ASUS G73Jh – Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

Depending on your viewpoint, either the G73Jh is an awe-inspiring stealthy (i.e. Stealth Bomber) notebook… or it's a drab looking black behemoth. I'm inclined to go with the former opinion and find that the G73Jh really fits my personality, but others will probably hate it. Obviously, this isn't going to appeal to fans of the MacBook aesthetic, and it's not meant to. The black coating is the same soft touch rubberized paint found on the N61Jv, only this time it's on the palm rest and cover.

The interior continues the all-black motif. We were very pleased to see that there's no glossiness on any of the surfaces, except for the LCD panel. As Anand mentioned in our recent MacBook Pro review, we generally recommend matte LCDs for laptops that you intend to use outside, while most people like glossy panels for primarily indoor use. Given the size, performance, and generally low battery life it's a safe bet that you're not going to use the G73Jh outside much, so the glossy LCD works fine. Glossy LCDs also tend to improve contrast ratio by about 20%, so where the ASUS Eee 1001p had an 800:1 contrast ratio the G73Jh rates 1000:1.

The keyboard is a full size chiclet layout, with a dedicated number keypad. Again, we don't really like the half-sized "0" key on the 10-key, as we naturally hit the right arrow key with are thumb when using it for numerical data entry. Considering there's a good one inch margin on either side of the keyboard, we'd like to see ASUS move the 10-key over a bit and make room for a double-size (standard) "0" key. Otherwise, the keyboard is generally fine as far as chiclet keyboards go, with good spacing and a decent throw on the keys. We'd like a bit more travel, and even better would be something more in line with the classic ThinkPad keyboard, but we would rate the keyboard as above average overall. Another nice bonus on the keyboard side of things is the LED backlighting, perfect for LAN parties or gaming in the dark.

The palm rest is very large and spacious, and its paired with one of the largest touchpads this side of Texas. That's the good news. The bad news is that the touchpad buttons require a firm press to register, and they're on a large rocker instead of being independent buttons. The touchpad supports all the latest multi-touch gestures and works better than most touchpads we've used, but separate buttons would have made it better. Of course, if you're playing games you're going to want a real mouse, and ASUS packs a nice Razer Abyssus ($30 value) into the A2 package. The Abyssus includes two switches on the bottom to change between 125 and 1000 Hz polling and 450/1800/3500 DPI. It's not the best Razer mouse I've ever used, but it handles gaming without any complaints from me.

Perhaps most impressive out of the whole package is that the system runs stable and never gets overly hot or overly loud. At idle, the G73Jh purrs along at a very quiet 33dB; that's not "silent" but it's not intrusive either. What's better is that even under a full load (x264 encoding with 3DMark looping in the background) the notebook still maintains its calm demeanor. At maximum load, fan speed increases just a hair and the noise output is 35dB. Compared to the Clevo W870CU (which idles at 35 dB and can hit 42 dB under load), the G73Jh is very stealthy indeed!

As you might expect from the noise levels, temperatures are also excellent—perhaps the best we've ever tested, and certainly the lowest we've seen on a gaming notebook. The palm rests stay at room temperature while the touchpad is a few degrees warmer. The rear of the chassis is about 5C hotter, but we're still only talking about 31C maximum. Love it or hate it, the wedge-shaped design certainly does the job when it comes to cooling. ASUS puts a couple huge vents at the back of the G73Jh, and their size and location means you don't need a mini-vacuum fan in your notebook. The tall rear of the G73Jh also lets ASUS put in a large 75Wh battery without pushing a bunch of other pieces out of the way, so you can still get 1.5 to 2.0 hours of mobility in a pinch. Video playback doesn't fare as well, lasting only 80 minutes, but you didn't really expect more than that did you?

The ASUS G73Jh is all about putting your money where it matters most, and in this case that means delivering great gaming performance with an LCD that's a pleasure to use. The matte RGB LED backlit panel in the Dell Precision M6500 still takes the cake for the best laptop LCD we've every used, but that particular panel would eat up about 1/3 of the total G73Jh price. As long as you want high performance—size and battery life be damned!—the G73Jh delivers on all fronts. Let's see just how fast AMD's latest mobile GPU is compared to the competition.

