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The AMD Ryzen-powered Asus TUF Gaming FX505DY sits below the Intel-powered FX505 in terms of price but offers the same sort of sturdy build, attractive design, and upgradeability. Where it falls short is in outright gaming capability, speaker performance, and storage speed.
The Asus TUF Gaming FX505 has been around for a while now, acting as some sort of big brother to the well-known FX504 (read the review here). It was launched in November last year with Intel’s 8th Gen Core series of processors. The one we reviewed had the Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB of vRAM. My senior colleague Swapnil, who reviewed the FX505, seemed quite pleased with it.
This year, however, Asus is trying out a new recipe while still retaining the outgoing models. It’s thrown AMD’s Ryzen 5 processor into the mix along with Radeon dedicated graphics instead of an NVIDIA card. To be more specific, Asus launched two AMD Ryzen 5-powered mid-range gaming laptops last month: the 15-inch FX505DY (at Rs 59,990) and the 17-inch FX705DY (Rs 69,990). The review unit we’ve got here with us is the FX505DY. Apart from the Ryzen 5, it’s got 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and a Radeon RX560X graphics card. Let’s see how all of these ingredients taste in the final product.
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Keeping in line with its Intel Core-powered counterpart, the Asus TUF Gaming FX505DY uses the same all-plastic, tough-looking build as before. According to Asus, the top cover shows off a “Radiating-X” design with the Asus logo debossed and stickered in the middle in bright red. The same red is used in various accents around the body of the FX505, including the lining that runs along the edges of the display, the keys on the inside, and the speaker grilles on the sides and back. “The surfaces of TUF Gaming FX505DY/FX705DY are painted with Red Matter coating. The sand-blasted or brushed finish on the plastic cover makes the model look both badass and luxurious,” writes Asus in its review guide.
Despite being made of plastic on the outside, the Asus FX505DY is tested and certified to military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, giving the buyer confidence that letting the laptop slip from the hand from a short height isn’t the worst thing that can happen to it. Opening the lid of the FX505DY reveals a 15.6-inch matte-finish display with fairly slim borders on all sides (6.5mm along the two vertical sides, to be precise) except the bottom. The area around the keyboard gets a brushed metal finish and the keys on the keyboard are black in colour with red accents. While the base of the laptop seems fairly sturdy, the display reveals a great deal of flex, which is noticeable every time it is pulled up or down. At 2.2 kilogrammes, the laptop feels fairly heavy in the hands but grips firmly when lifted. All things considered though, the Asus TUF Gaming FX505DY seems well built and styled for its price.
Red fins inside the exhaust vent look pretty cool
The Asus TUF Gaming FX505DY features a 15.6-inch IPS LCD screen with a Full HD resolution and a non-glare matte finish. Sadly, the refresh rate does not go beyond 60Hz on the Asus FX505DY (or on the FX705DY for that matter). Given its rather lightweight price tag, its modesty is understandable. But in comparison, the similarly priced Asus FX504 and FX505 have a screen capable of refreshing at 120Hz and 144Hz respectively. The Asus FX505DY doesn’t make any more promises about response time or colour coverage.
Colours on the display of the FX505DY review unit appeared a bit washed out in most screens, which showed through when got the colorimeter out. According to our test results, the FX505DY’s display is capable of reproducing 67 percent of the colours in the sRGB colour scale and 50 percent of the colours in the Adobe RGB colour scale. When the screen brightness was turned all the way up, corners of the screen displayed a small amount of light bleed but didn’t distract while playing games or videos.
The Asus FX505DY comes with two side-firing loudspeakers. Inside either side of the laptop there’s a tiny coin-sized driver housed inside a plastic enclosure that’s tucked away with sufficient space for the driver to move back and forth. Sadly, when the volume is turned all the way up, the sound produced is flat and sometimes distorted. As expected from drivers of this size, low frequencies are barely heard, much less felt. These speakers are best saved for vocals and instruments, played at about 70 percent of the maximum volume. If you want to game with good audio, consider investing in a good set of speakers. On the other hand, if you prefer headphones, the DTS Headphone:X app on Windows 10 gives sound played through connected headphones a boost in terms of overall range.
Speaker driver has space to move about
Asus has placed all the ports on the left side of the FX505DY (save for the Kensington lock slot) to make space for the right-handed gamer’s mouse. I wonder what left-handed gamers have to say about that. So then, on the left, there’s a round-pin power port, a LAN port, a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A 2.0 port, two USB-A 3.1 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headsets. As you can see, the FX505DY ditches the USB Type-C port altogether, which is forgivable. What’s not forgivable, however, is the lack of an SD Card slot, an element that’s important for photo and video editing enthusiasts.
All ports are on the er, port side
Sufficient USB ports, we think
Right side is left bare for right-handed mouse operation
I found myself mistyping quite a lot on the Asus FX505DY review unit; I couldn’t quite say why. According to Asus, the keys have a travel of 1.8 millimetres and have been rated for up to 20 million keystrokes. In addition, they employ Asus’ Overstroke technology, which helps them register keystrokes better. And yet, even with all those facts safely stored in the back of my head, I could not help but find the keys spongy and lacking in feedback. It was hard to tell when a key had reached its actuation point.
On the bright side, the keys come with multi-stage backlighting in bright red. The WASD keys are coloured differently for easy recognition and the W key has a small bump on its surface so it’s easily found. The Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys are part of the numpad, so you’ll have to turn the Num Lock off to use them. In summary, the FX505DY’s keyboard is good for gaming but not too comfortable for typing long documents and emails.
