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ASUS has made it a goal to increase their retail presence in the mobile market, with an eye on becoming one of the top brand names. There's no doubt that Dell, HP, and Acer continue to sell more laptops overall (especially if we leave out the Eee PC netbooks), but walk into any Best Buy, Office Depot, etc. and you're likely to find quite a few ASUS laptops for sale. They have everything from entry-level netbooks and laptops through long battery life CULV designs and a bunch of midrange offerings. At the high-end, you'll probably have more luck finding ASUS laptops online, but the ASUS G73Jh definitely makes such a search worthwhile.

The G73Jh is of the "bigger is better" variety of gaming notebooks, but it's not quite up there with the giant 18.4" offerings. Instead, ASUS has dropped down to a slightly smaller 17.3" chassis, but they've still packed in a lot of compelling hardware. Do you want to play games? How about getting the fastest current mobile GPU, and unlike the latest NVIDIA mobile solutions you get DirectX 11 support! The Radeon Mobility HD 5870 is a potent little chip, and it matches up nicely with the 1080p display. Sure, it pales in comparison to the top desktop GPUs (it's really based off the 5770 "Juniper" core with 800 Stream Processors as opposed to the 1600 Stream Processor "Cypress" core), but short of multi-GPU solutions like SLI and CrossFire, you won't find a faster notebook graphics chip.

ASUS G73Jh-A2 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-720QM
(4x1.60GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, Turbo to 2.80GHz, 45W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 4x2GB DDR3-1333 (Max 8GB)
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
800 SPs, 700/1.0GHz Core/RAM clocks (4GHz effective)
Display 17.3" LED Glossy 16:9 1080p (1920x1080)
(HannStar HSD173PUW1)
Hard Drive(s) 2x500GB 7200RPM HDD (non-RAID)
(Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS)
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti (HL-DT-ST GT30N)
Networking Gigabit Ethernet (Atheros AR8131)
802.11n WiFI (Atheros AR9285) Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (Broadcom BT-270)
Audio EAX Enhanced HD 4.0 Audio (2.1 speakers + subwoofer)
Microphone and headphone jacks
Capable of 5.1 digital output (HDMI)
Battery 8-Cell, 14.6V, 5.2Ah, 75Wh
Front Side Power/Battery/HDD/WiFi indicator lights
Left Side Headphone Jack
Microphone Jack
2 x USB 2.0
Optical Drive (DVDRW)
Ethernet
Right Side Memory Card Reader
2x USB 2.0
HDMI
VGA
AC Power Connection
Back Side 2 x Exhaust vent
Kensington Lock
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 16.54" x 12.20" x 0.74-2.24" (WxDxH)
Weight 8.47 lbs (with 8-cell battery)
Extras Gaming (Laser) Mouse
ASUS Backpack
2MP Webcam
102-Key keyboard with 10-key
Flash reader (SD, MMC, MS-Duo, Smart Media, xD)
Warranty 2-year limited global warranty
1-year accidental damage and battery warranty
Pricing $1505 Online (Note: 9-10 day special order)
$1548 Alternative (In and out of stock everywhere)

Matched up with the GPU are a supporting cast of components that are powerful in their own right. For the CPU, the G73Jh-A2 that we received for review includes a quad-core i7-720QM (1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz). The notebook uses an HM55 chipset, so support for i3 and i5 processors is also available and we expect to see other SKUs down the road. Thanks to Turbo Boost, the only dual-core CPUs that should clearly offer better single-threaded performance are the i5-540M and i7-620M, but for multi-threaded loads even the "low-end" 720QM bests all of the dual-core options. Besides 1TB (2x500GB) of storage and the other typical accessories, ASUS also stuffs a full 8GB of DDR3 memory into the G73Jh. It's interesting to note that they do this via four SO-DIMM slots, so potentially you could put 4x4GB in the system but ASUS officially lists only 8GB support.

The only serious omission (for some) is a Blu-ray drive; other models are likely to include such a drive, but costs are going to go up. If you want Blu-ray support, you might find it easier to just add your own for ~$140. For those that want it, eSATA, ExpressCard, and FireWire support are also missing, and unlike the N61Jv there's no USB3 port either. Digital content purveyors will be disappointed but if you're just after a mobile gaming solution the missing items aren't likely to matter.

When you add everything together, the G73Jh—particularly the A2 version that includes a nice mouse and backpack—is an excellent value, provided of course that you're interested in a gaming laptop. This thing is a beast to lug around, and it won't fit in my standard 17" laptop bag, so you'll want the ASUS backpack if possible. Availability is perhaps the only sore spot, with stock disappearing rapidly at most of the online vendors we've monitored. As such, a few sites are bumping up the price… and still selling out. (Newegg, we're looking at you and your $1750 A2 model.) The MSRP for this particular configuration is supposed to be $1600, and if you shop around you can probably find it at that price or slightly less, but as with any popular model you may need to work a bit to find one.

