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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  • chicagotechjunkie - Friday, April 2, 2010 - link

    ...as a proud new owner of a HP Envy 15 I've really gotta speak up here in terms of what you can get for just a shade more cash.

    Right now you can get a i5-430 15.6" 1920x1080 (!) 4GB RAM 320GB 7200RPM HDD w/ ATI 5830 for 949.99. (coupon code NBMY33241knocks $450 off the list price)

    We're talking full HD resolution, faster HDD and one of the best mobile graphics chips for under a grand. Not to mention the 1" thin body that makes it oh so sexy ;)

    Alternately you could swap out the HD screen for the faster i5-520 or 540 and keep it in the same ballpark price.

    I've been very happy with how well the 5830 overclocks as well. From a base 500/800 to 550/1100 totally stable and cool with no voltage bump of any kind. Managed just shy of 10k in 3dmark06 with the overclocked settings.

    I know it's the next step up in price, and admittedly it was more than I was initially going to spend on a new laptop, but now that I have it, I'm so SO glad I did.
    Reply
  • mfenn - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Yuck, who wants 1920x1080 on a 15" screen? That resolution is barely tolerable at 17"! IM(NS)HO, the perfect resolution for 15" is 1440x900. Reply
  • austonia - Sunday, April 4, 2010 - link

    you know Windows can scale the dpi right? probably want to set at 125-150% in this case, then you get the same look as a 720p screen with extra sharpness. the full 1080p resolution is useful in apps that have a lot of controls and need a lot of space to display those controls. video editors come to mind. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, April 5, 2010 - link

    As someone that uses a 30" LCD with a 120dpi setting, I can attest to the fact that using anything other than the default 96dpi has some oddities with some applications, and you'd be better off not having to change it. Most of the time, it works well enough that I can live with it, but sometimes I'll have programs where the text scales to a larger font with 120dpi and it wraps to the next line... except it's not visible because the rest of the application didn't scale at all. Anyway, for 15.6" I'd certainly say 1600x900 is very usable, and even 1080p is fine though a bit small at times. It is unfortunate that so many laptops use 1366x768 panels, whether they're 11.6", 13.3", 14.0", 15.6", or 16.0" LCDs. Reply
  • chicagotechjunkie - Monday, April 5, 2010 - link

    Well, I did mention you could swap out the HD screen for a better component, if that wasn't your cup of tea.

    I personally enjoy the higher resolution, and yes the text is smaller, but as was pointed out, dpi settings can help with a lot of it if it bothers you, and honestly I use the default settings, and don't experience any eye strain after extended use.

    The whole point was that you could get a much better gaming machine than the one reviewed for not all that much more cash. That was the point I was trying to make.
    Reply
  • ap90033 - Friday, April 2, 2010 - link

    Does this guy game at all? 19FPS? Seriously? If this thing cant average 50 or so its not worth trying. (keep in mind that averaging 50fps means under some heavy areas in game it will drop to 30 or so)
    For people looking for a REAL GAMER LAPTOP for a DECENT Price look at the ASUS G60 or G72 at best buy for $999 they play Dirt 2 at around 50FPS most settings maxed...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 3, 2010 - link

    Just because it runs at sub-30 FPS with maxed out settings hardly makes it unfit for gaming. It's ludicrous to suggest that all games need to be run at even high quality. Having played plenty of games on the 5740G before sending it on to Dustin, I fully agree that it can play games better than the vast majority of laptops, and certainly better than any other $750 laptop. Can you find faster laptops for gaming? Of course you can, but they cost quite a bit more. Barring crazy sales (i.e. the Envy 15 for under $1000), this is a laptop that competes against laptops that typically cost $250 more.

    Case in point, the G72 at Best Buy costs $1000, has half the battery life, and weighs almost 3 pounds more. Yes, the GTX 260M is about 40% faster on average, but then with a 1600x900 LCD (37% more pixels) you're going to need the extra performance, and you still won't max out everything. I wouldn't say either laptop is clearly superior, but the 5740G at 1366x768 is going to offer similar performance to the GTX 260M at 1600x900.
    Reply
  • tuskers - Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - link

    The Envy isn't so much a "crazy sale" as much as what that machine typically costs these days. HP regularly offers coupons on their machines that discount the Envy into the ~$1000 price range. If you didn't know that, you don't know the market. Reply
  • ap90033 - Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - link

    Bull, I bought the 16 inch Asus from Best Buy. Has the GTX260 which is 40%+ faster (That is a huge diff....) Plays Dirt 2 maxed and looks awesome, Plays COD6 maxed (I did turn down AA a notch) looks awesome etc etc. Paid $250 more for TONS more performance. They sold out of this but now have
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+Laptop+with+Int... which looks pretty decent. 16 inch Geforce GTS 360 1 gig and Core i5 for $999. Of course if you are like me and wait a bit, there will be a better one to come out and the prices will drop. My laptop dropped to $799 which was an AMAZING PRICE for a 40% faster gaming laptop (by the way it has built in overclocking that works great!) Plus I got a free game with my Reward Points :)
    Asus makes a very nice laptop to boot...
    Reply
  • synaesthetic - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I'm a gamer and I flat refuse buy any of the Asus gaming laptops. They're just too ugly, too gaudy and they absolutely do not look professional. I can't afford to own one computer for gaming and one for work, so I have to consider these things. The blinking lights and glowing ROG logo isn't exactly professional, you know.

    I'll settle for weaker GPU performance in the Gateway NV5925u (identical to this Acer, only prettier and not blue) for something I can use in class or at work without people looking at me like I'm crazy.

    ... why can't someone put gaming guts in a Thinkpad chassis? =(
    Reply

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