This is my detailed review of the 2023 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 series.
Zephyrus G16 is a new addition to the Zephyrus lineup this year, as a Frankensteinien mix of previous Zephyrus models. In just a few words, this is a hardware update of the previous M16 GU603 chassis from 2022, but available with 2023 specs and white/gray color options that were previously offered on the Zephyrus G15 series.
However, unlike the previous Zephyrus G models available so far, the Zephryus G16 is no longer built on an AMD platform. Instead, it’s an Intel platform with the latest Nvidia RTX 4000 graphics chips, paired with a 16-inch 16:10 display.
This move to an Intel platform will most likely bother some of you. In real life, though, the Core i9 processor on this series is a notable bump in performance over the Ryzen 9 in the previous Zephyrus G units, and the transition to the Intel specs should help the availability of this series, knowing the issues in supply with the AMD mobile hardware in recent years. The downside is a potential drop in efficiency on battery power, where the AMD hardware still has an edge, but even this aspect is not that much of a concern, as you’ll see in the article.
In fact, down below I’ve gathered all my thoughts and impressions on this 2023 ROG Zephyrus G16 series, with a close look at all the details that you should be aware of as a potential buyer.
Specs sheet as reviewed – Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VV
2023 ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VV
Display 16-inch, 16:10, non-touch, matte,
Nebula QHD+ 2560 x 1600 px IPS, 240Hz 3ms, 500 nits, 100% DCI-P3 on some configurations
FHD+ 1920 x 1200 px IPS, 165Hz, 300-nits, 100% sRGB on others
13th gen Raptor Lake, Core i9-13900H
Intel UHD + Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 8GB (up to 120W with Dynamic Boost)
with MUX, Advanced Optimus, GSync
Memory 32 GB DDR4-3200 (16GB onboard, 1x DIMM)
Storage 1 TB SSD (Micron 2400) – 2x M.2 PCI 4.0 x4 slots
Connectivity WiFi 6E (Intel AX211) 2×2 with Bluetooth 5.2, Gigabit Lan
Ports 2x USB-A 3.2 gen2,
HDMI 2.1 FRL, headphone&mic, LAN, UHS-II microSD card reader, Lock
1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 (via iGPU), 1x USB-C gen2 with data, video, power (via dGPU)
240 W power adapter + USB-C charging up to 100W
Size 355 mm or 13.98” (w) x 243 mm or 9.57″ (d) x 1.99 – 22.3 mm or .78” – 88 (h)
Weight 2.05 kg (4.51lbs) for the laptop.
.72 kg (1.58 lbs) for the 240W main power brick and cables,
.40 kg (.9 lbs) for the 100W USB-C charger and cables, both EU versions
single-zone RGB backlit keyboard, 6x speakers, HD 720p IR webcam, 180 hinges, available in Moonlight White or Eclipse Grey
Our review unit is a mid-specced Zephyrus G16 GU603VV configuration, pairing the
Core i9-13900H 13th-gen processor with the Nvidia RTX 4060 dGPU and a QHD+ IPS display.
Here are all the configurations available for the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603 (2023) generation:
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VI – Intel Core i9-13900H + RTX 4070 8GB 120W;
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VV – Intel Core i7-13620H or Core i9-13900H + RTX 4060 8GB 120W;
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VU – Intel Core i7-13620H or Core i9-13900H + RTX 4050 6GB 120W;
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603ZI – Intel Core i7-12700H + RTX 4070 8GB 120W;
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603ZV – Intel Core i7-12700H + RTX 4060 8GB 120W;
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603ZU – Intel Core i7-12700H + RTX 4050 6GB 120W;
So you’re getting both 13th-gen and 12th-gen platforms with this series, paired with a choice of mid-tier RTX 4000 GPUs. The higher tier models gets 16 GB of onboard RAM, while the lower-tier variants get only 8 GB of soldered memory.
Design and construction
This 2023 Zephyrus G13 is a mix of design lines from the previous Zephyrus M16 and Zephyrus G15 models of the past years. In fact, it’s the same chassis that was previously offered with the
M16 GU603 series, but available in the White and Gray colors that were previously offered with the G15.
Our unit is the white model, the one that looks rather unique in this class of compact performance laptops, and does an excellent job of hiding smudges and fingerprints.
In a few words, this Zephyrus G16 is a compact and lightweight laptop, at just a little over 2 kilos for the reviewed model and around 20 mm in thickness. For reference, here’s how this design compares to a full-size 16-inch laptop, such as the
ROG Strix Scar 16.
