When I first built an AMD Ryzen system, I went with a budget Asus B350M motherboard. It sucked. It often failed to POST or boot properly, and I could never get my ‘supported’ RAM to run at the advertised speed. But I digress – the fact it was a bad motherboard isn’t relevant here.
What is relevant is that the B350M was a “standard Asus” product. A few years later, I purchased a slightly more expensive Asus B550M-Plus motherboard as part of my recent build. One of the things I noticed is that “TUF Gaming” was plastered everywhere:
That’s three times on the box alone (well, four if you count the “TUF Gaming” on the pictured heatsink too).
That got me wondering what “TUF Gaming” was, along with “ROG” (Republic of Gamers). Both are still Asus products, but what exactly are they?
What Is TUF Gaming?
TUF (The Ultimate Force) Gaming refers to an extensive line of products from Asus that focuses on durability, dependability, and responsiveness.
When people talk about TUF Gaming, they are usually talking about a laptop; however, Asus also includes PC components, desktop computers, mice, keyboards, cases, headsets, and numerous other products that have been specifically designed for people who game regularly.
Because the products have been specifically designed for people who are serious about gaming, Asus has created an entire ecosystem focused on the growing community of gamers all over the world. With the rise of eSports, many companies, including Asus, have decided to invest more resources in designing products that are compatible and aesthetically pleasing to those who are serious about gaming.
Republic of Gaming (ROG): Top Line Performance
If you are looking at TUF Gaming products from Asus, you might also be interested in the ROG range. ROG stands for Republic of Gaming, and this is another gaming line from Asus that people have consistently raved about.
In general, ROG products are better for gaming than TUF gaming, but ROG products are generally more expensive. Again, keep in mind that this is a product line, so some products are going to have slightly different pros and cons than others.
We’ll dive into a comparison between TUF and ROG laptops later on, but let’s first circle back and look at why Asus might be marketing their products this way.
Why “Asus” Also Sell Under “TUF” And “ROG”
ASUS are a massive Taiwanese hardware manufacturer, best known for their laptops, graphics cards and motherboards. However they also produce headsets, phones and… well, anything tech-related really!
They make tens of billions of profit most years, meaning that they aren’t some tiny company. And one thing that major companies do is have multiple product lines and product ranges.
It’s a bit like how Unilever own multiple products offering the same thing, for example Cornetto, Magnum, Solero and Viennetta are all ice cream products – but owned by the same company (Unilever).
I don’t fully understand the business logic behind this sort of thing, but many companies do it – including ASUS. When they produce a motherboard (for example), sometimes it’s just “ASUS” or “ASUS Prime”:
Whilst sometimes it’s a “TUF Gaming” product (but still ultimately owned and produced by ASUS):
Other times, it’s “ROG” (Republic of Gamers) or “ROG Strix”:
Whilst there are sometimes price differences (ROG products are usually more expensive than TUF, and then TUF is more expensive that just “Asus”), generally speaking I would argue that there’s no major difference between these Asus ‘brands’ – it’s mainly marketing and business.
With that said, let’s dive into some price comparisons and also look at whether there are any real-world benefits to buying TUF or ROG.
ASUS vs TUF vs ROG – Price Comparisons
To see whether there’s a general “trend” in price (e.g. ROG is more expensive than TUF), I clicked around NewEgg and Micro Center’s websites and I picked similar quality components that are branded as:
- Asus or Asus Prime
- TUF Gaming
- ROG or ROG Strix
And this is what the range of prices looked like at the time of writing (February 2022):
|Product||Asus or Asus Prime||TUF Gaming||ROG or ROG Strix|
|mATX B550 Motherboard||$137-$273||$128-$250||N/A|
|ATX B550 Motherboard||$117-$240||$153-$260||$215-$462|
|RTX 30 Series GPU||$500-1300||$800-$3000||$1000-$5000|
So from everything I looked at, I’d conclude that:
- Asus ROG products are usually the most expensive in the Asus product range. BUT:
- Whilst ROG is often more expensive than TUF Gaming, this isn’t always the case.
