I wanted to see how the AMD APU user’s doing side on the mobile side of things. I went out and bought this laptop from ASUS. This is their ASUS X555DA, and it’s powered by an AMD A10 8700p APU processor. We’re going to put it through its paces and see how well it performs.
The ASUS X555DA Review
Let’s get into the hardware and we’ll see how well it performs. So we’ve got a 15.6-inch display on this one. 1366 x 768. Does not look all that great because you are essentially looking at a 720p display at 15.6 inches and not the most attractive looking display.
It is a TN display not an IPS display so the viewing angles will drop off quite a bit as you move off to the side of the screen. It actually looks better in-camera than it does in person.
It’s kinda funny but see that’s a passable display for what you would typically pay. This computer is $299 as you see it. But because it’s so big and it has that 15-inch form factor, you do have a pretty decent size keyboard here with a number pad as well.
The keys here for the letters are bigger than the number pad keys but it’s typable. Not great, but not bad either. I did notice that the casing flexes quite a bit when you’re typing on it.
You’ll definitely feel like you’re using a cheaper couple more of a commoditized PC here. Trackpad is actually pretty nice, it’s not that spongy, very responsive, it really feels pretty decent.
ASUS has been doing some nice stuff with their trackpads, and they put a nice one on this usable one. Because we have a big computer, we have a lot of ports.
Your power adapter, you got your Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, 2 USB 3.0 ports. You’ve got a Kensington look on this side over.
On the other side, we have an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 slot headset/microphone adapter, and an optical drive.
We don’t see this on too many low-end PCs these days so this is not only an optical drive but it’s also a DVD burner too so you can burn your own DVDs if you’re still into that and get by pretty nicely with your media.
- Sleek design
- Terrific 27-Inch Touch Display
- Bright touch display
- Nice webcam
- A bit heavy
- Somewhat whirring cooling fan
The ASUS X555DA: General Overview
Now, tthe ASUS X555DA is powered again by that AMD A10 APU.
We’ve got 4 GB of RAM that comes natively with it but what I did was I upgraded it to 8GB because I was curious to see if that might make a performance difference.
I’ll talk about that in a minute. So there is a way to get at the RAM here in this little slot there. I did try taking it apart but usually, they resell these laptops (since I intend sending it back) and I didn’t want to risk damaging the case.
It didn’t come off very easily when I unscrewed everything. So I think there might be more screws under these rubber feet I didn’t want to damage anything but I would imagine the hard drive is probably upgradable because this has a 500 GB spinning hard drive.
Those are usually very replaceable so if you want to get an SSD in there, you could probably crack open the case risking damaging it perhaps to get that hard drive upgraded also but it is a lot easier to get at the RAM just by popping off that cover there which is what I did so this one is now running with 8 GB of RAM.
The weight on the ASUS X555DA is 4.65 pounds or 2.1 kg, so on the heavier side of things, but it’s actually lighter compared to their other 15-inch laptops I’ve looked at. So not bad at all.
Battery life isn’t so great on the ASUS X555DA, you only get 5 and a half/6 hours of normal usage out of it. So enough to get through maybe half a workday or so but not enough really to go on the road with it, without a lot of power available to you.
Let’s start with some web browsing, we’re gonna take a look at a 1080p 60 frames per second video, and this is always a good way to see how well a low-end PC will do with some of the real world things you might encounter while you’re browsing the web.
I skipped ahead to a faster motion scene of this video and so far I haven’t seen any drop frames playing back at 60 frames per second content on YouTube and other platforms so I think you’re going to have a very good online video experience with this device.
On the octane benchmark test which measures how well it does on the web running in Google Chrome, we get a score of 13,153 for the ASUS X555DA.
So it does put it below what you might see with an Intel i3 based machine but it is very competitive against other $200 and $ 250 PCs you might encounter, so for a little more money, you get a lot more performance, especially when you’re browsing the web.
Word and other Microsoft apps
I also found it does very well when you’re working on documents- we’ve got Microsoft Word here running with our favorite newsletter template that really taxes the system a little bit and as you can see I can move graphical items around here, resize them and it seems to be keeping up pretty well with all of that.
So I think you won’t have any issue doing Word, Excel, and other Microsoft Office documents on it.
Let’s take a look at some gaming now. I was hoping that the ASUS X555DA here would surprise me like it did on the Desktop computer and it gave us a really good gaming performance for a little price. Unfortunately, that’s not gonna be the case with this particular laptop.
I am playing Minecraft right now, we are getting a really good frame rate here. About 50 to 7o frame rates per second depending on what’s going on. Usually, it’s hovering in the 60s as you can see on the screen, so it actually does very well with this game but it’s not as great as it could be for a couple of reasons.
Now the first thing I did with this computer was put in an extra four GB of RAM to bring it to 8 because my experience with other machines has been that when you add a second RAM chip, you get a second channel of RAM to feed data to the graphic side of this chip faster.
Unfortunately, both the internal RAM and the chip I added are running as a single channel, so we’re not getting the best possible performance we can get out of the APU in this machine.
Still, it’s going to do for Minecraft. I think a lot better than perhaps another $300 PC running with an Intel chip might. So we see some decent performance here, but you’re not going to see that on some other games.
Counter Strike Go
Let’s take a look at CS GO. My settings are pretty much all turned down, pretty low on here, and I’m not getting the best frame rate as a result, even after dropping the settings down to that level.
So we’re looking at maybe 16 to 20 frames per second, give or take, depending on what’s going on on screens. This is not going to be a good Counter-Strike experience.
So this is probably not the Holy Grail of the $300 gaming laptop we were hoping to find.
3D Mark Cloud Gate Test
We’ll keep looking, and on the 3D mark cloud gate test, we got a score of 3171, which isn’t bad for a $300 PC but not good enough to run triple-a titles or CS Go many of the other games that people would like to play.
So you can compare that to an i3 based Lenovo Thinkpad 13, which does cost a little bit more but gives you an idea of what Native Intel Graphics will do on an i3 vs. what you get on this one, so it’ll be better than a lot of other cheaper PCs but again not good enough to run some of the big stuff.
For many of the indie games on Steam, a lot of the 2D games should run pretty nicely, and Minecraft does surprisingly well.
But it does do very well with multi-medium. You’ve got Kody running here, and I’ve got an H 265 HEBC file to playback, and this is a 4K file that it’s down-converting to 720p, so we’re throwing the book at this thing.
As you can see here, it’s decoding quite well, no drop frames, it’s playing back smoothly despite all of the challenges that that file puts on the processor to decode.
That works out pretty well.
I also found Blu-Ray MKV playback ok although sometimes they get a little glitchy when they startup.
It’s looking ok now, but sometimes if I jump to different parts of the movie, it takes a second for it to get everything back in line here.
So you can see we’re getting some glitchiness, and this will fix itself in a minute or two, once the codec catches up, so I don’t know if there’s something wrong with the coder.
This glitchiness goes away again. After it’s been playing for a few seconds it catches up and does better.
But there was one area that I noticed was a little out of whack on Kodi.
It could just be some software issues related to the APU, but it plays back just fine once the movie gets going.
So for a $300 computer, the ASUS X555DA performs pretty well, but it doesn’t perform as well as possible.
I’ve been very curious to hear from you if there are other AMD based laptops I should be taking a look at around this price point that maybe have that dual-channel RAM implemented, that should give us much better performance than what we’re seeing here at the moment.
I think this chip in here can perform better, but the way they configured the computer probably for cost reasons is not taking full advantage of it, especially when it comes down to graphics, but it isn’t a bad laptop for the price. I think it could do better.