ASUS TUF FX505DU Review – Best Value Gaming Laptop?


The ASUS TUF FX505DU gaming laptop has received
a lot of attention due to its price point
and unusual combination of AMD CPU and Nvidia
graphics, so let’s take a detailed look
at this machine and help you decide if it’s
a laptop you should consider.
Starting with the specs I’ve got the DU
model, which has an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H quad
core CPU, 80 watt Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics,
and 16gb of memory running in dual channel.
There’s a 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD for storage,
and a 15.6” 1080p 120Hz IPS-Level screen.
For network connectivity it’s got gigabit
ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 5.
There are a few different configurations available
though, such as with GTX 1650 or 3550H CPU
instead, you can find updated prices to different
models linked in the description.
The whole laptop is plastic but feels quite
solid, and like other TUF series laptops it
does meet military-grade standards ensuring
toughness and durability. I’ve got the gold
steel version, so the lid is a dark grey matte
with orange ASUS logo, but there are also
the stealth black and red matter versions.
The interior is also black plastic but with
a brushed finish, and all edges and corners
were smooth.
The weight is listed at 2.2 to 2.3kg on the
ASUS website, and mine was closer to 2.2kg
but I don’t have a 2.5” drive installed.
With the 180 watt power brick and cables for
charging the total rises to just under 2.8kg.
The dimensions of the laptop are 36cm in width,
26cm in depth, and just under 2.7cm in height,
so a little on the thicker side but honestly
not too bad, I’ve just reviewed a lot of
thin machines lately. The smaller width allows
us to have thinner screen bezels, though the
bottom chin is larger.
The 15.6” 1080p 120Hz IPS-level screen has
a matte finish and good viewing angles, no
G-Sync available here though.
I’ve measured the current colour gamut using
the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned
63% of sRGB, 45% of NTSC and 47% of AdobeRGB.
At 100% brightness in the center I measured
284 nits with a 930:1 contrast ratio, so a
little below average on the brightness, with
colour gamut on the lower side too, not surprising,
many gaming laptops in this price range have
similar panels to keep costs down and they’re
perfectly acceptable for gaming.
There was some backlight bleed, the section
down the bottom left corner was occasionally
noticeable while viewing darker content, though
results will vary between laptops and panels.
There was only a bit of screen flex, the panel
felt sturdier than I expected considering
the plastic build, and the hinges being out
towards the far corners further aid with stability.
It wasn’t quite possible to open up with
one finger, as there seems to be more weight
towards the back. No problem using it on my
lap though.
The 720p camera is found in the middle above
the screen.
The camera is pretty average for 720p, not
great, and the microphone sounds alright,
here’s what typing sounds like.
The chiclet keyboard has RGB backlighting
which lights up even secondary key functions,
although it can only be controlled as one
single zone, so the effects are limited. The
WASD keys are clear and easily identifiable,
the arrow keys were a little narrow but still
easier to press than say the Dell G5, right
shift size isn’t sacrificed and the space
bar is a little longer on the left for gamers.
Overall I liked typing with the keyboard,
here’s how typing sounds to give you an
idea of what to expect.
There was some keyboard flex when intentionally
pushing down hard, likely due to the plastic
chassis, but this is worst case, it’s mostly
fine during normal use, sometimes a bit of
slight movement when typing aggressively.
The touchpad has precision drivers and was
smooth to the touch. It worked alright, however
it felt a bit loose, if you lightly press
it it sort of clicks down before you get to
the actual click.
Fingerprints and dust show up on the black
plastic interior, I found them easy to wipe
off but it could be hard once dirt gets into
the grooves of the brushed finish.
On the left we’ve got the power input, gigabit
ethernet, HDMI 2 output, USB 2.0 Type-A port,
two USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, 3.5mm audio
combo jack, and left speaker towards the front.
On the right there’s the right speaker towards
the front, air exhaust vent, and kensington
lock, so no I/O that will get in the way of
your mouse hand, assuming you’re right handed.
Those speakers on the sides sounded ok, a
bit muffled at higher volumes, though they
seemed to get loud enough at maximum volume
with music playing, and the latencymon results
looked alright.
On the back there are just air exhaust vents
towards the left and right corners, and the
fins appear to have been painted red, while
the front has nothing at all.
The status LEDs are found towards the back
above the keyboard, and can be seen when the
lid is closed.
On the grey plastic lid there’s the ASUS
logo on the center which lights up orange
from the screen’s backlight, so cannot be
customized.
Underneath there are minimal air vents, more
on that in a moment, and the rubber feet did
an acceptable job of preventing movement while
using the machine.
The bottom panel can be easily removed by
taking out 11 screws with a phillips head
screwdriver. The 5 towards the front are shorter
than the 6 towards the back. Once inside from
left to right we’ve got the single M.2 slot,
battery, two memory slots, and single 2.5”
drive bay. My model actually came with single
channel memory, however as you can purchase
it with dual channel I’ve tested with dual
channel for optimal performance.
