After a bit of a pandemic-induced break, I decided to buy myself a new primary personal laptop. Specifically, an ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, model GA402RJ-G14.R96700. This will be my quick ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Review.
Perhaps surprisingly, I bought this machine from a brick-and-mortar Best Buy in Parker, Colorado. This machine was $1649.99 before tax. To be clear, this is the new 2022 model that was announced in February. There are still some leftover 2021 models being sold, so make sure you know the difference.
This post will be a limited review and teardown of this machine, with some details that I have not seen in other reviews of this product.
Why Do I Need a New Laptop?
Well, to be honest, I don’t really “need” a new laptop. I just wanted one. My previous personal laptop is an HP Spectre x13 Convertible with a typical 4C/8T 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U “Whiskey Lake” processor from Q3 2018. I actually bought it in April 2019. Even though it is “old” by my standards, it is still a perfectly capable machine for normal daily use.
This new machine has a number of important improvements that made it an attractive replacement for my usage plans. These include Wi-Fi 6E, a much faster processor, discrete graphics and PCIe 4.0 storage. Additionally, there is an HDMI port, better USB connectivity, a better display, and better battery life.
This is an actual file transfer from a Wi-Fi 6 router to the new laptop.
This is the same file transfer from a Wi-Fi 6 router to the old laptop which only has Wi-Fi 5 capability. As you can see, the throughput is about twice as high.
This will be my personal laptop when I travel to SQL Server events, and it should be perfectly capable of doing presentations and demonstrations for several years.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 – 2022 Details
This is the 3rd generation ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 that uses the 8C/16T 6nm AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS Zen 3+ “Rembrandt” mobile processor. This APU has a new AMD Radeon 680M RDNA2 iGPU with 12 compute units that has excellent performance by itself. There is also a separate discrete GPU, which is an AMD Radeon RX 6700S. The discrete GPU makes this laptop suitable for more intense gaming and for tasks like video rendering.
This particular SKU has 16GB of DDR5-4800 memory with two SODIMMs, so it runs in dual-channel mode. Unfortunately, only one SODIMM is user replaceable. The other one is soldered in. This means that you can replace one 8GB stick with a 16GB or 32GB stick to get more RAM capacity, but it won’t all be in dual-channel mode.
The storage situation is both good and bad. ASUS brags about having a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive, which is true (and good). Unfortunately, the actual drive is a 1TB Micron 2450 which is an OEM drive targeted at the value segment. Its performance is disappointing for a PCIe 4.0 drive, but better than any PCIe 3.0 drive.
The display is a non-touch 14-inch 2560×1600 IPS 120Hz that is rated at 500 nits. ASUS calls it a Nebula display. This 2022 model finally has a 720P webcam on the top bezel, which was something the previous generation lacked.
For wired connectivity, there is one HDMI 2.0 port, along with two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports. It weighs 3.64 lbs and is 0.73″ thick (which is a little chunky). For wireless connectivity, we have Wi-Fi 6E and BT 5.2 using a MediaTek MT7922 chipset.
Old vs. New
The 2018-vintage HP Spectre x360 13-ap0023dx Convertible does have a few advantages over the 2022 ASUS ROG Zephrus G14. It has a 4K touchscreen rather than a 2K non-touchscreen. But the HP uses a 16×9 screen with a pretty thick upper and lower bezel, while the ASUS uses a 16×10 screen with much thinner bezels.
For external connectivity, the HP has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. The Ryzen 9 6900HS has USB 4.0 support, which is supposed to include Thunderbolt support. Unfortunately, when I plugged my Samsung X5 External Thunderbolt drive into the ASUS I got an error message about limited TB support. This is something that might be fixed in the future with a firmware or driver update.
Being a smaller 13″ laptop, it only weighs 2.9 lbs which feels quite a bit lighter than the ASUS.
Comparative Benchmark Results
First, we have the CPU-Z benchmark results. The AMD Ryzen is dramatically faster for both single-threaded and multi-threaded performance, as you would expect. The Intel CPU is a 4C/8T low power “U” SKU that is nearly four years old, so this is not very fair to Intel.
Having twice the cores and much faster single-threaded performance gives you over three times the multi-threaded performance.
The increase in storage performance is much less dramatic, at least with the OEM Micron 2450 SSD. Write performance is significantly better than most PCIe 3.0 SSDs. These results are quite low for a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, but to be fair, this won’t be noticeable for gaming or typical daily usage.
Sequential performance matters to me though, since I will be running SQL Server and doing demonstrations that depend on sequential read and write performance. I will be replacing this drive with a 2TB Samsung 980 PRO.
After I bought the HP Spectre back in 2019, I replaced the OEM SSD with a 1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD. The CrystalDiskMark results for that drive are shown below.
Teardown and Storage Upgrade
Luckily, it is pretty easy to remove the bottom panel after taking out eleven fairly small Phillips screws. Three of these screws in the middle are hidden behind small white rubber plugs which you can pop out.
This is what it looks like after removing the bottom cover. The M.2 drive is on the left above the 76 Wh battery. The memory SODIMM is on the center right, below the Ryzen CPU and above the battery.
You can see the Wi-Fi module that sits under where the M.2 drive was. The Wi-Fi module can be replaced with a different one if you ever wanted to do that.
Here is a slightly blurry shot of the replacement 2TB Samsung 980 PRO installed.
As expected, the 2TB Samsung 980 PRO has much higher sequential performance than the OEM Micron 2450 SSD did. It also has twice the space.
Overall, this new laptop is a massive upgrade and improvement over what I previously had. The storage upgrade was easy and gives me much better performance than the OEM SSD. I’m going to wait and see whether I want to upgrade the RAM to 24GB or 40GB. I really wish ASUS would let you replace both SODIMMs, but this strategy of soldering in one of the SODIMMs is fairly common.
I have some previous laptop reviews here:
- Lenovo Yoga 6 13ALC6 R7 Laptop Review
- Lenovo Yoga 6 13 Laptop Review
- Lenovo Legion 5 15ARH05 Laptop Review
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 GlennAlanBerry. Thanks for reading!