scores, but it fell behind when it came to storage bandwidth. As I mentioned earlier, the Zephyrus S now uses QLC NAND for its SSD, which can suffer in certain performance aspects, and that looks like its showing here. That said, this isn't necessarily something that you'll notice during daily use, although QLC NAND still does have lower endurance. 

 

How fast is it in games?

The ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW does really well in our gaming benchmarks as well, coming in only slightly behind the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q in the Gigabyte Aero 15Y in 3DMark . Having said that, things like thermal design play a big role in how well mobile GPUs perform, and there have been reports that other GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q are actually faster than what the Aero 15Y was able to muster. In other words, the results here may be less about the strengths of the Zephyrus S than the flaws of the Aero 15Y. 

The new Zephyrus S was even quicker than the Aero 15Y in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Tom Clancy's The Division, which makes it seem even more likely that the GPU on the Aero 15Y is suffering from some serious thermal throttling. Either way, the Zephyrus S has acquitted itself really well, and it is even faster than the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 and its GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, coming ahead by roughly 12 per cent in Mankind Divided. Compared to the GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q from the previous generation, it is nearly 30 per cent faster. 

 

How is its battery life?

ASUS has managed to significantly improve battery life in this generation of the Zephyrus S, effectively doubling it even though battery capacity has gone up by just 18 per cent. That's reflected in the vastly improved power consumption figures, and ASUS says that's thanks to improvements made on Windows 10's end as well.

This means that the new Zephyrus S is also a lot more portable than before. Our portability index is intended to be an objective measure of how portable a notebook is, taking into account factors like size, weight, and battery life, so the Zephyrus S was able to greatly improve its score in this department. 

I've found battery life to be a key weakness on previous notebooks with the Zephyrus name, but I'm happy to report that things seem much improved with this iteration of the notebook. 

 

Does it run hot?

Temperature is always a concern with any slim and light gaming notebook, and it can really drag performance down, as seen with the Gigabyte Aero 15Y. Fortunately, it looks like the unconventional cooling design on the Zephyrus S has paid off here, and the notebook never became uncomfortably hot to touch. CPU and GPU temperatures are definitely higher than on the Pascal version of the notebook, but it doesn't look like performance has been affected much. 

That said, its cooling performance comes at the price of a lot of noise, so you'll want to use the notebook with headphones on.

9.0
  • Design 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Value 8
  • Mobility 8.5
The Good
Slim, light design and great build quality
Innovative cooling solution works pretty well
Excellent gaming performance
Decent battery life
The Bad
No per-key RGB customizations
Fans are very noisy