In 2021 ASUS decides that it needs to reintroduce the laptop, which arguably changed the budget gaming market – the TUF A17 (FA706). Instead of making any significant visual changes, and rebrand it, they just slapped 2021 at the name and called it a day.

However, this is only a part of the story. Building on the Ryzen 4000H success, they now employ the latest and greatest from both AMD and NVIDIA (weird, right), with the Ryzen 5000H processors, based on the Zen 3 architecture, and the new RTX 3000 graphics cards.

Well, there is a lot to be talked about but, we have to praise them for being one of the first out there. Will this hasty approach deliver quirky results. Or they had more time? Regardless of the answers to those two questions, we really hope that the TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 delivers because the only winner will be you – the consumer.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-tuf-gaming-a17-fa706-rtx-30/

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Contents


Specs Sheet

ASUS TUF Gaming A17 (FA706, RTX 30) – Specs


Dimensions


399 x 268 x 22.1 ~ 24.8 mm (15.71″ x 10.55″ x 0.87″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 3x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • HDMI 2.0b
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Speakers 2x 2W, DTS: X Ultra
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slotKensington Lock Slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found some paper manuals, a 200W power brick, and a set of TUF-branded stickers.

Design and construction

As we mentioned, the TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 is largely unchanged from its 2020 predecessor. Once again, the entire body is made out of plastic, with the only difference being the lid, which now employs a more robotic sticker, compared to the chivalric TUF logo. In terms of measurements, we are talking about 23.3-24.8mm thickness, and a weight of 2.60 kg. Pretty good size for a 17-inch laptop.

Although the chassis is plastic, we feel that it still has pretty strong support, with very little flex being observed both from the base and the lid. Speaking of which, the lid refuses to open with a single hand. Thankfully, though, once you get it open, you will see a Webcam placed above the display. The screen, itself, features an anti-reflective finish, while the bezels to the sides and the top are rather thin. Unfortunately, when you twist the lid, you will notice some color shifting on the display… so it is better not to twist it.

Next, let’s take a look at the keyboard deck, which is completely unchanged from last year. We see an RGB backlit board, with transparent WASD keys. The key travel is good, and the feedback is rather clicky, making for a good gaming and typing experience. Also, the notebook features a NumberPad section. However, once again, we see one of the smallest Arrow keys on the planet, hardly usable for anyone with a normal finger layout.

It’s worth mentioning that when you combine the “F5” key with the function button, you can switch between the Armoury Crate performance presets. It is a bit less intuitive than the dedicated button we had on the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516), but it’s still good to have the option, nonetheless.

In terms of the touchpad, we see a quick and accurate unit with a couple of dedicated buttons below it.

So, if we turn the laptop upside down, we can see that the bottom panel looks a bit… closed, to say the least. However, the amount of ventilation grills and their location channels the air to specific locations before it reaches the fans, which makes the bottom plate a bit cooler, and in theory – should supply enough air for the fans. Other than that, we get the speaker cutouts, and three exhaust vents – two on the back, and one on the right side.

Ports

On the left side, there is the charging brick, an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI 2.0b connector, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an audio jack. And on the right, there is only one USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

This device’s bottom panel is secured by 11 Phillips-head screws. Once again, the bottom left one is captive, and lifts the edge slightly after being undone. This is exactly where you want to start the prying process.

Here, we see a cooling solution, consisting of four heat pipes. Three of them are cooling both the CPU and the GPU, and end up in three heat spreaders, while the fourth one cools down the graphics memory and the VRMs.

Upgradability-wise, we see two RAM SODIMM slots, that support up to 32GB of RAM in dual-channel, according to ASUS. Additionally, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage, one of which is placed in a rather awkward position.

Interestingly, when it comes to the battery, we see a very big unit. The device is supplied with a 90Wh package.

Display quality

Coming soon!

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.asus.com/Laptops/For-Gaming/TUF-Gaming/2021-ASUS-TUF-Gaming-A17/HelpDesk_Download/

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This notebook’s 90Wh battery pack lasted for 10 hours and 41 minutes of Web browsing, and 10 hours and 11 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This notebook can be purchased with the Ryzen 5 4600H, and the Ryzen 7 4800H, as well as the Ryzen 5 5600H, and Ryzen 7 5800H.


GPU options

As for the graphics, the unit comes with the GTX 1650, RTX 3060 (6GB GDDR6), and RTX 3070 (95W, 8GB GDDR6). There are also two unannounced models, that pack 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM.


Gaming tests

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Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 3.42 GHz (B+7%) @ 74°C 3.34 GHz (B+4%) @ 78°C 3.35 GHz (B+5%) @ 84°C

This is the first laptop we’ve tested with this CPU, so we don’t have a baseline. On the other side, it is good that it manages to keep the clock speeds above the base one. Especially in contained, extreme workload.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
ASUS TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 1440 MHz @ 74°C @ 95W 1465 MHz @ 77°C @ 95W
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) 1389 MHz @ 69°C @ 84W 1377 MHz @ 74°C @ 84W

In gaming, we see that the TUF A17 (FA706), packs a slightly more powerful RTX 3070 iteration, compared to that of the TUF Dash F15 (FX516). And this is one of the reasons why the temperatures were a bit higher.

Comfort during full load

Interestingly, even in Turbo mode, the laptop wasn’t too loud. Neither its keyboard is too warm, as we measured a temperature below 50°C, which is something relatively acceptable.

Verdict

So, despite the lack of obvious changes, the TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 is a considerably better device than its predecessor. Some would say that it is a more finished product now. Its body is a tad slimmer, its hardware is exceptional. Not only does the performance of the Ryzen 7 5800H put to shame everything Intel has to offer, but the RTX 3070 we got here was very respectable.

Although the version we got has a 95W TGP, it still happens to beat even the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q. And in comparison to the 85W iteration, found in the TUF Dash F15 (FX516), we see an uplift in performance of about 5-12%, which is not bad either.

Other than that, we see a good I/O. Although it lacks an SD card reader and Thunderbolt capabilities (because of the AMD processor inside), we find it good enough for the average gamer. Also, the upgradability is on point with two RAM SODIMM slots, and two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for storage.

Additionally, this unit comes with a beefy 90Wh battery pack, which lasts for 10 hours and 41 minutes of Web browsing, and a bit more than 10 hours of video playback. This is very welcoming for a gaming machine, as the last time we saw such numbers was back in October when we reviewed the Dell G7 7700.

Interestingly, considering its price tag, the TUF A17 (FA706) 2021 is one of the best gaming options on the market. Yes, there are a couple of things we would have loved to see – like something other than plastic for the build, and probably a cooling that performs a little bit better in gaming, but we are generally happy with the entire device.

Once again, if the price is your main concern, chances are low that you can get something better for less money. However, let’s not forget that this is just the beginning, and a lot of RTX 3000 laptops are going to hit the market in the following weeks and months. Also, some people say that Intel is preparing something interesting around the corner. Nevertheless, we don’t know how big that corner is, so for now Ryzen 5000H is the better option.

Pros

  • Great price/performance ratio
  • Good keyboard with decent travel, clicky feedback, and an RGB backlight
  • Ryzen 5000H CPU + RTX 3000 combo
  • There are two M.2 PCIe slots, and two RAM SODIMM slots in dual channel
  • Great battery life for a gaming laptop
  • Can be purchased with a 144Hz screen

Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader and Thunderbolt support
  • Warms up pretty quickly during gaming
  • All-plastic design

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-tuf-gaming-a17-fa706-rtx-30/

#CommissionsEarned





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