The TUF FX Gaming series is Asus’s entry-line for gaming notebooks, and in this article, we’re taking a deep look at the TUF FX705DU model, the updated 2019 variant based on AMD Ryzen CPUs and Nvidia Turing GPUs.
This is a fairly new combo for 2019, targeted at budget gamers looking for good value for their money. The CPU is only quad-core and not as fast as the Intel Coffee Lake models, but at the same time more affordable and more efficient, while still powerful enough for most games’ requirements, paired with the mid-level graphics that actually have a more pronounced impact on the gaming experience.
There is, however, more than just specs and raw performance to carefully consider when shopping for a gaming laptop, even one designed with affordability in mind, that’s why in this review we’ll take you through the TUF FX705DU’s strong points and quirks, so by the end of it you’ll know if this is the best fit for your needs and budget, or perhaps there’s better value in something else.
Specs as reviewed
|Asus TUF Gaming FX705DU|
|Screen||17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, 60 Hz, IPS-level, non-touch, matte, BOE NV173FHM-N49|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, quad-core|
|Vide0||Radeon RX Vega 10 + Nvidia GTX 1660Ti 6GB 80W (GeForce 430.86)|
|Memory||32 GB DDR4 2666 Mhz (2x DIMMs)|
|Storage||512 GB SSD (M.2 PCIe x2, Kingston RBU SNS8154P3512GJ) + empty 2.5″ bay|
|Connectivity||Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL 8168/8111), Wireless AC (Realtek RTL8822BE), Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||1 x USB-A 2.0, 2 x USB-A 3.1, HDMI 2.0, LAN, mic/headphone, Kensington Lock|
|Battery||64 Wh, 180 W charger|
|Size||400 mm or 15.74” (w) x 280 mm or 11.02” (d) x 26.6 mm or 1.05” (h)|
|Weight||5.75 lbs (2.6 kg) + 1.1 lbs (.5 kg) for the charger|
|Extras||AURA 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard, webcam, DTS headphone output|
Asus offers the AMD-based FX705 lineup in a few different configurations, with Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors, various amounts of RAM and storage and either the GTX 1650 or the GTX 1660 Ti graphics chip. Our configuration is the higher-specced variant, with the top CPU and GPU, as well as a high-capacity SSD.
Design and exterior
There are no differences in terms of build and design between the 2019 and 2018 variants of the Asus TUF FX705s, so I’ll direct you to our previous review for in-depth opinions on these aspects.
In just a few words, though, the FX705 falls mostly in line with today’s expectations and requirements, with a compact and light chassis, and fairly clean aesthetics.
Plastic is used for the chassis and main-deck, and there’s a fair bit of flex in the keyboard area on this 17-inch model, while the lid is covered with a more rigid piece of metal. According to Asus, the laptop is built to last and complies with MIL-STD-810G standards, thus should handle everyday hassle, bumps and knocks just fine. This design has been around for a while, and I personally haven’t seen complaints about the build and overall integrity.
The plastic on the palm-rest gets a brushed texture and should age well, and the matte aluminum on the lid feels like it can take a beating too. There’s a yellow panel-lit ASUS logo in the middle; it’s not very bright, but even so, it might not be acceptable for some environments.
As for the practicality, there are no sharp lips and corners, the grippy feet keep the laptop well anchored on a desk, and the screen’s hinges can be adjusted with a single hand and allow the display to lean back to about 145 degrees. The speakers fire through cuts on the sides, while the back is reserved for the exhaust. It’s worth noting, however, that there are actually limited active air-intake cuts on the bottom, despite the design suggesting otherwise, which I believe takes a toll on thermals, as you’ll see in a further section.
The IO is entirely lined on the left side, leaving the right edge completely free. It includes USB-A slots, LAN and HDMI, but not USB-C and no card-reader.
Keyboard and trackpad
The 2019 versions of the TUF FX705 line are available with either a red backlit keyboard, or a 4-zone RGB Aura option, which we have on our review unit and I expect will make its way into most of the FX705DU configurations.
