After reviewing the higher-specced Zephyrus S17 GX703HM configuration with the i9 CPU and RTX 3080 graphics, we’re going to talk about the more inexpensive and generally better value Zephyrus S17 GX703HM configuration in this post.
For $2199 MSRP in the US and about 2000 EUR in Europe, this comes with an i7-11800H CPU, an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU with up to 130W of power, and 16 GB of RAM (but most likely more in the Western European countries).
Apart from the internal specifications, this GX703HM model is similar to the GX703HS model we previously reviewed, so I’ll direct you to that post for additional information on the construction, ergonomics, inputs, and display choices.
Our device is still the QHD display version with Advanced Optimus, however Asus has yet to fix the stuttering I experience when playing games in Advanced Optimus mode, despite the fact that it’s been two weeks since our last review. So, for the time being, Advanced Optimus is broken and useless in this environment, but normal Optimus and the dGPU mode selected from the BIOS function well.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 GX703HM Specifications
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 GX703HM, 2023|
|Display||17.3-inch, 16:9, matte, QHD 2560 x 1440 px IPS, 165 Hz 3ms, 100% DCI-P3 and sRGB, Advanced Optimus/GSync|
|Processor||Core i7-11800H (8C/16T) from Intel Tiger Lake|
|Video||On the GX703HM variant, Intel + Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop 6GB (115W, up to 130W with Dyn Boost)|
|Memory16||DDR4 3200 GB (8 GB onboard, 1x DIMM, up to 24 GB)|
|Storage||single solid-state drive (3x M.2 PCIe gen4 slots)|
|Connectivity||Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111), WiFi 6 (Mediatek) 22 with Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||3x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-C gen2, HDMI 2.0b, SD card reader, LAN, headphone&mic|
|Battery||90Wh, 280W power adaptor + 100W USB-C charging|
|Size||394 mm (15.51”) w x 264 mm (10.39”) d x 19.9 mm (.78”) (h)|
|Weight||Power brick with wires, 2.75 kg (6.06 lbs),.9 kg (1.98 lbs), EU version|
|Extras||per-key RGB illuminated keyboard with optical-mechanical switches, 6x speakers, HD camera, and power button with finger-sensor|
Screen choices, design, and inputs
As previously said, I went over these topics in depth in our previews post, so go check it out for more information.
In a nutshell, the S17 is my favorite Zephyrus design to yet, thanks to the elevating keyboard tray that isolates the components from the user and makes the laptop’s surface feel considerably cooler while running games and other demanding tasks.
Apart from HDMI 2.1, the ergonomics are largely correct, and the IO provides nearly everything you’ll need. I don’t like how many ports are crammed onto the front-left hinge, as they are on many other 2023 Zephyrus models.
For inputs, Asus chose a clicky optomechanical RGB keyboard, which takes some getting used to but should suffice for the majority of users. They also come with a great clickpad and a biometric finger sensor.
Finally, the displays are all 17.3-inchers with a 16:9 aspect ratio and panel choices for QHD 165Hz with 100% DCI-P3 colors or UHD 120 Hz with 100% AdobeRGB colors, better brightness, and enhanced uniformity. Because the 4K panel is unique to the 3080 models, the QHD makes the most sense on this laptop and is the only choice available on the 3060/3070 combinations.
Nonetheless, the QHD panel is what I’d suggest in any case, but double-check for any possible problems like light-bleeding or uniformity imbalances, since we saw both on our test units.
Performance and hardware
With that out of the way, let’s look at this review unit, which is a base-specced ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 GX703, codename GX703HM, with an Intel Core i7-11800H 8C/16T processor, 16 GB of DDR4-3200 memory in dual channel, 1 TB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3060 Laptop dGPU with 6 GB of VRAM and the Ir
We’ve also evaluated the top-specced RTX 3080 setup here, as previously stated.
Before we get started, keep in mind that our sample was given to us by Asus and is a retail unit that can be found in shops in the United States. We tested it using software that was available in mid-July 2023. (BIOS 308, Armoury Crate 188.8.131.52, GeForce 471.11 drivers). Because the program is still in its early stages, certain features may change in the future.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 for 2023 is based on the most up-to-date Intel Core H and Nvidia RTX 3000 hardware available as of mid-2021. We’re looking at a Core i7-11800H CPU in this GX703HM configuration, which is the standard offering of this 11th gen tiger lake generation.
It’s still an 8C/16T, albeit with lower clock speeds than the i9 seen in the higher-specced models. It still has a default TDP of 45W, but as you can see in the screenshots below, Asus’ Turbo profile has considerably higher PL1 and PL2 levels, allowing for pretty much the maximum performance this CPU can offer in a peak implementation.
