ASUS G70s: The most powerful ASUS notebook (English)

por Javier Rodríguez 29/03/2008 ...

Introduction

Clic aquí para la versión en español


Introduction

Personally, the gaming concept is not much to my liking. It classifies some systems that I think can do many things more before than being a PC for games but the industry and the consumers are the ones in charge here so the gaming concept gets followers in a product line where the less important thing seems to be the price. Inside this product line is set this product with no doubts, coming to the stores in May, and that we have obtained "outside the law" and whose price will be around 2700 Euros.

Talking a bit about gaming notebooks.

This brand new Asus notebook is the heir of the G2. A notebook for gamers with a 17" screen and whose price was quite attractive but above all stood out for its combinations in the use of materials like aluminum and carbon fiber. It was a notebook with quite low graphic performance to be considered a "gaming" model but it has been larva of this new model that merely keeps some lines of the G2 design but it has been influenced the use of some materials.

The G70s has been influenced also by the market tendencies, concretely by some models for which will be direct competence, that have forgotten the size reduction concept or the power consumption adjustments to follow the "anything goes" way making this 17" notebooks have almost the size and weight of the 20" ones. I think it this tendency is influenced directly by nVidia to make this super high end models use their SLI graphic system for notebooks. These kinds of systems not only force us to use big cooling systems, on top of that they don’t offer enough spectacular results as expected.

The increase of size also allows the use of technologies developed for desktop computers like RAID 0, with 2 hard disks at high rotation speeds to minimize the performance difference with desktop hard disks, and also the use of high end processors with high frequencies to give the performance required.

In the end this all is translated in computers, and not only talking about this one, that are quite far from being considered portable but attract consumers that want a portable system with a spectacular design and high performance features. It is closer to having a high-end desktop computer but at very high prices.

Asus G70s ROG

Asus G70s ROG

As you can imagine, the G70s is a massive notebook where the aluminum and the aggressive lines take the leading role. As secondary player we find the lighting and the hardware features. This model will leave everybody surprised, we can like it or not but what it is true is that will make everybody look too it as we do when we see a sports car on the street. It is a notebook with a spectacular look, I would say it’s the double voluminous it was the old G2, and with a weight that could reach easily 5Kg. In this model we won’t find any piece of carbon fiber, not even the wrist rest as in the G2, but this way it has a more uniform design and the plastic in "bee panel" style used gives it a more smooth and attractive touch. The aluminum dominates the notebook anyway; both the screen and the upper part of the chassis are ended in aluminum. It is a notebook with a very aggressive design but with a higher "architecture" than most of notebooks of this kind.


Touchpad with multimedia functions integrated

What stands out from the G70s is the 17" screen with a WUXGA resolution of 1920x1200 pixels. It is like having a 24" screen in a compressed format. These kinds of displays are nothing new; we can find 15.4" ones also at this resolution, but it is a good way to give that high resolutions to systems more compact than desktop ones. To reach these resolutions in a desktop computer, it is normal to need 23" or 24" displays, apart from some Lenovo 22" displays with these resolutions. This kind of resolution allows us to watch high definition videos also at resolutions up to 1080p.


G70 disipation Area, with red leds

Looking to its general features we can find an Intel 965 chipset with 45nm Core 2 Duo processors, concretely our test sample is equipped with the T9500 at 2.6GHz with SSE4.1, 4GB of DDR2 800 Memory, 2 200GB and 7200rpm hard disks signed by Seagate and in a RAID 0 system and an SLI system built with 2 8700GT graphic cards with 512MB each one in MXM format. As you can see, it is a computer with high features that tries to bring the performance of desktop computers to a more compact and spectacular format. We will see later n our performance tests what this notebook can do, but there is still much to say about the G70s.

Most important things for a Gaming Computer are the details

Most important things for a "gaming" computer are the details

In this kind of devices, to be spectacular is almost more important than its process capacities. The G70s earns much in this way. To its perfect design some other extras are added making it even more special. One of them is the lighting. Each extreme of the notebook has some kind of lighting that marks its design especially when we are in not very illuminated places. The screen is marked two blue strips, like the ROG logo, and also at this rear part the height throw out zone, that we will view in detail later, is illuminated with red leds to mark its presence.


Even the ROG logo is illuminated

Fast Keys and an OLED screen are combined with different programmable keys next to the keyboard to give color and lighting to the keyboard area, complete keyboard with number pad, bringing color uniformity where blue is the most important one in the visible part, leaving the red color to zones where the notebook marks its position.

Asus has made a great work with the edges in the design of this device. Each part of the G70s is plagued by shapes in very marked edges giving it a very aggressive and sporty look. These all zones cut in a flat way are greatly opposed with some smooth curved edges. We can notice this all better in greatest areas like screen frames, the chassis of the display or the keyboard area.


When the lights fall the G70 lighting stands out

Another feature of the design I like is that being the screen smaller than the notebook itself at the folding area, Asus has managed to give it an excellent solution. They have used larger hinges for the display reducing the difference and raising and keeping it more away from the rest of the device giving a more comfortable angle to spend lots of hours in front of the computer.