The build quality is sturdy, with little flex in either the main chassis or the lid, but still some creaky noises coming from the back of the laptop when picking it up from a corner or grabbing it firmer in your hands.
The main body is made out of magnesium alloys and has a rougher, grippier texture to it, while the lid is aluminum, with a multitude of small punctures that hide a prismatic layer that shines in different colors based on the angle you’re looking at it. This is a novelty on this white finish, as it was previously only offered with the black M16.
This Zephyrus G16 is still an Ergolift design, with hinges that tuck away behind the main body and lift the chassis in order to allow for better airflow into the fans. At the same time, the main hot-air exhausts are placed just under the display on this design, which means hot air is blown straight into the panel, an issue to be aware of in your decision, especially if you plan to run games and demanding workloads for longer sessions. This aspect is especially problematic on this 16-inch model with its small chin underneath the display, as there’s no longer a plastic part to soak up most of the heat, as on the previous G15 lineups with the 16:9 display.
As far as the other practical aspects go, I appreciate the friendly edges and corners, the good grip on the desk, and the fact that the screen goes back flat to 180 degrees if needed.
On the other hand, I resent the big status LEDs placed under the display, which shine into the panel and are extremely annoying when using the laptop at night.
The IO placement isn’t that great either, as most of the ports are squeezed on the left edge, towards the front of the laptop. Hence, expect cables to clutter this part if you plan to hook multiple peripherals.
You are getting a fair selection of ports, at least, including HDMI 2.1 and two USB-C ports, one with Thunderbolt 4 and DP via the iGPU, and another with DP via the dGPU, useful for outputting games at full performance on an external monitor.
All in all, this 2023 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is an OK design in its class, but with some quirky ergonomics that you’ll have to accept if you decide to opt for one of these.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and touchpad on this G16 are identical to the ones implemented in the Zephyrus laptops of the last few years. This white variant in particular is the same that we’ve previously got on the 2022 Zephyrus G15.
That means the keyboard is a minimalistic layout centered on the chassis, without a NumPad or any extra column of Function keys at the right. That’s because the space around the keyboard is reserved for the up-firing speakers. You do get a set of media keys at the top-left, as on all ROG laptops, and Home/End/PgUp/PgDn functionality is binned as secondaries for the arrow keys. There’s also no dedicated PrintScreen key on this layout.
The keycaps are a slightly rougher feel on this white variant than on the black models used on other laptops, but they still feel comfortable to the touch. Overall this is one of the better typers in its class, with quiet and fast actuations, and well-balanced feedback.
Contrast is also excellent with the lighting switched off, and the white caps show no signs of smudges or finger oil, unlike the black ones.
However, what this keyboard lacks is per-key RGB control. Instead, white or single-zone RGB are the options available here, and the white option isn’t as great as it affects the readability of the writing against the white keycaps. I’ve added a picture below of this keyboard with the illumination set to white, or switched off, for exemplification.
The LEDs get bright at the highest level (of the three available) and are mostly uniformly lit, but a lot of light creeps out from underneath the keycaps and some of this light reflects into the display. You’ll mostly notice this aspect at night, when using the laptop in a pitch-dark room.
For mouse, this Zephyrus G16 offers a large glass clickpad with precision drivers. It’s spacious, smooth to the touch, and accurate, with smooth and quiet physical clicks, and almost no rattling with firmer taps.
As for biometrics, there’s an IR camera with support for Hellow, but no finger sensor.
There’s a 16-inch 16:10 matte display on the Zephyrus G16 series, with options for either an IPS QHD+ or an IPS FHD+ panel. There’s no
mini LED option on this series, as that’s reserved for the higher tier ROG laptops such as the Zephyrus M16 and the Flow X16, among others.
We have the better QHD+ panel on our sample, branded as “ROG Nebula” on Asus laptops.
This is a good screen by today’s standards, with almost 500 nits of brightness and 100% DCI-P3 color coverage. This is also a matte non-glare finish, so alright for outdoor use or for bright office spaces.
Furthermore, this panel is 240Hz high-refresh and fast response (~3 ms with Overdrive), both must-have features on a modern gaming laptop. Furthermore, as a novelty for this year, GSync is supported on the main display, to prevent tearing in games.
Where this panel comes a little short are blacks and contrast, especially on the higher brightness settings. At the same time, it also doesn’t get very dim on the lowest brightness settings, which might be a concern for those of you using your device in a pitch-dark room.
