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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  • jasperjones - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    It looks like the Blu-Ray combo drive you link to on page 1 is actually a desktop, not a laptop model.

    Other than that, superb review!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Whoops! Totally spaced that. I've updated to a notebook Blu-ray drive. :-) Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I second the 1680x1050 screen option, too. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    The system supports 32nm CPUs, but the particular model uses a quad-core i7 processor. Considering the size of the notebook, I'm not sure many people are going to be interested in lowering performance just to cut power draw a bit. The i5-540m and i7-620m might be a bit faster in some games as their Turbo Modes can exceed the 2.80GHz of the 720QM, but those are the only two dual-core CPUs I'd consider. As mentioned, there will be other variants of the G73Jh down the road, with Blu-ray and dual-core CPUs, if that's what you're after. Reply
  • notext - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Jared,
    Just going by how they look to you, which do think is a better display, the XPS 16 or the G73Jh?

    I had been waiting for dell to upgrade the video on the XPS line before jumping on one for the RGBLED but if this is really close or better it would be just fine.

    It is kinda hard to tell just by looking at numbers, I wish I could view a bunch of these laptops side by side.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Judging by the technical data, the Dell RGBLED display is "better", but unless you need a higher color gamut there's not much point in the added cost. If it were a choice between glossy G73J and matte RGBLED, then I'd probably go for the RGBLED. The Studio XPS 16 is also known to have issues with throttling on i7 CPUs (at least according to emails I've received), the RGBLED doesn't appear to be an option right now, and the HD 4670 is nowhere near as fast as the 5870. But then, the XPS 16 isn't as large and bulky as the G73Jh either. Given the choice, for gaming I'd definitely go with the G73Jh. Running cool and quiet with a gaming notebook is always a good sign in my book, and that usually means you need a bigger chassis. Reply
  • FXi - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Imagine a product where as many as you produce you sell every single one of them. Do you think that product is made by Nvidia? No, no! AMD can literally sell as many 5870 mobile chips as it can make. And it performs, very admirably! Can you possibly imagine what a Crossfire pair of these is going to do inside a M17X R3?

    AMD has sold 6 million cards while Nvidia slept. Mobile machines are 50% of PC sales. So while Nvidia continues to sleep AMD continues to make huge leaps in the market. I'm extremely pleased you gave this machine a go and moreover, you didn't falter it badly for missing features. What it does, it does extremely well. Any gamer should be proud of this machine. If the desktop Fermi is hot and takes huge amounts of power, you can well bet that it will be many quarters before Nvidia can wake up and smell the coffee. Meanwhile developers are making games and they aren't making them TWIWMTBP, because there are next to no NV cards on the market.

    Nice screen, great cpu, and superb GPU along with a competent mobile driver program. And the whole package is priced right to boot. Nice review, lovely machine and an example to the entire industry of how things "should be done".

    :)
    Reply
  • tom.j - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    There was no included software to enable the use of the blu ray drive.... there is blu ray software available on the asus website for free download, but at this time it is not a version compatible with windows 7 64bit. Otherwise a great machine, but it should have been disclosed prior to sale that you would have to buy software to make full use of the machine...and blu ray software is NOT cheap. Openoffice and shredder (64bit version of Thunderbird mail client) works great on here. I'll buy a second one when it comes with blu ray software and add an ssd. Excellent screen, easy to read at its native resolution. Nice backpack too.

    tom
    Reply
  • GTVic - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    In Canada the G73JH-X1 $1670 comes with the DVD and the G73JH-A1 $1820 comes with the blu-ray and a mouse/case. I saw one listing for G73JH-A2 $1670 comes with DVD so it looks identical to the X1.

    X1, A1, A2 links
    http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82...
    http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowPr...
    http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowPr...
    Reply
  • Rambon3 - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I would like to see more reviews of gaming laptops as the price/performance ratio is plummetting this year. Another machine that is worthy of high expectations a nd praise is the MSI GX740. It has similar specs but a lower price, at least here in Canada.

    MSI GX740
    Price: $1444.68 Canadian @ PCcanada.com (if you can find one in stock)
    CPU: Intel Core 17-720QM 2.8Ghz 1333Mhz 6MB cache
    Display: 17.0" WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050) Glossy
    System Memory: 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR2 667 SDRAM - 0 open slot MAX. 4GB
    Video: ATi Radeon HD5870 Broadway XT GDDR5 1GB
    HDD: 500GB, 7200PRM SATA
    Optical drive: Blu Ray DVD Combo Drive
    Battery: 9-cell li-ion battery: up to 3.5 hours life depending usage
    Network: 56Kbps,10/100/1000, 802.11AGN wireless LAN
    Interface ports: DC-in, RJ-45 LAN, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
    headphones/speakers/line-out, microphone-in, eSata, ,HDMI
    four USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, BUILT-IN 2.0MP WEBCAM. Bluetooth
    Pointing Device:Touch Pad with onboard numeric keypad
    Weight: 7.04 lbs
    OS Preload: Microsoft® 7 Home Premium Bilingual
    Warranty: 3 year Limited Warranty with 1 Year Global

    This machine has less memory and hard space but does include a Bluray combo drive and is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the Asus. A review of this machine would be appreciated. Has anyone heard if there are plans for a mobile 58xx crossfire laptop? That would be a sweet portable system !!!
    Reply

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