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G73Jh: High-End DirectX 11 Gaming

We don't have a lot of high-end notebooks in our updated gaming benchmarks, but we do have the Clevo W870CU we can still use for comparison. Note that it has a faster 920XM CPU to help out, but we appear to be GPU limited in the majority of titles. We were going to include results from the Dell Precision M6500, but gaming performance with the Quadro FX 3800M is a bit erratic and we're not sure all of the games rendered correctly. So we've got two sets of benchmarks today: first a comparison at high quality settings and 1600x900 (with 1080p results and DX11 as well where appropriate); second will be a look at how a high-end laptop like the G73Jh compares to midrange laptops at 1366x768 using our "midrange" settings.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Crysis: Warhead

DiRT 2

Empire: Total War

Far Cry 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mass Effect 2

Stalker: Call of Pripyat

The ASUS G73Jh outperforms the Clevo W870CU in virtually every game we tested; Empire: Total War and Left 4 Dead 2 are the two exceptions, but here the performance gap is generally small—Empire: Total War is the larger difference with a performance advantage of 9%. (Note that the CPU may be part of the reason the W870CU wins, but we can't confirm at present—stay tuned for an article that will show exactly how the mobile GPUs stack up against each other with the same CPU.) Some of the titles where the G73Jh wins are also essentially tied, but Crysis: Warhead and Mass Effect 2 both show an 8-9% advantage. The two games where the HD5870 wins big are DiRT 2 (20%) and Far Cry 2 (23%).

Of course, we also need to discuss feature sets; while the GTX 280M (and the slightly faster 285M) aren't significantly slower, the HD5870 supports DX11. You can see the DX11 performance in DiRT 2 and STALKER, so there's obviously a compromise between performance and image quality, but given the pricing there's no reason to give up DX11 support for a slightly slower DX10 laptop—especially now that AMD has monthly mobile drivers coming out. You can now get the Clevo W870CU with HD5870 or GTX 285M; putting components equal to the G73Jh into such a notebook we ended up at a final price of over $2200, and that doesn't even account for the puny W870CU battery and other design elements.

There are still faster gaming notebooks, of course. We don't have updated results for the ASUS W90Vp (HD 4870X2) or any of the SLI GTX 280M/285M notebooks, but there are going to be plenty of games where the extra GPU shows its muscle. The problem is that you're now stuck deciding between DX11 support or a second GPU, unless AMD releases a mobile 5870X2 or 5970 or whatever they choose to call it (and they probably will at some point). Also, let's not forget that the second GPU means even heavier and more power hungry laptops, with a higher price as well. The Clevo X8100 is now the current champ when it comes to notebook gaming performance, but if we configure such a laptop with a 720QM, 2x2GB DDR3, and 2x500GB hard drives the price comes out to over $2600 (i.e. at AVADirect.com), and you still get the gigantic glossy Clevo chassis. If you like the design and you're willing to pay the extra $1000, GTX 285M SLI should provide roughly 50% more graphics performance than the G73Jh's HD 5870, but right now there are very few games where we truly feel the need for something faster.

G73Jh: Test System and Benchmark Setup G73Jh: Midrange Gaming Comparison
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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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