Gaming Performance: Good for 1080p Gaming

The GTX 560M is clocked 15% higher on the cores, but memory bandwidth remains the same so we should see a spread of up to ~10%. Driver differences may also play a role, but generally speaking the gaming performance of the GTX 460M was already good for 1080p high quality gaming, and the GTX 560M continues that trend with moderate improvements in performance. Even compared to the older ASUS G73JW, the G74SX isn’t a major step up, so if you’re running the older iteration you can probably hold off upgrading for a couple more cycles.

Medium Quality Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mafia II

Mass Effect 2

Metro 2033

STALKER: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

High Quality Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mafia II

Mass Effect 2

Metro 2033

STALKER: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Ultra Quality Gaming

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

DiRT 2

Left 4 Dead 2

Mafia II

Mass Effect 2

Metro 2033

STALKER: Call of Pripyat

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Medium quality gaming obviously doesn’t tax the GTX 560M all that much, and even at 1080p we see that results are generally higher than what the next step down (GT 555M) can manage at 768p. Toss in results from the GT 540M (Dell XPS 15) and we can see just how wide the gulf is between “mainstream” mobile gaming GPUs and “high-end” offerings. Really, if you want to play modern games on a laptop, the GT 540M should be your bare minimum GPU, and it’s only good for 768p and ~medium settings; if you want to play at 1080p, the GTX 560M is what you’ll want.

Looking at our eight titles (with a couple more in Mobile Bench), the G74SX can handle 1080p and our Medium settings in every single title while breaking 30FPS, and eight of the ten games break 60FPS. Move to 1080p and our High settings and nearly all of the games still remain above 30FPS, Metro 2033 being the one exception, but only one title (DiRT 2) can actually break 60FPS. When we turn on antialiasing, we clearly hit the limits of what the GTX 560M can handle. In our Ultra charts, half of the games still break 30FPS, but Mafia II, Metro, STALKER, and StarCraft II fall well short of the mark. You’ll want to monitor your use of antialiasing, and personally I find it too much for the G74SX at 1080p in the majority of titles; average frame rates may be reasonable, but 4xAA often introduces periodic stalls where you drop into the teens or even single digit frame rates, and I’d much rather sacrifice visual fidelity than deal with periodic choppiness.

One other interesting item in the above charts is the comparison of the G74SX with the Toshiba Qosmio. Toshiba employs Optimus Technology, but their laptop also felt a bit less optimized for performance, and it was running older NVIDIA drivers. How much each of those elements accounts for the gaming results is difficult to say, but while we see equal performance in some of the results (BFBC2 Medium, L4D2 High/Ultra, Mafia II Ultra, ME2, Metro Med/High, STALKER Med/High, and SC2 High/Ultra), there are also a few areas where the Qosmio is substantially slower. There’s a 20~25% gap in BFBC2 High and D2 Med/Ultra, and a 5~15% gap in BFBC2 Ultra, D2 High, L4D2 Med, Mafia2 Med/High, STALKER Ultra (unplayable though), and SC2 Med. We also see at least one instance (Metro Ultra) where the Qosmio comes in 73% faster (though it’s completely unplayable at <20FPS, regardless). Clearly, there are some differences in how the two notebooks perform, despite having nearly identical hardware (outside of Optimus support).

Application Performance: Add an SSD for Improved Performance Battery Life: No Optimus Makes Me Sad
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  • plonkplink - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    I'll just skip this review since:
    1. it has a squinty letterbox screen (16:9).
    2. it's an octodecillion times uglier than the saxxy Toshiba Qosmio.
    3. Just as someone said: "beep blueray;that is all.". :)
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    2 and 3 are reasonable enough...

    1, though. Yeah...good luck with that. The industry made the shift. None of us are happy about it, but we can either sit in the corner and sulk about the lost 120 pixels of vertical real estate or be happy that mobile graphics are fast enough to drive the rest of it.
    Reply
  • JojoKracko - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    I have to agree with 1. By going to a 17 inch laptop, you've already decided to accept a larger size / heavier / more expensive laptop so that negates all of the manufacturer's flimsy excuses for using a 16x9 display over a 16x10 version. Total BS IMHO how the industry got away with screwing everyone with this aspect ratio change. 16x10 is better for every single use on your computer - except one - watching movies. And really, how many of you would prefer to watch a movie on your laptop instead of on your widescreen TV?

