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ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE review

We test & benchmark the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition

Updated: Aug 10, 2022 2:57 pm
ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 SE review ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 special edition review

The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE (the SE standing for Special Edition) is the most powerful gaming laptop in the ASUS range, and a contender for the most powerful gaming laptop money can buy. It’s one of the first laptops to come with a new Intel HX series laptop CPUs: upgraded versions of the already powerful Intel 12th gen laptop series of processors, with additional cores and cache, something the regular ROG Strix SCAR 17 doesn’t. It has options for the highest TGP models of the RTX 3070 Ti or the RTX 3080 Ti, the latter also coming with unique advanced cooling. On top of all that, the Special Edition has a signature aesthetic design, commemorating older iterations of the ROG series and with some hidden details. But, is it worth the steep price tag? Read on to find out.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE

CPU
Intel Core i9-12950HX
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (150W) / RTX 3080 Ti (175W)
RAM
32GB 4800MHz DDR5 (max capacity 64GB)
Storage
4TB M.2 4.0 NVMe (Raid 0)
Screen Size
17.3″
Max Refresh Rate
240Hz

Specifications & upgradability

Tech Specs

CPU

Intel Core i9-12950HX

Graphics

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (150W) / RTX 3080 Ti (175W)

RAM

32GB 4800MHz DDR5 (max capacity 64GB)

Storage

4TB M.2 4.0 NVMe (Raid 0)

Screen Size

17.3″

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz

Resolution

2560 x 1400

Panel Type

IPS

Touchscreen?

No

Webcam

n/a

Weight

6.57lb / 2.98kg

Ports

2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort / power delivery / G-SYNC, 1x Thunderbolt 4 support DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x RJ45 LAN port (Ethernet), 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack

Pros
  • at least as powerful as any other gaming laptop
  • superb internal cooling on RTX 3080 Ti version
  • MUX Switch
  • 240Hz QHD display
  • 100% sRGB & 99% DCI-P3
  • good quality keyboard & trackpad
  • very fast Raid 0 SSDs
  • good build quality
  • good quality speakers for a Windows laptop
Cons
  • no webcam
  • no SD card reader
  • color accuracy could be better
  • uncomfortable keyboard placement
  • No G-Sync
  • very expensive

Opening the back of the laptop required removing 11 Phillip’s Head screws and a bit of careful but firm prying (we recommend a slender prying tool for this job). Be careful when doing so not to tear the two connective ribbons which link the body of the laptop to the RGB strip on the bottom side of the case. These can be disconnected and reconnected with care, but it’s difficult to do so, and requires a tweezer-like tool.

Inside there are two PCIe Gen 4 M.2 slots for SSD storage, which can be upgraded at a later date should you wish, though the whopping 4TB of storage ours came with (2x 2TB) should be more than sufficient. The SSDs on this machine are extremely fast, coming in a RAID 0 setup that gives 12,295MB/s read speeds and 13,330MB/s write speeds.

There are two upgradable DDR5 compatible RAM slots, and ours came equipped with the maximum spec 32GB 4800MHz, though this can be upgraded to a maximum of 64GB down the line. There’s also an upgradeable Wi-Fi 6e slot.

The max specced version of the Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition comes with a very impressive 175W TGP RTX 3080 Ti GPU, which is the most powerful graphics card you can get in a gaming laptop, as well as vapor-chamber cooling to enable it to run as fast as possible without thermal throttling. Note that the cheaper RTX 3070 Ti version does not come with the vapor chamber cooling solution.

All versions of the laptop come with the Intel Core i9-12950HX, which is the most powerful retail laptop CPU money can buy.

Software

The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE comes with the usual ASUS Armoury Crate software, that all the company’s gaming laptops are saddled with. We say that because the software is a poorly laid out, busy mess, with far too much in the way of popups and menus which are essentially ASUS marketing. 

Nevertheless, it does have a good degree of functionality and customization: whether you’re looking for maximum gaming performance when plugged in, maximum energy efficiency on battery, quiet fans whilst working, or simply want to turn on the MUX Switch for a highly recommended performance boost in-games (though this will require a full restart of the latpop).

Most of these controls are under the Home section, where you can select from Silent, Balanced or Turbo presets, or create your own Manual custom profile where you can allocate wattage to the CPU and GPU, as well as set up fan profiles and save them so you can easily switch between them.

