ASUS Zephyrus G (GA502DU) Gaming Laptop Review
, Starting with the specs theres an AMD Ryzen, 7 3750H quad core CPU Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti Max Q, graphics and mine has 16gb of memory in dual channel, though the Ryzen mobile platform only supports memory up to DDR4 2400. Theres, a 15.6 1080p 120Hz screen and a 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD in one of the two slots. For network connectivity. Its got gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5, and you can find links to updated pricing in the description.. The GA502 has a brushed black metal lid with the ROG logo towards the side, while the interior is all matte black plastic, but overall the build quality felt good and there were no sharp corners or edges anywhere. ASUS list the weight of the laptop at 2.1kg and Mine was spot on with this., With the 180 watt power, brick and cables for charging included. The total weight rises a little above 2.6kg.. The dimensions of the GA502 are 36cm in width 25.2cm in depth and around 2cm in height. So, on the smaller side for a 15 inch machine., These smaller dimensions allow the screen to have thin bezels with a 81 screen to body ratio. I measured them at 9mm on the sides.. The 15.6 1080p 120Hz IPS Level panel is 6 bit and I couldnt see FreeSync available through the Nvidia control, panel. Ive, measured the colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro and got 63 of sRGB 45 of NTSC and 47 of AdobeRGB.
At 100 brightness. I measured the panel at 284 nits in the center and with a 10401 contrast ratio, so above average contrast, but a little lower than the standard 300 nits I like to see.. The colour gamut is on the lower side, but not too unexpected for a gaming laptop at this price, point. Its fine for gaming, but Id look elsewhere if youre after photo or video editing. Backlight bleed wasnt, very good. In my unit, the section down the bottom left corner in particular was occasionally noticeable in games during darker scenes, but this will vary between laptop and panel.. There was some screen flex as the lid is on the thinner side, but the metal build and hinges being out towards the corners made. It feel sturdy.. It was easy to open up with one finger demonstrating an even weight distribution and it felt fine sitting on my lap.. The GA502 doesnt actually have a camera built in and, unlike the more expensive GX701 there wasnt one included in the box., Although theres no camera, it does still have a microphone, and this is what it sounds. Like., The keyboard has white backlighting, no RGB or customization is possible here, but even all secondary key functions are illuminated.. I liked typing, with the keyboard heres how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. I didnt like the smaller arrow keys, and these can also be used with the function key to adjust keyboard brightness between three levels or turned off.
. Just above the keyboard, weve got extra buttons to change the volume, mute microphone and a shortcut to open the Armoury Crate software, which is the control panel. For this laptop.. There was only a bit of keyboard flex while pushing down hard. It was quite sturdy.. The precision touchpad worked well its smooth to the touch clicks down anywhere and has the usual gestures. Fingerprints were harder to see on the interior as its not a perfectly smooth texture, but this also made it a little harder to clean. On the left from the back Theres the power input gigabit ethernet and I prefer the way its facing as you dont have to lift the machine up to unplug it HDMI 2.0b output, USB 3.1 Gen1 Type, A port, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C port with DisplayPort 1.4 support. No Thunderbolt, though, and 3.5mm audio combo jack. On the right from the front. There are two more USB 3.1 Gen1 Type: A ports, an air exhaust vent and Kensington lock. On the back are air exhaust vents towards the corners and then nothing at all on the front.. Underneath the thick rubber feet did a good job of preventing movement while in use – and there are only air intake vents over the memory slot and heatpipes.. Although it looks like there are vents over where the fans are, these are actually blocked. Off. On the brushed metal, lid, the ROG logo lights up red, while the laptop is powered on and I wasnt able to customize this.
. The back of the lid is cut out down the bottom, which lets you see the status LEDs with the lid closed, and this is also meant to help air get into the vents above the keyboard.. The two speakers are found towards the front left and right corners and they sounded good for a laptop, definitely above average, with some bass present they get loud enough while playing music and the latencymon results. Look good., Speaking of sounds. It plays this one by default on boot.. Fortunately, you can disable this either through the Armoury, Crate software or BIOS. To get inside. We need to take out 15 Phillips head screws. Once inside from left to right. Weve got the WiFi card first M.2 slot. Next to that, with our NVMe SSD installed battery, underneath here single memory slot and second M.2 slot. However, its worth noting both M.2 slots are only 2 lanes of PCIe, rather than your typical 4., As we can see theres just the one SODIMM memory slot on the motherboard. This is because the GA502 comes with 8 or 16gb soldered to the motherboard in single channel. So will be slower without a stick installed. Here. Mine also has an 8gb stick installed for 16gb in total, though, which does allow it to run faster in dual channel, and it supports up to 32gb. Powering. The laptop is a 76 watt hour. Battery. Ive tested it with the screen brightness at 50 background apps, disabled and all keyboard lighting off.
