Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 Review

Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 Review

Written by Moli Mishra, In Laptops, Published On
October 31, 2023
, 326 Views

Someone stated, “Bigger is better. That person would likely be pleased by the 18-inch gaming laptop revival. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 ($3,899.99 as tested) is one of several massive laptops coming this year and arriving in our lab. The Strix Scar 18 has an Intel Core i9-13980HX and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 for optimum performance.

With its RGB-lit design, this laptop is clearly meant for gaming. It may be one of the greatest gaming laptops for some. The Strix Scar 18 will replace your desktop. Powerful, with a large display and good speakers, it won’t last long without the power adaptor. Does it have enough power for gamers? You could transport this equipment from room to room, but we’ll see how it performs in testing.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 Specs

Weight6.8 pounds
Size15.7 x 11.6 x 0.9~1.2 inches
Battery90Whr, 4:26
Display18-inch, QHD+ (2560 x 1600), 240Hz
Storagedual 1TB SSD in RAID 0
RAM32GB
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 4090
CPUIntel Core i9-13900HX
Price$3,699

PROS

  • Extreme performance
  • Excellent gaming display
  • Moderate size and weight
  • Good iGPU battery

CONS

  • Plastic construction is costly.
  • Can be loud under heavy labor loads.

Pricing

The hot Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 requires wallets. My $3,699 review machine has a 2.2-GHz Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU, 32GB of RAM, two 1TB PCIe Gen 4.0 NVMe SSDs in RAID 0, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU with 16GB of VRAM, and a 240Hz 18-inch Nebula Display.

Design

Asus ROG Strix Scar 18

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 is futuristic. The lid is cool-to-touch black metal. A shiny strip with tiny ROG logos diagonally splits the lid, with a huge LED-backlit symbol in the center-left. Plastic vents with lights on top are transparent. A small removable magnetic tag called a Customizable Armour Cap is fashioned from the clear plastic on the vents, whereas the hinge is plastic and mostly black.

Instead of the two-toned design, you can use the laptop’s black opaque tag. Create your own with a 3D printer. But the fun starts when you open the laptop. The back vent illumination mimics K.I.T.T. with red scrolling lights while the insignia cycles through colors. The keyboard’s rainbow light show replicates the lid’s logo and makes a sword unsheathing sound. The right side of the palm rests on that ROG strip on a semi-translucent plastic deck that fades to black approximately a quarter of the way down.

Gaming

The Strix Scar 18 is one of the first laptops with the Intel Core i9-13980HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090. It’s also one of the first laptops featuring a -90 series Nvidia GPU, which is new for mobile GPUs. I wanted to test these components’ ability to push Control, my favorite ray tracing example. I maxed out the laptop’s 2560 x 1600 native resolution.

As I sneaked around the Oldest House’s communication departments and dodged flying objects thrown across the room by a power device, the game ran reliably between 60 and 68 fps, with a few modest jumps to the low 70s. It consistently ran over 100 fps in the empty white astral plane. Even in firefights with the hiss, the game ran at about 100 fps at 1920 x 1200. Intel is likely limiting Nvidia’s top-end mobile GPU’s performance. We only have this issue with one game.

Display

Asus ROG Strix Scar 18

A dark, washed-out display is the worst, especially on a gaming laptop. Thankfully, the Strix Scar 18 doesn’t have that issue. Instead, the 18-inch, 2560 x 1600 ROG Nebula display delivers vibrant colors, precise clarity, and silky smooth rendering. That helped when viewing a “1-800-Hot-Nite” trailer. Dallas Dupree Young’s caramel skin in red light shows how well the matte panel conveyed color. I could see the actor’s forehead sweat droplets and the reticulated python’s scales around his neck.

Asus achieved excellent blacks with the 16:10 aspect ratio panel. Night City was the right setting for Cyberpunk 2077 on the Strix. The neon illumination in the futuristic scene was magnified by the dark sky. Everything became more lurid. CyberPunk made good use of that 240 Hz refresh rate. I blitzed through Cyberpunk 2077 using Nvidia’s G-Sync (adaptive sync technology) and Advanced Optimus (which uses a MUX switch to convert between integrated and discrete graphics) and witnessed clean rendering and high frame rates.

Audio

Asus ROG Strix Scar 18

Most of the time, I dislike bottom-mounted speakers. The audio on the ROG Strix Scar 18 sounds great, speaker placement aside! The notebook’s four-speaker setup played strong piano, crisp drums and cymbals, rich horns, and Lelah Hathaway’s gorgeous vocals with a slightly submerged background vocal on Robert Glasper’s take on Sade’s “Cherish the Day. Dolby Atmos software helped.

Dolby’s Dynamic setting was loudest, Music with the Balanced subsetting was best for music listening, and Game with the Detailed subsetting performed best for gaming. I could use one of my many gaming headsets on the Scar 18, but I didn’t. Scar 18’s audio was great, from conversation to gunshots to the battles’ massively synthetic, throbbing soundtrack. The diverse gun sounds gave each handgun a realistic weightiness, which I liked.

Touchpad

Typing on small trampolines The ROG Strix Scar 18’s full-size eSports keyboard is responsive. I’ll never refuse a numeric pad. The arrangement is well-spaced, and I like the Fn row key groupings because they reduce typing errors. Asus added media and hotkeys for convenience. Since the keyboard might get hot while gaming, the designers added small vents around the WASD keys to enable fans to pull in cold air from above. From my hair to my gadgets, I love RGB, and Asus offered me lots of colors. The company’s Armoury Crate hub via Aura Sync lets you personalize the keyboard, rear vent, and front light bar. There, you can choose a key color and build in-game and out-of-game macros.

FAQs

What are the key specifications of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18?

This includes details like the CPU, GPU, RAM, storage capacity, display specifications, and more. Be sure to check the product listing for the most accurate and up-to-date specifications.

Can I upgrade the RAM or storage on the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18?

Typically, gaming laptops allow for RAM and storage upgrades, but the specifics can vary. Check the user manual for instructions on how to do this.

What kind of cooling system does the laptop have?

Gaming laptops can get hot during extended gaming sessions. Understanding the cooling system is essential for performance and longevity.

How long is the battery life on the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18?

Gaming laptops often have shorter battery life due to high-performance components. It’s essential to know how long you can expect to use it on a single charge.

Does it support ray tracing or DLSS technology?

These are advanced graphics technologies that can significantly improve gaming visuals. Check whether the laptop supports these features if you’re interested in high-quality graphics.

What kind of keyboard does it have?

Gaming laptops often have customizable RGB backlit keyboards. Find out if this laptop offers such features and any unique keyboard technologies.

Does it support G-Sync or FreeSync?

These technologies help to reduce screen tearing and provide smoother gaming experiences. Check if the laptop supports them.

Are there any known issues or common troubleshooting tips?

It’s helpful to know about any known problems or common solutions for troubleshooting.

What software comes pre-installed on the laptop?

Manufacturers often include utility software and gaming-related apps. Knowing what’s pre-installed can help you manage your system better.

Is there a warranty, and what does it cover?

Familiarize yourself with the warranty terms, including what’s covered and for how long. This is essential in case you encounter any hardware issues.

How do I optimize the laptop for gaming performance?

Understanding how to tweak settings, update drivers, and manage power profiles can help you get the best gaming experience.

Is there a user manual available online?

The user manual is a valuable resource for getting to know your laptop inside and out. Check if there’s an online version you can access.

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