One unique feature we haven’t seen before is the Legacy DRM compatibility button on the home screen, which allows you to disable the e-cores (efficiency cores) within the CPU when playing older games that don’t support this feature. This is purely to aid in backward compatibility and has no benefit otherwise.

We’ll go into the other functionality in greater detail under the Screen and Performance, Noise & Temperature sections below.

Design aesthetics & RGB

The aesthetic design is one of the key things which differentiates the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 Special Edition from the regular variant, incorporating certain elements that are a nod to the history of the ROG line and have an old-school feel. When you look down onto the keyboard, the body of the laptop is divided by a diagonal grey stripe filled with miniature ROG logos, with the left side appearing matte black and the right third showing the internals of the laptop through a semi-transparent smokey grey plastic.

The back left of the laptop has a silver-grey detachable, slide-off plastic section with ROG in big letters; this can be replaced with two different color options that come with the laptop. The back of the laptop’s lid is where the fanciest details lie, in the faint purple-green engravings that occupy a third of its surface; slightly visible in normal light but which light up under UV/LED light to reveal various easter eggs and hidden messages. The included mini UV flashlight helps make these visible. 

To the bottom right of the keyboard is the area where the detachable red keystone sits, though we didn’t get one of these in our review copy (we will talk more about this below).

Whether or not you’ll be a fan of the aesthetic really depends on your tastes. I liked the design on the lid and the matte black sections of the laptop, though it does attract smudges very easily. I was less of a fan of the grey/silver details, which looked cheap to my eye, and could take or leave the translucent element, though my colleague was a big fan of this latter part.

When it comes to RGB there are a lot of options: the logo on the back of the lid, small strip under the display, keyboard, and large strip along the bottom edge of the laptop can all be customized. All can be setup from within Armoury Crate using ASUS’s AURA effects (including the usual breathing, strobing, and a wide range of other effects).

Size, build quality & ergonomics

The dimensions of the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE (RTX 3080 Ti version) are as follows:

Height: 2.75cm / 1.08″, Width: 39.5cm / 15.55″, Depth: 28.2cm / 1.11″

Looking at the weight now:

laptop: 6.57lb / 2.98kg, power adapter & cable: 2.15lb / 0.98kg, combined weight 8.72lb / 3.96kg

As a 17-inch desk replacement laptop, the ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is not an easily portable device. The power brick alone has a substantial weight to it, and you’ll need a decent-sized bag to fit the laptop inside. That being said, compared to competing laptops of similar screen size and power, it measures up fairly well.

Although the width of both laptops is about the same, the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 is about 0.22” narrower than the MSI Titan GT77 at its thickest point (in terms of its height when laid on a table) and a full 2” less deep, thanks to the substantial derriere on the Titan. Compared to the MSI Raider GE76 the width and depth are very similar, though the SCAR 17 SE is about 0.6” thicker.

Weight-wise the 8.72lb SCAR 17 SE is actually lighter than both the 10.93lb Titan GT77 and the 9.15lb Raider GE76. Apparently, the RTX 3070 Ti model of the laptop is around 1.75lb lighter, as it does not come with the additional weight of the vapor-chamber cooling solution.

In terms of build quality, almost everything on the plastic and metal chassis is up to the usual ASUS high standard, including the trackpad and the keyboard. The hinges in particular were nice and solid, which is always good to see, and we experienced no screen wobble at all when using the laptop. The one exception to this was the detachable grey/silver plastic ROG section on the back left corner, which feels unpleasantly loose and flimsy – this doesn’t cover anything important so it doesn’t matter if it comes off in terms of the longevity of the laptop, but when you’re paying this much money we would have liked to have seen a bit more quality.

Keyboard & trackpad

The keyboard is opto-mechanical but of a chiclet-style, meaning the keys are fairly flat. Despite this they have a reasonable 2mm of travel and a 0.2ms trigger time, though we found them to be a bit less clicky and responsive than those of the ASUS ROG FLOW X16 for example.

The keyboard is full-size as you’d expect on a 17-inch machine, with numpad included, which makes it more useful outside of gaming. The keyboard is placed far back from the front of the laptop, behind the large wrist rest and trackpad. This was the same in the 16-inch ROG FLOW X16, however on this smaller 16-inch device it was easier to get used to, on the SCAR 17 the keyboard is even further away, and if you’ve smaller-sized hands it can be fairly uncomfortable. You may find yourself accidentally nudging the trackpad with the side of your thumbs / inner hands when trying to type some of the back-central keys. A slightly smaller trackpad for a closer keyboard would have been a worthwhile trade-off.

