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ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DD (AMD Ryzen) Laptop – Review

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Gaming laptops are aplenty these days, but it’s common knowledge to expect a good one to cost around the ballpark of RM5,000. Anything cheaper is considered entry-level. But it’s okay if you want to get an entry-level gaming laptop if you know what to expect.

Enter the ASUS TUF FX505 line. The 2019 edition sees all of its lineup utilising AMD Ryzen processors, complemented with Nvidia GPUs. It has a wide range of variants, covering some good price points. But what about the cheapest variant, the FX505DD? Can you game comfortably with a sub-RM3,000 laptop?

Sort of.

Hardware

The 2019 ASUS TUF line got a redesign. Previously the sturdy military-grade laptop line looks a bit too robust and bland, but now it’s sleek and subtle. It still is as robust, with good heft and sturdiness to it even if it is just a plastic shell. There are brush lines too for that premium-looking finish. Though from afar, this is just a flat black rectangle. A good thing, if you prefer less flashy designs.

That said, the keyboard has a full RGB keyboard with WASD keys being highlighted. So once you open this baby you’ll know this is geared for gaming in mind.

The main heat vents for the ASUS TUF FX505D is through the two back vents. No side vents here, but small lines of holes on top and a lot more vents down below are your main heat zones.

It has three USB ports, but annoyingly, like the ASUS ROG Strix G, there are no ports on the right or the back side, not even one. It’s annoying if you use a wired moused and right-handed, but it’s no dealbreaker.

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Software

The ASUS TUF line, like its sister line ROG, uses the Armoury Crate app. This allows you to monitor the laptop’s performance, adjust settings for performance or RGB lighting, and many more. There’s even an app for mobile devices that lets you pair it to the laptop so you can get real-time performance readings or tweak settings from there, no alt-tabbing required. It’s a neat feature.

The bundled McAffee trial will nag you to get a subscription, but other than that, the ASUS TUF has decent offerings on the software side.

Gaming Performance

The FX505D model, FX505D-DBQ234T, we are reviewing here has the following specs:

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 3GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 4GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

This is the entry-level, and cheapest, variant of the FX505 available in Malaysia. And with that comes a need to set proper expectations. You’re definitely set with playing esports games or games from 2015 and earlier or simple indie titles. But if you’re trying to run anything more recent, it can. Sort of.

The main issue here is… not the storage. That 512GB SSD is half the storage size of what you would expect (1TB) but game loading times and Windows 10, in general, are snappy and fast. So it’s worth it.

The issue here is RAM.

Forza Horizon 4, like all apps from the Microsoft Store, will issue a warning for running games not meeting the minimum spec- RAM size being the issue. Cities: Skylines struggles to get a consistent 30fps on our humongous city save file. Same for Planet Coaster, which also demands RAM for it to run with a playable framerate even on low settings.

There were also issues where on idle, Windows used 90% of the available RAM. Which means gaming performance is severely crippled. But after a few updates and restarts, it idles at a more respectable (but still bad) 70%.

With the next-gen consoles coming out next year, 4GB RAM should not be on a gaming laptop’s spec sheet. Even if RAM can be upgradable, 8GB should be the base standard.

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But when you get games to run, it actually runs surprisingly well. The Witcher 3 can hit 60fps consistently at high settings. It gets a perfect score on Killer Instinct on the benchmark on high. Hitman (2016) hovers on the 30fps range.

The new 3rd-gen AMD Ryzen CPU definitely delivers. Battery life is really good. It can get around 5 hours of full-screen YouTube video playback. Surface area is at a reasonable temperature for your hands to rest. And it can deliver good gaming performance.

Except when it couldn’t. Playing Destiny 2 in long sessions and the game locks up and stutters due to the CPU stopped responding. There were past issues where AMD Ryzen CPUs don’t play well with the looter-shooter, so it seems the problem still lingers.

An optional driver update, and running the laptop to performance mode and not the higher turbo mode, helps reduce instances of stutter. But it will still happen.

But that’s more of an outlier. After installing all the latest drivers for the CPU and GPU, it can get good results. Forza Horizon 4, after bypassing the memory warning, can run and hit 30fps on medium. The physics-heavy Control can rock a steady 30fps on high or a smooth 60fps on medium which is nice. Turn load times for Civ VI, our favourite test for CPU prowess, also runs as smooth as expected.

It is surprising to see the 2019 edition of the Nvidia GTX 1050 can still keep up with the performance of newer games. The GTX 16-series is the preferred way to go if you can afford one, but the GTX 1050 is no slouch if you care not for putting games on ultra settings.

As long as the game you want to play is, A: not overly relying on RAM and, B: can settle with medium or low graphical settings. Then the FX505DD does the job.

Value

The variant of the FX505 is set to answer this question: can you have a gaming laptop under RM3,000? And the answer is.. sort of. Maybe add another stick of 4GB RAM and have the price float a bit above RM3,000 and then we can say it hits the value mark on a high note.

That said, it’s actually remarkable how ASUS can still put the same laptop chassis with enough gamer-focused features for that low of a price. You would expect the exquisite “gamer” branding to raise the price but not for the ASUS TUF line.

Verdict

The ASUS TUF FX505D is one solid gaming laptop. The entry-level spec offers some surprises, but it just falls short of being a mid-range killer. It can run games at an admirable performance, and more than what the price point would suggest. But some games will struggle- your mileage may vary.

The laptop line itself is a solid home run for ASUS, though the entry-level spec could be better. Get the higher-spec variant or the very least add another stick of RAM. Trust us, it’s worth the extra hundred ringgit.


Review unit provided by AMD Malaysia

7.3

ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DD (AMD Ryzen) Laptop - Review

The ASUS TUF FX505D is one solid gaming laptop. The laptop itself is a solid home run for ASUS, though the entry-level spec could be better.

Get the higher-spec variant or the very least add another stick of RAM. Trust us, it's worth the extra hundred ringgit.

  • Hardware 7
  • Software 7
  • Gaming Performance 7
  • Value 8