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ASUS ROG Strix Scar III GL531GW review: A gaming notebook with a touch of BMW Designworks

By Koh Wanzi - 24 Nov 2019

Conclusion

The ASUS ROG Scar III GL531GW is really fast, but only if it has dual-channel memory.

A brand new Scar

For most intents and purposes, the ROG Strix Scar III GL531GW is a really capable gaming laptop. It looks the part too, with a stunning RGB light bar that wraps around on three sides. I still find it a little gimmicky to market it as a laptop for FPS players, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't work well for that purpose. It checks most of the right boxes, boasting a 240Hz display and tweaks to the keyboard that make it easier to access the most important buttons. 

The Keystone NFC key is a unique addition, even though it doesn't really change how you use the laptop all that drastically. 

The Keystone comes with a keychain accessory of sorts where you can stow it.

Unfortunately, the default configuration available locally has just 16GB of single-channel memory, which seriously affects its performance in games. Of course, you can quite easily add on a second stick, at which point the laptop really shines, but the idea of having to purchase a single RAM stick and install it sounds like a lot of hassle that nobody wants. 

When I buy a gaming laptop, I want it to work right the moment I power it on. ASUS says that leaving one of the DIMM slots free helps customers save because they can simply buy one more stick of RAM instead of, say, a 2x16GB kit (if they were upgrading from 2x8GB), but it still doesn't seem worth it to me. Furthermore, the performance deficit that comes with single-channel memory is massive, and it doesn't seem right that I'd have to pay more to upgrade the laptop in order to get my money's worth. 

The memory management issue may not be the fault of ASUS, but the onus is still on the company to offer the best performance it can.

The Scar III is hardly cheap either. I could maybe accept having to do some upgrades myself on a more affordable laptop, but at S$3,598, having dual-channel memory is really the least the company can do. 

  • Design 8
  • Features 8.5
  • Performance 7.5
  • Value 6.5
  • Mobility 6
The Good
Good build quality
240Hz IPS display is bright and vivid
Easily accessible DIMM slots and storage bay
The Bad
Single-channel memory comes with a massive performance hit
Not a Max-Q notebook, so chassis is rather thick and heavy
Mediocre battery life