So this is my second laptop this year, and I was specifically looking for a gaming laptop with moderately high-end specs.
There are many options available from brands like Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, Lenovo. The Asus TUF and Acer Nitro series caught my attention.
I decided to go with the Asus TUF A17, as it offered high-end specs without premium price. It cost me around $1650 equivalent in my currency.
In this review we shall be checking out the specs, quality, thermals, benchmark scores, gaming performance and the pros and cons of this laptop and whether it is good for you or not.
The desktop is pre-configured with a unique looking metal style wallpaper showcasing the ASUS TUF brand.
Hardware Specs and Components
The hardware is a mix of high end and medium grade components, while the body is all plastic.
Series: Asus TUF Gaming A17 2021
Official Product Page: https://www.asus.com/Laptops/For-Gaming/TUF-Gaming/2021-ASUS-TUF-Gaming-A17/techspec/
Here is a quick look at the hardware specs
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H with Radeon Graphics, 3.2 GHz (16M Cache, up to 4.4 GHz), 8core/16threads
- RAM: 16GB (8Gx2), DDR4-3200/PC4-25600 SO-DIMM, Max Capacity : 32GB
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU (GA106M) GDDR6 @ 6GB (192 bits) (TGP: 90W + 5W)
- Display: 17.3-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9, anti-glare display, sRGB:62.5%, Adobe:47.34%, Refresh Rate:144Hz, Value IPS-level
- Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
- Battery: 90 W-h, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion, with 200W charger
- Wifi 6 (802.11ax 2x2) with Bluetooth 5.1 (MediaTek Wi-Fi 6 MT7921 Wireless LAN Card)
- Network Card: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
- Ports: 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
- USB-C Port supports DisplayPort video output
- Camera: 720P HD
- Weight: 2.60 Kg (5.73 lbs)
- OS: Windows 10 Home Single Language 64-bit
- Extra: TUF Gaming backpack
The Asus TUF Gaming A17 series has multiple different models available with variation in hardware specs. These include 8GB/16GB RAM, Nvidia RTX 3050/3060/3070 GPU and 512GB/1TB of SSD.
Ryzen 7 5800H vs Intel i7-11800H
The closest competitor of Ryzen 7 5800H is the Intel i7-11800H which seems to have slightly better multi-core performance than amd specially when working with higher TDP limits around 80W, and slightly better single-core performance. But the i7-11800H also has higher L3 cache memory at 24MB compared to AMD Ryzen 7 5800H at 16MB.
There is a youtube video from Jarrod'sTech comparing the Ryzen 7 5800H with Intel i7-11800H and the results show intel ahead of amd in most tests when using 80W. AMD however performed better when using lower power at 45 W.
The userbenchmark.com comparison also shows Intel ahead:https://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-11800H-vs-AMD-Ryzen-7-5800H/m1542191vsm1442974
Other advantages of an i7-11800H laptop would include support for PCIe gen 4.0 and Thunderbolt, higher boost frequency at 4.6 Ghz and better thermals.
And the good thing is that Asus TUF does have variants equipped with the i7 11800H cpu, like the model: FX566HM-AZ117T which is ASUS TUF Gaming F15 (2021) laptop and comes with RTX 3060 gpu and similar specs.
The laptop has 1TB NVMe SSD from Samsung. The exact model name as shown by CrystalDiskInfo is: SAMSUNG MZVLQ1T0HBLB-00B00 1024.2 GB
And it is based on the NVM Express 1.4 specifications. Check the benchmark section for details about the read/write speed of this ssd.
The system has 2x 8GB modules of RAM installed which is a total of 16GB. The vendor and model is: Micron 4ATF1G64HZ-3G2E2
This detail is found in the application called HWiNFO.
I have using this laptop for a few weeks now and tested various applications and games on it. Performance is great and absolutely un-compromising in every aspect. The machine is certainly impressive but with imperfections!
Lets take a look at each aspect one by one.
1. Build Quality - All Plastic, Sturdy, Average Looks
The body is made of plastic, which has a rugged texture that looks some what metallic. There is mild to moderate flex on the screen lid and mild flex on the keyboard, but overall the build quality feels sturdy.
Also keep in mind that 17 inch is large, so larger bodies have slightly more flex, compared to smaller sizes like 15.6 inch.
However while typing the body does catch skin sweat and grease very quickly showing as patches on the surface. This is something that is quickly noticeable. So you have to clean it once every while to keep it looking shiny.
2. Display - Super Average, Not Impressive
The display is made of "Value IPS-level" panel which means it is a TN panel with improvements to make it more like an IPS panel. I found the colors to be consistent and vibrant from the front view. The colors looked better than my desktop LG monitor.
The viewing angles are kind of moderately good, but not good enough like a IPS monitor. Shifting even about 100-110 degrees sideward, causes the distant part of the display to appear darker, which is the typical behavior of a TN panel. If the brightness is increased, this effect is less noticeable.
However a TN panel makes higher refresh rates faster response times possible in a low budget.
The display is very average with only 62.5% sRGB gamut and FHD resolution. At this price point I would expect atleast 100% sRGB display on a laptop. But the rest of the hardware is quite high profile, so I would forgive this drawback.
The display looks like some old budget desktop monitor, but is okay and usable. It won't spoil your gaming experience in anyway and in regular usage, you would get used to it and not notice anything.
The refresh rate is 144Hz (with adaptive sync) which brings lag-free and stutter-free on-screen visuals when playing FPS games. Games like Counter Strike, Fortnite and Doom feel really smooth even with highest graphics settings.
Below Average Brightness
It looks like these brands make it a point to not reveal finer details about the display for budget laptops. For instance Asus does not mention the brightness measurement of this laptop, though most other users have reported a maximum brightness of around 250 nits when connected to ac power. Seems like most cheap laptops have similar brightness levels.
