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XoticPC’s G73JW: A Good Gaming Notebook Made Better?

XoticPC’s G73JW: A Good Gaming Notebook Made Better?
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XoticPC offers gaming notebook buyers an alternative to the boring and heavy Clevo-based units sold by most of its competitors. Asus’ hefty (but not grotesquely-so) G73JW is the starting point for the custom build XoticPC sent over for our evaluation.

Limited portability is one of the biggest weaknesses attributed to modern gaming notebooks, with comparisons to professional bowling balls typically favoring the more sports-oriented device. High-performance business notebooks that can’t game at all weigh half as much, and most models that attempt to fill the void have small screens.

The problem, of course, is that most “big” gaming notebooks are designed with the flexibility to host multi-GPU configurations and even desktop processors. Customers not interested in such opulent customizations typically look to off-the-shelf solutions from Asus and MSI to fulfill their basic gaming needs. XoticPC asks the question: “why not customize one of those?” And so the company did.

The same processor interface that allows Asus’ G73JW to host a low-cost Core i7-740QM is used by XoticPC to incorporate the much more power user-friendly Core i7-940XM Extreme Edition, while two memory slots left empty in the base model get filled by XoticPC to expand total memory capacity to 16 GB. An 80 GB Intel X25-M SSD, custom-overclocked graphics module, and custom lighting round out a bill that roughly doubles the G73JW’s original price tag, while maximizing its performance potential.

XoticPC G73JW Component List
PlatformIntel PGA988, HM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-940XM (Clarksfield) Quad-Core 2.13-3.33 GHz, 2.5 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3 Cache, 45 nm, 55 W
RAM16 GB (4 x 4 GB) Samsung DDR3-1333 MT/s SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsSingle Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M, 1.5 GB GDDR5
"Redline Boost" to 810 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3240
Display17.3" "Full HD" Glossy, LED backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio, Software EAX 5.0 and THX TruStudio
SecurityAsus SmartLogon face detection, ADSM drive encryption
Storage
Hard DriveIntel 2nd Gen. X25-M 80 GB, MLC, 2.5", SATA 3Gb/s SSD
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500 GB, 7200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s HDD
Optical DrivePLDS DS-4E1S Blu-ray Reader / DVD Writer Combo Drive
Media Drive8-in-1 flash media interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mbps
Wireless PANBroadcom BT-270 Internal Bluetooth V2.1 +EDR Module
Gigabit NetworkAtheros AR8131 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394None
TelephonyNone
Peripheral Interfaces
USB3 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0
Expansion CardInternal Only
HDDNone
AudioHeadphone, Microphone
Video1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI
Power & Weight
AC Adapter150 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19.5 V DC
Battery14.6 V 5200 mAh (75 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 8.6 lbs, AC Adapter 1.9 lbs, Total 10.5 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyAsus Two-Year Warranty (Add $349 for Three-Year Full+Accidental)
Price$3,608


This configuration’s processor upgrade cost nearly as much as a bare CPU, though we must admit that Asus’ design makes the process something most users wouldn’t want to attempt themselves. Enthusiasts looking for the same zing with less bling can save a few hundred dollars by using Asus’ stock lighting. This particular build was simply designed to show off most of what XoticPC has to offer. Let’s take a closer look.

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  • 0 Hide
    the_krasno , January 20, 2011 4:31 AM
    Add another 460M in SLI and then you have the punch needed!
  • 2 Hide
    fstrthnu , January 20, 2011 4:55 AM
    With all of the flair going on over Sandy Bridge, one might as well just wait till someone comes out with the Sandy Bridge gaming notebooks
  • 0 Hide
    adribhel , January 20, 2011 5:30 AM
    @fstrthnu:
    The new Asus G73SW on Xoticpc has sandy bridge ;) 

    I'm waiting for a possible "G73SH" with Radeon 6970m, though it might never happen. :/ 
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , January 20, 2011 5:33 AM
    fstrthnuWith all of the flair going on over Sandy Bridge, one might as well just wait till someone comes out with the Sandy Bridge gaming notebooks
    XoticPC just wanted to show off its custom work and sent this in December. We're looking forward to the G73SW to be delivered in a similar configuration in the near future, so please stay tuned!
  • 0 Hide
    joytech22 , January 20, 2011 5:52 AM
    That is a pretty amazing laptop, I could definitely use one of those for LAN's.
  • 0 Hide
    curtis_87 , January 20, 2011 9:19 AM
    Is it me or has the print button suddenly disappeared from these batch of articles?...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 20, 2011 9:44 AM
    Is the problem a lack of strength? Or is it a heavy level of apathy? You can build the same machine in desktop form for significantly less.
  • 1 Hide
    kkiddu , January 20, 2011 10:08 AM
    Although it's totally not fair to compare it with a desktop PC, but I've been confused on what to go for as I'm going to college next year, one option being the bare $1500 version of the G73, and the other being a netbook + a desktop. The problem with the desktop is that I'll have to haul it back home every vacation.

