|Model Names||Asus FX502VM / ASUS GL502VML
|Price||Basic version: $900-1100 (I5-6300HQ, 1TB 7200RPM HDD, 16GB DDR4 2133MHZ RAM, GTX 1060 3GB)|
|CPU||I5-6300HQ, 2.3-3.2GHZ, 45W Max TDP (locked)|
|Motherboard||ASUS GL502VML / Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
2xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x16
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB (GP106M/N17P-G1) GDDR5, 1280 shadars core@1405-1671MHZ, GDDR5@2GHZ, 192-bit bus|
|RAM||Basic version: 2 x 8GB 2133MHZ DDR4
2 slots total
|Storage||HDD : HGST HTS721010A9E630 7200RPM 1TB HDD
SSD: free slot
2.5" SATA bays: 1x7mm 2.5" bay + 1x9mm 2.5" bay. one upon the other.
M.2: 2xM.2 SATA
|LCD Panel||In review: 1080p 15.6", AUO B156HTN03.8, TN, 30-pin eDP|
|Weight / Dimensions||~2.2kg / 4.85 lbs, PSU 0.6-0.7kg
390 x 266 x 23.5 mm
15.35" x 10.47" x 0.93"
(w x d x h)
|Keyboard||orange backlit, 4 levels including off|
|Connection Ports||right side: Kensington lock, card reader, 2xUSB 3.0, audio in/out
Left: Power in, RJ-45, mDP v1.2, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0
|WiFi / Ethernet||WiFi: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 AC 2x2 HMC WiFi Adapter
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
|Speakers||2x2W speakers, located at the bottom of the keyboard surface, on both sides|
|Battery||8 cell, 63Wh|
|Bios / EC version (test unit)||E16L1IE9.10F / 16L1ED61.107|
|Extra features||Embedded TPM 2.0|
The Asus FX502VM is Asus’s lowest high-end gaming machine from the latest series. It is based on the same Asus GL502VM chassis/body, but with a little different specs. My specific (US) version comes with an I5-6300HQ (which is much cooler than an I7), GTX 1060 3GB, 2x8GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB 7200RPM HDD and an 1080p TN panel. The GTX 1060 3GB is the same as the GTX 1060, only with less VRAM – this is unlike the desktop parts in which the GTX 1060 3GB version actually have less core count.
Note that although the FX502VM is not marketed as having GSync support, it doesn’t use Optimus and I think that replacing the display to a GSync supported panel would allow GSync activation.
I got this one for $900 in one of the relatively frequent sales on Amazon or Newegg and I review it as such. I think $900-$950 should be the target price point for this machine from the customer stand point. Don’t get it for $1200-$1300. For $900, the I5-6300HQ + GTX 1060 3GB combination has an excellent performance/price ratio – much better than the GTX 1060 6GB + I7-6700HQ for $1200+.
However, the FX502VM feature-set is dull. It has no NVMe M.2 port, no USB Type-C at all and a TN panel. The first two are not critical for almost all people and the TN panel can be replaced, so that’s not that bad, but it does hurt the FX502VM value relatively to other machines. A direct competitor is the MSI GP62MVR which comes with an I7-6700HQ, GTX 1060 3GB, probably an IPS display (in the common US version), NVMe M.2 support and USB type-C port. As I write these lines, it is selling for $1050.
So, the FX502VM is a basic gaming laptop
Since the FX502VM has the same chassis as the GL502VM, I’ll refer to the GL502VM build quality section.
Simple looks. No “ROG” logo on the laptop whatsoever. Don’t be afraid, it’s just marketing.
Maintenance and inner parts
Maintenance is rather easy. The backplate is easily removed by removing ~12 screws. You’ll find one M.2 slot and 2.5″ SATA bay.
CPU and GPU are soldered in this machine. They share two wide heatpipes, which are connected to both fans. The fans’ fins are also connected by another narrower heatpipe.
Since the FX502VM has the same chassis as the GL502VM, I’ll refer to the GL502VM keyboard section.
Since the FX502VM has the same chassis as the GL502VM, I’ll refer to the GL502VM speakers section.
Actually, it was pretty fast even though it came only with a 7200RPM HDD. It is important to say that I reinstalled Windows 10 from scratch, because the included installation wouldn’t go beyond the “wait just a minute” screen, no matter what I did.
