Feature Comparison

With several different laptops to compare, the easiest way to highlight their differences is to begin by looking at features. Before we do that, however, it is interesting to note how marketing looks at these laptops. The ASUS A8JS is marketed as an all-around multimedia/entertainment laptop suitable for just about any use; although it may not always be the best laptop for a particular job, it does well as a jack of all trades. The ASUS G2P on the other hand is marketed as a "gamer's laptop". The larger display and exterior styling does perhaps fit that market better, and there are a few other areas that make the G2P more suitable for gaming purposes. Oddly enough, perhaps the key component in any gaming computer is going to be the graphics card, and here the G2P definitely falls short. The ABS Mayhem Z5 is also supposed to be a gamer's notebook, only here the component selection seems to justify the categorization, as it comes equipped with NVIDIA's GeForce Go 7900 GTX.

You can almost always guess at some of the basic features and components that are going to go into a laptop with knowledge of only two areas: display size and price. Laptop chassis are almost always built around the display, with the case being slightly larger than the LCD. Depending on how far you want to break things down, there are several classifications of laptop sizes. The smallest models are ultraportables, with LCDs that are 12 inches or smaller and a total laptop weight that's usually under 4 pounds (not including all of the potential accessories). The most common laptops feature 14"-15" displays and weigh somewhere between 4 and 6 pounds, perhaps slightly more. Finally, you have the notebook/desktop replacement models that come with 17" or larger displays and usually weigh 8 pounds or more. Equivalent performance generally becomes more expensive as laptops become smaller, and performance options also become more limited with the smaller units. This makes sense, as the more powerful components that go into desktop replacement models are simply too large and hot to fit into an ultraportable chassis.

The A8JS is a typical 14" widescreen laptop, while the G2P is a 17" widescreen notebook. Despite the various differences we will outline shortly, retail prices on both of these laptop models (as tested) should be about the same - $1900 give or take, although we will have more to say concerning pricing in a moment. The ABS Mayhem Z5 is also a 17" notebook, but the higher-end components bump the price of our particular configuration up to around $2900. Here's a quick overview of the features.

System Configuration Options
ASUS A8JS ASUS G2P ABS Mayhem Z5
Processor Core 2 Duo T7600, T7400, T7200, T5600, T5500 Core 2 Duo T7600, T7400, T7200, T5600, T5500 Core 2 Duo T7600, T7400, T7200, T5600, Core Duo T2600, T2500, T2400
Chipset Intel 945PM + ICH7M Intel 945PM 64-bit Dual-Channel Intel 945PM 64-bit Dual-Channel
FSB Speeds Up to 667 MHz Up to 667 MHz Up to 667 MHz
Memory Speeds DDR2-400, DDR2-533, DDR2-667 DDR2-533, DDR2-667 DDR2-533, DDR2-667
Memory Slots (2) x SO-DIMM, up to 2GB, DDR2, Dual Channel supported (2) x SO-DIMM, up to 2GB, DDR2, Dual Channel supported (2) x SO-DIMM, up to 2GB, DDR2, Dual Channel supported
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce Go 7700
512MB Physical VRAM
2D Clocks: 100/270
3D Clocks: 450/800
ATI Mobility Readeon X1700 GPU
512MB Physical VRAM
3D Clocks: 459/990
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GTX
512MB Physical VRAM
2D Clocks: 100/220
3D Clocks: 500/1200
Display 14" WXGA+ (1440x900) ColorShine LCD 17.0" WXGA+ (1440x900) ColorShine TFT LCD 17" WUXGA (1920x1200) SuperClear LCD
Expansion Slots One ExpressCard 54 One ExpressCard 54 One ExpressCard 54
Hard Drive 80/100/120GB 7200 RPM 80/100/120/160GB 5400 RPM 80/100/120/160GB 5400 RPM or 80/100/120GB 7200 RPM
Optical Drive 8X DVD+/-RW 8X DVD+/-RW 8X DVD+/-RW
Networking / Communications Integrated 10/100/1000 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet and V.90 56K Modem
Intel 3945ABG (802.11A/B/G) Mini PCI Wireless
Integrated 10/100/1000 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet and V.90 56K Modem
Intel 3945ABG (802.11A/B/G) Mini PCI Wireless
Integrated 10/100/1000 PCIe Gigabit Ethernet and V.90 56K Modem
Intel 3945ABG (802.11A/B/G) Mini PCI Wireless
Audio SoundMax HD 2.1 Realtek ALC882 5.1 HD Realtek ALC880 7.1 HD
Left I/O Ports 1 x USB 2.0
1 x Firewire
Microphone
Headphone
Flash reader (SD, CF, MS)
ExpressCard 54
None None
Right I/O Ports 2 USB2.0, Infrared 1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x RJ11 Modem
1 x USB 2.0
1 x Firewire
1 x e-SATA
1 x TV-In
Headphone
Microphone
Line-In
Flash reader (SD, CF, MS)
ExpressCard 54
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Firewire
Headphone
Microphone
Flash reader (SD, CF, MS)
ExpressCard 54
Back I/O Ports 1 x RJ45 LAN
2 x USB 2.0
1 x RJ11 Modem
1 x DVI-D
1 x VGA
1 x TV-Out
4 x USB 2.0
1 x DVI-D
1 x VGA
1 x TV-Out
Line-In
Line Out
2 x USB 2.0
1 x RJ45 LAN
1 x RJ11 Modem
1 x DVI-D
1 x TV-In
1 x TV-Out
1 x Serial
Keyboard 86 Key QWERTY 88 Key QWERTY 99 Key QWERTY plus Numpad
Battery 6-Cell 53WHr/4800 mAHr Lithium Ion 8-Cell 71WHr/4800 mAHr Lithium Ion 8-Cell 65WHr/4400 mAHr Lithium Ion
Dimensions 1.5"x13.2"x9.6" (HxWxD)
5.3 lbs.
1.8"x16.2"x12.4" (HxWxD)
9.7 lbs.
1.8"x15.6"x11.5" (HxWxD)
9.35 lbs.
Power Adapter 90W 90W 130W

