ASUS ROG STRIX GL531GU REVIEW – Coolest GTX 1660Ti Laptop?


Are you after a GTX 1660Ti laptop that runs
cool with no need to undervolt, has a decent screen and awesome speakers? Hidevolution sent me the Asus ROG Strix GL531GU
to review. Let’s check it out. Hi, this is Stephen from Ownordisown. The specifications of my Strix GL531 GU are
an i7 9750h CPU, GTX 1660Ti graphics, a 15.6″ 1080p 120 hz panel,
16 GB RAM running in dual channel, and A 512 GB NVME ssd. Base price is $1400 , but via Hidevolution
you can get a zero dead pixel warranty, as well as increase RAM and storage and like
my unit have the CPU repasted. In my case with liquid metal for only an extra
$65. Now, I have had many comments in my first
look video say that stock paste still runs cool but once you see how this unit performs
i am sure you will agree that it is $65 well spent. It’s also available as a 17″ model too. We are starting to see many gaming notebooks
that approach the $1500 price tag have aluminum construction so one can be forgiven their
disappointment when they see that the GL531 is an all plastic build. Despite this it is very well built and and
it’s two way brushed finish gives it some subtle flare and although it can show some
fingerprints it’s not as bad as say the Lenovo Y540. The ROG emblem on the lid does not light up. You will notice that it has a hinge forward
design and a cut out at the bottom right of the panel to help with cool air being brought
into the system. The keyboard deck also has a brushed finish
mirroring the pattern on the lid. The windows precision trackpad is also plastic
, has good tracking and I like the separate mouse buttons. The keyboard has a decent feel to it and is
fairly rigid. To the top left you have separate volume controls,
mic on/off button, a button that switches between the different power modes and a button
to launch the Armory crate software. You also have keys that switch between several
default RGB keylighting patterns. Note that they keys are not per key RGB or
lit in different zones. You also have nice RGB lighting around the
front and the sides illuminating your desk in the dark. There is no denying that it looks cool. The software let’s you chose various effects
such as rainbow or strobing, as well as chose the colour, speed and in game lighting effects. The 120 Hz , 282 nit IPS panel is not super
bright when alongside the new 419 nit Y740 But it does have a very good contrast of 1100:1. But with only 45% NTSC it may not be the best
for colour accurate work. Because of the hinge design to allow more
airflow you will notice that it consequently has a deeper footprint than the Legion series. The bezels are slim and Asus has chosen not
to include a webcam. Screen flex is about the same as the Y740. The screen has an antiglare coating which
does help when viewed with bright lighting. As for backlight bleed it was very good, just
a small amount on the bottom right corner. Compared to a 144 hz panel there is more ghosting
but to be honest I didnt notice any when gaming. You will notice that there are no ports on
the right hand side, just the side mounted speaker grill and air exhaust .
On the left you have 3 USB 3.1 gen 1 type A ports and a combo headphone mic jack. Round the back you have the ethernet port,
HDMI and USB C ports. There is no thunderbolt 3 or mini display
port but both are connected to the dedicated GPU so you can use them with a VR headset. I like that the power connector is at the
back helping to keep cables out of the way. To get inside just remove some Philip’s head
screws and here is what the air intakes look like. Be careful not to damage the two cables that
are for the side and front RGB lighting. Here is the 66wh battery good for 4 hours
40 minutes of streaming YouTube at 25% brightness. It’s worth noting that the panel drops to
48hz when on battery which should help with battery life. The two side speakers are at the sides, there
is an open 2.5″ bay for which ASUS supply the Sata cable and screws. Underneath the m.2 card is the 9560 wifi card. The m.2 slots accepts both SATA and NVME drives. There are two RAM slots and Hidevolution can
max this out at 64 GB. I like the big copper heat pipes, the CPU
here and the GPU here. There are two shared heatpipes and the GPU
has two separate ones. In total there are three heatsinks, which
are quite large and use 0.1mm fins for increased surface area. And with air being brought in via the hinge,
together with the 12v fans the cooling looks quite impressive. Under load the system pulls 182w which is
perfect for the 230w power brick. The software gives you silent, balanced and
