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Asus G74SX Republic of Gamers notebook Review

The Sorcerer

oh wow...Xenforo!!!
This Notebook is on Stealth mode no more as I get my sweaty hands on her..

Armed with the power of Sandybridge and GTX560M, time to see if she can fly!

 Asus India sent a G74SX ROG notebook. To those who are not familiar: ROG series hardware (not just notebooks) are aimed specifically for gamers and hardware enthusiasts- and also achieved an unspoken reputation of being a generic choice to those who love "bling".

Packaging, Specs and First Impressions:
The large box pretty much weighs a lot for a notebook. The size of the packaging itself is easily equivalent to a desktop replacement laptop/AIO (like Asus NX90). You could say Higher end Gaming notebooks are Gaming Desktop replacement notebook.

 Once we open it up, there's a AC adapter box with different cables for different socket types, Wireless Nvidia 3D Vision and the notebook. Do note that this is a 3D variant if the G74SX and therefore it comes with an inbuilt receive for the 3D vision glasses.

 This is a Pre-Production media sample. Usually you don't always get everything the way you would get in a retail pack but I've been told that a gaming mouse and a bag is bundled.

This is my first time I spent a decent amount of time with the Wireless 3D vision glasses . Intially I thought I would see the Nvidia 3D Wired glasses being bundled that was announced sometime back with this notebook.The 3D vision bundle comes with the sunglasses with the much needed cleaning cloth and protection pouch, with the usual USB 2.0 cable, the quick start guide and couple of extra interchangeable nose pieces.

The AC adapter is a huge power brick made By Delta Electronic, INC.


The notebook's design is somewhat "inspired" from F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter jet but suffice to say that the presence and the size of the notebook isn't really built to blend with the environment (in a good way). The notebook's enclosure is all plastic with "Soft Touch" like finish on the top. Thanks for not going the fingerprint magnet glossy way. We're gamers. Not Pimps who wear black latex dominatrix type gamers.

This isn't the first model that Asus ROG is using a Single (and Solid) hinge design. Hinges are the most common places where (depending on the quality of it) it becomes loose or "wobbly" after series of usual and regular use- and it sucks. This shouldn't be the case with this notebook, but I seriously wish they found some way to implement this on a non gaming notebook, especially those which are usually meant for portable computing by a lot of people.

The speakers that this notebook uses is 4x Altec Lansing Speakers. As with the case with most of the notebooks, the sound sounds flat. Eventually people would use their headphones or speakers.

Left: Kensington lock, 2x USB 2.0 ports, Blu Ray Reader/CD/DVD RW Combo and Mic/Speaker Jacks.

Right: AC Power port, Gigabit Ethernet lan, HDMI 1.4 Port, 1x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0 Port. 5-in-1 Card Reader.

Rear: 2x Exhaust fans with Vent Grill. (You can it clearly towards the right that about 1/3rd is not vented).

Front: Pinhole type White LED for On/Off Status.

Viewing Angle Impressions:  Upto a certain angle (left, Right and Top) is pretty manageable but anything more than that pretty much shows the signs of a TN panel with Backlit LED and 3D Support with 16:9 . The screen that this 17.3 incher uses is lg Philips lgd02c5 Panel (according to HWInfo). This panel is used in few 17.3 inch notebooks. Googling it out shows the respected notebook manufacturers: Asus G73JW 3DE, Alienware M17x R3, Toshiba Qosmio x770 and Dell XPS L702x, to name a few.

Keyboard/Trackpad/Wrist Pad Impressions: The Keys have a soft touch feel with Chiclet design and nicely spaced between all keys with a brushed aluminium finish base. From a person who has been using membrane keyboard for a long time and mechanical keyboard for couple of months, typing on a chiclet boards takes practice. Not a lot of desktop users would like it especially those who do a lot of typing. But for gaming (WASD Keystrokes and other common keys used during gameplay) is pretty okay. Unlike typing- once you're used with the keys, you're set. Using the trackpad during gaming is a pain especially is first person shooter like Crysis 2. But: You are getting a mouse with the gaming notebook (unfortunately did not come with the package, alongwith the bag). Long time gamers would, however might end up using their own keyboards.

Layout and functions? A very well made full fledged keyboard with all the required functions. The backlit LED is a 5 level (from Off to Max) however there's not much different between 3 and 4. The backlit is not annoyingly bright and mostly you will use it with maximum illumination. However if you're looking at the board with full illumination and wearing the 3D Vision glasses, the light is somewhat dulled out. There's only 1 option of backlit colour (white). There's no keystroke problem I've faced on the G74S. One of those members in techenclave pointed out that this issue was very much present on the G73 series notebooks.

The trackpad is a multitouch sensing pad from XXXXXX with rubber feel left/right Click buttons. The right side of the trackpad can scroll up/down.

The Wristpad comes with a Soft Touch pad. The Pad feels comfortable. However I can feel the heat on the right hand side of the trackpad and the QWERTY boardwhen I stress tested using AIDA64, exactly where Momentus 500GB XT and the CPU is installed.

Battery, Upgradability and other Impressions: Asus G74SX uses a 5200mAh Li-Lon Battery.

We did 3 battery drain tests below to give you a decent idea.