We’ve seen this keyboard implemented on previous TUF FX505/FX705 models, with a pretty standard layout, but cramped arrow keys and a narrower NumPad section. The WASD keys are made from clear plastic, which allows the illumination to shine through, and RGB 4-zone illumination is implemented, controllable through the AURA subsection in the Armoury Crate control software that comes preinstalled. This offers a handful of effects and the ability to sync these lighting effects with Aura-compatible peripherals.
The keys are coated with a rubbery finish that feels very nice to the touch, and the overall typing experience is alright, quick and quiet. Asus implemented a keyboard with a fairly deep stroke (1.8 mm) and the keys need a firm hit to properly actuate, something I’m personally not accustomed to, thus took a toll on my typing speed and accuracy. However, I expect those coming from a desktop keyboard or an older laptop to appreciate this sort of feedback. Gamers will also appreciate some of its features, as the improved reliability (good for up to 20 million key presses), the overstroke technology and n-key rollover.
The clickpad works fine. It’s a fair-sized (although there is plenty of room for a larger one on this 17-inch notebook) plastic Synaptics surface with Precision drivers and it handles everyday swipes, gestures, and taps smoothly and reliably. The surface rattles with taps, though, even with gentler ones, and while the physical clicks are clicky and responsive, they are also annoyingly loud and clunky, so not library friendly.
As for biometrics, there are none on this laptop.
As far as I can tell, Asus only bundles the AMD powered variants of the TUF FX705s with a 60 Hz matte IPS-level panel, reserving the faster and superior-quality 144 Hz implementations for the Intel FX705 variants (of 2018, with Pascal Nvidia graphics) and the higher end ROG 2019 lineups.
In all honesty, the 60 Hz BOE a-Si TFT panel is barely average by today’s’ standards, with middling viewing angles, brightness, and contrast, but sub-par color coverage, as well as slow response times and limited refresh-rate, both important for those of you interested in games.
Here’s what we got with our sample, measured with a Spyder4 sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: BOE BOE084E (NV173FHM-N49);
- Coverage: 66% sRGB, 48% NTSC, 50% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.3;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 265 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 710:1
- White point: 6600 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.37 cd/m2.
The panel is well calibrated out of the box, but you can use this calibrated profile to further address the and Gray Levels imbalances.
I’ll also add that I haven’t noticed any major color uniformity or light-bleeding issues with our sample, but that’s not a guarantee you won’t run into light-bleeding on your unit. The panel was, however, unevenly lit, with the top right corner dimmer than the rest.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is the higher end configuration of the Asus TUF Gaming FX705DU, with the Ryzen 7 3750H processor, 32 GB of DRR4 2666 MHz RAM in dual channel, a Kingston 512 M.2 PCIe x2 SSD and dual graphics, with the 80W version of the Nvidia GTX 1660Ti chip alongside the Radeon RX Vega 10 chip within the AMD CPU.
The Ryzen processor is the elephant in the room here, a quad-core CPU with eight logical cores. This is, theoretically, more efficient in demanding loads than the Intel Coffee Lake options, with a TDP of 35W, and also more affordable. Performance wise, though, it’s only on par with the quad-core Core i5s (8300H, 9300H) and not a match for the six-core i7s. It also doesn’t clock down as much as the Intel processors, which takes a toll on battery life with basic everyday activities. In all fairness, the Ryzen platform also bundles fairly capable integrated Vega 10 graphics, but that’s negated by the existing Nvidia chip, so at the end of the day the pricing factor remains this platform’s single potential advantage over the Intel options. We’ll further touch on this aspect throughout this section.
Aside from the CPU, the TUF FX705DU also bundles the full-power 80W version of GTX 1660Ti GPU, while many of the other lower-tier gaming options settle with lower-power implementations (the previously called Max-Q variants) of this chip, and that’s something to keep in mind when deciding between the available options. The gaming experience should also be impacted by having dual-channel memory, so don’t forget about that either. Just to clarifity on this matter, it is obviously impacted on Intel-based notebooks, but I haven’t yet tested it on these AMD variants.
Finally, the included 512 TB PCIe SSD offers average read and write speeds, and while there are definitely faster options out there, this should still be good enough for the vast majority of potential buyers. I’d expect the actual drive to differ between regions, but most configurations of the FX705DU seem to ship with a 512 GB SSD, and there’s a good chance it’s this exact Kingston variant we have on our review unit.
