We review ASUS’ Ryzen-powered budget gaming laptop!
While Intel’s chips are the dominant processors that are in most notebooks nowadays, AMD has been making waves since the introduction of its Ryzen line of processors. Now on its second generation, AMD’s Ryzen processors have become powerful and affordable enough to go up against Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
It’s not surprising then that ASUS added another Ryzen-powered laptop to its portfolio with the TUF Gaming FX505DY. Armed with a second-generation Ryzen 5-3550H processor and a Radeon RX560X discrete GPU, ASUS’ newest TUF Gaming laptop offers gaming-ready specs for a sub-Php 40k price. Does it deliver as promised?
A not-so-loud gaming aesthetic
The FX505DY bears nearly the same design as its predecessor, save for the red accents on the lid’s edges and on the ASUS logo itself. While the lid is made out of plastic, it does not flex or bend too much when you open or close it. The build stays true to the TUF Gaming brand: budget-friendly gaming laptops that give emphasis on durability, reliability, and longevity.
The keyboard has the same red backlight and the same layout as its predecessor. The FX505DY differs with the keyboard top cover: it ditches the fancy circuit board lines for a plain finish with only the TUF Gaming logo on the right side of the keyboard. The trackpad is responsive and tactile enough for daily use, though we recommend that you use an external mouse if you plan to play games with the FX505DY.
For the ports, you get the bare essentials with the FX505DY: on the left side, you have your AC adapter port, Ethernet port, HDMI port, USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, and combo headphone jack. On the right, you have your Kensington lock. Unfortunately, you don’t get an SD card slot or USB-C with the FX505DY—the former being a bummer if you intend to use the laptop for photo and video editing.
Like its predecessor, you also get ASUS’ patented Anti-Dust Cooling system (ADC) to keep temperatures stable and to keep dust out of the laptop’s internals. You have a choice of three different fan speed levels to balance overall performance and fan noise.
Great display, average audio
Because of ASUS’ NanoEdge bezels, the FX505DY is more compact than its predecessor by a few millimeters. Save for the slimmer bezels, you are getting the same 15.6-inch display of the FX504, which is an IPS-grade panel with 120hz refresh rate and 45% NTSC color accuracy. Those features are a rare find for a sub-Php 40k gaming laptop, but as you’ll see in our review later, it’s a little wasted considering the hardware. Viewing angles are decent with the FX505DY’s display, and color reproduction is on point. Watching videos and playing games with the FX505DY is a pleasure, and that 45% NTSC color accuracy helps in giving decent color reproduction.
As for audio, the FX505DY has average-quality speakers. Located at both sides of the laptop—marked by a red accent—audio reproduction isn’t stellar. While the lows are weak, the mids and highs on the FX505DY’s speakers are decent for its price range. We advise keeping the volume below the 70% range to avoid distortion or better yet, just use your favorite pair of cans instead. The 3.5mm jack also allows you to enjoy the DTS Headphone:X feature.
Ryzen runs cooler than Intel
The Ryzen 5-3550H is AMD’s answer to Intel’s Core i5-8300H. Both processors cater to the entry-level gaming laptop market, though the Ryzen 5-3550H has the advantage of being manufactured using a newer 12nm process (compared to 14nm on the Core i5-8300H) and having a lower wattage consumption at 35W. Based on benchmark tests, the Ryzen 5-3550H slots in between Intel’s Core i7-4850HQ and Core i7-6700HQ.
As for the GPU, the Radeon RX560X’s performance is roughly equivalent to NVIDIA’s popular GTX 1050 Ti. While the RX560X has a lower clock speed, it outperforms the 1050Ti in most gaming benchmarks.
What makes the Ryzen and Radeon combo interesting is that it has lower operating temperatures compared to the usual Intel and GeForce combo. Based on the results we obtained from FurMark, both the Vega 8 integrated GPU and RX560X discrete GPU’s average temperatures are around 71-78 degrees at full load, which is lower than average temperatures for a GTX 1050Ti discrete GPU.
It can game, but you’ll need to do some upgrades
Equipped with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, the FX505DY’s gaming capabilities are limited out of the box. Running Unigine Heaven, we were getting an average FPS of 46.8, with a few frame drops throughout the test.
With 3DMark’s Time Spy, the FX505DY struggled through, averaging around 10 to 13 FPS in both graphics tests.
I tried playing Fortnite with the FX505DY, and while it can do as much as 50FPS in Full HD, frame rates drop to as low as 10 because of the RAM bottleneck. Should you purchase the FX505DY, we suggest that you upgrade the RAM to at least 8GB (the FX505DY can accept up to 32GB) for a better gaming experience.
Beyond games, the FX505DY handles light-to-medium photo editing well with its default configuration. I have been using it for editing photos in Adobe Lightroom for the site and for my other projects, and the FX505DY gets the job done even with only 4GB of RAM on board.
Below average battery life
Gaming laptops are not known for their battery life, and the same goes with the FX505DY. Your mileage with the FX505DY’s 48WHr battery may vary depending on your usage. Based on our video loop test, the FX505DY managed to play YouTube videos for roughly 3 hours and twenty minutes straight before it ran out of juice. In real-life experience, using the FX505DY for writing articles, web browsing, and watching a few videos in between gave me around 4 hours on a single charge.
The battery life dips down to around two hours with light-to-medium photo editing and some gaming with the FX505DY. You will need the AC adapter at all times should you intend to use the FX505DY for fieldwork.
A worthy budget alternative to Intel-powered laptops
AMD has spent time and effort in improving its Ryzen processors, and it has paid off: gone are the days when Intel remains to be the king when it comes to processors. The likes of the Ryzen 5 offer an affordable and non-mainstream alternative to what Intel has in store.
The FX505DY’s Radeon RX560X discrete GPU is a good alternative to GPUs offered by NVIDIA. Aside from running cooler even at full load, Radeon GPUs can match NVIDIA equivalent GPUs while keeping prices low.
While the FX505DY’s default configuration may not be enough to handle the latest AAA games, it is fully upgradable, as you can add as much as 32GB of RAM and upgrade to a speedy SSD later on.
The FX505GY retails for Php 39,990 and is available at all authorized ASUS stores nationwide.
ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DY Specs
AMD Ryzen 5-3550H processor
4GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
Radeon RX560X Discrete GPU with 4GB GDDR5 memory, Radeon Vega 8 Integrated GPU
15.6-inch (16:9) LED-backlit FHD (1920×1080) 120Hz Anti-Glare Panel with 45% NTSC color accuracy
1TB SATA HDD
3-cell 48Wh battery