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The ASUS G73JH packs a gorgeous backlit 1920x1080 screen and is the first laptop to feature AMD's top of the line mobile DirectX 11 GPU, the Mobility Radeon HD 5870.  (Source: Newegg.com)

AMD's testing shows the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 smoking NVIDIA's GTX 280M.  (Source: AMD)
New GPU spanks NVIDIA's GTX 280M, nears SLI performance on single chip

One of the biggest news items at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show was AMD's announcement of mobile DirectX 11 GPUs.  Even as it surpassed NVIDIA in the desktop graphics market, AMD still trailed NVIDIA in the laptop GPU market.  AMD's previous generation of mobile GPUs, the Mobility Radeon 4000, series had very little adoption.  So with the announcement of the Mobility Radeon 5000 series and the excellent performance it would bring, both the pressure and the promise were high.

The good news is that AMD indeed appears to be getting its mobile GPU products to market this time around.  ASUSTek thus far has been the only major taker of AMD's DirectX 11 parts, but fortunately for AMD, it has been quite aggressive in rolling them out across its lineup.  It first introduced laptops with the Mobility Radeon HD 5470 and Mobility Radeon HD 5730.

Now it has upgraded its lineup to include two new models that features AMD's flagship mobile design, the Mobility Radeon HD 5870.  The pair of laptops, the G73JH-X1 and G73JH-A2, both retail for $1599.99 on Newegg.com and pack an Intel Core i7 720QM(1.60GHz) processor, 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, and a high-resolution 17.3-in. backlit 1920x1080 screen (to help make having such a powerful mobile graphics card worthwhile).  Both machines weigh in it at 8 lbs.  The X1 variant has a 1 TB HDD, while the A2 has a smaller 500 GB HDD but comes with a backpack and mouse.

The Mobility Radeon 5870 features 1 GB of GDDR 5 RAM clocked at 1000 MHz and an 800-pipeline Broadway GPU core, clocked at 700 MHz.  It offers over a teraflop of processing power at under 60 W thanks in part to the ultra-small 40 nm process technology its built on.

For gamers the release is exciting news.  AMD's internal testing shows the new mobile card beating NVIDIA's top of the line GTX 280M by a margin of about 25 percent in a variety of modern games, including Crysis, Far Cry 2, and Left 4 Dead.  The GPU in synthetic benchmarks is only just beat by SLI designs from NVIDIA.

That means that the new laptops from ASUS may be the fastest non-SLI gaming laptops on the market currently.  Until independent benchmarks come in, that cannot be confirmed with certainty, but the folks at AMD are very confident that the MR HD 5870 is the fastest single GPU in laptops.

When paired with a high resolution screen, such as the G73JH-X1, the new GPU should make for mobile gaming bliss.  Expect more OEMs to jump on the bandwagon as they continue the long wait for NVIDIA's DirectX 11 response, which is expected sometime late this month or early next month.



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By bysmitty on 2/12/2010 12:34:18 PM , Rating: 5
I don't mean to spark up a Mac vs PC debate (or do I?) but I simply don't understand how anyone can possibly defend the MacBook Pro's place in the market when you compare it to a machine like this.

Asus G73JH-A2
Quad core i7 CPU, 8gb mem, (x2) 500gb 7200rpm HDDs, ATI 5870 1gb, 17" 1080p screen. = $1600

Apple MacBook Pro (17")
Dual core Core2duo CPU, 4gb mem, (x1) 500gb 5400rpm HDD, NV 9600m gt 512mb, 17" 1080p screen. = $2500

Someone please justify a MacBook Pro to me because no matter which way I look at it, it is fail.

...bysmitty




By jonmcc33 on 2/12/2010 4:57:12 PM , Rating: 4
It has always been that way. It just keeps getting worse. I love it when someone I know (from work, etc) gets a Mac and is all proud. That is until I point out to them that they grossly overpaid and show them identical specs from a much cheaper Windows based laptop.

Macs might be a fad but not everyone is made of money these days. Once people figure out they could have saved hundreds of not thousands it really eats at them.