Improved IPC, quicker memory support, integrated Thunderbolt 4, and PCIe gen4 storage compatibility are just a few of the 11th gen Intel hardware’s side advantages that this ROG Zephyrus S17 enjoys.
The S17 series’ GPU is based on higher-power Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060/3070/3080 graphics processors, which are overclocked out of the box with ROG Boost on the Turbo setting. In compatible games, the RTX 3060 we have here can provide up to 130W with Dynamic Boost 2.0.
Advanced Optimus is also available on all S17 models with a QHD screen from Asus. This enables the system to automatically switch between the iGPU and the dGPU depending on the activity you’re doing, as well as link each GPU to the internal screen directly through a MUX switch. All other ROG laptops from this generation, as well as the S17 4K versions, use conventional Optimus and route the signal via the iGPU, which has a detrimental effect on performance in certain instances, as we’ve seen in our tests.
The Zephyrus S17 also has 8 or 16 GB of RAM soldered to the motherboard and one RAM DIMM that may be accessed. Only 8 GB onboard and an 8 GB DIMM are available in the 3060 and 3070 variants, for a total of 16 GB DDR4-3200 in dual-channel. On this laptop, you may add up to 40 GB of RAM, but you’ll lose the dual-channel benefit, which is evident in certain games.
On our machine, we have one fast Samsung PCIe x4 gen4 drive for storage. The device has three M.2 80 mm SSD slots that may be used in a variety of RAID configurations (the configuration illustrated below came with 3 installed SSDs).
To access the components, you must remove the rear panel, which is held in place by two Torx screws. Everything is crammed in as tightly as possible to make the most of the limited space. For what it’s worth, the design makes it simple to detach the status LEDs if desired.
Aside from the specs, the ROG Zephrys S17 GX703 has four power profiles:
- Silent — little fan noise and CPU/GPU speeds and power are restricted.
- Performance – balanced profile with default CPU/GPU settings, low-noise fans — GPU is clocked at approximately 115W;
- Turbo — A high-performance profile with more CPU power, faster fans, and an overclocked GPU (up to 130W, +100 MHz Core/+150 MHz Memory).
- Manual – allows you to fine-tune CPU and GPU power/clocks as well as build manual fan profiles depending on temperature restrictions.
Only accessible while the laptop is plugged in, Turbo/Manual is designed for gaming and other demanding tasks. In principle, Performance is a jack-of-all-trades, while Silent is ideal for everyday light usage and low-noise work. You can also use USB-C to charge the laptop, which allows you to use it in Performance mode without draining the battery, but at the cost of performance under severe combination loads.
Because Advanced Optimus is still buggy and causes noticeable stuttering in games and even everyday use, I’d recommend using this laptop in regular Optimus mode if you care about battery life while unplugged, or in dGPU mode (preferably selected from the BIOS) if you want to maximize performance and plan to keep it plugged in the majority of the time. Regular Optimus, for what it’s worth, should be fine for demanding loads and gaming on this 3060 + QHD combination, since the performance costs of having the signal routed via the iGPU are lower, as you’ll see in a moment.
Nonetheless, we’ve mainly left the laptop in dGPU mode for the sake of reminding you of your performance testing.
Benchmarks and performance tests
Moving on to more severe loads, we begin by repeating the Cinebench R15 test 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 second delay between each run, to assess the CPU’s performance.
On the Turbo setting, the i7-11800H CPU stabilizes at 90+W of continuous power, translating to speeds of 4.2 GHz, the chip’s highest all-core Turbo frequency. These are accompanied with temperatures in the low 90s Celsius, scores of about 2150 points, and fans whirling at 46-47 dB at head level. Excellent outcomes!
In the BIOS, Asus enables you to undervolt the CPU. Our system was stable at -80 mV, which means the CPU is still running at its maximum 4.2 GHz all-core Turbo, but with reduced power consumption (about 80W) and temps (in the low 80s).
When you switch to the Performance profile, you’ll notice inconsistent performance and somewhat quieter fans, which will settle at about 41-42 dB at head level. In this instance, the CPU’s power and frequency are continuously fluctuating, resulting in scores of approximately 1850 points. This behavior differs from what we saw on other Asus laptops in the Performance profile, as well as what we saw on the i9 version of the identical Zephryus S17, suggesting that it may be changed with future software updates.
On Silent, the processor quickly stabilizes at~35W with barely audible fans (<35 dB) and temperatures in the high-60s C. It returns scores of around ~1450 points, roughly 70% of what the system scores on Turbo.
