Guide: ASUS TUF 17″ Laptop (FX706HEB) Memory and SSD Upgrade Tips

Important: I am not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, brands, services, or websites listed on this page and this is my personal experience.  If you find this helpful and want to say thanks, please buy me a coffee or take a look at my book on Amazon. It keeps this page ad-free. Thank you!

The ASUS TUF Gaming 17.3″ laptop (Model FX706HEB) is a good entry-to-mid-level gaming laptop. If you’re looking to buy an ASUS TUF laptop, I got mine from Best Buy. The 2022 ASUS TUF comes with an 11th Generation i5 processor and a 3050TI video card that retails for under US$1000 (plus tax). The specs on the ASUS TUF are good enough for most recent games, but what makes the ASUS TUF great is that you can upgrade the memory and SSD/NVMe drive yourself, there’s even a slot for a second SSD/NVMe drive. I’m sharing my upgrades tips from my ASUS TUF 17″ including performance benchmarks each step of the way.

Official ASUS TUF FX706HEB Laptop Drivers

Before I begin, As a reminder, always ensure you’re using the latest official ASUS TUF FX706HEB drivers, you can find them here on the ASUS Support website. If you have the MyASUS app installed on your laptop, the latest drivers should install automatically. Make sure you have installed all of the various Windows Updates before embarking on this journey.

ASUS TUF BIOS Settings

Not that you need to do it for any part of this process, but as you power on, during the “ASUS” screen, hit F2 multiple times to launch the system BIOS. I have not found any settings in the BIOS that are worth tweaking or you can optimize.

ASUS TUF Initial Benchmark – Factory Defaults

Out of the box, the ASUS TUF comes with an intel i5, 8GB RAM, and a 500GB SSD. My factory default hardware configuration was as follows:

  • RAM: Micron 4ATF1G64HZ-3G2E2 DDR4 @ 3200 Mhz
  • SSD: NVMe INTEL SSDPEKNU512GZ

If it helps, my memory is 260pin, unbuffered, non-ECC.

Your setup may vary, as I know ASUS makes the TUF in different configurations. But the above was the factory default hardware in my ASUS.

UserBenchmark scores on factory default hardware show good performance:

ASUS TUF Factory Default Benchmarks

And the individual SSD (NVMe) and Memory Components rate well.

ASUS TUF 17" Factory Default RAM-SSD

Of course, there’s room to improve, so I upgraded, in order, the SSD and then the memory. As I was upgrading to the ASUS from an older gaming laptop, I recycled some components from my old gaming laptop. I benchmarked performance improvements at each step.

How to Open the ASUS TUF 17″ Laptop

To open the ASUS TUF, you need to remove all 11 screws on the underside of the laptop. ASUS uses standards Phillips Head screwdrivers. I use this Stanley 6 piece set (under US$10 on Amazon) to remove the screws. Note that two (2) of the screws, the ones on the corners nearest the front (touchpad being the front) are smaller than the other 9 screws. You will also need a spudger (prying tool) to help undo the clips.

If you have a guitar pick, that can be used as a spudger, but if not, you want a kit like this. A tip, the vents at the back of the ASUS TUF form part of the base of the unit. If you look at the center back of the laptop you will see a thin line, that’s your initial spudging point. Do not get fooled by the rubber feet, you are removing the entire base including the back vents as one whole unit. Take your time, be patient, and remember it’s your choice and not my fault if you break something…

ASUS TUF SSD / NVMe Replacement and Cloning

I have been a big fan of the Western Digital SN750 NVMe, it’s fast and is a good balance between price-performance. Western Digital has a newer and faster SN770, but I had an SN750 I salvaged from my old gaming laptop. If you’re upgrading today, get the 770 or if you have the money the 850. I cloned the default SSD/NVMe to the WDSN750 using the free personal edition of Macrium ReflectI used an external SSD enclosure I already owned for the cloning (this one). An external enclosure is recommended, but you could technically clone it by using the second NVMe slot and adjusting BIOS settings (but that’s really a headache and you risk mistakes, an SSD enclosure is a good investment).

When cloning the ASUS TUF SSD NVMe with Macrium, you will need to set it to select to adjust partition size automatically (it’s the shrink or extend option) because the SN750 and the Intel SSD while technically both 512GB drives are not really the same size. Make sure you backup your Windows Bitlocker Key first, as you may need this to boot later. You can access the Bitlocker options in Windows 11 from Settings – Privacy – Privacy & Security – Device Encryption.

Installing the new SSD/NVMe in your ASUS TUF is straightforward. Unscrew and remove the base, the Intel SSD is on the lower right under a thin piece of black plastic. The black plastic has a small amount of adhesive, like sticky tape, so remove it carefully, unscrew the SSD and install your new one, replace the black plastic adhesive, and reboot.

