Fans of expensive gaming laptops are quite difficult to please because the competition in this category has already spoiled buyers. After spending a lot of money on a laptop, it is unlikely that the buyer will not pay attention to the smallest details that the user of simpler options would not pay attention to. There should be no compromises here. In addition, it is desirable for the manufacturer to surprise the potential owner with something, because, again, competitors know their business. In today’s review, we will see what the powerful ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE gaming laptop from ASUS can offer its owner.
ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE specifications
|Model||ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE|
|Display||IPS, 17.3” , resolution 2560×1600, aspect ratio 16:9, frequency 240 Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-12950HX|
|RAM||32 GB DDR5-4800|
|Storage||1 TB (Raid 0)|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce 3080Ti 16 GB|
|Ports||HDMI 2.1, 2xUSB-A 3.2 Gen 1, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with DisplayPort and Power Delivery support, Thunderbolt 4 , RJ-45 (2.5), 3.5 mm combo jack|
|Wireless modules||Wi-Fi 6e + Bluetooth 5.2|
|Audio||Speaker system with 4 speakers and microphone|
|Keyboard||RGB-backlit island-type keys|
|Battery and charging||90 Wh, main power supply 330 W, additional – 100 W|
|Dimensions||395× 282×23.4-28.3 mm|
ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE kit
With some cars, you can get unusual accessories. For example, you can find an umbrella in the door of a Rolls Royce. The ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE comes with a UV flashlight, which we’ll come back to in the next section. The laptop also comes with two power supplies (a large 330 W and a “travel” one with 100 W), a basic ROG Strix Impact gaming mouse, a Keystone branded NFC tag (we’ll also talk about it later), three replaceable inserts with logos, and a backpack.
The set is considerable because after paying such an amount of money, it is really nice to get some interesting things from a large box with a laptop. But for full happiness, you need to add at least a gaming headset and a surface for the manipulator. It is unlikely that experienced players do not have these, but if they wish to update all accessories with the computer, the company will help with branded options.
We will immediately answer the question of the title: the complete ultraviolet flashlight illuminates the part of the lid, on which you can see the puzzle. The WOW effect is impressive at first. Of course, you have to pay for it, although the cost of the entire system has already predicted everything. But the approach is interesting and, dare I say, innovative.
After solving the puzzle, the user will receive an additional bonus. What it is, we will probably leave out of the review for those readers who plan to buy this laptop. But it is related to the branded game from ASUS. (By the way, the manufacturer warns that the drawing will fade over time, so you should not postpone the quest “for later”.)
Design and usability
When buying a gaming laptop, the owner should understand that there is practically no balance between enormous power and mobility. And although modern models do not weigh about five kilograms, their weight is still too much for long trips without back pain. The dimensions of the 17-inch ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE are 395×282×23.4-28.3 mm, with a weight of three kilograms. Even next to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is not a fragile option in its category, the SCAR 17 looks big. This drawback is the price for cool performance. And that’s where the unpleasant news ends almost before it begins.
The Strix line has always offered the company’s best solutions. This also applied to the design. And it still applies. When the laptop is turned off, it will attract attention with the aforementioned ultraviolet surprise on the top cover and the translucent part of the top case, which not every manufacturer risks using. A separate noticeable element is the KeyStone, which is not immediately installed in the case and its absence is also noticeable.
Then replaceable panels with ROG logos are immediately mentioned. One outer corner of the topcase has removable panels. They add an element of customization and also allow you to look under the case. Moreover, if you have a separate desire to bother with an individual approach, a 3D printer will help you make your own version.
There’s also a lot of backlighting: it’s on the keyboard, on the bottom, in the large section under the display, and in the external logo on the top cover. All this is customizable, has different effects and can be synchronized with other branded devices.
And we have already seen almost all of this on other models of the manufacturer. Gaming laptops have long had similar appearance elements. But the new ROG Strix SCAR really successfully combines all this in itself. The crunchy sounds of opening the display and the remains of handprints on the plastic, which often need to be wiped, are minimally disappointing. But given the total number of design curiosities, everything else becomes insignificant.
The bottom of the case is also not quite a typical finish, with large feet and a lot of perforations for air circulation, all in a gaming style. Weight also helps to keep you in place. The manufacturer detailed the lower part, supplementing it with various inscriptions. With attention to such things, they really gave the design department additional space. Personally, I appreciated all this.
But there is another point, again subjective: during work or games, all this is almost imperceptible. Yes, when approaching the workplace or just glancing at the laptop, I like it. But getting used to all this is a matter of days or weeks. And the cost was considerable. So it is quite possible that everything will quickly cease to be noticed, especially the focus with a separate flashlight, which the user is unlikely to take out often to direct at the laptop lid.
