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ASUS G750JX-DB71 Gaming Notebook Review: And to the Republic...

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Performance - Processor, General, Storage Devices

Of course, for the G750JX, this is where it’s at.  One should expect a world-class performance from the G750JX, which features an extremely capable CPU and GPU paired with a solid-state drive for primary storage.  The question is, how does it compare to its peers?

We are most interested in how the G750JX holds up against the MSI GT60 and the Lenovo Y500, as well as (where comparative data is available) versus the previous-gen ASUS G75V.  The MSI GT60 is the most impressive of the three competitors, featuring a Core i7-4700MQ with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M (w/ 4 GB GDDR5) GPU. The Lenovo Y500 is interesting because of its mobile SLI approach featuring two NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M (w/ 2 GB GDDR5) GPUs.  For full specs, be sure to check out our complete reviews of each of these models.  The former two notebooks we reviewed using our newer revamped methodology and testing procedures, so they’ll serve as the most useful comparisons—but for sake of placing the G750JX into context with its Ivy Bridge antecedent, we’ve included the G75V wherever possible, too.

Performance – Processor

The Intel Core i7-4700HQ that was included in our G750JX-DB71 is certainly a capable processor.  With a base clock rate of 2.4 GHz and a Turbo Boost maximum of 3.4 MHz, it ranks amongst the best of the Ivy Bridge CPUs (someplace between the Core i7-3720QM and Core i7-3740QM by most measurements to be exact).  We should expect CPU performance to compare with units featuring those chips.

Interestingly, however, before we begin exploring benchmark results, we should mention that we witnessed some CPU throttling while on AC power when we first began testing the G750JX.  We also were able to replicate a confirmed issue where the CPU clock rate was frozen at its minimum frequency of 798 MHz while running on battery only.  The latter issue is well-documented among owners of the ASUS G750JX, but in terms of the former, we didn’t find any explicit reports of the problem.  The problem manifested itself when performing a full stress test on the system (maxing both CPU and GPU at 100% load) and remained an issue until the load was reduced.  LCD panel brightness seemed to have a direct effect on the incidence of CPU throttling (taking it from nearly 90% of the time at high brightness to just around 40-50% of the time on low brightness), suggesting an ultimate problem with (limitation of) total system power consumption/TDP.

We reached out to ASUS regarding these problems and they provided a beta BIOS to us (version 0208) which we promptly installed (replacing the version 0207 on our machine).  Following an installation and a cold reboot, these two problems vanished.  However, we still encountered a third problem that was not resolvable via the BIOS update: GPU throttling on battery.  Throughout our testing, we routinely encountered GPU throttling down to 135 MHz (regularly) while operating unplugged.  We tried uninstalling the ASUS Power4Gear Hybrid software and using only Windows Power Management, and then later tried reinstalling the latest version of Power4Gear Hybrid, all to no avail.  We received later confirmation from ASUS that such behavior is normal due to the power limitations of the notebook’s operation while functioning only on battery power.

Anyway, regardless of the circumstances, these problems should not affect you while operating on AC power.  Many gaming PCs are not designed to offer reliable full performance on both CPU and GPU while unplugged, and while the throttling of the GPU is certainly extremely excessive on the G750JX, at least now with BIOS 0208 you don’t have to deal with slow general operation and CPU performance when away from a wall socket.  But you should be aware that performance is so poor on battery power only (not simply lower FPS, but horrible, consistent stuttering to go along with the wildly fluctuating clock rates) that gaming is not an option.

So, let’s move on to our synthetic benchmarks.  First up is SiSoft Sandra:

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Sure enough, the G750JX is just above the Lenovo Y500 (i7-3630QM) and just below the ASUS G75V (Core i7-3720QM), with results falling within a few percentage points of both.  Performance is nearly identical to that of the MSI GT60 (i7-4700HQ), which is to be expected considering that both processors are essentially identical.  It is interesting (though not particularly concerning) that the G750JX’s CPU performance actually trails behind that of its predecessor (the ASUS G75V), but at this level, the difference would be akin to comparing a Lamborghini to a Porsche.

Next is Cinebench R11.5:

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Here, the G750JX once again posts nearly identical results to the GT60 in single- and multi-threaded performance.  The G750JX’s OpenGL performance runs away with the trophy, though, beating even the MSI GT60’s results by around 13%.  Meanwhile, the Lenovo Y500 is left in the dust, serving as a reminder that, while it’s a great option for budget gaming, it can’t hang with the leaders of the pack.