Here’s what we got in our tests of this panel,
with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
Panel HardwareID: TL160ADMP03-0;
Coverage: 99.8% sRGB, 83.9% AdobeRGB, 98.0% DCI-P3;
Type: 10-bit HDR, with Dolby Vision support;
Measured gamma: 2.1;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 484.86 cd/m2 on power;
Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 34.22 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1119:1;
White point: 6700 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.43 cd/m2;
The panel comes well pre-calibrated out of the box, and there’s little to improve on the Gamma and White Point from the default profile. We also measured good luminosity and color uniformity levels on our sample, as well as almost no light bleeding.
You should be aware that this QHD+ IPS panel is only going to be offered on the higher-tier configurations of this laptop (the 4070 models and some of the 4060 variants), while most of the others will be available with an FHD+ IPS 165Hz display. That one is around 300 nits of max-brightness and only 100% sRGB color, so not as nice as this one on our unit.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a mid-specced configuration of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16, code name GU603VV, built on an Intel Core i9-13900H processor, 32 GB of DDR4-3200 memory in dual channel, 1 TB of middling SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 4060 8GB dGPU and the Iris UHD iGPU integrated within the Intel processor.
Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit was sent over by Asus and it runs on the early software available as of early-March 2023 (BIOS 303, Armoury Crate 5.4.6, GeForce 531.18 drivers). Some aspects might change with later software.
Spec-wise, this 2023 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is built on the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware available to date.
Core i9-13900H is a mid-tier i9 in Intel’s Raptor Lake 13th-gen platform, with 14 Cores and 20 Threads. It is a hybrid design with 6 High-Performance and dual-threaded Cores, and 8 Efficiency cores, which work together or separately in the various activities. The design and thermal module of this Zephyrus allow the processor to run at ~100W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads, on the Turbo or Manual profiles.
For the GPU, the 2023 Zephyrus G16 is available with low and mid-tier RTX 4000 chips. What we have on this sample is the RTX 4060 Laptop dGPU running at up to 120W with Dynamic Boost.
There’s a MUX on this design, for uncompromised gaming performance, with support for Nvidia’s Advanced Optimus technology and GSync on the main display. Advanced Optimus seems to work alright here, with the exception that the system freezes for 1-2 seconds when switching between GPU modes, which I also noticed on the other 2023 ROG laptops tested see far. Hopefully, Asus can figure this out somewhow in later software updates.
For RAM, the laptop comes with partially soldered memory(8 or 16 GB) and one upgradeable DIMM. As a particularity of this series, Asus went with the older and cheaper DDR4-3200 standard here, and not the DDR5 memory offered with their other 2023 ROG models. IN practice, this hardly makes any difference with real loads or games.
For storage, there are two M.2 2280 SSD slots inside, and our unit came with a mid-tier Micron 2400 drive. This is not as fast as the Samsung PM91A drives offered with other Zephyrus models.
Getting inside to the components is a fairly simple task. For that, you need to take out the bottom D-panel. However, the three screws in the middle of the panel are hidden behind some rubber caps, so you’ll need to carefully remove those first. You should also be careful about the exact position of each screw, as they are of two different sizes, and you want to put them back in place in the right order. Once you take out the screws, the panel comes out easily.
Inside you get unrestrained access to the RAM slot, the SSD slots, the WiFi slot, battery, speakers, and thermal module.
Specs aside, Asus offer their standard power profiles in the Armoury Crate control app: Silent, Performance, Turbo, and Manual, with various power settings and fan profiles between them, summarized in the following table.
CPU only, PL1/PL2 TDP
GPU only, max TGP
Max GPU TDP + GPU TGP ~85W, 30 + 55 W
~110W, 30 + 80 W
~140W, 20-40 + 100-120 W
~140W, 20-40 + 100-120 W
Noise at head-level, tested
~46 dBA in games
52+ dBA, max fans
Aside from these main power profiles, there are also some GPU options to choose from: Ultimate (dGPU only, requires a restart when selected), Standard (enables Advanced Optimus), Optimized (enables regular Optimus), and Eco (regular Optimus, but disables the dGPU). I mostly kept the laptop on Standard for daily use and tests, and opted for Ultimate for gaming.
Before we jump to the performance section, here’s how this laptop handles everyday use and multitasking on the Silent profile, unplugged from the wall. For what is worth, the fans keep idle on this Silent mode with casual use, as the dGPU is inactive and the CPU stays under 50 degrees C.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 seconds delay between each run.
