Asus ROG Strix GA15: Review and performance analysis

Asus ROG Strix GA15: This nimble gaming machine can take anything you throw at it, with some caveats

The Asus ROG Strix GA15. DH photo/Varun HK

The Asus ROG Strix GA15 is a well-built machine. It's got the looks down for the ROG-class of products, its hardware is really impressive and the bundled Asus software to control noise and appearance is a nifty add-on. But all this is secondary to how the computer actually performs in games.

With that in mind, here is our review of the Asus ROG Strix GA15, Asus' 'approachable' gaming desktop.

Asus ROG Strix GA15 technical specifications:

The unit we received is powered by an AMD Ryzen 3700X, which AMD says runs at 3.6 GHz at base and upto 4.4 GHz at boost. The CPU is paired with a bog standard CPU cooler, which is passable and does what it should.

The RAM is 16 GB in size, configured on a single-channel mode with one 16 GB stick. It runs at 3200 MHz and CPU-Z returned a CAS latency of 22-22-22-52. The graphics processor is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti, which is an Asus OEM blower-style card, and the storage is an Intel 660p SSD with a capacity of 1 terabyte, along with a host of SATA connectors on the motherboard to hook up more storage to.

ASUS ROG Strix GA15 testing methodology:

To put a ballpark on the performance a user can expect from the GA15 out of the box, we updated all the drivers to their latest versions and Windows to 1909 available via the Windows Update utility. This included Nvidia's graphics driver, AMD's system software, and the Realtek audio software.

To test the performance of the system, we used CPU-Z's internal test, 7-Zip's inbuilt LZMA benchmark, Cinebench 15 and R20, and GFX Bench for synthetics, while for gaming we used Resident Evil 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Halo: Reach, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Call of Duty: World War II. We used FRAPS to benchmark the games for a five-minute duration and tabulated the data for frametimes (the stability and smoothness of the rendering/output) and average performance.

ASUS ROG Strix GA15 synthetic performance:

Right off the bat, the ROG Strix GA15 did not disappoint in our synthetic tests. In CPU-Z, the 3700X registered a whopping 5440 in the multi-thread score, and 508 in the single-thread score.

Menawhile, on Cinebench R15, we saw 2002 points on multi-thread and 200 points on the single-thread score, while on Cinebench R20, the multi-thread score came up to 4325 and the single thread score came up to 492.

Our 7-Zip benchmark results were equally impressive. To ensure the CPU was fully utilised across the entire test, we aimed at filling as much of the memory as we could across single-thread, quad-thread, eight threads and 16 threads. It quickly became clear in our testing that the CPU has a little room to spare, which can likely be filled with more RAM.

We used GFX Bench's inbuilt Aztec rendering demos across DirectX11, 12 and Vulkan for an approximation of the kind of performance a user can expect on the GeForce GTX 1660Ti. The numbers were certainly impressive, peaking at over 400 FPS on the Vulkan tests, while averaging at 283 FPS on DirectX 11, 202 FPS on DirectX 12 and 319 FPS on Vulkan.

Asus ROG Strix GA15 gaming tests:

For benchmarking the above mentioned games, we used FRAPS to record the minimum and average framerates, and then tabulated the data with FRAFS to get the frametimes (the stability and smoothness of the rendering/output), which is represented as a yellow-coloured graph over a period of five minutes.

Call of Duty: World War II

The 14th main entry in the Call of Duty series, World War II is built was a number of visual quality settings that can be tweaked by the player. The game supports adjustable texture quality, texture filtering and anti-aliasing like many PC games, but adds a number of fine-tuned settings like adjustable subsurface scattering, volumetric lighting, ambient occulion, shadow resolution and depth, motion blur, among others. The game is quite demanding when pushed to the max, and we saw an average of 151 FPS and a low of 71 FPS.

Halo: Reach

Part of the Master Chief Collection by Microsoft, Halo: Reach was the first of the collection to be released on PC last year. The game does not yet feature any in-depth control of graphics options, relying instead on presets, but it does allow users to set frame-rate limits among other options. Our test yielded an average frame rate of 264 FPS and a low of 88 FPS.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Even after going free-to-play, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive commands a strong playerbase on Steam, with the game regularly reporting over 300,000 players at any given time. It also helps that the game is supremely well-optimised and can run on a very large variety of hardware configurations.

In our test, the game returned an eye-watering 276 FPS on average, which it maintained for pretty much the entire run without any hiccups, and the low was 52 FPS. Warning: You might have to squint a little to see some of the frametimes in this graph.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

A rather controversial game during its release, in part due to Square Enix's handling of microtransactions and DLC, Deux Ex: Mankind Divided in nonetheless a decent follow-up to Deux Ex: Human Revolution, and it helps that it runs pretty smooth, much like Adam Jensen's smooth-talking bio-mechanical implants. That is not to say there weren't issues in benchmarking the game, given its proclivity to go into a cutscene everytime Adam knocks someone out. We saw an average of 81 FPS, with a really low low of 17 FPS.

Resident Evil 3

Resident Evil made a huge comeback in 2018 with Resident Evil 7, featuring an all-new engine, a return to the more horror-oriented roots of the franchise and a generally creepy presentation. The effect continued on with Resident Evil 2 Remake, and now with Resident Evil 3. The game features a number of customizable video options for fine control of performance and visual quality, and it runs really smooth, to boot.

Our test returned an average of 130 FPS and a low of just 91 FPS, making this the smoothest test we conducted after Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

 

Asus ROG Strix GA15 shortcomings:

While the performance is more than satisfactory, there are a few shortcomings that need to be addressed when it comes to the GA15.

Asus markets the desktop as the more 'approachable' one, compared to its beefier cousin, the GA35. However, to achieve that goal, Asus appears to have cut some corners here and there.

Firstly, the memory is configured only with a single 16 GB stick in our unit. It is well-documented that AMD's Ryzen prefers, and indeed excels, when it has a copious amount of memory bandwidth, which is only available when it has more channels to work with. In the mainstream Ryzen's case, it is dual-channel memory. The presence of a single-channel memory gimps the CPU somewhat, as comparing it to the Cinebench R20 results, the CPU is missing upto 10 per cent of its potential performance.

The other issue is the CPU cooler. While also perfectly adequate, the cooler is likely playing a part in holding the CPU back, as we never saw it hit the maximum rated boost clock, with it hovering at around 4.1 GHz in our single-core tests. Aside from that, though the cooler is supposed to be near-silent - which it is most of the time - when it ramps up, it tends to get distractingly loud, and the CPU hit just shy 90 degrees Celsius during some of our tests, bringing it dangerously close to throttling temperatures.

Asus ROG Strix GA15 Pricing and closing thoughts:

The Asus ROG Strix GA15, despite its shortcomings, is a pretty competent gaming machine, especially for eSports players. It has room for further performance enhancements via better cooling and better memory, but what Asus bundles in the package is not a half-bad deal as far as pre-built PCs go.

Pros:

Solid performance

Good hardware

Asus Armoury software is helpful for newcomers to PC tweaking

Cons:

Mediocre thermals

Ryzen is gimped with single-channel memory and poor cooler

The Asus ROG Strix GA15 starts at Rs 65,990. The unit we received costs Rs 1.2 lakh.