, While just watching YouTube videos. I got a very impressive result for a gaming laptop well over 7 hours.. The Vega graphics were in use during this test with Nvidia Optimus, and this was providing at least a couple hours more use than what wed get with a similarly specced Intel laptop., While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. The average frame rate was sitting around 26, not quite able to hit the cap.. The battery lasted for an hour and 42 minutes in total. But after the first hour and a half with 10 charge left the frame rate dipped to 13 FPS and was no longer playable., I didnt have any battery drain with the 180 watt power brick. So it seems to be plenty for these specs and Ill. Also. Note that you cant use turbo mode when on battery power, more on that soon. Lets move onto the thermal testing., The Zephyrus design is traditionally known for raising the back of the machine up to improve air flow. However, this feature is not present in this more budget friendly, less premium design. Air is primarily brought in through the keyboard and vents above it and, as discussed earlier, the vents directly above the fans underneath were blocked off forcing air underneath to first come in over the Heatpipes and memory slot. Inside weve got a few heatpipes with a couple shared between the processor and graphics, and we can see that air is exhausted out the side and back with the left fan and just out the back for the opposite.
Fan., The ASUS Armory Crate software allows you to change between three different modes: silent performance and turbo and Ive tested all three.. Basically, these modes adjust maximum fan, speed, CPU power limits and control, GPU overclocking, as defined here.. You can easily swap between these modes through software or by holding the function key and pressing the pressing F5. The key with the fan icon. Thermal testing was completed in an ambient room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius so expect different results in different environments.. No CPU undervolting has been done as this is not currently possible, with AMD mobile CPUs. At idle. Both the CPU and GPU were on the warmer side, though realistically not a problem and the fans were quiet as youll hear later.. The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU workloads and are meant to represent worst case scenarios, as I ran them for extended periods of time.. The gaming results towards the upper half of the graph were tested by playing Watch Dogs 2. As I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics., The stress test results shown on the lower half of the graph are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test, with only the stress, CPU option checked and the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings at The same time to fully load the system., Starting with the stress tests in silent mode, the 1660 Ti max q was thermal throttling at 86 degrees Celsius.
. If we change to performance mode, the GPU thermal throttling is removed. As this boosts the fan speed. However, the CPU was now hotter, as this mode raises its power limit. I think it was thermal throttling. However, hardware info doesnt currently report on this for the 3750H CPU, so I cant say for sure.. There were no differences in temperatures with performance or turbo mode because, as youll hear later, the fan, speed, didnt, actually change in this workload. Using a cooling pad did help a little, despite the vents directly above the fans being blocked off by the bottom panel. As we saw earlier., The gaming results saw a similar trend with some GPU thermal throttling in silent mode, with slight improvements to thermals, as we continue making changes.. These are the average clock speeds for the same tests. Just shown. In silent mode were seeing lower. Cpu clock speeds compared to the other tests as this mode caps the CPU power limit to 8 watts.. Although the clock speeds in watch dogs 2 look good here, the game was actually unplayable but well check out some FPS benchmarks with different modes soon. In performance mode. Theres, a nice boost to CPU clock speed, as the power limit raises to around 21 watts, and the GPU sees an increase too, as this boosts fan, speed and removes thermal throttling., Turbo mode saw no change to CPU performance due to suspected CPU thermal throttling. However, the reported GPU clock speed raises due to the overclocking turbo mode applies.
, As there was more thermal headroom for the gaming test. The performance and turbo modes are making more noticeable improvements.. The cooling pad makes a big improvement to CPU clock speed, while under stress test. As it helps address the CPU thermal throttling, however, it hardly did anything while playing this particular game as temperatures werent too bad without it.. These are the TDP values during these same tests., Ive used hardware info for the GPU shown by the green bars and were not hitting the 60 watt power limit of the 1660 Ti Max Q, with silent mode enabled, due to the GPU thermal throttling covered earlier. Hardware Info still seems to incorrectly report the TDP for the 3750H CPU, so Ive used AMDs uprof tool instead, however, as this didnt really give an average over time, these results are only approximate values.. I dont have results for the gaming tests because without a consistent load, it was difficult to report an average.. The 3750H has a 35 watt TDP and, as this is only hit once the cooling pad is in use, it sort of implies that we were thermal throttling in this workload. Without it, though, as we saw, this seemed to be less of a problem with an actual game running., These are the TDP values I was seeing reported by uprof, while under a CPU only workload, so it looks like performance mode. Has a 28 watt limit, though this was not being hit under combined CPU and GPU loads, as we just saw before due to thermal limitations.