By Cypherdude1 on 2/14/2010 6:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Someone please justify a MacBook Pro to me because no matter which way I look at it, it is fail. ...bysmitty
While I would never use one, one advantage MacBooks have is their battery play life. They typically last 8 hours, twice as long as WinTel notebooks. In order to get comparable results, a WinTel notebook requires a 12 cell battery, not the standard 6. The Asus G73JH-X1 notebook has an 8-cell lithium ion battery, a step in the right direction but still not enough. 12 cell batteries should be standard, unless you enjoy running to the wall outlet after every 3 hours of usage. There are very few 12 cell battery-powered laptops on the market. Buying a 12 cell battery separately is expensive, that is of course, if it actually fits.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...


By dark matter on 2/15/2010 4:15:29 AM , Rating: 2
Of course the battery life is going to better. It has half the power as the Asus laptop.

It's like saying a 1.8 litre engine gets more MPG that a 3 litre engine.

Duh!


By jbizzler on 2/17/2010 4:50:45 PM , Rating: 2
The battery comparison isn't as simple as that. Laptops with comparable specs as the MacBook Pros, 45nm Core 2 Duos and GeForce 9600M GTs, don't have anywhere near the 7 hours the Macs have. The operating system helps too. Windows on the same Macs drop from 7 hours to 4 or so hours.

Spec-wise, the PCs are always better. But a computer is much more than its specs. Honestly, Macbooks are the only computers I'd ever use in my lap. They're light and thin and at the same time, super-solid. And when compared to PCs that light and thin, they are very powerful.

Like I said, a computer is much more than its specs. Unless you're a gamer or a graphics professional, all the graphics adapter needs to do is render video and desktop compositing. The graphics cores on Intel's newest chips do that just fine.

It's a preference. And if you prefer Mac OS X over Windows (I know I do because its tighter adherence to standards and much cleaner user-space, NOT because it's prettier), there's even more of a reason.

It's not "better in every way". But if you're a heavy game player, it's a no-brainer.


By rburnham on 2/17/2010 9:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Macs are great if you have specific Mac-related needs (such as being a graphic designer, where OSX tends to be better for opening and working with many files at once due to the UI), but if you are just getting a general computer or you want to play games, there is simply no reason to get a Mac.

I am really impressed with how much computing power I can get from a Windows laptop even in the 500-800 dollar range.


By tim851 on 2/13/2010 7:00:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Someone please justify a MacBook Pro to me


There's nothing to justify.
Not all our purchasing choices are based on rationality alone. People buy 60$ T-shirts because they like the print, people buy 60k $ cars because they like the shape.

They are the secondary product attributes. Things that don't define the function but other "benefits" the user gets. In the case of a Macbook those secondary attributes can be "it's pretty" or "it's representative".

It's what most of our economy is based on.


By dark matter on 2/15/2010 4:16:29 AM , Rating: 2
The economy that has fell apart recently? Great.


By rburnham on 2/17/2010 9:44:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's what most of our economy is based on.


Not anymore.


By Phoque on 2/18/2010 8:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think an apple fanboy or Steve Jobs himself would say:

"Apple doesn't know how to build a 1600$ high-end computer that is not a piece of crap."


By Phoque on 2/18/2010 8:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
wrote "computer", but meant "laptop".

Still holds true either way.


too bad
By superPC on 2/12/2010 9:33:46 AM , Rating: 3
No real FPS count on that benchmark. kind of wondering how good those game runs on this thing in 1080p. well, guess I have to wait for the independent benchmark.




RE: too bad
By barjebus on 2/12/2010 10:46:43 AM , Rating: 1
The benchmark graph above is pure bunk/propoganda. I love ATI gfx cards, but the scale "starts" at 75%, setting the Nvidia chip at 100% and then display how superior the ATI card is on each game. The graph makes ATI appear to be a 100% improvement over nvidia (since the bottom of the graph is at 75%, and nvidia reaches 100%, and ATI reaches 125%) when it in fact is only 25% better.


RE: too bad
By ClownPuncher on 2/12/2010 12:39:45 PM , Rating: 3
Totally bunk, because you need basic literacy and comprehension to decipher such cryptic graphs. Way to uncover such a sinister conspiracy though.