With only about 250 nits of display brightness, using the laptop in bright light outdoors will be difficult so you would need to adjust the angle of the screen to make it more visible.
The Acer Nitro 5 (Model: AN515-45-R4GR) for instance is a similarly spec'd 15 inch laptop with a QHD (2560x1440) resolution display which would look much nicer due to higher pixel density. If you are looking for better quality display then consider some other laptop with a QHD display and 100% sRGB gamut.
There was no backlight bleeding as far as I could test, though this may vary across units. Also there was no noticeable white uniformity issue. Colors looked pretty consistent.
The display panel is a matte finish display and there is noticeable reflection depending on the surrounding lighting which is normal. You might need to adjust the position and angle of the laptop to manage the reflection thing.
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 + AMD Radeon Vega 8
The laptop has an integrated amd gpu and a dedicated nvidia gpu.
The system is equipped with the AMD Radeon igpu (512 MB VRAM) and Nvidia RTX 3060 (6GB GDDR6 VRAM).
The RTX 3060 on this laptop is not as powerful as an RTX 3060 on a desktop, primarily because of reduced power supply. The rtx 3060 on this laptop gets around 90W + 5W of power, whereas on a desktop it gets over 170W.
Based on Furmark scores it seems that the RTX 3060 on this laptop is about 25%-30% less performing compared to a desktop RTX 3060 gpu, which is reasonable. However Jarrod'sTech has done a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1sCLpkOkhY comparing RTX 3060 on a desktop and laptop and the results show that there is little difference in gaming performance.
The internal display is connected to the AMD Radeon iGPU. The refresh rate of the internal display can be set to either 60Hz or 144Hz. The system might switch to lower refresh rates, when running on battery in order to save power.
The internal display and HDMI port of the laptop is connected to the iGPU (AMD Radeon Vega 8). The USB-C Port is connected to the dedicated nvidia rtx 3060 gpu. You would need a usb-c to hdmi adapter to connect it to a monitor's hdmi input port. If you want higher fps in your games, then use the dedicated gpu connected port.
I was quite surprised to see that the usb-c port supported video output and was connected to the dedicated graphics card. This is not mentioned in the laptop specs anywhere on the official site. Being a gaming laptop, this is a important piece of information for gamers who are looking for the highest possible FPS.
Gamers would often connect an external monitor with larger screen size for better gaming experience to the port which provides direct connection to the dGPU as it bypasses Nvidia Optimus and does not use the iGPU at all. This eliminates bottlenecking caused by the igpu and boosts in-game fps.
The Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU system details as shown by Nvidia Control Panel are as follows:
Operating System: Windows 10 Home Single Language, 64-bit DirectX version: 12.0 GPU processor: GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU Driver version: 462.35 Driver Type: DCH Direct3D feature level: 12_1 CUDA Cores: 3840 Resizable BAR Yes Dynamic Boost 2.0 Yes WhisperMode 2.0 Yes Advanced Optimus No Maximum Graphics Power 95 W Core clock: 1425 MHz Memory data rate: 14.00 Gbps Memory interface: 192-bit Memory bandwidth: 336.05 GB/s Total available graphics memory: 14031 MB Dedicated video memory: 6144 MB GDDR6 System video memory: 0 MB Shared system memory: 7887 MB Video BIOS version: 94.06.17.00.60 IRQ: Not used Bus: PCI Express x8 Gen3 Device Id: 10DE 2520 126C1043 Part Number: 4735 0110
Performance-wise the "RTX 3060 Laptop" is similar to the "RTX 2070 Mobile" and "RTX 2070 Super Mobile", but built on the newer Ampere architecture. Measurement of the GPU performance can be found the in the Benchmark score section and the Gaming performance section.
Some more technical details about the gpu can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_30_series
3. Thermals (Average) and Noise(Silent)
The idle temps are around 60 C which is high compared to my other intel laptop. However, it is well known that AMD cpus have higher idle temps in general, so this is not much of a concern.
The load temps when using Cinebench went upto 87 C. While gaming though, the high temps touched 92 C. Overall the idle temperature on this laptop are higher than expected, though this should not cause any bottlenecks in the performance.
Idle Temp: 60 C Heavy Load: 92-94 C
Compared to the base clock frequency of Intel i7 11800H at 2.30 GHz, this AMD cpu has higher base clock frequency at 3.2 Ghz. When monitoring the cpu load and frequecy with tools like Core Temp I noticed that even under slight random load (close to idle) the frequency is around 4.44 Ghz on average. This probably leads to the higher idle temperatures.
Check the HWMonitor screenshot, showing the minimum and maximum recorded temperature:
Surprisingly, the plastic chassis of the laptop does not heat up much and stays quite cool. I was initially under the impression that a 17 inch laptop would have better cooling due to larger body size, but this assumption did not prove to be correct. The chassis size has little to no effect on the thermals.
Bear in mind that the laptops thermals would heavily depend on the ambient temperatures as well, so if you are sitting in a room that has good ventilation and cool temperatures, the laptop thermals would perform nicely. Avoid using the laptop outdoors in direct sunlight, as it would heat it up quickly.
Cooling Pad recommended: While playing Fortnite the are staying at 94 C continuously which is not optimum, so I would recommend using a cooling pad for this laptop atleast while gaming, to keep improve the thermals. A good cooling pad will be able to lower the temperatures by upto 5-8 C which would bring the temperatures to more safer levels.
When using the laptop with the "Performance" power profile enabled in ARMOURY CRATE, the machine is super silent and there is barely any audible noise unless you put your ears near the chassis.
In the "Turbo" power mode, the fan RPM increases and a soft humming sound is audible.
Overall, in terms of fan noise the laptop performance is excellent. Though keep in mind that these are observations on a brand new laptop. Over time, as a laptop gathers dust inside its body and the thermal paste dries up, the cooling gets weaker and the fan gets noisier.