- For many types of components, there’s no real price difference between “Asus” and “TUF Gaming” products. BUT:
- TUF Gaming laptops are more expensive than standard Asus laptops, where TUF Gaming headsets are often much cheaper than standard Asus headsets.
Those conclusions might seem confusing, but that’s because apart from ROG generally being a bit more expensive, there’s no clear reason why Asus chose to market a product as “Asus”, “TUF Gaming” or “ROG” – apart from marketing.
Does Buying “TUF” or “ROG” Bring You Extra Benefits?
No, I haven’t seen any obvious signs that purchasing a “TUF Gaming” or “ROG” Asus product brings you any extra benefits.
There was a time where Asus software such as Armory Crate seemed to only be available to ROG product holders, and indeed their website still mentions ROG everywhere:
However you are fully able to download and run this on any Asus system, i.e. whether you have an “Asus Prime” or “TUF Gaming” motherboard too. This is my own Armory Crate, running on my TUF Gaming B550M-Plus system:
It seems to me that the only real benefit of only buying “ROG” or “TUF Gaming” products, for example, is to have a common theme.
The branding and color schemes of many of their products are similar, so it is sort of nice to only own ROG products (for example).
Comparing TUF and ROG Laptops
It’s often said that TUF Gaming products are slightly cheaper than ROG laptops, which is good for budget-conscious people – but naturally not as good for people who care about massive frame rates. Is it true that TUF Gaming isn’t quite as good as ROG, though?
We thought it best to answer that by diving into a comparison between two laptops.
The Asus TUF Gaming A15
If we take a closer look at Asus TUF Gaming laptops, such as the TUF A15 (often available for around $1,300), it is immediately obvious that this is one of the top “bang for your buck” gaming laptops to come out during the past few years; however, it doesn’t quite measure up to some of the other gaming laptops from Asus, such as the Asus Zephyrus. It also doesn’t have a particularly eye-catching appearance.
On the other hand, what sets the Asus TUF A15 apart is that it offers powerful gaming performance at a reasonable price tag. For example, this specific laptop includes the AMD Ryzen 4000 mobile CPU and the Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU. These are some of the top gaming components in the world, and they are included in this specific TUF Gaming laptop at a price that doesn’t break the bank. For these reasons, the Asus TUF Gaming A15 has become one of the most popular gaming laptops in the world.
The Specs of the TUF Gaming Laptop from ASUS
For those who are curious about the Asus TUF A15, the specs of the mid-2021 model are as follows:
- CPU: 2.9 GHz AMD Ryzen 8 4800 H Processor
- RAM: 16 GB, 3200 MHz
- Screen: 15.6 inches, 2560 x 1080
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, Intel Wi-Fi 5
- Camera: 720 P
- Ports: 1 audio jack, 2 USB, 1 type C USB, 1 type A USB, 1 HDMI
- Weight: 5 pounds
The Benefits and Drawbacks of TUF Gaming
Before we take a deeper dive into the specific facets of the TUF Gaming A15, it is important to take a look at a few of the benefits and drawbacks.
Some of the top benefits of using this Asus TUF Gaming laptop include:
- It has a very long battery life.
- It provides solid gaming components at a price tag that few other computers on the market can match.
- It offers exceptional 1080p performance.
- The laptop has been built with new AMD processors.
A few of the drawbacks a note about this laptop include:
- The fan is one of the noisiest options available. If you don’t like computers with noisy fans, it may be distracting for you.
- Even though it has solid components, it is not the most powerful gaming laptop in the world. It will not compare with some of the other options, including the Asus Zephyrus.
- The design of the laptop is not for everyone. Because the fans are so loud, the vibrations could get in the way.
It is important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before you make a decision. Now, is time to take a closer look at some of the specific features of the Asus TUF Gaming model.