The keyboard has various useful shortcuts as secondary functions of the function keys, including a sleep button, airplane mode, a button to disable to the trackpad, one to quickly cycle through the fan performance profiles and another to open the Armoury crate software. There is no fingerprint sensor included however.

According to ASUS the keyboard should for 20 million presses, though sadly we didn’t have the time in our review to test the veracity of this claim.

The trackpad is large, feels nice and responsive, and has a satisfying clicking action to it.

Webcam, ports, sockets, and other features

The webcam on the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE can be easily summarised: non-existant. Even on something designed to be a pure gaming laptop, and an homage to older ROG designs, the lack of a webcam on a laptop this expensive and large is not really acceptable, particularly given that ASUS has added them to most of their other gaming laptop lines in 2022. 

In a similar vein there is no SD card reader on the SCAR 17 SE, an annoying omission given this would otherwise be the ideal dual-use workstation and gaming machine for creatives.

Besides this the selection of ports is adequate: two USB-A 3.2 gen1 ports (one on the back, on on the right) are good to see alongside the two USB-C ports, one of which doubles as a Thunderbolt 4 socket with up to 100W charging support and video output from the dedicated graphics card (dGPU), and the other allowing output from the iGPU. You also get an HDMI 2.1 port which also connects to the dGPU, meaning you can output to two monitors from the Nvidia graphics card.

The model we received to review did not come with the detachable keystone sadly, but we know it can be used to transfer pre-configured profiles within Armoury Crate, or act as a quick way to instantly turn on these profiles when inside or outside of a game. Not only does this mean you can easily switch between say maximum fan and voltage performance to silent performance, but also extends to quick launch for various programs as soon as you insert the device. You can also set it to automatically lock the laptop once you remove it, which is a nice security feature, or use ‘Shadow Drive’ to store sensitive documents/data on the keystone, only accessible when you plug it into a compatible ASUS laptop.

Screen

There are two screen options for the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE: either a 1080p 360Hz model, or the 1440p 240Hz option we had to review. Both are 16:9 IPS screens, and ideally we would have liked to have seen some additional vertical screen space with a 16:10 aspect ratio, however we can’t complain too much given the 17.3″ sized screen. The bottom bezel is a bit on the thick size, but all the others are nice and thin, and the display certainly feels plenty big enough to game on.

Unless you’re a truly hardcore competitive gamer, the 240Hz 1440p display should be the better option, as we think the higher resolution on a screen this size is just a better all round visual experience. The higher refresh rate of the 360Hz option would give you slightly more of an edge in online shooters, if you tweaked your settings to enable you to get FPS substantially above 240 (which, depending on the game, might not require you to lower your settings much with this hardware).

We got an average grey-to-grey response time of 4.3ms on the 240Hz model we tested (expect the 360Hz version to be slightly better at least), which is very close to the 4.16ms threshold needed to completely eliminate ghosting at this refresh rate (if not quite). A good result.

Unfortunately the laptop does not come with G-Sync to help eliminate tearing, which is dissapointing at this price, however it does have Adaptive Sync.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE review color gamut

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 SE Gamut Graph NE173QHM NZ2 1 2022 07 05 17 35 120cdm² D6500 2.2 F S XYZLUTMTX

ASUS claims that the SCAR 17 SE covers both 100% of the sRGB spectrum and DCI-P3 spectrum. Our results, which you can see below, supports the sRGB statement, recording 99.9% sRGB (which is as good as 100%) but just fell shy when it comes to the 98.6% DCI-P3 result. Still, this will be close enough to 100% DCI-P3 that you should be able to work in that space with little issue. Adobe RGB coverage was 86.7%.

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 SE color gamut 2022 07 05 174904

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE review color accuracy out of the box

Prior to calibrating the display, the color accuracy of the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE out of the box showed an average delta of 2.78, which is a bit disappointing, and above the 2.5 threshold that a screen needs to score below to get a respectably low level of variance. The white point however, was very good at 6425K, fairly close to the ideal 6500K result. Gamma was equally good at 2.14, not far off the 2.20 ideal. Black depth was adequate at 0.1087 cd/m², but we would have liked to have seen a better (lower) result, and the same can be said for the 1105.7:1 contrast ratio.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE review color accuracy following calibration

Calibration saw little positive change to the results, with the best outcome being the increase in the white point to 6470K. Black point and contrast ratio barely changed (0.109 cd/m² and 1102.6:1 respectively), and the gamma increased slightly to 2.18. Average Delta increased (i.e. worsened) very slightly to 2.81.