The components are easily accessible once you get past the back panel, which is held in place by a handful of Philips screws. Inside you’ll find the two memory slots and the two storage drives. The CPU and GPU are soldered on the motherboard and non-upgradeable.
As far as performance goes, this laptop handles everyday chores smoothly, while running cool and quiet. Asus offers three power profiles in the Armoury Crate app: Silent, Balanced and Turbo. You can keep the laptop on Silent with basic use, but that aggressively limits the performance, so you’ll most likely want to switch to Balance for everyday multitasking, or Turbo for demanding loads and games. The logs below show what to expect in terms of performance and inner temperatures with daily chores like browsing, text-editing, and watching movies.
Before we proceed to talk about our review unit’s behavior and performance you should know that it is a pre-production model, but with mature drivers from Nvidia (GeForce 430.86), thus it performs in our opinion in line with what you should expect from the retail models, that’s why we put this through our standard set of tests and published the results below.
On to more demanding tasks, we’ll start by testing the CPU’s performance in 100% loads, and we do that by running Cinebench R15 for 10+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run, with the laptop on the Maximum Performance Power profile. This laptop gets three standard power profiles: Turbo, Balanced and Silent, and we’ve tested our sample on Balanced and Turbo, since Silent caps the performance and favors low noise levels instead.
Unlike with the Intel-based models reviewed in the past, switching between these two modes didn’t have any impact on the CPU’s performance in the Cinebench loop test. The Ryzen 7 3750H processor settled for clock speeds of 3.8+ GHz, temperatures of around 80-82 degrees Celsius and scores of 770+ points, with a reported TDP of 18.5 W. That’s most likely an error with Hwinfo though, as its exactly half the designed 35 W TDP.
There are no methods of undervolting or tweaking this CPU, at least none that I know of, so we had to settle with what we could get with out-of-the-box settings.
The performance is capped on battery (on Balanced, as Turbo is disabled on battery), with the CPU being capped at its stock clock speed of 2.3 GHz, which results in scores of 450+ points and temperatures under 50 degrees Celsius.
Next, we’ve included a set of benchmarks, for those of you interested in numbers. We ran them on the default Turbo profile first, and here’s what we got:
- 3DMark 11: 14143 (Graphics – 18784, Physics – 8182);
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 11473 (Graphics – 14132, Physics – 10450);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 4997 (Graphics – 5387, CPU – 3546);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 2883;
- GeekBench 4.1.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 4169, Multi-core: 13076;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 789 cb, CPU Single Core 155 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 1770 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 156.20 fps, Pass 2 –46.40 fps.
We also ran a few more tests on what we’ll further call the OC profile, with the CPU on Turbo and default settings, but the GPU overclocked in the Asus GPU Tweak II app at +150 MHz Core and + 1000 MHz memory (further OC lead to instability).
Here’s what we got in this case:
- 3DMark 11: 14816 (Graphics – 20509, Physics – 8110);
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 12225 (Graphics – 15282, Physics – 11219;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 5476 (Graphics – 5987, CPU – 3691);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 3234;
- PCMark 10: 4562 (Essentials – 8200, Productivity – 6684, Digital Content Creation – 4796);
- PassMark: Rating: 3994, CPU mark: 9734, 3D Graphics Mark: 8944.
As expected, the OC profile doesn’t have any impact on the CPU results, but the GPU scores do increase by about 5-10%. Further performance gains should be possible with a slight GPU undervolt (possible with MSI Afterburner) that will help lower the high temperatures and alleviate the Power related limitations.
It’s also important to add that the OC profile doesn’t have any significant impact over the CPU/GPU temperatures in demanding loads, but those are already running at high temperatures to begin with, as you can see in the following 3DMark logs, as well as down below, in the gaming performance section.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some gaming results. We ran a couple of games representative for DX11 and DX12 architectures on the Standard Turbo profile, as well as on the Tweaked Turbo profile (with the overclocked GPU). Here’s what we got:
|FHD Default||FHD Tweaked|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF)||62-82 fps||68-90 fps|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||72 fps||75 fps|
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)||106 fps||112 fps|
|Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA)||57 fps||59 fps|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)||56 fps||61 fps|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)||48-76 fps||52-84 fps|
- Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities.