Finally, on batteries, the CPU operates at 45 W on the Performance profile, with fans spinning at less than 45 dB, and identical results to the Silent profile, despite the greater CPU power.
In the logs below, you’ll find additional information on all of these profiles and situations.
To put these results in context, see how this 11th generation i7-11800H CPU compares to other 8C/16T choices found in a variety of laptops.
Because of its ability to operate at faster clocks, the 11900H in the Zephyrus S17 scores almost 5% higher on this test once undervolted. The changes are just 2-3 percent with factory settings and no undervolting. At the same time, the i7-11800H outperforms the i9 in the slimmer Zephyrus M16 model due to the ample power allotment.
The i7 is also highly competitive versus Ryzen CPUs from the 2023 generation, particularly when undervolted, and even approaches certain Ryzen 9 versions. In this multi-threaded test, Intel i7 ranks in the top 95 percent of all CPUs.
The more demanding Cinebench R23 loop test and the grueling Prime 95 on the Turbo setting were used to confirm our results.
We also performed the latest 3DMark CPU profile test on our sample, and the results should be taken at face value. We’re seeing around 3-5 percent poorer performance in both single and multi-threaded loads when compared to the i9 in the same S17.
On this laptop, we also performed our combined CPU+GPU stress tests. 3DMark stress repeats the same test 20 times in a loop to check for performance variations over time, and this unit passed with flying colors, indicating that it will operate consistently as the temperature rises.
These stress tests show that the Zephyrus S17 has outstanding engineering quality, with good sustained performance under CPU and CPU+GPU loads. Internal temperatures seem fine under these loads as well, and undervolting the CPU has a small beneficial effect on them.
Then, with the dGPU mode enabled in the BIOS, we performed the full battery of tests and benchmarks using the default Turbo profile in Armoury Crate and FHD resolution.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 20235 (Graphics 22576, Physics 24912, Combined 9828); 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 20235 (Graphics 22576, Physics 24912, Combined 9828); 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 20235 (Graphics 22576
- 3DMark 13: 5242; 3DMark 13: 5242; 3DMark 13: 5242; 3DMark 13: 5242
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9019 (Graphics 8937, CPU 9515); 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9019 (Graphics 8937, CPU 9515); 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9019 (Graphic
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5424; Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Standard: 5424; Uniengine Superposition – 1080
- 1080p Uniengine Superposition 16109 (Medium);
- Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): average frame rate of 45.21 frames per second;
- PassMark 10: 7588 (CPU: 23218, 3D Graphics: 16941, Disk: 29020); PassMark 10: 7588 (CPU: 23218, 3D Graphics: 16941, Disk: 29020); PassMark 10: 7588 (CPU: 23218, 3D Graphic
- PCMark 10: 7177 (Essentials: 10760, Productivity: 8894, Digital Content Creation: 10481); PCMark 10: 7177 (Essentials: 10760, Productivity: 8894, Digital Content Creation: 10481); PCMark 10: 7177 (Essentials:
- 64-bit GeekBench 5.3.1: 1623 single-core, 9641 multi-core
- CPU 2193 cb, CPU Single Core 228 cb in CineBench R15 (best run);
- CPU 5387 cb, CPU Single Core 578 cb in CineBench R20 (best run);
- CPU 13902 cb, CPU Single Core 1498 cb in CineBench R23 (best run);
- 64-bit x265 HD Benchmark: 28.77 s
Here are some 3DMark scores in QHD resolution on the dGPU mode:
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 20247 (Graphics: 22501, Physics: 25099, Combined: 9919);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5213; 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5213; 3DMark 13 – Port
The majority of the other test findings are very similar across modes and resolutions.
Finally, on this Core i7 + RTX 3060 combination, we performed several Workstation-related workloads on the Turbo profile with stock voltage settings:
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car Scene- CPU Compute: 3m 1s (Turbo); Blender 2.90 – BMW Car Scene- CPU Compute: 3m 1s (Turbo); Blender 2.90 – BMW
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car Scene – CPU Compute: 44s (CUDA), 21s (Optix); GPU Compute: 44s (CUDA), 21s (Optix);
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – 8m 18s (Turbo) CPU Compute
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 2m 9s (CUDA), 1m 15s (Optix); GPU Compute: 2m 9s (CUDA), 1m 15s (Optix);
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: -; Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: -; Luxmark 3.1 – Lux
- SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 186.89 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 – SPECviewerf 13 – SPECviewerf 13 – SPECviewerf
- SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 118.81 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 118.81 (Turbo);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 196.1 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 – SPECviewerf 13 – SPECviewerf 13 – SPEC
- SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 281.35 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 281.35 (Turbo);
- Medical: 59.89 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 –
- SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase: 109.78 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase: 109.78 (Turbo);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 16.45 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 16.45 (Turbo);
- SW: 103.52 SPECviewerf 13 (Turbo).
