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  • ImSpartacus - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Ok, I haven't finished the review yet, but I'm wondering about the extent of the recall that was mentioned at the very beginning of the piece.

    Didn't it just affect the SATAII ports? I thought the two SATA3 portswere unaffected, so most laptops could simply use those ports. I don't know of any laptop that uses more than two hard drives anyway.

    So why would there be any trouble with SNB laptops? Have I misinterpreted the recall?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    This particular laptop has two HDDs, an optical drive, and an eSATA port, so they need at least four "good" SATA ports in an ideal world. Laptops without eSATA and with only a single HDD could still ship and only use the two 6.0Gbps ports, but I'm not sure if anyone has done that. B3 chipset should be available from some places now, with more vendors coming online as the month progresses. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Ohhh, I forgot disk drives use SATA, but I didn't even know eSATA used SATA ports. Can you tell I'm not majoring in IT? Lol. Thanks for the answer. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Oops... correction: no eSATA port on this notebook, so it's just the optical drive and two HDDs. Reply
  • SyndromeOCZ - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Yeah, this laptop is amazingly under-ported. No express card either. Reply
  • Kaboose - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Am i the only one who thinks ASUS dropped the ball on this one? The only real difference i can see from the older G73 is the Sandy bridge CPU, now this isn't a bad thing, however i don't think that warrants the price increase. I got my G73JH-RBBX05 for about $900, I7-720QM, HD 5870m. My laptop for $900 could trade blows in most games with this laptop. I really dont think ASUS has marked this laptop in the right price range. I couldn't see spending more then $1,500 for this.

    Maybe i'm the only one.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    no, if you got urs for 900 then I'd say this worth an extra 200 for the newer components and USB 3.0 and all. I'm guessing that was on sale though. Still, it's obviously marked up too much. And no Optimus? WTF Asus, WTF! Reply
  • ph00ny - Sunday, March 06, 2011 - link

    I dumped my g73jh-a1 after having to deal with all the little quirks with ATI drivers

    I've been waiting for the sandybridge version to pop up and this certainly is a disappointment for missing out on few key features that are essential for a laptop. Also what's wrong with asus for not upgrading the graphics card???

    I'm torn between g73sw, m17x r3 and clevo based units but i'm not sure i can go with non-g73 laptops after enjoying the lack of noise/heat from my g73jh
    Reply
  • ph00ny - Sunday, March 06, 2011 - link

    G73JH-RBBX05 is the water down version with less ram, lower res screen, one less harddrive, no bluray drive etc right? I don't know how comparing your g73 to this g73 unit is a fair comparison Reply
  • Kaboose - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    I have 12GB of RAM at 1333mhz for $120, and then a 64GB SAMSUNG 470 series SSD for $90 so i spent $920 on the laptop and $210 on upgrades so $1,130 total the only thing mine would do worse in is CPU intensive duties. Mine does better in everything else. (the 5870m and 460m are close enough to be equal) Reply
  • ph00ny - Tuesday, March 08, 2011 - link

    What about the higher res screen? laptop bluray drive?
    you're really starting reach with aftermarket this and aftermarket that
    Reply
  • Kaboose - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Blu ray is pointless, i download everything including 1080p movies. the screen isnt a big deal as long as it is bigger then 1336x768 at this size it is fine. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    It's really a mistake not to build a consumer gaming laptop on a hybrid solution. What good is it if it can not work as a portable DTR? We have seen where all the other high-end offerings have gone. People do like a laptop that can say play Starcraft 2 but also likes to actually have the ability to use it unplugged. You shouldn't have to chose any more, you can have portable gaming without making sticking a battery in the unit pointless. It's fine that you have to plug in to play, but not for surfing on a wireless network. Units with high-end quadcores and GTX 485M might as well not have a battery in them. This unit would have done fine just by sticking a HM65 chipset in there though. If your gaming unit isn't working as a portable and you have to use another notebook then you might as well build a stationary machine for gaming. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Exactly! Anandtech needs youtube style comments, I want to like this. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Sorry about the error, but the G73SW actually uses the HM65 chipset. I did a copy/paste/edit of the G73JW table and missed a few items. That said, the system doesn't use the IGP so there's still no Optimus. As I comment below, I think it's because some OEMs don't like dealing with the dual GPUs and the occasional glitch. I can understand the sentiment, and with 17.3" notebooks I think the majority of buyers will rarely use them on DC for more than an hour at a time. Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    MAKE IT 15in and I will buy it.
    17in is just unreasonable for moi.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    But is there a reason this laptop doesn't have Optimus? Nvidia's website says the GPU supports it, so why doesn't this laptop use it? Seriously, it's 2011, ALL laptops should have switheable graphics at this point.

