Asus ROG G551VW Gaming Notebook Review

22Jul - by zky - 0 - In English Review

Hi there, as I promised on my first post, I’ll do some review on my new notebook, ASUS ROG G551VW. But before we continue, I’ll tell you something, I’m not a gamer!!!

Well although many of my desktop PC pareferals is from gaming product (Like Logitech G502 Protheus Core, Corsair Strafe Mechanical Keyboard, MSI Z97i Gaming Motherboard, and several other Gaming products), I rarely using my PC as gaming machine, gaming on notebook? never think about it before, because I know, gaming on notebook will cost you more than gaming on desktop PC.

Okay, so why I choose ROG series? I’m not gamer right? hahahhaa

Well simple answer, I like ASUS ROG G501 series body…

Yes, first I want to buy it’s big bro G501VW, but somehow my credit card is being used without me knowing 🙁 so in the end I only can buy the one step lower version of that series, but still the only difference is the form and M.2 SATA slot(Not really problem I think). So here I’am get the ROG G551VW Notebook.

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Ok here is the spec:

  • CPU : Intel Core i7 6700HQ (Skylake 2.4Ghz Boost to 3.4Ghz, 4 core w/ HT)
  • RAM : 8GB DDR4 Dual Chanel (Upgradeable to 16GB)
  • GPU: Intel 530 series Integrated GPU & Nvidia 960M 4GB GDDR5
  • Display : 15.6″ with 3840 x 2160 UHD (4K) Resoultion with IPS Panel 60Hz
  • HDD : Hitachi 1TB 7200rpm
  • OS : Windows 10 64bit
  • Optical drive: DVD-RW combo drive
  • Wifi: Qualcomm Atheros AR96x – 802.11 b/g/n/ac
  • Expansion slot
    • 1 x MIc Jack 3.5mm (can be used as Headphone jack too)
    • 3 x USB 3 Port(1 of them has more power for fast charging)
    • 1 x Mini display port
    • 1 x HDMI Port
    • 1 x Ethernet RJ-45 port (Using Realtek GbE chip)
  • Build in stereo speaker
  • HD Webcam
  • Battery : 5200mAh
  • Adaper: 120Watt – 9V DC, 6.3A
  • Full keyboard with red back lighting
  • Standard touchpad
  • weight : 2.7kg

Price: IDR 16.000.000,- ( +US$ 1,250)

Physical form & Build Quality

Okay please note, I’ve upgraded it’s HDD to Sandisk SSD Ultra-II 960GB and transferred the OS to new SSD so that this machine can be complete beast 🙂 . From what I read here looks like this notebook has a M.2 slot (although only half size and only 24GB for cache and not even shown in BIOS), maybe that’s why the stock HDD feels not too slow like standard mechanical HDD, but still it’s not up to my expectation for fast “gaming” labeled machine.

When I bought this notebook I got:

  1. ROG backpack
  2. Notebook itself
  3. Charger
  4. Bunch of paper(Guide and warranty card)
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ASUS ROG Backpack

Ok let’s see the psychical form of this notebook. This Notebook is using (not full) body aluminium, at least the top cover, and the inner area, other than two location, the body made of plastic. This notebook also has 15.6″ screen, means it’s not small notebook.

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In the top cover, you can find ASUS logo and ROG logo which is light up very nice and cool. But one things that I don’t like from it’s top cover, that is finger print magnet. It’s really pain in the ass to keep the top cover always clean from any finger-print 🙁 .

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FInger print magnet
ROG logo lit up with red light
ROG logo lit up with red light

If you see in the left side, you can found Charger Plug, ventilation hole, Mini Display Port, HDMI, RJ-45 Gigabit LAN, and 2 x USB 3.0 port(one of them is powered USB port for fast charging).

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From left : Charger plug, Ventilation exhaust hole, Mini Display port, HDMI, RJ45-port and 2 x USB 3.0 port
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Powered USB 3 port(right) for fast charging your mobile device

In front, there is only SDcard slot reader in the left side, and bunch of indicator light in the bottom of touchpad.

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In the right side, you can find CD/DVD-RW combo drive, Mic/Headphone 3.5mm jack and one USB3 port.

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And as always, on top of LCD screen you’ll find HD Webcam and build in mic.

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When you open the notebook, you will find full size keyboard which has Red back-light, and you can find 4 slit in speaker on top of keyboard, which I think not bad in term of sound quality.

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Hardware and Benchmarking

For my perspective, this machine should be very capable power to handle my daily needs and or even standard gaming. from CPU perspective, It has quite high-end mobile CPU on market, Intel Core i7 6700HQ which clocked at 2,4Ghz and can have boost performance up to 3.5Ghz. Also please note, it’s true Quad Core not like “U” variant which only has 2 core HT(like Intel core i5 mobile version) and it’s also got Hyper Threading which means this notebook will have total 8 core of processing power.

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Let’s see how the graphic, this guys equipped with on-chip Intel HD-530 series which is…. more than enough for daily driver for this notebook. But when you need more power, just let the 2nd GPU take over the task, Nvidia GeForce 960M with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Although not the best, but still GTX 960M still one of the best in the market now.

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GPUZ for Intel Integrated Graphic. Intel(R) HD Graphics 530

 

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5

But are you sure GTX 960M can serve good experience when using 4K display? …… nope!! It’s impossible 😀 . You won’t get playable rate on 4K with GTX 960M, you need at least go down to 1080p to get playable framerate on several title.

Ok now benchmark time:

I don’t have any complaint about CPU performance, it’s quite up to my expectation for my daily driver. Intel core i7 6700HQ can deliver more power than I need.

