When not making tiny netbooks, Asus is busy crafting enormous gaming laptops that are fast enough to melt your face off. Its latest effort, the 17.3-inch G73, is the first we've seen that features the ATI Radeon HD 5870 GPU -- ATI's fastest mobile graphics card to date. The model sold in the UK, the G73Jh, also features an Intel Core i7-720QM CPU, 1TB of storage, a Blu-ray drive, and 8GB of DDR3 memory. It's available now for around £1,900.
The G73Jh is the Hulk Hogan of laptops. It measures 420 by 67 by 310mm, and weighs 3.9kg, so you'll struggle to use it anywhere other than at home. That's a shame, because it's a sexy beast.
Unlike most gaming laptops, it isn't adorned with flashing lights and garish embellishments hinting at its performance. Instead, it politely suggests its aggressive nature with a menacing matte black finish and a chassis inspired by the iconic F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter. Every surface -- from the area around the keyboard to the frame of the webcam -- features slanting surfaces and jaunty angles. The G73Jh may not be a bomb-dropping, radar-dodging bringer of atomic death, but one glance is all it takes to convince you that it means business.
Although the G73Jh lacks a built-in light show, it's not dull to look at -- there are plenty of appealing touches that look cool and also serve a real purpose. For instance, the battery pack isn't some off-the-shelf unit borrowed from another Asus machine. Its chunky, angular aesthetic is completely coherent with the rest of the laptop's design, and it gives the G73Jh a wedge shape, raising the keyboard to an ergonomic, five-degree angle.
The keyboard itself is fabulous. Its chiclet-style buttons are well spaced out and have a responsive feel. The entire keyboard is backlit too, so you can see what you're doing in the dark.
The G73Jh is brimming with high-end components. An Intel Core i7-720QM processor takes centre stage, accompanied by 8GB of high-speed DDR3 PC3-10700 memory and a top-of-the-range ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card.
These components can generate a massive amount of heat, so it's just as well that Asus has fitted the G73Jh with an elaborate cooling system. Two large vents live at the rear of the system, sucking air in and away from the internal components. It looks like the sort of thing that would generate a great deal of noise, but, for the most part, the G73Jh runs quietly and remains cool to the touch.
Rock out with your clock out
The G73Jh's Core i7-720QM CPU runs, as standard, at a relatively modest 1.6GHz -- the same clock speed as most netbook processors. Don't let this fool you, though -- it's a quad-core monster with the ability to overclock itself dynamically. It can sense when the user requires more performance and increase its clock speed to a mammoth 2.8GHz -- provided the unit is operating in the right temperature and power envelope. Accidentally cover up a vent, for example, and the system may get hotter than normal, limiting its overclocking potential.