    Also, I'd like to see these specs in a 15.6" shell; and don't crap out of the LCD this time Asus! For 1200 or less.

    I'd also really like to see a 1080p laptop with the GT540M in a 14" class laptop.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    oh and a note and that price I suggested; I don't need blue ray. I wouldn't ever even use it. I t hold absolutely no value for me at all. Really it doesn't even NEED a dvd drive. I can plug in an external one if for some reason I need to load something off a disc. I just use hard drives and thumb drives for everything now a days. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Regarding Optimus, because it's a driver solution based on profiles, there are still occasional glitches. I've discussed this in previous articles (i.e. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4139/cougar-point-xp... However, the occasional Optimus issue is overshadowed by the much better battery life and QuickSync support, so I'm with you guys. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    There a few notebooks I'd REALLY love to see reviewed.

    Clevo: P151HM1, W150HN. Both with 1080p screen. The first has the GTX460M and the second has the GT540M. I already have a solid idea of performance with the given parts, but I'm very interested in speaker quality, chassis quality, keyboard quality. Things Jarred, you tend to hit on well. Unfortunately these still aren't available in actual stores so the only way I can find this stuff out is a really good review; or buy it and take that risk.

    Compal: I don't know the model number cause I can't find it anywhere anymore but a 15.6" 1080p Compal with the GT540M and Sandy Bridge.

    What are the chances of getting these in house for a review? And what kind of time frame would we be looking at? Thanks!
    Reply
  • Frallan - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    I bought an old ASUS gaming lappy with turbo and the 6800GT in it it has served for a long time now and has been demoted to girlfriend computer now. So Im in the market for a new gaming lappy. BUT when spending that much money I want to have decent performance.

    Therefore I will wait until there is a good sandy brige / GPU combo is out there. Id like it to come from ASUS bc of the good experience Ive had with the old Lappy but if this is what they will have then they\re out of the game.

    BR
    /F
    Reply
  • jcandle - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    "Contenders like the MSI GT680R (going for $1475 online) offer nearly identical specs"

    Hey Jarred, how is that a contender? The MSI is a 15 and the Asus is a 17. I have no idea why but bigger in gaming notebooks generally translates to more expensive. Perhaps manufacturers are betting gamers place value on tonnage.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    It's a gaming notebook, therefore it's a contender. The ASUS G53SW is also in the rink, along with Clevo P150HM and P170HM. I'm also a bit surprised that there are essentially equivalent spec notebooks that are smaller and cost less; that's usually not the case. Perhaps the high contrast HannStar LCD is adding more to the total than I think? Reply
  • jcandle - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    That's exactly my point. Its not an apples to apples comparison because Asus does have the G53SW that essentially the same machine with 1 less HDD with a much lower price point resolving the pricing issue you were so lamenting. You can't compare a 17" machine and says its more expensive than a 15" when similar offering from companies like Dell with Alienware are doing exactly the same thing. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    The MSI still supports two HDDs, though, which means the only difference is the overall design elements and the LCD size. The LCD should be a wash, really (both are 1080p, so maybe $25-$50 difference at most). ASUS has the keyboard backlighting and better thermals. Do those three items add up to a nearly $300 price difference? I don't think so.

