Asus – G50V review

snazzy Centrino 2 laptop with plenty of perfomance
Photo of Asus – G50V
£1,050

Asus’s Republic of Gamers product line carries products that Asus has designed specifically for gamers in mind – no surprise there, then – and while the RoG label is usually associated with motherboards and graphics cards, it does include the G7 and G5 range of notebooks.

The latest laptop to carry the logo is the 15.4-inch G50V, the smaller sibling of the 17-inch G71V. One thing’s for certain; you won’t miss it in a crowd as its bright flame orange and gloss black finish makes it stand out. And if you are a fan of lights with everything then the G50V won’t disappoint either, with its multitude of bright blue LEDs.

Weighing in at around 3.3kg including the AC adaptor, it’s fairly easy to carry to and from any LAN parties you may feel like attending.

But behind the glitz lies a serious gaming notebook using Intel’s latest Centrino 2 mobile technology. Powering this beast is a Core 2 Duo P8400, 1,066MHz FSB CPU clocked at 2.26GHz, backed by 4GB of PC2-6400, 800MHz, DDR2 memory and an Intel PM45 chipset. All of which gives the G50V impressive all-round performance, as proved by a PCMark05 overall score of 5,750, which is outstanding for a laptop.

But as you should expect from a notebook designed for gaming, the graphics performance of the G50V is pretty special. Asus has used one of Nvidia’s Geforce 9700M GT graphics cards here. Supporting DX10, the 9700M GT uses 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory and has a core clock speed of 625MHz and a memory clock of 800MHz.

It is a powerful mobile graphics chipset, giving the G50V the fastest 3DMark results we have seen from a notebook to date that doesn’t have SLI graphics: 11,450 3DMark05 marks and an impressive 6,920 in 3DMark06. It even manages a respectable 1,669 Performance marks in the much more intensive 3DMark Vantage.

To go with performance figures like that you need a good screen and Asus hasn’t dropped the ball, using a really first-rate 15.4-inch, WSXGA+ screen (a 15.6-inch WXGA version is also available) which has a 1,680 by 1,050 native widescreen resolution, giving a good deal of desktop space. Even the Color-Shine glossy finish doesn’t reflect lighting as much as others we have seen. Built into the top bezel there is a 2.0-megapixel webcam.

To enhance your gaming experience there is a pair of Altec Lansing speakers which, while an improvement on the usual pitiful speakers you get built into a notebook, are still not great, lacking in both bass and volume.

The keyboard is well built with comfortable keys that are easy to type on using just the right amount of response, and despite its compact size Asus has managed to squeeze in a dedicated number pad next to the keyboard which will keep gamers happy. The touch pad and mouse keys are responsive and if you want to use a mouse you can turn off the touchpad; handily, the blue LED backlight of the pad turns off so you know which mode you are in.

Above the keyboard sits a panel of touch sensitive buttons that operate a number of functions. The Power4Gear Extreme button allows you to toggle between power saving modes, Direct Console launches a system management utility and Express Gate is the shortcut into Asus’s light Linux utility that allows you to launch a web browser, make a Skype call, check e-mails or listen to music without booting into the Windows Vista Ultimate OS. Next to these buttons is a small display screen that can display e-mail alerts and messages or show system information such as CPU speed, etc.

For storage our review G50V came with a Hitachi 320GB hard drive, but there is enough space in chassis to fit a second hard drive and you can buy the G50V with up to 640GB of storage via two such 320GB drives. There’s also an 8x DVD burner, 8-in-1 Flash card reader and an Express Card slot, together with HDMI and e-SATA ports.

Company: Asus

Contact: 01442 202 700


Verdict
An excellent gaming notebook which makes good use of Intel's latest mobile technology and one of Nvidia's faster mobile GPUs, to provide enough performance that you won't be embarrassed taking it to a LAN party. But its performance doesn't come cheap.