Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 review (GX502GW model – i7-9750H, RTX 2070)

112 Comments

  1. James

    January 10, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Great review! Do you have more information on the GV (2060) model? You say near the end that it's the 90W version, but the Asus store listing (https://store.asus.com/us/item/201906AM210000001/) says it's 80W. It's hard to get a realistic impression of exactly how big a hit this would represent, especially taking fan profiles into account. Is the cooling solution the same on the GW and the GV? If I set both to "silent", will the FPS drop be less on the 2060 since it was making less heat in the first place? I can't seem to find anybody with hard numbers for the 2060 version.

    (Before you ask: I'm kind of stuck buying the 2060 version because it's all the local military exchange stocks.)

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 11, 2020 at 11:19 am

      I haven't reviewed the GV version, but this article goes over it in depth: https://www.ixbt.com/mobilepc/asus-rog-zephyrus-s-gx502-review.html . Use translate, it's in Russian, but will surely help.

      There are also some 3Dmark tests (based on the scores the GPU is the 80W version indeed), details on noise and temperatures. Not entirely sure the thermal module in identical, might get fewer heatpipes.

      There will be a significant performance hit on Silent, that's for sure, and some games might not even run on Silent.

  2. James

    January 11, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for the pointer!

    I was thinking about this last night and basically decided against the system because *all* the reviews I found (which were for the 2070) said it was "very" hot and loud, more so than most even within the thin and light class, which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. It's worth trying to find more specifics on the 2060 model, though.

    I compared your photo of the cooling system with the one in the Russian review, and they're identical except that the topmost heat pipe is not painted (taped?) with black material in the GV. That would suggest the same cooling solution is used to deal with 20-30% less power — should be great, right?

    Well, the review is very comprehensive and says that the fan noise is "very loud" under the balanced profile, which is a shame. But it doesn't seem to give gaming results under the Silent profile, either. If I could get a solid 30-40 FPS on demanding games with only moderate fan noise, I could live with that, but nothing I've seen so far suggests it will be possible with this system :(

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 11, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      Well, I don't think it can do what you want on Silent either, but at the same time, there's no laptop that could do it with 40-ish dB fans, which is what the Zephyruses do on Silent. It's simply not possible to cool this sort of components without fast-spinning fans.

      I looked for pictures of the thermal design on the Russian site, but missed it. Nice that the two are the same. However, keep in mind that the GW has to cool around 30ish (CPU+ + 115 W (GPU), so 145 W. The GV would have to cool around 30+80, so 110W. That's roughly 20% less heat, but I don't know how that would scale in terms of necessary fan speed and noise. My guess is that the difference is small; the GV would get better temperatures, but still similar fan noise.

      • James

        January 11, 2020 at 6:06 pm

        I keep coming back to the Legion Y740. Every review I've seen has said that it never thermal throttles and runs more quietly than anything with the same parts except for maybe the Razer Blade 15, which is enormously more expensive. I also get the impression that the MAG-15 / Fusion 15 run loud in "boost" mode but offer a pretty reasonable tradeoff in balanced mode. (Probably also true of the MECH-15 / Neo 15?)

        The main reason I haven't pulled the trigger on one of those yet is that there's nowhere I can go locally to try them in a store. I got to handle the GX502GV in store and while I don't like the obnoxious glowing logo on the back, I like the feel of the chasis and keyboard, and I get a pretty good deal from the store. If I could wrestle it into meeting my fan-noise needs, it would be a good fit, but I'm pretty sure at this point that isn't going to happen.

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 11, 2020 at 6:23 pm

        The Legion Y740 is very good value, but design and build wise not in the same class as the Zephyrus or Blade, imo. The small battery is something else to keep in mind, and I wasn't a fan of its shallower keyboard.

        Looking through my review, I measured fan noise at 46-47 dB at head-level with games, which is just a little quieter than the Zenphryus on Balanced. I remember I was quite surprised by this fact, as other reviews mentioned much quieter fans. Perhaps the 2060 runs quieter, as I only tested the 2070 MQ.

      • James

        January 11, 2020 at 6:42 pm

        I noticed that you said in the Y740 review that they reach 46-47 dB at maximum speeds, and that demanding games push the fans to max speed. Previously, I had been going off of NBC's review. I know everybody measures a little differently so you can't compare the numbers between sites, but they do say that the max noise was 45 dB but when gaming it only reached 41 dB. I wonder if this is due to using different performance profiles?

        Anyway, I've watched some YouTube videos of both systems and the fan noise really does sound markedly worse on the Zephyrus when gaming. I know the Lenovo is heavier and generally less "premium" feeling, but I think I might have to make a tradeoff to get a good enough cooling solution to meet my noise requirements.

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 11, 2020 at 7:07 pm

        Can't you just buy from a place that allows returns? EU laws allow that without any restocking fees. Give it a try and just return if not OK.

      • James

        January 11, 2020 at 9:07 pm

        To be honest, I think I keep buying nothing because there are so many choices that are "almost" perfect, but not quite. The Y740 is big and heavy (by this class's standards). The XMG systems are expensive compared to the GX502. The GX502 runs too hot and loud. There are so many options but I can come up with a downside for each of them, so I make excuses to do nothing.

      • Andrei Girbea

        January 12, 2020 at 12:27 pm

        Yeah, I understand you, I also consider myself a very rational buyer and tend to over-analyze all the fine details and quirks, to the point where making a decision feels impossible. You'll just have to compromise somewhere, no way around it.