And here’s what the SPECviewperf 2023 test looks like:
- SPECviewerf 2023 – 3DSMax: 86.97 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023 – 3DSMax: 86.97 (Turbo);
- SPECviewerf 2023 – Catia: 53.75 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023 – Catia: 53.75 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023
- SPECviewerf 2023 – Creo: 89.47 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023 – Creo: 89.47 (Turbo);
- SPECviewerf 2023 – Energy: 21.35 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2030 – Energy: 21.35 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2030
- SPECviewerf 2023 – Maya: 325.49 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023 – Maya: 325.49 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023
- SPECviewerf 2023 – Medical: 27.94 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023 – Scientific: 27.94 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023
- SPECviewerf 2023 – SNX: 16.37 (Turbo); SPECviewerf 2023 – SNX: 16.37 (Turbo);
- SW: 194.36 SPECviewerf 2023 (Turbo).
Overall, these are some of the best results you can get with a mid-range RTX 3060 setup these days.
For contrast, the i7-11800H in this implementation is within 5% of the i9 tested before in the same chassis, and is also extremely competitive versus the Ryzen 7 versions available. The temperatures are likewise within acceptable ranges, and keep in mind that these are the results with the stock Turbo profile.
Undevolting the CPU will not result in a speed boost since the i7 currently performs at its optimum on the standard Turbo setting, but it will have a little cooling effect. I’d suggest a -50 mV undervolt for stability reasons, which is exactly what we utilized for the gaming testing on this S17 GX703HM down below.
Because the RTX 3060 130W graphics processor is a mid-level GPU, you should modify your expectations accordingly. While it is 10-15% quicker than the more power-contained versions seen in thinner laptops (such as the Zephyrus G15 or Blade 15), it is no match for a mid-power RTX 3070 or any of the RTX 3080 combinations currently available.
In contrast, an RTX 3070 100W (found in the Zephyrus M16 and many other high-end ultraportables) performs 10% better in rasterization tests and 15% better in RT testing. Higher-power RTX 3070 versions (such as up to 140W in the Legion 5 Pro or up to 130W in mid-sized ROG laptops) outperform the 3060 model by 15-20% in rasterization tests and by 20%+ in RTX. Given that the Zephyrus S17 also has an RTX 3070 140W option, that’s approximately what you should anticipate if you go with that setup instead.
The 3080 Zephyrus S17, on the other hand, performs 35 percent better in rasterization GPU tests and 40 percent better in RT. While you should anticipate modest performance improvements when upgrading from a laptop’s 3060, 3070, or even 3080 configurations, these gaps expand in the chassis, allowing for greater power allocations.
That’s why, although the S17 GX703HM is a capable mid-range laptop, upgrading to the 3070 variants is a worthwhile investment if you want to get the most GPU performance for your money. The 3080 is $500 more and probably isn’t worth it for most people, but it does have the advantage of being the only option with 32 GB of dual-channel RAM, which may be enough to sway you.
Performance in video games
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at some games.
We tested a few DX11, DX12, and Vulkan games on the stock Turbo, Performance, and Silent profiles, with FHD and QHD resolutions on the internal screen and QHD on an external display, using the stock Turbo, Performance, and Silent profiles.
We also conducted tests in Advanced Optimus mode, normal Optimus mode, and with Advanced Optimus turned off and the dGPU manually chosen in the BIOS. For all of these tests, GSync is turned off in the Nvidia Control Panel, and Whisper Mode is enabled in GeForce Experience’s Silent mode.
To be clear, Advanced Optimus links the laptop’s internal screen directly to the Nvidia GPU, while standard Optimus sends the signal via the iGPU, resulting in a loss of framerates.
The same thing happens whether you attach an external display through HDMI or the laptop’s Thunderbolt 4 connections, since both are connected to the iGPU. Because it is the only one linked to the Nvidia GPU, you must connect the monitor via the first USB-C on the right side, the one immediately next to the audio port, for uncompromised performance.
Finally, bear in mind that for all of these testing, we used a -50 mV CPU undervolt, which proved to be completely stable and did not result in any crashes or freezes.
Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, here’s what we’ve got:
|Laptop 115+W Intel Core i7-11800H + RTX 3060||dGPU, FHD Turbo||Advanced Optimus, QHD Turbo||Regular Optimus, QHD Turbo||dGPU, QHD Turbo||External monitor, QHD Turbo|
|Battlefield V is a first-person shooter that was (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)||142 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% low)||106 frames per second (24 frames per second – 1% low)||96 frames per second (52 frames per second – 1% low)||107 frames per second (63 frames per second – 1% low)||102 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% low)|
|The year is 2077, and the setting is Cyberpunk (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)||59 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% low)||38 frames per second (18 frames per second – 1% low)||38 frames per second (30 frames per second – 1% low)||39 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% low)||38 frames per second (30 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Dota 2 is a game developed by Valve Corporation (DX 11, Best Looking Preset)||–||–||–||116 frames per second (84 frames per second – 1% low)||–|
|Far Cry 5 is the fifth installment in the Far Cry series (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||122 frames per second (94 frames per second – 1% low)||93 frames per second (19 frames per second – 1% low)||87 frames per second (76 frames per second – 1% low)||95 frames per second (83 frames per second – 1% low)||93 frames per second (79 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Exodus from the Metro (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)||61 frames per second (34 frames per second – 1% low)||61 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% low)||59 frames per second (33 frames per second – 1% low)||61 frames per second (34 frames per second – 1% low)||55 frames per second (32 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Shadow of Mordor is a film set in Middle Earth.||174 frames per second (119 frames per second – 1% low)||124 frames per second (76 frames per second – 1% low)||122 frames per second (91 frames per second – 1% low)||123 frames per second (93 frames per second – 1% low)||121 frames per second (86 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2 is a sequel to Red Dead Redemption (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)||96 frames per second (64 frames per second – 1% low)||69 frames per second (21 frames per second – 1% low)||66 frames per second (40 frames per second – 1% low)||71 frames per second (42 frames per second – 1% low)||68 frames per second (41 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Tomb Raider: Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)||108 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% low)||76 frames per second (22 frames per second – 1% low)||68 frames per second (45 frames per second – 1% low)||78 frames per second (53 frames per second – 1% low)||63 frames per second (45 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Strange Brigade is a band of misfits who (Vulkan, Ultra Preset)||174 frames per second (133 frames per second – 1% low)||127 frames per second (102 frames per second – 1% low)||121 frames per second (98 frames per second – 1% low)||127 frames per second (103 frames per second – 1% low)||125 frames per second (98 frames per second – 1% low)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the third installment in The Witcher franchise (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)||112 frames per second (87 frames per second – 1% low)||82 frames per second (23 frames per second – 1% low)||79 frames per second (63 frames per second – 1% low)||83 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% low)||79 frames per second (64 frames per second – 1% low)|
- In campaign mode, Battlefield V and The Witcher 3 were recorded using Fraps/in-game FPS counter.
- Games like Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Tomb Raider were recorded using the Benchmark tools that came with the game.
- Based on these parameters, a Red Dead Redemption 2 optimized profile was created.
The tests mentioned above are rasterization-only tests, and here are some RTX findings.
|Laptop 115+W i7-11800H + RTX 3060||dGPU, FHD Turbo||dGPU, QHD Turbo||External monitor, QHD Turbo|
|Battlefield V is a first-person shooter that was (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)||95 frames per second (71 frames per second – 1% low)||66 frames per second (50 frames per second – 1% low)||61 frames per second (47 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Cyberpunk 2077 (DLSS Auto, DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX)||54 frames per second (39 frames per second – 1% low)||34 frames per second (26 frames per second – 1% low)||38 frames per second (31 frames per second – 1% low)|
|Tomb Raider: Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)||66 frames per second (24 frames per second – 1% low)||41 frames per second (21 frames per second – 1% low)||40 frames per second (23 frames per second – 1% low)|
Let’s put this in perspective since there are a lot of statistics here. We’ll also discuss some parallels later down.
In comparison to the Zephyrus S17 RTX 3080
In testing and games, the RTX 3080 outperforms the 3060 in this S17 chassis, particularly at QHD resolution. In demanding games like SOTTR, Red Dead 2, or Cyberpunk 2, we’re looking at 30+ percent higher framerates, and a little less in the older games tested here. The changes are particularly noticeable in RT games, with the 3080 delivering more than 50% better framerates.
The changes are less at FHD resolution, but I don’t see why you’d want to play games in FHD on any of these S17 setups with a QHD display.
Optimus performance (advanced and regular)
As previously stated, Advanced Optimus still causes stuttering in games, as well as stuttering and visual freezes while using the laptop on the desktop with the iGPU. The stuttering is apparent throughout gaming, as shown by the terrible 1% lows we saw in our testing. Until Asus releases a patch for this, I wouldn’t recommend the Advanced Optimus on the S17.
