Asus Rog Zephyrus G14 GamingSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

ASUS has a new 14-inch gaming laptop coming out dubbed the ROG Zephyrus G14. It does quite a lot of firsts, including offering in some models an LED matrix panel. But the real story is this is one of the first gaming laptops that utilize AMD's latest Ryzen 4000 Mobile processors, specifically the R7-4800HS and the just-announced R9-4900HS.

I've been using the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 with that Ryzen R9 paired with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q processor. While my full review of this laptop is coming in a few days, so far, I'm quite impressed with the performance and overall experience.

Here are some quick thoughts and early benchmarks to see how the Ryzen R9 compared to Intel's i9-9980HK found in the Dell XPS 15 (7590).

AMD ROG Zephyrus G14: Design and specifications

Asus Rog Zephyrus G14 Lid SideSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

I think from the outside, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is incredible looking. It's clean, minimal, and that cover with 6,536 precise perforations looks excellent. Some models will have a somewhat gimmicky LED that lets you put messages on that cover. I also dig the little metal corner tag with the Republic of Gamers on it.

The laptop is quite thin and light at just 1.6 kg (3.52 lbs). I personally find 14-inch laptops the ideal size, and this one proves the point. This laptop is solid, with no flex and clean edges.

Category TKTK
OS Windows 10 Pro
Display 14-inches
1080p at 60Hz or 120Hz
1440p at 60Hz
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 4600HS
AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS
AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS
Security Fingerprint (single sign-on), power button
Graphics NVIDIA GTX 1650
NVIDIA GTX 1650Ti
NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti Max-Q
NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q
Memory Up to 32GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Security Built in fingerprint scanner
Wireless Wi-Fi 6
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 PD
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI 2.0b
1 x 3.5mm headset jack
Audio 2x 2.5W speakers with Smart AMP technology
Dolby Atmos
Weight 1.6 kg (3.52 lbs)

Opening it up and things get a little esoteric. ASUS sees the target audience for this laptop as between ages 15 and 25 with a more "trendy and edgy" taste for aesthetics. It's not my style as it's all a bit like a fighter jet. That said, it all works and feels great. Once I started gaming, I wasn't bothered by the looks.

The keyboard is quite good too, and the trackpad is excellent.

This laptop is the first ROG edition to have ASUS's ErgoLift design. When you open the lid, it lifts the back of the computer off the table to let more air circulation in (and improve the audio). With the side effect of slightly-angled typing, I adore this feature.

AMD ROG Zephyrus G14 audio is…good?!

Asus Rog Zephyrus G14 BottomSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

Companies like Acer and ASUS usually come at the bottom of my lists of laptops with great audio. Color me surprised to see the ROG Zephyrus G14 with an admirable sound profile.

Sure, you get Dolby Atmos, which is excellent, but it's the two top-firing tweeters and two woofers (beneath) that drive the audio. It gets loud and has resonance (thanks to the ErgoLift).

AMD ROG Zephyrus G14 benchmarks: AMD Ryzen 4900HS crushes

Asus Rog Zephyrus G14 HeroSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

I lampooned Microsoft's usage of the Ryzen 3000-series in the Surface Laptop 3 15-inch. It is merely an OK processor that is hugely overshadowed by Intel's 10th Gen series. That's why a lot is riding on AMD's Ryzen 4000 Mobile series.

I recently spent time with AMD learning about these new chips that make use of 7nm fin field-effect transistor (FinFET) fabrication technology. Performance, battery life, and all those cores could let AMD beat Intel this generation (and if not, certainly the next).

Processor Cores/Threads Base/Boost (GHz) Cache Graphics TDP
Ryzen 9 4900H 8/16 3.3 (up to 4.4) 12MB Radeon 45W
Ryzen 9 4900HS 8/16 3.0 (up to 4.3) 12MB Radeon 35W

The Ryzen 4900HS was only announced two weeks ago. It's AMD's answer to Intel's Core i9-9980HK, which has been ridiculed a bit in tech media. That Core i9 is quite fast, turbo-clocking up to 5.0 GHz, but sustained speeds and thermal constraints often make it only suitable for short bursts. Indeed, because of these limitations, it's rare to find the Core i9 in a proper gaming laptop instead of something like the XPS 15, which is more productivity-based.

The Ryzen 4900HS has some interesting properties. It's an eight-core (16 thread), 7nm monster, but it only uses 35 watts of power instead of the usual 45 watts found in Intel's line (and even AMD's other Ryzen 9 4900H).

Processor Cores/Threads Base/Boost (GHz) Cache Graphics TDP
Core i9-9980HK 8/16 2.4 (up to 5.0) 16MB Intel UHD 45W
Ryzen 9 4900HS 8/16 3.0 (up to 4.3) 12MB Radeon 35W

The Ryzen 4900HS bursts to 4.3GHz and has a 12MB cache. Compared to the new AMD Ryzen 7 4800H/HS series, it has a slightly faster CPU clock by 100Hz and a speedier GPU clock of 1,750 MHz (vs. 1,600 for the Ryzen 7) with an extra graphics core.

So, how does the Ryzen 9, when paired with an RTX 2060 (Max-Q), actually perform? I'm glad you asked.

