Jun 04, 2018 Written by: Shawn_Sanders

Narrow bezels bring boundless gaming to the Strix Scar II and Hero II esports laptops

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Cramped spaces like packed tournaments and airplane seats can suck the fun out of gaming on the go. Even if you’re playing on a machine with top-shelf components, it takes a lot to block out the distractions of the surrounding environment.

The new ROG Strix GL504 Scar II and Hero II gaming laptops help with a narrow-bezel design that gives you a more immersive experience for away games. A slim frame makes the display feel more expansive and keeps all of your focus on the class-leading panel, whose 144Hz refresh rate and ultra-fast 3-ms response time bring games to life with velvety smoothness and exceptional clarity.

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Although you can choose between distinct Scar II and Hero II flavors tailored for different audiences, both are equipped with Intel six-core Coffee Lake processors and NVIDIA 10-series GeForce GTX graphics capable of delivering triple-digit frame rates in popular esports titles. Carefully tuned cooling keeps these crucial components running at top speed during intense gaming sessions, and we’ve elevated other aspects of the experience by enhancing the keyboard, upgrading the lighting, and speeding up the WiFi.also gave 

The right frame of mind

One of the main benefits of a thinner bezel is that you can fit a bigger display inside a more compact chassis. Despite packing a similarly sized 15.6” screen to its Strix GL503 predecessor, the GL504 is nearly an inch narrower, making it easier to slip into your bag. The smaller footprint also takes up less space when you’re sharing a desk or otherwise squeezed into tight spaces. While thinner borders around the display make imagery really pop, the thicker bezel below elevates the screen to a more comfortable viewing height.

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Trimming bezels for ultrabooks and consumer laptops is more straightforward because refresh rate and response time aren’t top priorities. But those are essentials for hardcore gaming and competitive esports, and we didn’t want to compromise to fit inside such a minimalist frame. So, we worked closely with panel maker AUO to develop a narrow-bezel display that meets our exacting specifications. Only available on the Strix Scar II and Hero II, this IPS-type panel pairs a blazing 144Hz refresh rate and quick 3-ms response time. The higher refresh rate enables a true 144-FPS experience with minimal input lag, while the faster response reduces ghosting and blurring to produce a clearer picture. These benefits are an advantage in any gaming situation, and they’re especially vital for esports, where professional players require virtually instantaneous translation between thought and action.

A high-refresh display is nothing without a GPU capable of generating enough frames to keep up, so the Strix uses Pascal-based discrete graphics that are up to the task. The laptop is available with a GeForce GTX 1060 that can reach triple-digit frame rates in top esports titles, or you can equip a GTX 1070 that provides additional power for AAA blockbusters and demanding games. Both GPUs are VR Ready for when you’re craving an even more immersive experience.

Regardless of your graphics choice, the GPU is joined by 8th-generation Intel CPUs up to the Core i7-8750H. Chosen for speed, this cutting-edge chip can reach peak Turbo clocks as high as 4.1GHz. With six cores and support for 12 parallel threads via Hyper-Threading, it blasts through heavy multitasking like gaming while live-streaming, and makes quick work of multithreaded tasks like content creation and rendering.

Rebirth of cool

If modern CPUs and GPUs get too hot, they automatically reduce clock speeds to avoid overheating. But the resulting slowdown is the last thing you want in the heat of battle, so our HyperCool Pro system keeps key components at comfortable temperatures.

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Heatpipes transfer thermal energy from the CPU and GPU to radiators on the perimeter of the chassis. The metal heat spreaders normally reserved for these chips are also found on the graphics memory and VRMs, allowing the cooling system to dissipate thermals from additional components. GL504GS versions of the laptop with GTX 1070 graphics go even further by adding extra heatpipes for the GPU and VRMs to combat the additional heat produced by the more powerful pixel pusher.

Dual blowers force air over the radiators and out of the chassis. They run on 12V power to enable higher rotational speeds and pack more blades to increase the airflow generated by each revolution. The radiator fins are only 0.1 mm thick, which allows us to squeeze more into each stack to increase the surface area without impeding airflow. Since gaming causes the GPU to expel more heat than any other component, we also added a second radiator and blower outlet just for that chip. Dust tunnels on each blower dutifully direct particles and dirt away from the radiators, preventing buildup that can reduce the cooling system’s effectiveness over time. Even the lid is designed with cooling in mind; the cut-out section at the bottom ensures unobstructed airflow through the rear exhaust vents.

Multiple profiles put you in charge of the cooling. By default, an intelligent algorithm automatically adjusts fan speeds to balance thermals and acoustics. You can also activate Overboost mode to ramp up cooling performance or choose Silent mode for stealthier operation.

The keys to success

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Despite their compact footprints, the Strix Scar II and Hero II still squeeze in a full-size keyboard and an accompanying numpad. The desktop-style layout features familiar spacing between the function for a more natural transition when switching between your laptop and home battlestation. Four dedicated hotkeys sit just above the keyboard to provide quick access to mute and volume controls, as well as the ROG Gaming Center application used to tweak system settings and monitor performance.

The keyboard is fortified for the rigors of fierce gaming and grueling competition. With a lifespan of 20 million key presses, it’s durable enough to survive years of intense gaming marathons. The generous 1.8 mm of key travel is enhanced by our Overstroke technology, which moves the actuation point higher so your inputs register sooner. Overstroke makes it easier to rapidly execute commands during intense bouts, while N-key rollover ensures every press registers, even if you’re hitting multiple keys at once.

