The Platinum Collection: ASUS

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The Micro Center Platinum Collection offers a range of hand-picked desktops and laptops with cutting-edge components, no compromise on performance, and at a great price. The Platinum Collection is a great place to start if you’re buying a new prebuilt gaming PC, workstation, homework laptop, or anything in between. Everything in it is platinum quality through and through.

That goes doubly so the Asus Platinum Collection computers.

Asus TUF Gaming A15

Gaming laptops used to be one of the most expensive ways to play your favorite games and came with mid-tier performance, lots of bulk, and poor battery life. That’s no longer the case and nowhere is that clearer than in the Asus TUF Gaming A15.

The heart of this machine is its AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, which packs eight cores with support for 16 simultaneous threads. It’s an absolute powerhouse of a modern processor and it’s great to see such a capable chip in a more modest gaming laptop. It ensures that whether you’re playing your favorite Esports games at high frame rates, or editing together clips of your best killshots, you’ll have all the power you need from the CPU.

AMD Ryzen CPUs love plenty of fast memory, which is why this Asus TUF gaming laptop comes packing 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM. Together with the 512GB of high-speed SSD storage and this laptop will boot fast, load games even quicker, and remain snappy, no matter what you’re doing.

When it comes to delivering those gaming frames, a fantastic addition is the new Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti. This is an entry-level gaming GPU (although the Ti variant is notably more capable than the non-Ti version) that isn’t available on desktops just yet, but it’s a great little mobile chip. It outperforms its predecessors in the Nvidia GTX 16-series and comes with support for some of the most exciting new gaming features in recent years.

In terms of raw performance, it’s about as capable as a mobile RTX 2060, which makes sense considering the way generational performance jumps work. What I particularly love about the RTX 3050 Ti, though, is it finally brings deep learning super sampling (DLSS) to the masses. Where before now, the RTX 2060, and in this generation, RTX 3060, were the two most accessible cards for anyone wanting to use DLSS, Nvidia never had a more budget-minded card with that feature in mind; despite the fact that lower-budget gaming stands to benefit the most from that dynamic upscaling.

With DLSS support, there are heaps of games that the RTX 3050 Ti can play at good frame rates, even when their raw rasterization performance wouldn’t be able to keep up. Throw in support for entry-level ray tracing, and it’s a great little GPU that is super affordable at a time where gaming graphics cards and laptops are much more expensive than they should be.

To take full advantage of all that lovely power in this portable gaming PC, the Asus TUF A15 comes packing a 15.6-inch 1080p screen with a high refresh rate of 144Hz. 1080P is a great resolution for an Asus gaming laptop of this size, and with support for high frame rates, it can make your games look buttery smooth. It can even give you a slight competitive advantage over your enemies by reducing input lag, too.

From the outside, the TUF A15 eschews some of the over-the-top gaming stylings you’ll see from some Republic of Gamers (ROG) laptops, or Asus’ Zephyrus range, and almost has a slight militaristic look to it. Its uniform black paint job is understated, a bit classy, and though the RGB lighting of the keyboard can give this Asus gaming laptop a little flash if you want it, the TUF A15 is designed to be a powerful workhorse of a gaming machine, not a flagship eye-catcher.

That said, if you want to give it a little more flair, Asus includes a stack of ROG-inspired stickers so you can deck out your laptop how you like once you’ve gotten it out the box.

The standard paint job backs up the slightly bulky frame of this laptop, which isn’t enormous like gaming laptops of old, but it’s not the svelte chassis you’ll see in more expensive Asus gaming laptops. That light bloat isn’t because this laptop is made of military-grade metal either, so don’t expect it to survive harsh environments or drops – but there’s enough heft there that you needn’t fear it being jostle inside a backpack or when traveling. It’s TUF, after all.

The real reason that this laptop is a bit of a chunky one, is because it needs all the space for cooling and its absolutely ridiculous battery. At 90-watt hours, this is the kind of battery you’d find in much higher-end devices and it’s starting to test the boundaries of what you’re legally allowed to fly with. It means that this laptop can last a long time when gaming, even with its relatively powerful hardware. Some tests have seen it last close to 12 hours when watching 1080p video too, so even if you’re not gaming you can get a lot of life out of this laptop.

Another benefit of a thicker frame is that there are a host of handy ports to take advantage of. Unlike some laptops out there, this Asus TUF gaming laptop enjoys three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, an HDMI out, Gigabit Ethernet connector, and a headphone jack. On the wireless front, it supports the latest generation of Wi-Fi 6 for high-speed internet and network connectivity, and Bluetooth 5.1 support makes it easier than ever to attach wireless accessories and peripherals.

The only real weakness of the A15 is that with all of its high-powered hardware, it can get a little warm, which means the fans can get a bit noisy at times. Since you’ll almost certainly be gaming in headphones, though, you’re unlikely to notice it. There might be some AAA games that you can’t play at the highest of settings, as the 3050 Ti is more modest than some new generation GPUs, but for the price, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Asus TUF Gaming A17

If you like the look of the Asus TUF Gaming A15, but just wish it was that bit bigger, then you’re in luck. The Micro Center Platinum Collection also plays host to the A17, a 17-inch version of the same laptop with everything that makes the A15 great, but with a bigger display to enjoy your games on.

You get all of the same great hardware inside, including the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H eight-core CPU, the 16GB of high-speed memory, half a terabyte of SSD storage, and the Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti graphics chip -- more than enough to deliver high frame rates in Esports and more taxing games. The display might be almost two inches bigger, but it still looks great at 1080p with decent pixel density, and it can still hit 144Hz too, so movements and in-game action retains that same silky smooth, responsive feel.

Despite the noticeably bigger display, though, the Asus TUF Gaming A17 is actually only just over an inch and a half wider and weighs just 0.7 of a pound more than the A15. Neither laptop is ultra-portable, but around that 5-6 pound mark, I wouldn’t expect anyone to have much trouble lugging them about in a backpack for a few hours if needed.

But what about price? How much does all that extra screen space cost you? Just $100. If I was the kind of gamer who liked the option of moving my gaming PC around but wanted to play in pretty static locations, I’d give a lot of thought to whether the Asus TUF Gaming A17 might be the better laptop for me.

Want more information on the Asus TUF line? Check out the Toasty Bros' review!

Want more information on the Platinum Collection? Check out our breakdown over here. And if you're looking for more fantastic computers, be sure to check out our Platinum Collection, or visit us in person for even more options!

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