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A Good Value, A Great Starting Point

Asus' G51J: Affordable Core i7 Mobile Gaming?
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As was the case with ASI’s IQ17-D2, we can honestly say that the Asus G51J is a solid foundation for the company to build upon. But unlike ASI’s endeavor, the G51J is potentially open to future processors. We can hardly wait to see if Asus is able to adopt near-term updates, such as Intel’s upcoming 32nm Arrandale processor core and to-be-announced mobile versions of AMD’s most-recent graphics technology.

Yet, buyers don’t have to wait for the huge power-saving performance boost we expect to see early next year, because the G51J provides excellent value today. For less money than remaining samples of MSI’s now-discontinued mid-market mobile game system, Asus provides a more efficient GPU and this year’s latest CPU technology. Here’s a quick recap of its specific performance advantages:

The G51J’s performance average is good, but it’s also important to note that its average was reduced by a few losses in games that even the mighty Eurocom D900F couldn’t run smoothly. And therein is the problem: desktop gamers accustomed to moderately high details and resolutions probably won’t be happy with anything less than a desktop computer.

But many professional gamers are accustomed to using low resolutions and/or graphics details to eliminate “stuttering,” which begs the question of how much graphics power they really need simply to be competitive. Gaming legend Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel even used many of the mainstream products he endorsed, shunning the high-cost gear fussy users typically demand for enhanced visual realism. Thus, while none of our recent notebooks stood up to graphics-quality standards to which high-market desktop gamers have gown accustomed, all three could be viewed as competitive gaming solutions. This level of adequacy can’t be touched by typical integrated-graphics competitors, not even those with the latest “high-performance” integrated graphics engines.

Dividing relative performance from the chart above by relative price further defines the performance value of Asus’ mid-priced notebook.

Asus’ G51J-A1 offers two-thirds the performance of Eurocom’s high-end D900F, but costs only one-third as much, giving the G51J a solid 50% value lead. However, more pertinent to the mid-priced market is the G51J’s 15% value lead over previous-generation technology. The G51J also has twice the storage capacity of its older competitor, but loses 120 pixels of vertical-screen resolution. Features that are well balanced against the previous-generation product, new technology, and more-than-adequate performance make the G51J a good value for those who must buy now--especially for holiday shoppers. Meanwhile, we wait with bated breath for even greater improvements in CPU and GPU technology that are expected to come soon after the holiday rush has subsided.

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