G73Jh: Test System and Benchmark Setup

Unlike the HD 5650 in the Acer 5740G, the HD 5870 is actually powerful enough to run games at high detail with DirectX 11 enabled. There are still times where you'll need to turn off a few settings (STALKER: Call of Pripyat with SSAO and all other features enabled will run at under 20 FPS at 1080p), but at reasonable settings without antialiasing you can get over 30FPS. Of course, some of the less demanding titles (e.g. Left 4 Dead 2) can run with 4xAA and maximum detail and still push 60+ FPS. As mentioned earlier, the Mobility HD 5870 is really more like the desktop HD 5770 (800 Stream Processors), and you should set your expectations accordingly. NVIDIA certainly isn't in a better position on laptops, where their top SKU is the GTX 285M—essentially a mobile version of the old 9800 GTX desktop chip with 128 CUDA Cores—and they don't even have a mobile DX11 alternative. Really, if you're after the fastest mobile GPU right now, it would have to be the HD 5870. SLI and CrossFire solutions would still be faster, but we prefer a single GPU if possible as it alleviates driver and game compatibility headaches.

Speaking of drivers, we mentioned back in February that AMD had committed to a new mobile driver program where they would roll out desktop and mobile drivers simultaneously. Some expressed skepticism, but so far AMD has kept their promise and the latest 10.3 Catalyst drivers work with most ATI-equipped notebooks. The exceptions are Toshiba, Sony, and Panasonic notebooks (presumably because those OEMs opted out of AMD's mobile driver program), as well as ATI-equipped laptops with switchable graphics. Remember NVIDIA's Optimus story where they said releasing updated drivers for switchable graphics was extremely difficult? Well, they appear to be right, as neither NVIDIA nor ATI have provided updated drivers for switchable graphics to date. In fact, that's the primary reason the Alienware M11x didn’t get an Editors' Choice award. If you want updated drivers, it appears discrete only or Optimus are the only current solutions with support.

Okay, enough stalling. Here's a recap of the system specs for the ASUS G73Jh-A2. Then we'll get right to the interesting stuff: gaming performance.

ASUS G73Jh-A2 Testbed
Processor Intel Core i7-720QM
(4x1.60GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, Turbo to 2.80GHz, 45W)
Memory 4x2GB DDR3-1333 (Max 4x2GB)
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 1GB 128-bit GDDR5
800 SPs, 700/1.0GHz Core/RAM clocks (4.0GHz effective)
Display 17.3" LED Glossy 16:9 1080p (1920x1080)
Hard Drive(s) 2x500GB 7200RPM HDD (non-RAID)
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Battery 8-Cell, 14.6V, 75Wh
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Pricing $1505 Online (Note: 9-10 day special order)
$1548 Alternative (In and out of stock everywhere)
ASUS G73Jh – Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder G73Jh: High-End DirectX 11 Gaming
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  • DoeBoy - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Yeh my g50vt is stll working well and I can vouch for ASUS meaning gaming laptop. It does get hot as hell thou. Even with a cooler running it gets very hot. I would only buy this sucker if I could see the solution they have going. The g50 does not even have a intake fan at all and the slits in the bottom are so small how could u ever pull a considerable amount of air through them? Reply
  • bennyg - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    ditto for the G51J-A1

    No dedicated intake for a single fan 45W CPU and ~58W GPU... that's why so many have been making swiss cheese of the CPU Door Assembly.

    Add to that the conservative fan control which kicks up to highest only when the GPU's already scorching (93C) and cycles on and off even when GPU utilisation is 100%.

    As an indication of how underutilised the cooling system is - when I tested stable max OC (16% GPU core, 20% shader, 20% memory, or 580/1500/1000), max temp is only 3 degrees higher... 96C.

