*** ASUS Zephyrus M15 (2020) Owner's Lounge ***

Discussion in 'ASUS Reviews and Owners' Lounges' started by Diversion, Aug 6, 2020.

  1. Diversion

    Diversion Notebook Deity

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    Just picked up the Zephyrus M15 from Best Buy two days ago and have been extensively reviewing it.

    https://www.asus.com/us/Laptops/ROG-Zephyrus-M15/

    Pictured borrowed from Techtesters:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    My particular model:

    ASUS Zephyrus M15 GU502LW (2020)
    Sharp IPS 240hz 300nit 3ms Factory Pantone Calibrated 15.6" (https://www.panelook.com/LQ156M1JW09_Sharp_15.6_LCM_overview_42401.html)
    Intel i7-10750H 6-Core (Factory Asus Thermalgrizzly Liquid Metal)
    Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q (90 Watt Edition) (Factory Asus Thermalgrizzly Liquid Metal)
    16gb 2933mhz Dual Channel DDR4 (8gb soldered on board)
    1TB NVMe SSD Intel SSDPEKNW01
    Prism Gray Color
    Single Zone Backlit Keyboard
    Asus claims 4.1lb weight

    Questions and answers:

    Q -- Can you undervolt the CPU?
    A -- Yes, you can via the BIOS - ASUS allows for up to -80mv (Core and Cache are changed together) - You cannot use Throttlestop/XTU to adjust anything under Windows due to the BIOS being Plundervolt patched.

    Q -- How loud are the Fans?
    A -- Depends on your settings, the system BIOS and EC by default are controlled through the ASUS Armoury Crate Service which uses backend EC control to change TDP, power limits, Fan control, etc. - You have Windows, Silent, Performance, Turbo, and Manual mode as your choices.
    -- Windows mode = Seems like Silent mode to me, can't tell a difference.
    -- Silent mode = Very quiet, lowers TDP limits on both the CPU and GPU, fans do not get loud, nice low hum and very good performance in normal PC usage, and about up to 70% max gaming potential can still be had here.
    -- Performance = Gets louder, allows for max CPU potential but still lowers GPU potential down about 15% or so. Fans can get pretty loud in this mode especially during gaming.
    -- Turbo = Max CPU and Max GPU TDP and limits, also max fan speed is allowed now and it will even idle at a higher fan speed. This mode is EXTREMELY LOUD at 50+ DB of sound. You will get the most out of your CPU and GPU however.. It allows the GPU to use it's 90 watts and will allow the CPU to run at it's max TDP without throttling (pending heat is under control). I personally have been able to run all 6 cores at 4.3ghz each under an AVX load without any throttling for an indefinite amount of time.
    -- Manual Mode = This is where things get interesting.. You can create your own fan profiles based on temperature targets. You can set the percent of fan speed at set temperatures for both CPU and GPU. And even allow the fans to completely be turned off at lower temperatures (which I absolutely love).

    Q -- How is the screen/panel quality?
    A -- You can find the above specs I linked for the panel info. I personally find the screen to be gorgeous, bright, and colorful. Having 100% sRGB is a real treat these days. 300~ nits is a good spot to be in for this screen. I would recommend to not go lower than 300 nits on any machine you buy these days. The response time during gaming is quite amazing compared to other panels (a real life result is an actual 7ms according to Notebookcheck of other machines using this panel). The panel is of high quality from Sharp, and in my opinion, a better choice than AUO, CHM, BOE, etc like you see in many other laptops.

    Q -- How's the battery life?
    A -- Being it has a 78watt hour battery (which is quite decent in size), expect around 6-8 hours of average use at medium brightness.. My unit seems to drain at about -7800mv idling at the desktop with no kb backlight on, medium brightness, which equates to exactly 10 hours~ - but during use, i'd expect 6 hours give or take 30 minutes. The machine uses Nvidia Optimus for graphics switching.

    Q -- How are CPU/GPU Temps?
    A -- Very good, the CPU/GPU are factory liquid metal'd using Thermalgrizzly according to Asus (and as the sticker on the LCD bezel indicates) and i'd claim that Asus did a great job with the liquid metal as all my cores are within 1-2c deviation under load. Temperatures are actually fantastic with the accompanied loud fans, I never go over 70c CPU and 70c GPU during the Heaven benchmark using Performance mode. Most of the test the fans remained quiet but once they hit 70c they kick up into high mode.


    My thoughts:

    Use CUSTOM FAN profiles.. You can make this beast ULTRA quiet while gaming while keeping temperatures in check.. I find the default profiles to be far too aggressive for the fan.. There's plenty of thermal headroom in this machine and it doesn't need 70+% fan speed to keep it cool.. I haven't exactly set up a profile i'm 100% happy with but I do know that you can tame it down a lot and keep it fairly silent rivaling any other gaming notebook i've touched so far.



