ASUS G14 Review – 8 Core 4900HS in 14”?!
It. Ive got one of the highest specced G14 configurations: available. Theres, the new AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor, which has 8 cores and 16 threads at a 35 watt. Tdp. Theres Nvidia RTX 2060 Max Q, graphics, 16gb of memory in dual channel and the memory runs at DDR4 3200, one of the benefits of the new Ryzen platform. Theres, a 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD for storage and a 14 1080p 120Hz screen with FreeSync. For network connectivity. Its got Wifi 6 and Bluetooth 5. However, theres no ethernet here so youll need a dongle. If you need that., The G14 is available in quite a few different configurations. You can find updated prices linked in the description.. The G14 is available in either moonlight white, which I have here or eclipse gray, which I showed in my CES coverage. Its made out of magnesium alloy, and this includes the lid interior and bottom. Overall build quality felt good and there were no sharp corners or edges. Anywhere. The G14 is available with and without the AniMe Matrix display.. Basically, the AniMe Matrix display has 1215 LEDs on the lid, which can be controlled in software with different effects, including custom, animations or even email or battery notifications.. Unfortunately, my review unit doesnt have it so I havent been able to test it out. Here. ASUS list the weight of the G14 as 1.6kg or 1.7kg, with the anime matrix lid.. I dont have the fancy lid though mine was still close to 1.
7kg. The 180w power. Brick is on the smaller size compared to others and increases the total weight to 2.2kg.. The dimensions are on the slimmer side, even for a 14 gaming laptop., The G14 with AniMe matrix lid is 2mm thicker than this. As those LEDs take some space.. The smaller footprint means the side screen. Bezels are just 8.5mm thick.. The G14 is available with two 14 screen options: a 1440p 60Hz IPS Level panel or the 1080p 120Hz IPS Level panel, which is what my unit has. Honestly at 14 inches for gaming. I think the 1080p panel will be the way to go. 1440P at 14. Inches will probably be less important for most users unless you really need that extra screen real estate.. Both panel options do have FreeSync, though, with no MUX switch and the FreeSync range for the 1080p panel was 48 to 120Hz.. Both displays come calibrated from the factory and are pantone validated. Ive tested the 1080p panel with the Spyder 5 and got 96 of sRGB 67 of NTSC 73 of AdobeRGB and 73 of DCI P3. Fair results for a gaming laptop. Brightness was fair at 3' nits in the center at 100, with a 9101 contrast ratio. So quite nice results for a gaming laptop but expect different results with the 1440p option. Backlight bleed appeared minimal to my eyes. In this worst case scenario, it was a little patchy towards the bottom right, no issues when viewing darker content, but this will vary between panels.
. There were no issues opening it up with one finger. It felt fairly well balanced.. There was some screen flex when intentionally trying to move it. Despite the metallic build the lid isnt too thick, but no issues during normal use., The AniMe matrix version might be a bit sturdier here as its 2mm thicker.. The hinges seem pretty sturdy. They need to be given they lift up the rear of the machine.. The exterior of the hinges is plastic, but this covers the metal mechanism.. When you open it up, the screen goes back 140 degrees and doing so raises the rear of the machine up 15mm.. This has three advantages: it puts the keyboard on a slight incline, which is generally better for typing. The speakers underneath arent pressed against the desk and sound better and more air can get in to help with cooling. With the lid open. There are a couple of rubber feet on the back which come into contact with the desk.. I didnt find it to be slippery on a flat surface, like others, with a similar design, but this may introduce chassis flex as it means there are less contact points between the base and the desk.. The flex was only minor when pushing down hard with a bit more right at the back in the center as expected, but absolutely no issues during normal use.. I had no issues using the G14 on my lap. I need to really put the screen right back before the back corners start to dig into my legs.