The Core i9 processor stabilizes at ~105W of sustained power on the Turbo setting (with the laptop sitting on the desk), with temperatures of around 90 C, and scores just shy of ~3000 points. The fans spin at ~50 dB at head level in this mode.
The CPU runs at higher power for a little bit, and then is thermally limited at 90 degrees Celsius. Even so, the sustained CPU power in this test is higher than on the previous Zephyrus M16 GU603 chassis (~90W) from 2022, and on par with the 2023 Zephyrus M16 GU604. And that’s despite the fact that the thermal module is identical on the 2023 G16 and the 2022 M16 models.
Voltage control is locked with both XTU and Throttlestop, and there is no undervolting option in the BIOS.
There is the option of using the Manual profile and bumping the fans to 100% rpms, alongside placing the laptop on a raiser stand in order to facilitate better airflow into the fans. This translates into a marginal noise increase and almost no sustained impact on the performance (1-3%).
Switching over to the Performance profile translates in the CPU stabilizing at ~90W, with temperatures in the high 80s and the fans spinning quieter at ~45 dB at head-level. The system power limits the CPU on this profile, and the performance takes a 3-5% drop from the Turbo profile.
On the Silent profile, the CPU stabilizes at 65W, with barely audible fans (sub 35 dB) and temperatures in the mid-80s C. The i9-13900H still scores just sub-2500 points in the Cinebench test, about 80-83% of the Turbo performance, which is an excellent score for such a quiet profile.
Finally, the CPU runs at 70W on battery, with occasional drops towards 40W, on the Performance profile, with scores between 2200 and 2600 points. Details below.
Overall, these are excellent results compared to other portable performance notebooks we’ve tested in the past. This i9-13900H Zephyrus G16 ends up on par with the i9 in the Zephyrus M16 2023, and 25-30% faster than the previous-gen Core i9 and Ryzen 9 in similar ROG laptops of the 2022 generation.
At the same time, the 2023 Intel Core i9 HX platforms are 50+% faster in this sustained multi-threaded load than the Core i9 H, as shown by our findings on the
i9-13980HX in the ROG Strix Scar 16. Thus, if you need a laptop for primarily this sort of demanding CPU activity, there are more powerful options for you out there.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender – Classroom, which resulted in similar findings to what we explained above (~100W limit for Turbo, ~90W for Performance, 65W for Silent).
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Turbo profile.
Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time. This review unit passed the test with both the laptop on the desk and with it on a raiser stand, in order to favor airflow into the fans, without any notable difference between the two runs. This means that, while resting on the desk, the laptop does not overheat in any way that impacts performance.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the
Turbo profile with the GPU set on the Standard mode (MUX on Advanced Optimus), and with the screen set at the native QHD+ resolution. The CPU runs on stock voltage for these tests.
Here’s what we got:
3DMark 13 –CPU profile: max – 8834, 16 – 7971, 8 – 6528, 4 – 4231, 2 – 2223, 1 – 1124;
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike (DX11): 23604 (Graphics – 25754, Physics – 31797, Combined – 11730);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX): 5915;
3DMark 13 – Time Spy (DX12): 10837 (Graphics – 10531, CPU – 12974);
3DMark 13 – Speed Way (DX12 Ultimate): 2604;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6146;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 16755;
Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 60.70 average fps;
Handbrake 1.6.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 74.70 average fps;
PassMark 10: Rating: 6709 (CPU: 33413, 3D Graphics: 19866, Memory: 3412, Disk Mark: 23741);
PCMark 10: 7910 (Essentials – 11756, Productivity – 10141, Digital Content Creation – 11268);
GeekBench 5.5.1 64-bit: Multi-core: 13228, Single-Core: 2004;
CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 3188 cb, CPU Single Core 293 cb;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 7894 cb, CPU Single Core 779 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 20126 cb (best single run), CPU 19429 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 2007 cb;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 23.67 s.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Turbo profile:
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 2m 02s ;
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 21.45s (CUDA), 9.28s (Optix);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 4m 55s;
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 42.91s (CUDA), 22.45s (Optix);
Blender 3.41 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 2m 01s;
Blender 3.41 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 26.15s (CUDA), 10.93 (Optix);
Blender 3.41 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 06s;
Blender 3.41 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 43.04s (CUDA), 20.88s (Optix);
PugetBench – DaVinci Resolve: 1350 points;
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 93.75;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 60.67;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 102.32;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 35.85;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 332.12;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 35.22;
SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 22.06;
SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 226.37.