4. Wifi and Bluetooth - Average
This laptop has Wifi 6.0 and Bluetooth 5.1 support. The wifi chipset on this laptop is Mediatek MT7921.
I personally prefer the Intel AX200 wifi chipsets. In my opinion the Intel wifi chipset has better performance and power management.
The mediatek adapter has fewer options than the Intel AX201 160Hz chipset found on my Acer Swift 3 laptop. For instance on the Acer laptop I was able to change the transmission power of the adapter from the adapter settings. Whereas on this ASUS TUF the mediatek adapter does not have any such option.
If you face any issues with mediatek wifi chipset on your laptop, try the following fix: Go to adapter settings and changing wifi standard from 802.11ax to 802.11ac. This can make the download speed and connections more stable. It basically tells the wifi chip to use wifi 5 instead of wifi 6.
Search google and see the reddit pages for more information ( MT7921 site:www.reddit.com ). Some users have recommended replacing it with an Intel AX200 chipset for better performance.
The reviews on notebookcheck.net have also shown the wifi speed of mediatek chipset to be significantly slower than he intel ax200 chipset when using wifi 6.
5. Ethernet - Good and Bad
The laptop is equipped with RealTek Gigabit Ethernet chipset. Model: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Some laptops like the Alienware X17 gaming laptop do come with a 2.5G ethernet port with chipsets like Intel Killer Ethernet E3100 2.5 Gbps. However those are the high-budget laptops starting at over $2000.
For most gamers a 1-Gigabit ethernet connection would suffice. To take advantage of the high speed ethernet the rest of the wired network components like switches and routers should also support high speed ethernet. Otherwise any single slow component in the network will bottleneck the overall speed.
Now the bad part - The ethernet plug does not snap-lock (like it does in a switch or router) into the ethernet port on this laptop making it bit loose by itself at times. This is very annoying. I really did not like this !
6. Power and Battery - OKAY
The laptop has a big 90 W-hr battery inside it and comes with a 200W heavy charging adapter. The battery rating looks powerful but does not last very long for a number of reasons.
Battery run-time shall heavily depend on what applications are running in the background. I was able to get around 3 hours with continuous internet usage which included watching a few youtube videos and casual web browsing.
With normal document work and little bit of web browsing how-ever the laptop can last much longer, upto 6 hours. It is surprising to see how vastly the battery run-time varies based on usage patterns.
This is lesser compared to the over 8 hours+ of runtime on my other 14 inch Acer Swift laptop which had a 56 W-hr battery. The battery run-time on this Asus TUF laptop is much lower due to a number of reasons.
- It has a larger display which needs more power
- Has bigger cooling fans
- The cpu is 8 core which runs at higher base clock frequency
- The wifi chipset is Mediatek which is not as power efficient as the Intel AX200 in my opinion.
Overall, the battery runtime is average even with regular usage, because a 90 W-hr battery should last bit longer.
While testing the battery:
1. The battery saver mode was turned on
2. Display refresh rate was set to 60 Hz
3. In ARMOURY CRATE > GPU Power Saving > iGPU Mode was set to "Auto". This tells the system to use the iGPU and turn off the Dedicated GPU when on battery, to save power.
4. The display brightness was kept low.
When testing the battery life, after applying all battery saving settings, the laptop must be restarted for the settings to take effect properly.
The charging adapter is heavy which adds to the weight of the laptop while you carry it in a backpack.
The ARMOURY CRATE software has settings to optimize power management on the system and keep the battery running for longer. The GPU power saving mode configures the system to use only iGPU which saves power. The dedicated RTX 3060 gpu gets disabled with this setting.
Other ways to extend the battery running time is by reducing screen brightness, turning off keyboard backlighting, turn on battery saver mode in Settings > Battery settings.
6. Keyboard and Touchpad - Decent
The keyboard has large sized arrow keys along with a numpad. I personally like large sized arrow keys as it makes typing related jobs much more comfortable.
The keyboard has 1-Zone RGB lighting and the lighting effects can be configured from the ARMOURY CRATE software. As this is a gaming laptop, the W-A-S-D keys are made transparent white in color to make them look different from the rest of keys.
One drawback is that while typing the palm rests feel sticky due to the plastic body beneath. This can be slightly uneasy initially but you would slowly get used to it. In contrast, the feel of a metallic body laptop (like my Acer Swift 3) is a lot better in this regard.
Keys are quite comfortable, with good key travel, and some mild tactile feedback as well. Typing is good and comfortable and no complains regarding that.
The power button has been kept outside the keyboard as separate button in the top right area which, avoids accidental power presses while typing.
There are 4 indicator LEDs on the top area above the keyboard and below the display. They indicate laptop power on/off, mains power, disk activity and airplane mode.
One unique thing that I noticed in this laptop is that the caps lock key had a red indication light right on the key, whereas the num lock key did not have any such indicator led.
The touch pad is good size and has 2 dedicated buttons for left and right clicks. The touchpad feels plastic but is fine while using. It supports gestures like 2-finger tap and 3-finger tap which can be configured from Windows Settings.
7. Ports - Only 1x USB 3.2-Gen2 Port
On the left side the ports are in order as follows:
- DC power socket
- RJ45 ethernet port ( Does not snap-lock :( )
- HDMI 2.0b (Connected to iGPU)
- USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
- USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
- USB C 3.2 Gen2 (DisplayPort over USB-C support, Directly connected to Dedicated GPU)
- 3.5mm Audio jack
On the right side there is the
- Kensington lock
- An air vent
- USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port
No ports on the backside. I never liked the idea of ports on the backside of a laptop anyways.
