Internal: processor, memory and storage
It is clear that the Asus ROG Strix Hero II and Scar II are in good condition in terms of appearance and user experience. But, what about the interior? It often happens that a manufacturer does not strike the right balance here, or has to cut back because too much has been spent elsewhere. What does Asus do?
Anyway, no worries about the processor used: you get a Core i7-8750H (like our samples) or a Core i5-8300H, so a six-core or four-core CPU, from Intel. For gaming, this manufacturer's computing cores are still preferred, and both processors would be acceptable to us. The i7-8750H may be overkill, with its HyperThreading and 12 virtual cores, but that means you're ready for the future when (we hope) games make better use of multithreading and low level api's, well.
A quick comparison in the processor benchmark Cinebench R15 shows that these first Coffee Lake-H notebooks that we test in the 15-inch segment are destroying processors from previous generations. We secretly wanted to try a Core i5-8300H, to see how it compares to the 7700HQ of the previous generation, but we'll have to wait a while for that.
Memory and storage
In terms of memory Asus delivers DDR4-2666 'up to 32GB', and in the samples we got the memory banks were filled with this maximum capacity. That's fun, of course, but in practice you'll soon be buying a model with 8GB (only the cheapest Hero II) or 16GB. Given the memory prices this is not crazy, memory is currently anything but free. The memory is in standard SO-DIMM locks and is therefore easy to replace or expand.
If we look at the storage, we see in our samples in the Hero II a Toshiba SSD, the THNSN5256GPU7, better known as the GX3, while in the Scar II we find a Samsung MZVLB512HAJQ, better known as the PM981. The capacity also differs: Hero II has 256GB of fast storage, the Scar II has double the amount, at 512GB. The test results of PCMark8 show that the Samsung drive is clearly faster, but we have to emphasize that the Toshiba is by no means a slow SSD: it still performs significantly better than what we usually find in many notebooks, as shown by the graph below.
That's not all, because our test samples were also equipped with secondary storage in the form of a 1 TB hard disk. The Hero II came with a Seagate ST1000LM049, the Scar II with a ST1000LX015 from the same manufacturer. For those who have neglected their studies of the type designations of OEM harddisks: the first is a 7200 rpm disk with 128MB cache, the second is a so-called SSHD that runs at 5400 rpm, but in addition to the 128MB DRAM cache also has 8GB NAND flash as an extra buffer.
Above you can see the inside of the notebooks, on the left the Scar II and on the right the Hero II. There you can see that they differ slightly from one another: the cooling solution of the Scar II is even more robust, with an extra heatpipe. This makes sense, as you have the option of choosing a significantly more powerful video card with the Scar.
The other differences are basically non-existent. Asus has provided both models with a significantly improved cooling solution compared to the previous generation. The heatsinks have 1 mm thick cooling fins, which increases the cooling surface. The fans are equipped with a special dust outlet to keep them dust-free, so that they are capable of cooling the components properly even after a long period of time. These fans have 71 fan blades and a 12V power supply, which allows them to run considerably faster. According to Asus, the 20% higher rotation speed should result in 42.5% more airflow and even 92% more air pressure. Another improvement over the older design is the larger cooling plates on the processor, GPU and current control, which allow heat to be dissipated more quickly.
With the key combination Fn+F5 you can switch the fan speed between quiet (35 dB max), medium (45 dB max) and maximum (55 dB max). The latter is really audible, the middle one is not too loud and the first one is de facto silent in most environments.
Of course, it's nice to see how effective the cooling is when you stress the laptops. The two left images of the thermal camera are from the Hero II, the two right images from the Scar II.