The battery life could have been improved if there was optimus involved. However, when we had a word with Nvidia Global's Product Manager there is technical limitation with Optimus and 3D. As far as what Nvidia Global told us, 90% of the notebooks are optimus enabled.

For those who don't know what is Optimus, its an energy-saving mode where it dynamically switches from GTX560M to a lower-consuming dedicated GPU processor during the process where it doesn't need that much graphic firepower- like Word applications. 

These are the drives that are used on the G74SX.

I've already reviewed Seagate Momentus XT 500GB and Seagate Momentus 750gig drives. The Momentus XT that I received with SD24 format. No surprises that newer XT drives will be atleast utilise SD24 Firmware.

The notebook's wireless capability (Bluetooth 3.0 and WIFI) is via Atheros AR9002WB-1NGB mini card. The card comes with Atheros AR9285 WIFI Chip that supports upto 2.4GHz frequency band viz. compatible with B/G/N routers (Support data rate of upto 150 Mbps on Wireless-N) and AR3011 Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR chip that supports Bluetooth 3.0+ HS. Asus could have used an Intel N 6230 mini card instead, that comes with a Dual Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) support.

Bios
This notebook uses AMI Bios.

Performance Benchmark
Presets:
GPU Drivers: 268.37 Nvidia Drivers
Physx: Off
Turbo Boost: On

Battery Drain Test
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Unigine Benchmarks
Heaven DX11 Benchmark
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Sanctuary Benchmark
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Tropics
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FutureMark Benchmarks
3D Mark Vantage (Performance Preset)
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3D Mark 11 (Performance Preset)
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PCMark Vantage
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PCMark 7
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The Secondary Storage is the Momentus XT 500GB drive.
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Game, Cinebench and X264 Encoding Benchmarks
Dirt 2
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Call of Juarex DX10
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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Residential Evil DX10
On 2D

On 3D

Cinebench 11.5
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Customs PC Benchmark 2007
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x264 Encoding Benchmarking
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It shouldn't come as a surprise (for most) that 2D mode gets roughly about twice the the FPS on 3D mode. 3D is good, but at times and in certain I had to disable blur effect on the game or decrease the depth of the 3D Vision via the Nvidia's control Panel. As far as Vatage's CPU score goes, CPU Scores are the same on 2D and 3D Mode.

Performance might have improved with that now available 275.33 NVidia software but the one which I downloaded from Nvidia's site was not compatible.The driver (268.37) that we used on this notebook was from Asus' support site.

Conclusion
The only complaint that I would have is probably that GTX560M cannot have Optimus working with 3D vision. The limitation is something Nvidia will need to work on. Other than that, GTX560M is about 15% more core clock speed than the GTX460M.

If you're seeing this way, Asus is its own rival.

With the exception of 16GB support and certain appearance difference, G74SX is comparable to i7 2630 QM version G73SW that is sold for a significantly lesser price of Rs. 65,790 from Flipkart. Not a lot of people would consider spending over a lakh for a mere 15% boost on the clockspeed with the same GPU Corem especially if they do not have a need for 16gigs.

Sadly, Flipkart is out of stock and the price I've mention is MRP- not retail. I don't see why would one not pick up the G73SW as gamers wouldn't require 16gigs memory.

Another bummer is that internationally G74SX comes with 2 years Standard Global Warranty atleast, with 30 Day Zero Bright dot (aka dead pixel) LCD replacement including Free 2-way overnight for warranty related services in United States. Chances are people in India are going to call their relatives in United States to grab one of these, especially when they are coming here. If a global warranty is provided, the period of the warranty should be the same. Afterall, you're getting the same stuff others are getting.

Exaclibur PC started the pre-order of the 3DE variant with 12gigs memory for $1,899 with $80 rebate.

The notebook is solid built with no issues. Chances of a 17.3 High Def gaming notebook being sold compared to a Desktop Replacement is much higher, provided the warranty period and the bundle justifies the price. There's really not much to say since the price I've mentioned is on Rs. 1,24,990/- on MRP. It would be a bit lesser price on retail and chances are that the 3D version G73 series might not be easily available when G74 is released. There's no information about the availability and Price of a Non 3D Variant- yet. Once I get the necessary information, I'll patch you through.

It would be best if Asus India can atleast provide a 2 year standard warranty rather than a 1 year period, if the 30 days-ZBD warranty and free 2-way overnight for warranty related services cannot be provided. Republic of Gamers is framed as a brand itself rather than a series internationally- or atleast it looks that way to me. Therefore its important that the standard warranty period should be universal.
 

tkin

Back to school!!
Nice review, now, laptop has good performance, but looks like cr@p, I mean what's with the matt finish, battery life is less than stellar for a 1.25k laptop(idle).
 

pranav0091

I am not an Owl
Nice review.:)
Seems like the G73 price has been hiked. it now retails at 102k on flipkart. And with a 460M GPU...
 
OP
The Sorcerer

The Sorcerer

oh wow...Xenforo!!!
Looks, based on preference. On notebooks, I say gloss (or atleast fingerprint magnet) shell and LCD panels should be avoided.

@Pranav0091: Yeah. I guess they must have realized that and hiked up the price.

Thanks for reading. My project of building a good review source for India is growing nicely. 23 more contributors are onboard for evaluation.

Anyways I got a notebook with GTX460M from MSI. You guys can check it out: http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=1911577


Stay tuned ;-).
 
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