I managed to spend a couple of weeks with the laptop, during which I got used to its external elements and eventually stopped paying attention to the decorations. It was still incredibly pleasant to work on. And if you don’t take into account the extra weight (compared to ordinary laptops), the only thing I didn’t like about the design was the activity indicators located under the display. In games, of course, they did not interfere, because the concentration at such moments is much greater. But during normal operation, these indicators sometimes caught the eye – when something flashes under the screen, even against the background of the RGB keyboard, it can still be an unpleasant moment.
Set of ports and KeyStone
A nice bonus of the large case is the ability to conveniently place all the necessary ports on it. And here is everything, as, in my opinion, it should be, and what is missing from ordinary laptops, where it is not possible to arrange everything like this.
On the left, there is a combined 3.5 Jack for a headset and two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1. Behind: a proprietary port for powerful charging, RJ-45, HDMI 2.1, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with support for DisplayPort, Power Delivery, and G-SYNC, also Thunderbolt 4. Nice.
And on the right side, there is only a slot for Keystone. This is a branded NFC tag that can remember the owner’s settings, add a Shadow Drive (encrypted part in the drive), and block the system when turned off. It also adds sound and keyboard animations when connected. A special storage box is included for it.
Yes, this is not an essential item for a gaming laptop. And this is not the first time it has appeared in the company’s laptops. Although the accent is unusual and interesting. And yes, it is unlikely that many owners of laptops with such a tag use it at all. But it undoubtedly adds additional charm.
ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE display
A large laptop also provides a large display. The name already says about its size – 17.3 inches. It is covered with relatively small bezels (except for the lower one, which conveniently “raises” the screen for additional comfort in work). And it is held by two large fasteners that perfectly fix the position.
The matrix will offer a resolution of 2560×1440 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:9. At the same time, its reaction speed reaches 3 ms, and the refresh rate of the matrix is 240 Hz. What’s more, the option with Full HD can offer 360 Hz. And yes, the difference between 120/144 Hz and 240 Hz is visible and tangible.
Adjusting the IPS matrix will allow you to adjust the color temperature, as well as choose one of eight image profiles (Racing, FPS, RPG, etc.). But the default is, in my opinion, the best for all cases. At the same time, the display is very well calibrated and it practically does not need additional settings.
With lighting, everything is okay. The maximum level will provide up to 330 cd/m², and the minimum – 17. It would be a great solution to add automatic brightness control during normal operation. And, of course, the protection of the matrix is matte, which eliminates unwanted glare during games.
Manipulators and multimedia
ASUS laptop keyboards are some of my favorites. The company continues to successfully refine them, which is felt with each new iteration. With a key travel of 2 mm, the keyboard is quite quiet and comfortable. There are no accidental triggers with it, and the mechanism “resists” just enough to prevent them. In the end, it turns out a great balance for both games and normal work. There are no problems with a blind set, but you had to look at the NUM-block, because it was reduced compared to the main part of the keyboard.
Separately, I would also like to note additional programmable keys above the keyboard and a slightly accentuated navigation block. And, of course, all this with the separate RGB lighting for each key. (And a fingerprint scanner in the power button would be great, but, for some reason, the manufacturer ignored it. Unfortunately.)
The 130x78mm trackpad is also well-positioned to be comfortable to use while not getting in the way during gaming. I did not have to disable it (although such an option is provided through Fn+F10). The surface recognizes touch and gestures well, there were no problems with positioning the cursor. And even if there is a mouse in the kit, those users who remember about it only for games and specific tasks will find it convenient to use the trackpad at all other times.
The sound is handled by two separate tweeters under the screen, which are assisted by two more subwoofers with outputs in the bottom cover. Altogether, they are not the loudest, but they sound much better than most gaming laptop speakers. Even when playing music at maximum power, they do not spoil the composition (although they are also far from the monitors), do not “suffocate” and do not overload. In addition, they play stereo sound well and really help you immerse yourself in a game, or movie or create a pleasant background for work.
There is no webcam, as in most new ASUS models. But there are microphones. They are located on the topcase panel under the screen and traditionally hear much more than necessary. There is also an AI-based noise reduction system, but it is unlikely that all of this will be used often, because the owner of such a laptop, if he does not have an external microphone, definitely has a headset with a much better microphone.
Performance and software
Having spent such money on a laptop, of course, you want to have the appropriate “hardware”. And here, game models should not greatly limit the owner. ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE has several configuration options that are equipped with both Intel and AMD processors. But graphics systems are always represented by options from NVIDIA.
The test model is one of the most powerful options available, with an Intel Core i9-12950HX (8 powerful cores/8 energy efficient/24 threads/up to 5GHz) and a 175W NVIDIA GeForce 3080 Ti with 16GB GDDR6. Along with this, there are two 16 GB DDR5-4800 RAM sticks and two one-terabyte NVMe M.2 4.0 in Raid 0. And memory can be added if needed. It also supports Wi-Fi 6E, a 2.5-gigabit wired connection, and Bluetooth 5.2 for wireless accessories. Not bad.