The Price for its Value
One of the major selling points of TUF Gaming is that it is a value play. Even though it is not the most powerful gaming laptop on the market, it is still one of the most affordable options. It has solid components, but it will not break the bank.
There are gaming laptops that are cheaper, but they do not have the same performance of the TUF Gaming laptop, particularly the graphics card. There are also computers that are better for gaming, but they are significantly more expensive than the TUF Gaming laptop.
In general, you should be able to find a TUF Gaming laptop for around $1,300. This means that it is significantly less expensive than options such as the Asus Zephyrus and the Alienware m15, which pack a bigger punch than the TUF Gaming A15. On the other hand, the TUF Gaming laptop is more expensive than the HP Omen 15 and the Dell G3, which do not provide nearly the same level of performance as the TUF Gaming A15.
The TUF Gaming A15 is one of the top value plays in gaming computers. Indeed, overall the TUF Gaming laptop is more than just marketing. It does what it says: it is affordable and great for gaming, but not the best.
How does it compare to ROG?
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
For the purposes of this comparison, we are going to look at the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (available for around $2,300), as it comes with a 15-inch screen that is similar to the Asus TUF Gaming A15 from above. Of course, it costs around $1,000 more than the A15 – why is that? Well, let’s dive into its specs.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15: The Specs
The specifications of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 are as follows:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900 HS
- Screen: 15.6 inch, non-touchscreen, and features super-smooth 165hz refresh rates
- RAM: 16 GB of soldered RAM and 1 TB of storage
- Battery: 90 kWh battery
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
- Weight: 4.45 pounds
By comparing the specifications of the two computers, we can see there are some differences.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
First, it is important to take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15. Some of the key benefits to keep in mind include:
- The audio of this laptop is exceptional.
- It is one of the lightest laptops for gaming, making it incredibly portable.
- It has almost unmatched gaming performance.
- The battery can last all day.
Some of the drawbacks to note include:
- It does not come with a webcam.
- The RAM is partially soldered.
- It is very expensive.
If you are interested in the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, you should expect to pay about $1,800 for it, making it significantly more expensive than the TUF Gaming A15.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 vs. TUF Gaming A15: Which Is Better?
Even though this is a matter of personal preference, we can immediately see that the performance of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is superior. While the computer is significantly more expensive, it features the AMD Ryzen 9 5900 instead of the AMD Ryzen 7. While the AMD Ryzen 7 is still impressive, it does not match the power of the AMD Ryzen 9.
In addition, the graphics of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 are superior to the TUF Gaming A15. The TUF Gaming A15 has the Nvidia 2060, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 has the Nvidia 3070.
While the TUF Gaming A15 is still a great gaming laptop, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is better, but for a much higher price. It is a matter of personal preference.
How much money are you willing to spend, and how much gaming do you do? The ROG line is one of the best options out there, but it will be pricey.
Is TUF Gaming and ROG Nothing More Than Marketing?
Simply put, you could say that the whole Republic of Gamers sub-brand is just one component of ASUS’s marketing. The ‘ROG’ is just one of their gaming sub-brands and it is clearly meant to appeal to gamers. That being said, it is fair to point out the fact that ROG laptops are clearly very well-made and provide excellent performance.
As a result, while the whole ‘ROG’ concept is clearly a marketing strategy, ASUS is at least seemingly marketing very high-quality products using this strategy.
Equally, as with the ROG sub-brand, ASUS clearly understands that they have to appeal to consumers with smaller budgets with their TUF gaming sub-brand. Because of this, the durability of TUF gaming laptops (for example) is emphasized and the fact that the performance of these laptops is weaker than that of ROG gaming laptops is downplayed.
TUF Gaming is a component of ASUS’s overall marketing strategy. That much cannot be denied. Despite this fact, TUF Gaming laptops do provide fairly strong performance at a more affordable price nonetheless.
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