The gaming laptop from ASUS

The gaming laptop from ASUS

The gaming laptop from ASUS. Today I wanna take a look at this, the ASUS TUF FX505. So the TUF line for ASUS is a little bit more of a budget gaming line, and at least when you look at this on paper, it is incredibly impressive. For $700, what you’re getting here is an all-AMD laptop. That means we have the latest Ryzen processors, Radeon graphics, and the other basics are definitely checked, eight gigs of RAM, standard SSD, decent 1080p display. Now when it comes to the hardware, it is very clear that ASUS spent their budget on the internals and not on the chassis, and that’s not really a bad thing. It is all made out of plastic, and it feels reasonably sturdy, but it’s basically exactly what you expect at this kind of price point. The keyboard is okay.

 It’s a little bit mushier than I’d like, although it does have backlighting, and the touchpad is okay. It is very, very plasticky and sometimes the mechanism gets a little bit crunchy, but again, 700 bucks, it’s really not a big deal. The port selection is definitely minimal. So we have three USB-A ports, two of which are 3.0, but one of which weirdly is 2.0, as well as HDMI, as well as Ethernet. Now that’s fine, but it would definitely be nice to see something like USB-C onboard, although I will give them props, and on top of Ethernet you do have a very decent Wi-Fi solution on this guy.

The screen is decent. So it’s a little bit dimmer than I’d like, but importantly it does have FreeSync thanks to this being a full AMD laptop. Now the only downside here is that it only runs between 40 to 60 hertz. Now when I originally saw this laptop, AMD showed it to me with a 120 hertz option, (car engine accelerating) that sounds cool. However, this model only has a 60 hertz display. However, FreeSync is definitely a good thing especially at this kind of budget. This is the first laptop we’ve had in that has the brand-new second-generation Ryzen Mobile. Now this is not a major advantage over the last generation. It does shrink it down to a 12-nanometer process, some slight changes.

 Realistically, they’re only promising about a 7% performance increase. Now this does (laughing), it’s so windy, man! Sounds like there’s a hurricane behind us. Now this does take advantage of one of the new H-Series Ryzen processors which does bump the TDP from 15 to 35 watts. Now in theory that should help performance, especially in gaming. However, when you run it through Geekbench, you won’t see any kind of major difference between previous Ryzen processors. Big reason for that is that this is only outfitted with a single DIMM of slow eight gigabyte DDR4 RAM. Really, Ryzen does come alive when you give it very fast dual channel memory, which is definitely part of the performance bottleneck here. If that’s not enough for you, though, there are a mere 11 screws on the bottom to get access to a little bit of expansion. Okay, so pop this off and the first thing we’ll see is we do have a spare 2 1/2-inch drive bay, so you can add a hard drive or an SSD. And we also have, if I flip this up, yeah, an extra DIMM slot. So by default it’s only eight gigs, but you can upgrade to 16 pretty easy. We have our NVMe SSD, as well as what seems to be decent cooling. Just a couple of heat pipes here.(The gaming laptop from ASUS)

 Nothing too crazy but the main thing is you do have that expandability with the 2 1/2-inch drive bay. It’s not that difficult to, say, add a little bit of extra RAM, which you probably should because, I mean, eight is fine, but 16 is much more comfortable. What really makes this a gaming laptop is the GPU. This uses a Radeon RX 560X very similar to the Acer that we recently took a look at. It’s totally respectable. You’re able to play most games on Medium settings at 1080p such as Overwatch as well as Apex Legends. Now, no, you won’t be able to crank out Ultra settings in a lot of games, but again, considering the price, this is very much par for the course.(The gaming laptop from ASUS)

 It’s somewhere in the neighborhood of what you would expect out of a GTX 1050. Now speaking of that Acer video, one of our biggest issues with it was the fact that were some major problems with updating drivers. Thankfully that has been resolved. However, the driver issues have returned in a different form. My dedicated GPU on this just disappears sometimes. Now I don’t know if this is some weird power setting that I can’t find, but sometimes, especially when this computer sits idle for 30, 45 minutes or so, the dedicated GPU just disappears. It’s not in Task Manager, it’s not in Radeon Settings. The only way I’ve found to actually fix that is to restart the computer. Now it’s not the end of the world because it does of course default to the integrated Vega graphics, which to be fair are actually quite a bit better than what you will find on most other gaming laptops, but still, when you talk about dedicated graphics just disappearing sometimes, it gives me some pause to say that, oh yeah, you should definitely go out and spend your $700 on a laptop like this. The hardware is there, but the driver support just gives me a little of pause before I recommend it. (The gaming laptop from ASUS)

The FX505 is a perfectly competent gaming laptop. Now when you consider the price, the little issues I found with the hardware really aren’t that big of a deal, and the performance definitely is there. Really, my main issue is the continued flakiness of those AMD drivers. It’s not a deal breaker, but they can and should be a lot better.   

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