The laptop has no USB 2.0 ports which is an excellent thing, but in this price range, I was expecting atleast one USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port on this laptop, like the Acer Nitro 5 has.
If you need an USB 3.2-Gen2 type-A port, then get a USB-C to USB-A adapter and use it.
There is no DisplayPort on this laptop. So you need to use a usb-c to DisplayPort adaptor. Also being an AMD laptop there is no thunderbolt support on the usb-c port.
8. Sound and Audio - Loud but like mobile phone
The sound card is Realtek Audio ( Audio Adapter: AMD Raven/Renoir/Van Gogh/Cezanne/Rembrandt - Audio Processor - HD Audio Controller ).
The speakers are loud, and louder than my previous Acer Swift 3 laptop. However the surround sound effect is still weak. It sounds more like a loud mobile phone speakers. The reason is simple. Laptop speakers cannot produce low frequency sound loud enough.
Details about the wattage of the speaker are not available.
9. Webcam - Below Average
The laptop has the typical 720p 30fps camera that comes with most laptops.
Windows 10 + Google Chrome
I tested it with an online webcam tool here: https://webcamtests.com/fps and the fps showed up a very low value of 15 FPS which concerned me.
The test results from https://webcamtests.com/ are below:
Webcam Name: USB2.0 HD UVC WebCam Quality Rating: 338 Built-in Microphone: None Built-in Speaker: None Frame rate: 15 FPS Stream Type: video Image Mode: rgb Webcam MegaPixels: 0.92 MP Webcam Resolution: 1280×720 Video Standard: HD Aspect Ratio: 1.78 PNG File Size: 1.13 MB JPEG File Size: 557.58 kB Bitrate: 8.17 MB/s Number of Colors: 123075 Average RGB Color: Lightness: 53.92% Luminosity: 53.15% Brightness: 53.59% Hue: 351° Saturation: 2.98%
On my other Acer Swift 3 laptop the same online tool reported a stable 30 fps. I did notice that the quality of video output of the webcam on this laptop was actually inferior when compared to the webcam on my other laptop.
When waving hands rapidly in front of the webcam, the on-screen video output looked blurry. I am not sure what is causing this.
Using the Windows 10 Camera app, the video output quality looked averagely fine as is the case with most budget laptop. I don't think there is much to think about it.
Boot/Shutdown Times - Perfect
Windows 10 boots really fast, in just 2-3 seconds. The speed comes from powerful CPU and super fast nvme ssds. Shutdown usually can take longer depending on what applications are running in the background.
The shudown process is fast, but the laptop takes a few more seconds to turn off its power and keyboard backlight completely.
On when the system is installing some updates, will the boot/shutdown time be slightly slower, showing a busy loading cursor.
Overall the system is very fast and responsive all the time, whether playing games or doing other works like video editing.
I ran couple of free performance testing tools to check the scores and see how powerful this laptop is. The tools include Cinebench R23, Furmark, Crystalmark, Geekbench 5
The Armoury CRATE software provides options to select power profiles which affect the fan speed/behavior, cpu TDP limits, and GPU/VRAM overclocking.
I tested with 2 different profiles, namely "Performance" and "Turbo" Mode. The Performance mode is the default profile with optimum settings for regular and gaming usage, whereas the Turbo mode boosts CPU and GPU performance by pushing up tdp and increasing fan speed.
As expected, the benchmark scores in Turbo mode are always slightly higher than in performance mode, though the difference is not huge in most cases and the system user would not feel anything under regular usage.
Cinebench tests the CPU performance in both single-core and multi-core tests. The scores are compared against other similar cpu models. Here are the test results:
The scores in "Performance Mode"
Single Core: 1407 Multi Core: 11202
In multi-core performance it is significantly ahead of Intel i9-9880H 8c/16t processor (Score: 9087), whereas in single core performance it is marginally behind the Intel i7-1165G7 (Score: 1532).
As is always the case AMD cpus surpass intel cpus in multicore performance by a big difference, whereas lag in single performance by a small margin. Also amd cpus have more cache memory. Considering the price to performance ratio, makes amd cpus a better choice for consumers.
These are the scores in "Turbo Mode":
Single Core: 1390 Multi Core: 12460
The Turbo mode enables higher cpu clock speeds which boosts multi-core performance significantly, but the single core performance stays nearly the same.
Furmark is a GPU benchmark tool that renders a 3D animation on screen to test the power and speed of gpu. The test results are made available online and can be compared with scores of other hardware profiles submitted by users worldwide.
Furmark tests results of this laptop are available here: https://gpuscore.top/furmark/show.php?id=438711
Furmark Score: 5470https://gpuscore.top/furmark/
Looking at other scores in the online database for RTX 3060 gpu, it is seen that on desktop machines the performance of this gpu is far higher compared to laptops. This is due to higher available power supply.
On this Laptop the RTX 3060 gets only about 90W+5W of power whereas on a full-fledged desktop it would consumer upto 170W, and it can be overclocked further if there is adequate cooling which pushes the performance even further.
Some other RTX 3060 users managed to get a score over 7500 on laptop. They were probably using a 130W TGP RTX 3060 laptop like the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro or ASUS ROG Strix G17.
When monitoring with msi afterburner, the power supply was steady at around 94-95 C.
In Turbo mode the graphics performance did not see any noticeable increase, however it might have some impact when running actual games. Though I did not test that.
Furmark Score: 5477https://gpuscore.top/furmark/show.php?id=441626
A friend of mine with a desktop system with RTX 3060 (and no overclocking) reported a furmark score of: 7959 points (133 FPS, 60000 ms). This gives an idea of the possible difference in performance of RTX between a desktop and a laptop. The laptop has over 30% less performance compared to a desktop. In other words, the desktop can have upto 45% higher performance compared to a laptop.
Geekbench is another CPU Benchmark utility similar to Cinebench but runs a different set of general tests, to measure both single and multi core performance.
