G73Jh: Test System and Benchmark Setup

Unlike the HD 5650 in the Acer 5740G, the HD 5870 is actually powerful enough to run games at high detail with DirectX 11 enabled. There are still times where you'll need to turn off a few settings (STALKER: Call of Pripyat with SSAO and all other features enabled will run at under 20 FPS at 1080p), but at reasonable settings without antialiasing you can get over 30FPS. Of course, some of the less demanding titles (e.g. Left 4 Dead 2) can run with 4xAA and maximum detail and still push 60+ FPS. As mentioned earlier, the Mobility HD 5870 is really more like the desktop HD 5770 (800 Stream Processors), and you should set your expectations accordingly. NVIDIA certainly isn't in a better position on laptops, where their top SKU is the GTX 285M—essentially a mobile version of the old 9800 GTX desktop chip with 128 CUDA Cores—and they don't even have a mobile DX11 alternative. Really, if you're after the fastest mobile GPU right now, it would have to be the HD 5870. SLI and CrossFire solutions would still be faster, but we prefer a single GPU if possible as it alleviates driver and game compatibility headaches.

Speaking of drivers, we mentioned back in February that AMD had committed to a new mobile driver program where they would roll out desktop and mobile drivers simultaneously. Some expressed skepticism, but so far AMD has kept their promise and the latest 10.3 Catalyst drivers work with most ATI-equipped notebooks. The exceptions are Toshiba, Sony, and Panasonic notebooks (presumably because those OEMs opted out of AMD's mobile driver program), as well as ATI-equipped laptops with switchable graphics. Remember NVIDIA's Optimus story where they said releasing updated drivers for switchable graphics was extremely difficult? Well, they appear to be right, as neither NVIDIA nor ATI have provided updated drivers for switchable graphics to date. In fact, that's the primary reason the Alienware M11x didn’t get an Editors' Choice award. If you want updated drivers, it appears discrete only or Optimus are the only current solutions with support.

Okay, enough stalling. Here's a recap of the system specs for the ASUS G73Jh-A2. Then we'll get right to the interesting stuff: gaming performance.

ASUS G73Jh-A2 Testbed
Processor Intel Core i7-720QM
(4x1.60GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, Turbo to 2.80GHz, 45W)
Memory 4x2GB DDR3-1333 (Max 4x2GB)
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 1GB 128-bit GDDR5
800 SPs, 700/1.0GHz Core/RAM clocks (4.0GHz effective)
Display 17.3" LED Glossy 16:9 1080p (1920x1080)
Hard Drive(s) 2x500GB 7200RPM HDD (non-RAID)
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti
Battery 8-Cell, 14.6V, 75Wh
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Pricing $1505 Online (Note: 9-10 day special order)
$1548 Alternative (In and out of stock everywhere)
ASUS G73Jh – Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder G73Jh: High-End DirectX 11 Gaming
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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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