ASUS continues to prove that they are still part of the pack by launching quality laptops backed with decent specs and looks. One of the recent ones is the ASUS Zephyrus M GU502, a thin laptop that sports a 240Hz screen powered with mostly top-of-the-line components.
ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i7-9750H 2.66GHz|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti 6GB|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM|
15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS-level panel, 240Hz, 3ms, 100% sRGB, Pantone® Validated
|Storage||1TB PCIe x4 NVMe SSD|
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C DisplayPort™ 1.4 and Power Delivery, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack, 1 x Audio Jack Mic-in, 1 x RJ45, 1 x Kensington Lock
|Connection||Wi-Fi 5(802.11ac)2×2, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions||36.0 (W) x 25.2 (D) x 1.89 (H) cm|
|Power||230W Power Adaptor
Support Type-C PD 3.0 up to 65W
|Audio||2 speakers with Smart AMP technology
The ASUS GU502’s 3 Different Models
The ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 has 3 different models: GU502GVGW (GeForce RTX 2070), GU502GVGV (GeForce RTX 2060), GU502GU (GeForce GTX 1660Ti). All of these models can also come in 2 varieties: a 144Hz or 240Hz screen. Other than the graphics cards, all models share the same innards: processors, memory specifications, etc. For this review, we will be talking about the performance of the GU502GU (GTX 1660Ti, 240Hz) as it was the one sent to us for review. Other than that, all three models are superficially identical.
ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Up Close
Looks & Design
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 thankfully doesn’t have that overkill “look I’m a gaming laptop!” look. It ditches those thick corners, present in its weaker siblings, and dons on a sleeker and more profiled look.
First thing to notice with this laptop is its thinness. Being only 1.89cm thick, this gaming laptop can snugly fit even the smallest of laptop bags. Obviously, this laptop is also lighter, weighing only 1.9kg, more or less 3kg if you add the power adapter and ROG Impact Gaming Mouse.
240Hz Display & Pantone® Validated
Probably the main reason to get this laptop is its high refresh-rate screen. Boasting 240Hz and with 3ms refresh-rate, anything that happens on the screen comes off as buttery smooth. Even if you’re just using the desktop, the difference between the usual 60Hz run-of-the-mill monitor and this one is very noticeable.
Sides & Rear
The Zephyrus M GU502 comes bundled with the ROG Armoury Crate, ROG GameVisual, and GameFirst V, all of which provide more “gaming” tools for this device. Aside from these things, the laptop also comes with the ever-present McAfee Antivirus and the annoying MyASUS, an app which I immediately turned off after it prompted me to update an already up-to-date driver every 10 minutes.
TKL RGB Keyboard
The ROG Zephyrus M goes full on gaming with its TKL keyboard chock full of custom keys that you can use to configure the laptop’s performance on the fly. The top left houses the controls for audio and a quick button for the ROG Armoury Crate, the Zephyrus M GU502’s hardware control and management application. Similar to other gaming laptops, to save on real estate, ASUS included other commands using the “FN” and function keys.
The ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Glows!
One thing I can appreciate with this laptop is its RGB keyboard. It’s highly customized and I do think that it is impressive enough to garner looks when using this beast inside cafes or in public places. More than that however, i think that it helps in terms of productivity as it allows you to see the keys better even when it’s dark.
For the feel, while key feedback preference differs per person, I find this one pretty functional and comfortable. The feedback is alright and if you’re used to keys such as those from the recent MacBooks, this one can be thought of as a bit similar to that.
ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Performance
|Assassin’s Creed Odyssey||High||40||30||27|
|Rainbow Six Siege||Ultra||114||74||68|
|Ghost Recon: Breakpoint||High||54||33||27|
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare||Normal||92||50||35|
|Dota 2||Best Looking||79||42||31|
|Far Cry: New Dawn||Ultra||55||39||33|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||High||64||37||19|
I used preset settings for each game as I tried finding the sweet spot that would enable the hardware to play above or somewhat at 60 FPS. All of the above tests were done while in Turbo Mode.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU packs “decent” hardware, enough to run the latest games. I say the word “decent” because while it is powered by an obviously powerful mobile processor, the Intel i7-9750H, its performance is significantly affected by the mid-tier Nvidia GeForce GTX1660Ti.