The HWinfo logs below show the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Farcry 5, Battlefield V and Witcher 3 on the Default Turbo profile, which keeps the fans running at 5600+ rpm and noise levels of 47-48 dB at head level on our review unit.
Overclocking the GPU has an impact on the GPU’s average clock speed, allowing it to run at an average of 100 MHz higher in most titles, with only a minor increase in CPU and GPU temperatures.
However, gaming on the Silent profile is pretty much not an option on this laptop, as both the CPU and GPU clock to low frequencies, which leads to unplayable FPS counts in most titles.
Gaming on battery is not an option as well.
In conclusion, this AMD/Nvidia based platform handles games well and doesn’t run very noisy, but the inner components run hot on this laptop, with the CPU averaging 86-92 degrees C in the tested titles, and the GPU averaging 81-86 degrees C. Last year’s Intel/Nvidia based model ran hot as well, so the limitation is with the thermal implementation.
Now, in order to draw final conclusions on this notebook’s gaming abilities, we should compare our results with some of the same-class Intel-based models with GTX 1660 Ti graphics we’ve tested earlier. Down below I’ve added the Nitro 5 17, perhaps the strongest direct competitor of the FX705 series, and the MSI GL63 (15-inch, but also available as the GL73 17-inch model), which is the best performing GTX 1660Ti reviewed to date, thanks to its complex cooling.
|FX705DU Tweaked||Nitro 5 Tweaked||GL63 Tweaked|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF)||68-90 fps||82-94 fps||78-94 fps|
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)||75 fps||86 fps||89 fps|
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset)||112 fps||156 fps||115 fps|
|Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA)||59 fps||82 fps||59 fps|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)||61 fps||75 fps||74 fps|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)||52-84 fps||56-84 fps||58-88 fps|
And here’s how these compare in terms of speeds and temperatures in Witcher 3, all on the Tweaked profiles.
- TUF FX705 – Tweaked profile (standard CPU – Turbo mode, GPU +150 MHz Clock/ +1000 MHz Memory, fans – 46-47 dB): CPU: ~3.8 GHz, 88 C; GPU: ~1.74 GHz, 84 C.
- Nitro 5 – Tweaked profile (-150 mV undervolted CPU, GPU +200 MHz Clock/ +1000 MHz Memory, fans – 52-53 dB): CPU: ~3.9 GHz, 82 C; GPU: ~1.76 GHz, 71 C.
- GL63 – OC Profile with CoolerBoost (Turbo Shift, -150 mV undervolted CPU, GPU, +200 MHz Clock/ +350 MHz Memory, fans – 50-52 dB): CPU: ~3.9 GHz, 69 C; GPU: ~1.9 GHz, 65 C.
In conclusion, the TUF FX705 falls short to the Intel-based competitors, but is still a competent gamer. At the same time, though, while it is the quietest of the three, it also runs significantly hotter in terms of CPU/GPU temperatures, which is not a great trade-off. Ideally, the fans would spin faster on the Turbo profile, and the system would give users the flexibility to juggle with thermals, performance and noise levels by opting between the Silent, Balanced and Turbo modes. That works well on the Asus ROG Intel-based models we’ve tested in the last months, but not that well on this variant, so hopefully, further software tweaks will address it in the future.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Asus implemented a complex cooling solution on the TUF FX705DU, with two large fans (with dust exhaust channels) and several heatpipes.
That’s why I find the high CPU/GPU temperatures rather surprising, just like I did last year in the review of the i7/GTX 1060 configuration. Perhaps the explanation is in the unusual air intake design, with very limited admission cuts on the bottom and most of the fresh air coming in from the sides and from the top, from above the keyboard. You’ll notice that the chassis gets hot especially around the GPU side, which is the main component that runs hotter on this laptop compared to the competition. That’s perhaps explained by its 80W TDP, but also suggests that better airflow would be required.
Nonetheless, I’d still advise you to further look into reviews of the final retail models to see how those handle the heat, although our findings have now been verified on two models and I don’t think they’re skewed.
The fans perform differently on this implementation than on last year’s model, running much quieter, at up to 46-47 dB on Turbo profile, as this generation no longer gets the Overboost profile of the past. They can get very quiet if opting for the Silent mode, but as mentioned earlier, unless the behavior is somehow addressed with further software updates, gaming on Silent won’t be possible based on our experience with this test unit.
