RTX 4070 Laptop GPU Has Only 8GB VRAM And That's Bad.
This is probably the largest gaming laptop that has ever graced our studio. This is the Asus Strix G18 and it’s got a whole new style going for it that’s really striking. The crazy thing about this is the fact that the entire back of the laptop is a huge vent. And no, we aren’t talking about fake vents here or plastic bits there. The heatsink and fin array stretches across the entire back. We aren’t joking when we say the keyboard deck is cold to the touch while gaming. But if you’re looking to get this very laptop, just don’t choose the RTX 4070 and we’ll explain why. The reason is simple. 8GB of VRAM simply isn’t enough.
Everyone’s heard of Asus. They are well known in the PC industry and they arguably make the best things out there. Gaming laptops in particular have always been one of their key focuses and this new Strix G18 is the next step in that evolution.
A Nice Big Design
For a start, it’s an 18-inch gaming laptop. The very last time I remembered there to be any kind of 18-inch gaming laptop was the Alienware M18X and the MSI GT83 and those were behemoths. But now in 2023, 18-inch gaming laptops have made a comeback and Asus, along with many other brands have much to offer.
The Strix G18 features a refinement on the Strix design that most of us are familiar with. This time however, Asus has actually introduced a subtle colourway option instead of the usual all round grey. This is the Volt Green and what Asus has done is use that bright neon green colour as an accent. The entire back of the laptop features a thin strip of that Volt Green with the Republic of Gamers text emblazoned on it and you do also get a paint speck pattern at one of the corners, seemingly inspired by graffiti art and cyberpunk aesthetics. On the bottom, you’ll find a couple of the rubber feet to be that same Volt Green as well.
You might think that the colour wouldn’t really matter once you actually have the lid up but in actual fact, with the way the chassis is designed, you’ll still be able to see a little of that paint speck with the lid up.
In our opinion, it’s a nice touch that makes the Strix G18 a touch more unique without totally going for a vastly different look. In addition, you do get a full RGB keyboard and there’s even an RGB light bar that adorns the front. Spectacularly done in our opinion. Indirect RGB lighting really is the way to go for future gaming laptops.
With that said, this is still a laptop that primarily utilises hard plastic for most of its chassis so don’t expect the utmost in build quality here. It is still a Strix after all. If you’re looking for premium, go for Zephyrus instead.
But part of the reason for doing so is to keep the weight down as much as humanly possible. Despite being an 18-inch gaming laptop, you’re looking at a weight of 3kg or about 6.61lbs. Sure, that still isn’t light by any means but considering what you’re getting here, it’s reasonable. But definitely do make sure you have the biggest backpack around because if you’re planning to lug this wherever you go, most bags will not fit this.
18" Is The New Norm
Now this is probably the most exciting part. Lift up the lid and you’ll be greeted with a huge 18” panel in a 16:10 aspect ratio. If there’s any size of laptop that actually feels like you’re using a desktop PC with a desktop monitor, it’s the 18-inch.
There is just so much space here and at the usual distance away when using a laptop, the 18-inch size really just fills up your immediate visual vicinity. 14-inch gaming laptops are certainly remarkable and those do hit a sweet spot for an actual laptop per se but sometimes, bigger is just better.
The panel here is also no slouch either. We’re looking at an IPS panel with a QHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 running at 240Hz with a 3ms response time. You’ll also get all the other jazz such as 100% DCI-P3, Pantone Validation, G-Sync, and surprisingly enough, this does also support both NVIDIA Optimus and a MUX Switch. More on that later.
This is just a beautiful display that’s great for almost anything you would like to use it for but perhaps especially best for gaming. We put in quite a lot of hours with Modern Warfare 2, Cyberpunk 2077 and even CS:GO. Visuals and responsiveness was just plain great.
Speaking of which, we’re incredibly excited for Counter Strike 2. We don’t have access yet but once we do, we’re definitely going to talk about it. So like this video and subscribe to us so we can do more of such fun things!
Moving down to the keyboard and touchpad and this is just space galore. Even with a numpad, there is ample space on the keyboard deck. The keyboard itself feels great to type on game on an the touchpad is as what you would expect from a Strix. I personally would still prefer if the touchpad was right smack centred even on an 18-inch but that’s just my preference. To each their own.
But here’s the one letdown with this laptop and it’s the webcam.
It’s just 720p and for a 18-inch gaming laptop, it’s just laughable. Seriously Asus, this has got to be at least 1080p. Even worse, there’s no support for Windows Hello authentication so this is as barebones as it can get.
Ports & More
But now let’s talk about ports, which is an interesting affair with this laptop. Due to the design where the entire back is one huge vent, all your ports can only be found on the sides. You’ll get a two Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 2, one Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2, one Type-C Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, RJ45 Ethernet and the 3.5mm headphone/mic combo. We wish there were more ports given the size but at least you do get a good amount.
And then we touch on performance. Our unit is equipped with an Intel Core i9-13980HX, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD. With that, let’s see all those fps.
Now you might notice that we only managed to cover 5 games this time around. We’re still in the process of testing the rest of the games and we’ll have a follow up video for that. But anyways, remember what we said at the start, don’t choose the RTX 4070 model?
The reason for that is very very simple. Thanks to NVIDIA, the RTX 4070 Laptop GPU only has 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM running on a 128-bit bus. Now the issue isn’t the speed and all that but rather, simply the amount of VRAM itself.
8GB is just simply not enough in 2023.
In most of the games that we tested, we’re already looking at an average of 6GB of VRAM being used at 1440P. Now had we tested at 1600P, the native resolution of this display, we would probably be looking at slightly higher, somewhere around 6.5GB. In fact, we’re still testing 4K gaming by plugging the Strix G18 to an external monitor and when we were testing Resident Evil 3 at our usual settings, it crashed simply because we’re maxing out the 8GB VRAM buffer. And that’s just with the textures on the High (2GB) setting. We turned that down to High (0.5GB) and still we were getting crashes, albeit less frequently.
Now yes, you can turn down the settings and all that but do you really want to do so? You spend so much and yet you have to compromise. It just doesn’t feel great.
We’re going to do a follow up video featuring all 10 games running across all three resolutions so do wait for that but the point now is this.
Why NVIDIA... Why.
The Strix G18 is an amazing laptop. We love the design, the display is awesome and oh did we mentioned that the temperatures were insanely well-controlled? Mid 70 degrees celsius under load and the keyboard deck is cool to the touch while gaming, which is mind boggling. Everything about it is a great laptop through and through except for the fact that NVIDIA is letting the gaming laptop market down.
Firstly, we reckon that the RTX 4070 Laptop GPU isn’t going to perform anywhere near a desktop RTX 4070 and definitely nowhere near the desktop RTX 4070 Ti and secondly, 8GB of VRAM simply isn’t enough for the near future.
Again this isn’t Asus fault per se but rather that the RTX 4070 Laptop GPU is in a really weird spot in 2023. It should’ve come with 12GB of VRAM instead of 8GB. Or at the very least, give us 10GB.
So if you’re looking at the Asus ROG Strix G18, we highly recommend that you only consider the RTX 4080 model. After all, if you’re already spending that much into a true desktop replacement, go for the best you can. We highly doubt anyone would be lugging this around daily.
Again, we love this laptop. We’re just angry at NVIDIA.