Powering the laptop is a 3 cell 48 Watt hour
battery. I’ve tested it with the screen
brightness at 50%, background apps disabled,
and all keyboard lighting off. While just
watching YouTube videos it lasted for 4 hours
and 58 minutes, a decent result, and it was
using the Vega 10 graphics rather than more
powerful Nvidia 1660 Ti.
While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings
and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS
the battery lasted for 1 hour and 9 minutes,
however the game only ran at 15 to 20 FPS
the entire time, it didn’t seem like there
was adequate power to reach the usual 30 FPS
in this title. By default on battery power
the laptop goes into the silent profile, but
even changing it to balanced didn’t see
this improve the result.
I’m not sure if the 180 watt power brick
is enough for long term gaming, after half
an hour the battery had drained from 100%
to 95% while plugged in and playing Watch
Dogs 2, performance didn’t seem to be affected.
I left it going even longer but didn’t see
further change.
Let’s move onto the thermal testing. On
the bottom of the laptop there are some air
vents, however these aren’t actually above
the intake fans. If we look at the panel on
this angle we can more easily see where the
vents are located. There also appears to be
some air vents just above the keyboard, and
the lid apparently has this cut out to reduce
it covering the air exhausts when open.
In terms of heatpipes we’ve got the standard
two shared pipes between processor and graphics,
so a change in temperature of one will affect
the other. We can pick between three modes
in the Armory crate software, silent, balanced,
and turbo, and I’ll note which is in use
throughout the testing, basically these just
affect CPU TDP limits and fan speed. These
modes can also be toggled by holding the function
key and pressing F5, the one with the fan
icon.
Thermal testing was completed in an ambient
room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, so
expect different results in different environments.
I’ve tested idle down the bottom with the
silent profile enabled and it was fairly cool.
The rest of the results are from combined
CPU and GPU workloads and are meant to represent
worst case scenarios.
The gaming results towards the upper half
of the graph were tested by playing Watch
Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination
of processor and graphics. The stress test
results shown on the lower half of the graph
are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test
and Heaven GPU benchmark at the same time
to fully load the system. I’ve tested these
with either the balanced or turbo profile
in use, basically turbo boosts the CPU TDP
and increases the fan speed to help with cooling.
Let’s start with the stress test results
on the lower half of the graph. I wasn’t
really seeing a difference in terms of thermals
with either the turbo or balanced profile,
but once we add the Thermaltake Massive 20
cooling pad it was possible to lower the temperatures
a little. The cooling pad made less of a difference
than usual due to the bottom panel having
minimal air ventilation holes. Moving up into
the gaming results I was getting a slightly
bigger improvement to thermals with turbo
mode enabled, but again almost no difference
with the cooling pad.
These are the average clock speeds for the
same tests just shown. Whether under stress
test or while gaming, we see the largest improvement
to CPU clock speed by enabling turbo mode.
This is because it boosts the CPU TDP from
30 watts in the balanced profile to 35 watts.
More power typically means more heat too,
which is why we didn’t see much change in
the temperature graph previously, despite
the fans going faster, as you’ll hear soon.
I didn’t notice thermal throttling during
any of these tests, however there appears
to be power limit throttling on the CPU while
under combined CPU and GPU loads, at 30 watts
on the CPU when in balanced mode, or 35 watts
in turbo mode, while the 80 watt 1660 Ti was
showing as sitting at 80 watts under load
in Hardware Info. No CPU undervolting was
done as that doesn’t seem to be a thing
with these AMD mobile chips at the moment,
there’s no utility available to do it. The
TDP reported by Hardware Info seemed incorrect
too, I used AMD’s uprof tool to measure
that here.
These are the average CPU clock speeds while
under a CPU only workload. With the Turbo
profile enabled there was just a slight boost,
getting to 3.9GHz on all 4 cores in this test.
The turbo profile only lowers the temperature
by one degree though, the fans get faster,
but the CPU TDP also rises as a result, from
30 watts on balanced, to an average of 33
in turbo mode.
To demonstrate how this translates into performance
I’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks here.
Turbo mode was only giving a little improvement,
as we saw earlier we’re getting similar
performance with either mode in CPU only tests.
Here are the results from the newer Cinebench
R20, and again a little boost with turbo mode.
I’ll be comparing the 3750H against a number
of other CPUs in future videos, so if you’re
new to the channel get subscribed for those
videos.
As for the external temperatures where you’ll
actually be putting your hands, at idle it
was about average, except for a warmer spot
a little right from the center. While gaming
with the balanced mode it was still quite
cool, however that hot spot was quite warm
to the touch, getting to the mid 50s. With
the stress tests going there was a similar
result, if it wasn’t for that one hot spot
this would be quite impressive, but still
nice that the WASD keys are cool.
