Saturday, December 17, 2011

ASUS G74SX BBK7 Review

This Behemoth of a laptop has everything you could want for gaming with a moderately low price-tag.  I've had it for two weeks, so I think I can summarize the pros/cons fairly well.  At a first glance, it's very big - and if you know the popular alienware laptops, it's comparable in size to the m17-m18x.

It has an edgy look to it, the keyboard is vertically inclined as for the convenience of the user.  When you rest it on your lap, the CPU/GPU's airflow is intelligently blown out the back air vents, away from the user so you rarely ever feel it overheat.  I have gamed all the newer names, such as Skyrim & MW3 for multiple hours on end, and have only once felt it needed to cool down a bit.  Otherwise, there's really no need for a cooling pad, unlike the need for ones on most Alienware names.

When you rest your hands on the keyboard, you'll notice the mousepad is surrounded by a rubber padding; think of the basic mouse pad for desktops with a rubber padding to rest your wrist on, and then picture it on 1/4 of your keyboard.  Only, it's very flat and not inconvenient at all.  I don't get the sense that it will wear down after long use either; it seems like a very high end material, just take care of it a bit more than you would  a normal laptop.

Now, down to the specs:  The GPU (Graphics card) is a GTX 560M 2GB.  The graphics card is a high end Nvidia card, which is a + for the price you pay for the notebook.  The cons to this, however, is that you can't change out your GPU down the road.

Next up, the CPU:  It's an Intel i7 2630 QM, not as high as the Alienware m18x's Intel i7 2920XM, but it really isn't a noticeable difference - and that's saying a lot when you compare the prices of the two.  2Ghz turbo moded to 2.9Ghz automatically depending on how much use it's getting.  Asus bloatware conveniently has a tab on the desktop that shows how hard your CPU is working.  You can eventually change your CPU down the line, but it's not an easy task.

Next, the 2 500 GB HD's:  You can't really complain about never having enough memory with this laptop.  1 TB of space is plenty for just about anyone.  And Asus, for your convenience, already assigns one as master/slave so you don't have to do any of the BIOS drudgery.  And, if you really wanted to, you can pop in an SSD just so the already super fast start-up speed will be that much faster!

Last, but not least:  8 GB of RAM upgradeable to 16 GB of RAM.  Even on my desktop, which plays any game on Max settings with high resolution rates has 8 GB of RAM.  But to have the option of upgrading that is awesome!  It's DDR3 1333 MGHz, so it's not as high as the 1600 MGHz that you'll find in the m17/m18xs, but I don't mind one bit.

The cons:  When comparing to Alienware, you can't change the colors of your backlit keyboard.
Can't upgrade GPU.
Large (May be / may not be Con)
Some Bloatware, may want to reinstall Win 7
(This doesn't happen for mine) Audio may create a small screeching noise in the background, but it's supposedly rare in most of these laptops.

The Pros:  Price efficient
Power House specs
Large & Mobile
Backlit keyboard
Doesn't overheat
Asus (duh!)
Sharp, unique appearance
Runs all of my games on max settings

Also, for those that may be looking for a carrying case for this, look at the Alienware m17x or m18x Cases, the Asus one designed for this is very basic and dull.  I don't think any of the Swiss backpacks will fit this (the Pegasus will not).  Some Targus bags will, but when flying they may be required to go through luggage and not carry-on because of the size.  Also, when considering buying a carrying case, bear in mind that the Alienware logo makes your bag more apt for theft; keep a sharp eye on it whenever traveling.

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