. These are the average clock speeds under these same workloads as the power limit increases, so does the clock, speed and performance. More power and performance typically equals more heat. However, we saw the highest temperature in silent mode simply because the fan speed was so much quieter when compared to performance or turbo modes.. To demonstrate how this translates into performance. Ive got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks with Intels last gen, i5 8300H quad core CPU in red. Just for comparison, though, keep in mind, the i5 does have a higher 45 watt TDP limit. Ive compared these two in a separate video, if youre interested in more comparisons.. As for the external temperatures, where youll actually be putting your hands at idle, it was a bit warmer than the standard 30 degrees. I usually see mainly towards the back., With the stress tests running in silent mode, its in the mid 50s in the center. Getting up to 60s right up the back where it was hot to the touch.. It was a bit cooler in performance mode. As this raises fan speed, and we can see the cooler spots on the left and right where the fans bring in air through the keyboard.. There wasnt much difference in turbo mode still getting to 60 right at the back, but for the areas youll actually be touching its not too bad. Heres. What the fans sound like during these different tests. At idle in silent mode, the fan was only just audible.
With silent mode and the stress tests running its much quieter compared to most other laptops, Ive tested. In performance or turbo mode. The fan speed was the same and pretty average when compared to most other gaming laptops that Ive tested.. I forgot to test fan speed while gaming and although it will vary by game, I did notice that, while in performance mode, the fan speed did drop back a couple of decibels when not being smashed with a stress test. Overall, the ASUS GA502 gaming laptop will thermal Throttle on the graphics in silent mode, which isnt too surprising, given the slower fan, speed. Thermal throttling, was seen on the CPU under combined multicore and GPU stress test. Even with the higher fan speeds. However, this was still noticeably cooler compared to the 90 plus. We usually see from Intel based laptops under the same workload.. It was possible to cool it down a bit with a cooling pad, though I suspect this would have helped out more if the vents above the fans, werent blocked. Off.. Next lets take a look at some gaming benchmarks: Ive tested these with turbo mode enabled for best performance but well test with some different performance modes. Afterwards. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode and at ultra settings it was still playable and able to average above 60. Fps, with up to 90 reached at low settings. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum or all settings on the lowest possible values as it doesnt have predefined setting presets.
A recent Nvidia driver update boosted performance of this game, so were seeing pretty good Results: here. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark and at max settings were just under 60 FPS, not too bad and lower settings. Werent really improving this by that much, but well see how this game compares with other laptops. Soon. Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built in benchmark and although the results were lower compared to most other laptops, Ive tested, as this test is heavier on, the CPU 60 FPS was still hit at normal. Settings. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature and as a less demanding game even at epic settings, the average frame rate was still quite good and playing fine, though we could get much higher FPS at lower settings to take advantage of the 120Hz panel. Overwatch is another. Well, optimized game and was tested in the practice range and it was running fine, even at max settings with the average frame rate still close to the refresh rate of the display. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark. At maximum settings 100 FPS averages Were still being hit in this test with a 100 render scale, while high settings took us to the refresh rate of the screen. PUBG was tested using the replay feature and high settings and below were all around the 100 FPS point with not really that much of A difference while ultra settings was still above 60 FPS, too.
Assassins, Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark, and this seems to be a CPU heavy test, though I dont think it needs a super high frame rate to play. So these results arent too bad.. Csgo was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark and as a game that depends primarily on CPU power. It was around 100 FPS lower than an i7 based laptop. However, 150 FPS at max settings is still plenty to play. This game, well. Dota 2, was tested playing in the middle lane and as a primarily CPU driven game. The results are a bit lower compared to an Intel based laptop. However, the performance from this machine was still great, with 100 FPS averages at ultra settings, while high settings better took advantage of the 120hz display. Watch. Dogs 2 is a resource heavy game. However, I think it plays fine with a solid 30 FPS and were only just below this for the 1 low at ultra settings and it was playing ok, even maxed out.. The Witcher 3 was still playable at ultra settings and was averaging right on 60 FPS. However, high settings did play nicer, as shown by the 1 low, which was close to the average frame rate at ultra., If youre after more gaming benchmarks on the GA502 check the card in the top right corner, where Ive tested 20 games in total. Lets. Also, take a look at how this config of the ASUS Zephyrus G GA502 compares with other laptops use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
In Battlefield, 5 Ive got the GA502 highlighted in red near similarly specced Machines. Its worth noting the L340 beneath it is the only machine in this graph that had single channel memory.. The performance was actually quite similar to the FX505DU, which has the same Ryzen CPU, but non Max Q graphics.. We can see the higher 1 low result with the Dell G3, which has the same graphics, but has the higher performing i7 CPU. However, average FPS doesnt change too much between them.. These are the results from Far Cry 5, with ultra settings in the built in benchmark.. Again, the results were close to the FX505DU just above it. I think the higher average FPS is due to the non Max Q 1660. Ti, though, as theyve got the same. Ryzen 7 3750H CPU., The Dell G3 with same 1660, Ti Max Q. Graphics is a fair amount ahead, though, which makes sense, as this is a CPU heavy game and its both faster and has a 50 higher core count.. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings.. Interestingly, this time the GA502 came a little ahead of the FX505DU Im thinking. This may be due to updates the game has had or possibly, Nvidia driver updates. Since I tested the 505 as it otherwise doesnt really make sense, given it has the same Ryzen 7 CPU, but slightly better graphics.. Overall, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GA502 gaming laptop, is performing fairly well.
