Our usual battery of gaming tests weren't enough of a workout for the Mobility Radeon HD 5650, so we've added results with it running at higher – and even maximized – settings. We want to see it stretch its legs as we turn all the settings up in modern games on the Aspire's 1366x768 screen. We've done the same with other laptops recently, but the only ones worth mentioning are the Alienware M11x with a GT335M GPU and the ASUS N61Jv with a GT325M. We'll include apples-to-apples results on those two laptops and high detail settings along with the minimum detail results for other lesser laptops. The green results are for low detail settings while the red results are at comparable "high" settings (which varies by game); other results for the 5740G are in gold and orange.

We run built-in benchmarks on Batman: Arkham Asylum, Crysis: Warhead, DiRT 2, Far Cry 2, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, while Empire: Total War and Mass Effect 2 are measured in FRAPS by repeating a section. In each case, the Aspire has produced playable if not downright exceptional performance for a mainstream laptop.

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 minimum quality settings we normally compare at are largely academic for a system this fast. Nearly every game in our test suite was comfortably playable at maxed settings – without anti-aliasing – on the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650. The only outliers are the usual suspects: Crysis Warhead is still a monster on desktop cards, so getting it playable at even Mainstream settings across the board was impressive enough. Far Cry 2 can also be notoriously hard on mobile graphics, but bumping it up to DirectX 10 mode results in a reasonably enjoyable experience.

And then there's DiRT 2 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat bringing some DirectX 11 to the table. Other reviews of the Radeon HD 5000 series desktop hardware have proven DirectX 11-capability for anything under the 5700s is largely academic, and though Call of Pripyat is quite playable with some settings turned down, DirectX 11 at maximum detail just isn't in the cards. DiRT 2 is a similar story, with medium detail producing a very palatable 38FPS; bump the detail to High or Ultra High and performance takes a dive.

Compared to the closest competition, we do see a few titles where differences in drivers or other features plays a role. The M11x beats the 5740G—despite having a much slower CPU—in Batman and Stalker at high quality settings, as well as Mass Effect 2 at minimum settings. Mass Effect 2 also runs faster on the N61Jv at minimum settings, but since all three laptops can easily handle maxed out settings it's still a game that the 5740G wins. Looking at overall averages, at minimum detail the 5740G is 45% faster than the M11x and bumping the games to higher quality settings still leaves the Acer laptop with a 17% lead. Not surprisingly, the N61Jv is quite a bit slower at high details settings: the 5740G leads by 34% on average; low detail settings narrow the gap slightly with the N61J with the Acer lead shrinking to 29%.

With the mainstream GPU, there's an expected need for more robust cooling, which can bring about more noise. Thankfully, the fan in the Aspire 5740 isn't terribly loud. You may want headphones anyhow, but the speakers should be able to drown things out well enough to get you into the game without too much trouble.

AS5740G: Synthetic Graphics AS5740G: Farewell to Battery Life
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  • Fastidious - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    You'd think they'd put a bigger battery in it at least. I never understand laptops that have shitty battery life since the whole point of them is to be mobile. Two hours is terrible for a new laptop. Reply
  • Alurian - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Agreed. What point is there in having a lighter laptop to carry around if it doesn't have the battery life for you to actually use it? Reply
  • Miggleness - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    That's where customers needs to balance things out. There's not gaming laptop under a grand that has decent battery life. Being mobile can mean you can easily lug the laptop anywhere, just be sure to plug it in. Can be a convenience to quite a number of people I know who game. Reply
  • vol7ron - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Mobile devices don't always mean being able to use it at the beach, or use it on a train, w/o needing to plug it in. Instead, what's it's come to mean is that you have the luxury of TAKING IT PLACES with the opportunity of plugging it in; whereas lugging a desktop (and monitor) around with you is more of an inconvenience.

    I do agree that battery life should be better, since it seems like it takes 2 hours to wade through spam and check mail, but that is why they make multiple batteries of various capacities. There are also different uses for laptops; gaming is one of the most power hungry things you can do on a laptop, if you're using a kickass video card with a decent performing screen and expect high quality response, then you're going to need more juice. Such a laptop would be expected to be plugged in. Having such a system in a laptop case enables you to play at school, or on vacation, as well as at home.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Seriously, I WANT to give them more money for a 1600x900 screen. And preferably a 7200rpm hard drive and a higher capacity battery wouldn't hurt but it's not really necessary. Reply
  • chrnochime - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Well Considering that envy 15 is known to be hot as heck and with equally low battery life(the former being much more unavoidable), I think users would prefer either going with optimus or cooler (pun intended) designs. Reply
  • chicagotechjunkie - Monday, April 5, 2010 - link

    The gen 1 envy had some heat issues, but the newest generation doesn't get very hot at all. after a full suite of benchmarks, the GPU never broke 72C (that's with an overclock). The palm rest and underside got a little warm, but nothing that was abnormal imo. Reply
  • blackshard - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Why there are no AMD laptops in comparison? I mean, the only one is the gateway NV-52 with the old Athlon QL-64 and integrated graphics. Why there are no Turion II, for example? It would be nice to know the difference with higher priced notebooks. Reply
  • jasperjones - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Anandtech delivers the best laptop reviews imo.

    However, I am getting more and more disappointed that virtually every laptop reviewed here features dedicated graphics. Why limit yourself to serving laptop gamers and people needing mobile business graphics cards? I can't be the only reader that prefers integrated graphics on a laptop (I assume there might be fewer readers that prefer integrated graphics on a desktop).
    Reply
  • mtoma - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Hello!
    There is something that really bothers me about Anandtech (otherwise my favorite tech site): why on Earth the laptop reviews ignore the long term reliability of the products? I am the co-owner of a computer repair-shop in Romania (in Europe, if you don't know where that country is).
    And I can tell you first hand that 95% from all the laptops we repair are ACER!!!!! The motherboard often fails, there are serious flaws in the assembly quality, and in the medium and long run, these laptops suck!!!
    When asked, the customers say that these laptops are cheap (they are the cheapest on the market, really) and they are confident on the reliability of a new product (which is, of course, a bad assumption). Here in Romania we have only one year warranty on the ACER machines, and of course, this tells us a lot about the quality of ACER laptops.
    I believe, and I strongly suggest, that this respected site (and others who sell/buy those products) should care more about the medium and long term reliability of any tech product, because, often, the cheapest product is usually the worst buy decision. And, the cheapest laptop with a particular technical specification, has really NOT the best bang for the buck!
    Suggestion: this site is very carreful about the realiability of the SSD drives, and in this regard his laptop reviews must be more aware.
    Reply

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