Synchronized winning

Improved keyboard lighting extends across four distinct keyboard zones. Although the gently curved key caps are the usual black, the edges are now translucent and extend deeper toward the deck. This subtle refinement diffuses the light more evenly and helps to eliminate the glare produced by naked, unfiltered LEDs. It also increases the keyboard’s total light output enough that we can use darker white lettering on the caps to improve legibility when the backlighting is off.

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Four fully translucent caps make it easier to find the ‘home rows’ for different genres. The Strix Scar II highlights the WASD keys for first-person shooters, while the MOBA-oriented Strix Hero II marks QWER instead.

We’ve amped up the RGB illumination even more with an additional light bar on the front edge and a more imposing ROG logo on the lid. Support for Aura Sync allows you to coordinate colors and effects across the laptop and compatible peripherals like the new Gladius II Wireless mouse and Delta Type-C headset, extending your custom color scheme to all of your accessories for maximum visual impact.

Smarter networking and copious connectivity

A strong and stable network connection is a must for online gaming, whether you’re playing competitively in tournaments or casually with friends. The integrated 802.11ac WiFi on the Strix Scar II and Hero II is based on Intel’s latest Wave 2 solution, which is capable of greater than gigabit speeds when connected to compatible routers like the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300. The wireless card is hooked up to four antennas, a first for laptops. Our RangeBoost technology monitors these antennas to determine which ones have the best signal and then switches automatically to ensure that you’re using the best pair for the conditions. Wireless networks are more prone to interference and lag than hardwired alternatives, so the Strix has Gigabit Ethernet for serious multiplayer matches.

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We put a lot of work into optimizing for gaming on the go, but ample connectivity and storage allow for more permanent setups at home, too. Multiple display outputs are on offer, including HDMI 2.0 for 4K output at 60Hz, and Mini DisplayPort if you want to hook up a ROG Swift desktop monitor with G-Sync support. There are plenty of USB ports for peripherals, including VR gear, and one is Type-C for next-gen devices. Onboard storage is split between an M.2 NVMe SDD with lightning-quick load times for your favorite games and applications, and a 2.5” SATA drive roomy enough for hefty game libraries. Some configurations will be available with SATA-based Seagate FireCuda SSHDs that use flash-based cache memory to speed up load times for games that don’t fit on the SSD.

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Audio is pumped out of dual speakers driven by SmartAMP technology that lets you turn up the volume without drowning in distortion. Headsets plug into the 3.5-mm combo jack or via USB. Our Sonic Studio III serves up numerous effects tailored for different scenarios, including surround sound virtualization for stereo headsets. These enhancements used to be limited to analog headphones, but a new APO injection feature introduced with the Scar II and Hero II allows them to work with USB DACs and headsets like the new ROG Delta, so you can enjoy upgraded audio with any device. Game audio output is further augmented by Sonic Radar III, which maps positional cues on a customizable graphical overlay that helps you train your ears to detect the sonic subtleties of the battlefield.

  ROG Strix Scar II ROG Strix Hero II
Processor 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
8th Gen Intel Core i5-8300H
Display 15.6" IPS-type FHD (1920 x 1080) with 100% sRGB
144Hz refresh rate with 3ms GtG response time
15.6" IPS-type FHD (1920 x 1080) with 100% sRGB
144Hz refresh rate with 3ms GtG response time
60Hz refresh rate
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB(GL504GM)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB (GL504GS)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB (GL504GS)
Memory Up to 32GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
Storage M.2 NVMe PCIe 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD
2.5” 5400rpm 1TB SSHD
2.5” 5400rpm / 7200rpm 1TB HDD
Wireless 802.11ac 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi Bluetooth® 5.0
Connectivity 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x RJ-45 jack, 1 x SD card reader, 1 x 3.5-mm audio combo
Audio 2 x speakers with smart-amplifier technology
Array microphone
OS Windows 10 Home / Pro
Size 36.1 x 26.2 x 2.61 cm
Weight 2.4kg
Pre-order (USA) ASUS Store, Newegg, Amazon, B&H, ExcaliberPC, Mobile Advance, iBuypower, Xotic PC, HID Evolution, GenTech, CUK ASUS Store, Newegg, Amazon, B&H, ExcaliberPC, Mobile Advance, iBuypower, Xotic PC, HID Evolution, GenTech, CUK

The right weapons for the job

There are two versions of the Strix GL504, each one taking cues from a different gaming genre. The ROG Strix Scar II is the weapon of choice for first-person shooters. It’s designed for battle with a camouflage finish that reflects its roots, and it’s available with up to GTX 1070 graphics to handle the more demanding GPU requirements typical of FPS titles. MOBA players can identify the ROG Strix Hero II by the matte finish slashed across the lid and the cyberpunk pattern on the palm rest. With GTX 1060 graphics, it’s ideal for serving up triple-digit framerates in battle arenas.

Both flavors are unique in that they bring premium gaming features together with a narrow-bezel display with a sky-high refresh rate and impressively low response time. The screen keeps your focus on the game, while powerful internals sustain the performance required by esports pros and hardcore players. Compact without compromise, the Strix Scar II and Strix Hero II are made for gamers who can’t bear to leave high-refresh gaming behind when they hit the road.

Right now, you can pre-order the Strix Scar II and Hero II in the USA. The Strix Scar II GL504GS-DS74 with GTX 1070 graphics is priced at $1,9999 USD, while the Hero II GL504GM-DS74 with a GTX 1060 rings in at $1,699 USD. Check with your local ROG representative for details on configurations, pricing, and availability in other regions.

Be sure to check here first for our many other Computex 2018 product announcements. Skip over to this article for a summary covering the entire scope of announcements.

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