ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?

JT JT 30 June 2020
ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?

The ASUS StudioBook 17 is a laptop for creative professionals and has some interesting components that I’ve never tested before. For the specs my config has a 9th gen Xeon processor, Nvidia Quadro T1000 graphics, 16gb of memory in single channel, however I installed dual channel for all testing, a 16:10 17” IPS screen and two 1TB NVMe M.2 SSDs in a RAID 0 array.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? For network connectivity there’s WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5, and it comes with a USB to ethernet adapter if you prefer a cable.

The finish is called Star Grey, the lid is all metal with a brushed finish. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?Inside the keyboard deck area appears to be metal, while the wrist rest is a grooved plastic.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? The overall build quality felt excellent, and there were no sharp corners or edges anywhere.

ASUS lists the weight as 2.4kg and mine was a little above this. With the 180 watt power brick and cables for charging included the total rises to around 3kg.

The StudioBook is definitely on the larger side, particularly in terms of depth, the 16:10 screen increases this but the screen still has a chin.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? That said it’s not too thick at 1.8cm. It’s also available in a 15” model which should be a bit more portable, so it will depend on how much you need the larger screen when travelling.

The screen is one of the unique points of the StudioBook, that 16:10 aspect ratio gives us a 1920 by 1200 resolution, so you get more vertical viewing space compared to most other 16:9 1080p laptops.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? It’s got a matte finish and uses Optimus.

As for colour gamut, we’re looking at 100% of sRGB, 86% of NTSC, 89% of AdobeRGB, and 96% of DCI-P3, so quite good results. ASUS claims that it’s got a Delta E of less than 1.5, unfortunately I’m not able to measure this.

Brightness was fine at just above 300 nits maxed out, though the contrast ratio was a bit lower at 700:1.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? The backlight bleed in my unit was not great, the bottom left corner in particular was noticeable when viewing darker content, but this will vary between laptop and panel. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?There was a little screen flex when intentionally trying to move the metal lid, but overall it felt quite sturdy, the hinges were on the stiffer side and the whole act of opening and closing the lid felt solid.

The keyboard flex was on the lower side and it felt strong enough.

The laptop couldn’t quite be opened up with one finger, it’s more back heavy though it still sat fine on my lap, and the screen goes the full 180 degrees back allowing you to share it.

Despite the thinner bezels, the 720p camera is found above the display in the center, there’s no Windows Hello support though. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?There’s a fingerprint scanner on the left hand side below the keyboard which I found to work well and quick enough.

The keyboard has white backlighting which illuminates all keys and secondary key functions, and brightness can be adjusted between three levels or turned off with the F7 shortcut. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?Despite all the available space the function keys up top still felt a little small, and the arrow keys were on the smaller side too, and unlike the rest of the keys they have the same grooved texture as the wrist rest area. Typing went well, the keys have 1.4mm travel and felt a little clicky to press.

The power button is up the top right and is separate to the keyboard keys, and there’s also some air vents up the top above the keyboard. The glass precision touchpad feels nice and smooth, it clicks down anywhere and works well, though I would have preferred it if it was a bit larger given how much space is available.

Although there’s no regular numpad, you can hold down the top right corner of the touchpad which will turn it into one, and you can still use the mouse normally in this mode. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?Fingerprints don’t really show up on the interior due to the grooved finish, the matte keyboard deck and lid were a bit more susceptible but as a smooth surface it’s easy to clean.

On the left from the back there’s a lock slot, air exhaust vent, power input, Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port with 4 lanes and DisplayPort 1.4 support, HDMI 2.0 output, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, 3.5mm audio combo jack, and an SD card slot.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? On the right from the front there are two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports and another air exhaust vent. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?The majority of the I/O is on the left, presumably to keep cables out of the way of your mouse hand if you’re right handed. Both the Type-C and HDMI ports are wired directly to the Nvidia graphics.

The back just has some air exhaust vents, while the front has an indentation in the middle with the status LEDs.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? Underneath is pretty clean, there are just air intake vents towards the back along with two speakers along the front.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? The bottom panel came off easily once you remove 11 Phillips head screws of 3 varying sizes.

Inside we’ve got the two M.2 storage slots on the left in the center, battery down the bottom, two memory slots in the middle which have ECC support with this Xeon model, and that’s it.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? WiFi is soldered to the motherboard just to the right of the battery, it’s WiFi 6 so there will be no need to replace it for a while at least.

The front speakers sounded pretty good, they were clear at higher volumes with a little bass, I’d rate them as above average for a laptop. They got very loud at max volume, and this did result in a little wrist rest vibration which was occasionally audible, though honestly I doubt you’d keep it in excess of 100 decibels anyway. Otherwise the latencymon results weren’t looking ideal.

Despite the larger 17 inch form factor, there’s just a 3-cell 57Wh battery inside. I’ve tested it with the screen brightness at 50%, background apps disabled and keyboard lighting off, and in my YouTube playback test it lasted for just over 5 hours.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? For the gaming result, normally Nvidia GeForce experience caps FPS to 30 with battery boost, however the Quadro Experience app we have here doesn’t seem to do this. Despite running at 50 FPS on average which would use more power, we’re still able to play for over an hour.

