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XoticPC’s G73JW: A Good Gaming Notebook Made Better?

XoticPC’s G73JW: A Good Gaming Notebook Made Better?
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XoticPC offers gaming notebook buyers an alternative to the boring and heavy Clevo-based units sold by most of its competitors. Asus’ hefty (but not grotesquely-so) G73JW is the starting point for the custom build XoticPC sent over for our evaluation.

Limited portability is one of the biggest weaknesses attributed to modern gaming notebooks, with comparisons to professional bowling balls typically favoring the more sports-oriented device. High-performance business notebooks that can’t game at all weigh half as much, and most models that attempt to fill the void have small screens.

The problem, of course, is that most “big” gaming notebooks are designed with the flexibility to host multi-GPU configurations and even desktop processors. Customers not interested in such opulent customizations typically look to off-the-shelf solutions from Asus and MSI to fulfill their basic gaming needs. XoticPC asks the question: “why not customize one of those?” And so the company did.

The same processor interface that allows Asus’ G73JW to host a low-cost Core i7-740QM is used by XoticPC to incorporate the much more power user-friendly Core i7-940XM Extreme Edition, while two memory slots left empty in the base model get filled by XoticPC to expand total memory capacity to 16 GB. An 80 GB Intel X25-M SSD, custom-overclocked graphics module, and custom lighting round out a bill that roughly doubles the G73JW’s original price tag, while maximizing its performance potential.

XoticPC G73JW Component List
PlatformIntel PGA988, HM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-940XM (Clarksfield) Quad-Core 2.13-3.33 GHz, 2.5 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3 Cache, 45 nm, 55 W
RAM16 GB (4 x 4 GB) Samsung DDR3-1333 MT/s SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsSingle Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M, 1.5 GB GDDR5
"Redline Boost" to 810 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3240
Display17.3" "Full HD" Glossy, LED backlit TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio, Software EAX 5.0 and THX TruStudio
SecurityAsus SmartLogon face detection, ADSM drive encryption
Storage
Hard DriveIntel 2nd Gen. X25-M 80 GB, MLC, 2.5", SATA 3Gb/s SSD
Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500 GB, 7200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s HDD
Optical DrivePLDS DS-4E1S Blu-ray Reader / DVD Writer Combo Drive
Media Drive8-in-1 flash media interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mbps
Wireless PANBroadcom BT-270 Internal Bluetooth V2.1 +EDR Module
Gigabit NetworkAtheros AR8131 PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394None
TelephonyNone
Peripheral Interfaces
USB3 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0
Expansion CardInternal Only
HDDNone
AudioHeadphone, Microphone
Video1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI
Power & Weight
AC Adapter150 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 19.5 V DC
Battery14.6 V 5200 mAh (75 Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 8.6 lbs, AC Adapter 1.9 lbs, Total 10.5 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
Service
WarrantyAsus Two-Year Warranty (Add $349 for Three-Year Full+Accidental)
Price$3,608


This configuration’s processor upgrade cost nearly as much as a bare CPU, though we must admit that Asus’ design makes the process something most users wouldn’t want to attempt themselves. Enthusiasts looking for the same zing with less bling can save a few hundred dollars by using Asus’ stock lighting. This particular build was simply designed to show off most of what XoticPC has to offer. Let’s take a closer look.

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  • 1 Hide
    bobwya , 20 January 2011 19:31
    Looks nice - if I had a spare 3 grand lying around... After a few trips to the gym it would be OK. But I would be more concerned about the quality of the TFT panel, etc. than all those FPS comparison figures. A bit stingy to put in the slower Intel 80Gb SSD - given the overall price...
  • 1 Hide
    aje21 , 21 January 2011 12:45
    Why 16GB on a gaming machine? What games can take advantage of it? (Perhaps something to include in future reviews would be the memory utilisation.)
    Also, if this machine is set to hibernate then the excess RAM will eat an extra 10% of the SSD (I'm not sure if your count of 30GB used includes page file and hibernation).
    For a gaming laptop it would be good to know how well it does at its panel's native resolution in each of the games as an overall figure (e.g. fitting a 1080 screen with limited GPU performance would be a waste of money).
    Still, enjoyed the read - perhaps some more reviews of "light" gaming kit?
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , 21 January 2011 19:12
    Yeah, we need a proper review of the panel as well.
  • 1 Hide
    tulx , 24 January 2011 18:12
    "gaming notebook" = "aerobic spacesuit"
  • 0 Hide
    david__t , 24 January 2011 18:43
    Although some laptop screens are amazing, they will never compete with standalone screens due to laptops design limitations. It might be possible to squeeze a full performance panel in there, but the battery life would be far too compromised.
  • 1 Hide
    fishslappedface , 25 January 2011 07:07
    Quote:
    "gaming notebook" = "aerobic spacesuit"
    = so true.