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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  • jasperjones - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    It looks like the Blu-Ray combo drive you link to on page 1 is actually a desktop, not a laptop model.

    Other than that, superb review!
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Whoops! Totally spaced that. I've updated to a notebook Blu-ray drive. :-)
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I second the 1680x1050 screen option, too.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    The system supports 32nm CPUs, but the particular model uses a quad-core i7 processor. Considering the size of the notebook, I'm not sure many people are going to be interested in lowering performance just to cut power draw a bit. The i5-540m and i7-620m might be a bit faster in some games as their Turbo Modes can exceed the 2.80GHz of the 720QM, but those are the only two dual-core CPUs I'd consider. As mentioned, there will be other variants of the G73Jh down the road, with Blu-ray and dual-core CPUs, if that's what you're after.
  • notext - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Just going by how they look to you, which do think is a better display, the XPS 16 or the G73Jh?

    I had been waiting for dell to upgrade the video on the XPS line before jumping on one for the RGBLED but if this is really close or better it would be just fine.

    It is kinda hard to tell just by looking at numbers, I wish I could view a bunch of these laptops side by side.
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Judging by the technical data, the Dell RGBLED display is "better", but unless you need a higher color gamut there's not much point in the added cost. If it were a choice between glossy G73J and matte RGBLED, then I'd probably go for the RGBLED. The Studio XPS 16 is also known to have issues with throttling on i7 CPUs (at least according to emails I've received), the RGBLED doesn't appear to be an option right now, and the HD 4670 is nowhere near as fast as the 5870. But then, the XPS 16 isn't as large and bulky as the G73Jh either. Given the choice, for gaming I'd definitely go with the G73Jh. Running cool and quiet with a gaming notebook is always a good sign in my book, and that usually means you need a bigger chassis.
  • FXi - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Imagine a product where as many as you produce you sell every single one of them. Do you think that product is made by Nvidia? No, no! AMD can literally sell as many 5870 mobile chips as it can make. And it performs, very admirably! Can you possibly imagine what a Crossfire pair of these is going to do inside a M17X R3?

    AMD has sold 6 million cards while Nvidia slept. Mobile machines are 50% of PC sales. So while Nvidia continues to sleep AMD continues to make huge leaps in the market. I'm extremely pleased you gave this machine a go and moreover, you didn't falter it badly for missing features. What it does, it does extremely well. Any gamer should be proud of this machine. If the desktop Fermi is hot and takes huge amounts of power, you can well bet that it will be many quarters before Nvidia can wake up and smell the coffee. Meanwhile developers are making games and they aren't making them TWIWMTBP, because there are next to no NV cards on the market.

    Nice screen, great cpu, and superb GPU along with a competent mobile driver program. And the whole package is priced right to boot. Nice review, lovely machine and an example to the entire industry of how things "should be done".

  • tom.j - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    There was no included software to enable the use of the blu ray drive.... there is blu ray software available on the asus website for free download, but at this time it is not a version compatible with windows 7 64bit. Otherwise a great machine, but it should have been disclosed prior to sale that you would have to buy software to make full use of the machine...and blu ray software is NOT cheap. Openoffice and shredder (64bit version of Thunderbird mail client) works great on here. I'll buy a second one when it comes with blu ray software and add an ssd. Excellent screen, easy to read at its native resolution. Nice backpack too.

  • GTVic - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    In Canada the G73JH-X1 $1670 comes with the DVD and the G73JH-A1 $1820 comes with the blu-ray and a mouse/case. I saw one listing for G73JH-A2 $1670 comes with DVD so it looks identical to the X1.

    X1, A1, A2 links
  • Rambon3 - Sunday, April 18, 2010 - link

    I would like to see more reviews of gaming laptops as the price/performance ratio is plummetting this year. Another machine that is worthy of high expectations a nd praise is the MSI GX740. It has similar specs but a lower price, at least here in Canada.

    MSI GX740
    Price: $1444.68 Canadian @ (if you can find one in stock)
    CPU: Intel Core 17-720QM 2.8Ghz 1333Mhz 6MB cache
    Display: 17.0" WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050) Glossy
    System Memory: 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR2 667 SDRAM - 0 open slot MAX. 4GB
    Video: ATi Radeon HD5870 Broadway XT GDDR5 1GB
    HDD: 500GB, 7200PRM SATA
    Optical drive: Blu Ray DVD Combo Drive
    Battery: 9-cell li-ion battery: up to 3.5 hours life depending usage
    Network: 56Kbps,10/100/1000, 802.11AGN wireless LAN
    Interface ports: DC-in, RJ-45 LAN, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
    headphones/speakers/line-out, microphone-in, eSata, ,HDMI
    four USB 2.0, IEEE 1394, BUILT-IN 2.0MP WEBCAM. Bluetooth
    Pointing Device:Touch Pad with onboard numeric keypad
    Weight: 7.04 lbs
    OS Preload: Microsoft® 7 Home Premium Bilingual
    Warranty: 3 year Limited Warranty with 1 Year Global

    This machine has less memory and hard space but does include a Bluray combo drive and is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the Asus. A review of this machine would be appreciated. Has anyone heard if there are plans for a mobile 58xx crossfire laptop? That would be a sweet portable system !!!

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