Performance and Benchmarks
ASUS included some fairly impressive components in the G51J-series notebook, including an Intel Core i7 720 processor, NVIDIA GTX 260M graphics, dual Seagate 7200.4 hard drives, and newer DDR3 memory. One special feature of the Core i7 720 that we were dying to test is its ability to go into a super overclocking mode, pushing its clock speed from 1.6 to 2.8GHz. This sounds like a huge jump, but in our tests we found only small improvements … if any. The first indication that the Extreme Overclock mode was not working as well as we had hoped was running wPrime, where we only saw a change of less than one second. Other benchmarks showed a similarly modest performance boost.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures overall graphics performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
HDTune storage drive performance test:
With the overclocking mode enabled, we didn’t see any significant jump in framerates, and in some games we actually saw a drop. Left 4 Dead stayed between an average of 68 to 73FPS in each test run of the same level as indicated by FRAPS. Enabling or disabling the overclocking feature didn’t show any continuously reproducible gain. While running Batman: Arkham Asylum we actually saw a drop in average framerate, going from an average of 30 FPS down to 28FPS.
Multimedia performance was excellent as expected, with ample processing power to handle decoding 1080P videos at the same time with barely breaking a sweat. With the Core i7 handling 8 threads at the same time, there was always available overhead to run multiple background tasks without any lag.
Heat and Noise
With so many powerful components inside of a 15.6″ notebook we knew things would be riding on the warm side. In our tests we found the ASUS G51 to run pretty warm on the bottom section near the processor and GPU. The peak temperature was directly on top of the processor, with the surface scanning at 106F with our IR-gun. Under very low-stress usage this area stayed within reasonable levels, but it was always the hot spot while gaming. Another hot area that couldn’t be avoided was the exhaust vent, acting as a very toasty hand warmer in a cold house. While gaming the exhaust temperatures were well in excess of 130F. Noise levels were very quiet under normal activity, with the fan occasionally spinning up to bring fresh air into the system. Under stress, depending on the system load, the fan would stay on constantly, and occasionally ramp up to a high speed that was pretty loud, but moved quite a bit of air.
The ASUS G51J was not a super-efficient notebook by any stretch of the imagination thanks to a Core i7 mobile processor, NVIDIA GTX 260M graphics, and two 7200RPM hard drives. The G51J managed 1 hour and 32 minutes before turning off in our test with the screen brightness set to 70%, wireless active, and Windows 7 set to the “balanced” power profile. The previous G51 we tested with the Q9000 processor and similar configuration managed 1 hour and 26 minutes. Power consumption during the test was between 28 and 33 watts, quite a bit higher most notebooks we test. The Gateway P-7805u, which is a 17″ gaming notebook that had similar levels of performance managed 3 hours and 29 minutes under the same test.
The ASUS G51J has a few solid improvements over the older G51VX, most notably the shift from the Intel Q9000 to the Intel Core i7-720QM processor. This change shaved roughly 5 seconds off its wPrime score alone. 3DMark06 performance went up as well, but we didn’t see that much of a boost in actual gameplay. PCMark05 is also down, but it is hard to say if it was related to hardware or operating system differences. Overall users who are interested in purchasing this notebook should look at one item; the price. With specifications improving or staying equal, ASUS dropped the price $200, from $1,699 to $1,499. The only items lost were the previously included Eee Stick controllers, which were probably not used many users, if any.
- Improved keyboard tray design
- Speedy Intel Core i7 processor
- $200 price drop compared to previous model
- Too much hype in the 1.6 to 2.8GHz overclocking feature