I run the test twice and the numbers had some difference for the single core performance.
1398 - Single-Core Score 7166 - Multi-Core Score
The multi-core test score of puts this cpu below cpus like Intel Core i5-11600 (6c/12t) and Intel Core i9-9900 (8c/16t). This looks inaccurate to me, since amd multicore performance is usually ahead of intel as per Cinebench R23 tests.
The multi-core tests of geekbench are clearly not comprehensive enough to properly benchmark the cpu.
1426 - Single-Core Score 7219 - Multi-Core Score
In Turbo mode, the scores are slightly better, in both single and multi core performance. The difference is not huge, but certainly noticeable.
Compute Benchmark - Nvidia RTX 3060
So the RTX 3060 GPU on this laptop is fairly capable and at par with RTX 2070 on a desktop. It should be noted that the same gpu on laptops has significantly, lower scores compared to on desktop. So compare carefully.
Compute Benchmark - iGPU - AMD Radeon Vega 8
Next is the laptops internal gpu which is amd radeon. The scores are as follow:
The igpu is also quite good performing, when compared to intel's iris Xe igpu. These igpus can play low graphics basic games like age of empires, asphalt 9 etc.
This tool tests the read/write speed of the disks. On this system we have a 1TB nvme ssd from Samsung. The numbers do not look very impressive. Infact they are lower than the speed of the 512GB nvme tested on my previous Acer Swift 3 Laptop.
With PCIe 3.0 lanes the rated limits of write speeds for sequential operation is around 3000 MB/s but over here we could achieve only around 970 MB/s which is far lower. The random block write speed is around 530 MB/s which is even lower.
When pasting a collection of large files (lots of mp4 videos) from an external drive onto this laptop, the speed was as follows:
The write speeds at 350 MB/s is even lower than the random write speed tested by CrystalDiskMark which is not satisfactory. It simply means that the ssd is probably "low quality".
When writing to an external ssd (Kingston 240 GB) connected on the Gen2 USB-C port I got speeds around 205 MB/s which is in the same range as the internal SSD.
The internal ssd on the laptop should have shown better write speeds.
Userbenchmark runs a bunch of tests on different hardware components and uploads the results online.
While running userbenchmark tool make sure to close MSI AfterBurner and Riva TunerStatisticsServer, otherwise the userbenchmark tool will not detect any GPU at all.
Score With Nvidia GPU:
Results here: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/46822631
With the nvidia gpu the performance score is quite high, however it did not detect the correct amount of VRAM on the gpu. It showed 512MB, which the memory on the AMD iGPU actually.
Score With AMD iGPU:
Results here: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/46822460
With the AMD iGPU the score is much lower, however even the iGPU is still capable of running heavy games like Fortnite, although at lower graphics settings and resolutions.
The RTX 3060 Laptop GPU is a fairly powerful and high performing gpu. For most games you can expect high FPS output with highest/ultra game settings. I did not test a lot of games, but did run some high graphics games to see the power of this gaming laptop.
The games include CS2GO, Fortnite, Forza Horizon 4, AOE2DE, Asphalt 9 Legends. All games were run on the highest graphics settings and all of them delivered high and stable FPS. Combined with the 144Hz refresh rate of the display, the on-screen game visuals were very smooth even in fast moving graphics.
Here is a quick summary of the FPS results for the games I tested. All the game installations were up-to-date. Tests were done around: 15 September 2021
|Counter Strike CS:GO
|External Display (USB-C)
|USB-C port is directly connected to dGPU so higher FPS
|Forza Horizon 4
While testing the games the laptop was configured to use the "Performance" power profile in ARMOURY CRATE. Using the "Turbo" profile would boost the cpu and gpu TDPs, but would also make the fans run faster producing more noise.
While running on ac power and with the "Turbo" power profile enabled in ARMOURY CRATE, the rtx 3060 gpu touched boost clock frequency of 2062 Mhz, which is significantly higher than its rated boost clock frequency. The power also touched peak levels of over 100 W, in short bursts.
The resolution was set to 1920x1080 for all games with full screen displays. Remember that lowering the resolution will often increase the FPS and improve the performance of the system. Games that deliver over 150 FPS on this laptop would generate over 60 FPS even on a 1440p resolution display.
All the games were tested on the laptop's internal display which is connected to the igpu. When using an external monitor via the usb-c port, which is connected to the rtx 3060 gpu directly, you can expect a small increase in the average in-game fps.
To display FPS and other performance indicators like CPU and GPU usage, there are a couple of tools available. These include the Xbox Game Bar, MSI AfterBurner, NZXT CAM, GeForce Experience. I mostly use the Xbox Game Bar FPS monitor and MSI AfterBurner.
Background Recording: I was also recording the games in the background with OBS Studio on the same laptop. Recording caused a drop in the overall FPS for nearly all games (except racing games which run at 60-72 fps fixed). For best fps performance, it is recommended that you do not record/stream from the same pc. No matter how powerful your gpu is, recording/streaming will always cause some drop in the fps, though the drop would be less significant with more powerful gpus like RTX 3080.
1. Counter Strike CS:GO - High FPS
Counter Strike blocks msi afterburner from showing the overlay screen display, so I had to use the Xbox Game Bar instead which works with all games.
Graphics Settings: High (Highest) Average FPS: 105
2. Fortnite - 70 FPS @ EPIC Settings (1080p)
So Fortnite could deliver only around 70 fps on average with EPIC graphics settings which is the highest. The visuals looked good enough, but being a somewhat FPS game 70 fps was a little bit low, when compared to Counter Strike.
If you want 144+ FPS with EPIC graphics settings in Fortnite, you need an RTX 3080 laptop like the Acer Nitro 5 Ryzen 9 5900HX RTX 3080.
