Great mobile gaming on the cheap; less cumbersome than larger gaming rigs.
Relatively wimpy CPU; battery drained in 92 minutes; speakers aren't great.
If there’s one thing that might take your mind off your financial woes, it’s some good old-fashioned fragging. And Asus is happy to oblige by offering the most affordable full-fledged gaming notebook that we’ve ever tested. The G51Vx-RX05, sold exclusively through Best Buy, costs less than a grand—OK, at $999, that’s a technicality, but still, this 15-inch notebook is cheap. It’s half the cost of the 15-inch iBuypower M865TU gaming rig we reviewed in November.
Of course, Asus had to cut some corners to get there. The notebook’s Core 2 Duo P7350 CPU, for example, boasts a mere 2GHz clock speed—that’s 33 percent slower than the iBuypower’s proc. And true to form, the G51Vx-RX05 performed about 30 percent slower than the iBuypower (our new zero-point rig) in our Premiere, Photoshop, ProShow, and MainConcept benchmarks.
A Power Control Panel option in the G51Vx-RX05 lets you overclock the CPU by up to 150MHz. That’s a 7.5 percent boost, which amounted to around five percent of additional performance in our CPU-centric benchmarks: Using the so-called “Extreme turbo” mode, we shaved 11 seconds off our original Photoshop time and a minute off of Premiere Pro. That doesn’t do much to bridge the gap between the G51Vx-RX05 and its higher-clocked competition, but it does add some value to the package.
Where you’ll find the most value, however, is in the notebook’s GPU. The G51Vx-RX05 sports the same GTX 260M graphics part as iBuypower’s machine. As we noted in our review of the iBuypower rig, this GPU performs head and shoulders above any previous-generation mobile part, serving up playable frame rates in today’s more graphically demanding games. Although iBuypower’s much-faster CPU gives that machine a slight edge in games (and effectively knocks Asus’s rig off our benchmark chart), the G51Vx-RX05’s game performance is still laudable. Compared to Toshiba’s 9800M-equipped Qosmio X305 (reviewed in June 2009), the G51Vx-RX05 was more than 20 percent faster in Far Cry 2 and Call of Duty 4. In Crysis even, Asus’s rig hit 30.48fps with the settings at High—that’s 30 percent faster than the Qosmio performed.
Physically, the G51Vx-RX05 seems solid. Its glossy white cover, glossy black trim, and blue-backlit keyboard give it an unmistakable gaming aesthetic that’s not too outlandish. Its rubberized palm rest adds a nice, comfy touch. And while its 15.6-inch reflective screen sports a relatively low 1366x768 native res, that can actually be a boon in games.
Does the G51Vx-RX05 make compromises? Yes. But in doing so, it delivers on its mission to provide top-notch gaming at an unbeatable price. And for that, this notebook deserves high marks.
|Zero Point ||Asus G51Vx-RX05|
|Premiere Pro CS3||1,320 sec ||1.860 (-29.0%) |
|Photoshop CS3 ||147 sec ||205 (-28.3%) |
|ProShow Producer ||1,504 sec||2,255 (-33.3%) |
|MainConcept||2,702 ||4,057 (-33.4%)|
|Far Cry 2||31.1||29 (-6.8%)|
|Call of Duty 4||58.3||55 (-5.7%)|
|Battery Life||100.0||92 (-8.0%)|
Our zero point notebook is an iBuypower M865TU with a 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo T9900, 4GB DDR3/1066 RAM, a 500GB Seagate hard drive, a GeForce GTX 260M, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. Far Cry 2 tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA; Call of Duty tested at 1680x1050 with 4x AA and 4x anisotropic filtering.
|Asus G51Vx-RX05 |
|CPU||2GHz Core 2 Duo P7350|
|RAM||4GB DDR2/800MHz |
|Chipset ||Intel PM45 |
|Hard Drive ||320GB Seagate ST9320421AS (7,200rpm) |
|Optical||HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GSA-T50N |
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M |
|Ports||VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, modem, four USB, eSATA, FireWire, three analog in/out, 8-in-1 media reader, Express Card slot|
|Lap/Carry||8 lbs, 12.8 oz / 7 lbs, 4.6 oz|