RE: too bad
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/15/2010 6:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
You would be surprised by how many people (even gamers), see those bars and say "wow, look how bigger the bar is for the ATI product" instead of looking at the numbers. :D

Some people just don't pay attention to what they read.

PS: no fanboy here. I'm not saying ATI's offering isn't worth it, it's just that those graphs are meant to catch bad readers off guard. Nvidia, Intel and many others do exactly the same.

One just has to pay attention to the information he reads, and then buy what the best bang for his buck is, regardless of brand name.


Not bad, ASUS...
By GourdFreeMan on 2/12/2010 1:53:53 PM , Rating: 3
That's a fairly impressive design at a decent price. My only complaint is that I'd like to see the socket for the power plug moved to the back with the air vents. Personally, I'd like to see an upscale variant offered with two hard drive bays, a Blu-Ray drive, and an Intel SSD as an option.

I will also echo what other users are saying, and mention that AMD should offer mobile drivers directly and consider a hybrid GPU solution (AMD's Fusion would seem to present a natural opportunity) like nVIDIA.




RE: Not bad, ASUS...
By inperfectdarkness on 2/13/2010 5:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
for a first effort...not bad.

needs a smaller chassis, & 1920x1200 screen. THEN it'll be sweet.


RE: Not bad, ASUS...
By zombiexl on 2/15/2010 11:44:36 AM , Rating: 2
It has 2 hd bays and bluray, at least the model i've been tracking for a month for 1649$. An ASUS reseller (google or bing it) can upgrade the SSD or you can do it yourself.

My main complaint is that ASUS hasn't put it up on their site yet. Actually ASUS hasn't put up any of their newer models on their site yet.


RE: Not bad, ASUS...
By Drag0nFire on 2/16/2010 10:38:35 AM , Rating: 2
As a long time user of ASUS hardware, I can tell you that the Asus website is one of the worst in the industry...


sounds like a scorcher!
By riottime on 2/12/2010 11:22:29 AM , Rating: 3
i7 and dx11 card? this thing is going to burn a hole in your lap once it's done burning one in your wallet/purse! :P




RE: sounds like a scorcher!
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2010 1:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
Purse? We all know women belong in the kitchen. ;)


RE: sounds like a scorcher!
By RubberJohnny on 2/19/2010 4:54:09 AM , Rating: 2
Don't you mean the bedroom? ...racking up head shots on their beasty new mobile gaming platform ;)


AMD Mobile Drivers
By mark3450 on 2/12/2010 5:12:53 PM , Rating: 3
Historically I have found AMD's mobile driver support to be atrociously bad. So much so that I am simply unwilling to ever purchase a laptop with an AMD card again.

I realize AMD blames the OEM's and vice versa, but the fact of the matter is you can go to nvidia's site and readily find up to date mobile drivers, and you can't do that with AMD. Game over as far as I'm concerned.




RE: AMD Mobile Drivers
By Zoomer on 2/14/2010 11:00:48 AM , Rating: 2
Just use mobility modder or similar?


Drivers
By Aloonatic on 2/12/2010 9:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
I hope that they are doing something to sort out how much of a pain in the arse it can be to get driver updates for their mobility/laptop graphics cards.

Even with this industry lading (blah blah blah) are we still going to have to rely on the OEM bothering to getting around to testing and releasing an update once, or maybe even twice a year if you're lucky?

To be fair, I'm mostly going on Dell's performance in this area, so maybe other OEMs are better?




Backpack and a mouse!
By HalJordan on 2/12/2010 10:03:55 AM , Rating: 2
Really? Who decides these things?




Good news for laptop gamers
By Skott on 2/12/2010 12:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
When ASUS said they wanted to become one of the leading notebook sellers they were not kidding. A 5870 in a notebook is going to be a big seller amongst the notebook gaming crowd I'm thinking. ASUS gaming laptops still have a heat problem though. If they can get a better cooling system built in then they'll definitely leap ahead of companies like Sager in quality builds.




Awaiting Nvidia's DX11 MOBILE response
By FXi on 2/12/2010 7:40:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's key to note that Nvidia is only rolling out a desktop DX11 soon. Mobile DX11 from Nvidia has not been announced, talked about, or even rumoured, which is almost always an indication that it's more than a year away.

