System Performance and ConclusionsThe G53 has a lot to live up to. It’s a high-end gaming laptop, the little brother of the G73, and competitor to the likes of Alienware, Origin and other gaming laptop manufacturers. ASUS has proven to be up to the challenge in the past, however. Let’s start by taking a look at old faithful – the SiSoft Sandra benchmarks.
Subtle, this is not. The ASUS G53’s powerful quad-core processor easily demolished everything else that we’ve tested recently. This result was to be expected, but seeing the results on a graph makes the advantage easier to visualize. I still believe that the Core i5 is the best choice for most users, but the inclusion of the Core i7 processor in the G53 is appropriate given the performance gamers will expect from this machine.
Now it’s time to throw the G53 into our battery of general-use benchmarks, which includes Peacekeeper, PCMark Vantage, 7-Zip and Truecrypt.
The results here were various. The G53 scored very well in PCMark, but received the highest score only because I excluded the Lenovo T410s, which received an unreasonably high score due to its SSD drive. That SSD drive also gave the Lenovo T410s the chops to beat the G53 in the Truecrypt benchmark – by no small margin. Even the Peacekeeper benchmark ended in favor of the Core i5-powered T410s.
On the other hand, the G53 dominated the 7-Zip benchmark. This is most likely a story of four cores, as the 7-Zip benchmark takes far better advantage of quad-core performance than most.
Of course, day-to-day performance isn’t the reason for a gaming laptop’s existence. The G53 is made to game, and so game it did.
The G53 stomped everything else on our test bench. The test bench is currently optimized to cater towards a “normal” laptop, which usually is equipped with something like a GT 310M at best. As a result, the G53 kills Far Cry 2 and Just Cause 2. The extremely high framerate results in these benchmarks indicates that you’ll be able to turn up the detail settings substantially and maintain a playable framerate.
The 3DMark Vantage benchmark is interesting, as I included the older G51, which we reviewed in early 2010. Most of our benchmark procedures have changed since then, but 3DMark Vantage has remained the same, so the G51 result provides a nice point of comparison.
The G51 was, at the time of our review, equipped with a Core i7-720QM processor and Nvidia’s GTX 260M. The upgrade to the newer GTX 460M has clearly had a positive impact on overall performance, as the newer G53 obtains a 3DMark score over 1400 higher than the older G51. That’s progress!
Let’s round things up by taking a look at the boot and resume times of the G53.
Despite the hardware crammed into the G53, the boot time average after three attempts was just over 53 seconds. Only the ASUS U33JC has been tested slower, and I think that ASUS bloatware is the likely culprit behind the slow boot times on both of these systems. Resume times were also a bit worse than average, and certainly worse than I expected. This simply illustrates the fact that powerful hardware does nothing to guarantee speed when booting or resuming a Windows PC.
The sin of the ASUS G53JW-3DE is price. Nvidia 3D Vision requires that a laptop have a unique, low-resolution 120Hz display and special glasses that enable the stereoscopic 3D effects. These options don’t come cheap and as a result the price of the 3DE model rises to a stratospheric $1799 while the entry-level ASUS G53JW-XA1 retails for just $1349.
Pricing gaps of this size can be justified, of course, if the extra cash also nets you better hardware. It doesn’t. The less expensive G53JW-XA1 has the same processor, same GPU and same RAM (in both speed and quantity) as the 3DE model. The 3DE model does have a Blu-Ray drive and offers 250GB of additional hard drive space, but it sacrifices the display, which shrinks from 1080p to the more pedestrian resolution of 1366×768. Yes, it’s beautiful as such displays go, but this resolution is simply too limiting for a 15.6” laptop of any breed, nevermind one that is built for gaming.
All you’re receiving for the extra dough, then, is Nvidia’s 3D Vision. While technically cool, I hesitate to call 3D Vision worth any amount of money, as I don’t think I would use it frequently even if it were thrown in with the laptop for free. This makes the $450 surcharge attached to the G53JW-3DE hard to tolerate.
The verdict is clear – skip the 3DE, buy the XA1, and you’ll be a happy gamer.
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