Quick review: ASUS G53SX

2012-02-27 02:32

To make a long story short, the price of playing games with my spouse is having a 15” gaming laptop. We picked the ASUS G53SX because I have been pretty happy with my older G73JH.

Things to note about this model:

  • This particular one, which came with two drives, also thus came with two drive caddies. Given how hard I’ve had to search to probably I hope find the right caddy for the G73’s second bay, having one provided is delightful.
  • Getting to the drives is a gratuitously complicated pain. That cover plate should have screws on the bottom, not screws on the inside under the palm rest. Annoying.
  • It came with Windows 7 Pro. I didn’t realize this, and just did a normal clean install from my Home Premium DVD. Turns out you can just “upgrade”. Also turns out the Windows activation code is not smart enough to realize that a code that was just used to upgrade might be worth checking for validity, rather than insisting that I need to type in a “new” code, and then accepting the same value. Argh.
  • NOT a glossy display. Thank you, so much, ASUS folks. The cheap-model G73 I got (the cheaper one at Best Buy) has a glossy screen and it’s horrible. The display on the G53 is beautiful.
  • Apparently there are at least four different wireless chipsets used in this machine, so you have to either install all the drivers or look the PCI vendor/device IDs up online.
  • High-res 15” display is pretty tiny pixels, but glorious for gaming.
  • The buttons associated with the trackpad are probably among the worst buttons I have ever used on a pointing device. They require substantial pressure to activate. Enough that using them even for a little while becomes painful quickly. No idea why.
  • Boring old power cable of the sort that could easily break or yank the machine.
  • I have no clue what it has for battery life.
  • Has arrow legends on the WASD keys. :)
  • Trackpad is centered on the qwerty keyboard, not on the laptop as a whole, which is sort of annoying.
  • Runs at a tolerable enough temperature under sustained load without visible problems.

Overall, though, a very credible system. i7-2670QM (2.2GHz), 8GB of memory upgradeable to 16, 2× 7400RPM 500GB drives, GeForce 560M with 2GB of video memory. Plays Rift just fine (though it’s not getting 30-60fps at max settings), plays other stuff decently. And unlike the idiotic ATI drivers on the G73, it can drive an HDMI display correctly. (The ATI drivers have a setting for underscan/overscan which DOES NOT offer “do not overscan or underscan, just treat the TV like any other flat panel display”, nor does any setting in the driver correspond to that.)

Peter Seebach