by Rob Williams on October 3, 2009 in Systems
To purchase a quality gaming notebook just a few years ago would have set you back at least $2,000. The situation is far better today, and it’s proven with ASUS’ G51Vx, coming in at $999. It comes complete with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 260M graphics card, a great feature-set and plays most of today’s games at max detail settings with ease.
As a gaming notebook at $1,000, you can probably already guess how things will be configured. Given the price, ASUS has to strategically decide which parts to cut back on, in order to keep the gaming performance high. Despite that goal though, the G51Vx is, overall, a very capable notebook, even with gaming aside. Really, the only thing that could be considered scaled-back would be the CPU, a modest 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo.
In the world of gaming, more often than not, it’s the GPU that makes the most difference, not the CPU. So it’s with that, that ASUS decided to bolster a larger GPU and include a modest CPU. There are some games that take great advantage of the CPU, but since the G51Vx is designed to be an affordable gaming notebook, this configuration makes all the sense in the world.
Aside from the CPU and GPU, we also have 4GB of RAM (and thanks to the 64-bit OS, we can actually use it), a 320GB Seagate Momentus hard drive, at 7200 RPM with 16 MB of Cache, a 6-cell battery, a whole lot of peripheral support as we saw on the previous page, and more. Since this is a 15.4″ notebook, it is a bit weighty at 7.3lbs, so you probably won’t want to lug it along for your nature walk.
Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 2.0GHz
Intel Cantiga PM45
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M 1GB
Chi Mei N156B6-L04 15.4"
4GB (2x2GB) DDR2-800 6-6-6-18
|Hard Drive |
Seagate Momentus ST9320421AS
320GB, 7200 RPM, 16MB Cache, S-ATA 3Gb/s
Realtek ALC663 @ Intel 82801IB
Intel WiFi Link 5100 AGN
Realtek RTL8168C(P)/8111C(P) NIC
|Et cetera |
Weight: 7.3 lbs (3.3 kg)
Dimensions: 37.5 " (W) x 26.5 " (D) x 3.43-4.06 " (H)
Battery: 6-Cell Lithium Ion (~2 – 3 hours)
2.0 Megapixel Webcam
4x USB, 1x Memory Card (SD/MMC/MS/MS-Pro/xD/
Smart Media/mini SD (with adapter) /MS-Duo)
VGA Output, HDMI Output, LAN
2 Year Limited Global Hardware Warranty
1 Year Battery Pack Warranty
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
The G51Vx includes Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit, but includes an upgrade certificate to make the move to Windows 7 when that OS gets officially launched later this month. Also, I should note that this notebook is a Best Buy exclusive SKU, and that will become obvious in a minute.
After the first boot, we’re greeted with a wallpaper showing off the model we’re using, and numerous icons on the desktop. Notice the Best Buy icon… in all its low-resolution glory. That’s to install various games, although none are free. You’ll also likely notice the LoJack advertisement that pops-up in the middle of the screen. ASUS includes the security software here, and as far as I can tell, it’s not a trial. I couldn’t find out without going through a full sign-up process, however.
To get an idea of the “bloat” that comes included on this notebook, you can check out the Add/Remove screen in the screenshot below. Overall, about half of the software bundled is either free, free commercial or is ASUS’ own. If you’re like me, you’ll likely uninstall a lot of this very quickly, although the ASUS software itself is generally useful.
Two unique applications to the G51Vx that I haven’t stumbled on while testing an ASUS notebook before is “ASUS Data Security” and “ASUS Fancy Start”. If you guessed that Data Security allowed you to store files of any sort via a password-protected means, you’re certainly correct. I found the software to be a little clunky, but it worked well in my tests.
Fancy Start is arguably the more interesting of the two. If you’ve ever wanted to customize the graphics during the POST process, you’re able to here. You can add your own images, or sequence of images, along with audio.
There’s a lot of what I’d consider to be bloatware included here, but given the relatively affordable price of the notebook, it’s no surprise to see all. It took me about a half-hour to remove whatever I personally didn’t want to keep, with the longest program to uninstall being Microsoft Office (which comes as a 60-day trial).
We’ve taken a look at the notebook itself, and its software, so how about some performance and gaming information?