Going Turbo With The Zephyrus M GU502GU
Turbo Mode unlocks the full potential of the ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU, allowing the fans of both the processor and the GPU to ramp up and lift the device to the stratosphere. It becomes noticeably noisy but it unlocks the restrictions on the hardware, providing more juice and consequently increasing your frame rates. It is recommended to do this while it is plugged-in as it will consume the whole battery without fail.
Set It To Low Or Med To Go Past 144Hz
Breaking the 144Hz barrier can be done with most games if you’re willing to sacrifice visual fidelity for the extra frames. This is highly recommended for those looking to have smooth frames especially in competitive titles such as CS:GO. Also, having the game in full screen sometimes increases the frames and is sometimes also required to attain higher display refresh rates.
These benchmarks are meant to measure the device’s performance relative to other people’s machine. We plugged in a mix of CPU & GPU-intensive tests and other ones that measure the performance of both at the same time.
The numbers below will be quantified into an easy to read chart once we have compiled results from previous reviews. Please do check them out after some time.
3DMark Firestrike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme is designed for multi-GPU systems and future hardware generations. In addition to raising the rendering resolution, additional visual quality improvements increase the rendering load to ensure accurate performance measurements for truly extreme hardware setups.
3DMark Time Spy
3DMark Time Spy is a DirectX 12 benchmark test for Windows 10 gaming PCs. Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built the right way from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers.
Cinebench (Release 20)
Benchmark Score: 2697
Cinebench leverages the same powerful 3D engine found in the award-winning animation software Cinema 4D Release 20 to accurately evaluate CPU rendering performance capabilities across various systems and platforms.
Novabench is a free benchmark tool that allows you to see your computer’s overall performance. Its tests CPU, GPU, RAM, and Storage speeds, and gives you an aggregate score that you can use for comparison with other similar setups.
PassMark measures CPU, 2D & 3D GPU, Memory, and Disk speeds. Similar to Novabench, it gives you an aggregate score, giving you an idea on how your PC performs and how it ranks when compared to other computers around the world.
Extreme performance and stability test for PC hardware: video card, power supply, cooling system.
The ROG Zephyrus GU502GU has a maximum CPU temperature of 95C and a maximum GPU temperature of 75C. It does get a bit warm when playing while in Turbo mode. If you’re thinking of playing for extended periods of time, get a controller instead as having your wrists over a warm surface can be uncomfortable.
ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 – Verdict & Final Thoughts
Pantone® Validated 240Hz Gaming Laptop
Let’s put aside gaming for a while and think, “what would be the main reason to buy this laptop?” Given that it rarely breaks itself out of 144Hz, let alone the 120Hz, why buy this gaming laptop with a mid-tier graphics card and an overpowered screen? It’s a mismatch! Or so you would think.
As a gamer, I would prefer buying a laptop armed with a GeForce RTX2060 with a slightly lesser screen, say 144Hz, than this one. But consider the fact that this is Pantone® Validated, something that would help designers or would-be designers should their work require them this validation seal. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU can double as a workstation. Couple that with the very mobile build and you have yourself a workstation that you can take anywhere you go.
Mobile & Light Workstation / Gaming Laptop
Since we’re already talking about mobility, I think that that also warrants special attention for the ASUS Zephyrus M GU502. It’s very handy and you can bring it to almost anywhere without straining or breaking your back. Sure, the adapter almost weighs as the unit itself, but then again, you’re carrying more or less 3kgs with this one. I found that it’s quite practical if you’re living in the city, frequently going back to your hometown during the weekends or holidays.
With all that said, let’s return and specifically talk about the GTX 1660Ti-powered ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU. It is a compact and light laptop, that can also be used as a mobile workstation. As a gaming laptop, its performs well enough to attain 60 FPS even in demanding titles, which in itself is already impressive given that this is a laptop and not a desktop! With all things considered, we’re giving this one our Hungrygeeks 100% Approved badge.
In the Philippines, all of the variants of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 come with an ROG Impact Gaming Mouse and an ROG Laptop Bag.