Asus' G51J: Affordable Core i7 Mobile Gaming?

Can upper-mainstream gaming and true mobility coexist? We’ve seen many attempts (perhaps hundreds?) by vendors during the last several years to pack desktop gaming horsepower in a portable package. But performance lagged and did not live up to the claims. We almost got there in 2004 with ATI's Radeon 9600 XT-based Mobility Radeon 9700. Yet, at that time, mobile processing still fell short. Intel released its Core Duo mobile processors two years later, but new games made the elder GPU obsolete. While CPU and GPU manufacturers continuously chase the rainbow of efficiency, technological convergence appears as mythical as the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end.

There have been "desktop-replacement” PCs that are notebooks almost in name only, such as Eurocom’s recently-reviewed Core i7-based D900F Panther. Perhaps light enough to carry from your office to the parking lot, such behemoths appeal mostly to those who want a desktop they can take home rather than a computing device they can take anywhere. This explains the drive by Intel to put Core i7 technology in a smaller, more heat-efficient product suitable for a wider user base, which we recently revealed as Clarksfield.

Always near the forefront of mobile technology, Asus jumped at the chance to build a gaming notebook using the new processor series. Yet, in an effort to reduce both heat and cost, Asus chose a far different product than the i7-920XM that Chris reviewed. Running 400 MHz slower and with 2MB less cache, the G51J’s i7-720QM allows Asus to price its product within easy reach of many mainstream gamers. Let’s see how it stacks up to our most modern gaming notebooks.

Asus G51J-A1 Configuration Comparison
ModelAsus G51J-A1Eurocom D900F PantherMSI GT725-212US
CPUIntel Core i7-720QM
1.60 GHz-2.80 GHz, Quad Cores
DMI 2.5GT/s, 6.0MB L3 Cache
Intel Core i7-965 Extreme
3.20 GHz-3.46 GHz, Quad Cores
QPI 6.4GT/s, 8.0MB L3 Cache
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000
2.00 GHz, Quad Cores
FSB-1066, 6.0MB L2 Cache
ChipsetIntel PM55 Express PCHIntel X58/ICH10RIntel PM45/ICH9M
RAM4.0GB PC3-85006.0GB DDR3-1333 (as listed)4.0GB DDR2-800
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 260M 1.0GBNvidia GeForce GTX 280M 1.0GB ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB
Display15.6" LED Backlit 1080p (1920x1080)17" WUXGA (1920x1200)17" WUXGA (1920x1200)
HDD2x Seagate 7200.4 320GB, No-RAID2x Seagate 7200.4 500GB RAID 0WD Scorpio Black 320GB
SoundIntegrated HD Audio, Soft EAX 4.0Integrated HD AudioIntegrated HD Audio
Wired LANIntegrated Gigabit LANIntegrated Gigabit LANIntegrated Gigabit LAN
Wireless LANIntel WiFi Link 1000 802.11nIntel WiFi Link 5300 802.11nAtheros AR928X 802.11n
TelephonyNoneIntegrated 56k Fax ModemIntegrated 56k Fax Modem
BluetoothInternal Bluetooth ModuleInternal Bluetooth ModuleInternal Bluetooth Module
OpticalH-L Data GT30N DVD-RAMPanasonic UJ-130 BD-ROM DVD±RWOptiarc BC-5500S BD-ROM DVD±RW
Media ReaderMulti-format flash card interfaceMulti-format flash card interfaceMulti-format flash card interface
Webcam2.0 Megapixel2.0 Megapixel2.0 Megapixel
USB 2.0 Four Ports (2 left, 2 right)4 Ports (right-side)4 Ports (2 left, 2 right)
IEEE-13941x FireWire 400 (left-side)1x FireWire 400 (left-side)1x FireWire 400 (right-side)
eSATA1x eSATA 3.0Gb/s (left-side)1x eSATA 3.0Gb/s (left-side)1x eSATA 3.0Gb/s (right-side)
Audio I/OHeadphone/Digital Optical Out Combo, Microphone, Line-Input (right-side)Line-In, Digital Out, Microphone,
Headphone (front edge)
Headphone, Digital Out, Line-In,
Microphone (right-side)
Video Out1x VGA, 1x HDMI (left-side)1x DVI (rear), 1x HDMI (left-side)1x VGA, 1x HDMI (rear)
BatterySix-cell 11.1V 4800mAh12-cell 14.4V 6600mAhNine-cell 10.8V 7800mAh
WeightNotebook 7.4 lbs, Power Adapter 1.3 lbs., Total 8.7 lbs.Notebook 11.8 lbs., Power Adapter
2.6 lbs., Total 14.4 lbs.
Notebook 7.8 lbs., Power Adapter
1.3 lbs., Total 9.1 lbs.
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Home PremiumMicrosoft Windows Vista UltimateWindows Vista Home Premium
WarrantyTwo-year parts and labor (w/overnight shipping), One-Year accidental damageOne-year return serviceThree-year electronics parts/labor
One-year LCD/Battery
SupportTwo-year toll-free telephoneOne-year online and telephoneThree-year online tech support
Total Price$1,500 $4,586 $1,600
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  • jimishtar
    who will buy this... jesus... wasting money, for what ? gaming laptop is a myth in my book.
  • das_stig
    Funny enough, I've been looking for a lappy to replace my desktop and my list comes down to the HP DV7/8 or the MSI GT640/740 and now the Asus, but the price to try and upgrade these beast past 4GB is bloody horrendous.
  • dopeydog
    To the editor:

    Some people prefer 1920*1080 screens. When doing a new build a few months ago, I specifically chose a 1920*1080 screen over a 1920*1200 screen as I can't stand the black bars when watching films and other DVDs. Also, why not benchmark at 1920*1080 since thats what most people buying this laptop would experience?
  • chriscornell
    I run my monitor at 1920*1080 as well as it is a 16:9 monitor instead of 16:10.
  • flaminggerbil
    "I've been looking for a lappy to replace my desktop"
    Bad times are ahead.
  • das_stig
    I Bought the DV7-3020EA for £819, yeh expensive, but beautiful and fast.
  • damian86
    What about battery lifetime?
  • flaminggerbil
    damian86What about battery lifetime?

    About 13 seconds, give or take a couple.