The MyASUS software lets you swap between the lower Dynamic and higher Velocity modes which modifies fan speed and performance.

I’ve tested thermals in a 21 degree Celsius ambient room temperature, at idle it was on the cooler side. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?The rest of the results aim to represent worst case scenarios where both the CPU and GPU are active, and were tested with the Aida64 CPU stress test with CPU only checked and the Heaven benchmark at max settings. In dynamic mode the temps are quite good, though CPU thermal throttling was taking place once we go into velocity mode, even when we undervolt the processor with Intel XTU. Adding a cooling pad on top of this was enough to remove it though.

These are the clock speeds for the same tests just shown. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?The clock speed reported by the Quadro graphics was unchanged regardless of mode, otherwise the processor speed saw a nice improvement by enabling velocity mode. Undervolting boosted us further and was only just below the full 4.2GHz all core turbo boost speed of the Xeon processor, while the cooling pad was able to get us all the way.

These are the power levels for each partASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? the processor seems to cap out at 55 watts while under combined CPU and GPU loads which is a fair limit, though this is probably made possible owing to the Quadro T1000 graphics only running up to 40 watts.

When we look at CPU only workloads thoughASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? we can see that this same 55 watt limit is achieved in the lowest dynamic mode, while velocity can run in excess of 65 watts depending on the cooling.

The clock speeds aren’t quite as high as what we saw in the combined workloads earlier as this test has more options enabled that hit the CPU hardASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? however we’re still able to hit 4GHz over all 6 cores which is a fair result, and the temperatures were sitting in the low 90s.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? Here are the Cinebench scores during these different modes to give you an idea of CPU only performanceASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? the multicore scores are similar to what we’d see with a 6 core i7 9750H or 10750H, though the single core results are up a bit as the Xeon chip has a higher 4.7GHz single core boost speed. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, it was barely getting to 30 on the keyboard at idle, so quite cool.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? With the stress tests going in dynamic mode it gets to the high 30s in the middle which barely felt warm.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? In velocity mode the hot spots were actually a little cooler despite performing better as the fan speed increases.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? At idle it sounded silent, with the stress tests going in dynamic mode it was still relatively quiet at around 40 decibels, and didn’t get too much worse in velocity mode. Given the processor performance was better than many other louder machines I’ve tested I think this seems reasonable, but will likely in part be due to the lower tier GPU adding less heat.

The ASUS ProArt series laptops are ISV certified, which apparently means apps from Adobe like photoshop and premiere, autocad and 3d studio max from autodesk, solidworks and more should work well.

I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export videщ at 4K. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?The StudioBook was on the lower side out of the options tested, most likely due to the graphics holding it back.

I’ve also tested Premiere but with the Puget Systems benchmark this timeASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? and similar results where it was behind many other cheaper laptops.

Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the Puget Systems benchmarkASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? and this test seems to rely more on processor performance, and it seems to be competing with the Ryzen 4800H.

Davinci Resolve wasn’t doing too well hereASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? as a workload that seems to benefit from GPU power, our lower quadro graphics is only a little above MSI’s Alpha 15.

While not a gaming laptop, I thought it would be interesting to test a few titles just to get an idea of how the Quadro T1000 stacks up compared to other options out there.

In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the StudioBook 17 highlighted in red.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? It’s closer to the bottom of the stack due to the lower powered GPU, but it is available with higher powered options, should you need them.

These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?The results are similar to many of the 1650 machines tested due to similar wattage and VRAM.

These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settingsASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? and again it’s around the same sort of GTX 1650 area, so while not really capable of max settings gaming, low to medium settings should go ok, similarly to the 1650.

I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and the RAID 0 array made up of two 1TB NVMe M.2 SSDs was performing extremely well.ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop? The UHS-II SD card slot was also performing quite nicely, the card clicks in and only sticks out a little when inserted. ASUS StudioBook Pro 17 - Ultimate Workstation Laptop?

In the US you can get the i7 version with better GPU for $2000 USD, however the price can vary significantly based on hardware selection. So basically, the StudioBook 17 is a larger yet still thin laptop for professional use, it’s available with the option of Xeon CPU, ECC memory and Quadro graphics, though I thought it was a bit strange that mine came with single channel memory.

The keyboard and touchpad worked well, though given the size the numpad within the touchpad seems like a strange choice, I feel like they could have fit a normal one, but they must have wanted to keep it well spaced out.

The port selection is great, Thunderbolt, fast SD slot, and USB 3.1 Gen2, no slower Gen1 at all. The build quality was excellent and overall the machine felt solid. The 16:10 screen looked good in terms of colour, though brightness was average, contrast below average, and the bleed patch wasn’t good, though that will vary.

The exterior thermals remain cool regardless of the workload being run, and you’ve got the option of limiting how hot the internals get at the expense of some performance. In terms of raw performance for the dollar can get better with, say a cheaper gaming laptop, it really comes down to how much you value the professional aspects such as 16:10 screen, quadro graphics and nice build quality for instance.

I haven’t tested too many of these professional workstation style laptops out yet, but I’ll be looking at MSI’s WS66 soon so stay tuned if you’re after more. Let me know what you thought about the ASUS StudioBook 17 down in the comments, is it something you’d consider for professional workloads? 

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