NVIDIA RTX Laptops For STEM: ASUS VivoBook Pro 16 Scores High Honors

NVIDIA GeForce RTX Laptops for STEM: ASUS VivoBook Pro 16 System Benchmarks and Conclusions

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Laptops in NVIDIA's RTX Laptops for STEM Students program have to be pretty speedy in general, since the applications used in this space are typically demanding from both the CPU and the GPU. As a result the ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro (K6602VV-DS94) is pretty well-endowed with a Core i9-13900H processor and GeForce RTX 4060 Laptop graphics chip. Despite its thin and relatively light form factor (and the associated lower power draw compared to heavier and thicker notebooks), the VivoBook 16 Pro should have enough get-up-and-go to perform well in our battery of system tests, too. Let's take a look. 

ATTO Disk Benchmark

The ATTO disk benchmark is a fairly quick and simple test which measures read/write bandwidth and IOPS across a range of different data sizes. While we don't typically compare these results across multiple machines, it's useful to gauge whether a particular notebook's storage subsystem is up to snuff. 

atto bw asus vivobook 16 pro

atto io asus vivobook 16 pro

The ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro ships with an M.2 2280 PCI Express 4.0 drive from Micron, the 2450. Both the I/O performance and bandwidth are what we'd expect from a mainstream, DRAM-less 512 GB drive, but we think that a larger drive with more NAND dice and some cache on board would push performance much higher. Fortunately the drive is replaceable, but it's not exactly sluggish, either. 

Speedometer 2.0 Browser Benchmark

We use BrowserBench.org's Speedometer test to gauge our web experiences, which takes a holistic look at web application performance. This test automatically loads and runs several sample web apps from ToDoMVC.com using the most popular web development frameworks around, including React, Angular, Ember.js, and even vanilla JavaScript. This test is a better example of how systems cope with real web applications, as opposed to a pure JavaScript compute test like JetStream. All tests were performed using the latest version of Chrome. 

speedometer asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

At this point, this test isn't much of a challenge for any modern x86 laptop, but the VivoBook 16 Pro rockets to the upper eschelon of the list in this lightly-threaded benchmark. The 5.4 GHz maximum boost clock is apparently enough to put it ahead of the mighty Razor Blade 16, although at this performance level we're talking about a fraction of a percentage point. It's pretty darn quick, that's for sure. 

Cinebench R23 Rendering Benchmark

This is the latest 3D rendering benchmark from Maxon, based on the Cinema 4D R23 rendering engine. We tested both single-threaded and multi-threaded tests on all of the notebooks represented here... 

cinebench asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

The ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro has excellent single-threaded performance as it approaches the very fastest notebooks we've ever tested. Unfortunately, the relative lack of performance cores does drop it down the multi-threaded charts a bit, losing out to the bigger notebooks in our test, like the 17" MSI GT77 Titan

Geekbench 5 Benchmarks

Geekbench is a cross-platform benchmark that simulates real world processing workloads in image processing and particle physics scenarios. We tested the notebooks featured here in Geekbench's single and multi-core workloads. It measures single-threaded performance allowing a single core to stretch its legs, and multi-threaded throughput to put all cores under a heavy load. 

geekbench asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

The story is much the same in Geekbench 5, as the VivoBook 16 Pro puts itself up towards the top in single-threaded performance and still does relatively well in multi-threaded tests. That's especially true considering its six performance cores compared to the Alienware x17 R2's Core i9-12900HK's eight, along with most of the notebooks above it. 

PCMark 10 Whole System Benchmarks

PCMark 10 uses a mix of real-world applications and simulated workloads to establish how well a given system performs productivity tasks, including image and video editing, web browsing, and OpenOffice document editing.  While these scores appear to be all over the place, the systems are sorted by their overall PCMark score, which is the third (gray) bar in each cluster. 

pcmark asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

PCMark performance is very solid, not the fastest in our field but certainly no slow. Its Productivity score even surpasses a couple laptops that overall landed higher, such as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and its Zen 3-based Ryzen 9 6900HS.

3DMark Graphics And GPU Tests

3DMark has several different graphics tests which focus on different types of systems. We start with Time Spy, which was 3DMark's headline benchmark until just recently. This test presents a pretty significant challenge for the system's CPU and GPU using the DirectX 12 API... 

timespy asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

Due to the relatively low-power 60 Watt TGP of the VivoBook 16 Pro's GeForce RTX 4060, it trails behind even a couple of notebooks with GeForce RTX 3060 GPUs, like the Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition. That notebook gives 125 Watts to its graphics processor, so what it lacks compared to the VivoBook in raw resources, it can make up for with pure clock speed. Still, we wouldn't call the performance turned in here "slow" at all. 

Next up, let's take a look at the Extreme preset for the punishing 3DMark Fire Strike test. This DirectX 11 test has been around for a while, but it's still pretty challenging for mobile GPUs. 

firestrike asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

This older DX11 benchmark is still a bit of a torture test for modern platforms. To underline our point about GPU power, the VivoBook 16 Pro even outpaces the GeForce RTX 4070 in the Dell XPS 15 9530. We should keep in mind that notebook's 40 Watt TGP for its GeForce RTX 4070 and recognize the importance of power on overall GPU performance. 

Lastly, the Port Royal test uses DirectX Ray Tracing (DXR) along with traditional rasterization techniques to illuminate a scene... 

porth asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

The GeForce RTX 4060 notebook GPU's performance is right in the middle of the pack, but does once again trail higher-powered GeForce RTX 3060s. Let's see if this matters in games, though. 