V-Ray Benchmark: 13559 – CPU, 1184 – CUDA, 1711 – RTX.
This is a good performer in its class of mid-tier thinner and lighter all-purpose laptops.
The CPU performance trails the 2023 notebook models built on the Intel Core HX hardware, but beats the previous 12th and 11th gen platforms by a 10-25% margin. Furthermore, this i9-13900H implementation is pretty much on par in performance with the implementation in the Zephyrus M16 GU604 chassis, despite the superior thermal module on that model.
On the GPU side, this is a mid-tier RTX 4060 120W platform, so expect it to perform in line with a mid-tier chip.
In our tests, this was about 5-20% slower than the RTX 3070Ti 120W in the 2022 Zephyrus M16 or Zephyrus G15, but at the same time 10-20% faster than the mid-tier RTX 3060 125W in the 2022 ROG Flow X16 or the RTX 3060 140W in the Lenovo Legion 5i. Once we get to review a few more laptops, we’ll have a separate article about the performance of the RTX 4060 Laptop chip and how it compares with its previous piers.
I’ll also add that Asus offers this laptop in a multitude of other configurations, with i7-13620H and i7-12700H processors, and RTX 4050/4060/4070 graphics. Based on your needs and budget, there’s a fair chance you’d be interested in one of those and not the i9 + 4060 configuration reviewed here. You’ll find more about those specs in our other reviews, and if you have any specific questions, get in touch in the comments section at the end of the article.
Turbo Mode vs. Performance, Silent
Before we proceed, let’s touch on the Performance and Silent profiles offered in Armoury Crate.
Those Turbo-mode results are excellent for this form factor, but the laptop runs at ~50 dBA on this Turbo profile, which is loud! Thus, if you’re willing to sacrifice the performance to some extent in order to keep the fans quieter, the Performance and Silent profiles should be of interest.
Here’s how this 2023 ROG Zephyrus G16 performs on the Performance profile, which limits the fans to around 45 dB at head level.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike (DX11): 22350 (Graphics – 24941, Physics – 30504, Combined – 10252);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy (DX12): 10182 (Graphics – 9885, CPU – 12272);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5982;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 7579 cb, CPU Single Core 764 CB;
Blender 3.41 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 38s.
The CPU and GPU run at slightly lower power on this profile, hence the scores take a slight hit. The temperatures are not impact in a notable negative way, either.
You can also opt for the Silent profile, in which case the fans won’t go over 35 dB. Here’s what we got in this case:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike (DX11): 21480 (Graphics – 24020, Physics – 26831, Combined – 10268);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy (DX12): 9096 (Graphics – 8852, CPU – 10787);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5466;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6914 cb, CPU Single Core 771 cb;
Blender 3.41 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 57s.
The CPU and the GPU end up a little more power limited in this mode, but still, perform within 80-85% of what the laptop is capable of on Turbo. However, while not properly showcased in these shorter benchmarks, the GPU will eventually stabilize at around 55-65W sustained in this mode, with a more notable drop in performance.
Up to you whether the performance/noise balance is justifiable on this Silent profile. For me, Silent makes perfect sense for daily use, but the Performance mode is the more usable all-purpose profile on this Zephyrus G16, even if it’s louder at 45 dBA than on most other ROG laptops, which run at 42-43 dBA on this profile.
Performance on USB-C power
You can charge this laptop via USB-C, something useful when traveling without bringing along the bulky main charger.
Only the Performance and Silent profiles are available on USB-C power delivery. I plugged in a 130W ROG charger and the laptop handled basic use and multitasking well in this mode, but was limited in capabilities in demanding loads.
The hardware is power limited in comparison to using the main charger. No surprise, since that main charger is 240W and the USB-C charger is only 100W.
Expect 45W sustained in CPU only-loads, ~85W in GPU loads, and around 100W in combined CPU+GPU loads.
Here are some benchmarks scores on Performance mode on USB-C power.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 22129 (Graphics – 24869, Physics – 27446, Combined – 10455);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10162 (Graphics – 9924, CPU – 11765);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5981;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6096 cb, CPU Single Core 765 cb.
The CPU scores are fairly low, sub the performance on Silent mode with the main charger plugged in, but the GPU scores are surprisingly good and within 10% of what the laptop scores on Turbo with this main charger.