It felt pretty comfortable for me anyway., Even with heavy stress tests running it didnt feel too hot. Well, the middle was hot to the touch, but that area wasnt coming into contact with it sitting on my legs., Like many other recent laptops from ASUS theyve decided to leave the camera out, so youll have to get an external camera if you need one., Although theres No camera its still got microphones, and this is what they sound like.. The chiclet keyboard is missing, some standard keys like home end page up and down which might be annoying for some programmers and the like. But personally I never noticed any limitations during my own use.. Oh and no numpad either. Its got 1.7mm of key travel. I measured the actuation force of letter keys at 58g and overall, I liked typing, with it heres how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. The keyboard only has white backlighting, no fancy. Rgb here. All keys and secondary key functions are illuminated. However, I thought the coverage was a bit patchy and suboptimal.. The brightness can be adjusted between three different levels or turned off completely with the function and arrow keys.. There are four additional shortcut keys above the keyboard on the left, which, let you adjust the volume mute, the microphone or open the ASUS Armoury crate software, which is the control panel for the system.. The power button is over on the right and has a fingerprint scanner built in which I found to work quite fast for unlocking the machine.
. It will actually cache your fingerprint when you power it on and present it to Windows. Once the operating system has loaded to the login screen, which is kind of cool, it means you just press the power button once to turn it on, and it will use the fingerprint to log in automatically.. If there are multiple user accounts, the users fingerprint will determine which account gets logged into.. The precision touchpad physically clicks down anywhere when pressed and it worked extremely well and was smooth to the touch, probably one of the best and most accurate feeling touchpads Ive used.. There are two front facing 0.7w tweeters towards either side just below the keyboard and two 2.5w speakers on the bottom right down the front corners.. I thought they sounded excellent easily. The best laptop speakers Ive listened to in a long time. They were clear at louder. Volumes had some bass were loud enough at maximum volume and the latencymon results looked ok.. Speaking of sounds. It makes this one by default on boot.. You can disable this through the Armoury, crate software or BIOS though. Fingerprints and dirt. Dont really show up on the silver finish after a few days of heavy use. Mine looked fine, though this will probably be more obvious on the black version. On the left from the back theres, an air exhaust vent, the power input, HDMI 2.0b output, which was not wired directly to the Nvidia GPU USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C port with DisplayPort 1.
4 Support and power delivery so up to two external 4K displays at once, followed by 3.5mm audio combo jack, which sounded fine with headphones. On the right from the front theres a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C port, two USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A ports, another air exhaust vent On this side too, and Kensington lock., The back has air exhaust vents, which are both angled down and up.. The idea of the top vents is that air is exhausted directly up rather than onto the screen with the lid open.. The front is all completely smooth: nothing. Here., Despite not having the AniMe Matrix display, there are still holes in my lid.. I stuck a pin inside to get a rough idea of how deep they are and Id guess less than a millimeter, but that may change with the LED lid.. I can imagine dust and dirt getting into these after a while. Unfortunately, I dont have mine long enough to check that out.. Otherwise, the lid also has a shiny, ROG plaque thing down. The bottom corner. Underneath just has some holes for air intake towards the back half.. The bottom panel can be removed very easily by taking out 14 phillips head screws.. The 4 screws down the front are shorter than the rest and the screw down the front right corner doesnt fully come out. It pushes the panel up to aid opening.. The inside of the bottom panel appears to have a metal heat shield, though, as we saw, the bottom can get quite warm in the center under heavy load.
. Once inside, weve got the battery down the bottom single M.2 slot. For storage on the left and single memory, slot, just right of the center. Ive got an 8gb stick installed in the single SODIMM slot, so my G14 has 8gb of DDR4 3200 memory soldered to the motherboard, which cannot be upgraded.. Wifi also appears to be soldered to the board.. The G14 sells with up to 32gb, which means theres an option with 16gb soldered to the board, so make sure you buy with this in mind as you cant upgrade it. Later. Youll need a single stick installed to take advantage of dual channel.. The M.2 slot appears to support 4 lanes of PCIe according to HWinfo.. The G14 is powered by a 76wh battery. Ive tested it with the screen brightness at 50 background apps, disabled and keyboard lighting. Off., While just watching YouTube videos, it lasted for 6 and 10 minutes with the screen set to 120Hz and optimus enabled., While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. The battery lasted for an hour and 36 minutes.. At this point, the frame rate dipped to 13 FPS and was no longer usable. However, it still had 10 charge remaining and lasted for an hour and 49 minutes. If you include this slower state.. The G14 also supports Type C charging with the left port, not the right one though so you can carry a smaller charger or battery bank with you to support lower powered tasks.