Regular Optimus, on the other hand, works perfectly fine. And since this laptop is a 3060 + QHD configuration, the effects of playing games on this Optimus mode, which pushes the video from the dGPU to the iGPU and then onto the display, is smaller than on higher-tier GPU models or on FHD resolution.
As you can tell from the results above, we’re looking <5% difference in framerates in most titles, with ~10% in titles such as Battlefield V and SOTTR. I can live with that, and if you can’t, switching over to the dGPU mode in BIOS does the trick for you.
On dGPU mode, you may play games in Turbo, Performance, and Silent modes
The post is being updated to include the gaming experience on the dGPU mode, which connects the internal screen to the Nvidia dGPU and fixes the stuttering problem that was discovered on Advanced Optimus.
There are two methods for enabling the Nvidia GPU on the laptop. The one from the BIOS is the one I’d suggest, since it has shown to be the most dependable on the machines I’ve tried. The second option is to keep the GPU setting in the BIOS on Dynamic and instead use the Nvidia Control Panel to switch to dGPU mode. However, after choosing the dGPU option, I had to restart the computer many times to get rid of the stuttering, since a single restart did not solve the problem. With or without restarting the laptop, switching back to Advanced Optimus would return the stuttering.
So, if you’re going to use this laptop to play games and leave it largely unplugged, I’d recommend using the dGPU option in the BIOS.
Let’s have a look at the performance logs for Farcry 5, Red Dead 2, Cyberpunk 2077, and Battlefield V on different profiles, which reveal the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures.
Despite the fact that the components operate at somewhat lower power here, the fans ramped up to the same noise levels, and we utilized the same drivers and BIOS versions in both instances, this i7 + 3060 edition of the Zephyrus S17 ran hotter than the i9+3080 model tested before. As far as I can determine, the explanation is because with this setup, the CPU operates at a greater power during gaming, with a 5-15W variation across the different titles.
As a consequence, we’re looking at CPU temps of 75-85 C and GPU temperatures of 80-85 C on the Turbo setting across the tested games at QHD resolution. These are 5 degrees C higher than the i9 + 3080 version previously tested, but they are still within acceptable bounds, although a little too high on the GPU side for my taste.
In this instance, raising the laptop off the desk to improve airflow below has a significant effect on CPU/GPU temperatures, enabling them to decrease by approximately 5 degrees. The 3080 configuration had less of an effect, but that’s because it was already running cooler to begin with.
On our RTX 3060 sample, the Performance setting reduces fan noise to 41-42 dB, restricts CPU and GPU power to 110-120W, and disables Turbo overclocking.
In this setting, the CPU temps stay consistent in the high-70s to mid-80s, while the GPU becomes much hotter, approaching the 87 C thermal throttling limit in Cyberpunk or FarCry 5. This is up to ten degrees Celsius hotter than the RTX 3080.
As a consequence, given the considerably higher GPU temps in this instance, I’m not as confident in recommending Performance mode on this S17 setup as I was before. With the shared thermal design that we have here, the CPU operates at greater power in Performance mode on this setup, resulting in an increase in CPU heat that is eventually transmitted to the GPU.
On Silent mode, the fans spin significantly quieter (topped at 60 fps with Whisper Mode on), however the GPU is severely restricted, affecting performance. Some older games may run well on Silent, but not the most current ones.
There are a few options for improving performance and fan behavior on this laptop, but I wouldn’t go any farther than setting a -50 mV undervolt in the BIOS. If you want to adjust the CPU more, XTU or Throttlestop don’t appear to function on this laptop.
In Armoury Crate’s Manual mode, you may configure various CPU power restrictions, overclock the GPU, and build unique fan profiles for each of them. I’ll leave it up to you to experiment; all I did was test the effect of turning the fans all the way up to maximum.
They rise to about 48-49 dB at head-level and have no effect on performance in the normal Turbo setting, but they do result in 2-5 degrees cooler temperatures, particularly on the GPU side. So it’s possible that this is worth investigating.
On an external display, performance
On the external display, our test games played smoothly without any choppiness or stuttering in any of the tested settings (regular Optimus, Advanced Optimus, and dGPU in BIOS). Just make sure you connect your external display to the USB-C connector (right next to the audio jack), since the HDMI and Thunderbolt USB-C are routed via the iGPU instead.
While playing games on the external display with the laptop open and sitting on a desk, everything seems to be OK in terms of performance and heat. The GPU remains heated, but only to about 82-83 degrees Celsius, which is a little cooler than while playing games on the internal screen.
