It’s been a while since AMD released anything exciting for the notebook market so we are excited to see how their top-tier desktop-grade CPU performs in a standard gaming laptop and paired with the Radeon RX 580. We are also pretty curious how the normal-sized 17-inch chassis will handle all that horsepower and does the RX 580 stand a chance against the alternative GTX 1060 configurations.
Why the GTX 1060 you ask? Well, since the ROG GL702ZC costs just about what a standard Intel Core i7 + GTX 1060 configuration would, we think this is exactly the GPU it should beat in this price range. However, we have to take the Ryzen 7 1700 CPU into consideration – this is one of the few desktop-grade processors integrated into a notebook and it’s fully replaceable as well. This is a huge deal to consider and would most probably crush Intel’s high-end quad-core Core i7-7700HQ and Core i7-7820HK chips in multi-threaded workloads since it has twice the cores and twice the threads of Intel’s solutions. But at what cost? Will the 65W TDP of the Ryzen 7 1700 cause any overheating issues or performance dips? We find out in the full review below.
You can find the available models here: Buy from Amazon.com
The notebook comes in a cool-looking ROG Strix-branded box containing all the usual user manuals, AC adapter and power cord.
Design and construction
As you might have already guessed it, in terms of design the laptop is almost identical to the standard Intel + NVIDIA configuration we’ve reviewed a while back. We have some mixed feelings about this because, given the price point, the GL702 chassis should include more premium and sturdy materials instead of using plastic for most of it, yet we find the chassis surprisingly portable given the fact that it’s a 17-inch gaming laptop with a desktop-grade processor stuck inside. The I/O is generous and well-distributed and the keyboard feels nice for typing but not quite for gaming.
And just like its more expensive sibling with the GTX 1070, the GL702ZC has a brushed aluminum lid, which is fairly resistant to torsion and pressure and now has chrome-colored plastic ROG logo in the middle and a stripe on each side. This makes the notebook a bit more clean in our opinion. Funny thing about the hinges, though, there’s plenty of spacing between them so the bottom chin of the display is a bit more flexible as a result but provide a firm grip over the display. You can easily open the laptop with just one hand but just as you are about to fully open the device, the hinges start to feel a bit stiffer – this ensures zero wobbling when working on an unstable surface. The bottom of the base is made of the same slightly roughened black plastic as the standard GL702..
As we go around the sides, we can feel a slight increase in thickness over the GL702VS. And the specs sheet further confirm that – the standard GL702 version measures at 30 mm while this one is 34 mm thicker. It might not seem a lot but you can definitely feel it. The I/O selection is well-distributed and rich – on the left you will find an RJ-45 LAN port, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2), USB 3.0 and a 3.5 mm audio jack. On the right, you will see the SD card reader along with two more USB 3.0 connectors.
So far so good but our main complaint comes from the interior. The surface is again made of plastic and imitates brushed aluminum but doesn’t even get close. We can feel a few weak spots around the center of the keyboard and the palm rest area – once you apply a bit more pressure, it sinks in quite visibly. A more stable base would have been better, especially for the asking price. Moving on to the keyboard – it has satisfying clicky feedback, big enough arrow keys and all the needed shortcuts – ideal for typing. Nevertheless, we find the rather short key travel to be an issue here, particularly for gaming. Long travel keys are much appreciated by the gaming community and we find it funny how the considerably less expensive ASUS ROG Strix GL752VE has a better gaming-centric keyboard than the GL702-series. And as for the touchpad – it feels buttery-smooth, it offers light mouse clicks although, a bit sluggish at times and wobbly – something we are used to with most of the ASUS laptops anyway. We also find it a bit small for the 17-inch form factor but this is a gaming laptop on top of everything else so we can’t get too picky.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Similarly to most of the GL notebooks, this one doesn’t have a service lid as well but it’s pretty easy for maintenance and upgrade. The piece can be removed by unscrewing all the bolts on the bottom. Then gently pry it up – it’s really straightforward.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
As expected, the notebook comes with a standard 2.5-inch drive and an M.2 SSD slot. The former is taken by a Seagate Firecude 1TB HDD while the M.2 slot that supports PCIe NVMe SSDs remains available for an upgrade. It’s located right above the HDD and allows 2280 sticks.
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD slot||1TB Seagate Firecuda HDD||Buy from Amazon.com|
|M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1||Free||Buy from Amazon.com|
The RAM chips are a bit tricky to access since they are stuck under the heatpipes but someone with small fingers shouldn’t have any trouble with it. The slots support up to 16GB of DDR4-2400 each. The unit we’ve tested came only with 8GB of DDR4-2400 memory from Samsung.
|Slot 1||8GB Samsung DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com|
|Slot 2||Free||Buy from Amazon.com|
The Wi-Fi card is placed near the right cooling fan (with the bottom of the machine facing upwards) and it’s Realtek RTL8822BE.
The laptop carries a generous battery holding a 76Wh charge.
The cooling design is quite interesting and we haven’t seen so many heatpipes used only for the CPU itself. As you can see, the heatsinks for both chips are pretty big while the large number of heatpipes take away the heat. Also, the left cooling fan is slightly smaller than the one on the right.
To our big surprise, the laptop comes with the same panel as the Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G), the ASUS ROG GL703VM and Lenovo’s top-tier Legion Y920. It’s LG-made with model number LP173WF4-SPF5 – Full HD (1920×1080) IPS with 127 ppi and 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from at least 69 cm.
Viewing angles are excellent as you can see from the image below.
The maximum recorded brightness is 391 cd/m2 in the center and 378 cd/m2 as average across the surface with just 10% deviation. The correlated color temperature on white screen at maximum luminance is close to the optimal – 6780K and as we go along the grayscale it gets closer at 6640K. You can see how these values change at 143 cd/m2 (48% brightness) in the image below.
The relative dE2000 (color deviation) shouldn’t be more than 4.0 if you are planning on using the screen for color-sensitive work but in this case, it’s going to be used for gaming and it’s even under the 2.0 mark. Contrast ratio is good a well – 1070:1 (1060:1 after calibration).
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The sRGB color gamut coverage is ideal for multimedia and gaming, as expected – 89%.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Only ultra-high PWM was recorded at times (120 kHz), which basically means no PWM so it’s safe to use for long periods of time even from users with sensitive eyes.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
Our verdict on the panel has not changed over time and we still think it’s an excellent solution for multimedia/gaming-centric laptops. It has all the needed properties – high peak brightness, wide sRGB coverage, high contrast and has virtually no PWM making it safe to use for long periods of time.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC configurations with 17.3″ LG LP173WF4-SPF5 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
Sound quality is good – the low, mid and high frequencies appear to be clear and without noticeable distortions.
The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region
ASUS ROG GL702ZC technical specifications table
ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC configurations
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 Pro for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from ASUS’ official support page.
As to be expected from a notebook carrying a full-fledged desktop processor, battery life is extremely short. Even though the device sports a 76Wh unit, the 65W processor drains it really fast.
Anyway, all tests were run under the usual conditions – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brighntess set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows power saving mode turned on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Extremely short web browsing runtime – 76 minutes (1 hour and 16 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Just about the same as the video playback score – 78 minutes (1 hour and 18 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Of course, the laptop isn’t made for gaming away from the power source but it can get you less than half an hour of runtime – 22 minutes.
CPU – AMD Ryzen 7 1700
The AMD Ryzen 7 1700 is a high-end desktop-grade CPU but due to its relatively low TDP of 65W and decent thermals, it has been implemented in gaming notebooks as well. The chip is based on AMD’s new Zen architecture utilizing the 14nm node. It features a whopping 8 cores with 16 threads.
Base clock speeds start at 3.0 GHz and can go up to 3.7 GHz (3.75 GHz with XFR feature (Extended Frequency Range)) with two or three active cores. But if all eight cores are utilized, the maximum Turbo Clock speed is specified as 3.2 GHz.
The processor is rated at 65W including the memory controller, which supports either 64GB of memory clocked at 1833 MHz or 32GB of DDR4-2400 or 2660 memory.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/amd-ryzen-7-1700-laptop/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The AMD Ryzen 7 1700 scored 12.664 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – AMD Radeon RX 580 (4GB GDDR5)
The AMD Radeon RX 580 is a high-end gaming graphics card based on the improved Polaris 20 architecture, which is based on a more optimized 14nm (LPP+) compared to the previous RX 480 (Polaris 10) generation. This allows slightly higher clock speeds and better power optimizations.
While the GPU based on the same chip as its desktop counterpart, performance may differ a little due to the altered clock speeds by the OEM or the cooling solution. Also, the laptop variant sports 4GB of GDDR5 memory instead of 8GB like the full-fledged desktop version.
