ASUS Aims at Serious Laptop Gamers with the G74SX Notebook

ASUS puts power in the hands of entertainment enthusiasts

By , Columnist

Image courtesy of ASUS.

If you're someone who thinks that gaming-oriented PCs need to be monstrous black power houses to respectably and effectively deliver enough power to run cutting edge games, think again. Laptop manufacturers have been tapping into the gaming market for a while now with slimline mighty machines designed to satisfy the dual requirements of superior performance and cool aesthetics. ASUS launched its latest entry this week with the battleship-inspired Republic of Gamers (ROG) G74SX notebook and it looks like a competitor.

At the heart of the G74SX is a second generation Intel Core i5 or i7 central processing unit paired with a NVIDIA GTX 560M GPU with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The latter is DirectX 11 capable so it should be up to handling the latest graphics-intensive games and video applications. This notebook can also carry up to 16GB of DDR3 1333 MHz SDRAM, meaning that you shouldn't get any of those annoying Windows 7 "low on system memory" messages while simultaneously playing Crysis 2, transcoding a hi-def backup of Avatar and translating Twitter updates to Latin on the fly.

The visual results can be displayed on the 17.3 inch, 16:9 screen in full HD (1920 x 1080) or the confusingly named HD+ standard. The uninitiated should note that hi-def nomenclature has more to do with marketing than common sense so despite the '+', HD+ is not as HD as full HD. At 1600 x 900 pixels, however, it is a higher resolution standard than low-hi-def, a.k.a. 720p. That makes sense because 720p is officially just plain 'HD'.

Most top games are as much about noise as visuals, of course, and the G74SX looks impressive in that department, too. It can pump out 8-channel HD audio and comes with THX TruStudio and Creative EAX Advanced HD 5.0 compatibility. Yet, surprisingly it doesn't appear to have with a digital audio output. Hence, you may not be able to direct its surround sound to a receiver unless you use the HDMI socket that you might have intended to use for hooking up to an HDTV (then again, if your TV has the capability to return surround sound audio to a receiver via HDMI or a digital audio output, that could compensate).

ASUS claims that the design of the G74SX was inspired by US Navy's Sea Shadow stealth ship and modern day aircraft carriers, although it's not recommended that you put it in the bath to see if it floats. ASUS has also kitted this ROG with what it calls a 'rubber-like' palm rest designed to combat finger fatigue and crampy wrist syndrome among keyboard gamers. Coming from Britain, I have to assume this refers to the material it's made of rather than some resemblance to a condom. The keyboard also has more space between the number pad and the rest of the keys to make it feel like a desktop, as well as a 5° incline. The latter should  provide a more comfortable typing angle.

Along with all this comes dual hard drive support for up to 1.0TB of Solid State Hybrid storage or 1.5TB of hard drive capacity (which apparently can be easily upgraded using the new Easy Upgrade Cover). There's also an optional BD writer, an HD web camera, built-in Bluetooth, 10/100/1000 Base T networking capability, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports and Dual Intelligent Fan technology. The last of these is not an artificial intelligence that emulates adoration of the Law & Order franchise, Coldplay and Manchester United. Rather, it refers to cooling system that operates independently and in a complementary fashion on the CPU and GPU.

Overall, the G74SX specs appear to make it a powerful contender for the attention of laptop gamers and an impressive delivery system for other forms of multimedia. By giving purchasers the option to add NVIDIA 3D Vision and 3DTV Play technology, ASUS hopes this notebook will be eye-popping enough to make it stand out from the pack.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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