ASUS, say a 65w Type C charger will charge from 0 to 60 in 60 minutes Or a full charge in 176 minutes so slower than using the 180w power brick but good to have as an option if you dont need max performance, its perfect for light work. Now lets find out how hot the G14 gets and see if this causes any issues To performance. The ASUS Armoury Crate software lets you select different performance modes which, from lowest to highest, are silent performance and turbo., Turbo mode, overclocks, the GPU core by 100MHz and GPU memory by 120MHz.. The manual option on the end lets you push this GPU overclock further and also modify fan speed.. When I test the manual option in the upcoming graphs, Ive left the overclock at stock, but boosted the fans to maximum.. There are no fan curves for customizing. All you can do is control either the CPU or GPU fan independently between different percentage levels.. Unfortunately, at this time, theres no undervolting support for Ryzen 4000, at least none of the options in the software or BIOS indicated that this was possible. Heres. A quick look through the BIOS which you can get into by pressing F2 during boot. Inside. There are 5 heatpipes in total, with 3 shared between the processor and graphics, along with two self cleaning. Fans. Air comes in from the bottom, possibly through the keyboard too, and is exhausted out the left and right rear corners and out the back.
Thermals were tested with a 21 degree Celsius. Ambient room, temperature. Idle results down. The bottom were fine. Worst case. Stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test, with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at max settings. At the same time and gaming was tested with Watch Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics., Starting with the stress tests in silent mode, the GPU was thermal throttling but thats just because this mode limits the fan, speed as You'Ll hear later. Stepping up to performance mode removed the thermal throttle on the GPU, and there was no change to the CPU temperature.. The CPU gets hotter with turbo mode enabled. However, we can bring it back down by setting the fan to maximum speed and, if youre willing to use a cooling pad were able to get a nice 10 degree. Reduction.. The gaming results follow a similar pattern but were in general, a little cooler when compared to those worst case, stress tests.. These are the clock speeds for the same tests.. The silent results were interesting in the stress test. The GPU was thermal throttling, so the CPU is able to boost up higher. Then, when actually playing a game, we see the GPU running higher as thermals werent, an issue in this specific title. Theres, a fair difference in CPU, clock speeds between performance and turbo modes based on the temperature results. This mode may cap out at 90 degrees its hard to say as hardware info doesnt appear to be updated yet to report CPU thermal throttling.
Performance continues to improve as we improve the cooling though.. These speeds look pretty good, almost 4.1GHz on all 8 cores best case in this game.. These are the average power levels reached during these same tests., Silent mode seems to primarily cap the CPU power limit to 15 watts and interestly the GPU power levels, arent. All that much below the 65 watt limit of the RTX 2060 Max Q, so gaming at silent, may be possible. Well look next.! Otherwise we can see the 4900HS is able to run at its 35 watt power limit just by enabling turbo mode, which is great to see its even close to full power, in this worst case, stress test prior to improving cooling. Ive tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider With the games benchmark tool with these different performance modes to see what differences they actually make. Silent was still around 60 FPS on average, so gaming with quieter fans is possible. Meanwhile, we were able to get small improvements by improving the cooling in turbo mode. In CPU. Heavier titles like watch dogs 2. During the previous testing. It was a bit laggy in silent, though for GPU focussed games, though, as we saw, the GPU still performs quite well., I attempted to run the stress tests with the lid closed. However, the laptop would put itself to sleep after a few minutes like this, when the CPU got to around 95.6 degrees. So I guess it gets too hot and goes to sleep rather than a hard shut off.
. The sleep reason in the event viewer just notes. The reason as application API with no further details. Now lets take a look at CPU only performance. So when the discrete 2060 Max Q graphics are idle., Ive run the Aida64 CPU stress test with the four default options checked, and we can see that outside of silent mode theres, not too much of a change to clock speeds. However, things do get better as cooling improves.. When we look at the temperatures, though theyre no, where near thermal throttling, so it appears that lower temperatures slightly boosts performance, which is a little odd given on average. They were all sitting at the 35 watt power limit. During this test. In a CPU only workload like Cinebench, the 4900HS kills it.. There was less of an improvement with better cooling observed in this workload compared to prior tests with the GPU active. Its worth. Remembering these are averages over 5 runs. We can see how results lower over time between these tests once the boost period ends., Even by the time it's no longer boosting and settles at 35 watts. The performance is still great. Ive also compared the Cinebench results from the G14, with the other 8 core laptops. Ive tested., Honestly, the results are quite impressive when we remember those other i9 laptops are running with far higher power limits and are all much thicker machines, 17 inch ones in most cases. 3000 points is best case for the i7 9750H and the Ryzen 9 is around 1000 points faster.