So while you write about a response, I don't think it applies to the AMD Mobile DX11 family.




By FliGuyRyan on 2/13/2010 1:36:26 AM , Rating: 2
Come on... I thrive on my eSATA drive for my D300 photos after a wedding. Have 10+ gigs on a card after a shoot does not make for pleasant downloading via USB 2.0. eSATA is a miracle, and now that USB 3.0 is coming out, I'm surprised ASUS went the extra mile to adopt the ATI flagship, but not any of the new technologies in the data sector.

USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 would've be amazing for this thing. It would've rendered the option for Alienware-type machines basically useless as it would've had everything you could possibly want basically (you can customize these on other sites).

I'm disappointed by the lack of eSATA at least. My external is amazing by using eSATA... I would miss that on this laptop.

Also, those of you complaining about the whole "laptop" debate. My Gateway P-7811 FX is sitting on my lap (on a elevated "cooling" stand) and I have no problem with it. Of course you don't put it directly on your lap. But with an aftermarket device it is fully capable and comfortable for lap use. I watch tv at night with it on my lap... no problem. And it's 17" of pure glory. No different for the ASUS.

-RC




nvidia's dx11 response?
By Phoque on 2/13/2010 1:06:24 PM , Rating: 2
Nvidia's response for this generation is doomed. There are articles aplenty on semiaccurate detailing why.

http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/02/12/nvidias-rd-...

http://www.semiaccurate.com/2010/01/17/nvidia-gf10...

Sad for competition and price drop, but it does put a smile on my face that the bast*** running this company has to eat back his ego.




By vignyan on 2/13/2010 5:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ridiculous title!




A BACKLIT LCD! YES!!!!!
By Indianapolis on 2/16/2010 7:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and a high-resolution 17.3-in. backlit 1920x1080 screen (to help make having such a powerful mobile graphics card worthwhile).


Oh sweet! This thing has a backlit LCD. No more shinning a flashlight into my computer screen while gaming indoors or at night! Thank you ASUS!




Rush to market?
By Beenthere on 2/12/10, Rating: 0
Battery life...
By jonmcc33 on 2/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Battery life...
By Enigmatic on 2/12/2010 9:47:47 AM , Rating: 3
Well, since those top end nVidia GPUs seem to get about 1-2 hours battery life and these are more power efficient I imagine that they would get at least that. Nonetheless, AMD/ATi need to implement their own IGP-Discrete GPU switching technology like that Optimus thing nVidia has.


RE: Battery life...
By UNCjigga on 2/12/2010 10:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
I may be way off-base here, but I'm surprised AMD doesn't already have their own Optimus-like softswitch technology, at least on its own Athlon/Phenom/Neo chipsets. Wouldn't they be able to implement something similar via CrossfireX? Use the IGP for everything, but bring on additional shaders for complex GPGPU or gaming operations.


RE: Battery life...
By NTech on 2/12/2010 10:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
If your concern is with power why would you even bother purchasing a laptop with 3rd party graphics? Fact is you want speed, compute power, graphics, and on top of that expect it all to last for a long period of time. The reality is that if you're AMD or Nvidia it's going to use a bit more power.

These are likely niche products for people that game with their laptops. How often do you plan on carrying your laptop around without having it plugged in anyway? Even most classrooms these days come with

I must agree though; battery life is quite important, and I'm certain engineers thought about that as well. But if you're concerned about that maybe you should just take your battery out while its plugged in?


RE: Battery life...
By therealnickdanger on 2/12/2010 10:45:16 AM , Rating: 5
I'm a pretty big guy, but even having my old Dell e1705 on my lap was uncomfortable after a few minutes (heat notwithstanding). IMO, laptops like this are DTRs only. Keep it plugged into an outlet, plug in a mouse, and it's perfect. It's a mobile computer in the sense that you can easily take it with you and set it up elsewhere.


RE: Battery life...
By Sazar on 2/12/2010 2:44:34 PM , Rating: 2
There is a reason they call them notebooks instead of laptops now. The heat does get pretty ridiculous for some of these systems and I have yet to see any meaningful warnings from the manufacturers talking about potential risks from having a piping hot notebook sitting in your lap.