Graphics Quality: EPIC (Highest) Average FPS: 85-90
The graphics complexity level of Fortnite is higher compared to Counter Strike or Valorant that is why we see lower FPS.
I ran fortnite on an external display via the usb-c port as well which is connected to the rtx 3060 dgpu directly. I saw a small but noticeable increase in the average fps
External Display via usb-c directly connected to dGPU Graphics Quality: EPIC (Highest) Average FPS: 90-95
Fortnite has a settings option to select DirectX 12 over DirectX 11 for 3D rendering which reportedly delivers slightly higher fps. A reddit user posted a thread here: https://www.reddit.com/r/FortniteCompetitive/comments/kdsnfe/performance_mode_vs_dx11_vs_dx12/
I have not tested it myself and just play with DirectX 11. Also, with DirectX 12 you can enable ray tracing in Fortnite.
The power supply to the RTX 3060 gpu touched peaks of 95 Watts as shown by the msi afterburner osd. However the average stayed around 85 watts. The gpu clock frequency touched high levels of upto 1822 Mhz, though averaged around 1550 Mhz during most of the gameplay.
With OBS Studio recording the game in the background, the fps drop noticeably.
OBS Studio recording in background Graphics Quality: EPIC (Highest) Average FPS: 75
With the graphics setting preset "High" the fps count went upto 95-100, and the visual quality was still good, though it was noticeably inferior to the EPIC graphics setting and slightly more cartoonish.
OBS Studio recording in background Graphics Quality: High Average FPS: 95-100
So for best performance, do not record or stream from the same machine as you are playing on.
Valorant is another FPS game similar to Counter Strike, but with casual artwork. With the highest graphics settings, the game delivered a consistent 145-150 fps which is excellent. The display on this laptop runs at 144 Hz, so we get the best possible smooth visuals.
Graphics quality: High (Highest) Average FPS: 145-150
With recording in background
With OBS Studio running in background, we see a drop in FPS, even if OBS is not recording/streaming anything and just sitting idle. This issue has been reported by many other users at this thread:https://obsproject.com/forum/threads/obs-opened-causes-30-fps-drops-in-game-with-stream-on-off.134022/
With High graphics settings and recording in background, the game was able to deliver around 125 FPS consistently, which is still okay.
Graphics quality: High OBS Studio Recorder: ON Average FPS: 125
4. Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon is an open world racing game with real-life like graphics and it requires a powerful gpu to render highest quality visuals.
It can run tests on the gpu to benchmark its performance and here are the results for this laptop:
The Nvidia 3060 was capable of generating close to 150 FPS on average with ULTRA graphics settings. Though in general racing games do not need more than 60 FPS and would put a max limit on that value automatically.
Looking at the MSI Afterburner OSD, the GPU clock frequency touched high levels of 1927 Mhz and stayed at average levels of 1850+ Mhz. This comes as a surprise since as per the official specs, the boost clock frequency of RTX 3060 is only 1.78 Ghz.
Following are the FPS numbers which are perfectly good.
Graphics Settings: ULTRA (Highest) Average FPS: 72 (Fixed Limit)
The gameplay of Forza Horizon was very smooth with highest quality graphic visuals and I recorded it simultaneously using OBS Studio, using the NVENC hardware encoder on RTX 3060 without any lags.
Looking at the fps metrics it seems that this laptop is capable of delivering over 60 FPS even in 1440p resolution. So if you want to play Forza in 2K QHD resolution attach a good external monitor or large TV which supports that resolution.
5. Asphalt 9 Legends
Asphalt 9 does not a high power gpu, and runs fine even on Intel Iris Xe igpu as tested on my Acer Swift 3 - 14 inch laptop. On this Asus laptop with RTX 3060 the game runs absolutely smooth without any lags or stutter.
Graphic Settings: High (Highest) Average FPS: 60 (Fixed Limit)
For some reason the Xbox Game Bar limits the FPS to 58/59 but that is actually 60.
Asphalt 9, blocks MSI Afterburner so could not see details about GPU clock frequency and power consumption. Never Mind!
Being a 17 inch large sized heavy-weight machine, this laptop offers good options for modifying the hardware inside and upgrading some of the parts easily.
What I did not like is that Asus does not provide any details about the upgrade-ability of the components on its official website which keeps the consumers guessing about how much RAM or SSD they can install into their laptop. For these details you have to call the customer care directly or may be read reviews on other 3rd party websites.
Storage: There is an extra empty M.2 nvme slot for installing an additional ssd. There is no 2.5-inch HDD slot since the laptop has a big 90 W-hr battery which takes up more space.
However there are some cheaper variants of this laptop available which have a 48 W-hr battery along with an HDD drive bay as well. Those configurations have the Ryzen 7 4800H cpu with RTX 3050/GTX 1650Ti gpu.
RAM: There are 2 RAM slots on this laptop, but both are filled with 8GB ram each. So you would have to sacrifice one or both of the existing ram modules when upgrading the RAM on this system.
Wifi Chipset: The wifi chipset (m.2 wlan module) is also replace-able and you might want to replace it with an Intel AX200 Wifi 6 module, if you want better wifi 6 connectivity.
Besides the above mentioned component upgrades, you need to get they thermal paste replaced from time to time when it dries up. Cooling is a critical component of a laptop for performance and longevity of the cpu and gpu.
The laptop comes with some pre-installed applications, which include
- Mcafee Antivirus 1-year Trial version
- Microsoft Edge Browser
- Office Home & Student 2019 Lifetime License
- Nvidia control panel application
- AMD Radeon Software (performance monitoring tool)
- Microsoft apps like Maps, Mail, Xbox, Photos (Video Editor)
- ASUS Armoury Crate (Utility Program)
- MyASUS (Utility Program)
For License information of Microsoft Office, check this page: https://account.microsoft.com/services/
You also get big discount on xbox game pass for the 1 month if you make a purchase.