turbo power modes which not only increases the fan speed but also increases the average
GPU clock rate from 1428 Mhz in balanced mode to 1609 mhz in Turbo mode as well as increase
the CPU boost clock so expect improvement in some games. You can also increase the fan speed of the
CPU and GPU manually as well as overclock the GPU. I noticed that out the box the GPU was actually
already overclocked a bit but for my tests i did tweak it more. I settled on an extra 188 Mhz on the core
and 199 on the memory. Silent mode is literally that, once the system
has cooled down and you are at idle there is no sound from the fans at all. Even under load with balanced mode the fans
are only 41db and when you switch to turbo mode we are still only at 45db, so this system
is definitely recommend if you want a quieter laptop. Despite the low fan noise the chassis stays
pretty cool. The keyboard deck running in the mid 30s,
and as you can see alot of hot air is pushed out of the three heatsinks. I am very impressed with the speakers, they
sound full with good bass and are quite loud without distortion. I’m also a fan of their position at the sides
as it provides a good stereo separation effect At 5 lbs 5oz it’s pretty standard fare for
a laptop of this stature, the 230w brick is not huge so the total travel weight is 7 lbs. In my real time audio test it was shame that
latencymon reported that it was no suitable. In my testing I left the power limit 2 at
90w and power limit 1 at 70w, with no undervolt. In Cinebench R20 it scored 2911 points maintaining
a high boost clock and great thermals, peaking only at 77 degrees celcius. In my handbrake encode test the CPU settled
at around 3800 mhz which is about 300 Mhz higher than most, and as you can see the CPU
was running at around 77 degrees again. This resulted in a class leading time of 26
minutes some 4 minutes quicker than the Helios 300 which needed undervolting to get anywhere
near it. So is there much difference in performance
between balanced and turbo modes ? Yes, in most games there are and you can overclock
a bit beyond that. Here is Rainbow six siege as an example. 1080p ultra settings. On the left we have balanced mode with balanced
fans- remember 41 db of fan noise. The CPU is pulling about 30w, 77 degrees and
the GPU 69 degrees. In the middle is Turbo mode with turbo fan
and 45 db of fan noise. CPU is pulling 55w yet still only reaches
about 83 degrees. You definitely see a frame rate boost over
balanced mode. On the right is turbo mode and fan but overclocked. Again we see a boost in frame rate with very
good temperatures. Here I compare it against the 1660Ti in the
Y540. Balanced mode was basically the same as the
stock Y540 but the Asus GL531 definitely had some headroom to squeeze out a bit more performance. 195 fps is great. BF V DX 11, ultra settings. Balanced mode on the left and turbo on the
right. Again you see a few more watts to the CPU
in turbo mode allowing for a better boost clock yet still very good thermals. You also gain a few extra fps for only a small
amount of extra fan noise. Again we see the turbo mode help push the
Asus GL531 past the Y540. Remember also that the Y540 ran very hot too. The cooling on this Asus is very good. Far Cry 5 I used the inbuilt benchmark to
record the frame rate but here is some gameplay to show you the thermals and clock rates. Using ultra settings. Balanced mode on the left and turbo on the
right . If you can run Far Cry 5 with temps in the
low 80s you know your system has good cooling. Again turbo mode does a great job of locking
in a higher CPU clock rate and helping to squeeze out a few more fps. In fact overclocking in turbo mode gave an
extra 10% here which is very good. It matches the Helios 300 with same conditions. So how would I sum up the Asus ROG Strix GL531? I came away very impressed. It is a very solid performer with great speakers
and low thermals. It was a pleasure to game on. Battery life is ok too, if you can get over
4 hours on a gaming notebook that is good for me. The screen is fine for gaming but for those
looking for a super bright and great colour gamut may look elsewhere. I dont know why they didnt use a standard
144 hz panel but backlight bleed was minimal and build quality is good. As usual Hidevolution did a great job on this
and all their work is warrantied. If you chose the stock model I still think
you will get good thermals perhaps in the high 80s and I think this may be one of the
better 1660ti laptops I have reviewed. Thanks for watching, remember to like , subscribe
and I will see you next time.

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