ASUS G73Jh: Today's Top Gaming Laptop G73Jh: Test System and Benchmark Setup
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  • ATC9001 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    One thing I'd like to point out Jarred is that you didn't mention the G73's lack of hardware RAID support. This was actually the deal breaker for me. If a laptop is going to offer dual HDD's and is 17", it really needs to offer RAID. I was about to go with the W870CU, when I figured I could get a more portable (use on the couch) W860CU with nearly the same specs and price. Overall though it's a great laptop, but I think it needs to be dinged and noted that theres no RAID.
    I ended up building my own Clevo based W860CU...with the differences being 15.4", 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, and i7 620m for the same price the reviewed model....now granted I do have to put it together, and if a reseller were to build it they'd charge ~1700-1800 or so.
    Reply
  • coolsam2 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I would agree with you - but then I believe a better setup is SSD + Spindle HD.. You will beat the performance of the SSD, but won't need to worry about the data loss as in the case of RAID0.. The 750 2.5" HD is already out, right? Reply
  • coolsam2 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    *I mean the SSD would beat the performance of the RAID.. I need to sleep! Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    ... Unless you RAID two SSDs... :) Reply
  • dvsman - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I had my 2 Samsung 256gb SSDs in RAID 0 in my Gateway FX P6831 and it was definitely fast BUT the problem I've come to discover is that RAID setups do not support TRIM / Garbage Collection whereas Win 7 will support these functions individually right out of the box. If you know anything about SSDs then you know TRIM / GC is essential.

    I've since split the pair to a SSD boot + conventional HD storage setup in my 2 laptops that support 2 drives (the gateway above and my newish Asus G51J). Plus it makes cloning (for restore or backup) alot easier. Try cloning a raid setup off of a laptop, its a A>B>C then C>A kinda thing that wastes your whole day!
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I would think there's a fairly low number of people who would be using this laptop as gaming PC replacement AND do work on it at the same time(I doubt the games need RAID do they?). Those really dedicated to having their work safe with RAID would get a separate PC to deal with that just solely for work (if they don't have one put aside already), so you're probably amongst the very small minority who are bemoaning the lack of RAID here. Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    RAID will not make your work safe. If you're worried about your work being safe you should be doing regular backups, not relying on RAID 1 as data is written in real time to both drives. RAID 1 only helps protect against data loss due to hardware failure. As I said, if you're that concerned about the integrity if your data, you better have a backup and then you may as well just put the drives in RAID 0 and get the performance increase. Reply
  • arkcom - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Raid was the deal breaker, yet you didn't even use it in your build? Reply
  • coolsam2 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Just sold my Asus G51vx-a1 and might jump into this.. I hated the 'hotness' of the G51 with all the undervolting etc. etc. it was still very hot.. i'm pleased to read this runs a lot cooler (could have used some direct numbers or charts though).. might just get rid of my desktop with a 4870x2.

    Anyways I do have one recommendation and a very fair one - Can we get comparisons @ 1920*1200? Many of us are going to replace our desktops with this which doesn't necessarily mean replace the nice LCDs we all have. I would have this laptop (if I owned one) hooked up to the 24" LCD and run games at 1920*1200. It's sad that they won't do 1200p on laptops and 1080p is becoming more of the standard. I've a Dell Studio 1537 with a 1920*1200 CCFL and still I decided to get rid of the G51 and keep my Dell - for some people screen estate is just that important..

    except for the missing data on temps (or did I miss it) excellent article.
    Reply
  • ATC9001 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    It's hard to do a fair comparison since mobile CPU's often difficult or the reviews are done with CPU's faster than the mobile counterpart (which is to be expected). But here's a review comparing the desktop 5770 (basically 5870m) and your desktop 4870X2...your X2 is obviously faster...
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2856

    Putting an SSD is smart I agree, but for me as a gamer, I want RAID'd SSD's! I can Tony Trim the drives when I want as well, and I think very soon if not already Intel may have a solution for TRIM'd arrays.

    This is still a great laptop, but that I'm a RAID junky.
    Reply

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