Most of the included components are nearly identical, with the same T7200 CPU in all three laptops, as well as similar DDR2-667 memory. The laptops all list 2GB of RAM as the maximum supported, and while they really should support 2GB SO-DIMM modules, right now such memory is so prohibitively expensive that it's not a major concern for most people. Whether or not a BIOS update will add such support in the future is unknown, so don't count on it - if you need 4GB of RAM in a notebook, get a model that officially supports it and be ready to fork out $1000 or more for 2x2GB of RAM. While all three have different hard drives, that generally won't affect performance except in a few hard disk intensive applications/benchmarks.

The A8JS is obviously a smaller chassis along with the 14" display. Both ASUS models still come with a native resolution of 1440x900 (WXGA+) though, which is a rather low for a 17" laptop display. However, the response time on the G2P display is rated at 8ms, which is better than most other laptop displays. The ABS Z5 goes with a much higher WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution LCD, which is more common on high-end 17" notebooks, although the response time seems to be closer to 16ms and it's not nearly as bright. In practice we found the response times were not a serious factor in choosing between the displays, but the image quality still varied quite a bit.

Going along with the difference in displays is the aforementioned change in graphics chips. As we'll see later the G2P's Radeon Mobility X1700 ends up being quite a bit slower than the A8JS' GeForce Go 7700, and it's hardly surprising that the GeForce Go 7900 GTX is significantly faster than the 7700. The added speed of the 7900 GTX is definitely necessary if you want to game at the native LCD resolution. Besides the chassis and keyboard differences and a few miscellaneous extras that we'll cover in the individual sections, about the only other noteworthy area where the laptops vary is the audio.

The G2P supports 5.1 audio output via three audio jacks, while the A8Js only provides two audio jacks limiting it to 2.1 audio. ASUS does support S/PDIF optical out via the headphone jack on both laptops, so users looking to connect to digital speakers can still get 5.1 audio that way. The ABS Mayhem Z5 does the right thing and includes four audio jacks, allowing the use of 5.1 audio along with a microphone, or 7.1 audio without a microphone. One of the jacks can also support digital audio out, though not via an optical connection. The only problem with the ABS audio implementation is the location of the jacks, as two are on the side and two are on the rear, with about 10 inches between the two; getting many speakers cables to reach all the necessary jacks can be very difficult (i.e. Logitech's Z-640 and X-530 both have to stretch and you end up with taut wires running underneath the laptop). We would like to have all four ports close together, but even more important we want to see ASUS and others add at least a third and preferably a fourth jack, as even on a 14" chassis there is ample room to add a couple extra ports.

As far as first impressions go, all three laptops offer a good set of features and performance. Unfortunately, as we will see later, the choice of graphics chip definitely makes the G2P unworthy of the "gaming laptop" marketing. ATI's X1600 graphics chips have always offered lackluster performance relative to the competition - X1600 XT cards were only slightly faster than GeForce 6600 GTs, and the 7600 GT is easily able to maintain a performance lead. The situation has not changed much when comparing the Radeon Mobility X1700 with the GeForce Go 7700. The X1700 could have other advantages over the 7700, for example it might require less power allowing for increased battery life, or it might provide better multimedia functions. If 3D performance is lower than the competition, however, most gamers aren't going to care about getting more battery life from their laptop.

