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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  • anishannayya - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    Just though you might want to know. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Added a new link to a laptop drive. They're hard to find in stock! :-) Reply
  • layman_user - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Can you guys also test the laptops for thermals? My friend bought a laptop recently and it "burns" when running games. Can you include some tests in your analysis to measure temperatures of chassis and cpu? It would be nice to know the "cool" laptops out there Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Page 2 has the temperature information. If the exhaust is cool and the noise levels are low, it's pretty safe to say that the CPU and GPU aren't running hot. Reply
  • layman_user - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Thanks Jered. Can you guys do a comparision of 5 popular laptops for thermals? It would be interesting to see which laptop out there is the "coolest" .. Thermals is a huge factor these days and we hardly see any comparisions across notebooks for thermals Reply
  • jfmeister - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Sorry to come in late, I haven't gone all the way through the comments, but I would really like to see a MSI GX640 Review or at least some comparison. It seems to be a great compromise in size, battery life & performance.

    Thanks!
    Reply
  • FesterSilently - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Um...what about the Toshiba Qosmio Q870?

    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=qosmio+q8...

    Same price (~$1,400), slightly different specs:

    Intel Core i7 720qm
    2 x 2GB PC 10666
    nVidia 360m (1GB GDDR5)
    1680 x 945 native resolution*
    1 x Hitachi 500GB HDD (7200rpm)
    Mitsumi Blu-Ray burner

    I mention this as an alternative/comparison gaming laptop...well, mainly because it IS! ;-D

    I'm curious as to how the 360m compares (in general) to the mobile 5870, though...DX11 aside.

    *I understand the (aesthetic and practical) difference between 1920 x 1080 and 1680 x 945, but I think of it as a benefit: a) that's some TINY goddamned font, etc. on that hi-res/tiny 17" screen, vs. b) better GPU performance because of the slightly lower resolution on the Toshiba, neh?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    It's not just the resolution that changed, though. That LCD may be a good contrast ratio or it may not. By and large, 95% of LCD panels for laptops right now are crap, so the odds are against it. For $1400, it's not a bad laptop, and the Blu-ray drive makes it a viable alternative. As a gaming laptop, though, the G73Jh is clearly the superior choice based on specs alone. Even if the LCD is the same quality, I'd still go for the ASUS.

    As far as performance, the GT360M is a 96 SP part with 128-bit RAM, so the GTX 280M in the Clevo W870CU is going to perform about 30% faster at a guess. Whether the particular unit has GDDR5 or GDDR3 is going to be pretty important... The Toshiba has 1GB GDDR5, so all told it's about the same bandwidth as the GTX 280M but still nowhere near as much shader processing power. It will be slower than the GTX 260M as well, and we have results for that on 3DMark at least (page 6).
    Reply
  • FesterSilently - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Interesting (and, if you hadn't guessed, I *own* said Qosmio, and, I lovelovelove it...except for the dark, murky screen...you are correct) - thanks for the reply, sir. Reply
  • jjcpa - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    I am not a gamer and use laptop for photo editing (photoshop). Is G73 a good buy for my purpose? The spec and price is very attractive. Only concern is display. Other laptops meet my need are Dell M6500/M17, Lenovo W701, HP Elitebook 8740p, but cost for them over $3000 if the displays are RGBLED or IPS. The only option left in my price range is Dell XPS 16 (1645). But XPS 16 with RGBLED and similar spec as G73 are over $2000. And I can get G73 at $1550 Canadian dollar. I saw your comparison for display. Except gamut, compared to XPS 16, G73's display is ok. I would like to hear your opinion in this area.

    My current laptop is Lenono T61 with WUXGA. Any opinion how this compared to G73's screen

    thank you very much
    Reply

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