The 17-inch Asus G73JH Republic of Gamers is currently one of the fastest gaming laptops on the planet, with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3 and ATI’s top mobile GPU – the Mobility Radeon HD 5870. With hardware like this it can only be beaten by some exorbitantly expensive configurations of the Alienware m17x and a few other built-to-order gaming laptops. As an experiment we built an almost identical configuration on Dell’s Alienware website and ended up at $2,649. Sure, the m17x has a couple more features like DisplayPort, but nothing that makes up for the $1,000 difference.

Quick Specs:

Processor: 1.6GHz Intel Core i7-720QM
Memory: 8GB RAM
Storage: 1TB (2 x 500GB 7,200rpm)
Optical Drive: DVD±RW
Screen: 17.3 inches (1,920×1,080)
Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (1GB GDDR5)
Weight: 7.4 pounds
Dimensions (HWD): 2.2×16.3×12.6 inches
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

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Overall Rating:

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Pros: Excellent performance, low-key unique design, great value for money.

Cons: Poor battery life.

Design

Besides a monster of a gaming laptop you also get some extras with the G73, including a very useful backpack plus a gamer mouse and a headset. The Republic of Gamers G73HJ itself is a fairly heavy machine of course, but not much heavier than the average 17-inch notebook. It’s built with a stealth bomber-inspired design, which includes a solidly built housing that matches the description. It certainly looks like a stealth bomber with an emphasis on stealth – it’s not as liberally decorated as some other gaming laptops. There are virtually no glossy plastics and the G73JH is all dressed in black with a soft coating material.

On the other hand it won’t go unnoticed; it is slightly tilted towards the user for optimal ergonomics, and the huge air vents on the back of the laptop look a little like jet exhausts. The “landing gears” are the laptop’s thick rubber pads. The chiclet-style keyboard is backlit and in the center of the palmrest sits a large and comfortable multi-touch touchpad. Asus has obviously put a lot of thought into the overall design of this beast.

Interior

Then again, it’s what’s inside that counts, and at the heart of the Asus G73JH is an Intel Core i7 720QM CPU which is a true quad-core processor with four physical cores and eight virtual by means of HyperThreading. It runs at 1.6GHz on each of its four cores but switches to 2.8 GHz in Turbo Mode (when only two cores are active). In addition, Asus has added some extra overclocking. You can switch to Turbo Mode by default in the BIOS as well as tap a button above the keyboard to give it some further boost.

Asus provides a full 8 gigs of DDR3 memory with the G73JH, which is perhaps a little excessive, but it certainly doesn’t hurt and helps “future proof” the laptop. Even more importantly for gamers, the graphics card is an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. This is a very powerful mobile GPU that will let you run most games in the screen’s native Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080).

There is plenty of storage space in the G73JH – an entire TB spread across two 500GB hard drives. Should you want to take performance up yet another notch you could always exchange one of the drives for an SSD and use as a boot drive. That would remove the hard drive bottleneck and still leave you with lots of room to spare on a second hard drive. There’s no doubt that the hard drives are the bottlenecks here as they bring down the Windows Experience Index from 7.0 to 5.8.

Gaming Performance

Compared to the Nvidia GTX 260M in the Asus G51J, the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 in the G73JH beats it by almost 30%, which is not surprising even if the GTX 260M is quite powerful in itself. The HD 5870 is one of the latest mobile GPUs and is manufactured with a 40nm process, enabling it to run on less current and produce less heat (in relative terms). In addition, the HD5870 is DirectX 11-ready – not that there’s a lot of games with DX11 support yet, but there certainly will be in the near future.

It’s not very hard to summarize how the Asus G73JH performs in games. In short, everything runs at the screen’s native (1920×1080) resolution, and there’s rarely any need to tune down the detail settings or even anti-aliasing. The only game where the G73JH went below the magical 30fps barrier was Crysis Warhead – still uncontested when it comes to torturing graphics cards. However, lowering the detail settings to “Mainstream” (medium equivalent) nearly doubles the frame rate.

Heat and Noise

Thanks to the large vents in the back, the laptop manages to stay reasonably cool and quiet even under heavy load. When the computer is idle, the fans are barely audible. If you start gaming the fans will work harder, but it does’t get loud enough to overpower sound effects and music from games even at moderate volumes. Using a heavy-duty cooling solution such as this is a great idea and in retrospect it’s strange that no one has thought of it before. It’s perfect for a high-end gaming laptop and it blends in nicely with the rest of the design.

Battery Life, Conclusion

The G73JH is not built for frequent flyers, and with this kind of hardware it’s no surprise that the battery life is abysmal. It runs out of juice in little over an hour under load – not even enough time to watch Toxic Avenger (87min). When the laptop is as closed to turned off as it gets it runs for just over two hours. So most of the time you will need to carry around the power brick, which isn’t that small either by the way. At 7.4 pounds, however, it’s not heavier than the average 17-inch laptop and those looking for long battery life would look elsewhere anyway.

All in all, the Asus G73JH-A2 is a very pleasant experience and a great gaming laptop that will not disappoint. The best part is that it’s – although not cheap – far less expensive than its closest competitors.

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Price Comparison

Asus G73JH-A2

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$1,591.95Go to Store >>
$1,669.00Go to Store >>
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Overall Rating:

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Pros: Excellent performance, low-key unique design, great value for money.

Cons: Poor battery life.

Official trailer from Asus Republic of Gamers:

Posted by JBerg

9 Comments

  1. I just ordered the Asus G73JH-A3 which includes all of the above plus a 4gig SSD to handle boot up chores and a Blue-Ray player. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Nice review, thanks.

  2. Thanks Darryl! It would be awsome to hear how that SSD solution works out. (what brand/model?) I bet you’ll have fast boot-up and great overall system speed even with a small SSD.

  3. This thing looks great, but I’ve read 10 reviews on this laptop, and 5 of them say that the build quality (specifically the keyboard) is questionable. With that in mind, I think I’ll pay the extra and get the (gaudy) Alienware M17X.

  4. The m17x is definitely more funky looking 🙂 But personally I don’t have a problem with the keyboard on the G73. It’s pretty much a standard ‘chiclet’-type keyboard.

  5. I had thought about going with the SSD as well but haven’t seen the need to do so at this point (had it for about 4 months). I think with the next set of games I purchase however I will do it. I realized I have become far to impatient and spoiled after using “my baby”

  6. I don’t have this particular laptop but I just upgraded to an SSD on the one I have. It’s hands down the best and most effective upgrade EVER. Recommended!

  7. How does this laptop graphics card hold up on 3D virtual worlds like SecondLife?

  8. @Dan L.
    Second Life isn’t that demanding. It’s been a while since I played it personally, but my guess is that it would run flawlessly on native resolution on slower cards than this.

    Here are the official system requirements: http://secondlife.com/support/system-requirements/

    The same should be true for World of Warcraft and other old-ish games as well.

  9. Asus is my favorite but this one is very very expensive. Whenever i earn much money i’ll buy Asus laptop like this

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