I am kind of liking the hinge that Dell came out with on the Adamo XPS because of this.


RE: Battery life...
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2010 12:56:24 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe because some people want both a gaming machine and a portable machine in one. And the technology exists to do it.


RE: Battery life...
By Grabo on 2/13/2010 4:54:59 AM , Rating: 2
Where is it?

If 'in theory', then concentrate on the hurdles of getting such a product onto the market at a price not everyone would call daylight robbery.

Portables are always about functional compromises. At least as long as the price is a factor.


RE: Battery life...
By rburnham on 2/17/2010 9:49:07 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you may not be able to crank up the graphic settings to the max in games, but there are plenty of modern laptops that can run new games with reasonable settings.


RE: Battery life...
By jbizzler on 2/17/2010 5:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Modern games' max settings are meant to push desktop graphics cards, not run on general notebooks. We don't need maximum performance everywhere. Nothing's wrong with "normal" settings.

IMO, game developers need to work on optimizing performance on mid-level hardware instead of making the prettiest thing. Graphics can look good and not be high-end at the same time.

But then what would he developers be able to brag about? Oh yeah. Gameplay quality.


RE: Battery life...
By Omega215D on 2/12/2010 10:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
maybe they are but it's still a bit early and the bugs may need some sorting out if any.


RE: Battery life...
By PrazVT on 2/12/2010 11:17:25 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if this counts...but my Thinkpad W500 (C2D, 6GB, 320GB, HD3650 / Intel 4500) has switchable graphics. Of course, I haven't enabled it in ages since early Win Vista/7 drivers were buggy as hell. But in XP it worked automatically - not entirely sure I could switch on demand though.

Of course, this is not a pure AMD solution.


RE: Battery life...
By GodisanAtheist on 2/12/2010 12:01:01 PM , Rating: 3
ATI's powerplay (now that it actually works) probably mitigates much of the need for switchable graphics, as even the 5850 can idle at a mind bogglingly low 16 watts. Still more than a 4-5 watt IGP, but not too shabby either.


RE: Battery life...
By jonmcc33 on 2/12/2010 4:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's not because of the GPU but the CPU + GPU combined. Mobile Core i7 processors eat up a ton of juice under load.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...


RE: Battery life...
By wwwcd on 2/12/2010 10:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
This laptop is very big! Standart pack battery maybe 12 cells, 16 cells battery optional?! But, worked mastery and position in DTR placement!


RE: Battery life...
By swizeus on 2/12/2010 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
You're just being sarcastic here....
They have standard though.... TOP line notebooks (comes with i7, discrete graphics with no IGP) usually have 1-2 hours of battery life, and they usually don't come with a 13" chassis. Owh, just remembered... ASUS has managed to squeeze a more density battery. They can manage to get at least 5 Hours of gaming with their UL80VT


RE: Battery life...
By jonmcc33 on 2/12/2010 4:54:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just basing what I read on AnandTech about the mobile Core i7.

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...


RE: Battery life...
By akse on 2/12/2010 12:38:13 PM , Rating: 3
I dont see any point in laptop gaming anyways. With power cord it's probably okey.. but still lacks a lot that a good/average desktop gaming PC has. (good screen and lotsa power/$)


RE: Battery life...
By RjBass on 2/12/2010 11:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
I have to disagree. I have an 18" Compal whitebook with a Mobility Radeon 4870 X2 that plays awesome when gaming. Maybe a year or two ago laptop gaming was only for the ultra rich, but today, it works good, and is affordable.


RE: Battery life...
By nikon133 on 2/14/2010 4:16:21 PM , Rating: 1
Who cares?

This is not truly portable unit. This is desktop replacement. When I go to lan party, I know I'll spend there 12 hours at least, usually more. Even having 6 hours of heavy gaming battery life wouldn't help - I need to carry AC adapter anyway... but it still beats the crap out of carrying desktop, monitor and accessories.

What I'd like to see for unit like this is docking station; easy way to keep external screen, keyboard, USB devices plugged at home... still easy to undock and carry to lan. With that, I could easily see it replacing my desktop.

For daily portability, I'd never carry 17" monster anyway; something like announced ASUS UL30Jc would always be my choice for second, truly portable unit.


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