Middle Earth: Shadow Of War Tests

Middle Earth: Shadow of War is a fun and beautiful title set in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe. To test the game's performance relative to other systems, we set the resolution to 1920x1080 (or 2560x1440) and turned the visuals up to the High preset. The frame rates here are the average reported by the built-in benchmark.

sow asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

In the first of our actual game tests, the VivoBook 16 Pro knocks it out of the park. Hitting 120+ frames per second in Shadow of War will pair well with this notebook's 120 Hz IPS-level display for a smooth gaming experience in this title. 

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Benchmarks

The finale in the rebooted Tomb Raider trilogy, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is easily the best-looking of the bunch. It's also brimming with Tobii eye-tracking hardware support, and leading-edge graphics technologies. To test this game out, we again turned the visuals up to their highest preset and tested at the FullHD resolution of 1920x1080...

tomb asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

Shadow of the Tomb Raider performance is surprisingly good on the VivoBook 16 Pro. It's a shade faster than the ROG Zephyrus G15 and its last-gen GeForce RTX 3070, even though this is a more budget model with a xx60 tier graphics processor. It's definitely fast enough for gaming when it's not doing the heavy lifting with engineering and AI-focused classwork. 

F1 2021 Benchmarks

F1 2021 supports DirectX 12 with ray tracing, and it incorporates support for a number of AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and NVIDIA technologies (like DLSS). We tested the games with its Ultra High graphics preset, with ray-tracing and TAA enabled at a couple of resolutions to see what the machine could do...

f1 asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

This time the VivoBook 16 Pro falters a bit and falls behind the RTX 3070 notebooks, likely due to F1 2021's use of ray tracing. It's still up close to 90 fps and has a very smooth low-70s minimum frame rate, though. 

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is an action-adventure game where you play as Star-Lord and lead the rest of the Guardians from mission to mission. The game’s minimum requirements call for a Radeon RX 570 or GeForce GTX 1060-class GPU, but it also supports some of the latest graphics technologies, including DXR and DLSS.

guardians asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

Our results with the Guardians Of The Galaxy benchmark shows it to be a somewhat CPU-limited test, rather than a GPU-focused one, at least once we get to this performance level. There's only a couple of ways to explain how the VivoBook 16 Pro beat out a GeForce RTX 3080 notebook like the mighty MSI G76 Raider. That bigger laptop's much older Tiger Lake CPU is apparently not quite enough to hang with the latest generation from Intel. Of course, Windows and driver updates, can have an impact as well.

ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro Battery Life

We run a custom 1080p HD video loop test developed in-house, to evaluate battery life with notebooks and laptops. In all tests, Windows Quiet Hours / Focus Assist has been enabled and the displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. For the average laptop this is somewhere between a 40-60 percent brightness setting. For the ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro, the brightness slider was set to 52, which netted us 113 lux, which is as close as we could get.

battery asus vivobook rtx stem laptop perf

Despite the very good application performance of the VivoBook 16 Pro, battery life was solid for a notebook with a discrete GPU. There's just a 70 Watt-hour battery life in this notebook, a far cry from the 99.9 Wh FAA limit found in bigger notebooks, and it still lasted over five hours. 

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NVIDIA RTX Laptop for STEM Students Conclusions

The RTX Laptops for STEM Students program isn't new, but this year's iteration of notebooks is a step above and beyond last year's thanks to the advent of mobile Ada Lovelace GPUs and newer processing platforms. The NVIDIA GeForce driver team ensures that engineering, math, and AI applications run as well as they can on mobile platforms, and the result was rendering, animation, and computation that was multiple times faster than running these applications on a CPU alone. A discrete GPU is effectively a necessity for a student that needs one of the apps showcased earlier in this article. That's hard when powerful notebooks command a hefty premium, but in this case that's not necessarily true.

As a notebook on its own merits, the ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro is a really nice machine. There are certainly cheaper options available, as notebooks in the NVIDIA program start at just $850 with GeForce RTX 4050 GPUs. However, the RTX 4060 is a pretty hefty step up in performance, and the VivoBook 16 Pro adds on a lot of great features. The 16:10 IPS-level display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and Pantone certification is a great starting point, as laptops users are going to be spending a lot of time with that display.

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Add in biometric authentication, a 1080p webcam, NVIDIA's Studio content creation program certification, and a 13th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, and it feels like this could be a really expensive laptop. But it's not; the ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro K6602VV-DS94 is available directly from Amazon with the exact specifications we examined today for $1,399. Even the more exotic K6602VV-ES94 notebook with a 3,200 x 2,000, 400-nit OLED display (which still retains a 120 Hz refresh rate, even) and a 1 TB SSD rings up at $1,699. That's kind of insane given the display, and even though we didn't test it, we'd probably spec that one out for anybody whose budget can stretch that far. 

Honestly, this goes beyond just STEM majors. Everyone who appreciates a relatively lightweight notebook (just over 4 pounds), a full-sized 16" 16:10 display, and enough gaming horsepower to handle recent titles at high resolutions should check out the ASUS VivoBook 16 Pro. Its blend of performance, size, and features matches what would normally be a much more expensive laptop, but at a more affordable price point. And for that reason, we bestow upon it HotHardware's Recommended award. 

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