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Although the graph exaggerates the differences between the candidates here (thanks to very close results across the board), the G750JX is actually within 5% of even the ASUS G75V’s performance, suggesting an almost negligible difference in practical use.  As we’ve seen, its improved power consumption is a much more impacting story, easily overshadowing any minor sacrifices in synthetic performance measurements.

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Here, the ASUS G750JX takes the crown, though Peacekeeper is admittedly much more browser-dependent benchmark.

All in all, solid CPU performance in light of the power savings.  The i7-4700HQ offers a great combination of performance and power efficiency.

Application Performance

To measure general system performance, our new testing routine calls for PCMark 7.  Let’s see how the G750JX looks here:

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Now that’s an encouraging number.  Seeing as we’re dealing with fully solid-state storage here, it’s hardly surprising that this is the case; however, topping the GT60 is no small feat.  Beyond a certain point it is difficult to tell the difference in everyday use, but it’s safe to say that our subjective impressions parallel the PCMark score: we’ve had no trouble using this as a primary machine for the better part of this week, and its blazing application performance is one reason for that.

Performance – Storage Devices

Like many larger gaming notebooks, our G750JX is home to two storage devices: a 256 GB SSD (LiteOn LCM-256M3S) and a 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD (Seagate ST1000LM024).  We’ll focus on both devices separately.

First up, let’s see how the LiteOn SSD performs in AS SSD:

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LiteOn sure is putting out some quick drives these days, and the LCM-256M3S is no exception.  Matching and even exceeding the typical speeds of a Samsung 840 Pro, this drive’s performance is one of the primary reasons for the G750JX’s fantastic PCMark 7 score.

Let’s have a look at ATTO’s take next:

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In spite of some late-game inconsistencies in write performance (which were persistent across multiple benchmarks—in this case, 128 KB and 8192 KB specifically), the LCM-256M3S still manages excellent numbers here.  It’s worth noting that even its sporadic lows at these two points are superior to the GT60’s (SanDisk SD5SF2128G) values.

As for the 1 TB Seagate performance, our results are equally encouraging:

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Clearly, this is one of the faster 5400 2.5” drives in existence.  Its small chunk read/writes are also quite good, and far better than that of the GT60’s 1 TB Western Digital.  Considering the 256 GB capacity of the LiteOn SSD, it’s still destined for use as storage only, but at least it isn’t a terribly slow companion.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0 agrees on both fronts:

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And finally, HD Tune’s results for the hard drive:

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82.5 MB/s isn’t a great result for the Transfer Rate Average, but in context with other 5400 drives, it’s one of the fastest around.

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October 7, 2013 | 01:29 PM - Posted by edwinjamesmiller36

Thank you for such an informative review. I currently use (and love) an Asus ROG G73JH and have been thinking of replacing it. I am considering this unit and the G750JH-DB71 which only very recently became available on Newegg here in the US. Identical except for a GTX 780M in the G750JH instead of the GTX 770M resulting in a $500 price premium.

Again, I have been very happy with my 3 year old Asus which I continuously travel with in my truck. The only failure was the power brick after a month or so. And I also appreciate the rear facing cooling vents as my previous Toshiba vented to the side and could be annoying. Also I like where the screen lid folds. It seems to give me more confidence in the laptop physical stability as I use it on improvised objects in place of a desk while in the sleeper of my truck.

Almost all of my gaming with this laptop has been the Total War series as well as Civ5 along with a very recent plunge into Skyrim. With the exception of some stuttering and tearing in Skyrim, I have always been able to game with maximum settings with no problems. But I never, ever game on battery. That is a guaranteed path to pain and sorrow.
Also, Asus Customer Support seems to be a model of automation with little to no human contact.

All that said, I fully expect to purchase either this model or the GTX 780M variant. It really comes down to how much cash I can justify spending.

October 7, 2013 | 08:27 PM - Posted by Steve Schardein

Hey Edwin,

It's seriously my pleasure.  Glad you enjoyed the review and found it helpful!

Yes, you should be fine as long as you're planning on staying plugged in.  At least temperature is managed well; the notebook should hopefully last a while under the circumstances.  Though it is a bummer that the fans and other internal components can't be easily reached as before.

Anyway, it's a great machine notwithstanding.  Its performance does not disappoint and I seriously love the keyboard.

Best of luck with your purchase!

-Steve

October 15, 2013 | 07:42 AM - Posted by RobertPinx (not verified)

Hello Steve,
Thank you for the review.
Does the ASUS G750JX-DB71 has already C2-stepping?
Grts,
Robert

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