CPU

Geekbench 5.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 Ryzen 4900HS 1,221 7,982
Dell XPS 15 7590 Core i9-9980HK 1,176 7,624
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) i7-9850H 1,160 4,168
Dynabook Portégé X30-F i7-8665U 1,236 3,473
Dynabook Tecra X50-F i7-8665U 1,241 3,043
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 i7-8565U 1,111 2,965
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Xeon E-2276M 1,237 6,152
Surface Laptop 3 13.5 Core i5-1035G7 1,177 4,413
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 Core i7-1065G7 1,209 3,571
Surface Laptop 3 15 Ryzen 5 769 2,720

PCMark

PCMark 10

Device Score
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 5,707
Dell XPS 15 7590 5,521
HP ENVY 32 AIO 5,292
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) 4,915
Dynabook Portégé X30-F 3,881
Dynabook Tecra X50-F 4,128
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 3,764
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 5,668
Surface Laptop 3 15 (AMD) 4,006
Dell Precision 3541 3,906

3DMark

Time Spy

Device GPU Score
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 RTX 2060 Max-Q 6,224
HP ENVY 32 AIO RTX 2060 Max-Q 5,664
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) GTX 1650 Max-Q 3,190
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Quadro RTX 5000 6,760
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q 6,406
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 RTX 2080 Max-Q 7,128

3DMark

Fire Strike

Device GPU Score
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 RTX 2060 Max-Q 14,709
HP ENVY 32 AIO RTX 2060 Max-Q 13,163
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) GTX 1650 Max-Q 7,198
Dell XPS 15 (7590) GTX 1650 Max-Q 7,763
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Quadro RTX 5000 16,367
Lenovo Legion Y740 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q 14,669
Lenovo Legion Y740 17 RTX 2080 Max-Q 16,303
Razer Blade 15 GTX 1070 13,560

Cinebench

Cinebench (R20) (Higher is better)

Device CPU Range
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 Ryzen 4900HS 4,197 to 4,390
Dell XPS 15 (7590) Core i9-9980HK 3,174 to 3,283
HP ENVY 32 AIO Core i7-9700 2,906 to 3,073
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) Core i7-9850H 1,730 to 2,495
Dynabook Portégé X30-F Core i7-8665U 1,242 to 1,313
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 Xeon E-2276M 2,686 to 2,701
Surface Laptop 3 13.5 Core i5-1035G4 1,584 to 1,606
Surface Laptop 3 15 Core i7-1065G7 1,703 to 1,745

Running Cinebench four times in a row, the scores show the following ranges. Typically, the results drop on successive runs due to thermal constraints on the processor.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

Device Read Write
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS G14 1,907 MB/s 1,751 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) 3,416 MB/s 3,016 MB/s
Dynabook Portégé X30-F 529 MB/s 348 MB/s
Dynabook Tecra X50-F 3,400 MB/s 1,952 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad P53 3,567.23 MB/s 2,813.25 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad P52 3,120 MB/s 1,551.5 MB/s
Dell XPS 15 7590 3,000 MB/s 2,796 MB/s
MSI PS63 Modern 3,300 MB/s 1,875 MB/s

.

The Ryzen 9 4900HS does fantastically well. On Cinebench (R20), the Ryzen 9 4900HS trounces everything in its path (4,390) making it easily one of the most powerful laptop processors around besting the Core i9-9880HK in the XPS 15 (3,283).

On Fire Strike when you combine the Ryzen 9 4900HS with the RTX 2060 Max-Q (14,709), you get a system that beats Lenovo's Legion Y740 15 with an RTX 2070 Max-Q (14,669). The ROG Zephyrus G14 (14,709) even easily beats the HP ENVY 32 all-in-one desktop PC with its 65-watt Core i7-9700 and RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU (13,163).

Cinebench R20 Amd RyzenThat is a ridiculous score for a laptop.Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

Regarding system stability, the Ryzen 9 held up under load. On 3DMark's Time Spy Stress Test, the ROG Zephyrus G14 earned a passing grade, with 97.7 percent.

Turning to more real-world tests, I played Destiny 2 on a mix of high and highest for full HD graphics. The 120Hz display and CPU/GPU combo were able to average around 75 frames-per-second. Of course, the more significant limiter here is the RTX 2060 Max Q GPU rather than the CPU per se.

Finally, for fans and cooling, there's not a lot to say. ASUS gives beneficial profiles, including silent, performance, and turbo, that balance the system's power with fan noise. Silent is reasonably quiet and ideal for when using the ROG Zephyrus G14 as an average laptop for work or web (the fans still whir a bit, but it's okay). Performance pushes higher towards gaming, and turbo anything goes, including wildly loud fans (all the performance tests here were done under turbo).

And yeah, on the turbo, don't expect to use the ROG Zephyrus G14 in your lap. The bottom of the PC hit a scorching 123 degrees Fahrenheit (51 degrees Celsius). The good news is I was impressed with how quickly it could cool down. Once CPU demand paused, those fans rapidly dissipated heat within 5 to 10 seconds. That means you can stop and exit a game, and by the time you close the lid, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is cool enough for your bad (and those fans cut off too).

AMD ROG Zephyrus G14 more to come

Asus Rog Zephyrus G14 RyzenSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

The ROG Zephyrus G14 starts at around $1,750, and it should be hitting various markets in the coming weeks. Pre-orders briefly went live last week in Europe.

I've been quite surprised by this laptop even if it has no webcam (yeah, that's right). I really like the size and feel of it. Though the keyboard deck is a little corny, I also recognize I'm far from the target demographic, so that's fine.

My first impression of that AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS though, is exceptionally favorable. It's clear AMD has done a lot in the mobile space for 2020. How battery life holds up on the gaming laptop in the coming days will be very interesting (resume speeds are excellent).

For those more curious about ultra-thin laptops, I'll be getting my hands on some of those new Ryzen 4000 U-Series in the coming weeks. Seeing how they compare to Intel's 10th Gen Comet Lake and Ice Lake will be fascinating.

New hotness

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

A flagship for AMD's new mobile Ryzen chips

The G14 makes use of AMD's new Ryzen 4000 Series mobile chips, paired with NVIDIA GPUs and even an LED panel on the lid to display some custom flair, because why wouldn't you want that?

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