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ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 review: A portable 15-inch powerhouse

By Kenny Yeo - 15 Aug 2018

Performance Analysis

So how does the ZenBook Pro 15 perform?

In a word: good. Thanks to its Core i9 processor, the generous amount of memory, and discrete GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, the ZenBook Pro 15 performed significantly better than your typical ultraportable class notebook. It was mostly on a par with the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, which can be spec’d with the same Core i9 processor.

Gaming performance was also decent but some ways off when compared to "dedicated" gaming notebooks like the Aftershock APEX-15 mostly because of its slightly less powerful GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU. Nevertheless, it will be able to play most games at Full-HD comfortably. Just don't expect it to run modern games smoothly at its native 4K resolution or at extreme graphics settings. Here are some of the notebooks we'll be pegging it against for various comparisons:-

Test notebooks compared
 
 

Graphs and analysis to follow below and here are the benchmarks used:

  • PCMark 10
  • PCMark 8
  • 3DMark
  • VRMark
  • Deus Ex
  • Ashes of Singularity

If you want to check out more charts and find out more about the ZenBook Pro 15's throttling habits, visit our Core i9 throttle wars article where I stress-tested the new 15-inch MacBook Pro and ZenBook Pro 15.

 

PCMark 10

On PCMark 10, we can see that the ZenBook Pro 15 was a good match for the new 15-inch MacBook Pro which is also powered by the same Core i9 processor. It was also significantly faster than the LG gram 15 which is powered by the less powerful quad-core Core i7-8550U processor.

 

PCMark 8

The ZenBook Pro 15’s performance on PCMark 8 was good especially on the graphics-intensive workloads like Creative and Apps (Adobe). The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU is heads and shoulders faster than Intel’s integrated graphics solution.

 

3DMark

Let’s compare the ZenBook Pro 15’s graphics performance against other 15-inch gaming notebooks like the Aftershock APEX-15. We can clearly see that while the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU in the ZenBook Pro 15 is miles better than an integrated GPU (LG gram 15), but it was no match for the APEX-15’s GeForce GTX 1060. The ZenBook Pro 15 trailed even more against the GeForce GTX 1070 GPUs found in the Razer Blade and Aftershock PRIME-15. Its scores were only about 48% that of the Blade’s, but it is what it is based on its specs.

How about against another multimedia workhorse outfitted with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU too? The ZenBook Pro UX550 launched earlier this year is one such notebook and it performs a tad better than the new ZenBook Pro 15 in gaming benchmarks.

 

VRMark

No surprises again as the ZenBook Pro 15 trailed the two Aftershock and Razer machines. Its score of 3320 translates to an average frame rate of about 72fps, which is below the target frame rate of 90 fps. In other words, the ZenBook Pro 15 isn’t quite ideal for VR applications. If VR is important to you, definitely opt for a notebook that has a GeForce GTX 1060 at the minimum. Even against another notebook specced with the same GPU, it seems that the ZenBook Pro 15 is trailing it a bit.

 

Deus Ex

Deus Ex is a graphically intensive game and the ZenBook Pro 15 managed barely playable frame rates. The Aftershock APEX-15 with its more powerful GeForce GTX 1060 GPU was about 70% faster overall. The Razer Blade and Aftershock PRIME-15 were about 220% faster. Clearly, the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti isn’t quite as adept at running games as the GeForce GTX 1060. That said, I think most users would be able to squeak past if they turned the graphics settings or resolution down a little more (for which we've an optimization guide). It’s not ideal, but that's the limitation of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Further to that, once more, the ZenBook Pro 15 was found trailing behind its earlier released model.

 

Ashes of Singularity

The ZenBook Pro 15 performed a little better on Ashes of Singularity, managing a rather decent 35.9fps at Full-HD resolution with the graphics set to ‘High’ and MSAA set to 8x. You can get even better frame rates if you are willing to sacrifice some graphics quality. Again, the Aftershock and Razer notebooks were much stronger performers because of their more capable GPUs. Still, gaming is entirely possible on the ZenBook Pro 15 as long as you keep your expectations in check and lower the graphics settings.

  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 8
  • Mobility 7.5
The Good
Great performance
Touchscreen 4K display
USB-C Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-A ports
Relatively compact and light
Competitively priced
Generously spec'd with 16GB RAM & 1TB SSD
The Bad
ScreenPad appears superfluous
No full-size SD card reader
Could do with a more powerful GPU