The lack of change isn’t too surprising given the screen has already been Pantone calibrated and certified (still always worth a crack regardless). It is possible that a more in-depth calibration than the one we did may yield a slightly improved delta result, though it’s unlikely.

Ultimately, this means that professionals working in fields where color accuracy is paramount might not find this display suitable for their needs, even with the great gamut coverage. The majority of creatives (including professionals) who don’t have to be quite so industry-precise when it comes to color should still find it more than suitable however.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE panel uniformity

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE panel uniformity

We do a panel uniformity test on all laptops we review after their calibration, which tests for both luminance and color accuracy. We start on the centremost point as a reference and then test all the other sections of the screen (25 in total) to see how they compare.

Generally, any average color variation under 1.00 is good and shows up as green in the image above, though the average consumer won’t be able to tell much difference below 3.00. Visual editors who work with color however may have a keener eye.

The results we got on the Scar 17 SE were pretty good. Most variation was below 1.00 average delta (in green), with the left edge and bottom right corner averaging between a 1.14 and 2.58 score (in yellow). This means that the untrained eye likely will notice no variation at all on the screen, with color-trained professionals being able to detect some discrepancy along the left-hand side and bottom right. Still, this particular result is good enough for most creatives to work with unless they’re operating at the very high end of color-accurate standards. It’s just a shame the color accuracy results detailed above are not quite up to scratch.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE brightness

We finished off our color accuracy testing by running a luminance test. On the unit we tested, we got a peak brightness of 303 cd/m² and a minimum of 3.45 cd/m². This peak brightness is fine for gaming or for office use indoors, though somewhat disappointing given the price tag – we would have liked to have seen 350nits at least.

When using the laptop indoors during the daytime we’d recommend matching the brightness to 120 cd/m² which equates to a brightness setting of 38% under the brightness controls for this laptop.

Audio

ASUS tend to have the best speakers in the business as far as gaming laptops go, and the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE continues this trend. It comes with a 4-speaker system (with two downward facing woofers and two upward facing tweeters) that is capable of producing probably the best bass replication we’ve heard in a gaming laptop, though admittedly not by much – you still won’t get the kind of audio output you would from a MacBook, and bass tones remain weedy when playing music or gaming. Despite the supposedly superior speaker system, we didn’t notice much better sound than on the FLOW X16 for instance, which is a much thinner and lighter machine. Still – great quality audio for a gaming laptop.

The top volume is decently high, though again not quite as loud as we expected, particularly given the Smart Amplifier Technology. Crucially though there wasn’t any discernible loss of sound quality at max volume.

Finally, the laptop comes with Two Way AI Noise Cancellation, that can be turned on within Armoury Crate, and applied to incoming and outgoing audio when on a videocall or streaming, in order to filter any errant background noises, and improve clarity. In the brief test we conducted there was a discernable increase in audio quality during a voice chat, though the feature does drain the battery faster than if it’s turned off.

Battery life

There was an interesting quirk (possibly a bug?) with the settings within Armoury Crate for the SCAR 17 SE that meant we couldn’t quite do our usual battery test.

When we set MSHybrid (i.e. Optimus) on, to enable the laptop to use the integrated GPU (iGPU) to save power, this prevented us from altering the brightness settings – either via the keyboard controls or withing Windows. 

Consequently, we did had to do our usual test but on 100% brightness: with Quiet Mode and Panel Power Saver all turned on under Home > System Configuration within Armoury Crate. Also, One Zone Backlight Control switched on, Panel Overdrive turned off, and under Device > System the GPU Power Saving set to Eco Mode. Keyboard RGB was also turned off.

Conducting our usual test of background applications switched off, two hours of fullscreen YouTube, then the rest web browsing and typing on GoogleDocs, the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE battery life lasted 5 hours.

When we tried running the same test but with MSHyrbid off and at 38% brightness, the battery life dropped to around 2 hours 45 minutes.

