The ROG Zephyrus is one of the first gaming PC to take advantage of the new Zen 2 mobile architecture developed by AMD. Here is our full test of this ultraportable.
ROG’s Zephyrus line tries to combine ultra-portability and performance to create gaming PCs that would be forgotten in the bag.
The brand returns in 2020 with the Zephyrus G14, an ultraportable equipped with an AMD Ryzen processor with Zen 2 architecture and an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics chip while keeping the weight close to 1.6 kg.
Beyond the Zephyrus G14, it is also the first PC that we test with this generation of the processor which on paper, looks very interesting.
Technical Sheet :
|Asus ROG Zephyrus G14|
|Screen||14″ LCD IPS 60 Hz 1920 x 1080|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS (8 cores, 16 threads, boost to 4.3 GHz)|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max Q Design (6Go)|
|Internal memory||SSD 512 Go NVMe|
|Keyboard||Backlit white chiclet|
|Connectivity||– 1x audio jack|
– 2x USB-A 3.0
– 2x USB-C
– 1x HDMI 2.0
– 1x mains port
|Dimensions||– Width: 324 mm|
-Length: 222 mm
-Thickness: 1.79 mm
A Sober Game PC :
One of the characteristics of the Zephyrus range is sobriety. There is no question here of feeling like you have a space PC with neon lights in your eyes. Even the logo of the ROG brand is satisfied with a small silver badge of the most beautiful effect.
Only the keyboard design and the “pixel” effect on the back of the screen on the chassis will remind the target audience of this machine. We can still imagine it blending into the background.
On the finishing side, the Zephyrus G14 is built on a metal chassis, but all the same with plastic elements, especially around the screen. The matt magnesium alloy used around the keyboard resists fingerprints well but does not give the best effect. However, it looks like we are dealing with a high-end PC.
If it takes certain codes of ultraportables, its thickness of 1.8 cm reminds us of any way that it is indeed a “high-performance” PC. As such, the machine is also equipped with good ventilation with openings on the left, right, rear and under the machine. The base of the PC looks particularly thick but is not annoying in use.
The power button hides a fingerprint reader.
On the whole, we are rather satisfied with the design of the machine which fulfills its role: to make as much as possible to forget the performances and the target audience, for something more master key. The PC remains overall compact and light, given the performance shown, which we will come back to.
Keyboard And Touchpad :
With a PC with a 14-inch screen, Asus didn’t have room for a very large keyboard. The brand still managed to offer comfortable size keys, even for directional arrows. A very good point.
We regret however, that the enter key takes only one line, instead of the usual two. It is quite destabilizing and it will take time to adapt. The layout of the keys has also been revised, and the screenshot key is thus found between the right CTRL and ALT GR.
Note that the keyboard also includes a series of special shortcuts, including a key to quickly switch to performance mode or another to start the new screen capture tool in Windows 10.
Special shortcuts added by Asus
We imagine to highlight them better, Asus has placed 4 special shortcuts above the keyboard. They allow you to quickly adjust the sound, mute the microphone and launch Armory Crate, a software to which we will return later.
The touchpad is not as crucial on a machine that will be used to run games, and therefore irremediably to be connected to a controller or a mouse. On the Zephyrus G14, it is large enough to be pleasant to use. The texture is also successful.
As we said, the Zephyrus is built on an AMD platform, which means: no Thunderbolt 3 on this machine.
The brand still includes two USB Type-C USB 3.1 ports (up to 10 Gbit/s) and one USB Type-A USB 3.0 port (5 Gbit/s). We also have the right to an HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5 mm jack port, and a power port.
Note that due to ventilation, the ports are particularly close to the user. In the case of a wired mouse, this means that the wire could end up on the mouse pad, especially since the two USB-A ports are on the same side, on the right.
A 120 HZ Mat Screen :
The screen is an increasingly important element in gaming PC, and it should not be overlooked.
Here, Asus plays on two tables and offers a 14 inch IPS LCD Full HD screen with a mat coating, which will rather appeal to the work, and with a refresh rate at 120 Hz, practical in-game.
Unfortunately due to confinement, we are unable to provide the usual full test on this screen. To the naked eye, we can still notice that the color spectrum seems limited. Asus promises 100% coverage of the RGB spectrum, more limited than the DCI-P3 spectrum offered on high-end screens. The calibration seems successful.
It is this 120 Hz rate that we will retain as the strongest point of the screen, for video games. For the rest, despite the defect mentioned above, the screen does the job.
Windows 10 With Armory Crate :
The Zephyrus G14 runs on Windows 10 Home, with the latest version of the system. The brand adds a more or less happy software suite. Let’s move on to the horrible McAfee trial version that we recommend you delete quickly and dwell on Armory Crate instead.
ROG’s Armory Crate software
This is Asus all-in-one software for managing the computer. It allows in particular to configure the performance of the machine (between silence and power) or to access applications and games on promotion on the GamesPlanet platform. Still, on the game side, the machine also highlights the Xbox Game Pass for PC with a pre-installation of the application. AMD is a partner of Microsoft on this service and ROG offers a month of subscription for the purchase of the device.