Customizable OLED Screen


Tactile surface buttons and Power button

In the overall design of the G70s the touchpad and the rest of the direct action buttons take much importance. The G70s in its final version will have its own media center software that we will be able to control with the touchpad with sections of it made with direct buttons for typical actions in media player software. Its touchpad, its OLED screen and its programmable keys will make the use of it for games an exciting and intuitive experience where the experts will find more extensive information and controls without leaving the sight from the screen.

Even spectacular, it is still a computer

Even spectacular, it is still a computer

So it has some other important features to analyze. Its connectivity is based in the use of a wireless Intel 4965AGN card which is able to connect to A, B, G and N network at speeds up to 300mbits. It also has Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR and an analog and digital TV tuner made by Conexant. Regarding the connectivity we find 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 behind the lateral trapdoor and other 2 at the rear side of the device. It also has a 1Gbit Ethernet connection, analog modem, 8 in 1 card reader and a 54mm Express Card slot. If we want to connect this device to an external display we can use HDMI and VGA being the first one the ideal option to output digital audio and video in a simultaneous way.


Reach all the components is quite easy


2 Sata hard disk drives with RAID functions

There are also the typical audio input and output to use external microphones and headphones but the speaker system of this notebook, that I’ve seen before based in 2 speakers, and the microphone integrated with the 1.3mp webcam, make the audio and communication solution be quite covered. It must be said that the lateral trapdoor, apart from being an interesting solution, once closed there is only room to connect the headphones and/or the microphone and the antenna for the TV tuner. The External Sata connector is at the rear side of the device so the lateral trapdoor will not be a problem for it this time. This connector brings us the possibility of using external hard disks as if they were inside the notebook giving us the chance to use other operating systems installed in a native way and also a performance quite higher to the one obtained through local network or using a USB 2.0 connection.


Left panel with trapdoor. Hides some fundamental connectors.


The HDMI and eSata give high connectivity features to this model


Keeps VGA as the analog video connector

Its storage system is quite successful. An Intel Southbridge has been used with its raid functions and its double Serial ATA slot allows us to use RAID 0 and RAID 1 modes between both drives. It comes with a RAID 0 built, what gives it much more performance. To complete this all we can find a DVD drive supporting the read and write of all formats.

The cooling as a basic concept in the G70s

The cooling as a basic concept in the G70s

If there is something I have seen the users of notebooks similar to G70 complain about are the high temperatures their notebook reach specially when playing games. We must take into account that we are talking about very powerful processors and graphic cards in a very tight-fitting area.


A double dynamic adjusting fan complete the cooling system of the G70s

The design made by ASUS to balance the high temperatures is the best I’ve ever seen in this kind of computers. Almost all the rear area, or at least a 50% of it, is dedicated to the expulsion of the hot air made produced by the components of the device. From the same dissipation area it cools the graphic cards and the processor. The system is simple. Heatpipes to the graphic cards and to the processor, a large copper and aluminum cooler and 2 fans that throw out the hot air by taking fresh air through a grille located above the 2 memory modules of the device. This system allows the heat of the processor and graphic cards, almost at the same latitude at opposite extremes of the device, don’t reach the other components and don’t reach the users hands making the experience of playing with the G70s be exciting in most ways.


G70s processor


One of the two 8700GT graphic cards

Talking about the noise, the truth is that 2 fans like this set in parallel and working at fill load with the energy this device needs doesn’t make it very quiet. The noise doesn’t become unpleasant anyway, even when we are playing or making less exacting tasks.

Personal feelings before the tests

Personal feelings before the tests

These kinds of solutions are not my favorite ones to tell the truth. But I see the G70s as a great progress in the gaming notebooks of Asus but for me it has some important buts, and these are that it is too big, even its charger of 9.5A at 19v is vast and too heavy. But this doesn’t end here because we can’t call it a notebook. It runs out of its 9 cell battery in 50 minutes of use. It has a 60mm thickness, a 425 mm length and a 320 width. It is also not comfortable to press the keys, because even the being a great quality keyboard, the thickness of the notebook make the position not be enough comfortable. Maybe the slight sloping from rear to front side should be harder to reach a more comfortable angle for the hands.

It’s also true that this is the dream of every gamer or hardware enthusiast. It is a spectacular device, fascinates everybody. It has a notable high quality, with a great work with the aluminum that sets an example for the industry and shapes that remind me the G series of Asus and by other side some of its Lamborghini series. It is also a very powerful device, now you’ll be able to see and it is perfectly equipped as a gaming and multimedia machine, it could also be more than valid for its screen and performance for many professionals of the 2D and 3D. In short, it is a dream for any computer science lover as a Ferrari or a Porsche can be for the lovers of the cars.

The Performance Tests

The Performance Tests

We have made some simple tests to see if this PC can really work as gaming machine not as high as a desktop one but enough to run some old games and also the new ones in a smooth and comfortable way. They are some basic tests to know the overall performance of the system.

3DMark 2006 and some games

The result with 3DMark 2006 is hopefully good taking into account that the processor, even working at 2.6GHz, is far from what I would call high end so it affects to the performance of the graphic cards. Now we will check the rest of results with some tests based in games we have made.