For an Intel 12th gen laptop with an RTX 3080 Ti graphics card and a 17-inch screen, 5 hours is actually pretty reasonable for a gaming laptop, particularly on maximum brightness. The substantial increase in battery usage that comes with turning off MSHybrid and outputting from the dGPU only means this isn’t advisable unless you need it for gaming.

Performance, noise & temperature

Noise

In general, non-gaming usage, when set to Silent mode within Armoury Crate the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE was very quiet, though not completely silent. We noticed a sporadic but recurring quiet noise from the mechanics of the laptop which sounded a bit like a hard drive ‘head over platter’ noise (something like a “brrrrt-brrr-brrrr” sound), though much quieter. Given the laptop comes with SSDs only we’re not sure what this is, but regardless it wasn’t an irritation. This is the setting we’d recommend if you’re in a quiet office or on public transport.

On Balanced Mode the fans were definitely audible, though reasonably quiet. When gaming under Turbo or our own custom Manual preset (either of which we’d recommend), the laptop got loud, though no worse than most competing high-end laptops with this much power.

External temperature

The SCAR 17 SE remained cool to the touch for general use when switched to Balanced mode. Silent mode generated some slight warmth on the keyboard after prolonged use but below what you’d typically expect from most gaming laptops. 

When gaming on either Turbo mode or our own maximized custom preset, with both the fans and power allocation to the CU and GPU set to the max, there was a bit of warmth generated on the keyboard after a period of gaming, but it was noticeably cooler than other gaming laptops we’ve tested in the past. A good result.

Internal temperature

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 SE Tested across all settings and resolutions with fan speed CPU GPU power set to maximum

The graph above shows the temperature results for the games we tested.

As per all of our tests, we set the wattage allocation to the CPU and GPU to the maximum within the onboard software, set the fans to maximum under Home > manual mode, and turned off any energy saving settings for the GPU and other components – this will put the maximum strain on the internal temperatures of the laptop, and isn’t necessarily what you’d want for day to day gaming, but gives the best idea of the maximum performance potential.

To give you a loose idea, the low-to-mid 90’s is where thermal throttling starts to take place on a CPU, and the high 90’s is where damage to the longevity of components starts to occur. 

The results show respectable scores for the CPU max temp and average temp across all the games, but the GPU max temperatures are the lowest we’ve ever recorded by around 2 degrees celsius on average, and the average GPU temps are also fairly impressive. This can very like be attributed to the vapor-chamber cooling on the RTX 3080 Ti model of the SCAR 17 SE that we tested.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE benchmarks

We tested the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE with Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti and Intel Core i9-12950HX in both its native 1440p resolution and at 1080p across a range of titles on different graphical presets.

We made sure that MSHybrid/Optimus was turned off, using the MUX Switch within the Armoury Crate software, which is how we recommend everyone has it set when playing demanding games, as the FPS uplift it brings can be as high as 50% in some titles.

As stated above, we used Manual Mode in Armoury Crate to turn the voltage allocation and fan speed to maximum when testing each game.

For CSGO (a more CPU-leaning game) at 1080p there was virtually no change in the average FPS recorded between the different graphical settings, though there was some uplift on the 1% and 0.1% FPS as the settings were lowered. This points to the fact this is an older, less demanding game, and that the bottlenecking of performance on the lower settings is down to the limitations of the game itself. At 1440p it was a similar story, and the average FPS across both resolutions stayed within the tiny 346 – 348 FPS range. On CSGO at 1440p on the highest settings however, there were notable frame drops at 1% and 0.1%, which translates to occasional stuttering during hectic gunfights.

For Doom Eternal (a more GPU-heavy game) we saw easily the best results we’ve ever recorded in this game across every setting, but in particular the results where Ray Tracing was switched on in conjunction with the highest graphical preset led by a country mile. This speaks to the power of the higher VRAM of the RTX 3080 Ti, its 175W TGP, and the removal of some of the thermal throttling thanks to the cooling solution on the GPU.

Far Cry 6 (another more CPU-focused game) saw easily the best results we’ve recorded on the highest and medium graphical presets across both resolutions, but interestingly scored worse on the lowest graphical presets compared to the Intel Core i7-12700H-equipped XMG Neo 15 E22 with RTX 3070 Ti GPU. We’re noticing similar results in our testing of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 with AMD Ryzen 9 6980HX and RTX 3080 Ti, which probably points to some kind of update with the game changing some aspect hardware performance on the lower settings. Good results regardless.

