Asus TUF Dash F15 FX516# - Good price, but caveats

Discussion in 'ASUS Reviews and Owners' Lounges' started by SMGJohn, May 18, 2021.

  1. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    The Laptop and pricing
    The Asus TUF Dash F15 FX516 with the RTX 3060 and snippy little i5-11300H can be had around Europe for like 950 - 1000 euros, I got mine for 950 euros with this exact setup, this is included 25% VAT, the laptop is seeing heavy discount from its usual 1250 Euro price.


    - CPU: Intel Core i5-11300H | 3.10GHz 4 cores / 8 threads (35W)
    - iGPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics UP3-GT2 | 80EU 1GB
    - dGPU: nVidia GeForce RTX 3060 | 6GB (80W boost 95W)
    - RAM: 2 x Samsung M471A1G44AB0-CWE | 8GB 3200MT/s CL20 (One soldered, one SO-DIMM slot)
    - NVMe: Samsung MZVLQ512HBLU 512GB | M.2 nVME
    - Display: Innolux N156HRA-EA1 15.6” 1080p144Hz Matte
    - PSU: ADP-200JB D | 200W 20V - 10A

    The Good, the bad, and the quirky
    Let me start off with the positive, because lets be honest if you can get this laptop below 1100 euros? Its actually a good deal considering what you get for the money but for below a thousand euros? There is nothing quite like it.

    The RTX 3060
    is just 80W with a boost of +15W, BUT its STILL faster than any of the Max-Q RTX 2070 out there and its CERTAINLY a big upgrade over the RTX 2060 considering you can barely find a machine at same price as this one with an RTX 2060 in Europe anyway.
    This brings me to another point, the performance can in fact be improved, the GPU is fairly easy to flash to a higher TDP variant, the RTX 3060 has a 130W TDP variant which would offer +25% gaming improvement on avg, this is essentially free performance, the laptop already comes with a 200W brick, but in my tests almost never exceeds 150W in use.
    The laptop also features no mux switch to my knowledge, the only way you can get full performance out of the RTX 3060 is through the HDMI port, the USB-C Thunderbolt 4 connects directly to the Intel iGPU unlike many other Asus laptops.

    Snippy CPU the Intel i5-11300H aint the biggest in the world, it aint the fastest but what it is, is its fast enough for gaming, its got superb single core score, but its pathetic in multicore getting beaten even by mid-range Ryzen 4000 series mobile chips from yesteryear.
    But its the perfect CPU for this chassis, its 10nm so its not running like a nuclear furnace either, and its got plenty of juice for RTX 3060 mobile. Would I have preferred Ryzen 5600H? Of course, but those usually come at 200 more euro in laptops.
    The 11th generation of Intel CPUs also comes with loads of AI features that are very useful if you find yourself using programs or even games that utilises these features such as Topaz Labs software suite such as Gigapixels AI or Video Enhance AI. Which means that in some professional workloads depending on what you do, the CPU is not crippling, it can certainly do Premiere Pro and Photoshop which is what primary use of this laptop is for me.

    Benchmark wise, the RTX 3060 80W & i5-11300H 35W scores following in 3DMark:
    (GTX 1070 155W and i7-3940XM 55W in brackets) RTX 2070 Max-Q 115W
    Fire Strike Score - 14 688 (12 329)
    Graphics Score - 17 599 (17 267) 18 543 | Physics Score - 12 799 (9 216) | Combined Score 7 327 (4 670)
    HWiNFO - FireStrike Benchmark RTX 3060.PNG HWiNFO - FireStrike Benchmark i5-11300H.PNG

    TimeSpy Score - 6 361 (5 159)
    Graphics Score - 6 890 (5 584) 8 065 | CPU Score 4 434 (3 696)
    HWiNFO - TimeSpy Benchmark RTX 3060.PNG HWiNFO - TimeSpy Benchmark i5-11300H.PNG

    CPU scores following in Cinebench R23
    Multi core - 5 279
    Single core - 1 382
    Cinebench R23 Score.PNG

    Build quality is fairly decent with sort of hybrid construction, plastic bottom and metal top and screen lid, it turns out to be a fairly good match. However, the lid tends to scratch very easily which is very annoying and can be very difficult to remove because of the texture applied to the lid cover.
    Other than that, the structural integrity is very strong for its thinness, the lid cover flexes moderately duo to its aluminium back.