Results are grouped by the speeds reached but the differences are quite far from the numbers because in Unreal Tournament 3 and Half Life 2 we have used high quality levels (with no FSAA) and 1920x1200 pixels resolutions. Playing Crysis, the quality levels were in "high" mode but with a lower resolution like 1280x720 pixels. With this information my personal opinion is that this device is perfectly valid for gaming enthusiasts as it brings great performance levels at high resolutions, but for more exigent users may be a bit low taking into account that we will see DX10 taking more importance in the following months. If you want to use it with engines like Source, Unreal Engine 3 and other ID engines, this machine is perfect with its current configuration.

We also care about the overall performance of the system so we have run some tests for that giving some special importance to the performance of its RAID 0 system with 7200rpm hard disks. PCMark, CineBench R10 and the syntetic test from Sandra for the performance of hard drives have been the options chosen.

The results in PCMark Vantage are quite good. The system has a quite balanced configuration that makes it reach a nice score what puts it in direct competence positions with desktop computers of mid and high end. We reach the performance of a high desktop computer in a more compact and attractive format.

In Cinebench R10 we can see that this PC is totally valid for the professionals of the graphic design that need a powerful machine but don’t want to choose a desktop solution. Its performance is good thanks to a brand new processor that throws results we would not expect from a 2.6GHz processor.

What is not as spectacular as expected is the performance of its RAID 0 system. It is clear that its 7200 rpm disks for notebooks can’t offer a improve in performance that justifies their higher prices. Personally I would prefer larger size and 5400 rpm disks as the ideal configuration of the computer. Otherwise, to have a RAID system inside our notebook is an extra we can use to get more security or storage capacity instead of some few MB/s more that will take us nowhere.

Overall Analysis and Conclusion

Overall Analysis

After these days enjoying this machine and left the initial astonishment, especially after having seen it for real during CeBIT and to be able to work with such an exceptional device I have realized that G70s does not introduce anything exceptional talking about hardware. There are similar notebooks from other manufacturers that use these components to reach very similar results. The G70s does not introduce any component or piece that makes it revolutionary but the way it’s built, the end and its design is an example for all its competence.

The G70s is for me the high-end PC, in notebook format, best designed of the market. Its cooling system is exceptional and revolutionary changing the standards to become a less hot PC and also more quiet than the similar products of the competence.

The use of shapes, forms and materials is also a great work of the ASUS engineers. I can understand why ASUS was that proud of showing at CeBIT its new creation having this model as a new step in its innovation capacity. They have built a beautiful machine that even not surprising for its components, it makes possible the use of high performance components for notebooks in an amazing inside and outside format.

There is nothing perfect anyway and the G70s is a great way to begin where Asus should keep working to at least be at the performance, components and price levels of their competence. It’s true that Asus can get inside this war with this product but this prototype has still some weak points that its spectacular nature may not be able balance when trying to catch a very exigent public.

I don’t believe in gaming notebooks, I’ve never understood them, but not only the new ones, any notebook that has a dedicated graphic card that it is generally obsolete before we buy it talking about the graphic performance they can develop in games. These all PCs sold with 8600GT and similar graphic cards, at least for the level I require to play a game, can’t offer enough performance. The notebook graphic card are quite limited but the use of 2 high end graphic cards like the new 8700GT seems that can compensate the decrease in features in from a desktop to a notebook computer and lets us have a good experience playing some of the latest games. It is a bit short performance anyway for 1920x1200 pixels screen that come with these devices and maybe in some cases we can find frustrating the fact of having such a high quality and definition screen and not be able to completely enjoy it. Watch the video below to see how it moves the UT3 at 1920x1200 pixels.

Conclusion

This new Asus G70s is with no doubts an extraordinary machine not followed by the hardware available currently. Its quality in the building and its details in the design, its great cooling system, the mastery in the use of materials quite complex to be used to build a computer balance the fact that the hardware for notebooks is very far from the hardware for desktop computers, talking about features and performance.

Furthermore, these components are much more expensive than their similar in desktop what increases the price of these machines up to points only few users can reach. The Asus G70s is a dream for anyone that really like computers, a computer to boast about, but it still doesn’t cover the real expectations of what an expert gamer looks for like care about the game requirements and enjoy them without the cost being a mission impossible.

It’s a pity that a computer that well made like this G70s don’t use the hardware it deserves and it’s also a pity that only a few will be able to reach it. 2700 Euros is a price that puts it in a point where only the ones with their pockets full, and I don’t think this identifies the gaming enthusiasts, will be able to reach it. This kind of things are the ones that are making that more and more gamers leave the PC and use consoles because the industry have confused the gamer with someone that is ready to spend whatever needed to be able to play when normally is the opposite because its generally young people that know the technology and know that can have the same with a lower price.

I hope my critics to the industry in general, what in the end Asus depends of like Dell or Alienware to build their computers, don’t put you off this PC that is destined to become a reference in a high-end market where very few can compete with quality products.

  • Producto: Asus G70s ROG
  • Fecha: 30/03/2008 10:03:49
Secciones: Portátiles