Finally, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (a fairly GPU/CPU balanced game), which as of Spring 2022 now has FSR support. Most of our historic testing on this game could not implement this feature, but we think it best to show the best performance possible so had it set to ‘Balanced’ in the settings for all our benchmarking. Unsurprisingly, these are the most impressive results we’ve tested on this game by some margin, though it’s difficult to say how much of this is down to the implementation of FSR vs the laptop itself. You can see our ASUS ROG Zephyrus FLOW X16 review for an example of an RTX 3070 Ti, RX 6900HX laptop performing with FSR Balanced enabled, however for a comparison against another RTX 3080 Ti machine you will have to wait for our upcoming ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 review.

Synthetic benchmarks produced the following results. Again these tests were conducted with CPU and GPU voltage and fan speed set to maximum within Manual mode:

Cinebench R23

  • Multicore: 23,391
  • Single core: 2,008

3D Mark Time Spy

  • CPU: 16,995
  • GPU: 13,582
  • Overall: 14,001

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 SE vs MSI Titan GT77 vs MSI Raider GE76

As stated, the MSI Titan GT77 and MSI Raider GE76 are the main competing laptops to the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE. All three laptops have the same 175W TGP RTX 3080 Ti GPU, though have different CPUs: the SCAR 17 SE has the most powerful Intel Core i9-12950HX, the Titan GT77 has the i9-12900HX, and the Raider GE76 has the i9-12900HK wither fewer cores and cache. 

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet had chance to test these MSI laptops ourselves, but have done some dutiful scouring of the web for other reviewers we trust to see their benchmark results. On average it seems that the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE performs about as well in-game as the MSI Titan GT77 in FPS terms: performing a few percent better in some titles, but worse in others by about the same. You’d be unlikely to notice much difference between the performance of the two in-game unless you were actually looking at the FPS count. In synthetic benchmarks simulating creative workloads, the Strix SCAR 17 SE just about edges ahead of the Titan, most likely due to its slightly more powerful CPU.

The Raider GE76 performs about 3-5% worse in FPS terms across the board compared to either of these two laptops, and has inferior workstation performance due to its relatively weaker CPU (though still pretty impressive).

In terms of other features, the MSI Titan GT77 comes with a webcam, SD card reader, four upgradeable RAM slots (as opposed to two on the SCAR 17 SE), the option to buy the machine equipped with 64GB, and four upgradeable M.2 SSD slots (one of the slots being PCIe Gen 5), albeit with no RAID 0 option (meaning faster SSDs for the Scar 17 SE). The displays of both machines are comparable, but the Scar SE 17 has superior DCI-P3 color replication, with the Titan only managing 73.2% coverage. The Titan has worse speakers, but similar battery life. The features of the Raider are very similar to the Titan, with the exception of only having two upgradable RAM and SSD slots.

Final Word

Everything considered, the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE is in at least joint first place for the title of most powerful gaming laptop, though we’re a bit less entusiastic about it than we would like to be considering the very high price tag. For an MSRP at around $4,299, we would have expected to have seen a webcam, SD card reader, and better color accuracy, weak points which all detract from its usefulness as a dual-use creative/workstation machine, regardless of the CPU’s power. Options for overclocked RAM, a fingerprint scanner, and particularly G-Sync would also have been nice. Then again, we’d certainly score it fairly evenly with the competing MSI Titan GT77: although this has a webcam and an SD card reader, as well as greater RAM and SSD expansion options, it’s a bit bigger and heavier, is not quite as powerful in workstation tasks, has worse speakers, and a narrower color gamut for creatives interested in working in the DCI-P3 space.

Ultimately, it all comes down to value for money, and if you’re just after an ultra-powerful gaming rig, we’d probably opt for the slightly less powerful MSI Raider GE76 if you can pick one up for substantially cheaper (the best deal we’ve seen is the 4K version on Newegg for $3,690). If you really want the most powerful laptop around though, and are into the unique ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition styling, then it’s certainly a worthy option.

ASUS ROG Strix SCAR 17 SE

CPU
Intel Core i9-12950HX
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (150W) / RTX 3080 Ti (175W)
RAM
32GB 4800MHz DDR5 (max capacity 64GB)
Storage
4TB M.2 4.0 NVMe (Raid 0)
Screen Size
17.3″
Max Refresh Rate
240Hz

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