    Soooo wish I'd known the g73 would be out 2 months after I got this :(
    Reply
  • frombauer - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Why 1080p? Text must be way too tiny, and it impacts game performance. Much better if this was 17" with 1680x1050 (16:10 even better). Reply
  • ATC9001 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    It may seem like that but it's really not, my 17" gateway had the 1920x1200 and I thought the same thing (I also had a 24" 2405FPW)...but these resolution is fine. I also decided to go with a 1920x1080 for my 15", worst case I just enlarge the text, but the big thing is having that much desktop space is nice, once you go big you can't go back! Reply
  • bennyg - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    This is a YMMV issue.

    I absolutely could NEVER go back to a 1280x800 or 1366x768 on a 15". Having used a high res screen for over a year, everything at the lower res just seems wierdly magnified.

    Yes fps may be lower but there are many games where 1080p on med looks better than 720p on high settings, and I'd much rather have a good game on low/med details than a borefest at Ultra High anyways.

    Besides, I don't do gaming 100% of the time on this thing anyway; I can't think of any other reason how a lower res screen would be advantageous. BTW - bad eyesight does not count (google DPI setting in Win7)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Keep in mind that you're generally closer to a laptop than you are a desktop display. I played a lot of games on the G73J and never felt text was too small, which isn't something I can say for my 30" desktop display. And as a user of 120dpi setting in Windows, I have to point out that there are drawbacks. Text is larger but images remain the same, and there are a few odd glitches in some programs where text wraps out of view because the font size changed. Most apps assume everyone uses 96dpi; MS apps are usually fine, but try it out on any PC and you'll notice some differences in how things look. It doesn't just magnify everything (which would be the ideal solution IMO... though images would then become blurry). In a pinch, you can always run the LCD at 1600x900 to increase the DPI and get the same effect, but I really do appreciate screen real estate.

    For reference, DPI on a 30" LCD at 2560x1600 is ~100 (.252mm dot pitch). DPI on a 17.3" 1080p laptop is 127 (.217mm dot pitch). 1600x900 at 17.3" puts the DPI at 106, so it's similar to what you'd get on a 30" LCD. But if you're used to 24" WUXGA and you sit at the same 2-3' distance, you'll definitely feel things get a little cramped. Given that it's hard to find good quality laptop LCDs, there's no way I'd recommend going to a lower resolution panel unless it keeps all the good aspects, and really I prefer 17" laptops stick with 1080p/WUXGA displays.
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I don't know about you but I'd prefer to not have to squint when I'm working away on a laptop, especially one that's already 15+" already. Besides, with the larger DPI setting, everything is just way to magnified, and which kind of make it the same as using a lower res anyway. Reply
  • just4U - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Looking at this in comparison to Anand's review on the Mac book pro I have to say .. this one seems to actually be worth the money.

    I'd have like to have seen more on heat issues as well since that's a concern for some with units like this. Still it's worth a look. I don't normally buy laptops but I'd seriously consider something along these lines. Given the option I'd probably tone down to a lesser cpu mind you.. but that's just me :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Temperature data is listed on page 2:

    "As you might expect from the noise levels, temperatures are also excellent—perhaps the best we've ever tested, and certainly the lowest we've seen on a gaming notebook. The palm rests stay at room temperature while the touchpad is a few degrees warmer. The rear of the chassis is about 5C hotter, but we're still only talking about 31C maximum. Love it or hate it, the wedge-shaped design certainly does the job when it comes to cooling. ASUS puts a couple huge vents at the back of the G73Jh, and their size and location means you don't need a mini-vacuum fan in your notebook."

    If you need more clarification, around 31C for the bottom of the laptop in the middle-back section (just in front of the battery). The front section on the sides are 20-21C (room temperature) while the middle front is 24-25C. The back sides are also around 24C top and bottom. Really, the temperatures are largely uniform compared to other notebooks, and the noise levels are truly exceptional. The Clevo W870CU by comparison is horribly loud, with fans that regularly cycle between low and high speeds.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I don't have the item number on me, and the model isn't on the website. But it is the same as the review with a few additions

    8gb of ram
    Blu Ray Drive
    Backpack
    for $1699
    Reply

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