View Full Version : G73SW-A1 : Sandy Bridge Strikes Back

06-18-2011, 08:07 PM
Sandy Bridge was a great development for portable machines. The improved processing power mixed with lower operating temps and power consumption. Glorious. Unfortunately, the new technology also made apps like SetFSB incompatible, so we no longer can overclock our CPU's. At first I was somewhat disappointed, but later on I decided it didn't matter. At stock settings, these Sandy's were still outperforming my OC'd i7 740QM's.

Besides, there's always the GPU to play with to satisfy my OC needs. :) Plus, the HM65 chipset supports faster RAM speeds. (DDR3-1600 and DDR3-1866 to be precise.) The unit comes with 8GB of DDR3-1333, which for most people and gamers, is quite enough. Power users and graphic artists will want to upgrade, and can do so up to 16GB if desired. The model here was upgraded to 16GB of DDR3-1866, courtesy of Kingston Hyperx PnP modules.


Getting down to basics, the G73SW-A1 sports a 2630QM processor which runs stock at 2.0GHz, with a 2.9GHz TurboBoost max, and sports a 6MB cache. 8GB DDR3-1333 memory, with 2 slots in the front, and 2 in the back. Some models have come with 4 banks of 2GB, and some with 2 banks of 4 GB. (The model here had 4x2GB) The port configuration is the same as the JW model, with 3x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4 port, mic port, headphone port that doubles as a toslink port, VGA port, multicard reader, and a 1Gb LAN port. Comes with a BluRay capable reader, and multi-DVD burner ODD. Storage are handled by dual Momentus XT Hybrid NAND 500GB drives, for those quick SSD-like boot times. (The HM65 does not support RAID) It also sports a NVIDIA GTX-460M with 1.5GB GDDR5. (Which OC's better than the JW edition due to a newer vBIOS.)

The touchpad has the pleasant soft-touch dual-button configuration by Synaptics, with all the gestures supported. The panel is the classic 1920x1080 FullHD Glossy that Asus is known for in this series. Same rich color, slightly skewed to the blue hew :) (run the Windows 7 Color Calibrator Wizard to adjust or download my profile), and great viewing angles. Audio is supplied by Realtek's ALC269 solution (100db SNR headphone port), paired with a 2.1 Altec Lansing in-case speaker system, with 2" satellite & 3" woofer drivers. For laptop speakers, they do a very decent job in giving a satisfying experience for both gaming and music. Most laptop solutions aren't very satisfying in my experience. Audio nuts will use headphones or powered external speaker systems, possibly combined with USB external sound solutions. I'll get to upgrades later.

The external case is the same for the G73 series, which is a good thing. It's a very popular design, and it's rubberized and subdued, stealth fighter appearance is welcome by both gamers, and in the office. No flash or bling here, which is most welcome. The cooling system is the same G73 case design that offers excellent cooling performance. How many laptops do you know of that are gaming rigs, that you can use on your bare skin lap with no cooler, at full load? Not many at all, let me assure you. The system has dual fans, each dedicated to either the GPU or CPU. Air is drawn in from underneath, and from the top (vents are located in both corners under the panel) and the front subwoofer port. This design allows the unit to be placed on a bed and still function without overheating much. Comforters will still cause temps to rise, however, tho at stock settings shouldn't present too much of an issue. I still prefer to elevate it a bit when placed on comforters.


Now we get into why I love Sandy Bridge laptops. It can compete with performance levels matching desktop 1st Gen Intel cpu's, if the cpu is not overclocked on the desktop. :) And no need to overclock, which is fortunate because you can't overclock on a H67M chipset. (At least no one has figured out how to yet). My video recode tests show that the 2630QM performs about on par with a stock i7 950. Games hardly task the unit, except for heavy CPU-load games, like Civilization V.

The other awesome contender is the GPU. This revision of Asus' GTX460M can overclock better than the previous ones made for the JW series. The one here overclocks to 874 / 1674 / 1747 (core/memory/shader, and the shader and clock speeds are tied together), with atypical overclocks around 850-860 / 1700. My overclock would be about 29.5% over stock, which is 675/1250. :cool:

The model I am reviewing here has been upgraded with 16GB of Kingston HyperX PnP DDR3-1866 memory modules. The HM65 chipset supports 1600 and 1866 RAM speeds, unlike Gen1 Notebook chipsets. For more information, please refer to my review of the 1866 RAM here (http://www.asusrog.com/forums/showthread.php?2503-Kingston-HyperX-1866-PnP-SODIMM-Memory).

So, how well does it perform? Here's a comparison using the various 3DMark Tests, with stock speeds versus my 874/1674 Overclock:

http://donotblame.us/reviews/G73SW/g73sw-stock-3d06.jpghttp://donotblame.us/reviews/G73SW/g73sw-oc-3d06.jpg 16.1%

07-05-2011, 01:16 AM
http://donotblame.us/reviews/G73SW/g73sw-stock-vantage.jpghttp://donotblame.us/reviews/G73SW/g73sw-oc-vantage.jpg 26.9%

http://donotblame.us/reviews/G73SW/g73sw-stock-3d11.jpghttp://donotblame.us/reviews/G73SW/g73sw-oc-3d11.jpg 27.0%

The two latter tests are more GPU intensive for modern GPU's so they scale nicely with the % of overclock. By weight of comparison, a Vantage score for a desktop i7 950 + GTX285 BFG OC2 w/ DDR3-1600 RAM is a P13512. This shows that laptops are seriously approaching what some people are using as a game desktop rig.

