Updated: Aug 21, 2021
If you look at the laptop market for the past few years, you’ll know that it’s pretty much dominated by Intel and NVIDIA, especially gaming laptops. But with the release of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, more manufacturers are now utilizing a Ryzen and GeForce combo, which is awesome. But AMD is not stopping there.
That’s right. AMD is now bringing their latest Radeon RX 6000 M series graphics card to the laptop market, and it starts with this, the Asus Strix G15 Advantage Edition, sporting the Ryzen 9 5900HX and the Radeon RX6800M.
It’s definitely been a while since we got a full AMD gaming laptop. If you aren’t really familiar with the laptop scene right now, basically, AMD recently announced their Radeon RX 6000 series of GPUs for laptops, and for now, we’ve three flavours.
The RX 6800M sits at the top, followed by the RX 6700M and then we have the RX 6600M. For those of you who have been following the desktop space, you’ll notice that the RX 6800M has a really familiar set of specifications, and that’s simply because it is actually using the same Navi 22-core layout as the desktop RX 6700 XT. The RX 6700M is a further cut down version of that, and the RX 6600M is actually the newest of the bunch, featuring a Navi 23-core.
Now, the RX 6800M is to go up against the RTX 3080, the RX 6700M against the RTX 3070 and the RX 6600M against the RTX 3060. At the very least, that’s how AMD is positioning their new graphics lineup. But do take note that it is extremely difficult to do an apple to apple comparison when it comes to gaming laptop performance because so many factors play a part.
The design of the chassis, the cooling system, the thermal graphics power, so on and so forth. So just do take note when we dive into the performance and comparisons in a short while later.
But before we get into all that, let’s talk about the Strix G15 for a moment.
If you’re familiar with the Strix series of laptops from Asus, it’s pretty much a very similar design to past iterations. You still get a slightly bulkier frame compared to most other laptops in the class and it still features a sort of split-matrix design throughout the chassis. The same goes for the RGB, which you might notice that I don’t have turned on.
Well, it’s not that I don’t want to turn it on, but rather for some reason, Aura Sync has gone haywire on this review unit and for the life of me, I couldn’t fix it for the past 3 days, even after trying a whole bunch of methods. In any case, if you’re a fan of RGB, don’t worry. You do get plenty of it on this laptop.
But we come to the display, and it’s a fantastic one. The one on our unit is the Full HD 300Hz panel which is just plenty awesome for gaming. The colours are great, response time is awesome and the refresh rate is more than you ever need. But should you want a higher resolution panel, there will also be an option for a Quad HD 165Hz panel.
Similar to previous Strix models, you get pretty much the same keyboard and trackpad, which works great, but at the same time, for those of you who want a webcam, well, that still isn’t here. Personally I don’t mind, but it might be a dealbreaker for you.
You do also get plenty of ports, of which there are also an RJ45 Ethernet and a Type-C port which supports up to 100W power delivery and of course, speakers which won’t blow you away but still sound pretty great.
Overall, it’s the exact same chassis as the current model of Strix laptops featuring the RTX cards, just that this features the AMD one.
So on that note, let’s talk about specs and dive into performance right after.
As mentioned, the Strix G15 Advantage Edition comes with the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, the AMD Radeon RX 6800M, 32GB of RAM running at 3200MHz and a 512GB PCIe SSD. Here’s something to take note of: The overall cooling capacity of this particular laptop is about 180 watts. So if we were to take the 5900HX at its standard 45W operating TDP, that would leave 135W for the RX 6800M.
However, that’s not always the case. In practice, the RX 6800M was drawing anywhere from 100W all the way up to 160W or so, and that’s because of a particular feature that’s only available on an all AMD system, AMD SmartShift. Now I won’t go into detail on how SmartShift works, but in essence, it dynamically and intelligently shifts the power needed between the CPU and GPU depending on the load, within the total cooling capacity.
So first up, Cinebench R23. We got very respectable performance here, and it’s pretty much in line with the Legion 7 which we’ve tested previously, which is to be expected since both laptops feature the same Ryzen 9 5900HX.
On to DaVinci Resolve, which is more GPU dependent. The render times for both the 1080p and 4K projects are very good as well. Compared to the RTX 3080 on the Legion 7, this is just a slight bit slower.
But now let’s talk about gaming performance and it is rather interesting. We did test the Strix G15 on both the Performance and Turbo profiles via Armory Crate, but as you can tell, there isn’t actually much difference between the two. While there may be many factors at play here, it’s highly likely to have everything to do with SmartShift.
One thing to also note is that the new RX 6800M also supports ray-tracing, though it does have some limitations. Overall, the ray-tracing performance is below the RTX 3070 and of course, it doesn’t support DLSS 2.0. AMD does have FSR coming up, which is looking quite promising. But for now, this is how it is.
Talking about temperatures, they are actually pretty well controlled. During gaming, the Ryzen 9 5900HX hovers in the 90 degrees celsius range while the RX 6800M usually settles around 83 degrees celsius. But what’s more amazing is that the keyboard deck remains cool to the touch even after extended sessions of gaming.
Overall, the performance of the RX 6800M is quite stellar. In our tests, it sits somewhere right between the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3070. While we weren’t really able to get the numbers that AMD claimed, pitting the RX 6800M against the RTX 3080, we are still fairly impressed by the performance.
But to be fair, there are a lot of factors at play here, especially for laptops. You just can’t really get an apples to apples comparison and our sample size isn’t that large either.
But one thing that the full AMD system has an outright advantage over the Ryzen + GeForce combo is battery life. Who would’ve thought?
Compared to the Razer Blade 15, the Legion 5 Pro and the Legion 7, the Strix G15 lasts an average of about two hours longer in a real-world usage scenario. A total of about nine hours of actual use on a full AMD gaming laptop, that’s a number that nobody would’ve thought possible just a year back.
Granted, the Strix G15 does have a big battery at 90Wh, but this is still definitely one point that lives up to AMD’s claims.
But now, here’s the kicker, the price.
Now as of the filming of this video, there isn’t an exact price just yet, but Asus has already stated that this will be roughly US$1600 to US$1700. Now in comparison to the RTX 3070 version, it’s about US$100 cheaper.
Considering that the performance of the RX 6800M is rather similar to an RTX 3070, this is looking to be very enticing. Now, of course, GeForce still does offer some key benefits, like ray-tracing features, and NVENC, which is still far superior, but if those features aren’t a priority for you, this is definitely something you would want to take a look at.
But now, a short disclaimer. For you guys who are in Singapore, myself included, Asus is not bringing this AMD model to Singapore. I have no idea why.
So if you’re interested in the Strix G15, only the GeForce variants will be available here, which are great laptops, no doubt, but a tad expensive. In fact, it’s even more expensive than actually buying it online from the US and then shipping it here, but I digress.
In any case, for people who are living in markets that this laptop will launch in, the Strix G15 Advantage Edition from Asus ROG is an extremely interesting gaming laptop, but more so than that, this also marks AMD getting back into the competition.
Content by Soon Kai Hong