ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage review: All AMD and A-OK
It’s a powerful gaming notebook for a surprisingly affordable price.
Comments posted on Engadget this month
June 11th, 2021
AMD has finally done it. After years of building up a presence in the laptop market — first with its value-oriented APUs, then with its powerful Ryzen 4000 and 5000 CPUs — the company finally has everything it needs to take on NVIDIA and Intel. The last piece of the puzzle is its Radeon RX 6000M graphics, which gives AMD the GPU horsepower to compete with NVIDIA’s latest RTX hardware. Now, you can get a powerful gaming laptop that sports both an AMD CPU and graphics, something NVIDIA and Intel can’t yet offer. And best of all, AMD’s hardware will typically cost less, which could help lower the cost of gaming notebooks across the board.
Gallery: ASUS ROG Stri
The ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is one such laptop. On the surface, it looks like just another blinged-out gaming machine. Dig a bit deeper, though, and it’s practically revolutionary. Its Radeon 6800M GPU goes toe-to-toe with NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 (at least, as long as you’re not using ray tracing). And with an estimated price between $1,550 and $1,700, it’ll be hundreds less than comparable systems running Intel and NVIDIA hardware. At last, there’s real competition among gaming notebooks.
Critics — Not yet scored
Users — Not yet scored
- Genuinely fast performance
- Affordable price range
- Speedy 300Hz screen
- No webcam
- Second-rate keyboard
- Slower ray tracing compared to NVIDIA
I’ll admit, I didn’t expect much from the Strix G15 Advantage at first. We tend to focus our gaming laptop coverage on more unique machines like its thinner cousin, the Zephyrus G15, or more elaborate devices like the Zephyrus Duo and Alienware Area 51m. The Strix, in comparison, is fairly generic. Its design is both too flashy and a bit uninspired. There are prominent LEDs that advertise the fact that you are a gamer alongside the front, but the bottom of the case is made out of cheap plastic. And at 5 pounds, it’s heavier than most 15-inch gaming notebooks.
I became more intrigued once I saw what AMD’s Radeon 6800M could do when Voltroned together a Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU. In most of our benchmarks, including PCMark 10, TimeSpy Extreme and Cinebench, the Strix G15 scored higher than the Zephyrus G15, which was running a (slightly slower) Ryzen 5900HS and NVIDIA’s RTX 3080. Just like with AMD’s recent Radeon desktop GPUs, there are some instances where NVIDIA’s hardware still comes ahead, like the Geekbench 5 Compute benchmark.
3DMark (TimeSpy Extreme)
ATTO (top reads/writes)
ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition (AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, AMD Radeon RX 6800M)
2.8 GB/s / 1.5 GB/s
ASUS Zephyrus G15 (AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Max-Q)
3.3 GB/s / 2.85 GB/s
MSI GS66 Stealth (2021, Intel i7–10870H, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Max-Q)
3.1 GB/s / 2.9 GB/s
ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 (Intel i9–10980HK, NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super Max-Q)
3 GB/s / 3.24 GB/s
ASUS Zephyrus G14 (AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS, NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q)
1.7 GB/s / 1.67 GB/s
AMD also still lags behind NVIDIA when it comes to ray tracing, which could be a deal-breaker if you want to see games like Control at their best. Without ray tracing, it hit between 85fps and 105fps. That’s impressive, but I missed seeing the realistic reflections and improved lighting that ray tracing delivered. When I turned ray tracing to medium, it crawled to around 45 fps. On the RTX 3080-powered Zephyrus G15, I hit up to 75fps in Control with medium ray tracing enabled. And I squeezed out more performance when I flipped on NVIDIA’s DLSS technology.
Still, if you can live without ray tracing, you’ll find a lot to love about the Strix G15’s capabilities. In Overwatch, I hovered around 175fps and 200fps with maxed out graphics in 1080p. That’s comparable to what I’ve seen on the RTX 3080, and it’s more than enough to keep up with a hectic firefight.
Stepping Overwatch’s graphics down to medium allowed me to leap beyond 300fps and take full advantage of the Strix G15’s 300Hz 1080p screen. The higher the refresh rate, the smoother the gameplay, in theory at least. Personally, I can’t see a huge difference beyond 120hz, but I wager I’d feel differently if I spent hours inside of Overwatch or Modern Warfare like budding esports players. AMD’s FreeSync technology also kept those massive framerates looking smooth. Without FreeSync (or NVIDIA’s alternative GSYNC tech), there would be a lot more screen tearing.
Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/Engadget
Despite being a very fast display though, it’s not particularly bright, especially if you’re using the Strix G15 outdoors. It’s better suited to low-light gameplay in a dark room. Colors look a bit washed out, and it’s not nearly as detailed as the Zephyrus G15’s sharper 1,440p display. (That’s also an option with this model, it just wasn’t available to review.) This isn’t the computer I’d pick to watch movies on, or to do serious media creation work. It’s a gaming rig, through and through.
When it comes to general productivity work, like browsing the web and writing this review, the G15 Advantage is what you’d call overqualified. It has more than enough power to handle my daily workflow without a sweat, and the fast screen made scrolling through websites a dream. But once you stop gaming, it’s easy to see that not all of the hardware got the same level of attention as its beefy internals. The keyboard, for one, feels less responsive and mushier than what I’ve seen on other ASUS gaming laptops. It’s serviceable, but it was never comfortable as I typed up this review. At least its touchpad was smooth and responsive, so no major complaints there.
During our battery benchmark, which involves looping a video until the computer loses power completely, the ROG G15 lasted nearly 8 hours. That’s less than every gaming laptop we’ve seen this year, but it’s at least enough to get some work done out of the house. I was also surprised to find it still performed decently while gaming even when unplugged, something AMD is touting heavily with its Radeon 6000M GPUs. I hit between 80 and 100fps in Overwatch with 1080p Epic graphics settings. That’s roughly half of what I saw when plugged into power, but it’s still very playable.
Given its plethora of LED lights, something that extends to every one of its keys, the Strix G15 may look a bit too garish for a buttoned-down office or lecture hall. And you’ll definitely hear it in a quiet room once its fans kick up, something that’ll happen often if you’re doing any serious work or running a game in the background. ASUS’s Armoury Crate software can help quiet things down if you choose the “Windows” or “Silent” modes, but that also severely limits its speed. On the flip side, switching to “Performance” or “Turbo” mode will get you more horsepower, but the fans will be incessantly loud. During extended gaming sessions, the Strix G15’s Ryzen CPU reached near 80 celsius, making it feel like a small space heater after a while.
Like many of ASUS’s recent gaming notebooks, the Strix G15 doesn’t have a webcam, which isn’t ideal if you need to handle plenty of remote meetings. But given its intended audience — gamers and budding streamers who likely have some sort of external camera — that’s not a huge loss. On a brighter note, there’s a large number of ports available, including three USB 3.0 Type A connections, one USB-C (which can also charge the laptop at up to 100 watts), HDMI and gigabit Ethernet. The only thing missing is an SD card reader, which would make it a more useful media workhorse. You can also 3D print your own design to replace the Strix G15’s colorful rear corner. That doesn’t offer any practical benefits, but it could be useful if you wanted to match your eSports teammates.
What I keep coming back to with the Strix G15 Advantage Edition is its surprising affordability. Coming in between $1,550 and $1,700 (the final pricing hasn’t been locked in yet), it’s still $100 less than a Strix G15 with an RTX 3070. And that’s even more impressive considering the 6800M GPU sometimes performs better than the more powerful RTX 3080. Then there’s the ASUS Zephyrus G15, a slimmer and more subtle machine, which will run you $2,230 with an RTX 3070. (You can nab that for closer to $1,500 with a less powerful GPU.)
By cutting a few corners, especially when it comes to weight and case design, ASUS has made the ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition one of the best gaming values on the market. Sure, there are less expensive notebooks out there, like Dell’s G15 lineup, but those feel even cheaper and offer less performance. The G15 Advantage also makes it clear that AMD isn’t just dabbling in gaming notebooks anymore — it’s finally ready to seriously compete with NVIDIA and Intel.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget
- Introducing Engadget’s 2021 Father’s Day gift guide
- Watch the opening minutes of Netflix’s ‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’
- Netflix reveals new ‘Castlevania’ series and other game-related projects
- NASA to land payloads on the far side of the Moon for the first time
- 1 hour ago
- The ports on this one is much better than the one on the new Alienware R5, they really nerfed it, and its much cheaper!! I would like to see a Zephyrus version of this!!
- 2 hours ago
- It’s nice, but the problem for me is when they say “budding content creators” AMD gpus don’t really match up at all when it comes to heavy content creation tasks (photoshop, premiere, illustrator etc.) which is a real killer. Also lack of Thunderbolt is an issue for high speed storage. It’s certainly a nice gaming machine, though comparing it as an equal except with ray tracing is a bit disingenuous.
- 3 hours ago
- ROC : Republic of cringe.
Show More Comments
Popular in the Community
From around the web