Alice: Madness Returns (First 6 minutes of gameplay)


The game on defaults produces some terrible gameplay. Real performance will come from manually updating the .INI files in your Personal Game directory. For more info on them, see http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1963500 The game will cap fps to 31, and other settings need to be tweaked to perform well on the GTX460M. Once that is done, the game will hit 60 fps nicely, at least for the first 6 minutes. :) The game will trigger the throttle glitch in the Sandybridge BIOS, so use ThrottleStop 3.01 to correct. (You can run it, set Multiplier to Turbo and tick it on, and then shut down the app if you want) Clocks for the GPU during the demo were 850/1674.


For those needing a little more umph, the system can be upgraded with the following options (see your favorite boutique dealer for custom builds, like GenTechPC, PowerNotebooks, or XoticPC):

1) A 2920XM Extreme Sandybridge CPU, for those who really must have the best possible.
2) RAM can be upgraded to 32GB, if you can find 8GB modules. :) Kingston has upped RAM speeds with PnP RAM, with 1600, 1866, and now 2133 speed modules.
3) You can swap out the ODD with a Blu-Ray burner, if using optical for backup is your thing. (I prefer a good ol' HDD and USB 3.0)
4) There is a 3DE configuration that sports a matte 1080p 120Hz panel with integrated 3D emitter and glasses.
5) There are 2 internal HDD bays, and swapping a mechanical drive for a SSD boot drive is an excellent choice. I'd like to see future models that include one.
6) A1 & 3DE units include a backpack and gaming mouse
7) External multimedia speakers can be used, in addition to portable iPod players. The G73SW's headphone port doubles as a toslink port when used with a mini-3.5" toslink plug.
8) External USB Soundcards can supplement or improve audio options, like adding Dolby Digital Live / DTS Connect features, or improved audio fidelity with high-grade DACs and opamps, and headphone amps for studio-grade headphones and IEM's.

There are also all sorts of add-on's, like better quality webcams, wireless gaming mice (I use a MX Performance by Logitech), driving wheels, XBOX controllers (yes, the standard wired ones do work on PC's).

The HDMI port also allows for easy use of a home theatre system for 7.1 support plus HD output. (Driving games like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Dirt 2/3 on a big 60" TV using a G27 Logitech Wheel is the awesome!)

07-05-2011, 10:45 AM
I just OC'ed my G73SW to 775/1250/1550. I felt insecured when G74SX was released, lol. This is my first time OCing. I have'nt monitored temps so I don't have any ideas about its stock and OC'ed temperatures. Suggestions are highly appreciated. hehe

This setting is safe right? What do you think?

07-05-2011, 10:40 PM
Well, you can experiment taking small steps until you see artifacts or crashes. Why not go ahead and ramp it up to 800/1600/1600. Many have had success with 850/1600/1700

As a test, you can use 3D Vantage or 3DMarks 11.

07-06-2011, 01:04 AM
Thanks Chastity!

Proud owner of an ROG baby here. lol

07-06-2011, 10:23 AM
I just OC'ed my G73SW to 775/1250/1550. I felt insecured when G74SX was released, lol. This is my first time OCing. I have'nt monitored temps so I don't have any ideas about its stock and OC'ed temperatures. Suggestions are highly appreciated. hehe

This setting is safe right? What do you think?
I checked factory and overclocked temp and nothing change.
Anyway the 560m gtx is 460m overclocked.

07-06-2011, 03:58 PM
I checked factory and overclocked temp and nothing change.
Anyway the 560m gtx is 460m overclocked.

About this, I dont think so. Let's wait for GF116 benchmark so we can compare it to our GF106s OC (clocked matching GTX 560M)

07-06-2011, 10:36 PM
I'm just awaiting for the G74SX-3DE to arrive here for testing....

07-07-2011, 02:09 PM
I hope that they won't have much difference between the two. G74s should just be a G73 facelift. lol

07-08-2011, 02:35 AM
You've mentioned that you can attach a 7.1 speaker system to your g73, im wondering how i could do this (ive got a 5.1 but got no idea how to do it via hdmi).

Any help would be appreciated :)

07-08-2011, 03:17 AM
What 5.1 system are you referring to? (this would help) :)

Mohamed Aleenzi
07-26-2011, 11:33 AM
the sandy bridge will give remarkably performance

07-26-2011, 10:04 PM
I hope that they won't have much difference between the two. G74s should just be a G73 facelift. lol

They dont differ much in performance even if you dont overclock...While Benchmarks say theres an increase real world performance for user wont be that noticable...since the GTX 460m and GTX 560m are pretty much the same specifications the performance gains pretty much comes from clock speed increase...

clock for clock it will be the same...

08-22-2011, 05:00 AM
Just for comparison here is my g74 OC http://3dmark.com/3dmv/3415277 Stable at the clock speed listed.

It would not run stable at this OC speed but after a few burn in runs it is now. I have to wonder if the temp sensors are working right, No matter what I do I cant get it hotter than 67c on the gpu.

I am going back to stock speed. I don't think it is worth the few fps that you get to stress the card this much. But it is fun pushing it to its limit.

08-27-2011, 07:24 PM
My G73SW(Purchased at Staples, Canada) came with a Super Multi Optical drive. I'd like to swap it for the Blu-Ray drive that comes with the A1 model. Can this be done? If so where can I get one with proper face plate and all?

Matt Horvath
09-13-2011, 11:53 AM
I bought mine on August 21, so far I'm pretty impressed with it, and pretty happy too!