ASUS G73Jh – Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder
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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - link

    If you're super concerned with image quality and accuracy, there's no beating IPS desktop displays IMO. The RGBLED displays have a high color gamut, but desktop LCDs are equal or better and you can get matte panels without spending an arm and a leg. If you're not quite so finicky, I think the G73Jh will work fine in Photoshop. I've used an XPS 16 for image editing as well as playing around with the G73Jh, and the G73Jh panel is better than 95% of laptop LCDs. It's still worse than most PVA/MVA/IPS desktop panels, but no one is doing those in laptops these days (iPad notwithstanding). Reply
  • mindbomb - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    no temperature results from full load? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - link

    Page 2 - the temperature data listed was for worst-case. The G73Jh simply never broke a sweat. Perhaps in the summer in a non-AC apartment/house it will run louder/hotter, but that would apply to any notebook. Reply
  • brucek2 - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Timely article for me since I'm about to be in the market for a gaming laptop. No particular comment but wanted to let you know I appreciated the article and also the continued discussion here in the comments. Reply
  • swaaye - Wednesday, April 21, 2010 - link

    You guys might want to know that these babies have some issues with quality control.

    I bought one from the Egg and it was great until I installed Cat 10.3 and then the GPU became extremely unstable. RMAed the notebook because others aren't having this problem. Then I saw Best Buy had them in stock so got one there, and got a bad LCD. Returned it and got one that only saw 2GB out of 6GB. That's 3 defectives out of 5 (I returned one good one to Best Buy to get the cheaper model with one HDD and 6GB instead of 8).

    I'm not alone on this. And ASUS RMA sucks horribly so you better buy from a store that takes no nonsense returns. Newegg is a bit of a pain in this way.
    Reply
  • sna2 - Sunday, April 25, 2010 - link

    Hi guys,

    Just a tip , make that Editor choice logo a link to a list of editor choices page ...
    Reply
  • poodleswithguns - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    how the hell did you get batman to run at a crisp 82 frames per second in very-high detail. i have mine, at home and my average fps is like 36.7 at the max its 44. what did you do to the computer that made ir tun at almost twice as many frames per second them my model?

    actually to be honest, almost all the benchmarks are high. i mean mine doesn't get that, and the youtube videos of the games benchmarked on other like units arn't running frames that high.

    let me know because i'd love to get the extra power from the computer.
    Reply
  • jackiethewitch - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    He ran the benchmarks at 1600x900. You're probably defaulting to 1920x1080. Doesn't matter. 82 fps at 1600x900 is not as nice as 44 fps at 1920x1080. Reply
  • Chastity - Thursday, April 29, 2010 - link

    So far I have only 2 quibbles about the unit:

    1) No RAID Support. Bit of a downer, especially since many configs come with paired hdds. I suppose the logic was that gamers would get a SSD to boot and run apps from. (My P-7805u has RAID :p)

    2) The Wifi card is a bit of a letdown with the AR2985. Only 2.4Ghz band and 150mbps max transfer rates. Thankfully, it's easily remedied with a replacement card, like the Intel 6200. Also, I would LOVE to see laptop makers still run THREE wires for antennaes, even if you don't use all three.

    Heat: Not a problem. There even are no vents on the bottom, and only gets warm during load, and not close to hot. Air comes in from the front subwoofer intake, and out the back ports. Lovely. And no additional noise from laptop coolers.

    Audio: It's a nice sounding unit for a laptop, but it's still laptop speakers. I still prefer headphones, and the CMSS-3D Headphone mode is great for gaming. Very accurate spatial cues.
    Reply
  • jackiethewitch - Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - link

    I went computer hunting over a month ago, stumbled across this while looking at various options, and found one of these in Canada (www.canadacomputers.com) for $1699 CDN. At the time I was considering building a new desktop, but this was priced so aggressively it convinced me. (and more importantly, it convinced my husband.)

    I found a few decent reviews online, but nothing this comprehensive. Seeing after the fact what a great deal I got makes me very happy, Jarred! (Although you're not the first review I've read, just the most in depth.) I my only wish would be that you'd benchmarked the high end gaming at 1080p max resolution (I've been playing Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 with absolutely maxed out settings and they're quite playable).

    Caution on the cheaper Best-Buy models --they only come with a 1 year manufacturer's warranty, unlike the 2 year one on the Asus standard retail models. Best Buy will charge you several hundred dollars to purchase one. When combined with the extras and different specifications, this makes the "deal" suspect.

    My thoughts, after using it a month:
    As Jarred said, this thing runs cool and nearly silent. Heat isn't an issue.

    Arkham Asylum + XBox360 Wired Controller + G73jh-A2 + HDMI Cable + Samsung 52" LCD Television >>>>> PS3 + Arkham Asylum on the same television.

    Nothing I play has caused this thing to break a sweat.

    The included mouse is...odd. I'm not a fan. With the one peice plastic molding on top, the mouse buttons are too easily depressed by your hand resting on top of it. It's like there's no support preventing someone from pushing them down by accident.

    1TB isn't enough for me anymore. :( I've realized my tendency to squirrel away media and large files automatically expands to fill all available space.

    I'm a very small woman. This is a very large backpack and computer. I'm sure the image is comical when I'm walking with it.

    Reply

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