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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  • frozentundra123456 - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    Actually Best Buy has the same model with a single 500gb hard drive for 1199.99. They also list it in stock at most of the stores in my area (Minneapolis, MN). I would probably pick this model, as it is quite a bit cheaper and the only difference I see is that it has only one hard drive.

    Seems like a really good deal.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    Note that the $1200 model also has 6GB RAM (2x2GB + 2x1GB) and it changes the display to an HD+ (1600x900) panel. Given the horrible quality of most laptop LCDs, I'm betting the contrast ratio on the HD+ panel isn't anywhere near as good as the 1080p model. And you lose the mouse and backpack. So...

    2GB RAM: ~$50
    500GB 7200RPM HDD: $90
    Mouse: $30
    Backpack: $70 (?)
    LCD Panel: $150 (?)

    I'm just guessing on a couple of those items based on what I think they're worth. If you add it all up, the $1200 model has about $400 less of extras, so it's about right.
    Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I see your point I guess. However, the best buy model is a cheaper alternative that seems to be in stock most places, at least for now. For light to moderate gaming it would be acceptable. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    Just to be clear, the $1200 model is actually a very good deal. Most people don't need 8GB vs. 6GB RAM, and the extra HDD can be added at your leisure -- or add an SSD? All of the important aspects are the same, so if you want to choose your own mouse and backpack or if you don't like the ones ASUS includes, the $1200 version is a great buy as well. Reply
  • killerclick - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I don't get the point of gaming laptops. Where are you going to play games? On the bus? In class? In the park? Why? Where's the immersion in that? And for $1500? Sorry, I don't get it... Reply
  • SniperWulf - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    For those of us that travel a lot, something like this is a godsend. Reply
  • frozentundra123456 - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    For really serious PC gaming I would agree with you. However, I just bought a cheaper Asus for my grandson (12 years old) because he is moving out of state and we wanted to keep in touch with him via webcam, and also have a computer he could bring back with him when he visits us.

    However he does like to play games on the PC, so instead of getting a laptop and a desktop, we got an Asus G60 for 849.00 on close out at best buy. He can play games at moderate settings and still have a laptop to bring with him when he visits us, etc.
    Reply
  • mofo3k - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I love having a gaming notebook. I'm not confined to sitting alone in my "cave" for hours on end. I can sit on the couch, go to a friends house, take it on trips and have everything right there. The best accessory I have is my Logitech Performance MX mouse with the micro usb receiver. Reply
  • The0ne - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    For the most part I don't see it either. I travel quite often myself, to China, for business but rarely do I spend my free time playing game(s). That's not to say I don't but if I have more than an hour to kill I'll rather go out sight-seeing and touring rather than sitting in the hotel playing games. It just seems pathetic to do so when there is so much out there. But that's my preference and opinion. How one spends his/her free time is up to them.

    Having said that I wouldn't mind the company getting me a gaming laptop :) I don't mind carrying all the extra items since I consider it a good exercise :) My backpack with laptop weights 20+lbs and I lug it around for that very reason haha
    Reply
  • Obeah - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I have seen an X3 model that has a 640gb HD. Is this a single HD? If so, what do they do with the other drive bay? Is it empty, awaiting an SSD drive?

    Any chance we can get a follow up with a list all of the models/features?
    Reply

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