As for the fan noise produced by the laptop,
I’ll let you have a listen to some of these
tests.
At idle with the silent profile the fans were
just slightly audible. While gaming or under
stress test in balanced mode it was just a
little below average when compared to other
gaming laptops I’ve tested. With turbo mode
enabled the fans go to maximum and get a little
louder, but nothing too crazy, again similar
to most other laptops.
Overall the ASUS FX505DU gaming laptop doesn’t
get too hot, well at least compared to the
Intel laptops I’m used to dealing with.
I honestly haven’t compared too many other
Ryzen based laptops yet, so I’ll have more
data to compare with in the future, but we’re
not getting to high 90 degrees under load
which seems good. I wasn’t observing any
thermal throttling in my tests, the CPU power
limit appears to be hit in turbo mode at 35
watts, so a power limit throttle as per the
spec of the 3750H CPU. The only strange thing
was the bottom panel of the machine having
minimal air ventilation, that was a bit weird,
I suppose it wasn’t required in the end
but I think it could have been improved more
by having more and better positioned vents,
and this is why our cooling pad doesn’t
seem to help much.
Next let’s take a look at some gaming benchmarks,
I’ve tested these games with the these Nvidia
drivers and all available Windows updates
installed with the turbo profile in use for
best performance. We’ll start off by looking
at all setting levels, then compare with some
other laptops after.
Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode
and not in multiplayer mode, as it’s easier
to consistently reproduce the test run. The
results here seemed fair, and it was definitely
playable with ultra settings with above 60
FPS averages possible.
Apex Legends was tested with either all settings
at maximum, or all settings on the lowest
possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined
setting presets. It played fine even with
everything at maximum, though dropping down
to minimum boosted FPS by 41%.
Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the built
in benchmark. In this test 55 FPS averages
were hit at ultra settings, honestly not all
that far behind some higher specced options.
Fortnite was tested with the replay feature,
and this game runs well on pretty much anything.
At ultra settings it was still possible to
reach above 100 FPS in this test with decent
1% lows, with higher still possible at lower
settings.
Overwatch is another well optimized game and
was tested in the practice range. Again even
at epic settings the average FPS is great
for the 120Hz panel, with above 100 for the
1% low.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with
the built in benchmark, I don’t have too
much 1660 Ti laptop data yet, but even the
Infinity S7 I recently tested which was hampered
with single channel memory was a little ahead
here, showing that the more powerful i7-9750H
is going to make a difference in many titles.
CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark,
and I retested this game after some comments
on my previous video covering gaming performance
to find it got a little better performance
than before, so I must have messed up one
of the settings. Regardless, the frame rates
were still quite high in this test.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built
in benchmark, and is a game I’ve found to
benefit from Nvidia’s new turing architecture.
Like some of the other well performing games
this one generally always does pretty good
on modern hardware.
PUBG was tested using the replay feature,
and in this game I saw no major differences
between the different setting levels. In terms
of average FPS there was only around a difference
of 5 between very low and ultra, with inconsistent
1% low results.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with
the built in benchmark, and seems to be quite
a CPU heavy test, so overall results are a
little down over the recent Intel laptops
I’ve covered.
Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane
with an average amount of action going on,
and it played well without any noticeable
issues. 144 FPS averages were possible with
low settings, while ultra was still above
90.
Watch Dogs 2 is a resource intensive game,
however with a solid 30 FPS to me it plays
fine, so even with ultra settings with our
31 1% low I had no trouble playing.
DOOM was tested using Vulkan, and this game
saw the first problem with the AMD and Nvidia
hybrid laptop. By default Vulkan games seem
to want to use the Vega 10 graphics instead
of the GTX 1660 Ti, so I could only get Vulkan
to work by disabling the Vega 10 graphics
in device manager. Anyway once I got it working
we’re able to hit around 100 FPS at ultra
settings, it was running very well.
Strange Brigade was another game that was
tested with Vulkan, and like DOOM this one
would error and not run unless I disabled
the Vega 10 graphics on the AMD CPU through
device manager. After that it worked without
issue, with 90 FPS averages at ultra settings
possible in this test.
The Witcher 3 was running well with hairworks
disabled, even with ultra settings to me it
was playing perfectly fine with an average
70 FPS while still also looking great.
I’ve tested 19 games in total on the ASUS
FX505DU in the dedicated gaming benchmark
video, check the card in the top right corner
if you’re after more results.
Let’s also take a look at how this config
of the ASUS TUF FX505DU compares with other
gaming laptops to see how it stacks up, use
these results as a rough guide only as they
were tested at different times with different
drivers.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the FX505DU up
the top in red, and like I said before it’s
performing quite well, still above 60 FPS
at ultra. While it doesn’t look too good
here comparatively, keep in mind the newer
16 series graphics only just launched for
laptops, so I don’t yet have that much other
data to compare with. Again it’s worth remembering
the Infinity S7 was tested with single channel
memory, but despite this it’s performing
better, presumably due to the higher tier
9750H CPU.
