ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Gaming Laptop

Introduction

Best Buy has reduced the price of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Gaming Laptop to $1199.99. The original price when this model was introduced earlier this year was $1,449.99, and it quickly sold out. This is a very powerful laptop in a relatively small form factor with excellent battery life.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Gaming Laptop

The configuration that Best Buy is selling has a 7nm 8C/16T AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor. This is the current generation Zen 2 mobile processor that performs about the same as a desktop Zen 2 Ryzen 7 3700X processor for both single and multi-threaded performance. It also comes with 16GB memory, a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q discrete GPU, and a 1TB M.2 NVMe QLC SSD. The screen is 1920 x 1080, it has Wi-Fi 6, and it weighs 3.5lbs.

Partial Specifications

This model has two USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A ports, two, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C ports (one supports DisplayPort 1.4 and power delivery) and a full-size HDMI 2.0b port. It also has a separate barrel power port so you don’t have to use one of the USB-C ports for charging (but you can if you want). One downside is that this machine does not have a built-in web cam. Detailed specifications are here.

That Ryzen 9 4900HS processor has a TDP of 35 watts (which is lower than a regular Ryzen 9 4900H), so it has excellent battery life. If you have a typical Intel 4C/8T laptop, with something like an Intel Core i7-8665U processor, this would be a very substantial performance upgrade.

Reviews

There have been many, mostly very favorable reviews of this model laptop. Here are a few of them.

Upgrade Options

Fortunately, you have some options to upgrade this laptop after you buy it. The stock Intel 660p 1TB QLC NAND M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD can be replaced with just about any M.2 2280 NVMe SSD. This gives you the option to use a faster or larger capacity drive if you want. There is no PCIe 4.0 support, so there is no need to get a PCIe 4.0 drive. Here are a couple of good choices:

You also have options to upgrade the RAM from the stock configuration of two 8GB DDR4-3200 SODIMMs. Unfortunately, one 8GB SODIMM is soldered in, but the other is replaceable. This means you could replace the 8GB SODIMM with a 16GB SODIMM or even a 32GB SODIMM, which would take you up to either 24GB or 40GB of RAM. Ideally, you want to use matching capacities and speeds so that both SODIMMs are running completely in dual-channel mode at the full rated speed. Anandtech has more information about this here.

Upgrading the memory is a little more difficult because you only need one larger capacity SODIMM (either 16GB or 32GB). SODIMMs are often sold as a two pack. If possible, you want a DDR4-3200 SODIMM, but you can use a lower speed, such as 2666, 2933, or 3000 if necessary. A single 16GB SODIMM will be about $75 and a 32GB SODIMM will be about $140.

Final Words

Doing the upgrade math, the stock laptop is $1,200. A 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus is currently about $165, while a 2TB model is about $300. If you bought a 16GB SODIMM it would cost about $75, while a 32GB SODIMM is about $140. This means you have a total cost range of anywhere from $1200 to $1640, plus sales tax.

Personally, I would just start out with a stock unit, and see how it performs for you. If you decide you you need or want a memory or storage upgrade, you can always do that later. NAND flash prices (for SSDs) are currently predicted to decrease by 20-25% over the next couple of quarters, so waiting will save you some money.

I still think that desktop machines are a better choice if you don’t need portability, but I know many people prefer laptops. If you need or simply want a laptop, a model like this that has the performance of a good mid-range desktop machine at under 4lbs is something to consider.

If you have any questions about this post, please ask me here in the comments or on Twitter. I am pretty active on Twitter as GlennAlanBerryThanks for reading!

Categories AMD, PC Hardware

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