For that, though, the system draws power from both the charger and the battery. Thus, the battery discharges in combined heavy loads, but I was able to still get around 2-3 hours of gaming on this unit. At the same time, the battery doesn’t discharge in CPU loads or with daily use and multitasking. In fact, these activities are the intended use-case for using this laptop on PD power.
Let’s see how this ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603 (2023 generation) handles modern games.
We tested a couple of different types of games on the various available profiles at QHD+ and FHD+ resolution, all with the MUX set on the Ultimate GPU mode.
Here are the results:
+ RTX 4060 Laptop 50-65W
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 49 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
46 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
74 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
56 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset) 178 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
152 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
276 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
232 fps (66 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA) 74 fps (60 fps – 1% low)
68 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
89 fps (66 fps – 1% low)
78 fps (62 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 94 fps (66 fps – 1% low)
127 fps (73 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 57 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
71 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 70 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
66 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
98 fps (66 fps – 1% low)
85 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 84 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
78 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
119 fps (84 fps – 1% low)
101 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (v4.01)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAAU) 86 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
80 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
107 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
86 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
Battlefield V, Cyberpunk, Doom, Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
Far Cry 5, 6, Metro, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX – Ray Tracing performance, with and without DLSS.
Core i9-13900H + RTX 4060 Laptop 50-65W
QHD+ Turbo, Ultimate dGPU,
FHD+ Turbo, Ultimate dGPU,
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Off) 22 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
31 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced) 64 fps (51 fps – 1% low)
94 fps (79 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX On, DLSS Off) 67 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
152 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX On, DLSS Quality) 22 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
218 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows) 63 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
77 fps (63 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra, DLSS Off) 48 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
77 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra, DLSS On) 55 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
88 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (v4.01 update)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAAU, RT Ultra, DLSS Off) 49 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
46 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (v4.01 update)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAAU, RT Ultra, DLSS On) 31 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
37 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
This i9+ RTX 4060 configuration can handle most modern games at QHD+ resolution and Ultra settings, but struggles with Ray Tracing. For that, you’ll want to activate DLSS, but even in the titles that support DLSS3, the impact on this mid-tier RTX 4060 chip is not as significant as on the higher-tier RTX 4080 and 4090 configurations.
As far as the gaming performance in comparison to previous-gen implementations, this RTX 4060 120W configuration offers slightly higher framerates in most titles than the more powerful RTX 4060 140W in the Legion 5i. At the same time, it trails the gaming performance of the RTX 3070Ti 120W in the ROG Zephyrus M16 2022 with regular games, by about 5-10%, but beats that as well in most titles in the RT scenarios.
Furthermore, the 8GB of VRAM on the 4060 make a difference in some titles, whereas the only 6GB on the 3060 chips did not suffice.
With that out of the way, let’s go over some performance and temperature logs.
The Turbo mode ramps up the fans to levels of ~50-52 dB with the laptop sitting on the desk. This is loud, even for a top-performance profile, so you’ll want to use headphones to cover it up.
The CPU runs at between 70-85 degrees Celsius between the tested titles, based on how much power each game allocates. The GPU runs at 76-80 degrees and between 105 to 120 W of TGP power.
These temperatures are within acceptable limits for this sort of powerful and compact computer.
You can bump up the back of the laptop off the desk, and this should improve the airflow underneath the chassis and into the fans. However, the impact on the performance and internal temperatures is minimal, but I’d still do it for long gaming sessions.
You could also opt for the Manual profile which allows customizing the power setting and fan profiles, but pushing the fans to 100% mode won’t make a difference here, as the Turbo profile already spins the fans close to their maximum rpms.
Other sorts of tweaks might make more sense on this Manual mode. I’ll let you play around with the settings.
However, if you’re willing to sacrifice the framerates to some extent and get a quieter gaming experience, the Performance and Silent profiles are worth pursuing.
On our unit, the Performance profile drops the fans’ noise to ~45 dBA at head level, and marginally limits the CPU/GPU power. This translates into a ~10% reduction in framerates, which I find perfectly acceptable.
The temperatures are also excellent on this Performance profile, in the mid to high 70s on the CPU and GPU, with the laptop placed flat on the desk.
The Silent profile is not quite as useful, as it limits the GPU to around 55-65W of power.
Sure, the fans keep very quiet on this mode at sub 35 dBA, but you’ll want to lower the resolution to FHD+ on modern titles on this power mode. And even so, the internal components will heat up in some titles on this Silent profile, and the heat will spread over to the external chassis and impact the overall experience, especially in a warmer environment.