      • James

        February 26, 2020 at 10:49 am

        I'm back because the store I mentioned earlier, where I saw the GX502GV, is running a sale for $300 off, bringing it down to 1600 USD. They don't charge restocking fees, and they offer a no-questions-asked extended warranty that's pretty reasonable too.

        As I said last month, I find fault in everything, but I'm really tempted. I was actually waiting for more info to show up on the Zephyrus G14, but they've been dragging their heels so much…. We don't even know if it's any good, and even if it's amazing, I don't know how I could have one in-hand before the summer. Maybe the GX502GV is a good enough deal to pull the trigger now?

      • Andrei Girbea

        February 26, 2020 at 12:12 pm

        As far as I know, right now, NDAs for AMD laptop reviews are set for mid-March. That would push the availability of actual products to April or later. I've got my hands on some early samples, but can't comment due to NDA. Question is, do you need an 8-core processor, or is a 6-core fine? Also, keep in mind the GX502 is overall a higher-quality laptop than the Zephyrus G

      • James

        February 26, 2020 at 12:29 pm

        I don't care about the core-count, I just want to be able to play games at a reasonable framerate in the smallest / lightest package possible, ideally without jet-engine fans. The G14 caught my attention because it's the lightest system I've seen in the past few years with a "real" GPU (i.e. better than, say, a 1650). Of course, it's entirely possible that the NDA will expire and I'll find that it can't put out reasonable framerates because of the cut-down GPU, or that it overheats, or that the relatively small fans produce an awful noise. That's why I wasn't sure it was worth waiting.

        Of course, since I made my comment earlier this morning, I re-read some GX502 reviews and basically all of them use the phrase "hot and loud" at some point. I'm still considering buying one to try out at home but I'm guessing it won't be a good fit.

      • Andrei Girbea

        February 26, 2020 at 12:39 pm

        Well, that's especially true for the RTX 2070 115W, no way around having loud fans and hot surface temperatures with this sort of a design.

        As far as gaming results for AMD platforms, I haven't run any detailed tests yet, I'm still waiting for the finalized drivers. I also don't have the G14 on hand for now, only a few other 15 and 17 inch laptops. That means I for one most likely won't have a G14 review on NDA date, unless I receive it in the near future.

  3. Dragos

    February 1, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    You were right about the QC on it!. I bought the GV version and it had a squeaky hinge and the touchpad was peeled off in a corner. As a side note, there were no accesories in the box other that the main charger. (Market is Romania). I returned it and I'm now waiting for my second one to arrive. Hope this will be better.

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 3, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Yeah, unfortunately, that's more and more a problem these days.

      • Dragos

        February 9, 2020 at 6:34 pm

        So my second one had another issue, the screen casing was squeaking and after opening and closing the laptop 20 times, the screen bottom popped off. Returned it, to get the third one :). This one is fine, quality wise but I noticed it has some coil whine in performance mode, which I see happens in most laptops after reading the forums. In silent mode it's ok, and in turbo i can't tell because the fans blow loud. I guess it's the price to pay for stuffing high specs components in a small casing, and maybe it's more noticeable because the case opens in the back to allow for airflow. battery lasts about 5H in office tasks.

  4. JYSS

    April 15, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    do you mean by limiting by to 3.2ghz without undervolting

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Yes, you can do that with Throttlestop

      • JYSS

        April 23, 2020 at 2:20 am

        im just thinking if it will cause a gpu bottleneck doing that 3.2Ghz underclock

      • Andrei Girbea

        April 23, 2020 at 10:57 am

        I doubt it, but you can check. Run MSI Afterburner and it can overlay CPU/GPU usage and other stats in your gameplay, you'll find clips on Youtube on how to do that. You'll see that while he GPU is normally at around 90+% with games, the CPU is way less used on most titles

      • JYSS

        April 23, 2020 at 1:40 pm

        okay i see i see, actually im kinda freaking out when i saw my cpu hitting 95c at default clocks speeds then of course it will thermal throttle and goes down to 3.2-7ghz. Then, i Undervolted it to -0.80v also limit it to 4ghz im not sure if it is a underclock but i find it the sweet spot for the cpu because its more stable than defaulf. I got 3.999ghz and then thermal trottles a bit and goes 3.899ghz or 3.888ghz but there is one big problem i guess the cpu thermals is reaching 97c that makes me feel more worried given that the cpu tjmax at 100c.

        I kinda really wanna ask what is your best suggestions for this case. i just want to have more options in my mind as much as possible to solve my problem. Since we have a pandemic goin around and there is a lockdown in our country

      • Andrei Girbea

        April 23, 2020 at 3:08 pm

        I'd limit at around 3 GHz in throttlestop and see how that goes. But are you sure it constantly runs at 97 C with games? You should use HWinfo and log the CPU/GPU data, it's not a problem if it just peaks that high and the average temps are lower.

  5. JYSS

    April 23, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    its play around 95c – 97c one or two cores usually hits 97c while playing warzone and then the others are at 91c – 95c. no doubt that underclock could work on my laptop 3.5ghz is good enough to maintain the temperature between 84c – 88c.

    Question tho is it useless if i underclock cpu then overclock the gpu?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 23, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      Depends on each game, but for most, I'd say that should help. The GPU is already overclocked on Turbo though, so there's not much extra to gain.

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