Ive got the best Ryzen 7 3750H from last gen down the bottom, just to give an idea of how far theyve come. Heres a screenshot of what the package power looks like over time with blender running.. We can see that its running around 60w for the first few minutes, then after a while, it eventually drops down to the sustained 35w limit, so you can actually get some nice performance out of the 4900HS at those higher limits., As we just saw the temperatures of The CPU werent that hot at least compared to when gaming, with an active, GPU load at the same time. So I think if they wanted, they could boost it for longer and maybe well see this in other Ryzen 4000 laptops.. If you want to see how the 4900HS compares with other processors, like Intels 8, core 9880H check out Tims video on the Hardware Unboxed channel, linked in the description. Heres, how it looks in the areas where youll actually touch at idle, it was below the typical 30 Degrees Celsius, I usually see in most laptops., With the stress tests going in silent mode its on the warmer side, with some of the keys in the middle feeling, hot, which is expected, given the fans are quiet., Stepping up to performance mode and its a little cooler. Now, while also performing better as the fan, speed, increases. Turbo mode was similar, maybe a degree or two cooler in the hot spots, with WASD still cool as air must be blowing through.
With manual mode. So the fan at maximum speed its a little cooler again. Worst case right up. The back can get hot to the touch, but you dont really need to touch there.. Lets have a listen to how loud the fans get during these same tests. At idle. It was quiet, however, the fan was making an odd sort of sound, not sure if its just my unit. In silent mode, its still on the quieter side and as we saw earlier, playing GPU bound games was still possible. Like this. Performance was a bit louder still granted quieter when compared to most other gaming laptops, Ive tested and turbo mode was still under 50 decibels, then maximum was just a little louder. Still.. Overall, I thought the thermals were alright yeah. It can get hot when you max it out in turbo mode before the fan speed increases. However, youve got the option of running the fans faster to improve results, but if you want to take things to the next level, a cooling pad helps quite a bit here.. Just dont forget this is a thinner, 14 inch machine with an 8 core processor inside.. Next lets find out just how well the G14 performs in games. Ive tested with turbo mode enabled for best results which, as a reminder, overclocks the graphics, a bit. In Battlefield, 5. Ive got the G14 highlighted in red near similarly specced machines., Well kind of. Its hard to compare apples to apples here, as I believe this is the first gaming laptop to actually feature Nvidia, RTX 2060 Max Q, graphics or, at the very least, is the first Ive Been able to get my hands on.
, Given it runs with a 65 watt limit. It looks like 80 watt 1660 Ti systems can outperform it. Its real close to the Scar II with non RTX 2060, though so thats interesting and average FPS is similar to the Y540. With i7 and 1660 Ti, though, the 1 low from the 4900HS was lower compared to the Intel i7 machines granted, it was better than AMDs previous 3750H based laptops.. These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. This time. The 1 low performance was looking pretty good with the 4900HS, but again it seems that average FPS is lower when compared to higher wattage graphics options. Its really hard to fairly compare the 4900HS due to the 2060 Max Q so well have to wait until I get Some other laptops that feature that CPU, but with different graphics, to do a fair comparison.. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider, with the built in benchmark at highest settings.. In this test, the frame rate was closer to those more powerful 1660 Ti laptops, which was interesting, so fair results from the G14 here, given the lower powered 65 watt GPU. Ill post, my usual video showing gaming performance in 20 games at all setting levels tomorrow so Make sure youre subscribed for that. Well check out how well the Vega graphics perform in an upcoming video too. Ill. Also note that I had no issues at all in terms of stability.
