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Notebook ASUS G51VX

Review Notebook ASUS G51VX

best new latest coolest funny top high technology gadgets As a company, ASUS has had a strong history of fitting dedicated graphics into its laptops in a fashion other notebook suppliers have been less apt to do. Yours truly owns a 14.1” ASUS laptop with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS, remarkably robust hardware for the size, and a jaunt over to Newegg’s notebook section will reveal a healthy number of other ASUS machines with dedicated graphics that run head and shoulders above their peers.

Over the past couple of years, the push by ASUS into the retail space, particularly at Best Buy, has allowed users looking for some portable gaming to get their fix at some very nice prices. Knowing they’re entering a very competitive market, ASUS has been fighting hard, and the laptop I’m reviewing today is another shot in that salvo.

The G51VX is a refresh of the older G50 line, and in some ways another shot across the bow of Gateway’s 17″ FX series gaming laptops that have been very attractive finds in retail.

This unit can be found on the floor of many Best Buys at a respectable $1,049 (though sometimes available for under a grand, depending on sales), and its looks are just a little understated compared to the bright orange of some of its predecessors.

Of course, you’re not hugely interested in its looks yet. You want to know what it’s packing. If I may…

Specifications:

Windows Vista Home Premium (SP1, 64-bit)
Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 (2GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 1066MHz FSB)
15.6″ TFT Widescreen display with LED backlighting (1366×768)
4GB PC2-6400 DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz System Memory
Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M 1GB GDDR3 Memory
320GB 7200RPM SATA Seagate Momentus Hard Drive
Dual Layer CD/DVD Recordable
1.3 megapixel integrated webcam
Intel WiFi 5100 (a/b/g/n) Wireless
Weight: 7.3 lbs.
Dimensions: 14.8″ x 10.4″ x 1.6″
Warranty: 1 year limited parts/labor
6-cell 11.1v 4800mAh battery
Retails at Best Buy for $1,049

best new latest coolest funny top high technology gadgets G51VX4Of course, before you get too excited, it bears pointing out that the processor can seem a little anemic compared to the graphics hardware, but that the graphics hardware is actually more anemic than it seems. In a bid to confuse the consumer and push a chip that’s basically entering its second year of life as something brand new, the GeForce GTX 260M is actually just a rebadged desktop GeForce 9800 GT (itself a rebadged GeForce 8800 GT) and not the vastly more powerful GeForce GTX 260M. That said, at the modest resolution the G51VX’s screen runs at, that shouldn’t be an issue.

There’s a fault here that’s worth mentioning, though, and that’s the cooling system. While it seems for the most part sensible at first glance, I want you to pay attention to how the heatpipes are routed to the single cooling fan. The first carries heat from the chipset and the processor itself, and then the second lower one carries heat from the GeForce. If you’ll notice how these heatpipes are ordered in front of the fan, though, you’ll see the problem: the processor has a TDP of 25 watts, so the heated air from it and the chipset is what gets blown over the GeForce’s heatpipe, a chip that dissipates fully three times that much wattage in heat. I’m not 100 percent sure this is the most efficient way to keep the insides of the unit cool, and as you’ll see later on, it raises a couple red flags. At least it vents to the left side instead of the right.


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