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ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Review – AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS & RX 6800S

Rating: 9.0.

ASUS’ 2022 ROG Zephyrus G14 now features the latest-and-greatest in AMD hardware fitted inside its impressive 14-inch form factor. The brand new Ryzen 9 6900HS processor alongside DDR5 memory and an RX 6000S series dedicated graphics card is impressive. Put that alongside the 2560×1600 120Hz display and you have a sleek, high-performance, multi-purpose laptop. Oh yeah, you get this fancy back-panel lighting section too.

Has ASUS nailed it with the new AMD hardware? Let's take a closer look.

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In this review, we are going to primarily focus on the brand-new hardware that ASUS deploys in the ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop. Notably that is the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and the Radeon RX 6800S dedicated GPU.

AMD’s new Zen 3+ Ryzen 6000 series mobile processors – ‘Rembrandt’ – usher in a slew of new technologies primarily built around improving power usage and therefore battery life for mobile applications. We’ve already done an article on these new processors on the KitGuru website, so make sure you check that out for the in-depth details.

To summarise briefly, though, the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS is an 8-core, 16-thread processor operating at 3.3GHz base and up to 4.9GHz boost with its 35W nominal TDP. There is flexibility in these numbers, though, especially with AMD’s improvements to the frequency-voltage curves and power-control algorithms.

TSMC’s 6nm process technology helps AMD increase transistor count from 10.7 billion for previous-gen Ryzen 5000 Mobile to 13.1 billion for Ryzen 6000 Mobile. The platform side of things has been improved significantly; you now get support for LP or standard DDR5, PCIe Gen 4 connectivity is deployed throughout, and there’s overarching USB4 support too.

The new integrated GPU is built around RDNA2 and features 12 Compute Units on the Ryzen 9 6900HS. We won’t really be looking at the iGPU given this laptop’s use of an RX 6800S dGPU deployed along with a mux switch. But the built-in GPU is handy for media acceleration type duties, especially with AMD’s improved support for H264, H265, and AV1 – all at high resolutions and often high refresh rates.

Switching focus to the still relatively new Radeon RX 6800S graphics, this is an RDNA2-based laptop-calibre dedicated GPU that is built for a balance between performance and efficiency. AMD’s RX 6000 S-suffix series effectively go up against Nvidia’s Max-Q line of dedicated GPUs inside laptops.

The RX 6800S is built on TSMC 7nm process technology and features 32 Compute Units for 2048 shaders that clock up to 1975MHz according to the specifications. The TGP in ASUS’ deployed mode is 80W, but that can stretch to 105W with AMD’s SmartShift Max technology.

8GB of GDDR6 memory is deployed on a 128-bit memory interface and clocked at 16 Gbps. There’s also 32MB of high-bandwidth Infinity Cache available to the GPU.

This graphics chip is most comparable to a heavily downclocked and power-limited version of an RX 6700 XT desktop graphics card. That should be pretty good for 1080p or some 1440p gaming inside a 14-inch form factor laptop, especially with the AMD gaming technologies such as FSR supported.

With the application of the latest AMD hardware on both the CPU and GPU fronts, this allows ASUS to unlock some of the AMD Advantage marketed features. Notably, the ROG Zephyrus G14 supports AMD SmartShift Max. This allows the CPU and GPU to share some power headroom between them if one has spare capacity that the other needs.

According to ASUS’ specifications for running in the default, noise-friendly ‘Performance’ power profile, the CPU can increase from 35W TDP to 45W TDP if the graphics can dedicate its power headroom. Or the graphics can increase its TGP from 80W to 90W if the CPU can lend it some power.

I really like the concept of SmartShift Max and the way it is deployed.

If we take a brief look at the other hardware and technologies for the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop, there’s a strong amount of horsepower squeezed into this 14-inch class, 1.75kg, Vapor-chamber cooled system.

You get 32GB of DDR5 4800MHz memory alongside a 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD. The ROG Nebula display uses an IPS-level panel and 2560×1600 16:10 resolution which is a smart balance for the 14” form factor, especially when combined with the 120Hz refresh rate; 3ms response time, Adaptive-Sync, 100% DCI-P3 colour – this is a nice display.

There’s WiFi 6E (from a MediaTek MT7922 chip that AMD had involvement with), HDMI 2.0b (no HDMI 2.1 is disappointing), dual USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort, two 10Gbps USB Type-A ports, a micro-SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Charging of the 76Whr battery is done by a 240W power brick and barrel style connector. But 100W USB-C charging is also an option through one of the ports.

Peripherals are also strong – the pitch for the backlit keyboard is excellent, with thick keys that have plenty of travel. The massive mousepad is clean and sturdy, too. Plus, you get a 720p webcam with Windows Hello support.

There’s also the cool, customisable AniMe Matrix lighting on the rear of the laptop lid. Granted, this doesn’t really add any useful functionality and does increase laptop weight by 100 grams. But it certainly does catch people’s attention.

Pricing for the 2022 ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 in its Ryzen 9 6900HS and Radeon RX 6800S guise is not confirmed at retailers yet, but it looks to be around $2-2.5K USD so probably around £2-2.5K. There is, however, the 16GB G14 model available for $1899 USD pre-order at Best Buy. So perhaps we will see the 32GB model reviewed closer to $2K than $2.5K.

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