ASUS ROG G501J
Gaming notebooks are a touchy subject that many manufacturers have struggled to get right. While the concept of having a portable powerhouse is darling, finding a balance for all aspects of the device is a tricky business. So far, we've managed to boil down these devices into two categories: Compact but game ready, and clunky but powerful. ASUS's ROG G501J falls into the former category.
If we're to be honest, whenever we hear about ASUS's ROG (Republic of Gamers) notebooks, our first thought of their devices would be that they fall into the clunky and powerful category. There are some discrepancies that we need to point out. Firstly, the ROG G501J was actually released months before the availability of Intel's new ‘Skylake' processors. With that said, this gaming notebook is packing an Intel Core i7-4720HQ CPU, so it's by no means a slouch either. Processor aside, we're actually glad that ASUS made the decision to fit this gaming notebook with a GeForce GTX 960M discrete graphics from NVIDIA.
If there's one thing that we believe stands out on this gaming notebook, it's the 4K Matte IPS panel that's attached to it, and not exactly in a good way. It's one thing to actually be playing your games in Ultra HD resolution on a notebook, but it's a completely different story if you're trying to game on a single discrete GPU that's more suited for MOBA and other games titles that aren't as graphically demanding.
That brings us to performance. The ROG G501J performed as we expected on our 3DMark benchmark, and gave us some hit-or-miss scenarios with some of our game titles. On 3DMark, the ROG G501J scored 1,001 on Fire Strike Ultra, 1,968 on Fire Strike Extreme, and 3,896 on the basic Fire Strike. On Unigine Heaven, we could see that the system was struggling even trying to maintain an average framerate of even 10 fps on 4K resolution, but once we brought it down to Full HD, it showed a marked improvement in its framerates.
The same story can be told for our real-world benchmarks. We used MGS V: The Phantom Pain, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Hitman: Absolution, and set them to the second highest graphics settings that each game would allow.
On The Phantom Pain and Wild Hunt, both games struggled to run at framerates above the 10 fps mark on 4K, but once we brought down the resolution to Full HD, we were seeing average framerates around at least 30 fps for both titles. Surprisingly, Hitman: Absolution was able to run at an average frame rate of 32 fps on 4K resolution, and we didn't even have to lower the screen resolution down to Full HD.
While it does play games in 4K resolutions, you’re not going to get high framerates with graphically-demanding titles.