Finally, I’ll mention the gaming performance on battery power, on the Performance profile.
This sample limited the GPU to around 55W of power on this profile, with 70W combined CPU + GPU power, which translates into fair framerates at QHD+ resolution and good framerates at FHD+ resolution, with around 1 hour of runtime.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
The thermal design of this 2023 Zephyrus G16 GU603 carries on from the previous 2022 Zephyrus M16 GU603 generation, with two fans, four radiators, and an ample array of heatpipes.
Furthermore, Conductonaut liquid metal is applied on the CPU, with standard paste on the GPU.
The tall rear rubber foot and the Ergolift hinges allow for good airflow underneath the chassis and into the fans, better than on most other laptop designs. You can still help the cooling by placing the laptop on some sort of raiser stand, and I would recommend it when running demanding loads and games for longer sessions.
Now, this thermal module does a good job of keeping the CPU and GPU at bay in this implementation. We’ve covered internal temperatures on the CPU and GPU in the previous section.
Both Turbo and Performance modes are usable on this Zephyrus, with either high fan noise on Turbo, or with balanced noise and a ~10% drop in capabilities on the Performance mode. Silent mode is usable as well, but hardly an option for any demanding loads due to the aggressively capped GPU performance and especially the very high chassis temperatures, a result of the fans being limited to slow rpms.
Speaking of, as far as noise levels go while running demanding loads, expect 52+ dBA on Manual with max-fans, ~50 dBA on Turbo, ~45 dBA of Performance, and sub-35 dBA on the Silent profile.
As far as the outer case temperatures go, the armrest and the areas around the WASD keys and arrows rarely go over 45 degrees Celsius on Turbo/Performance profiles, with the middle of the keyboard reaching temperatures in the high-40s. However, major hotspots form around the exhausts, just under the display, at temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius.
Furthermore, the bottom of the display also reaches high temperatures of around 50-60 degrees Celsius around the same areas, due to how the screen is placed very close to the exhausts. These temperatures are within the design limits, but could be a reason for concern long-term.
I’ll also add that this laptop heats up even more on the Silent profile, with chassis temperatures over 50s and hotspots in the 70s around the radiators. Hence, I would refrain from using Silent mode for anything more than just daily multitasking.
Keep in mind that I’ve measured the below FLIR recordings in a 24-25 C ambient room, with the laptop on the desk. Different outer conditions will impact these temperatures, and placing the laptop on a raised stand (which I recommend) might positively impact these temperatures as well, even if only by a minor margin. An active cooling pad will help more, though, especially with longer gaming or work sessions.
*Gaming – Silent – playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, Silent profile, fans at <35 dBA
*Gaming – Performance – playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~45-46 dBA
*Gaming – Turbo, on desk – playing Cyberpunk 2077 for 30 minutes, fans at ~50-51 dBA
Gaming aside, this laptop is a breeze with daily use, with light multitasking, browsing, or video streaming.
The 0dB Technology allows the fans to completely switch off with light use on the Silent profile, as long as the hardware stays under 50 C. That’s both on battery power or when plugged in. However, the fans will spin if you keep the laptop on Performance or Turbo, regardless of the CPU/GPU temperatures. They spin slowly and quietly, though.
I’ll also add that I’ve noticed some coil whining on this sample when multitasking on battery power. Make sure to carefully listen for any on your unit, as this is a random quirk that can occur on modern laptops.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Silent profile, fans at 0 dB
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6E and Bluetooth 5 on this unit, with a triple-band implementation, as well as Gigabit Lan. This sample performed well on Wi-Fi with my setup.
The audio quality here is pretty good for laptop speakers, with the main speakers firing on the bottom and extra tweeters firing through the grills that flank the keyboard. The sound is reasonably rich and with some fair bass, as well as loud enough at 76-78 dB at head level. I haven’t noticed any distortions or vibrations in the armrest at high levels. Overall, this is one of the better-sounding laptops in its space, much like the previous M16 generation was.
Regardless, you’ll most likely want to use some proper headphones when gaming or running other demanding loads on the Turbo/Manual profiles, in order to cover the ~50dBA fan noise.
Finally, a camera is placed at the top of the screen and flanked by microphones. It’s HD resolution, so not much in terms of quality, but at least it includes IR with support for Windows Hello.
There’s a 90Wh battery inside all the 2023 ROG models, including this Zephyrus G16.
