ASUS G73Jw: Gaming with the GTX 460M

Our gaming benchmarks are in a transitional state right now on high-end laptops, since we’ve added a few titles to the mix after the last high-end review. Sure, we have the Clevo X7200 we can compare it to, but that’s in another stratosphere as far as pricing and performance. We’ve also got results for some of the games run on various notebooks during the past six month, but there will be a few gaps. Ideally, what we’d really like is to have the updated G73Jh in house with the latest AMD Catalyst drivers, and we could pit that against the 460M with the latest Verde drivers. Unfortunately, since we no longer have the G73Jh around that’s not possible. Here are the standardized results at 1600x900, with a few midrange notebooks thrown into the mix as well. We’ve also included 1080p Medium and High performance from the G73Jw, mostly because there are instances where 1080p High is too much and ideally you want to run at native resolution. So here’s how things pan out.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mass Effect 2

STALKER: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

While you might be tempted to look at the G73Jh results when comparing with the G73Jw, the difference in processor and driver age makes the Clevo W860CU with 5870 a better choice. By that metric, there’s a tie in BFBC2, the G73Jw leads by 8% in STALKER, and it has a rather large 21% lead in DiRT 2. On the other hand, the W860CU with 5870 leads by 33% in L4D2 and 28% in ME2, which makes the comparison in favor of the G73Jh by a small margin. Toss in CUDA and PhysX and it’s pretty easy to call the gaming scores a wash. And while we’re talking percentages, the W880CU with 480M leads the G73Jw with 460M by 12% on average, though there’s an interesting result where the 480M scored lower in STALKER. We’ve seen some pretty healthy performance improvements from the latest 260 NVIDIA drivers, so that’s very likely a factor—and updated drivers is a concern for any of the comparisons.

We also ran some other recent titles on the G73Jw: Mafia II and Metro 2033. We only have results from one other laptop on those titles—the Clevo X7200—so it’s not really a reasonable comparison. We’ll just report the numbers for 1600x900 and 1080p and leave it at that for now. Mafia 2 managed 47 FPS at 900p “High” and 37 at 1080p “High”; dropping to 1080p Medium doesn’t help performance much (within a couple of percent of the High detail result). Metro 2033 is quite a bit more demanding, especially if you enable DX11 and the Depth of Field effect. With DX10 at “High” settings, 900p scores 31 and 1080p scores 24 FPS; DX11 with DOF cuts that down to 18 and 13 FPS, respectively; just going with DX11 (and Tessellation) without DOF only reduces performance by about 10%. Even at DX10 “Medium” the game is still quite demanding, hitting just 35FPS—playable, but not quite liquid smooth.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Mass Effect 2

STALKER: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Jumping to our “Ultra” quality 1080p settings slams into a wall and many of the games drop to unplayable levels. Our comparison right now has the Clevo X7200 and a bunch of desktops, but we'll try to flesh out the charts with other notebooks over the coming months. Focusing on the G73Jw: DiRT 2, L4D2 and ME2 continue to generate results close to 40FPS, but everything else is under 30FPS. BFBC2 and SC2 are in the low to mid 20s, with a last minute beta driver drop from NVIDIA helping SC2. Besides the games shown in the above charts, Mafia II with anti-aliasing got 22FPS and Metro 2033 (DX11) drops into the single digits at just 8.4 FPS. If you want to "max out" the graphics settings on every game, you'll be disappointed, but with a bit of judicious tweaking any game can run at 1080p and still look great.

All testing was done with the shipping 260.63 drivers, but an eleventh hour beta of the 260.99 WHQL driver arrived and we ran a sanity check on the results. The initial 260.99 driver lacked support for the G73Jw, but the beta adds the necessary details and future Verde drivers should all include the G73Jw. Results in SC2 went up, though part of that may have simply been flakiness of using an older version 1.0 replay. Mass Effect 2 also improved a few percent at 900p. The rest of the results were well within the margin of error so the main concern will be anyone that plays Civilization 5, Fallout: New Vegas, Final Fantasy XIV, and Formula 1 Racing where NVIDIA specifically notes performance improvements—and even then, some of the improvements are probably still minor at best.

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

We’ve also got results from 3DMark Vantage and 06 as another aspect of graphics performance. Oddly enough, the G73Jw scores very well in the Entry-Level Vantage score, and essentially matches the W860CU in the Vantage Performance test. 3DMark06 gives the W860CU the win by a fairly large amount over the Jw, with the Jh bringing up the rear. You can take this either as an indication that 3DMark can be similar to certain games, or that it’s not a game and therefore doesn’t matter; we provide the results merely as one more item to look at in the overall picture.