It’s also in Armory Crate that we’ll find perhaps the most important option: the ability to mute the PC’s sound at startup. Because Asus has decided to activate by default a sound with the animation of the ROG logo similar to the sound of a sword, each time the machine is started or when it resumes from sleep. But fortunately, this sound can be disabled.
WebCam: The Express Test :
ROG has chosen to ignore the webcam. The G14, therefore, does not integrate any camera. The brand believes on the one hand that aspiring streamers will use a dedicated camera, and that in any case, the cameras built into computers are often of poor quality.
No webcam at the top of the screen
It also allows the brand to reassure users about privacy, but it is true that it is quite strange to have no webcam in this particular period when video conferencing solutions are so popular.
It’s also a shame that the manufacturer didn’t take advantage of this to cut even more away from the edges of the screen. Dell can for example integrate a webcam on its XPS 13 with a thinner border.
We are however inclined to agree with the brand: most of the cameras built into PC are of very poor quality. Confidentiality is also a good argument.
The Return Of AMD :
A CONFIGURATION MIXING AMD, INTEL AND NVIDIA
Let’s get to the heart of the matter regarding this machine. This is the first that we are testing to offer the new generation of AMD Ryzen processors based on the Zen 2 architecture.
More specifically, we have here an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor with 8 cores (16 threads) clocked at 3 GHz (up to 4.3 GHz in boost mode), engraved in 7 nm, and with a TDP of 35 W.
It is supported by 16 GB of DDR4 RAM at 3200 MHz, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics chip with 6 GB of GDDR6.
Add to that 1M PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD storage. It is an Intel 660P.
So we have both components developed by AMD, Nvidia, and Intel on this computer. Fortunately, all of this is perfectly designed to work together thanks to computer standards.
Asus offers several performance modes on its PC. For all our tests, we used the turbo mode, offering the maximum performance of the machine.
Office Performance :
If AMD made a triumphant return on desktop PCs, the brand still had to prove itself on a laptop. It is with this generation Ryzen 4000 that the brand takes a real first step to begin its reconquest.
AMD processor delivers high performance :
In the CineBench R20 test, the PC obtains a score of 4230 points, which far exceeds the performance of the Core i9-9880H of the HP Omen X 2S which had achieved a score of 3135 points.
The SSD also shows itself to be extremely efficient in our test with CrystalDiskMark.
We are therefore dealing with a powerful processor that will be able to support you in heavy tasks such as batch image processing or video editing.
Performance In Game :
With a GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q and a high-end processor, you can imagine that we are dealing with an already powerful machine in-game, even if it will not match the biggest gaming PC of the moment.
First in multiplayer games like Overwatch, you can take advantage of the 120 Hz screen to display all the actions of the game with great fluidity. In Full HD with all the settings on Ultra, the game was permanently around 140 FPS, even in full action. Obviously Overwatch is a particularly well-optimized game, so this result is not surprising.
FORTNITE BATTLE ROYAL
Disspation And Noise :
We get to the angry point. If the power of the machine is undeniable, so is the noise it emits. Let’s start with a greedy situation, for example with simple web browsing. Even when activating the silent mode in Armory Crate, the fan can still be heard. He is in this situation discreet enough not to be disturbing, but he is always present.
The most disturbing happened during a work session, with multiple tabs open but no running games or particularly heavy tasks. The machine’s fan started to make a hissing sound, not very noisy, but rather annoying. Bass sounds are much more pleasant to hear than treble sounds. This problem only happened once during the PC test, but I wanted to report it.
Autonomy Of A Gaming PC :
As we said, the Zephyrus wants to be both a gaming PC and an ultraportable. Autonomy is precisely a key criterion of these.
Unfortunately, at first glance, we are quite disappointed with the autonomy offered by the Wh battery. We really could only last a few hours with web browsing (in Wi-Fi) in a “silent” mode designed to minimize performance, noise, and therefore consumption.
The guilty? The screen refresh rate which remains blocked at 120 Hz, even in silent mode or in energy-saving mode. You have to go to the Windows settings to switch to 60 Hz mode, but that means going back to the settings for each game session. Once at 60 Hz, we were able to last 5 to 6 hours in web browsing.
TWO CHARGING METHODS
Asus offers two methods to recharge the battery of your PC. First there is the 180 W proprietary charger supplied with the machine. It has the merit of enabling the “Turbo” mode in the computer settings, as it is the only method to provide sufficient charging power.
As an alternative, Asus still offers charging by USB Power Delivery with the USB-C port. This load is however limited to 65 W and therefore does not fully support the computer when it is pushed to its limits. Turbo mode is therefore unavailable.
Still, it’s a good thing on Asus to at least offer the option to users. This means that if you forget your charger, you can still use the Zephyrus as an ultraportable by borrowing the USB-C charger from another machine.
Prices And Availabilty :
The ROG Zephyrus G14 is launched from 1526 dollars for a configuration with 512 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM, an AMD Ryzen 5 4600HS chip, and a GeForce GTX 1650 Ti.
The configuration we tested here, with 1 TB of storage, 16 GB of RAM, an AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS chip, and a GeForce RTX 2060 is sold at 2500 dollars.