Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 Review: Beauty And Brawn

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Performance: 3DMark Sky Diver and Fire Strike Extreme

Now let's turn our attention to gaming, beginning with a pair of synthetic benchmarks and later analyzing some real-world, in-game tests.

Futuremark 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme and Sky Diver
3D Game Performance

Futuremark designed 3DMark Fire Strike for desktop PCs, but today’s heavy-duty gaming laptops have the chops to take on the high-resolution texture, tessellation and other components of the test. The Extreme Mode in particular targets 1.5GB of frame buffer memory and really stresses a system's ability to render a game scene full of tessellation, advanced lighting, physics, depth-of-field, and ambient occlusion.

The UX501 is not a heavy-duty gaming laptop, but the Nvidia' 960M is no slouch, andwe like to analyze extreme ends of the spectrum to paint a fuller picture. So let's put it through some pain! 

Sky Diver, on the other hand, is Futuremark’s proper benchmark for laptops outfitted with dedicated video cards. This is a good test for entry- and mid-range gaming laptops, and the best (and fairest) synthetic test for the ZenBook UX501. As always, remember that Fire Strike isn't truly representative of real-world gaming performance, but does give us a general picture of where a machine stands in the competitive landscape. 

firestrike extreme
Nvidia's 960M factors heavily into this results, and it's obviously going to outperform its last-generation 860M. Stacked against gaming powerhouses like the Alienware 15 or Eurocom P5 Pro, it may seem inadequate. Until your start comparing price tags...


Though HP's Omen 15 barely posts another victory here, remember that the small gap is well within Sky Diver's margin for error. What's interesting is that the UX501 with its GeForce GTX 960M should be squarely beating it. Are we seeing another symptom of the system's thermal constraints?

But that's one of the drawbacks of testing hardware with synthetic benchmarks. So let's get into some actual gaming. 

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