. Unfortunately, I havent tested all that many other machines with similar specs to compare against, but as weve seen here, it is able to perform quite well in most games even at higher setting levels and is capable of providing a good gaming experience., As we saw earlier, weve Got the option of using silent performance or turbo mode so lets see how these modes actually affect game. Performance. Battlefield 5 was tested in Campaign mode at ultra settings., With silent mode enabled it was still quite usable. The 1 low wasnt too different to the other results, and it was only around 15 FPS lower compared to turbo mode with much louder. Fans. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark at highest settings.. Again, there wasnt much difference to frame rate between performance and turbo mode. However, silent was a fair bit lower. This time., Far Cry 5 was tested with the built in benchmark at ultra settings.. In this test there was a much larger drop with the silent profile in use and, like I mentioned before, I couldnt play watch dogs 2 in silent mode, so it seems to vary by game. Basically, I wouldnt rely on silent mode for quieter gaming.. I did test these games at max settings, though theyll likely be more playable with lower settings, but this does show you the difference between the modes.. I did have some issues trying to play games with Vulkan, though. Basically, they seemed to fail to detect the Nvidia graphics and would error and not open.
. I had this same problem with the FX505DU, which also has an AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU, but I was able to bypass it by disabling the Vega graphics through device manager. However, that work around didnt allow me to play Vulkan games here. So hopefully this gets fixed in a future update.. If the game supports something other than Vulkan, you can still play it. Just fine. Now for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine. As well as Firestrike, Timespy and VRMark from 3DMark just pause, the video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Ive, used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD was performing ok.. Remember both M.2 slots are going to be limited to two PCIe lane speed. For updated pricing check the links in the description as prices will change over time. At the time of recording in the US, its going for around 1200 USD, although it does go on sale From time to time., I think this price is a bit too high when you consider that the Acer Helios 300 goes from 1100 to 1200 USD and even as low as 1000 on sale.. As we saw earlier, it performs significantly better as its got a 6 core higher clocked CPU with non Max Q, graphics. So Id only consider the GA502 if youre able to get it for a good deal.. With all of that in mind, lets conclude by covering the good and bad aspects of the ASUS Zephyrus G GA502DU gaming laptop.
. Overall, the AMD Ryzen, 7 3750H and Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti Max Q combination is offering decent gaming performance. However, its worth keeping in mind that the last gen i5 8300H does outperform it. A benefit. Ive noticed with these Ryzen based laptops, though, is that they tend to run cooler compared to Intel options, possibly due to the lower TDP. Less power equals less heat.. The Ryzen CPU does have some nice advantages. Though. The Vega graphics built into the CPU, are better than Intel's integrated graphics, and we saw this in the battery testing. Where I got one of the best results for a gaming laptop., It was possible to improve thermals a bit with a cooling pad, despite the vents directly above the intake fans being blocked off. However, undervolting with Ryzen is, unfortunately not an option at the moment. Im, not a fan of the soldered memory to the motherboard. My unit only has 8gb, but I think its also available with 16gb, and you do still have the option of running dual channel. If you have a stick in the single slot., It was also good to see two M.2 slots. Considering this is a smaller 15 inch machine, especially when the larger and far more expensive, ASUS GX701 only has one, though they are limited to two PCIe lanes, which will reduce speeds if you use faster drives.. The screen looked ok for gaming, but the 6 bit panel with lower brightness was on the lower side in terms of colour gamut again, especially compared to the far superior panel in the Helios 300, which can be picked up for similar money and the backlight bleed.
In my unit, wasnt great either., Theres, no camera built into the laptop, so youll need to use an external one. If you need one, however, it does still have a microphone.. I wasnt personally a fan of the smaller arrow keys, but the keyboard was otherwise good to type with and no issues with the touchpad.. The strange issues with Vulkan games that I first identified months ago still seem to be present with these AMD and Nvidia laptops. So hopefully, that gets fixed in the future.. In the end, though, purely in terms of gaming performance, the GA502 does perform well with decent settings in most games while coming in a slimmer and lighter package, but Id only be considering it on a good sale as theres. Just a lot of competition at this price point., Let me know what you thought about the ASUS Zephyrus G gaming laptop down in the comments and, if youre new to the channel, consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech.