Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2024) review

Scarface of Laptops?

from ₹ 2,89,990

Strix might be a type of owl elsewhere, but in the gaming industry, it represents the most powerful gaming laptops from Asus Republic of Gamers. The ROG Strix Scar 16 (2024) joins this lineup, armed with an Intel Core i9 14900HX processor with either an Nvidia RTX 4080 or RTX 4090 GPU. This may be one of the most powerful duos in the market, but with great power comes great responsibilities. Let’s see how much of it is true with this laptop.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Design

ROG Strix Scar machines typically have a rugged look and finish that matches its extreme gaming pedigree, and the Strix Scar 16 (G634JZR) doesn’t deviate from this design language. The matte-finished metal top displays a large illuminated ROG logo and a glossy logo band running parallel to the diagonal. The rest of the chassis is crafted in ABS with large air vents all around except the front, and the intake vents have dust filters attached. The bottom surface has a dual-tone finish with tall feet to aid in ventilation. Like all true gaming laptops, the Strix Scar 16 comes with RGB light strips at the front and rear. The Strix Scar 16 offers customisable Armor Caps that are magnetically secured and you get a transparent one in the box apart from the grey one that comes attached. You can also 3D print your unique designs for further personalisation.

The keyboard deck has a semi-transparent top like the models before, showing the components and with a gradient merging into the opaque trackpad area. Overall, the device has a fingerprint-resistant finish. The polycarbonate hinges provide a sturdy feel with a smooth, yet optimally damped operation. There are graphic elements on the lid, rear LED, and keyboard, that enhance the premium feel.

Coming to ports, the laptop adopts a traditional approach with a 3.5mm combo audio jack, two USB Type-C ports, a 2.5G LAN (Ethernet) port, and a lone HDMI 2.1 FRL port lining up the left along with the coaxial power input and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports on the right side. One Type-C port supports Thunderbolt 4 standard with DisplayPort and G-Sync support, while the second is USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard supporting DisplayPort, power delivery and G-Sync.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Display, keyboard and touchpad

The Strix Scar 16 (2024) features a 16-inch ROG Nebula HDR Mini LED display, which is probably the best screen in a gaming laptop when it comes to overall feel and performance. With an anti-glare finish, it delivers almost a true-to-life experience. It may not be as vibrant as an OLED, but an optimal screen for those who prefer a subtle real-world experience. The display offers a 16:10 aspect ratio with QHD+ (2560 x 1600) resolution, up to 1100 nits of brightness, 240Hz peak refresh rate and 3ms response time and supports Nvidia G-Sync. It is capable of reproducing up to 100 per cent DCI-P3 colour gamut and comes factory-calibrated and Pantone-validated for colour accuracy. Further, the display supports Dolby Vision and DisplayHDR 1000.

As a media professional, I have been a fan of Asus chiclet keyboards, and this one further cements my conviction. The keys provide nice tactile feedback while the smooth surface finish and optimal key travel enhance the experience. The keys are well-spaced, providing ample relief while typing long features and you get a feeling that the keys are going to last for a long time. In fact, Asus claims that the switches are rated to last over 20 million presses. You get four hotkeys on top, which can be assigned macro functions. The keyboard is backlit with per-key RGB lighting. On the flip side, the LEDs at the front and rear are linked to the keyboard backlight control, and so there’s no option to switch off the surrounding LEDs with only the keyboard backlighting on for power saving. There are small inlet vents around the WASD keys, which keep these keys cool, even though the top portion of the deck feels warm most of the time.

The tall, almost squarish aspect ratio provides enough room for a large trackpad and Asus has done a great job here. The glass coating on top ensures smooth operation. The keypad doubles as an on-demand illuminated number pad with a Number Lock (NUMLK) key triggering the transition. While it’s a convenient feature, the position of the Number Lock key at the top right corner of the trackpad causes unwanted triggering, making it a nuisance while you are on an important job. Sure, it has a delay in responding so that it doesn’t interfere with normal scrolling, but still gets triggered if you accidentally rest your finger near it. Asus could have provided a separate button or assigned it to one of the multifunction keys.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Software and optimisation

Like all ROG gaming laptops, the Strix Scar 16 comes with the Armory Crate suite, which provides a comprehensive set of features to monitor and customise CPU, GPU and cooling fan dynamics. The suite allows you to disable a certain number of the CPU’s performance and efficiency cores. We used only four performance cores, which is the minimum, with all the efficiency cores disabled while writing this review. You can create scenario profiles and easily switch between them, choose the best colour mode for the display from ROG Game Visual, and calibrate the display using the Windows utility. However, it doesn’t support hardware calibration using a colourimeter.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Hardware

If it’s a Strix, it has to have the latest and greatest gaming hardware and the Scar 16 models come ready to rumble with Intel Core i9 14900HX processors with 24 cores including eight performance and 16 efficient cores providing 65W TDP. The G634JZR uses an Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU. With a dedicated MUX switch and support for Nvidia Advanced Optimus, the user can extract the maximum power and performance of the GPU, while the system efficiently switches between the integrated and discrete GPUs. The MUX switch avoids frame rate bottlenecks during gaming by delivering the frames directly to the display bypassing the integrated GPU. The laptop supports up to 4TB PCIe 4x4 SSD and up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM. Our review unit arrived with 32GB RAM and 2TB of storage.

Heat is a gaming laptop’s biggest bane, and the Strix Scar 16 accommodates all advanced technologies Asus has developed to dissipate maximum heat. It uses three fans mated with seven heat pipes and an efficient thermal paste called Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal to draw heat from the CPU, GPU and VRAM. A full-width heatsink with densely packed copper fins close to the exhaust vents for better heat dissipation.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Performance

The hardware profile and the general characteristics of the Strix Scar 16 are made for extreme gaming. The 14900HX and RTX40 series combination puts a lot of customisation options in the hands of end users if they choose to spend some time optimising the resources. However, we had some mixed results when it came to pushing the device to its limits. General gaming was smooth with the machine handling fast action like a champ.

Coming to benchmarks, Time Spy returned a GPU score of 18043 with the CPU clocking 14,994. Port Royal rated the GPU at 11,153. In Cinebench, the laptop scored 9056 points, 792 points, and 114  points respectively for the GPU, CPU (Multicore), and CPU (Single Core) tests. Gaming laptops are rarely used without plugging them into a power socket. With the charger plugged in, the machine heated up considerably, throttling the CPU in every stress test with average CPU temperature reaching 89 degrees Celsius, while it just made it on battery power. We repeated the stress tests in various scenarios, and finally, a simple laptop cooler helped the machine to achieve 97.9 percent and 98 percent respectively in Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme stress tests. Our hunch points to the ABS plastic exterior without a metal surface to act as an external heat sink and dissipate the extreme heat produced by the 14900HX and the massive 330W charger since the laptop is supposed to have an otherwise flawless heat dissipation system. For the record, we conducted these tests with all three fans running at maximum.

The laptop uses a 90Wh battery. In default mode, the battery drains in no time, but with careful optimisation, you can reduce the drain considerably if your task doesn’t involve gaming.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 review: Verdict

Asus has managed to put together a powerful gaming laptop that is capable of handling any task you throw at it, provided you are not the extreme gamer who pushes it to its limits. If you are, it would be wiser to supplement the cooling system with a laptop cooler. That said, this laptop provides ample controls to configure the CPU and GPU power to avoid throttling and conserve power for normal gaming sessions.

Stuff Says

This might be the latest and hottest gaming laptop in town, no matter how you interpret it.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Powerful hardware

  1. Premium finish

  1. Brilliant display

  1. Wide range of power optimisation options

  1. Needs better cooling

  1. Ill-placed number lock button

  1. Unimpressive camera and audio

Processor: Intel Core i9 14900HX
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, 12GB GDDR6
Refresh rate: 240Hz
Memory: 16GB DDR5-5600 SO-DIMM
Storage: 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD
Battery: 90Wh
Weight: 2.65 kg