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.
Before we tackle the results, let’s quickly review our basic notebook testing methodology. The first step in preparing the notebook is to completely wipe the factory OS and install our own (Vista Home Premium 64-bit). This is to prevent pre-installed applications from skewing our performance results. We then use the included DVD-ROM to install all of the necessary drivers. Also, Windows Search Indexing and a few other Windows services are manually disabled, to further help with producing accurate and repeatable results.
Once the machine is prepared for benchmarking, it’s shut down and set on a flat surface with plenty of room for airflow until it’s completely cooled down. Once benchmarking gets underway, the machine is boot and left to sit idle at the Windows desktop for five minutes, at which point testing begins. Each test is run through twice, with a reboot taking place in between each run.
To test notebooks out through some common usage scenarios, we use PCMark Vantage to do a full run through our machine to see where it excels, and also a couple of real-world applications, such as Adobe Lightroom, TMPGEnc Xpress, dBpoweramp and 3ds Max 2009. Each benchmark we use is run twice over (with a reboot in between) to assure that what we saw the first time is accurate. Our temperature tests are captured with the help of a temperature gun.
PCMark Vantage PCMark Memories TV and Movies Gaming Music Communication Productivity Hard Drive
3772 2583 2704 3260 3618 3470 3396 3018
4647 3884 3886 4067 4275 3844 4172 4088
3686 2903 2673 3762 3087 3663 3812 4019
HD Tune Pro 3.5 Minimum Average Maximum Burst CPU Usage
29.0 MB/ 49.2 MB/s 63.7 MB/s 98.3 MB/s 1.3%
42.5 MB/s 65.7 MB/s 82.0 MB/s 72.2 MB/s 1.4 %
42.6 MB/s 67.5 MB/s 84.9 MB/s 72.3 MB/s 2.7 %
Adobe Lightroom 2 100 10MP RAW to JPEG
TMPGEnc Xpress 4.6 720p Recode
dBpoweramp Convert 100 FLAC to MP3
3DS Max 2009 Dog Render
Sandra 2009 Bandwidth Int Bandwidth Float Memory Latency
5478 MB/s 5472 MB/s 106 ns
4657 MB/s 4652 MB/s 106 ns
5309 MB/s 5309 MB/s 108 ns
Temperatures Main Exhaust Before Boot Main Exhaust 5 Minutes Idle Main Exhaust 30 Minutes Stress 30 Minutes Touchpad Center 30 Minutes Center of Keyboard Bottom of LCD
22.2 °C (72.0 °F) 26.3 °C (79.3 °F) 38.8 °C (101.8 °F) 29.7 °C (85.5 °F) 28.7 °C (83.7 °F) 31.9 °C (89.4 °F)
24.9 °C (76.8 °F) 30.1 °C (86.2 °F) 67.3 °C (153.14 °F) 30.9 °C (87.6 °F) 36.4 °C (97.5 °F) 42.2 °C (108.0 °F)
26.4 °C (79.5 °F) 34.1 °C (93.4 °F) 40.6 °C (105.1 °F) 27.3 °C (81.1 °F) 30.3 °C (86.5 °F) 26.3 °C (79.34 °F)
Compared to a few ASUS notebooks we’ve reviewed in the past few months, the G51Vx offers ample performance overall. The N50Vn offers a CPU about 20% faster, while the W90 is a quad-core, so it will beat out any other notebook we’ve ever tested (we hope to review more quad-core notebooks in the near-future). From a temperatures perspective, the G51Vx by no means got too hot after a long period of time, even when stressing the CPU. Note that these temperatures don’t include stressing of the GPU as I wanted the results to be comparable. Adding a GPU stress will increase the exhaust temperature to about 45°C.
Of course, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Below are screenshots from various games we loaded up on the notebook, with the basic setting configuration listed below each one. Rather than deliver Min/Avg/Max FPS reports, for our notebook reviews we instead just take a screenshot of the game with FRAPS, and you can see what our frames-per-second performance was at that exact moment during the gameplay.
Batman Arkham Asylum – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
Bionic Commando – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
Call of Duty: World at War – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
FUEL – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
GRID – 1366×768, Max Detail, 4xAA
GTA IV – 1366×768, Low Texture, Medium Other Details, 0xAA
Resident Evil 5 – 1280×720, Max Detail, 4xAA
For the most part, I was quite happy with the gaming performance that the GTX 260M delivered, and it was about on par with what I expected to see. The vast majority of today’s games will run at max detail settings just fine, and some can even use anti-aliasing. The exceptions are of course Crysis Warhead and GTA IV (which as far as games are concerned, is a total glutton for system resources). The former is actually rather worthless here… even at low detail settings, it’s too sluggish.