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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|
|Platform||Intel PGA988, HM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-940XM (Clarksfield) Quad-Core 2.13-3.33 GHz, 2.5 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3 Cache, 45 nm, 55 W|
|RAM||16 GB (4 x 4 GB) Samsung DDR3-1333 MT/s SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Single Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M, 1.5 GB GDDR5|
"Redline Boost" to 810 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3240
|Display||17.3" "Full HD" Glossy, LED backlit TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio, Software EAX 5.0 and THX TruStudio|
|Security||Asus SmartLogon face detection, ADSM drive encryption|
|Hard Drive||Intel 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 Drive||PLDS DS-4E1S Blu-ray Reader / DVD Writer Combo Drive|
|Media Drive||8-in-1 flash media interface|
|Wireless LAN||Intel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mbps|
|Wireless PAN||Broadcom BT-270 Internal Bluetooth V2.1 +EDR Module|
|Gigabit Network||Atheros AR8131 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|USB||3 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Internal Only|
|Video||1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||150 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19.5 V DC|
|Battery||14.6 V 5200 mAh (75 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 8.6 lbs, AC Adapter 1.9 lbs, Total 10.5 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||Asus Two-Year Warranty (Add $349 for Three-Year Full+Accidental)|
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.