ASUS has made it a goal to increase their retail presence in the mobile market, with an eye on becoming one of the top brand names. There's no doubt that Dell, HP, and Acer continue to sell more laptops overall (especially if we leave out the Eee PC netbooks), but walk into any Best Buy, Office Depot, etc. and you're likely to find quite a few ASUS laptops for sale. They have everything from entry-level netbooks and laptops through long battery life CULV designs and a bunch of midrange offerings. At the high-end, you'll probably have more luck finding ASUS laptops online, but the ASUS G73Jh definitely makes such a search worthwhile.

The G73Jh is of the "bigger is better" variety of gaming notebooks, but it's not quite up there with the giant 18.4" offerings. Instead, ASUS has dropped down to a slightly smaller 17.3" chassis, but they've still packed in a lot of compelling hardware. Do you want to play games? How about getting the fastest current mobile GPU, and unlike the latest NVIDIA mobile solutions you get DirectX 11 support! The Radeon Mobility HD 5870 is a potent little chip, and it matches up nicely with the 1080p display. Sure, it pales in comparison to the top desktop GPUs (it's really based off the 5770 "Juniper" core with 800 Stream Processors as opposed to the 1600 Stream Processor "Cypress" core), but short of multi-GPU solutions like SLI and CrossFire, you won't find a faster notebook graphics chip.

ASUS G73Jh-A2 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-720QM
(4x1.60GHz, 45nm, 6MB L3, Turbo to 2.80GHz, 45W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 4x2GB DDR3-1333 (Max 8GB)
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5
800 SPs, 700/1.0GHz Core/RAM clocks (4GHz effective)
Display 17.3" LED Glossy 16:9 1080p (1920x1080)
(HannStar HSD173PUW1)
Hard Drive(s) 2x500GB 7200RPM HDD (non-RAID)
(Seagate Momentus 7200.4 ST9500420AS)
Optical Drive 8x DVDR SuperMulti (HL-DT-ST GT30N)
Networking Gigabit Ethernet (Atheros AR8131)
802.11n WiFI (Atheros AR9285) Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (Broadcom BT-270)
Audio EAX Enhanced HD 4.0 Audio (2.1 speakers + subwoofer)
Microphone and headphone jacks
Capable of 5.1 digital output (HDMI)
Battery 8-Cell, 14.6V, 5.2Ah, 75Wh
Front Side Power/Battery/HDD/WiFi indicator lights
Left Side Headphone Jack
Microphone Jack
2 x USB 2.0
Optical Drive (DVDRW)
Right Side Memory Card Reader
2x USB 2.0
AC Power Connection
Back Side 2 x Exhaust vent
Kensington Lock
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 16.54" x 12.20" x 0.74-2.24" (WxDxH)
Weight 8.47 lbs (with 8-cell battery)
Extras Gaming (Laser) Mouse
ASUS Backpack
2MP Webcam
102-Key keyboard with 10-key
Flash reader (SD, MMC, MS-Duo, Smart Media, xD)
Warranty 2-year limited global warranty
1-year accidental damage and battery warranty
Pricing $1505 Online (Note: 9-10 day special order)
$1548 Alternative (In and out of stock everywhere)

Matched up with the GPU are a supporting cast of components that are powerful in their own right. For the CPU, the G73Jh-A2 that we received for review includes a quad-core i7-720QM (1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.8GHz). The notebook uses an HM55 chipset, so support for i3 and i5 processors is also available and we expect to see other SKUs down the road. Thanks to Turbo Boost, the only dual-core CPUs that should clearly offer better single-threaded performance are the i5-540M and i7-620M, but for multi-threaded loads even the "low-end" 720QM bests all of the dual-core options. Besides 1TB (2x500GB) of storage and the other typical accessories, ASUS also stuffs a full 8GB of DDR3 memory into the G73Jh. It's interesting to note that they do this via four SO-DIMM slots, so potentially you could put 4x4GB in the system but ASUS officially lists only 8GB support.

The only serious omission (for some) is a Blu-ray drive; other models are likely to include such a drive, but costs are going to go up. If you want Blu-ray support, you might find it easier to just add your own for ~$140. For those that want it, eSATA, ExpressCard, and FireWire support are also missing, and unlike the N61Jv there's no USB3 port either. Digital content purveyors will be disappointed but if you're just after a mobile gaming solution the missing items aren't likely to matter.

When you add everything together, the G73Jh—particularly the A2 version that includes a nice mouse and backpack—is an excellent value, provided of course that you're interested in a gaming laptop. This thing is a beast to lug around, and it won't fit in my standard 17" laptop bag, so you'll want the ASUS backpack if possible. Availability is perhaps the only sore spot, with stock disappearing rapidly at most of the online vendors we've monitored. As such, a few sites are bumping up the price… and still selling out. (Newegg, we're looking at you and your $1750 A2 model.) The MSRP for this particular configuration is supposed to be $1600, and if you shop around you can probably find it at that price or slightly less, but as with any popular model you may need to work a bit to find one.