    But seeing that performance for $3000 is just 'good', I'm gonna stick with a $1400 desktop. I think I can get a 50% performance increase with half the price.
  • 0 Hide
    nevertell , January 20, 2011 10:30 AM
    Why oh why didn't they fit a larger keyboard ? Look at the room on the sides of the keyboards, waiting to be filled with keys.
  • 2 Hide
    Big Daddy Rhino , January 20, 2011 11:04 AM
    $3600? I literally LOL'd. Just built a Sandy Bridge, GTX 570 desktop that will smoke that laptop and I've got $2400 left over for hookers and booze.
  • 1 Hide
    Travis Beane , January 20, 2011 11:27 AM
    Sorry, but no.
    I like the Clevo based alternatives a lot more. This is ugly and boring.
    It does disappoint me however that the Clevo 18.4" is 16/9 and not 16/10, but neither is this.

    Oh, and by the way, Sager sells its NP7280-S1 (Clevo) with the way I configured it with:
    17" 1920x1080
    Dual GTX 470M
    i7-950 3.06GHz
    12GB DDR3 (triple channel, so you get 4GB less memory, but 50% more bandwidth)
    2x750GB 7200RPM + 120GB Intel SSD
    6x Bluray reader/DVD writer
    Intel Ultimate-N 6300 wireless
    Bluetooth
    3 year extended warranty
    All for $3,643.

    So, better CPU, better GPU (nevermind there's two of them), 3x the HDD storage and a 50% larger SSD, better warranty, and all for $40 more.
    Screw you Zotac and Asus. ^_^
  • 0 Hide
    chickenhoagie , January 20, 2011 11:31 AM
    I'm pretty sure they had an Asus laptop on newegg just like this one, but maybe a bit lesser of an i7 and with a radeon 5870, minus the SSD, but was still only $1,500..
  • 0 Hide
    irishmettle , January 20, 2011 12:26 PM
    I agree with Travis and I like the Clevo systems better. I actually bought one from Xotic about 3 years ago and it is a solid laptop and it still gets the job done. The only complaint I have is my 8800m GTX in it died after about 1.5 years of heavy gaming, but I blame NVIDIA for that one.

    If you are looking for an enthusiast laptop I definitely recommend checking these guys out and do your price comparisons. One nice bonus is you get a bloat free OS from them.

    My two cents.
  • 1 Hide
    bildo123 , January 20, 2011 12:28 PM
    Beh, it's just OK when considering the asking price. I was expecting a little more action in the video graphics area TBH.
  • -1 Hide
    scook9 , January 20, 2011 12:55 PM
    A direct competitor to this and better build quality and price.....Alienware M17x R3 :) 
  • 0 Hide
    Maziar , January 20, 2011 1:39 PM
    Looks great.
    Hope you review the SW version soon with the new Sandy bridge CPUs
  • 0 Hide
    lothdk , January 20, 2011 3:08 PM

    If doing a review like this in the future, having the basic model in the test as well would be nice, so we could see exactly what the changes does to the performance.
  • 0 Hide
    dilbert , January 20, 2011 6:23 PM
    curtis_87Is it me or has the print button suddenly disappeared from these batch of articles?...


    I was wondering the same thing.
  • 0 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , January 20, 2011 7:51 PM
    adribhel@fstrthnu:The new Asus G73SW on Xoticpc has sandy bridge I'm waiting for a possible "G73SH" with Radeon 6970m, though it might never happen.


    Ummm....they are out already

    http://www.pro-star.com/index.cfm

    P150HM, P150HM-PS1, P170HM, P170HM-PS1

    Pro-Star has the same Asus BTW, with blue or red KB backlighting rather than the flag thing for $200 cheaper.
  • 0 Hide
    JackNaylorPE , January 20, 2011 7:55 PM
    Travis Beane......Sager sells its NP7280-S1 (Clevo) with the way I configured it with:17" 1920x1080Dual GTX 470Mi7-950 3.06GHz12GB DDR3 (triple channel, so you get 4GB less memory, but 50% more bandwidth)2x750GB 7200RPM + 120GB Intel SSD6x Bluray reader/DVD writerIntel Ultimate-N 6300 wirelessBluetooth3 year extended warrantyAll for $3,643.So, better CPU, better GPU (nevermind there's two of them), 3x the HDD storage and a 50% larger SSD, better warranty, and all for $40 more.Screw you Zotac and Asus. ^_^


    $100 cheaper at Pro-Star's site
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