Normally when I review a notebook I treat it like a desktop machine. It gets put on a desk, plugged into a wall and tested for CPU, GPU and thermals. This notebook arrived when I had to travel to E3, so things went a bit differently. I used it as a notebook, not just a slave secondary PC.
While I was honestly hoping that having a GTX 1060 under the hood meant I would get some time for some cheeky Civilization VI while travelling, work at E3 had other ideas. It was light enough to carry around while going around the various airports, and I managed to get some last minute typing done while waiting for flights. The ROG line of Asus notebooks screams gamer though, as does the loud, dramatic noise every time you boot the machine. Despite this it runs well without power for long enough that I would often work in the evening without plugging in until much later in the evening, meaning I could move around or use the notebook as a TV. Unless I was doing video editing, then it was straight to a wall socket to let the crunching start. Thankfully this notebook handled the video files I threw at it without issue, even the 4K files from the high-end capture devices that Ubisoft was using.
So I felt reminded of all the bonuses that you have when using a gaming notebook this month. I could play games (nowhere near as much as I wanted to), write where I wanted and stil have enough power to crunch 4K video files while on the go. Maybe the fact that as soon as I packed this machine up my fibre died at home and I realised I can’t just go to a coffee shop and hop onto their wifi to carry on working that knocked the point home for me.
Anyway, enough about me realising that at least once a year for travel and every time the internet dies that I really need a notebook, how did it perform?
Thermal wise the machine gets pretty warm during benchmark runs. The fan is also pretty loud, meaning you might want to have headphones on for doing anything strenuous on the machine. Thankfully Asus has kept the same quality of heat management seen in the last generation of the ROG notebook line, and that heat doesn’t transfer into the keyboard.
In the Firestrike benchmarks you can clearly see the difference between using a GTX 1060 vs a GTX 1070. The 1070 machine can reach 13k in Firestrike while the 1060 hits 10k. This is even with the new this machine getting a higher physics score, the GPU still flags behind. Here is another benchmark with the same GPU, which shows the difference the refreshed CPU makes.
But synthetic tests like this just give us a number, what about something more real world?
When running the Civilization VI benchmark, the smaller GPU is pretty well offset by the refresh on the i7 chip. The average frames per second is 79 compared to the other Asus notebook that gets 71. It gets a minimum frame rate of 44, which is only slightly behind the minimum on the GTX 1070 of 49. The time per turn is 14.30 seconds, a small jump from the 13.74. Comparing the two machines you will have an average game length of 5 minutes longer than someone using the other machine.
So where does this leave us? The GTX 1060 is a brilliant card, but is it worth it to upgrade to the Intel 8 series i7? That depends on how long it has been since you updated your notebook. Considering the GTX 1070 model with a 7 series Intel i7 costs about the same, it really is up to you