    2. I personally prefer the G74. Call me crazy. Better textures.
    3. As I would watch movies on my TV, I agree. Beep Blueray!

    I'd add 4. Beep more than 8 GB of ram on laptops and more than 1.5 GB on the video cards in general. Useless, wasteful marketing gimmicks. Lower the price by the same amount instead. It is already crazy how fast a 2 grand laptop loses its value.
    5. Matte AR Screen for fricks sake ASUS!!!!!
    6. MATTE SCREEN - it is worth repeating until they realize they could take ALL of MSI's business with this one change.
    Reply
  • seapeople - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    Stop saying this.

    1920x1200 is better than 1920x1080 because it has more pixels, not because of the aspect ratio.

    I actually prefer more screen width than height... I always run into problems with width when I'm trying to look at multiple applications on the screen at once rather than height.

    If you're really going to argue that it's the aspect ratio, then tell me what you would like better: 1600x900 or 1440x900?
    Reply
  • erple2 - Sunday, October 9, 2011 - link

    Until applications become more horizontally focused, the more vertical pixels become important.

    It's not that I prefer 1440x900 over 1600x900, it's for a given number of horizontal pixels, I'd MUCH rather have more vertical pixels - so I'd prefer 1600x1000 over 1600x900 every time.

    As long as the menubars, tabs, close buttons etc are all aligned vertically, I'll still say that I want more vertical pixels for a given horizontal pixel count.

    I wouldn't mind having a 2133x1200 res screen (16x9 with 1200 vertical pixels), but nobody makes them.

    Even on my 1080p laptop, I feel as though it's vertically cramped. Then again, I'm used to using 1920x1200 screens on my desktop for work and play.
    Reply
  • Wolfpup - Friday, October 7, 2011 - link

    16:9 is today's normal aspect ratio, and it's not "squinty", the resolution and screen size work pretty well for a notebook.

    "Ugly" is subjective, but I like the G74's utilitarianness. I find Toshiba and Dell's systems much uglier, though that's bottom on my list for why I buy a system regardless.

    And I have no idea what "beep blueray" means. At first I thought you thought this didn't have it, which it does. Now I'm thinking you DON'T want it for some unknown reason...well, you don't have to use it, or can buy a cheaper G74 model without it.
    Reply
  • JojoKracko - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - link

    Beep Bluray just means that it is unnecessary for most of us. Especially the versions with the bluray burner. Realistically, how many buyers of the G74 do so because it has a bluray burner? Half of 1 percent? If that? It is a useless marketing gimmick. Just like moving from 8-16 GB of ram (again, might help 1/2 of 1% of us), or 3GB of video card ram vs 1.5 GB. Even the GTX570M is slower than an old desktop 460GTX and that card can't max out it's 1GB of ram. 3GB is a joke, and 30 bucks that should have been spent on something useful - like a taller screen, better cooling, a bump to the next level of cpu, a bump to the GTX570M, etc. Same goes for the extra $40 for bluray player, or extra $100 for bluray burner. Marketing BS. Doesn't help the majority of you. Demand to be able to pay for what you need.

    Comment here or even better, write letters to Asus.

    Oh, best use of the extra cash? MATTE F'ing SCREENS!!! This reflective crap should have been banned a decade ago.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    16GB RAM is useless for the vast majority of people.

    Give me an IPS 1920x1200 screen and 8GB RAM instead, and it would be almost perfect.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    Perfect.. spec wise, I mean. Reply
  • JojoKracko - Thursday, October 6, 2011 - link

    True Dat! 1900 x 1200 IPS panel. Extra $75. Well worth the expense. Heck, double or triple it and I'd still pay it for these two features.

    MATTE SCREEN also. They did it with their top of the line 3D version and it was far superior to the glossy crap screen you get with this 'update' version - IMHO.
    Reply

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