Asus FX502VM Review (I5-6300HQ, GTX 1060 3GB)

Very basic, but a good option if you can get it discounted

Relatively very good performance/price for under $900-$950. Also, relatively low weight and small frame.

Relatively cheap gaming laptop
Relatively good performance/price ratio
Relatively low weight
Temperatures under gaming load and even highest load are good
Global warranty

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)

Low quality display, don't use it (replace or use external display)
Connection selection is bad - no USB Type-C, TB3, USB 3.1gen2 and only M.2 SATA
Only two RAM slots
No GSync support, at least with default screen
Keyboard is ok at best.
24GB RAM limitation
Soldered CPU & GPU (as in many other laptops of this kind and price range)
Availability
  1. Amazon, Newegg
  2. MSI GP62MVR (good alternative)
More Reviews :

Introduction

Asus FX502VM

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

ComponentDescription
Model NamesAsus FX502VM / ASUS GL502VML
PriceBasic version: $900-1100 (I5-6300HQ, 1TB 7200RPM HDD, 16GB DDR4 2133MHZ RAM, GTX 1060 3GB)
CPUI5-6300HQ, 2.3-3.2GHZ, 45W Max TDP (locked)
MotherboardASUS GL502VML / Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
2xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x16
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB (GP106M/N17P-G1) GDDR5, 1280 shadars core@1405-1671MHZ, GDDR5@2GHZ, 192-bit bus
RAMBasic version: 2 x 8GB 2133MHZ DDR4
2 slots total
StorageHDD : 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 PanelIn 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)
Keyboardorange backlit, 4 levels including off
Connection Portsright 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
Rear: none
Camera1080p@30FPS camera
WiFi / EthernetWiFi: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 AC 2x2 HMC WiFi Adapter
Ethernet: RealTek Semiconductor RTL8168/8111 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Speakers2x2W speakers, located at the bottom of the keyboard surface, on both sides
Battery8 cell, 63Wh
Bios / EC version (test unit)E16L1IE9.10F / 16L1ED61.107
Extra featuresEmbedded TPM 2.0
more details

Build quality, Case, design and looks

Since the FX502VM has the same chassis as the GL502VM, I’ll refer to the GL502VM build quality section.

Looks

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.

Asus FX502VM Review motherboard

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.

Keyboard and touchpad

Since the FX502VM has the same chassis as the GL502VM, I’ll refer to the GL502VM keyboard section.

Sound & Speakers

Since the FX502VM has the same chassis as the GL502VM, I’ll refer to the GL502VM speakers section.

General subjective performance experience

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.

Gaming Performance

Test Methods & Drivers

Synthetic 3D benchmarks

Games performance

Crysis 3

1920x1080, DirectX 11

Metro : Last Light

1920x1080, DirectX 11

Metro : Last Light

2560x1440, DirectX 11

Ashes Of Singularity

DirectX 12, AVG

Shadow Of Mordor

DirectX 11, AVG

Bioshock Infinite

1920x1080

Thief

1920x1080

Thief

2560x1440

Total War : Warhammer

DirectX 11, AVG

Total War : Warhammer

DirectX 12, AVG

Rise Of The Tomb Raider

2560x1440, DirectX 11

Rise Of The Tomb Raider

1920x1080, DirectX 11

The Talos Principle

1920x1080, Vulkan 1.0 vs DirectX 11

Doom (2016)

1920x1080

World Of Tanks

AVG

Battlefield 4

DirectX 11, AVG

Battlefield 1

DirectX 11, AVG

Alien : Isolation

AVG

Titanfall 2

DirectX 11, AVG

The Division

DirectX 11, AVG

Gears Of War 4

DirectX 12, AVG

The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim Special Edition

1920x1080
122

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

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.

Four tests:

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.

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.

 

 

Heat

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.

46 52 38
25 40 27
22 22 27

Throttling

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.

Noise

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.

Screen & Screen quality

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.

Battery Performance

Issues

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

Conclusion

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.

  • Richard Soriano
  • Richard Soriano
    • I think it’s ok, but nothing too special. Price is relatively good, yes. If you want it, then it’s probably a good choice. I think it doesn’t have Thunderbolt 3 and some other stuff maybe.
      Just don’t treat it as some huge deal

  • Albert

    If you read the complaints behind the low user rating in Newegg on the MSI model compared to, you’ll notice they are all about the very poor display, many doubting it is an IPS. Reading the MSI marketing blurb, it seems clear it is not an IPS as it is described as “IPS-like”.

    • Thanks for the info!
      The TomsHardware overview said it is an IPS, but I guess that at least in that case, it’s not

  • morg77

    You forgot to mention that while the FX502VM can have up to 24gb, 8gb is on-board so there is only 1 RAM slot that can have up to a 16gb module in it.

    Also, could you please provide a link to the gsync panel you mention? I have been looking around and the places I find it either have shady incomplete specs or just don’t mention gsync at all.

    I bought one of these from Amazon on Black Friday for $899 and added a Samsung 850 EVO m.2 SATAIII SSD and it is noticeably faster than with the 7200rpm drive. It is nice to know that the GPU is not the gimped core from the desktop part(hadn’t looked at it before, just assumed it was), just less VRAM, this was something that really annoyed my about the desktop parts and the naming scheme.

    • 1. You’re right, I’ll add it. I think I missed some other things. I do think, however, that the biggest problems are mentioned
      2. I must say, I’m not sure it will work, it just sounds reasonable. A model like the LG LP156WF6-SPB1 should work, as it is used in other laptops
      3. Use HWInfo for more detailed information!
      4. Actually, depending on the games and graphics settings you are using, more VRAM is sometimes preferable. Anyway, though I didn’t mentioned it in the review, I saw no real advantages for the I7+GTX 1060 6GB models over this one, for very high graphics settings. For medium GS you could see some advantage for laptops with an I7, just because some games can squeeze a little more for the cores.
      5. You can get some $5 enclosure and convert your HDD into an external storage

      • morg77

        1. Not really a problem, but thought it would be worth mentioning. The CPU is soldered in as well, so no upgrade path there.
        2. There is so little info out there right now I think I’ll hold off. I just saw a post on another site where the poster mentioned that there is no actual gsync module on the GL502VM panel(makes sense as it’s so thin), so it makes me wonder if gsync has to be enabled in the GPU BIOS and/or maybe the gsync module is on-board. Again, no real information on these out there yet, reviews, but no teardown/technical/mod info.
        3. Planning to, everything so far on the machine has been coming up as a GL502VML, even the BIOS.
        4. I know at some point the 3gb will become an issue, but I’m not overly worried about it. I don’t see the i5 as a big compromise as most games only use 4 cores and this thing is pretty fast as-is.
        5. I’m running both in there, with the SSD as the boot and program drive. I redirected my user folders to the HDD so not to pack up the SSD and considering the types of files in there, SSD vs HDD wont make a difference.

        • 1. Indeed! Thanks again!
          2. The GL502VM does have GSync. I’m not sure what is the mechanism and what is required. I do know that many many laptops have the same exact display series for this reason, including $1800 laptops (like the Eurocom Tornado F5, MSI GT62VR)
          True, not enough info out there
          3. Yes, here too

          Great! Sorry I can’t be more of a help

  • Richard Soriano

    this is on bestbuy

  • Richard Soriano

    what about the omen 17 currently selling for $1,100 with i7 , gtx 1060 6gb and 128 gb ssd? sounds a good deal?