ASUS ROG STRIX GL503VD (GTX 1050) Gaming Laptop Review


Introduction

When ASUS launched the ROG Zephyrus Gaming Notebook, it was the start of a new design trend for the brand particularly their gaming laptops. Whereas many would quickly discount that ASUS is just retooling their notebook chassis, we have to admit there’s plenty of new usability changes integrated into their new designs. Those new designs are now the signature look of the ASUS ROG Strix product line and serving as the foundation for this lineup of products is the ASUS ROG STRIX GL503 gaming notebook.

Today we’re gonna be looking at the ASUS ROG STRIX GL503VD, the base model for the series which features a Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, a GTX 1050 graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 memory along with a 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD. All these come together to form what can be likened to a entry-level gaming desktop but on a portable platform.

The new ASUS ROG STRIX GL503 is 2.5Kgs in weight and is only 2.3cm thick making it quite a compact unit despite its rather traditional feel. The laptop is quite handy and the new design that ASUS employs makes it clean-up well to give it a sleeker look. Check out the video below for a full rundown of the notebook.

CPU Performance

We’ll be providing benchmark results in comparison with our desktop database. These data are presented for reference and relative comparison only to give you an idea how much performance you’re getting. We’ve included a full-fledged desktop Core i7 7700K along with the Ryzen 7-powered GL702ZC (you can read the full review on that here) to give you an idea where the notebook sits in terms of overall system and CPU performance.

Gaming Performance

For this test we’ll focus on the gaming performance both our processors. Do note that we have specially selected benchmark runs for CPU testing vs. GPU testing so these vary from our GPU benchmark results.┬áTo see more details about the benchmark sequences, please see our game benchmark method guide.

Frame rates and frame times of a 60-second game play were recorded using FRAPS v3.5.99. The test results are the average of 3 benchmark runs. Since this is a GPU review, we benchmarked the area of the games that put heavy load on the GPU.

All our test runs are repeatable, click the links below for area and details. Read our benchmarking methodology.

  • Crysis 3 – Post Human
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Palomino Highlands
  • The Witcher 3 – Woesong Bridge
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Valley Farmstead
  • DOTA2 – Shanghai Major Finals, Game 2, Team Secret vs Team Liquid (23:45 – 24:45)

See our Youtube playlist for benchmark sequences.

The games and corresponding image quality settings used are shown in their respective tabs.

Note: Some proprietary technologies of NVIDIA like PCSS, HBAO+, and HairWorks work on AMD GPU’s BUT to maintain uniformity amongst GPUs, these have been turned OFF.

NOTE: We’re launching new titles to be included in our benchmark library so we’re starting off from scratch. Since this is our first notebook to be tested under this new format we’ll be presenting the data as standalone and let the 40FPS bar be the comparative bar for your reference. We’ll expand the data as we get more hardware tested.

Gaming Benchmark – Rise of the Tomb Raider

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as we pick-up from the last game. Featuring upgraded graphics, DX12 support and new image quality improvements, this game challenges new hardware with its graphical offering.

DirectX11
Anti-aliasing: FXAA
Very High settings
Ambient Occlusion: On
Pure Hair: On
Vignette Blur: Off
Motion Blur: Off
Bloom: On
Tessellation: On
Screen Space Reflections: On
Lens Flares: On
Film Grain: Off

Gaming Benchmark – The Witcher 3

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

Frame Rate: Unlimited
Nvidia HairWorks: Off
Ultra Settings
Motion Blur: Off
Blur: Off
Anti-aliasing: On
Bloom: On
Sharpening: High
Ambient Occlusion: SSAO
Depth of Field: On
Chromatic Aberration: Off
Vignetting: On
Light Shafts: On

Gaming Benchmark – DOTA2

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source 2 engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress most systems especially with Reborn update. This is a game where frame times matter as responsiveness is very important in high-stakes competition.

DirectX9 (default)
Best-Looking slider setting (Ultra)
FPS_MAX 240
Vsync OFF

Grand Theft Auto V

The fifth and most successful installment to date in the highly controversial Grand Theft Auto series brings a graphical overhaul to the PC version of GTA V which many have lauded as a superior approach in porting a console game to PC. Featuring large areas and detailing, GTA V is a highly challenging application in terms of scene complexity.

FXAA Off
MSAA 4x
TXAA Off
Very High settings
Anisotropic Filtering: 16x
Motion Blur disabled
Advanced Graphics enabled

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)

Arguably the most popular game of 2017 with nearly 3 million active players at any given time, Bluehole’s PUBG isn’t by any standard the most graphically intensive game out right now but it does stretch Unreal Engine 4’s maximum capability in terms of handling large maps. The official launch of PUBG introduced new graphical improvements to the game which makes it more visually appealing and to introduce a more detailed environment to make it more strategic to blend in with the environment.

Ultra Settings
Post-Processing: Ultra
Texture:Ultra
Anti-Aliasing: Ultra
Effects: Ultra
Foliage: Ultra
Motion Blur: Off

User Experience & Conclusion

The ASUS ROG STRIX GL503 is quite an impressive new direction for ASUS in its design. Thew new look is certainly more elegant than the previous ROG STRIX models and the off-centre logo does give it a non-conventional look. Add to that the brushed metal top and excellent tooling details on the bottom and it all adds up to give the ROG STRIX GL503 a great feel.

Talking about the performance, the GTX 1050 is a barely our minimum recommended gaming GPU for 1080p screens, but for those willing to settle for less details versus our maxed out tests, then it certainly does hold up well. Going over esports titles, the GTX 1050 finds its strength in these highly adaptable games and esports enthusiasts looking to play their MOBAs and FPS should be pleased enough with the specs on the GL503VD. The emerging Battle Royale games though are still a hit and miss for any system with the flagbearer PUBG still being a buggy mess and performance is still hard to gauge with our tests showing the game at a sluggish sub-30FPS and this is by no means the GTX 1050’s fault. The game is still in heavy need of refinement and our test is there to show that you can still achieve playable frame rates should you drop detail settings.

Over to cooling, the lighter GTX 1050 doesn’t add much heat to the pipes of the ROG STRIX GL503 but it does still float around a toasty 80*C internally. Chassis temps don’t go up 70*C though and the heat is directed away from the user with the vents at the back blowing outwards and away from the laptop which is a great touch.

The GL503 family includes the HERO and SCAR edition models, both of which may have up to GTX 1070 graphics card and 144hz screens. Those are the higher-end models though and focusing more on the GL503VD base model, given the pedigree of the product line right now its quite safe to say ASUS has managed to deliver an excellent and well-designed mold that can support enough power for any kind of gamer.

The ASUS ROG STRIX GL503VD is arguably one of the most well-designed and balanced entry-level gaming notebook out right now with its newer design definitely its most notable selling point that it outshines its direct competitors from MSI, Lenovo and Acer all of which are still using retools of their existing product lines giving them an aged feel. This is backed by a scalable selection of configurations but the base model itself (GL503VD) delivers enough punch to satisfy 1080p gamers.

The ASUS ROG STRIX GL503VD base model featuing a GTX 1050 and Core i7-7700HQ is available for Php69,995. ASUS backs its notebooks with a 2-year global warranty and ASUS Care Program. We give the ASUS ROG STRIX GL503VD our B2G Gold Award and B2G Recommended Award!