Big Gaming On A Smaller Scale?
Can upper-mainstream gaming and true mobility coexist? We’ve seen many attempts (perhaps hundreds?) by vendors during the last several years to pack desktop gaming horsepower in a portable package. But performance lagged and did not live up to the claims. We almost got there in 2004 with ATI's Radeon 9600 XT-based Mobility Radeon 9700. Yet, at that time, mobile processing still fell short. Intel released its Core Duo mobile processors two years later, but new games made the elder GPU obsolete. While CPU and GPU manufacturers continuously chase the rainbow of efficiency, technological convergence appears as mythical as the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end.
There have been "desktop-replacement” PCs that are notebooks almost in name only, such as Eurocom’s recently-reviewed Core i7-based D900F Panther. Perhaps light enough to carry from your office to the parking lot, such behemoths appeal mostly to those who want a desktop they can take home rather than a computing device they can take anywhere. This explains the drive by Intel to put Core i7 technology in a smaller, more heat-efficient product suitable for a wider user base, which we recently revealed as Clarksfield.
Always near the forefront of mobile technology, Asus jumped at the chance to build a gaming notebook using the new processor series. Yet, in an effort to reduce both heat and cost, Asus chose a far different product than the i7-920XM that Chris reviewed. Running 400 MHz slower and with 2MB less cache, the G51J’s i7-720QM allows Asus to price its product within easy reach of many mainstream gamers. Let’s see how it stacks up to our most modern gaming notebooks.
|Asus G51J-A1 Configuration Comparison|
|Model||Asus G51J-A1||Eurocom D900F Panther||MSI GT725-212US|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-720QM 1.60 GHz-2.80 GHz, Quad Cores DMI 2.5GT/s, 6.0MB L3 Cache||Intel Core i7-965 Extreme 3.20 GHz-3.46 GHz, Quad Cores QPI 6.4GT/s, 8.0MB L3 Cache||Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000 2.00 GHz, Quad Cores FSB-1066, 6.0MB L2 Cache|
|Chipset||Intel PM55 Express PCH||Intel X58/ICH10R||Intel PM45/ICH9M|
|RAM||4.0GB PC3-8500||6.0GB DDR3-1333 (as listed)||4.0GB DDR2-800|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M 1.0GB||Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M 1.0GB||ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB|
|Display||15.6" LED Backlit 1080p (1920x1080)||17" WUXGA (1920x1200)||17" WUXGA (1920x1200)|
|HDD||2x Seagate 7200.4 320GB, No-RAID||2x Seagate 7200.4 500GB RAID 0||WD Scorpio Black 320GB|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio, Soft EAX 4.0||Integrated HD Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Wired LAN||Integrated Gigabit LAN||Integrated Gigabit LAN||Integrated Gigabit LAN|
|Wireless LAN||Intel WiFi Link 1000 802.11n||Intel WiFi Link 5300 802.11n||Atheros AR928X 802.11n|
|Telephony||None||Integrated 56k Fax Modem||Integrated 56k Fax Modem|
|Bluetooth||Internal Bluetooth Module||Internal Bluetooth Module||Internal Bluetooth Module|
|Optical||H-L Data GT30N DVD-RAM||Panasonic UJ-130 BD-ROM DVD±RW||Optiarc BC-5500S BD-ROM DVD±RW|
|Media Reader||Multi-format flash card interface||Multi-format flash card interface||Multi-format flash card interface|
|Webcam||2.0 Megapixel||2.0 Megapixel||2.0 Megapixel|
|USB 2.0||Four Ports (2 left, 2 right)||4 Ports (right-side)||4 Ports (2 left, 2 right)|
|IEEE-1394||1x FireWire 400 (left-side)||1x FireWire 400 (left-side)||1x FireWire 400 (right-side)|
|eSATA||1x eSATA 3.0Gb/s (left-side)||1x eSATA 3.0Gb/s (left-side)||1x eSATA 3.0Gb/s (right-side)|
|Audio I/O||Headphone/Digital Optical Out Combo, Microphone, Line-Input (right-side)||Line-In, Digital Out, Microphone, Headphone (front edge)||Headphone, Digital Out, Line-In, Microphone (right-side)|
|Video Out||1x VGA, 1x HDMI (left-side)||1x DVI (rear), 1x HDMI (left-side)||1x VGA, 1x HDMI (rear)|
|Battery||Six-cell 11.1V 4800mAh||12-cell 14.4V 6600mAh||Nine-cell 10.8V 7800mAh|
|Weight||Notebook 7.4 lbs, Power Adapter 1.3 lbs., Total 8.7 lbs.||Notebook 11.8 lbs., Power Adapter 2.6 lbs., Total 14.4 lbs.||Notebook 7.8 lbs., Power Adapter 1.3 lbs., Total 9.1 lbs.|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium||Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|Warranty||Two-year parts and labor (w/overnight shipping), One-Year accidental damage||One-year return service||Three-year electronics parts/labor One-year LCD/Battery|
|Support||Two-year toll-free telephone||One-year online and telephone||Three-year online tech support|
Was it only that long ago? It feels like forever.
That circular 'vent' does not go through. It is not used for cooling, it is only aesthetic.
The intake vents are those slits around the RAM , the 2 hard drives bays and around the video card. Thus leg position is NOT important. The cooling system is very good.
That said, the Asus G51 series is by far the most common gaming oriented laptop as its performance is stellar for the price
A better cooled system would be the Alienware M15x or the Clevo W860CU (both also 15"). Clevo also offers a comparable 17", the W870CU
Good cooling means that each heat producing thing has its own fan and set of fins/heatpipes (which takes a larger notebook)
Microcenter i7 920 = $200
250GB 7200 RPM = $65
Total = $2024
So, then does this notebook have good cooling for it's size? It is having to dissipate quite a bit of power when both the CPU (45 watts TDP) and GPU (75 watts) have their pipelines full. Yes it can run hot internally, but the underside of the case stays out of roasting-balls and/or pubic hair range because the motherboard is screwed into the laptop from the underside of the keyboard instead being attached to the bottom of the case.
I do agree that a second fan would be an awesome improvement, or have the one replaced with one that can move more air.
I would venture that few laptops can dissipate that much heat as well as this one of this size. One that may have better cooling would be the HP envy 15, and some of the exotic laptops.. imo
This slider I suspect is NOT spring loaded but the left slider IS.
I have the G50VT (predecessor), and this is the case with mine and often the battery has been dislodged in my computer case as I walk from class to class, cutting power to the RAM when in sleep mode.. I ended up taping my battery in with scotch tape! Worked like a charm.
I venture the guess that this issue has not been fixed.
My HP laptop is built the same way, and it hasn't caused any major problems... just be careful how you carry it!