Both the 3D and non-3D versions of the brand new 17-inch Asus Republic of Gamers G74SX is now available from several retailers. None of the laptops are exactly cheap, but they come with a fair amount of capable hardware to match the price tag.At this writing you can find a G74SX-A1 for slightly less than $1,700 while the 3D-enabled G74SX-3DE costs at least $200 more. The G73SW will be phased out and discontinued, but will still be available for a while longer. And longer still in refurbished/used condition of course.
It is quite difficult to tell the new G74SX apart from the current G73SW at first glance, but there are some cosmetic differences between the two. While the overall “stealth bomber”-inspired design is still there, the keyboard in the new laptop is now flush with the chassis and the numpad has been separated from the rest of the keys. The buttons and LEDs have also moved around a bit and the single-bar mouse button on the G73 is now divided into two parts for the G74.
Which layout you prefer is a matter of personal taste; arguably the G74SX is a bit more sophisticated than its predecessor. Having the keys more distinctly separated also appears to be a usability advantage compared to the tightly spaced keys on the G73, but that’s just a guess based on the looks of it. On the whole, though, the design is mostly similar, which is fine–the 17-inch Republic of Gamers laptop stands out from other gaming laptops by NOT being adorned with LED lights and fancy design choices all over. One exception is the LED-backlit keyboard that is a standard feature on both models.
The difference on the inside is not that large either, actually, although Asus have made a couple of noteworthy changes. The main difference is that the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M has been replaced by a GTX 560M. These two GPUs have a lot in common: 192 CUDA cores, DX11 capability, a 192-bit memory bus and 40nm silicon, but the core and shader clocks are higher in the GTX 560M–775MHz/1550MHz vs. 675MHz/1350MHz in the 460M. There’s also more video RAM in the newer GPU–3GB vs. 1.5GB of GDDR5. Interestingly, there is no mention of Nvidia’s Optimus technology anywhere, so it is apparently absent.
Very little has changed for the core hardware platform compared to the previous model. The processor is a 2nd-generation Core (Sandy Bridge) variant from Intel running at 2GHz (2.9Ghz with Turbo Boost) on the HM65 chipset. This part is identical between the G74 and G73 laptops. The G73SW-A1 was/is equipped with 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM, while the G74SX-A1 ships with 12GB of the same RAM variety (maximum RAM for both models is 16GB/4 slots).
Both laptops also come with dual hard drives, but not in RAID 0. The G74SX is equipped with two 750GB 7,200rpm drives for a total 1.5TB of storage space, while the setup in the G73SW-A1 is two 500GB hybrid drives (Seagate Momentus), so although the amount of storage space has grown, the speed is likely reduced in some situations with the larger drive.
In conclusion, it is very hard for existing owners of a G73SW to justify an upgrade to the new G74SX unless you want a 3D version in the form of the G74SX-3DE. First-time buyers of a 17-inch Republic of Gamers laptop can however enjoy a decent boost in gaming performance thanks to the higher stock clock speeds in the GTX 560M GPU. A tempting alternative to both the G74 and the G73 laptops is the new EON 17-S from Origin PC, which is roughly the same size but has an option for the considerably faster GTX 485M graphics card.
|Processor||Core i7 2630QM||Core i7 2630QM|
|Chipset||Intel HM65||Intel HM65|
|GPU||Nvidia GTX 460M 1.5GB GDDR5||Nvidia GTX 560M 3GB GDDR5|
|Display||17.3″ 1920×1080||17.3″ 1920×1080|
|RAM (Max)||8GB DDR3 1333MHz (16GB)||12GB DDR3 1333MHz (16GB)|
|HDD||2x500GB 7,200rpm (Hybrid)||2x750GB 7,200rpm|
|Optical||Blu-ray Combo||Blu-ray Combo|
|Dimensions||16.6 x 12.8 x 2.3 inches||16.5 x 12.8 x 2.4 inches|
|Weight||9.4 lbs||8 lbs|