ASUS TUF SSD SSD Upgrade Benchmarks (WD SN750)

Here are the performance improvements, courtesy of UserBenchmark, on the ASUS TUF 17″ with an SSD/NVMe upgrade:

ASUS TUF SN750 Upgrade

Interestingly, the improvement was +2 points in Gaming and Workstation performance, and -1 points in Desktop. The individual components tell the story.

On the initial run, the SN750 didn’t rate as well in raw SSD score as the default Intel SSD NVMe but did help with overall gaming performance. Given that I saw a 2 basis point increase in the raw gaming score, I have kept the SN750 as my primary boot drive. I ran a few more benchmarks and did get the SN750 at 234% which is better than the Intel SSD. So I have decided to use the Intel SSD as my secondary ASUS TUF SSD. I could definitely get better performance if bought one of the newer Western Digital drives that replaced the SN750.

ASUS TUF Laptop Memory Upgrade

The ASUS TUF ships with 8Gb, but more memory is better. Yes, you can upgrade the memory on the ASUS TUF. The laptop has 1 x 8GB DDR4 3200Mhz memory pre-installed. This means there is a spare slot in the laptop for an additional 8Gb of RAM. I had 2 x 16Gb sticks (32GB total) from an old laptop (these ones) that I used for my upgrade. Unfortunately, the memory I had was not 3200Mhz (sigh) and I was originally trying to do this upgrade on a budget using parts I already had on hand.

Like the SSD/NVMe, the RAM is located under a thin piece of black adhesive plastic. Remove it carefully, as you will want to replace it after you upgrade the memory. Make sure you remember to replace it, I forgot the first time…

Here are the performance improvements, courtesy of UserBenchmark, on the ASUS TUF 17″ with an SSD upgrade (SND750) and 32GB of memory:

This gave me a total of +3 points on Gaming (from factory defaults) +1 points on Desktop and +2 points on Workstation. It also saw an improvement in the SN750 SSD performance (+6 points) but still not as fast as the Intel drive.

For what it’s worth, I  tested the 32GB RAM with the original Intel SSD but didn’t see as good as a performance, it was -2 points on the Gaming benchmark above. So marginally better than factory defaults. So I am sticking to my Western Digital NVMe upgrade and the Intel as the secondary drive.

Update (Mid April 2022)

I managed to grab 2x16GB (32Gb Total) 3200Mhz Laptop Memory for my ASUS TUF when Amazon had a price drop. I go this GSkill Ripjaw 2×16 (32GB) Laptop Kit. Here’s a benchmark of the ASUS TUF with 32Gb of 3200Mhz Memory.

I went in with minimal expectations, using the 2666Mhz kit is not a crime, and 3200Mhz may not make all that much of a difference according to this article on memory speeds. But it does make a difference, so it it’s not to be sneezed at. As you can see from the results above, I got +2 points in Gaming and +1 point on Desktop vs 2600 memory.  The workstation benchmark was unchanged. Was it worth buying 3200 vs 2600 laptop memory? Yes! Going into the details on the benchmark shows a dramatic improvement. See below.

Crucial (2x16Gb) 32GB Total 2600Mhz Laptop Memory Benchmark (ASUS TUF)

GSkill (2x16GB) 32GB Total 3200Mhz Laptop Memory Benchmark (ASUS TUF)

Overall, this means that while the raw basis point increase from 2666Mhz to 3200Mhz laptop memory may seem minimal, in reality, it made a real positive dent in performance. I have noticed my ASUS TUF laptop is snappier and seems to run cooler with the 3200Mhz memory. So I’m glad I made the change to faster memory. It was my first experience with GSkill Ripjaw memory and I am impressed.

Conclusions

Yes, you can upgrade the ASUS TUF 17″ (FX706HEB) SSD/NVMe and memory. The pro tip is that the best performance boost comes from adding both a faster SSD NVMe drive and RAM. If you’re on a budget upgrade the memory first (get the 32GB 3200Mhz Crucial Memory). I am on the fence about the SSD upgrade, given the factory Intel SSD/NVMe is relatively fast. You may be better leaving it as-is and installing a 2TB secondary SSD/NVMe when you find one on sale so you have more storage for games.

P.S. I also added a USB fingerprint reader to my ASUS TUF, you can learn more here. I definitely recommend this as a budget-friendly useful laptop upgrade.

P.P.S. Random trivia, TUF in ASUS TUF stands for “The Ultimate Force” it has nothing to do with the laptop being rugged.

Important: I am not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, brands, services, or websites listed on this page and this is my personal experience.  If you find this helpful and want to say thanks, please buy me a coffee or take a look at my book on Amazon. It keeps this page ad-free. Thank you!

 

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