To evaluate the performance of the GeForce GTX 460M, we wanted to first find out where it stands amongst other gaming notebooks. To that end, we’ve pitted the ASUS G73Jw against some recent gaming notebooks we’ve tested, namely the Sager NP8690 and Dell Alienware M15x, which uses a ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M respectively. We don't yet have a wide database of results for gaming class notebooks, but we do have a couple of pertinent benchmarks that are adequate to paint the picture.
Although the notebooks are not similarly specced, from this rough assessment, we can see that the ASUS G73Jw is a some ways faster than both the Sager and Dell Alienware notebooks.
Next, let’s take it look at its 3D performance on Battlefield Bad Company 2. As the graph shows, enabling 3D had an adverse effect on frame rates, which we had expected. As we’ve mentioned, with 3D enabled, the ASUS G73Jw now needed to render two frames at any given instance to create an illusion of depth. This meant that its workload has doubled, which also explains why with 3D enabled the ASUS G73Jw was only half as quick.
Moving on, we ran another test to see how the notebook will fare if we turned the settings down a notch from ‘High’ to ‘Medium’. Although it did lighten the load, we found that the GeForce GTX 460M still wasn’t quite up to task especially if we ran it at the ASUS notebook's native 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution.
Judging from the ASUS G73Jw, there’s no doubt that the GeForce GTX 460M is a competent mobile GPU, quite capable of running games at decent settings. However, 3D is a much more intensive task, and as our results showed, the GeForce GTX 460M isn’t particularly ideal for the task. It’s not that it cannot run 3D, but its performance suffers considerably. Alternatively, you could turn down the graphics settings to get better frame rates, but that would mean sacrificing on image quality. So the case with 3D is that it's hard to have the best of both worlds.
In closing, the GeForce GTX 460M is a powerful mobile GPU and is great for notebook gaming. But if you want the best 3D experience possible, a beefier graphics solution is needed and for the time being at least, we think that mobile GPUs are not quite up to the mark yet. Sure there are faster mobile GPUs, but they are extremely expensive and rare to find them implemented. On the horizon, the newer GeForce 500M series of GPUs would slowly surface, but we doubt even these would elevate the notebook gaming standards significantly. Hence for high quality 3D gaming, it’s advisable to stick to NVIDIA’s more powerful desktop graphics solution instead.