At any point, I think the issue with other Ryzen based laptops generally stems from Radeon driver issues, so the Ryzen processor, with Nvidia graphics here, worked flawlessly. Ive used Adobe Premiere to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K. Compared to the old 3750H machines up The top the G14 is completing half as fast, which kind of makes sense, as the 4900HS does have double the core count. In this particular test, though its not quite as fast as many of the Intel options as those make use of quicksync here.. In terms of Linux support, I was able to boot into Ubuntu 19.10 with safe graphics mode and the touchpad sound wifi and bluetooth worked fine.. The keyboard was ok too minus the lighting which I couldnt enable. So it needs software to function.. Now, for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark just pause. The video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Here, are the results from SPECviewperf. Should you want to compare the results against other machines in more professional 3D workloads. Ive used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD was performing alright.. Some material online seems to indicate that its a PCIe 3.0 2 lane slot. However, the SSD has 4 lane support and Hardware Info seems to indicate 4 lane support too. For updated pricing check the links in the description as prices will change over time.
At the time of recording prior to launch. I dont actually have too much information. The G14 with same specs Ive tested here, is listed at 1450, USD at best buy in the US.. Here in Australia. We were told it would go for about 2500 AUD and if you convert AUD to USD and remove our tax, it ends up being very similar to the best buy listing which, if accurate, seems like quite good value for this level of CPU performance.. If youre. Just after best gaming performance, though you could spend less on an 80 watt, GTX 1660 Ti based laptop. However, it will also be larger and to be fair, the 65 watt 2060 max q could still handle any game. I threw at it but yeah youre, paying a premium for the smaller G14 as expected.. With all of that in mind. Lets conclude by looking at the good and bad aspects of the G14 gaming laptop.. I havent tested all that many 14 gaming laptops its a much less common size, probably due to the difficulties involved with getting good specs in a smaller area, but ASUS have pulled it off with the G14.. The new Ryzen 9 4900HS wasnt too far behind other Intel based i9 systems that also have 8 core 16 thread processors, especially when you consider all the Intel machines are physically larger, but also run well above the 35 watts of the Ryzen chip.. The GPU performance was alright again, especially once we take the 14 inch form factor into consideration.
. The smaller size makes it quite portable, and this is helped out by the smaller than normal power. Brick. Type C charging is also an option for lower power, drawing tasks. If you need something more portable, this is a nice to have feature that I wish others would start adding. Battery life was pretty decent, though, given the size results were above average compared to many others., Its great that we get FreeSync and that 1440p is an option For those that want it, otherwise, the 1080p 120Hz panel that Ive tested here is a better option for gamers, and I thought the colours brightness and contrast were pretty decent.. The build quality was above average, considering the smaller side. The entire thing is magnesium alloy, with a clean finish.. There was some flex to it due to the lift design. However, it wasnt an issue during normal use and the advantages this provides, such as improved cooling, an incline for typing and some of the best laptop speakers. Ive ever heard seems to make it worthwhile.. The IO was pretty fair for a smaller machine, though no Thunderbolt or ethernet here.. It was easy to get inside the single memory slot was a little disappointing, but its probably a space constraint to fit two. At least it still runs in dual channel. Youll just have to make sure you buy it so that the soldered memory is enough going into the future.. I also didnt really like the patchy back lighting of the keyboard.
It just wasnt very evenly lit. Not having a camera, may also be a limit for some, so youll need to look into an external one. If you need it., The G14 can get hotter than Im sure many of you were expecting. However, I have no issues with this personally.. If a laptop has thermal headroom available, you can bet its going to get used to boost performance. Just remember, we do have an 8 core processor with decent graphics in a smaller chassis here.. If you want to run it cooler or quieter, youve got the option of doing so by adjusting the fan speed. Compared to most other laptops. The fan noise was quieter until you max it out.. All things considered, I think the G14 is offering impressive levels of performance in a smaller package, especially for those who need raw CPU power. Its able to hang with other thicker and larger machines with the more power hungry, i9. Overall theres a lot to like here with not too many down sides. I can see why so many of you just couldnt, wait for this review, so I hope it was useful.. Let me know what you thought about the ASUS Zephyrus G 14 gaming laptop down in the comments or if youve got questions on anything. I missed. Im looking forward to testing more Ryzen 4000 laptops in future.