ASUS G73Jh – Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder
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  • DoeBoy - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Yeh my g50vt is stll working well and I can vouch for ASUS meaning gaming laptop. It does get hot as hell thou. Even with a cooler running it gets very hot. I would only buy this sucker if I could see the solution they have going. The g50 does not even have a intake fan at all and the slits in the bottom are so small how could u ever pull a considerable amount of air through them?
  • bennyg - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    ditto for the G51J-A1

    No dedicated intake for a single fan 45W CPU and ~58W GPU... that's why so many have been making swiss cheese of the CPU Door Assembly.

    Add to that the conservative fan control which kicks up to highest only when the GPU's already scorching (93C) and cycles on and off even when GPU utilisation is 100%.

    As an indication of how underutilised the cooling system is - when I tested stable max OC (16% GPU core, 20% shader, 20% memory, or 580/1500/1000), max temp is only 3 degrees higher... 96C.

    Soooo wish I'd known the g73 would be out 2 months after I got this :(
  • frombauer - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Why 1080p? Text must be way too tiny, and it impacts game performance. Much better if this was 17" with 1680x1050 (16:10 even better).
  • ATC9001 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    It may seem like that but it's really not, my 17" gateway had the 1920x1200 and I thought the same thing (I also had a 24" 2405FPW)...but these resolution is fine. I also decided to go with a 1920x1080 for my 15", worst case I just enlarge the text, but the big thing is having that much desktop space is nice, once you go big you can't go back!
  • bennyg - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    This is a YMMV issue.

    I absolutely could NEVER go back to a 1280x800 or 1366x768 on a 15". Having used a high res screen for over a year, everything at the lower res just seems wierdly magnified.

    Yes fps may be lower but there are many games where 1080p on med looks better than 720p on high settings, and I'd much rather have a good game on low/med details than a borefest at Ultra High anyways.

    Besides, I don't do gaming 100% of the time on this thing anyway; I can't think of any other reason how a lower res screen would be advantageous. BTW - bad eyesight does not count (google DPI setting in Win7)
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Keep in mind that you're generally closer to a laptop than you are a desktop display. I played a lot of games on the G73J and never felt text was too small, which isn't something I can say for my 30" desktop display. And as a user of 120dpi setting in Windows, I have to point out that there are drawbacks. Text is larger but images remain the same, and there are a few odd glitches in some programs where text wraps out of view because the font size changed. Most apps assume everyone uses 96dpi; MS apps are usually fine, but try it out on any PC and you'll notice some differences in how things look. It doesn't just magnify everything (which would be the ideal solution IMO... though images would then become blurry). In a pinch, you can always run the LCD at 1600x900 to increase the DPI and get the same effect, but I really do appreciate screen real estate.

    For reference, DPI on a 30" LCD at 2560x1600 is ~100 (.252mm dot pitch). DPI on a 17.3" 1080p laptop is 127 (.217mm dot pitch). 1600x900 at 17.3" puts the DPI at 106, so it's similar to what you'd get on a 30" LCD. But if you're used to 24" WUXGA and you sit at the same 2-3' distance, you'll definitely feel things get a little cramped. Given that it's hard to find good quality laptop LCDs, there's no way I'd recommend going to a lower resolution panel unless it keeps all the good aspects, and really I prefer 17" laptops stick with 1080p/WUXGA displays.
  • chrnochime - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I don't know about you but I'd prefer to not have to squint when I'm working away on a laptop, especially one that's already 15+" already. Besides, with the larger DPI setting, everything is just way to magnified, and which kind of make it the same as using a lower res anyway.
  • just4U - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Looking at this in comparison to Anand's review on the Mac book pro I have to say .. this one seems to actually be worth the money.

    I'd have like to have seen more on heat issues as well since that's a concern for some with units like this. Still it's worth a look. I don't normally buy laptops but I'd seriously consider something along these lines. Given the option I'd probably tone down to a lesser cpu mind you.. but that's just me :)
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Temperature data is listed on page 2:

    "As you might expect from the noise levels, temperatures are also excellent—perhaps the best we've ever tested, and certainly the lowest we've seen on a gaming notebook. The palm rests stay at room temperature while the touchpad is a few degrees warmer. The rear of the chassis is about 5C hotter, but we're still only talking about 31C maximum. Love it or hate it, the wedge-shaped design certainly does the job when it comes to cooling. ASUS puts a couple huge vents at the back of the G73Jh, and their size and location means you don't need a mini-vacuum fan in your notebook."

    If you need more clarification, around 31C for the bottom of the laptop in the middle-back section (just in front of the battery). The front section on the sides are 20-21C (room temperature) while the middle front is 24-25C. The back sides are also around 24C top and bottom. Really, the temperatures are largely uniform compared to other notebooks, and the noise levels are truly exceptional. The Clevo W870CU by comparison is horribly loud, with fans that regularly cycle between low and high speeds.
  • Roland00 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I don't have the item number on me, and the model isn't on the website. But it is the same as the review with a few additions

    8gb of ram
    Blu Ray Drive
    for $1699

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