With the modes of operation, the situation here is similar to most of the game models of the manufacturer, but there are some nice additions. Through ARMOURY CRATE, you can choose between Silent, Performance, and Turbo modes, or set the parameters manually (then 65 W will reach the processor, not 55, as in Turbo mode), if the owner is more comfortable. But there is an additional selection of GPU operating modes. Standard is an MSHybrid that switches between discrete and integrated chips depending on the tasks, Optimized also works according to a similar scheme. Eco needs no explanation. But there is also Ultimate, which constantly works through discrete video and should reduce the delay in transferring the image to the display. Of course, the latter requires a powerful power supply.
With the PSU connected and without optimization modes, the laptop produces impressive performance indicators. It is not just a powerful laptop for any modern games, but also a portable workstation for working with graphics, video, virtual systems, and more. And this applies to literally all components, where even the drive has similar speed indicators with laptops that have memory directly on the motherboard (which should increase the speed of operation, such as in MacBook).
Logically, without additional power, it is no longer able to show that performance either in tests or in games. But let’s be honest, hardly anyone will play on a 17-inch laptop without connecting to an outlet, because, firstly, there is a really noticeable loss of performance in heavy tasks, and secondly, even a fairly capacious battery will still quickly finish the process. What is important in this case is the fact that even with a significant loss of “power” when working from the battery, for normal work and entertainment (music, movies, browsing, messengers, etc.) the performance will be completely sufficient without noticeable delays compared to the maximum operating modes.
|3DMark (CPU Profile, max threads)||8860||5242|
|CineBench R23 (single/multi core)
So, with a powerful power supply connected, you can get good FPS results in games, which allows you not to think about possible problems with comfort, leaving the graphics settings at High, Ultra, etc. (of course, with such equipment). Of course, you can “squeeze out” more frames by reducing some settings, but personally, I did not feel the need for this. After abstracting from the FPS and trying to play on high settings at the native resolution of the screen, there were no problems with the vast majority of test games. And competitive games that are really sensitive to this are more often than not optimized for simpler setups without it. Average FPS indicators were as follows:
- CS:GO — 300+
- PUBG – 120
- GTA V – 130
- Shadow of the Tomb Rider – 89
- Forza Horizon 5 – 90
- Metro Exodus – 106
- Cyberpunk 2077 – 64/83 (2560×1440/Full HD)
And all this is stable even during long gaming sessions. The cooling system not only maintained the temperature well (for example, in the stability test it was 80-85°C, which is still a little lower than you can see in other laptops even with simpler components) but also allowed you to play stably for an hour or two without losing the fps. Here, cooling is handled not only by two fans with six tubes but also by an evaporation chamber and liquid metal Conductonaut Extreme (manufactured by Thermal Grizzly) on both chips.
The engineers managed to preserve the temperature of the topcase surprisingly well, because the entire working surface during operation if it does heat up, is “warm” and not “hot”. Perhaps in the summer, the heat will be felt more strongly, but now it is as comfortable as possible to play any games in Turbo mode. However, the four large openings for the removal of warm air are expected to warm everything that is near them (chocolate is better to put as far as possible, but a cup of tea – on the contrary).
In addition, the noise level can be praised. Yes, in game modes, the system is very audible even in neighboring rooms. Nothing new here either. But still, for these levels of performance and dimensions of the case, there is not as much noise as I expected to hear. However, in the “office” Silent mode, the laptop can generally turn off active cooling and minimize the sound of system operation, but the fans still turn on from time to time. So you still don’t need to count on silent work from a gaming laptop.
As for the software, the ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE does not have fundamentally new applications or functions that would greatly distinguish this particular model. There is a switching of the operation modes of video chips and Keystone, but everything else is found in both gaming and ordinary laptops of the manufacturer.
ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE battery life
One of the weakest points of gaming laptops is still battery life. But things are getting better. Newer processors have power-saving cores for normal operation, and this helps noticeably. Remember how long a large gaming laptop could last without an outlet – now this time increases. If you do not resort to energy-saving modes, then after disconnecting from the power supply unit, you can work with a consumption of approximately 30% per hour. For such a powerful system, this is a good indicator, even with a battery capacity of 90 W•h.
At the same time, in the battery life test with the simulation of office work (with the display brightness at 100 cd/m2 and with the discrete card turned off), the result is very good, as for a 17-inch gaming laptop — 6 hours and 45 minutes. With optimal performance settings and a game test, everything is much easier – 56 minutes. And if you simply disconnect the laptop from the network after playing games and turn on the movie, then for two hours of viewing at the comfortable sound and display brightness settings, the battery will lose 33%. (It is clear that this is not the best solution during power outages, but such outages will not last forever either.)
Power supply units have a capacity of 330 and 100 W. The first will be needed for maximum loads, and the second can be left in the office for simpler tasks. The time of full charging from them is 1 hour 40 minutes and 2 hours, respectively. This is quite fast because most often even ordinary models take 2.5 hours to charge.