1920x1080, DirectX 11
Ashes Of Singularity
DirectX 12, AVG
Total War : Warhammer
DirectX 11, AVG
Total War : Warhammer
DirectX 12, AVG
The Talos Principle
1920x1080, Vulkan vs DirectX 11
DirectX 11, AVG
DirectX 11, AVG
Stress tests and throttling behavior
As described before, the GPU and CPU share three heatpipes and two fans, the two fans plate are also connected by another smaller heatpipe. Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown from the rear.
1. Idle, power saver mode
2. Gaming : Ashes Of Singularity benchmark. “Crazy” settings, “High performance” power mode.
3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.
4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1080p test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.
|CPU: stable temps [C]||CPU: max temps [C]||CPU: stable clocks||CPU: average utilization||CPU: max utilization||GPU : stable core temps [C]||GPU: utilization|
|Prime95 + Furmark||80||82||80|
|Ashes Of Singularity||69||70||73|
Well, the FX502VM does very well in terms of temperature. The I5-6300HQ CPU is a great help here. I hope to see the next generation Kaby Lake successor of the I5-HQ – it should be more power efficient and faster.
The FX502VM with its I5-6300HQ doesn’t get that hot at all, even under highest load of Prime95 + Furmark. That’s an advantage over many other gaming laptops. The I5-6300HQ doesn’t throttle at all. The GPU also doesn’t throttled, at least not due to temperatures.
The Asus FX502VM chassis does a get a little hot in some points, especially where the cooling pipes are and the center of the keyboard, a bit. It wasn’t annoying as the hottest parts are not really in use.
The FX502VM is quite quiet. Under light load, the most noteable noise from the laptop was the HDD. Removing it or replacing it with a 5400RPM (or an SSD) will result in much lower noise. However, it was quite low as it is.
Under high load, the fans will spin, but it seems that their speed is limited and the noise was relatively low for such a high load.
The basic FX502VM 1080p panel model is currently AUO B156HTN3.8 – a close relative of the B156HTN3.6 in the first Lenovo Y50 iteration. You can read about it here and I won’t add measurement beyond that, except that I couldn’t detect PWM, or that the PWM frequency is very high, meaning less to no eye aches as a result of screen flickering (and indeed, I didn’t feel anything too bad, although the screen is bad).
Generally speaking, this is a very basic TN display, with bad viewing angles (high color and light distortion), bad colors and very bad contrast (you won’t see “black” probably). I would replace it right away with an LG LP156WF6-SPB1/6 (for GSync support) or some cheap and good Samsung model.
I would advise not to use this screen really. It’s ok for gaming on some level, but using it for real reading/writing could result in high eyes strain.
Well, this review is being finished while the next generation laptops are already out, with the new 7th gen. Intel CPUs. However, since the gaming performance in this case is roughly the same, it could still be useful for some.
The basic FX502VM is a nice machine for gaming for the price of $900-$950 (with discounts) in terms of performance/price ratio and in terms of thermal performance. The I5-6300HQ CPU is pretty good choice to go along with such a GPU for gaming. If you are after some heavy rendering, an I7 will probably be faster, but for gamers it’s not that important, plus it is considerably less hot. However it lacks some key features that might be important for some people. No Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1gen2, USB Type-C ports and also, only 1xM.2 SATA connection for M.2 storage (along 2.5″ bay). If these are dealbreakers for you. don’t get it. Secondly, the basic display is really rubbish – it might hurt your eyes if you’ll use it for too long too much. However, it is replaceable.
For only a little more, the MSI GP62MVR has some more connection ports and an I7 + probably a better display (could be an IPS, depends on the version), so you might want to look at this direction.
Otherwise, the FX502VM is average – speakers, keyboard, build quality are ok, nothing to be excited about for good or worse.
So, bottom line, if you can catch the FX502VM for a very low price (like $850-$900 or less), then it might be a good decision, just make sure you are aware of its limitations, especially the screen and connection ports. Probably it would be better to spend a little more to get a more complete package.
Relatively very good performance/price for under $900-$950. Also, relatively low weight and small frame.
Low display quality, bad connection ports selection and for those who care – an I5 instead of I7 in this version (not really important for gaming currently)