ASUS G73Jw: Out with the Old, In with the New ASUS G73Jw: Application Results
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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    Sorry, you're correct. It's 60GB/s bandwidth and a 192-bit interface, which means the GDDR5 is running at 625MHz and not 1250, or an effective speed of 2.5GHz. I've updated the table. Reply
  • radium69 - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    Hey anand,
    I just bought a MSI GX740 and suggest you review this model aswell!
    The build quality is sturdy and the frame is put together nicely.

    Specs:
    MSI GX740
    Intel Core i5 460M
    2x 2GB DDR 1066
    500GB 7200RPM HDD
    ATi Radeon 5870M

    Comes with a carrying bag and mouse aswell.
    Cost: 1100 euro

    (This is a Dutch version, your versions in the US are cheaper and better equipped!)
    You might want to give it a look, I'm sure you won't be dissapointed.
    Also the battery life is great with it's 9 cell battery (83Wh)

    The asus costs well over 1600 Euro here, so if you compare them the MSI is really budget friendly, without breaking the bank, and sacraficing performance!

    Regards,
    Kevin
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    How's the keyboard feel? I tested the GX640 a while back, and everything was fine other than the horrible keyboard. I would be surprised if the GX740 is much better, but it does have an HD 5870 in there IIRC, and the price is definitely attractive. Reply
  • radium69 - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    The keyboard feels well made! I'm typing from it right now, it might not be as good as the Asus. But I think it is really easy to get used to.

    My desktop PC has a G15 though, and allthough the G15 gives more feedback, I think this MSI keyboard is pretty solid. You should definitely give it a try.

    The only little minus is that the function key is on the CTRL spot. But getting used to that is fairly easy.

    I think it is also light and very portable for a 17"

    Hope to see it in future benchmarks!
    I bought the i5 for its lower TDP and better battery life.
    It can certainly hold it's ground compared to other laptops.

    I can tell that the GX660 (new one 15") Is really gimmicky looking. But the GX740 feels more smooth and has a professional look and feel to it.

    MSI even ships a mouse and carrying bag with it. So that saves you another 50 dollars or so.

    Hope to see it soon on here!
    There is a lot of good stuff on it and it works flawlessy so far.
    Definitely a laptop to review!

    Regards,
    Kevin
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    I'm looking at the laptop on NewEgg and one thing that may make for an odd review is...

    "Resolution 1680 x 1050"

    You'd probably only be able to test it at 1600x900 then since I don't think you guys even benchmark at 1680x1050 anymore... especially since a lot of laptops aren't even 16x10 anymore! :P Unfortunately, only showing 1600x900 wouldn't do much for people looking for performance at its actual settings, but I guess there could just be a table with the 1680x1050 results if there are no other laptops to compare it to at that resolution.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    We test at 1600x900 because it's becoming more common than 1680x1050, but we'd also throw in the native resolution benchmarks (and we'd hook up to an external LCD for 1080p tests as well). I guess all we really need is for MSI to send us a GX740. :-) Reply
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    Ahh good call on the external monitor. I guess I wasn't thinking outside the box... or should I say "case"? ;)

    I certainly find no fault in not testing at 1680x1050 anymore as it isn't very common now that a lot of monitors (external or built into laptops) are running at a 16x9 resolution.

    The MSI laptop did look pretty decent spec-wise though, but the one thing I've always liked about the ASUS is the fact that it has two HDD bays. I don't recall the MSI laptop having that.

    The laptops that have actually disappointed me the most lately have been the newer Dell XPS models... they just seem to still not be centered around... well... good choices. I bought one of the older Dell XPS M1530s back in the day and I still really like the laptop (even with the slow GeForce M8800GT). What disappoints me, is that the 17" XPS, even with the fastest graphics card offering available, does not have a 1080p display option, or at least did not when I tried to configure one. The 15" actually had the 1080p option available, but does not have the fastest GPU as an option... bummer.
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    A gaming laptop that already struggles with today's games at its native resolution? I don't even want to imagine how it's going to run future DX11 games. Reply
  • whatthehey - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    It's all relative. HP and Dell sell "gaming" desktops with 5470 and GT 220 cards, which would be slower than the G73. If your goal is to get a gaming laptop that can max out every game, you better have a lot of money for something like the X7200 or else reset your expectations. Traditionally, gaming laptops have never been capable of maxing out game settings on the latest titles, especially when even desktops need two higher clocked GPUs to manage that. If you look at other gaming laptops (i.e. Clevo models with either HD 5870 or GTX 480M) and how much they cost, the G73Jh/Jw is still an awesome bargain, and it's not quite the eyesore of Clevo notebooks! That's my take anyway. Reply
  • Sufo - Wednesday, November 03, 2010 - link

    Heh, it's all good - apart from the odd title scattered here and there in 2011, you won't be seeing many of those "future DX11 games" till 2012. PC gaming has plateaued until the next round of consoles. Reply

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