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Asus G51J – a complete package

tech-reviews Updated: Apr 27, 2010 17:17 IST
Highlight Story

Hailing from Asus ‘Republic Of Gamers’ series and packed with Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology, the Asus G51J lends a different dimension to gaming, in the true sense.It’s a mean machine with a rich feature set, but can it handle the intensive rendering when it comes to 3D gaming?

Design
The laptop has a blue-black theme that looks simply dashing, with a glossy lid, an illuminated ROG emblem and lights on either edge. The interior is black, with a hint of brushed satin chrome around the touchpad. There aren’t any annoying colourful blinking lights, which seems to be de rigeur in gaming laptops. What sets this baby apart is its sober look.

Open the lid and you’ll notice a glossy but solid frame, quality hinges, and a matte wrist rest with and touchpad. The rim of the touchpad is a brush-finished metallic frame, which extends to become mouse buttons. The overall build quality and the ergonomics are top notch, but the chicklet keyboard didn’t impress us much,mainly because it flexed a little too much.

Owing to its overall size, ruggedness, and rich feature set, this laptop weighs almost 3.5 kg and is almost 5 cm thick. So, it goes without saying that you’ll have to use it on a desk. Also, while benchmarking and gaming, we noticed the temperature soaring to 70 degrees celsius, so it’s really not advisable to carry this laptop around. Besides, it can double as a high-end desktop PC, thanks to its powerful hardware, so that’s one more good reason to keep it fixed on a desk.

Nvidia 3D gaming
The G51J comes with Nvidia’s 3D Vision glasses. With these on, your game will look pretty much like Avatar did on the big screen. That’s because these glasses offer a stereoscopic 3D experience while gaming and watching 3D images. (There are 400 games optimised to work with this technology).These glasses work on a 120 Hz LCD monitor such as this laptop’s. There is wireless technology involved, so you’ll find a wireless receiver which connects with the USB port in the kit.

Hardcore hardware
In terms of hardware, the biggest asset of this laptop is the processor. Built around Intel’s performance chipset, the machine is powered by an Intel Core i7 720QM processor which clocks at 1.6 GHz. There is 4 GB DDR3 RAM and two 320 GB hard drives (7200 rpm). So there is not only enough number-crunching power but also ample room for storing games, music, movies and such. The discrete graphics are courtesy an Nvidia Geforce GTX 260M.

Features
Besides the Nvidia 3D Vision glasses, you’ll also get a classy Razor Abyssus optical gaming mouse. Want something more to drool over? This machine has a Blu-ray drive and multi-channel sound, so watching movies is a treat. Options for external display include HDMI and VGA.

Connectivity
The standard connectivity options include gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth. Then, there are four USB ports, a 2.0 megapixel webcam, a FireWire port, a memory card reader and Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). And, as if the Vision kit and the mouse weren’t enough, the laptop also bundles a sporty rucksack, an OS-recovery disc, drivers, manual and a cleaning cloth, along with it.

A bit about the processor
The most powerful and high-end in Intel’s new series of Core processors, the Core i7 features Hyper Threading (HT) and Turbo Boost — which makes it a workhorse compared to Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5 series. The CPU used in this laptop (the Intel Core i7 720QM) is a quad-core variant so you can see eight threads processing simultaneously. Also, it has a whopping 6 MB L3 cache, which again helps boost the performance of the CPU.

Have fun gaming
Playing games in 3D is super fun but it’s not something most laptops or desktops can handle. The 3D performance on the G51J was good, but needed to be scaled down some games to get playable frame rates. Crysis could barely go above 20 fps in 3D, but with 3D switched off, the game ran at a playable 40 fps.

You needed to swap details and frame rates to play this game in 3D. The only time you actually get the 3D effect is when you are close to the object or person. So, it makes little sense to swap details for a game like Crysis WARHEAD.But, when we played Batman Arkham Asylum, the results were stunning. This game is better-optimised and looks excellent in 3D.

We'd say, that if you're playing Batman, choose the native resolution of this laptop, 1366 x 768, leave the settings to ‘High’ and turn off AA. This gave us about 42 fps with 3D stereoscope switched on. Be warned though — half an hour of intensive game play might give you a heavy head.The most intensive applications like audio and video encoding and image-editing are a piece of cake for this machine.