The touchpad on the Asus FX505DY is both handsome to look at and comfortable to use. It has tiny inward arrow marks on all four corners to tell you where the touchpad begins and ends. The touchpad is recognised by Windows 10 as a precision unit, making it ready for multi-finger taps and swipes. Three- or even four-fingered swipes are a breeze to perform. At the same time, left- and right-clicks are fairly soft and responsive. One of the function keys in the FX505DY’s keyboard turns the touchpad on and off, which should come in handy for mouse users.
The Asus FX505DY is offered in only one processor option, and that’s the AMD Ryzen 5-3550H, which has 4 cores/8 threads. RAM offered is a standard DDR4 8GB chip at 2,400MHz but can be upgraded to 32GB. On the review unit, the 8GB RAM chip ate up one of the two available RAM slots, making for a single-channel setup. For storage, the review unit came with a Seagate 1TB hard drive spinning at 5,400 rpm. Those looking to upgrade will be happy to learn that the motherboard houses an empty M.2 2280 slot just above the WLAN card. This means that you can upgrade to a PCIe NVMe solid-state drive while retaining the 1TB hard drive, or swap the hard drive for a single solid-state hybrid drive if volume is more important.
On our CPU and GPU benchmark tests, the Asus FX505DY review unit secured decent scores. On PCMark 8’s Conventional Creative test, the laptop scored 3542 points. In 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Sky Diver tests, the Asus FX505DY scored 5521 and 15422 points respectively. In comparison, the slightly cheaper Asus F570 scored 5383 and 12780 respectively in the same two GPU tests. For reference, the Asus F570 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5-2500U processor, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with 4GB of GDDR5 vRAM. The Seagate 1TB hard drive on the FX505DY review unit allowed the laptop to score only 104.9 and 73.93 MB/s on CrystalDiskMark’s sequential read and write speed tests respectively.
Real-world performance of the Asus FX505DY review unit was not bad. The stylish mid-ranger handled everyday applications like Chrome, WhatsApp for PC, File Explorer, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint without any fuss. Heavier applications like Lightroom too worked without any major lag. Switching between applications across multiple virtual desktops happened quite promptly save for the occasional stutter in animation. Where the FX505DY failed is in storage speed. Impeded by its slow hard drive, the FX505DY was slow to boot Windows 10, launch games and applications, and open files. Even opening the context menu in any application took a while to happen at times. In summary, the FX505DY’s performance is decent for its price but has the potential to be better with a storage upgrade. In other words, you should definitely make use of that empty M.2 slot inside the Asus FX505DY.
M.2 slot above the WLAN card
The Asus FX505DY gets discrete graphics in the form of an AMD Radeon RX560X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 vRAM. The review unit ran our custom test suite of video games rather decently at 1080p on Medium and High (defined as one level above Medium in any game) graphics settings. Doom, Crysis 3, and Battlefield V ran the best on High settings, with the average frame rate hovering around 40 frames per second in Doom and Battlefield V. In Medium settings, the average frame rate touched 62 on Crysis 3.
On the other hand, Apex Legends, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran poorly at 1080p and on High settings, with the average frame rate barely crossing 14 frames per second on any of the three games. Turning the graphics settings down to Medium gave all three games a bump in frame rate by about 5 frames per second. Bringing the resolution down to 720p while keeping the graphics settings at Medium had a positive impact on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The game ran at a playable frame rate of around 36 frames per second.
All the games tested took about two minutes to complete launching, be it from Epic, Origin, or Steam. Resuming gameplay from the last saved checkpoint too took over two minutes to happen. In my opinion, the hard drive is to be blamed for this bottleneck in overall loading speed. Even otherwise, the FX505DY can’t be considered as a first choice for fresh titles by experienced gamers. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Crysis 3, there was visible screen tearing during action scenes and cutscenes whether the AMD Radeon FreeSync setting was set to “AMD Optimized” or “On”. Metro Exodus, for one, refused to run altogether after the title sequence.
Sluggish hard drive slows everything down
On the plus side, the temperature of the CPU package and the area around the keyboard and exhaust vents stayed well in check. At no point did the temperature cross 50 degrees Celsius. This is quite a remarkable achievement, especially for a gaming laptop. However, the noise from the dual internal cooling fans exceeded 69 decibels during full load inside a quiet conference room. To sum up the FX505DY’s gaming abilities, you can play modern game titles on the Asus FX505DY as long as you don’t have lofty frame rate or graphics quality expectations from your mid-range gaming laptop. Game titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice are best played in 720p on Medium graphics settings.
On our standard battery benchmark test, the Asus FX505DY review unit scored 3 hours, 30 minutes, which is on the lower side even for a gaming laptop. In a more real-world scenario, where the Wi-Fi and Bluteooth were left enabled and the screen was set to 70 percent brightness, the laptop let me perform everyday activities like writing, web browsing, photo editing, and video playback for a little less than four hours at a stretch on a single charge. But at no point did it cross the four-hour mark on battery. Gaming, of course, was out of the question on battery power. Charging, surprisingly, took less than one and a half hours no matter how low the battery was. One thing is for sure though: you aren’t buying the FX505DY for its battery life.
The Asus TUF Gaming FX505DY is for those who prefer a more affordable, AMD Ryzen-powered version of the well-known FX505. At Rs 59,990, the Asus FX505DY brings to the table moderate gaming capability and good value in the form of good build, looks, and upgradeability. To get the best out of this machine, connect a good set of speakers and upgrade to a solid-state drive at the time of purchase.