If you were intending on using this Zephyrus S17 vertically with the lid closed, you’ll be disappointed. As you can see from the logs below, a hard power restriction is imposed as soon as you shut the lid, due to how the system is intended to pull fresh air in mostly from beneath the keyboard.
Overall, the Zephyrus S17’s basic configuration is a strong performer, aided with flexible power profiles that let you tweak performance, fan noise, and thermals.
However, the components in this combination ran hotter than the top-specced i9+3080 machine I tested a few weeks earlier. On this model, Asus has decided to put more power into the CPU, which has a detrimental effect on internal temperatures. I’m not sure whether there’s an accompanying performance benefit, but even if there is, I anticipate it to be little, and in the end, I’d rather sacrifice a few frames for a cooler implementation that will last me longer. If at all possible, I’d make this function more like the 3080 S17 that we had tried.
Oh, and Advanced Optimus is still unstable in this version, so maybe Asus will fix it in a future firmware update.
Noise, heat, connectivity, speakers, and other factors are all factors to consider.
The Zephyrus S17 has a sophisticated thermal module, similar to the ones seen in Asus’ other 2023 ROG products. That means it has two high-capacity fans using the company’s newest fan-blade design, four radiators, and a slew of heatpipes. There are more of them on the 2023 ROG Scar 17, but they are thinner.
This series also has high-quality VRMs and liquid metal on the CPU. For the GPU, regular thermal paste is still utilized.
In comparison to most other laptops, the S17’s ventilation architecture is unique. Fresh air is drawn in mainly from the top of the laptop, under the keyboard deck. Some more air enters via the rear door, which is only partly open above the fans. Exhausts are located on the laterals and rear edge of the seat, blowing heated air away from the user.
As previously said, this cooling module performs a great job of keeping the components of this Zephyrus S17 under control, both in everyday and strenuous loads and games.
The fans are loudest on Turbo (46-47 dB) and quietest on Performance (41-42 dB). Each of these levels are acceptable, particularly because both of these modes may be used on a laptop. However, the GPU on the unit tested today runs hotter than I’d prefer in both instances, which was not the case with the i9 + 3080 model previously reviewed.
For what it’s worth, in Manual mode, you can manually control the fans, and they can reach up to 48-49 dB at head-level at maximum volume, with some effect on the interior and external temperatures.
With basic usage on the Silent profile, the fans are turned off as long as the CPU and GPU do not exceed 50 degrees C. They turn on with regular usage and multitasking, but are almost undetectable in a normal environment. The S17 does, however, become a little heated at the chassis level with everyday usage owing to its fairly passive design. It doesn’t bother me, and in fact, I like it since it keeps the fans quiet.
In contrast to the last sample, I haven’t heard any coil whining or electronic sounds on this one. However, this may differ across units, so be sure to listen closely for any issues with yours. The noise was most apparent on the 3080 sample upon starting a game, in the few seconds before the fans ramped up and caught up with the load.
Daily Use – 30 minutes of Netflix in EDGE, silent profile, fans at 0 dB (up to 33 dB with daily multitasking)
As you can see from the pictures below, the outside temperatures stay good even while running heavy loads and games on a variety of power and fan settings.
In any mode, the keyboard deck doesn’t become hotter than the mid 30s C, and the warmest internal portion you’ll come into touch with is the region immediately above the clickpad, which reaches low 40s C. Of course, the portion underneath the keyboard deck that comes into touch with the components heats up to about 50 degrees Celsius.
The underbelly, at the hottest area, under the components, reaches temperatures in the extremely high 40s.
*Gaming – Silent — 30 minutes of Far Cry 5, Silent profile, fans at 36-38 dB. *Gaming – Performance – 30 minutes of Far Cry 5, fans at 41-42 dB *Gaming – Turbo, on a desk – 30 minutes of Far Cry 5, fans at 46-47 dB
This device has Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5 connection, as well as Gigabit Lan, thanks to a MediaTek processor. Although I would have anticipated a higher-quality wi-fi chip at this price range, our sample worked well on WiFi both near the router and at 30+ feet with obstructions in the way.
Six speakers, two woofers on the bottom, and four tweeters beneath the screen, right below the keyboard tray, make up the audio system. For laptop speakers, both the clarity and loudness are outstanding, with even some bass. This, like the audio systems on the Zephyrus G15 and M16 models, is one of the best audio systems available on any laptop nowadays.
On this Zephyrus S17, there’s also a camera at the top of the display, with HD resolution and mediocre picture quality. I expected Asus to include an FHD camera with this series, but they didn’t; this is the same kind of camera seen on most other gaming laptops these days.