The ARMOURY CRATE application is an essential piece of software that comes pre-installed on this laptop and allows you to configure certain aspects of the hardware including the cpu and gpu power/TDP, fan speed, keyboard backlighting effects and switching between igpu and dgpu, setting custom display profiles for the internal display based on usage.
In the Home tab there are 4 power profiles namely: Windows, Silent, Performance and Turbo.
The profiles affect the fan speed/rpm, the tdp limits for the cpu, boost the power supply to the gpu and vram overclocking. Though it does not reveal details about the applied values of each parameter.
The Turbo mode is the loudest and hottest profile, as it pushes the tdp limits of gpu. GPU clock frequency did go up slightly in games like Forza Horizon 4. However, I did not see a huge difference in the FPS of games. The fans will run faster and get louder and would be clearly audible.
The Performance power mode is the default/everyday power profile with lower boost settings, normal fan speed and no overclocking. This is the setting that you should use while gaming and other regular everyday tasks. If the laptop is connected to ac power, then its totally fine to use the Performance mode even when doing heavy tasks like video rendering or encoding.
The Silent power profile reduces the cpu and gpu tdp and lowers the fan rpm to make the laptop even more silent. This can be used if you are doing non-gaming work like document editing or casual web browsing. This is ideal when the laptop is running on battery.
If you enable the "Windows" power profile, then the power settings from Control Panel > Power Options will get applied.
It also has a game library which allows users to view and launch games from across multiple distribution platforms including Steam, Microsoft Store/Xbox, Epic Games (Fortnite), Riot Games (Valorant), Battle.net etc. It adds a very convenient context menu to right click on desktop which makes it easy to view all the games on the system and launch any of them. I personally found it very useful.
When you turn on the machine for the first time, Windows 10 setup process will ask some questions like country, keyboard layout
and privacy settings, wifi network connection password etc. Answer them all and move ahead to complete the configuration process and land on the desktop.
When you run the system for the first time, it will install a lot of updates. Windows 10, MS Office, MyAsus Application, Armoury Crate, and Asus BIOS update will install updates, so make sure you are connected to internet all along.
Here are couple of changes I did to my system to make it more friendly:
1. Change touchpad settings to Scroll down on down motion with 2 finger drag.
2. In the touchpad settings, configure 3-finger Triple tap as Middle mouse button (click).
3. Increase font size to 125%, to make them more legible.
4. Format date to show as H:mm t. This will make the date and time in the bottom right corner easier to read with AM/PM notation.
5. Disable Bluetooth if not using. Click the Notifications icon on taskbar at bottom right and click the Bluetooth icon to disable it.
6. Use the MyAsus application to register product for warranty.
7. Install Google Chrome browser and sign in to your gmail.
8. Launch the ARMOURY CRATE application and set it up.
9. Update Office: Open any office application like Word or Excel. Click File on top left > Account > Product Information > Update
10. In MyAsus application set battery to balanced so that it charges to only 80%. Use this only if you plan to keep the laptop connected to ac power most of the time.
11. Open Mcafee LiveSafe and signup to activate your free 1-year subscription. If you don't signup, the subscription won't get activated.
Here are some problems that appeared on this laptop while I was using it. These problems might be specific to my system only.
1. Everytime the battery charger is turned on/off the system goes blank for a second. This probably happens because it switches the refresh rates to 60hz when on battery and to 144hz when on charger. To avoid this, got to Display Settings > Advanced Display Settings and set the refresh rate to 60 Hz manually.
2. Sometimes, the brightness function keys stop working randomly (Fn + F7,F8). Then you have to change brightness from taskbar > notifications > brightness bar. After a certain Windows 10 update this problem seemed to disappear.
3. Sometimes, after resuming from sleep, the laptop might forget external usb connected devices like mouse and keyboard. Then it has to be re-started. This problem also disappeared after a certain Windows 10 update.
4. Nvidia Control Panel Crash - The Nvidia Control panel would crash everytime I would try to go to Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings tab. A user posted a workaround to fix this over here: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/forums/geforce-graphics-cards/5/165403/nvidia-control-panel-crash/
Asphalt 9 Legends: Shows black blank screen on launch
Asphalt 9 legends shows a blank black screen on launching. It seems that it tries to use the AMD Radeon igpu which is unable to run it. This is fixed by forcing it to use nvidia rtx 3060 gpu.
Go to Display Settings > Graphics Settings > graphics performance preference
Add asphalt 9 legends to the list and in options assign "High Performance" which will use Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU.
This ASUS TUF laptop changed the wallpaper of my Acer Swift 3 14 inch laptop, without letting me know. LOL. Because I used the same microsoft account on both, so few things started appearing across devices. This felt kind of weird.
Buggy "Your Phone"
1. The application "Your Phone" when launched from the Start Menu, crashed the graphics drivers and caused the system to reboot. This happened nearly everytime. I did not try to fix it
Testing Ubuntu 21.10 / 21.04
So I tested Ubuntu 21.10 in live mode and it worked great. All hardware including Mediatek Wifi / Bluetooth, Touchpad, AMD iGPU seemed to worked fine. I did not try installing the Nvidia drivers in live mode though, but that should also work fine.
The Ubuntu iso was downloaded from the official site and then a bootable usb drive was created using the tool called Rufus which free as well.
I also booted Ubuntu 21.04 on this laptop using live usb and it met a few problems. Ubuntu 21.04 did not recognize the MT7921 wifi chipset, making it unusable. Users have reported similar problems on askubuntu.com here:https://askubuntu.com/questions/1346617/ubuntu-20-04-does-not-have-mediatek-driver-mt7921-for-wifi-bluetooth
Switch to Ubuntu 21.10 at the earliest, if you want all the hardware to work properly as it has the latest linux kernel which supports the wifi chipset and touchpad properly.