Here are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra
settings in the built in benchmark. In this
one the FX505DU is ahead of the S7 with single
channel memory, and while lower than the rest
of the higher end machines I’ve tested the
result is still decent.
These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb
raider with the built in benchmark at highest
settings, and well yeah again it’s in last
place but that’s only because I’ve been
sent higher specced machines lately. I know
you guys want to see lower to mid range options
and I’m trying to get them, unfortunately
I don’t have too much say and just get what
I’m given, but there are more 1650 and 1660
Ti laptops here to test, so don’t worry!
Overall the gaming performance from this machine
was quite good. This is the first time I’ve
tested the 1660 Ti in a laptop with dual channel
memory, and with an AMD CPU, so I don’t
yet have much other data to compare with,
but I’ll build up more data over time so
stay tuned.
Sure the performance in many games here isn’t
quite as high when compared to many other
laptops I’ve recently tested, and the 1%
lows in CPU heavy titles are lower as the
3750H seems to be more of a bottleneck, however
when it comes down to it all of these games
still felt fine while actually playing. While
I was initially skeptical of the AMD and Nvidia
hybrid, overall it worked well and I admit
better than I was expecting, with the exception
of my two vulkan titles as previously discussed,
though even without my work around both games
still ran fine without Vulkan, so hopefully
that bug gets fixed.
Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested
Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine,
as well as Firestrike, Timespy and VRMark
from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want
a detailed look at these results.
As we saw earlier we’ve got the option of
making some changes to improve performance,
so let’s see how these changes actually
help in gaming.
Far Cry 5 was tested using the built in benchmark
at 1080p. At ultra settings there was a 5.6%
improvement to average FPS when using turbo
mode rather than balanced, and a 7.3% boost
to 1% low. Interestingly I actually got worse
results by overclocking the GPU by 100MHz
on the core and 500MHz on the memory, likely
as it was already power limit throttling at
stock, standard stuff for these new turing
graphics. I tried undervolting the GPU, but
still got around the 66 FPS mark.
I’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the
storage, and the 512GB NVMe M.2 ssd was performing
alright, pretty good reads but lower on the
writes.
For updated pricing check the links in the
description, as prices will change over time.
At the time of recording in the US the ASUS
TUF FX505DU gaming laptop is going for around
$1100 USD, though this one has half the SSD
storage but an additional 1TB hard drive.
The 1650 version is also available for $200
less, while the 560X is even lower. Here in
Australia we’re looking at around $1700
AUD, though this one at Mwave is available
with $100 cash back.
So what did you think about the ASUS TUF FX505DU
gaming laptop? It seems to be providing good
value for the money. Even in the top end configuration
I’ve got here it’s still in a similar
price point to previous 1060 models but performs
better than the 1060, but I’ll be comparing
the two in a future video.
With these specs, as we’ve seen, it’s
capable of playing pretty much any modern
game at 1080p even with higher settings. Yes,
the 1% low performance is generally lower
when you compare to to an Intel based gaming
laptop, but honestly just playing the games
and not looking at the raw data I didn’t
notice anything, the games all played well.
The Intel i5-8300H does perform a little better
than the Ryzen 3750H, so if you have the option
of getting that CPU for the same price it’s
probably a better pick in most cases in terms
of performance improvement.
Aside from the game performance the battery
life was also quite good considering the battery
size, although the performance in games while
on battery power was lower. The things I didn’t
like would include the strange loose touchpad
which felt a little weird at times, but not
a problem if you’ll be sticking to a mouse
anyway. The Vulkan issues with the AMD and
Nvidia configuration might be annoying in
some games, but even if the game only supports
vulkan you can work around this by manually
disabling the Vega graphics, or otherwise
most of these games also support DirectX which
works fine, but this is something I’d expect
them to fix with future drivers anyway.
Aside from these issues when specifically
using Vulkan, all games were stable and had
no problem switching from Vega to Nvidia graphics.
The cooling for the laptop was pretty good,
though it could probably have been further
improved with some better placed vents underneath.
The laptop came to me in single channel, and
I see it’s selling with both single and
dual channel options, I really wish gaming
laptops would stop being sold in single channel,
but you can always upgrade yourself later.
Otherwise the build quality was fine, the
screen looked ok and it worked well overall,
I didn’t find any major issues outside of
what was just covered, we seem to be getting
a capable gaming machine for a fair price.
So with all of that in mind, let me know what
you guys thought about the ASUS TUF FX505DU
gaming laptop down in the comments, and let
me know what comparisons with it you want
to see. As always if you’re new to the channel
make sure you get subscribed for future tech
videos like this one.

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