There’s also a selection of microphones that do a decent job of recording your voice and can be adjusted in a few different settings via the software, but it’s not particularly effective at separating external noise, fan noise, or keyboard chatter.
Life of the battery
All of the 2023 ROG models, including the Zephyrus S17, have a 90Wh battery.
Here’s how long our evaluation unit lasted while the screen brightness was adjusted to approximately 120 nits (60 brightness) and the Regular Optimus mode was selected.
- 21 W (4-5 hours of usage) — text writing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi turned on;
- 20 W (about 4+ hours of usage) — 1080p fullscreen movie on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
- 18 W (about 5 hours of usage) — Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 24 W (3-5 hours of usage) – Edge, Balanced Mode, 60 percent screen, Wi-Fi ON;
- 100 W (50 minutes of usage) – Gaming – Cyberpunk 2077, Performance Mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON, no fps restriction
Regular Optimus, which proved to be more efficient with light usage on our 3080 sample, has not been tested.
In any case, they aren’t very impressive runtimes, especially when compared to AMD laptops. For the time being, I’d take these with a grain of salt, since Asus may improve on these power needs with future firmware upgrades.
Oh, and don’t anticipate more than 2-3 hours of everyday usage or video streaming if you leave the laptop in dGPU mode while disconnected.
The same 280W power brick is provided with this RTX 3060 ROG Zephyrus S17 configuration as it is with the 3070 and 3080 versions. The battery charges in approximately 2 hours, with the first half hour being charged quickly. Up to 100W USB-C charging is also supported. The 3060/3070 variants do not contain a USB-C charger.
The cost and the availability
At the time of writing, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 2023 was available in shops and shipping in certain countries.
The i7 CPU + RTX 3060 GPU + QHD screen + 16 GB RAM + 1 TB SSD combination tested here is advertised at $2199 MSRP in the US and about 2000 EUR in Romania, but I’d anticipate it to cost several hundred EUR more in Germany/France and other Western countries.
This is pricey for a 3060 laptop, and you’re paying extra for the form-factor and premium build and features, as well as for the QHD screen. Nonetheless, the same kind of money can get you an RTX 3070 version of the Zephyrus M16, which is smaller and more powerful in GPU-loads and games. We’ll have a follow-up article comparing the two in the next few days.
For an i9 CPU, the RTX 3070 version of the S17 is advertised at $2799 MSRP, with the same screen, SSD, and RAM. This, together with the better-balanced configuration offered in this chassis, provides a 25% boost in GPU loads in games.
The RTX 3080 is priced at $3199, or $3999 if you want the 4K display. That’s another i9, but this time with 32 GB of dual-channel RAM, which is only available on the more costly 3080 models. Bummer!
Of course, availability of the Zephyrus S17 GX703 series varies by location, so check this link for the most up-to-date configurations and pricing in your area at the time you’re reading this post.
Finally, some ideas
This Zephyrus S17 laptop is one of the best designs on the market, and it’s a premium product with a premium pricing.
Even while this RTX 3060 configuration is considerably less expensive than the other S17 choices, it’s still a high price for an RTX 3060 laptop, especially when compared to the top-specced RTX 3080 machine. Nonetheless, this is a fantastic implementation of this kind of technology, capable of handling whatever task you put at it, from everyday tasks to workloads and games.
It’s up to you to determine if a 3060 laptop is worth the money Asus is asking for it. All I can say is that this matches the direct competition in the premium category, such as the Razer Blade 17, MSI GS76 Stealth, or Alienware X17, and if you’re looking for more bang for your money, this isn’t the sector for you.
Still, the potential QC issues with screen uniformity and coil whine that I noticed during my time with several Zephyrus S17 samples, the fact that Advanced Optimus is still broken, and especially the RAM limitation on the 3060 and 3070 models, which ship with 8 GB of soldered RAM in 2023, irritate me.
Furthermore, I expected the lower-specced i7 + 3060 combinations to run cooler and even quieter than the i9 + 3080 configurations, but instead, it ran hotter internally and at comparable noise levels, which I’m not sure why.
Hopefully, Asus manage to address their QC and release a BIOS to tackle with the extra heat and Advanced Optimus in the weeks to come, which would make this base-level ROG Zephyrus S17 a better-balanced product, despite its still premium price tag. At that point, this would be worth considering in its class, but for now, I’d rather give this a few more months to mature before jumping on it.
This concludes our evaluation of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 GX703HM series, and I’d love to hear your views in the area below.
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Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com, Andrei Girbea. I’ve been writing about mobile computers since the early 2000s, and you’ll mainly find my reviews and comprehensive instructions on this site.
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