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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  • anishannayya - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    Just though you might want to know.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Added a new link to a laptop drive. They're hard to find in stock! :-)
  • layman_user - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Can you guys also test the laptops for thermals? My friend bought a laptop recently and it "burns" when running games. Can you include some tests in your analysis to measure temperatures of chassis and cpu? It would be nice to know the "cool" laptops out there
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Page 2 has the temperature information. If the exhaust is cool and the noise levels are low, it's pretty safe to say that the CPU and GPU aren't running hot.
  • layman_user - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Thanks Jered. Can you guys do a comparision of 5 popular laptops for thermals? It would be interesting to see which laptop out there is the "coolest" .. Thermals is a huge factor these days and we hardly see any comparisions across notebooks for thermals
  • jfmeister - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Sorry to come in late, I haven't gone all the way through the comments, but I would really like to see a MSI GX640 Review or at least some comparison. It seems to be a great compromise in size, battery life & performance.

  • FesterSilently - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Um...what about the Toshiba Qosmio Q870?

    Same price (~$1,400), slightly different specs:

    Intel Core i7 720qm
    2 x 2GB PC 10666
    nVidia 360m (1GB GDDR5)
    1680 x 945 native resolution*
    1 x Hitachi 500GB HDD (7200rpm)
    Mitsumi Blu-Ray burner

    I mention this as an alternative/comparison gaming laptop...well, mainly because it IS! ;-D

    I'm curious as to how the 360m compares (in general) to the mobile 5870, though...DX11 aside.

    *I understand the (aesthetic and practical) difference between 1920 x 1080 and 1680 x 945, but I think of it as a benefit: a) that's some TINY goddamned font, etc. on that hi-res/tiny 17" screen, vs. b) better GPU performance because of the slightly lower resolution on the Toshiba, neh?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    It's not just the resolution that changed, though. That LCD may be a good contrast ratio or it may not. By and large, 95% of LCD panels for laptops right now are crap, so the odds are against it. For $1400, it's not a bad laptop, and the Blu-ray drive makes it a viable alternative. As a gaming laptop, though, the G73Jh is clearly the superior choice based on specs alone. Even if the LCD is the same quality, I'd still go for the ASUS.

    As far as performance, the GT360M is a 96 SP part with 128-bit RAM, so the GTX 280M in the Clevo W870CU is going to perform about 30% faster at a guess. Whether the particular unit has GDDR5 or GDDR3 is going to be pretty important... The Toshiba has 1GB GDDR5, so all told it's about the same bandwidth as the GTX 280M but still nowhere near as much shader processing power. It will be slower than the GTX 260M as well, and we have results for that on 3DMark at least (page 6).
  • FesterSilently - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Interesting (and, if you hadn't guessed, I *own* said Qosmio, and, I lovelovelove it...except for the dark, murky are correct) - thanks for the reply, sir.
  • jjcpa - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    I am not a gamer and use laptop for photo editing (photoshop). Is G73 a good buy for my purpose? The spec and price is very attractive. Only concern is display. Other laptops meet my need are Dell M6500/M17, Lenovo W701, HP Elitebook 8740p, but cost for them over $3000 if the displays are RGBLED or IPS. The only option left in my price range is Dell XPS 16 (1645). But XPS 16 with RGBLED and similar spec as G73 are over $2000. And I can get G73 at $1550 Canadian dollar. I saw your comparison for display. Except gamut, compared to XPS 16, G73's display is ok. I would like to hear your opinion in this area.

    My current laptop is Lenono T61 with WUXGA. Any opinion how this compared to G73's screen

    thank you very much

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