The system is set to automatically switch the screen’s refresh to 60 Hz when using the laptop on battery power – a side effect is a quick screen flicker when you disconnect the laptop from the wall or plug it back on. I’ll also add that if you’re looking to maximize runtimes, it’s important to use the laptop on any option but the Ultimate dGPU mode in Armory Crate – ideally on the Silent profile and on the Standard/Eco dGPU mode.
Here’s what we got on our review unit in terms of battery life, with the laptop on the Standard GPU mode and the screen set at around 120 nits (~60% brightness).
7 W (12+ h of use) – idle, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
11 W (~7-9 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
12 W (~7-8 h of use) – 4K fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
12.5 W (~7-8 h of use) – Netflix 4K HDR fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
16 W (~5-6 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
85 W (~1 h of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON, no fps limit.
Not bad for an Intel i9 platform.
In comparison, here’s what we got on last year’s Zephyrus M16 with the i9-12900H and QHD+ IPS display also set at 120 nits (60% brightness).
15 W (~5-6 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
12.5 W (~7+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
11 W (~8+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
23 W (~4-5 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
85 W (~1+ h of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON, no fps limit.
And here’s what we got on the ROG Flow X16 with the AMD Ryzen 9 processor and QHD+ display:
14 W (~6-7 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
12.5 W (~7+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
11.5 W (~8+ h of use) – Netflix 4K fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
17 W (~6-7 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
85 W (~1+ h of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON, no fps limit.
These results show that the Intel 2023 platform is pretty much on par with the past Intel and AMD models in similar 16-inch laptops with a similar QHD+ IPS display. Thus, you should not be concerned about the loss in efficiency on this Zephyrus G16 series.
I’ll also add that the 2023 ROG Zephyrus G16 comes with a 240W power brick on all models, muid-sized and with some long cables. The battery fully charges from 10% in about 2 hours, with fast charging for the first half an hour, and USB-C charging is supported as well, up to 100W.
Over here, a 100W ROG USB-C charger is included in the box with my unit. You won’t be able to use the laptop on Turbo/Manual while plugged in via USB-C, but PD is enough for everyday multitasking and occasional heavier workloads on Performance, in case you don’t want to bring along the heavier main brick when on the go.
Price and availability- 2023 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16
The 2023 Asus Zephyrus G16 is listed in some markets at the time of this article, but not all the configurations are available everywhere.
A mid-tier ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VV model, with an i7-13620H, 16 GB of RAM, the RTX 4060 Laptop dGPU, and 512 GB of SSD storage, is listed at 1449 USD at Best Buy in the US. However, that’s the dark grey color with the FHD+ 165Hz display, which is not nearly as nice as the QHD+ option. The i7-13620H is also not as fast as the i9 on our unit.
The variant reviewed here, the Zephyrus G16 GU603VV with the i9 CPU, 1 TB SSD, and the QHD+ display, is listed here in Europe at 2399 EUR. That’s quite a difference!
Other variants of this Zephyrus G16 series are not yet available, but should be in the near future. I’ll update this section once we know more.
In the meantime,
follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
Final thoughts- 2023 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603 review
If you were interested in the Zephyrus M16 design of the last few years, you’ll most likely appreciate the 2023 Zephryus G16 as well, as this one is pretty much an M16 chassis with updated hardware and a fresh set of either White or dark Grey clothes.
With the bump to the 13th-gen platform and the RTX 4000 graphics, the performance of this Zephyrus G16 GU603 is not significantly different than that of the previous Zephyrus M16 GU603. Nonetheless, expect 5-20% gains in most demanding loads, as well as a snappy daily experience and good runtimes.
Speaking of, our unit proved to run quite efficiently on battery, so the switch from AMD to an Intel platform on this Zephyrus G series is not affecting runtimes in a drastic way. Plus, with the Intel specs, the G16 is faster in CPU loads than the previous AMD models, and should be more widely available than if Asus would have still opted for AMD specs.
I’m also seeing some good deals on some of the few Zephyrus G16 available configurations, and I’d expect more to come once the lower-tier specs will be available in stores, with the RTX 4050 and the 12th-gen Core i7 processor. In fact, this Zephyrus G16 makes the most sense in these lower and mid-tier configurations, and less so at the upper tier. So if you want this kind of portable laptop with a big screen and good all-purpose capabilities, this G16 should be on your list.
Just make sure you’re ok with its design quirks and the mix of temperatures/noise levels under load.
Anyway, that’s pretty much my review of the 2023 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 GU603VV model. Looking for your thoughts, feedback, and questions on the series in the comments section down below.
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