    The I/O and features are also welcoming considering the trend of removing ports and so on, but on this Dash F15 we have a decent selection with a full sized ethernet port, 3 USB ports, full sized HDMI port (dGPU) but only one single Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port with video out (iGPU).
    To further show whats lacking, there is no SD card slot a common feature on this type of chassis which is of similar type used in previous models and the Zephyrus lineup with some slight aesthetic modifications.
    And lastly, there is no webcam, a trending omission by Asus, most likely because they want to maintain slim bezels and force you to buy their crappy Bluetooth webcams they offer.
    While a lot of people may not be using the webcam, its still strange to exclude it specially in the time we live in today.

    Thunderbolt 4 port seems to be a nice addition, the Thunderbolt 4 port offer 100W power PD charging and DisplayPort video out, but its important to note that the DisplayPort out is routed through the iGPU and if you want to use the dGPU output your only option is the HDMI port.
    Regardless the port seems to have plenty of bandwidth, working with two 4k displays through a dock in which 4 peripherals including mouse, keyboard, ethernet and so on are connected, it just works.

    Thinness and cost of cooling is a constant problem for anything this thin or even thinner and packing such powerful hardware, while previous models of this chassis have used 60W GPUs and 25W CPUs, this years 2021 model features 35W CPU and GPU that can boost up to 95W, and having a 200W power brick non the less, however under heavy use I have not noticed that either the CPU nor the GPU actually throttles, which is interesting but the CPU will run up to 90 degrees a lot when you push it.
    The GPU however? 70 to 80 degrees is as expected.
    Overall, the laptop is rather thin at least in my opinion I am more used to desktop replacements, but even then, I would not see the purpose of making it even thinner, this chassis makes absolutely no sense with high end parts when such a low level i5 and mid-range RTX 3060 already pushes its cooling to the limit.

    Mediocre keyboard as one would expect from Asus, they are not known for good keyboards and never was, but this keyboard is not TERRIBLE level, its actually better than all the Clevo keyboards which is not saying much, the keys themselves have a cheap texture which makes them easily scratch, it scratches so easily that in fact when you type, your nails will scratch the keys, does it clean away easily? Yes, its not a permanent scratch but the material use makes the keys very susceptible to permanent scratches so one must pay attention what one puts on top of those keys.
    The keyboard also features backlighting but its only one colour, Asus own turkis blue green, either you love it or hate it there just no way about it, a shame that there is no RGB considering cheaper laptops have them.

    The display is very nice for its price, its not the most colour accurate display out there, but its not terrible either, its VERY responsive, 144Hz and acceptable viewing angles, nothing to write home about, but its very usable for gaming which is what the machine is in fact intended for.
    When I colour corrected the display using DisplayCAL and Spyder5, I noticed the display had a very suspect green bias but otherwise was very accurate with blue and red, surprising decent results.
    With the greens calibrated, the display actually looks good.

    UEFI updates that Asus PUSHES on you no matter what, actually seems to be removing features, the laptop came with UEFI version 309 and Asus forced the 314 through Windows updates on me, what I noticed is that under video settings in 309 you could choose which GPU outputs to the Thunderbolt 4 port, very useful in fact but with 313 or 314 this feature was removed completely, I assume to make it automated.
    But why remove this feature? It makes no sense to me, the UEFI is already very limited in general as is trendy with Asus, the laptop also comes with no form of XMP customisation either.

    2021.05.20 - Changed formatting, reworded a few things
    2021.05.21 - Updated solution for the Thunderbolt 4 external display on and off issue.
    2021.06.06 - Added necessary benchmarks and changed a few more information bits reflecting long term use.
    2021.07.26 - Removed inaccurate information, updated more in terms of long term use.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2021
    IKAS V likes this.

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