Let’s try Cenebench R15 benchmark:

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Cinebench CPU Benchmark show it’s topped the old i7 3xxx mobile series and still not on par with old desktop i7(well It’s always happen so it’s okay).

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And this is for OpenGL 🙂

In graphic performance, like I said before, It’s still impossible to make this notebook can run 3D game in full 4K resolution. If you insist to use 4K on gaming, in Crysis 3 for example, you will get around 14-15 FPS  in medium quality. But when you set screen resolution down to 1080p, you will get quite good framerate even in high preset around 35-50FPS.

How about older Crysis? In Crysis Warhead, I got 32-40FPS for enthusiast preset(No AA). In Other Game like COD Advanced Warfare, you can get 60FPS or more with all setting max up except super-sampling things.

Sorry, like I said in beginning of this article, I’m not gamer so currently I don’t have some latest game titles for benchmarking this notbeook.

And for synthetic benchmark like 3DMark Fire Strike it got  3983 point.3dmark-firestrike

And let’s try Unigine heaven Benchmark

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Unigine Heaven Benchmark – Preset Extreme

How about temperature? Well I try to use Crysis 3 as example on real world gaming case to burn up the temperature both on CPU and GPU. And the result are CPU can get around 70-85 degree C, and GPU around 82 degree C. And when both got high temperature, it’s also makes the area on top of exhaust port became very hot (left side the keyboard) .

UPDATED!!!

I tested the battery life rating on this notebook with playing game Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, the Windows power preset set to balanced(WiFi connected & Screen brightness at 100%), and it’s takes 1 hour 04 min, and 41 sec to bring 100% to 10%. Not bad but please notes, the performance also cut almost half  compared when you’re using full charger plugged in.

User Experiece

Okay, that’s is for the benchmark, now how about the User experience, I mean like Windows customization, bloatware, and OS itself.

Like in the spec sheet, this notebook is preinstalled with Windows 10 64Bit which is pretty standard for new notebook nowadays. And although I’m very skeptical that preinstalled OS in notebook always full of bloatware(my bad experience with my old Sony Vaio, and previous office’s HP notebook) but surprisingly ASUS only included very few bloatware, even with standard mechanical HDD it’s not feel slow at all when first time starting up the Windows, except you add more startup apps(like messaging apps, etc that slow down the start up process).

Next is the keyboard, the keyboard back light only lit up after you sign-in in Windows. And with black button with red color letter, it’s very difficult to see which button is which letter in dark room.

Still in keyboard division, I can find “home” button, but where is “End” button????
I usually need “end” button when I need to move to end of the long line when I code something.  In the end, if I need to use “end” button lot, I need to disabled the numpad to use “end” button there.
Also I don’t see any use of big “control” button in the right or left side of the “left” button. I always accidentally press that button when I need to press “left” button 🙁

Ok, that’s is my complaint about the keyboard, now the positive things about the keyboard is it’s full size keyboard(love them). it’s very nice when the light s lit up, also you can control the light through some hotkeys. Also there are several hotkeys in form of fn + function keys like sleep, plane mode, screen brightness, turn off screen, multi monitor selector, disabled/enabled touch pad, and volume button.

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Next about the screen, simple I love the screen. It’s 4K, it’s has vivid color and it’s IPS panel. That’s means it’s good for light design(because I do lot design too when needed, and my experience with my previous office notebook was very bad because of bad screen panel and inaccurate color). Also beacuse it’s IPS panel you’ll got quite good view angle.

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Please note that the screen only get 60Hz, not gaming grade 100Hz++, but from it’s price point, it’s bit impossible to get that kind of screen with only aound US$ 1,200 right? 😀

But wait, looks like there is a problem with this 4K resolution(not the panel). There are lot of scaling problem.scaling

Tell me how I can read those writing inside that dialog? It’s also occurred on several programs for developer like Netbeans, etc.

Really if you want to free from that problem, you may need to scale down the screen resolution to 1080p.

For sound quality, I like standard Realtek without any modification that will destroying the sound quality like HP notebook I got from my previous office which modify the sound via Beat Mixer. That add-on cannot be disabled, even when I try to reset the Windows, that software always come back again 🙁

Conclusion

Although got several problem, I can say I like this notebook. The problem not very impacting my end score for this notebook. And it’s very tempting notebook both in price and performance.

With IDR 16.000.000,- (or around 1,250 US$) You will get good looking notebook with good vivid screen with 4K resolution with latest generation Intel core i7 processor with real 4 core with Hyper Threading technology making you get 8 processing core logically, not forget to mention you also get good performance GPU GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5. Well Although playing game in 4K still impossible with that kind of GPU, but when you set down your screen at 1080p resolution, you will get good enough frame-rates for even in latest games.

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Here is the Pros/Cons list:

Pros:

  • Nice build quality with some part in aluminium.
  • Fast Latest Intel Core i7 CPU with 4 core HT (8 thread)
  • Vivid screen with 4K resolution with IPS Panel
  • Good GPU with GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5
  • Full size keyboard with red back lighting
  • Easy window to upgrade HDD to SSD without damaging warranty seal
  • No sound modification
  • Very few bloatware near zero(only registration which only show once and will not shown again when you registered your product, ASUS cloud storage and Dropbox) – May vary in different country
  • Very tempting price vs performance point

 Cons:

  • Keyboard back-light only lit up after sign-in process (Hard to see in low light condition)
  • No “end” button in keyboard
  • Suffer from scaling problem in some application
  • 4K gaming….? forget it
  • Only 1 jack for all your audio needs??? Come on ASUS 🙁
  • Top cover is finger print magnet
  • Top of exhaust port when CPU/GPU got high temperature became quite hot

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