The laptop runs quietly with daily use, both on the Silent and the Balanced profiles. The fans remain active, but spin quietly at around 38 dB at head-level, which only makes them audible in a completely silent environment. We haven’t noticed any electronic noise on our sample, and we didn’t get a mechanical HDD installed either, which can be a potential noise-source as well.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, fans at 36-38 dB
*Load Tweaked– playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 46-47 dB
For connectivity, there’s Gigabit Lan and Wireless AC through Realtek chips, as well as Bluetooth 5.0. We’ve mostly used our sample on wireless, and it performed alright near the router and at 30+ feet away with obstacles in between, without drops or other issues, but didn’t reach the high speeds attainable on other laptops modern with our setup.
The speakers on this unit are about average in terms of volume, at up to 76 dB at head-level, and somewhat subpar in terms of quality. The actuals chambers are small, the sound comes through narrow cuts on the sides and is rather tinny, with little on the low-end, but alright mids and highs. The FX705DU keeps the ability to output surround sound to headphones and external speakers through the 3.5 mm jack.
The camera is placed on top of the screen, flanked by microphones, and offers decent shots in well-lit rooms, but fairly washed out.
There’s a 64 Wh battery inside this 17-inch TUF Gaming FX705, which is about average for the entry-level gaming segment by today’s standards.
The 60 Hz screen, dual-graphics and the chip’s ability to clock down with basic chores make up for a pretty efficient implementation, just a bit more power hungry than a similar variant based on a latest-generation i5 Core H.
Here’s what we got on our review unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~40 brightness).
- 15.5 W (~4 h min of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14 W (~4 h 30 min of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 14 W (~4 h 30 min of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 18 W (~3 h 30 min of use) – browsing in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 42 W (~1 h 30 min of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON, fps limit of 40.
This configuration comes with a 180 W power-brick, but actually a compact one for its capacity. There’s no quick charging, so the battery fills up in about 1 hour and 30 min.
Price and availability
The 17-inch Asus TUF FX705DU is not widely available in stores at the time of this article, but it is listed at $1299 in the US and 1199 in some European stores.
The US version comes with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, while the models in Europe get 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, alongside the Ryzen 7 processor and GTX 1660Ti graphics. That suggests that lower-end variants could be available in the US at some point.
The FX705 is also available in more basic configurations, starting from models based on a Ryzen 5 processor and GTX 1650 graphics, with an MSRP of $999/EUR999. Asus also offers a 15-inch model based on AMD/Nvidia hardware.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading the article.
This AMD/Nvidia variant of the Asus TUF Gaming FX705 is not a bad product, but it needs to get cheaper before becoming an option to consider in its class. And that’s for a few reasons.
First of all, you can get pretty much the same laptop with a faster Core i7 processor and not a lot slower GTX 1060 graphics for as low as $999 at the time of this post. Then, there a couple of other 17-inch laptops priced similarly, around $1300, but based on Intel platforms, thus overall better performers: the Acer Nitro 5, the MSI GL73, the HP Pavillion 17 or the Dell G7 Gaming.
And then there are the quirks you’ll have to accept when going with this FX705 series: high CPU/GPU temperatures without the possibility to tweak the CPU in any way, inferior performance in demanding loads and games to the Intel/Nvidia Turing alternatives, as well as the fairly mediocre screen, IO and speakers. Of course, the other options have their flaws as well, but most of them fare better in thermals and performance, which I’d reckon it weighs plenty in your decision and need to be compensated for by the aggressive pricing.
Bottom point, despite its compromises, this product can make sense for the right price, but it needs to get cheaper before I’d consider it, as a potential shopper on a budget. For comparison, the 15-inch TUF FX505DU is available from $999 in a fairly similar configuration, just with a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD instead, and at that price, it beats the competition and becomes an option you can’t look past if you’re after a value gaming notebook.
In the end, at 1100-1200 USD/EUR, I’d rate this a 4/5, but as it is right now, it only ends up with a 3.75.
That pretty much wraps up our review of the Asus TUF Gaming FX705, but feel free to drop your impressions, feedback, and questions in the comments section down below.