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, 2x 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.)