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Asus G74SX-91013Z 17.3 inch Notebook Review

There is no doubt the Asus G74SX is an impressive gaming laptop and it is one of the better mobile systems I have tested in recent months. Asus have created a very balanced unit, combining the stunning performance of the Intel Core i7 2630QM processor with the excellent graphics capabilities of the Nvidia 560m discrete solution.

The appearance of the machine is very distinctive, a chunky design with angular panels exuding the styling of a stealth war machine. Hard core gamers who want to impress their friends will find the design of the G74SX very appealing.

The 17.3 inch screen is fantastic, producing sharp, clean, well saturated images with decent off angle viewing. Black Definition is also noteworthy, and would be rated in the top 10% of panels we test. The onboard sound system is fairly good, although as expected it does lacks bass response. Many enthusiast users would have a dedicated speaker system at home anyway.

The keyboard and trackpad are a pleasure to use. Thanks to the physical size of the machine Asus have been able to space the keys accordingly, ensuring people with larger hands will have no problems touch typing at a fast pace. Additionally, the keyboard offers various levels of backlighting, which is a welcome addition.

The G74SX has a formidable cooling system, forcing in ambient air from the top of the machine and warm air out the back via two huge vents. This ensures that the underside of the laptop is kept cool at all times and heat is not a concern when using on a lap. The noise levels are surprisingly unobtrusive too, which is particularly impressive.

The main problem we have with the G74SX is the lack of solid state drive. While we appreciate the huge 1.5TB storage capacity, the system can feel a little sluggish at times as it pages data to the WD Scorpio hard drives. If I had this system for my own use I would mirror the operating system to a solid state drive and remove one of the 7,200 rpm hard drives … perhaps using it in an external USB 2.5 inch enclosure, for offline backup.

Additionally, the Nvidia 560m, while a capable discrete solution, can struggle to maintain playable frame rates at 1080p with the latest Direct X 11 titles, as our test results highlight. Offering an Nvidia 580m would resolve this problem … obviously at extra cost to the user. We have no doubt that the G74SX cooling capabilities are up to the task.

I do feel that ASUS should offer a more expensive ‘deluxe’ version of this machine with Solid State Drive and Nvidia 580m discrete graphics. Perhaps they are already planning a new range of gaming laptops with higher specifications for release shortly in 2012.

As we mentioned earlier, the G74SX is a very competitively priced system. When we compare against other gaming laptops, the price is a strong selling point, currently under £1,600 on Amazon. At this price, it is hard to ignore as the overall build quality and component selection is first class. The screen and keyboard are two of the most important aspects when considering a purchase and the G74SX really doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

Pros:

  • Great screen quality @ 1080p.
  • Strong overall performance.
  • fantastic keyboard.
  • good touchpad.
  • onboard sound is decent.
  • good gaming capabilities, with 3D glasses supplied.
  • quiet and cool running.
  • competitive pricing.

Cons:

  • no solid state drive.
  • 560m can run out of steam with some DX11 titles at 1080p.

Kitguru: An fantastic all round gaming system with an excellent screen and keyboard.

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Rating: 9.0.

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