    If you go with the ASUS G53SW-XR1 and compare that to the MSI, you still have to factor in the single HDD. I'm also a bit concerned that ASUS might be selling some B2 stepping chipsets with a single HDD, but I don't know for sure if that's the case. Will the Cougar Point bug affect the DVDR or eSATA down the line, or if you add a second HDD/SSD will that be a problem? Hopefully I'm wrong and they're not selling any B2 chipsets in the G53/73 chassis.

    Anyway, I've edited the text slightly to clarify that I'm looking at all similar performance gaming notebooks, not necessarily just "all 17.3-inch heavyweight contenders". :-)
    Reply
  • jcandle - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Don't get me wrong I'm backing you up on the point that "essentially equivalent spec notebooks that are smaller and cost less" Maybe there should be some investigating to find out why manufacturers are simply bumping up the form factor and asking for a non-proportional $300 price difference. Reply
  • mattwco - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    When stock levels come back, there's an -XR1 variant that has one HDD and a DVD-RW for $1400. It may have a lesser warranty as well.

    If you're comparing the G73SW to other laptops, please note that there's more than one G73SW. BTW, the 3D version is also coming back in stock at ~$1900.
    Reply
  • mattwco - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Jarred mentioned the XR1 version above. Several other variants are available at different price points. The -B3 has a better warranty than the -A1.

    Example, not company recommendation:
    http://pro-star.com/index.cfm?mainpage=product&...

    Also, the laptops with the fixed chipset are explicitly labeled so on the laptop and on the box.

    http://www.asus.com/News.aspx?N_ID=Bdmf9rXuqU29SRs...
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    8GB is thoroughly pointless, as is a quad core.

    I'd much rather have a higher clocked dual core for gaming... 4GB RAM is just fine..

    ... and mechanical disks? One SSD, one Mechanical disk is the correct way.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    I should note, on my dual/quad comment, I meant that a higher clocked dual core would be a better tradeoff for performance/power use in the vast majority of games. Obviously a high clocked quad is the best of all worlds. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Turbo negates much of your comment. Reply
  • bennyg - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    Good thing designers don't just ask you for your opinion and consider what others use.

    8Gb is not pointless, I run up against the limits of 4Gb all the time.

    Granted, some dualcore arrandales were better than clarksfields were better than the quadcores, but:
    1) this is comparing highest-end dual core vs lowest-end quad (i7 620M approx i7 720qm). Higher clocked quads esp. the XMs were still faster than the arrandales.
    2) clarksfield was not a native mobile chip, it was a downclocked undervolted lynnfield released many months before
    3) the total *work* which the quad cores can do is higher, the issue is optimisation of workloads, in particular games are pretty bad at using a 3rd and 4th core, and especially so when Turbo means that 3rd and 4th core use come at a clockspeed disadvantage if you want to think of it that way. I.E. the quad is slower because software doesn't use it well enough
    4) the usage patterns and power of the i7 quads could be much better utilised but Intel locked all the Turbo logic away on-die except for the XMs. Meaning overclocking a QM can actually *decrease* performance due to preset limits causing less Turbo-ing. Hell, the BIOS in my laptop has absolutely nothing, I can't even disable hyperthreading - to reallocate more of the supposedly "unified" L3 to each core...