    Will add more info as it comes, please ask your questions or if you'd like performance results, make your requests here!
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
    Lakshya and saturnotaku like this.
  2. Lakshya

    Lakshya Notebook Consultant

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    Awesome post. Can you please let us know the wattage your CPU consumes in order to maintain 4.3 GHz? Also, what are your gaming temps like, on the turbo profile?
     
  3. Diversion

    Diversion Notebook Deity

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    Hi Lakshya,

    It consumes about 70-74 watts fully non-AVX load after the -80mv undervolt is applied in the BIOS. This is a pretty good result as my Legion 7i with same CPU but fully unlocked undervolt does about 68 watts under same test.

    Gaming temps with Turbo profile are low 70s CPU and about mid-to-high 70s on GPU. It's pretty loud... It would seem Asus only liquid metal's the CPU side.. Although the GPU is Max-Q it runs more like a normal Max P under Turbo pulling 1volt and up to 1900mhz in speed. I can't see wattage on the GPU with any tools yet.

    Silent mode scales CPU back to 3.5ghz and GPU back to 1500mhz down to 900mhz but it's very silent.. A lot of few year old titles are still highly playable in Silent mode.. some take more of a hit (especially when the system decides to run the gpu at 900mhz).

    You can sort of trick silent mode with a gpu undervolt to get it to do 1500mhz but I can't figure out why it does a hard cut and sticks to 900mhz and .6volt on the gpu which causes a lot of games to drop to a very low FPS.
     
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  4. bigmolly2

    bigmolly2 Newbie

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    Great Review! If you have a custom fan profile that works decently well please let me know. I have been tinkering with it but have produced no results that have kept me happy. Also I have noticed an issue that seems to happen to other people that own the M15. Whenever the computer goes to sleep the keyboard LEDs start to flicker purple. It also does it when the computer boots up. Not a huge issue but definitely a minor annoyance.
     
  5. Diversion

    Diversion Notebook Deity

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    Some observations about the "Custom" fan mode is that it forces the machine into wide-open mode.. Max power to CPU and GPU.. Not that this is a bad thing but what it does it make you pretty much run the same fan curve as Balanced to Turbo mode already does and really doesn't improve anything in the way of fan noise.. You could further mitigate this with MSI Afterburner and locking the GPU clock speed at a lower clock but that ultimately ruins the point of the machine and why you purchased the 2060, 2070, or higher models (if applicable).

    A lot of games run great under Silent and Normal/Balanced mode without much noise and decent temps.. my only gripe about the unit so far is how hot the chassis itself heats up.. it's not too terrible but sort can be uncomfortable to game on using the keyboard on deck but I suppose that's what you trade off by having a 4.1-4.2lb and super thin gaming notebook.

    A better fan control setup would be to figure out a way to keep fans at a set RPM limit for CPU/GPU regardless of your temps so you can find that happy spot of noise to temp control.. I feel like Armoury Crate is responsible for the EC BIOS fan control entirely... especially since there's a bios setting that allows you to let Armoury Crate control the BIOS.. so what i'm thinking is there's perhaps a XML file somewhere in the setup where we can edit and modify fan curves directly and perhaps take better control over it.

    I'm also currently digging to see if I can dump the bios and modify it in order to get full undervolting ability in Windows.. not coming up with much since I believe these newer BIOS with fancy Graphical UI are harder to crack and modify.

    Also, my keyboard also flickers the backlight on sleep mode too when the lid is open.. It seems to be Asus' way to indicate the system is sleeping and it's pretty annoying to me so I just end up closing the lid.. I've had previous Asus laptops do the same thing.. bad design decision!
     
  6. bigmolly2

    bigmolly2 Newbie

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    When I first received it I definitely noticed how hot the thing gets. However, I undervolted at -50mv and disabled turbo in throttlestop and was able to mitigate those high temps. Now my GPU will not go over 80 and my CPU never over 75. It helps immensely with more comfortable gaming sessions because previously, even though I keep it on a desk, it got so hot that It started to make me damn near sweat lol. Performance takes a slight hit when undervolting and disabling turbo but its a tradeoff that is worth it in the long run. At least until I eventually get a cooling pad.
     
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  7. Diversion

    Diversion Notebook Deity

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    You should be able to just max it out at -80mv in the BIOS without being unstable.. Have you tried that?
     
  8. bigmolly2

    bigmolly2 Newbie

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    I have not , won't it take a bigger performance hit though?
     
  9. Diversion

    Diversion Notebook Deity

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    No the opposite..the further you can push your undervolt, the cooler it runs and the more turbo it can have because of the added thermal headroom by requiring less wattage to perform the same.
     
  10. bigmolly2

    bigmolly2 Newbie

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    I tried -80mv, didn’t really see any difference from -50mv maybe a 1-2 degrees. The mid 70’s range is already fine by me
     
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