Immediately then, it appears that the target market of the G2P will not be satisfied; whether or not the G2P can provide compelling performance and features that others might still want remains to be seen. As is typical of true gaming notebooks, the cost of the ABS Mayhem Z5 is quite a bit higher than competing models. Looking at the market pricing, the inclusion of a GeForce Go 7900 GTX appears to add well over $500 to the total cost of a laptop, which isn't surprising considering desktop 7900 GTX cards cost about $400.

Having finished this quick overview, we want to take a closer look at each laptop. Even though many of the features are the same, at least on the surface, there are still some noteworthy differences - and similarities - that a features table glosses over. After we have finished looking at the details of each laptop, we will provide some real-world performance comparisons between these laptops as well as some of the other recently reviewed notebooks.

Index ASUS A8JS – Exterior and Features
POST A COMMENT

17 Comments

View All Comments

  • Ajax9000 - Sunday, January 07, 2007 - link

    Some of us want a highly portable computer that can can drive a big screen at home or work. For us, a 13" or 14" laptop with (say) a Go7700+DL-DVI is actually way more useful than a 17" laptop with DL-DVI. Gaming isn't a priority for us and the 17" is too big for good portability and just gets in the way when used with a big screen on a desk. Reply
  • tinus - Thursday, January 04, 2007 - link

    Why did you not include the Asus G1 laptop in the comparison, since you dislike the gpu on the G2 laptop? I would have loved to see a comparison between the A8js and the G1, since the only difference between the two ought to be the screen (both feature a Geforce Go 7700). Especially since you say that the screen on the G2 is so much better than that on the A8Js. If nothing else, I would much appreciate any comments regarding the G1 since i am looking a replacement for my current laptop, and the G1 seems to fit me perfectly. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, January 04, 2007 - link

    Unfortunately, ASUS sent me the G2P - as I've frequently commented, we basically review what we get. I don't know why, as the G1 seems better overall. G1 is a 15.4" though, so the display may not be as good - without seeing it in person, I can't say, although I can put in a request to ASUS to get a G1 for review if you'd like. G1 also comes with either a 1280x800 (YUCK!) LCD or a 1680x1050 (HOORAY!) LCD - but if they're both more like the A8J LCD than the G2P then it's still sort of a wash as to which is best. Reply
  • tinus - Friday, January 05, 2007 - link

    Thanks for the reply, but no, you do not have to request the G1, because I already found a review of it on another site, and they claim that it is the same screen as on the G2.
    And yes, the 1680x1050 screen would be perfect!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Friday, January 05, 2007 - link

    It can't be the same display, as the G1 is a 15.4" LCD and the G2 is a 17" LCD. Now, if it's the same quality overall, that would be good, and hopefully that's what you meant. :) Reply
  • tinus - Sunday, January 07, 2007 - link

    Yea well.. you understand what I wanted to say ;) Reply
  • customcoms - Saturday, December 30, 2006 - link

    on this page: http://anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=2899&am...">http://anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=2899&am...

    there is some mislabeling of the pictures (between the Asus G2P and the A8JS). It clear that this page is talking about the G2P but the article should still be fixed!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, December 30, 2006 - link

    This is the second image-related complaint, and again I'm a bit confused. Page 5 is definitely showing the G2P images, at least for me. I have no idea what you're seeing that convinces you otherwise, but please check it again and if you really aren't seeing the right images take a screenshot so I can figure out what you *are* seeing. Also, information on what browser and OS you're using could be helpful. Reply
  • yacoub - Saturday, December 30, 2006 - link

    I found this review article very worthwhile. That Asus "gaming" laptop, however, is a joke with that GPU. =( Reply
  • Tommyguns - Monday, January 01, 2007 - link

    I agree. Very happy seeing this review done. I've been looking at getting a laptop for awhile now and waited on the C2D's. Was gonna pick one up, but for the money vs performance, I was far too disapointed with the current GPU results. It seems there are reviews for all the desktop GPU's and graphed ect... but its impossible to get a clear understanding on the laptop side. X1600 was looking good. Perhaps a mass peformance testing of most of the current GPU's?

    Yeah, so basicly i am just really confused on how all these chips compare. Thanks for the review!
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now