Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Asus G752VT-DH72

Asus G752VT-DH72

The Force is strong with this one

You can almost p icture t he s cene: the Dark Lords of Technology showing off their wares, urging Asus to join the forces of Maxwell and Skylake to rule the mobile gaming universe. Unlike in the movies, though, Asus takes the bait and delivers its updated G752VT notebook. Unfortunately, while impressive on many levels, you still have to watch out for that exhaust port weakness (which Asus oddly tries to cover with a couple of rubber grommets).

Asus routinely offers true gaming notebooks—and by “true” we mean they go with the fastest graphics cards available, not lower-tier parts with names that belie their performance (we’re looking at you, GTX 950M/960M). Having been a player in this arena for so long, you’d expect the well-oiled Asus machinery to crank out improvements every year. That was the goal with the G752, and it mostly succeeds.

Any Sith Lord would be proud to carry this weapon into battle, with its aggressive lines and red/orange accents. Despite the flashy looks, the notebook doesn’t attract unwanted attention in the way of noise, even during extended gaming sessions. The fans stay under 36dB, with thermals mostly below 35 C, though the exhaust area can reach a warm 45 C under load. Elsewhere, the gesture-enabled touchpad still offers two discrete buttons, and the keyboard supports 30-key rollover antighosting technology—so unless you grow several extra appendages, or manage to seat more than three people around the keyboard, you’ll never miss a keystroke.

The G752VT-DH72 model here pairs a GTX 970M 3GB with a Skylake CPU, tossing in an M.2 NVMe drive for good measure. Except Asus forgot the batteries for its lightsaber and neglected to install the Samsung NVMe drivers. Oops! With the drivers installed, the SM951 NVMe zips along with peak read speeds of 2GB/s, but we have to dock points for going with a puny 128GB model. It’s 2016; can’t we expect 256GB SSDs as standard on a notebook costing over $1,000? 128GB means juggling files between the SSD and HDD, and while Asus offers larger SSDs on other G752 models, you’ll pay much more for the privilege.

Outside of the SSD misstep, the G752VT performs admirably. It’s not going to match a GTX 980M, let alone the beefy GTX 980 for Notebooks, but it will handle pretty much any game at the native 1920x1080 resolution at high to ultra settings. Compared to our aging zero-point notebook, the 970M runs circles around it and delivers up to three times the gaming performance. Even better, the IPS G-Sync display works at up to 75Hz, so even titles that don’t hit 60fps will feel smooth at 40–75fps.

The notebook stumbles elsewhere, though. Depending on the application, the i7-6700HQ is either slightly faster or slightly slower than the ZP’s i7-4700MQ. Meanwhile, supporting G-Sync means Asus can’t use Nvidia’s Optimus technology, and unlike the MSI GT72S, the 970M is always enabled. Despite a 66Wh six-cell battery, the G752 checks out at 2.35 hours—MSI’s GT72S can double its runtime by disabling the dGPU.

The GTX 980’s ability to destroy benchmarks may impress, but it’s insignificant compared to the power of a balanced platform. The GTX 970M remains potent, it’s a far more affordable option, and G-Sync is arguably more useful on a notebook that can’t routinely hit 75fps. Some of the extras increase the price, however, and we still want a 256GB SSD (that model costs $2,000), but provided you’re OK with the lackluster battery life, there are no show-stoppers. Those who prefer raw power can still opt for Death Star notebooks sporting GTX 980, but the Star Destroyer G752VT is equally impressive in its own right.

CPU Intel Core i7-6700HQ
RAM 2x 8GB DDR4-2133
GPU GeForce GTX 970M 3GB
Display 17.3-inch, 1920x1080 Matte 30–75Hz G-Sync-enabled IPS
Storage 128GB Samsung SM951 NVMe, 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD, BD-Combo
Connectivity 1x Mini-DP, 1x HDMI, Ethernet, SD reader, 4x USB 3.0 (1 charging), 1x USB 3.1 Type-C, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, SDXC, 3x audio
Dimensions 16.85x13.11x0.91–1.69 inches
Weight (Lap/Carry) 8.86/10.12 lb