Who is this laptop for
This Asus TUF A17 is a powerful machine at a modest price, but certainly not a cheap laptop, so it cant be called an entry level gaming laptop like the Acer Nitro 5 or the HP Pavilion Gaming 15.6 inch.
You get premium level hardware specs but with significant compromises. The performance is high, but the display and build quality are inferior. Also the weight is on the higher side at 2.6 kg, which hinders the portability.
Heavy weight : At this weight, it is not a good choice for users who need good portability, like students, doctors, office users. Even the 15 inch variants in both Intel and AMD cpu configurations weigh around 2.3kg which is still not good portability. Gaming laptops that focus on powerful components at lowest prices will usually be heavy weight over 2kgs whereas good portability needs the laptop to be 1.8kgs or less.
Desktop alternative : This laptop would be an optimum choice for those who want a fast machine but are willing to compromise with the display and build quality. Ideally someone could use this as a quick replacement for a desktop as you can connect a better quality external monitor, and also have occasional portability.
For gaming, I connected it to my Sony Bravia TV and played games like Forza Horizon 4 and Asphalt and they looked pretty good.
Also since the display it 17 inch, it is also suitable for running cad and 3d-simulation applications. Also with a decent gpu and octa-core cpu it is an excellent choice for running machine learning and deep learning programs and neural network simulations. These are certain use cases where you do not need a high quality display with accurate colors.
Video Editing : I personally did video editing on this laptop with free apps like Shotcut and it worked great. Rendering a 15 minute game recording to mp4 format took around 3 minutes using the NVENC encoder on the 3060 gpu, which in fast. This laptop can render 4K videos as well though I would recommend having a 4K monitor alongside to check the final video.
So even if you are doing professional video editing without much of graphics manipulation, this laptop can handle the work load. However for graphics and animation designers, I would recommend a laptop with a better display. We already have 17 inch laptops with 4K displays like the Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR, Dell XPS 17 etc which are designed specifically for content creators. Consider those.
1. Does Asus TUF A17 have heating issues
The Asus TUF A17 has an average cooling system that keeps temperature within safe limits most of the time, and avoids any over-heating as such. Only while playing heavy games, the temperature will rise up over 90 C but that won't affect performance since Ryzen 7 CPUs can work fine at those temperatures.
If you still wan't to lower the cpu temperature and stop your laptop from over-heating then you can turn off clock turbo boost from power settings as explained in this article:
2. How long will ASUS TUF Last
The Asus TUF is mid-range laptop packed with high-end hardware in a plastic body. I would expect such a laptop to last for atleast 5-7 years even with heavy usage including gaming and video editing.
Though the plastic body may need extra care against scratches and pressure dents if you carry it a backpack frequently , it will not break easily unless you drop it.
3. What is Turbo mode in Asus
The Turbo mode basically boosts performance by increasing the CPU, GPU maximum clock speed and the cooling FAN speed as well. This can be configured from the Armoury CRATE utility program that comes installed with Asus TUF. Turbo mode will also cause increase in the temperatures of your cpu and gpu, when under full load.
Since Ryzen 7 cpus are designed to work comfortably at high temperatures, it Turbo mode will not damage your processor, as long as temperatures are within 95 C all the time.
4. Is Asus TUF good for gaming ?
Yes, the Asus TUF has powerful cpu, gpu and ram which allows it to run most heavy-weight competitive games like Fortnite with ease, without any lags as such. The IPS-level 144hz display produces fast and fluid visuals on the screen with good brightness.
5. Asus TUF or Acer Nitro 5
I compared both the laptop series before making the purchase, but decided to go for Asus TUF primarily because, the Acer Nitro has ports on the backside of the laptop which I did not like much, and the laptop body has more flex compared to the sturdier Asus TUF body. I also liked the keyboard layout of Asus TUF more than that of Acer Nitro 5.
Besides that the Acer Nitro had better display with 100% sRGB and QHD resolution and was better in certain areas compared to Asus TUF.
On amazon.in the product link is:
There are many other laptops from brands like Acer, MSI and HP with similar specs as this laptop. The most notable ones are from Acer and here are 2 popular models:
https://www.acer.com/ac/en/IN/content/model/NH.QBCSI.002 - Ryzen 7 5800H - QHD Display
https://www.acer.com/ac/en/IN/content/model/NH.QBRSI.001 - Ryzen 9 5900HX
I chose Asus over Acer for some personal preferences but you can choice either. The Acer laptops had less powerful 58 W-hr battery, and the touchpad was placed far left. Also it had the power port on the backside. The design looked less appealing to me. But it has 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports which is not found on this Asus laptop. Also the Acer laptops are reported to have more plastic flex compared to Asus.
The Acer Nitro 5 series is available with the RTX 3080 gpu but the TGP on some models is only around 85W which is inadequate for high performance in terms of graphics.
Besides that you also have the HP Omen Series with Ryzen 7 5800H paired with RTX 3070 which is yet another powerful combination for a gaming laptop. The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro and the Dell G15 are other serious competitors with similar hardware specifications.
Brand is more of a personal choice, and your purchase will also depend on local prices and availability.
The following tools were used to test and benchmark the hardware on this laptop. Most of these are free tools that work on Windows 10.
- Geekbench 5 - Test CPU and GPU
- Furmark - GPU Benchmark
- Cinebench - CPU Benchmark
- Core Temp - Monitor CPU Temperatures
- CPUID CPU-Z - Hardware information
- CrystalDiskInfo - SSD Information
- CrystalDiskMark - SSD Speed Test and Benchmark
- Hwinfo - Hardware information
- CPUID HWMonitor - Monitor hardware performance
- Open Hardware Monitor