The rest of the specs include 1077 MHz clock speed, 2304 shading units, 144 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 256-bit memory interface and 8000 MHz effective memory clock.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/amd-radeon-rx-580-laptop/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||80 fps||45 fps||26 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||77 fps||44 fps||29 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||70 fps||62 fps||55 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||56 fps||49 fps||29 fps|
The stress tests that we perform don’t represent real-life usage because even games don’t require 100% CPU and GPU load for such long periods of time. However, the torture tests remain as the most reliable way to see how the cooling system performs and how effective it is in the long run.
We started off with 100% CPU load and the results were striking. The system was able to utilize the full performance of all 8 cores (3.2 GHz) for most of the time but was occasionally dipping down to 2.9 GHz. The operating temperature was pretty high – 95 °C.
Turning on the GPU stress test resulted in slightly lower CPU clocks but no throttling. The Ryzen 7 1700 ran at around 3.0 GHz most of the time while the Radeon RX 580 GPU was clocked at rock-solid 1077 MHz, which is the maximum and operating frequency anyway. Unfortunately, though, both chips were running pretty hot – 91 °C for the CPU and 82 °C for the GPU at the expense of extremely loud cooling fans. Seriously, we can’t stress this enough – the GL702ZC is probably one of the loudest – if not the loudest – laptop we’ve tested. They spin quite loudly not only during heavy workload but during gaming as well. In fact, you can feel the whole chassis vibrate when the fans spin at maximum RPM.
The surface temperatures, as you can see from the heat map below, aren’t flattering as well. There’s noticeable heat dispersion across center of the keyboard and right above it reaching as high as 53.7 °C. It gets a little bit uncomfortable during gaming if you start using this particular area of the keyboard.
If you came to read this review looking for a confirmation of why you should buy the GL702ZC for gaming, you are going to be disappointed. From all the data that we’ve gathered, it seems like the ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC is more of a workstation than a gaming laptop for two main reasons.
First of all, such powerful desktop-grade processor like the Ryzen 7 1700 is downright an overkill for gaming. As we all know, games don’t require so many cores (at least for now) and they benefit most from clock speeds. A 65W beast like this one doesn’t necessarily translate into more in-game FPS. It will, however, render like an animal serving as an excellent mobile workstation for content creators.
Secondly, the AMD Radeon RX 580 is a great GPU but given the price tag of the laptop, you’d be better off with a GTX 1060-powered machine for sure. The RX 580 just can’t keep up with the GTX 1060 and serves as a bottleneck to the powerful Ryzen 7 1700. So in reality, a good old Intel Core i7-7700HQ will be more than enough for your gaming needs while the GTX 1060 GPU will be a much better choice for gaming in this price range.
Moreover, the GL702ZC doesn’t really impress with anything else rather than screen quality although, FreeSync is missing from the specs sheet. The excellent IPS panel will deliver good multimedia and gaming experience while the obnoxiously loud cooling system will ruin it for some (it even runs when idle). Not only that but during heavy workloads, the interior gets a little bit too warm for our standards and all that copper used for the heatpipes and heatsinks inside has reflected on the size and weight. In addition, battery life suffers due to the 65W processor and the lack of integrated graphics. The touchpad design continues to plague the GL-series as well as the plastic base that feels a bit cheap compared to some alternatives on the market.
So, if compute power is essential for you and you plan to do some content creative work on the ASUS ROG Strix GL702ZC, you will most likely be amazed by the utterly ridiculous multi-core performance the Ryzen 7 1700 delivers. But if you plan on using the machine mainly for gaming, we suggest looking elsewhere. Why not start with the recently reviewed ASUS ROG Strix GL703VM (with GTX 1060), the Lenovo Legion Y720 or the HP Omen 17 (2017) with GTX 1060. The Acer Predator Helios 300 (17-inch) is also a nice option to consider without breaking the bank.
You can find the available models here: Buy from Amazon.com
- Nice keyboard for typing
- Excellent IPS display
- No PWM across all brightness levels
- Extremely powerful desktop-grade CPU with amazing multi-core performance
- The CPU can be replaced as it uses standard socket
- Hefty and thick
- Extremely loud cooling system and runs even when idle
- The parts of the interior get a little bit too warm during heavy workload/gaming
- Suboptimal choice of materials for the base
- Bad touchpad design
- No FreeSync option for the display
- Most laptops at this price range have significantly more powerful GPUs