We pitted the ASUS G74SX, which retails for S$2998, against competing gaming notebooks at around the same price range. Samsung’s Series 7 700G7A retails at S$2899, and uses the same processor, but has a higher performing AMD graphics module. Toshiba’s Qosmio X770 retails at S$3299, and uses a slightly slower processor, but the same GPU as ASUS, but with half the video memory.
|Specifications / Notebook||ASUS G74SX||Samsung Series 7 700G7A||Toshiba Qosmio X770|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-2670QM
|Intel Core i7-2670QM
|Intel Core i7-2630QM
|Chipset||Intel HM65||Intel HM65||Intel HM65|
|Memory||8GB DDR3||8GB DDR3||8GB DDR3|
|HDD||1TB (2 x 500GB) Hybrid Solid State Drive||1.5TB (2 x 750GB SATA) 7200 RPM||1.5TB (2 x 750GB SATA) 7200 RPM|
|Video||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M (3GB VRAM)||AMD Radeon HD 6970M (2GB VRAM)||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M (1.5GB VRAM)|
PCMark Vantage tests the overall performance of a system. The G74SX scored surprisingly well, winning in every category and notably achieving a massive 11904 score in the Gaming Suite. So while the numbers look great, the important point here is to understand what the benchmark does to derive these scores.
The Gaming Suite score weighs heavily on loading times from the unit’s hard drive, so the hybrid drives found in the G74SX with their built-in 4GB SSD cache may be the secret to the G74SX’s success here. If you look at the System Storage score, you’ll also see that the G74SX easily outperformed both of its competitors. In reality however, the advantage of the hybrid drives weren't really as apparent, other than loading applications.
While speedy loading is a good thing, this advantage is only had for momentary periods like these and it's not like normal disk drive based machines are unbearably slow either. True gamers would really prefer a competent graphics crunching machine and you'll see that's where the ASUS doesn't quite live up to expectations in the following benchmarks.
3Dmark06 tests a unit’s GPU (and involved some aspects of the CPU too). While the NVIDIA GTX 560M found in the G74SX has a whopping 3GB of VRAM, it only slightly outperformed the 1.5GB VRAM in the X770, proving the age-old understanding that VRAM doesn't actually make that much of a difference to a system’s performance. In fact, the differential is mostly due to the X770's slower CPU. The high-end AMD Radeon HD 6970M GPU with 2GB VRAM on the Samsung machine attained a much higher score than either NVIDIA models.
We were interested in seeing if the ASUS G74SX’s superior system benchmark scores, thanks to its hybrid drives, would translate into better in-game performance, despite its mid-range graphics card.
Unfortunately, in terms of actual in-game frame rates, the hybrid drives' advantage was hardly felt and the G74SX scored only a nary better than the X770 by virtue of a speedier CPU. It goes without saying that the Samsung 700G7A was ahead of the compared machines. When comparing game play on the ASUS machine against the Samsung, on Very High settings, there was a small but noticeable decrease in frame rates between the two, although having said that, frame rates were still well above acceptable for game play.
With 3D Vision turned on, we did see the G74SX pull ahead of the X770, with a significant performance difference on both Medium and Very High settings. We found Medium settings to be playable with only minor frame rate drops during very intensive scenes. However on Very High settings, it was a different story, with frame rates dropping as low as 7 - definitely unplayable. The Samsung Series 7 700G7A was a much better choice for 3D gaming, with frame rates remaining acceptable even at Very High settings.