Aug 15, 2011 Written by: ROG

User Review of G53JW-A1: Same power, tighter package

Article Tags: Hands OnVideos

User Review of the G53JW-A1, by Chastity.

The G53 series represents the same quality and performance one expects from Asus' G73 series, but in a slightly smaller form factor. It has the same keyboard as it's bigger siblings, a smaller trackpad with dual buttons, and a 15.6" Full HD (1080p) LED screen. It has the same CPU, an i7 740QM, but only sports 6GB of 1333 RAM, instead of 8GB. For gaming, this is not an issue. RAM is upgradable to 16GB if necessary. It comes with dual HDD bays, but only a single Seagate Momentus 7200.4 750GB drive. An SSD is a common aftermarket upgrade for an incredible speed boost. Budget conscious types can get a speedier boot-time with a Momentus XT Hybrid drive with 4GB NAND memory cache.

The unit also sports the NVIDIA GTX460M with 1.5GB GDDR5. This unit is part of NVIDIA's portable Performance line, and comes clocked standard at 675/1350/1250 (core/shader/memory). As seen from my G73JW-A1 review, the 460M overclocks nicely to 800/1600/1450, and this is no exception on the G53JW. It supports NVIDIA's CUDA and Physx hardware acceleration. I have found in most games that 4x MSAA Anti-aliasing gives minimal FPS impact, except for Mafia II, where 2x MSAA gave similar results.

The G53JW-A1 has the same port arrangement as the G73: 3x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0 (Fresco), VGA port, HDMI supporting 8ch LPCM and HDCP, stereo headphone jack/TOSLINK port, mic port, 8-in-1 card reader, 1 Gb LAN, and Wireless N 150mbit 2.4GHz WiFi. It also comes with an 8x DVD Burner Optical Drive. (No BluRay capable). If you want BluRay, there are plenty of Slimline ODD aftermarket ones available, including external USB ones.

The cooling system is very similar to the G73 series, albeit a bit more cramped interior, naturally. Average temps run only a tad warmer, and will accommodate overclocking. The GTX460m will downclock to 51/135 when idle, and Intel TurboBoost will do it's overclocking automagically. If you use the Power Saving modes, you can get about 2.5-3 hrs on a full battery. (The newer SW models can hit 4 hrs with Sandy Bridge CPUs) The system has an 8-cell battery like the larger cousin.

AUDIO & MULTIMEDIA

It uses the same Realtek ALC269 Stereo HD Audio solution (100dB SNR), but is limited to stereo only, and I do not believe it has the added subwoofer. Many people I know use headphones/IEM's or external speakers, so this really isn't an issue. More serious folks get upgraded external soundcards/DAC units. The Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro SB1095 is popular for people who want to add Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect to use a multimedia 5.1 sound system that supports digital decoding. The Creative USB HD SB1240 or uDAC2 by NuForce is a great cost-effective upgrade for people using studio headgear.

The audio systems adds Creative's THX Studio NB, which has some audio presets plus adds ALchemy for EAX support. Pretty much select your setup (laptop speaks, external speakers, full range speakers) and forget about it. The Realtek drivers provide environmental effects and a Graphical Equalizer for sound shaping, plus a Karaoke mode.

Video chatters have access to a 2.0 Megapixel ALi UVC Webcam with integrated mic. It's about on par with standard integrated webcams.

The laptop also makes a great HTPC player and DVR. You can use Windows 7 Media Center, or your favorite 3rd party applications, to playback DVD or other videos, and record TV. BluRay playback can be done if streamed from an external source, or upgrade the optical drive. It comes with ROXIO CinePlayer 5.6. You can also download other players like MPC-HC to get more format support. The AUOED15 Full HD panel is capable of 1080p playback, and is bright and vibrant. It will perform better if you have access to a hardware calibrator, as it's default settings are a bit blue-tinged. Viewing angles are somewhat poorer in comparison to the Hannstar panel on the G73 series, and colors easily whiteout when looking from above. There's a Splendid utility to manage color, but I personally find it inferior to using Windows 7's Color Calibrator Wizard.

EXTERIOR LOOKS

The Stealth Fighter theme continues, but they did not use the rubberized finish the G73 has. Same black matte finish, sleek and elegant. Presentable at both LAN parties and in the office. The logo on the front panel does light up off the LED panel, but it's not overly bright or out of fashion. The palmrest is still rubberized, however. The keyboard is backlit, with adjustable settings. Cleaning the exterior is a snap; just use a moist microfiber cloth. 3 buttons in the upper left control lighting, twin-turbo, and Splendid. Twin Turbo should be disabled, as Intel's TurboBoost does a better overclock job. Splendid's gamma color control is better left alone, as you can get better results from Windows' Color Management Calibration Wizard.

PERFORMANCE

Comes in just as well as a G73JW. People with workstation needs will enjoy the i7 740 with HyperThreading for 8 threads, plus CUDA support for programs that support it. If you need more power, aftermarket upgrades to i7 920/940 can yield overclocks up to 3.4MHz on all 8 threads, making it on par with a desktop i7 950. Gamewise, well, we like the games to speak for themselves:

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Settings: No OC on CPU, GPU set to 800/1600/1600 via NVIDIA INSPECTOR on Verde 275.27 Beta

Game Settings: Maxed

Results: 60 FPS constant with only momentary dips to 40 that lasts for less than a second. I also need more practice with an XBOX controller. :D

This article was originally written by Chastity, TeamROG Notebook Moderator

Article Tags: Hands OnVideos
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