    There is *so* much more the quads could have offered but tweakability was hugely reduced compared with the C2D/Qs.
    Reply
  • bennyg - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    bleh no edit feature

    Of course the point I missed (along with all the typos) was that we are now in the era of Sandy Bridge and "Turboboost 2.0", Nehalem and Turboboost is old news, and so are the opinions based off it.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Depends how hard you use your system. My work laptop with MSSQL and VIsual Studio 2010 running in addition to the normal set of office apps regularly uses 5-6GB of memory. My heavily used destop (I7-930) is currently sitting at 12GB used (~10GB excluding BOINC). Reply
  • DooDoo22 - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Please include comparisons to the new MBPs in your next laptop review. It is easier to judge the relative merits of these dime-store versions when we have a reference model like the MBP. Reply
  • laytoncy - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    How does the GT 555M 3GB that is in the new XPS 17" from Dell stack up to the 460M or GTX485M? Reply
  • Kaboose - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    To my knowledge the GT 555m is the GT 445m clocked higher, here is a quote from notebookcheck

    "We tested the gaming performance of the GeForce GT 555M with DDR3 graphics memory in a pre sample of the Dell XPS 17. The synthetic benchmarks show a performance slightly above the old GeForce 9800M GT. GDDR5 versions should be slightly faster. Therefore, nearly all current demanding games should run fluently in 1366x768 and high detail settings. Only extremely demanding games like Metro 2033 will only run in medium detail settings. Older and low demanding games like Fifa 11 should run in high detail settings and Full HD resolution"

    This is what they had to say about the GTX 460m

    "We ran a set of benchmarks on an early pre-sample of a Qosmio X500 with a 740QM CPU. In the synthetic benchmarks, the GTX 460M was on par with the DDR3 based Mobility Radeon HD 5850. In actual game benchmarks and tests, the performance was better than a HD 5850 with GDDR5 on average. In some cases (e.g., Unigine Heaven 2.1 and Dirt 2 Demo), the card even beat a Mobility Radeon HD 5870. On average, the GF100 based GTX 480M was about 8-18% faster. The detailled benchmark and gaming results (including charts) can be found below"

    So they arent really very close in performance the GT 540m is the low end gaming the GT 555m is a step in the right direction but not into the "gaming" area yet.
    Reply
  • rscoot - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Playing a little bit of guitar before you wrote this article Jarred? :P Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Whoops... Freudian slip or something. ;) Reply
  • Pessimism - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    chord != cord Reply
  • parthgh - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    " So far, no one has been willing to try NVIDIA’s Optimus Technology with any mobile GPU faster than the GT 435M, although we hear there’s a GT 555M Optimus notebook coming some time in 1H’11."

    I guess XPS 17 has already launched and has Optimus enabled (apart from the 3D version).
    Also the XPS 17 before SB revision had GT 445M with optimus enabled.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Still not faster than 460M... I didn't realize Dell upped the XPS 17 to the GT 555M, though. Interesting, and something I'll try to get them to send me now. Thank goodness they're now doing Optimus on all GPUs!

    Someone above asked about how they compare in performance, though. 460M has 192 cores at 675MHz with 2500MHz (effective) RAM. 555M has 144 cores at 590MHz with 1800MHz (effective) RAM. Note that 460M uses GDDR5 by default where the 555M goes with DDR3 by default. So the net result is 460M has 52.5% more computational power and 38.9% more memory bandwidth. I'd say GT 555M will be good for medium detail at 1080p, or high detail at 900p (give or take).
    Reply
  • Drooosh - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    FYI - They won't allow you to get the good 1080P screen with Optimus. For some reason if you get the 1080P screen they force you to have it configured for 3D/120Hz which requires the 555M be enabled full time and thus no Optimus.

    I would bet that most customers are like me and would prefer Optimus over 3D. If they gave me FHD, 555M, and Optimus, I would by now.

    Jarred, do you know of anyone that will have 555M or better switchable graphics, 1080P, and a backlit keyboard in a 15 or 17"? Lenovo or MSI may have thiese soon it appears?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Right now, I'm not aware of anything like that. I don't know why Dell insists on doing weird things like killing Optimus support with certain upgrades. Perhaps Optimus doesn't work quite right with 3D at present? Heck, I'd just as soon skip all the 3D notebooks--the 120Hz panel is fine, but 3D just doesn't do anything for me.

