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ASUS TUF is pretty good

If you're using a Windows notebook that is several years old, e.g. eight years old, you can underestimate how much progress has occurred when it comes to performance. Yes, Moore's law almost stopped if you just look at the numbers. Chipmakers are approaching the 5 nm technology which could really be the last one as we're getting close to the atomic scale and the unavoidable quantum tunneling kicks in there.

Eight years ago, we were mostly buying laptops with 4 GB and now you really need 8 GB. The frequencies of microprocessors look almost the same and so do the display resolutions – I updated from 1600 x 900 to 1920 x 1080 and it's probably the most common update.

But the underlying architecture has brought some hidden improvements. Your old PC with 4 GB is almost certainly running out of memory most of the time – swapping involving the hard disk is what dominates the slowdown. You really need 8 GB with Microsoft these days.

On top of that, the epoch of classical hard disks – which combine classical magnetism with classical mechanics – is ending. Notebook models with classical hard disks only are being increasingly sent to a fire sale.

OK, being too exposed to Chinese comrades (through a Xiaomi phone and Huawei tablet), I decided that a Lenovo notebook (and such engines looked very tempting) would already exhibit too much of socialist conscious from me. So I switched to ASUS again – which is also from the Republic of China but the real one, you know, the friendly capitalist Taiwan. ;-)

Having a gaming notebook doesn't mean that you're obliged to play games, just to avoid misconceptions. The notebook can do everything. TUF probably means that it's tough – mechanically resilient, tested by soldiers during warfare or something that is close to it.

While some notebooks come with a combination of an SSD and a HDD, it seems a good idea to abandon the old-fashioned HDD altogether. The SSD – solid state drive, basically the same as the Flash memory sticks or SD cards if you haven't updated any computers for years – has become normal. It's still more expensive and 128 GB and 256 GB are rather normal hard drives.

I do think that for serious work without anxiety for a few years, you do need a 512 GB SSD disk. The particular model I linked to (see the image at the top) is closest to my "ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DY-AZ024T Red Matter" – but this red matter is only sold in Czechoslovakia. They have 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, AMD Ryzen 5 3550H microprocessors, AMD Radeon 560X (OK, I have "RX" not "X") etc. but the laptop has a 17.3 inch screen instead of my 15.6 inch model. There are other models at with 15.6 inch or smaller SSDs.

Power cord, ethernet, HDMI, 2 slower USB ports, 1 fast USB port (no USB-C), and audio jack are all on the left. There is nothing on the right side, except for some USB-C-like connector for some security something. There is no CD-DVD drive here.

I've installed a huge number of things (including the software from the years around 2000 LOL – some of it added some system-harming Trojan stuff so I used the very speedy System Restore) and have already had 3 blue screens. This made me nervous. By running the event viewer, I became 99.9% certain that all these three BSODs were due to my Czech American Lumo Keyboard – the DLL was compiled on an older computer with Windows 7 (a complaint about the DLL appears in the Event Viewer during the same second as the Minidump timestamps of the 3 BSODs – in all three cases, quite a smoking gun). I was the culprit – despite suspicion, drivers for the RGB LED lights around the keyboard etc. were innocent.

I find this keyboard layout of mine really useful, even while writing in English (how would I write Luboš and € and °C and medium–hyphen and long—hyphen and Greek letters αβγδεζη... without my "Czech" keyboard LOL?) so I recompiled it (from the KLC file, using the latest MSKLC) and I sincerely hope that the blue screens won't reappear.

The speed is really amazing for those of you who have an older computer. Just booting from scratch: a fresh old computer did it in some 2 minutes – but (assuming that you were filling the hard disk with as much software as I did) lately it was some 5 minutes before you could work on the desktop, right? Things are getting slower. Well, those 5 minutes got reduced to less than 20 seconds. It's due to a combination of the faster processor and – especially – the SSD.

The brightness of the IPS display was disappointingly low for days – even and especially relatively to the 8-year-old PackardBell laptop. I made the color a bit more red (well, less green and less blue) because the red sub-pixels are particularly dim but almost 2 weeks later, I must have gotten used to it and the display looks rather brilliant, too. The audio still looks less impressive than the Huawei tablet (!) and the external speakers really bring it to a new level.

The fans are the only mechanical thing inside the notebook. They may be totally stopped when you do almost nothing but otherwise, they like to (easily) cool the chips below 40 °C. The keyboard is illuminated by red LEDs – some TUF models allow many colors, others only allow the red LEDs.

My model was discounted from CZK 19k to CZK 16k (from $829 to $697). Some cheaper versions of the ASUS TUF notebooks start at $648.99 (well, the 17.3 inch laptop that is otherwise closest to mine) but I think you should have at least 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB in the SSD. The Ryzen microprocessors are generally faster than everything – and Ryzen 3,5,7 have increasing power, too. Intel i3 is the slowest among the normally sold microprocessors now – Intel i5 is probably getting comparable to Ryzen 3 but Ryzen 5 is another level. Intel i3,i5,i7,i9 have the increasing speed, too.

A video review of a similar ASUS TUF laptop...

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