I’ve had the pleasure of rolling with the Asus TUF Gaming FX504 during the greater part of November. If you’re not familiar with the device lineup, it sits nestled just between the more mainstream Vivobook lineup and the ROG series. A little backgrounder, TUF stands for “The Ultimate Force” and it continues to be a very prominent motherboard segment from Asus because of its quite literal durability. It is a truly fitting upgrade from the X560UD with bumped up clockspeed within the same 8th Generation of Core i5s – the model that had been sent to me had the i5-8300H 2.3GHz and a 4GB Nvidia GTX 1050 with 4GB of RAM.
In terms of palpable performance, there really isn’t much difference between the X560UD and the FX504 evidenced by the following side-by-side benchmark. What truly merits the price gap between the two, around Php 10,000, is the gaming DNA that has been incorporated into the FX504. So let’s get down to what those are:
TUF has a signature yellow/gold color in the motherboard space but it sheds that in favor of the signature red glow reminiscent of the ROG product line. The keyboard has three levels of red backlighting and the Asus logo at the back of the screen also lights up red during operation.
The power button is situated away from the keyboard so that there can never be accidental presses on it. The function keys are also well spaced apart making good use of the available real estate up top and the WASD keys most commonly utilized for FPS gameplay are highlighted with red borders.
One of the funtion keys on the FX504 is the Overboost shortcut which tells the system that some major activity is happening and the fan should ramp up to compensate. True to form, when overboost is on, you can “hear” the performance go up because of superior thermal control over the CPU and the GPU. All of the heat is directed towards the rear which makes sure you don’t feel any of the heat creeping up your hands.
And while talking about freeing your hands, the TUF FX504 also translates all the I/O ports to the left of the device such that your mouse hand together with a mouse wont hit any snags from any wires that might be coming out of the laptop. Literally everything stems out from the left: power, network, HDMI, USB2, USB3s, and an audio jack. Similar to the X560UD there isn’t an SD card slot on the FX504… still you can use one of the USB ports to transfer content from a camera.
Unlike the X560UD, there is an abundance of indicator lights on the FX504, also made available through a cutout on the lid even when it is closed so you’ll know exactly what is happening with the device. It feels a little bit weird when you’re holding the device because of this cutout but the direct effect to the cooling and visual functionality is well worth the difference. The FX504 is also surprisingly easier in the hands than the X560UD – a display of excellent engineering found in higher end devices.
Looking good is taken a step further with some Aztec-looking lines that shine under the right viewing angles. This design language is unique to the TUF Gaming series and lends a very different feel to the device so much so that it stands on its own next to an ROG.
The display is a 120Hz panel, incredibly useful when playing fast paced games that see a lot of movement and while I personally gravitate towards more strategic / role playing titles, having this type of panel will allow for nicer rendering overall when high density spells are being cast. I used the FFXV Benchmarker to find out what rate and setting would be best for a triple A title such as this one and it would seem that you’d get the best gameplay experience (max framerates) running the 1050 and i5 combo on the FX504 at standard quality, 720p windowed.
I had tried virtualization with the FX504 what with Ragnarok M in full swing and I was able to run up to two emulations on so-so settings. This is not due to the 1050 though but more on the lack of RAM in this particular configuration. Thankfully this December, Asus Share is in full swing and purchasing an FX504 now until the 31st would yield you with an additional 4GBs of RAM AND a 128GB SSD to complete the hybrid configuration! Purchase the FX504 from an ROG concept store and you even get to have them transfer the OS onto the solid-state drive if you wish! BTW, the RAM on the FX504 can go up to 32GBs should you want to push it.
The Asus TUF FX504 with i5-8300H, GTX1050, 1TB storage and 4GB RAM configuration retails for Php 54,995. Get it now while the promotion is active (1-31 December 2018) to upgrade the configuration for free to 128GB + 1TB and 8GB RAM. You won’t want to let the upgrade slide, trust me on this.