    I've asked my NVIDIA contacts if there are any current/upcoming laptops with your above feature list. I've also asked them why no one appears to be willing to use Optimus with 460M or better. We'll see if they respond with any useful information. :-)
    Reply
  • bennyg - Monday, March 07, 2011 - link

    I heard rumours it's the way Optimus works sending the data from GPU to onboard gfx, the sheer amount of data pushed from high-end GPU to iGPU saturates that link, so midrange is OK but high-end suffers bigtime performance issues

    It does seem ridiculous that every SB laptop has the hardware to run ridiculous battery life (sans GPU of course) but not the drivers to allow it.

    I don't care about Optimus and profiles. Give me a switch or a combo box and that will be better since I'll be in control not some numbskill algorithm. Just give me switching already!!!
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    In the Futuremark 3DMark Vantage Performance Score table on page 2 you have the wrong MSI laptop highlighted red.

    In the previous reviews I somehow missed how massive this laptop is, this time I noticed what a small portion of the chassis the 75WHr battery takes.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Thanks - the 3DMark Vantage chart is now correct. Also, I've added two more pictures to the gallery, this time with a tape measure in place. You can see the diagonal of the G73 chassis is about 20 inches (in a 17.3"-screen chassis...), and the Compal SNB unit we looked at in December also has a 17.3" LCD but the chassis is almost an inch smaller on the diagonal (and it's still got a lot of extra room for the large hinge). I'd like to see a 17.3" LCD in a chassis that's no more than 18.5", but I doubt that will happen. Reply
  • NaterGator - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    As a G73SW owner I can absolutely 100% promise you this thing does not have an eSATA port anywhere to be found.

    Look over the unit they sent you again, but in the production unit I got from Amazon over a month ago there is most assuredly no eSATA. It is the only thing that frustrates me about this laptop, but the USB3.0 port makes up for it.
    Reply
  • NaterGator - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    Also, the screen flickering issue is a known bug with the nVidia drivers.

    Downgrade them to a 265 version and the flickering will stop.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    I don't have that flickering problem on any other NVIDIA based laptops, though. Maybe it's localized to the G73SW for some reason? Anyway, you're correct about eSATA. Sorry for the error. Reply
  • NaterGator - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    You are correct, for some reason it is a G73SW problem. nVidia suggested they were aware of the problem and implementing a fix, but the most recent driver release (March 2011) still has the flickering problem.

    There is a thread in the nVidia forums about it here:
    http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=19101...
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    My understanding is the jw (and now sw) models that ship with the Geforce GTX 460 didn't have this problem.

    The G73jh that shipped with the Radeon 5870 had a gray screen of death caused by the GPU. Supposedly that was eventually (4+ months? last year) fixed with a video BIOS update, although I'm unclear as to whether it was posted on Asus' site, or just available from resellers as kind of a "if it crashes, install this" thing. Supposedly it was a problem with the 5870.

    Anyway, still a nice level of performance, though yeah, I'd love a GTX 470 or something. I'm not sure though...did the review explain the recall situation? I mean if you buy one now (or when they show up again), that means it's shipping with a fixed chipset (err...chip...southbridge...whatever it's called now), I assume, since the system uses what, 3-4 SATA ports? I guess HP's Envy 17 and Dell's M17x-R3 must be fixed now too...
    Reply
  • Bolas - Friday, March 04, 2011 - link

    You can get this computer cheaper than $1745 from www.xoticpc.com if you pay cash instead of credit.

    http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-g73swa1-republic-gamer...

    http://www.xoticpc.com/advanced_search_result.php?...
    Reply
  • mattwco - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    The pricing investigation was fairly cursory for this article. Though stock levels remain low due to the recall, you can get a variant of this for ~$1400. Google is your friend. "G73SW-XR1" Reply
  • jas71 - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know when asus will start using the gtx 485m. I would like to get an asus but the the I will just get a clevo if asus doesn't use the 485 soon Reply
  • jas71 - Saturday, March 05, 2011 - link

    lol "the the" it's too late at night for me Reply

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