Design & Layout
The only design feature meant to “pop” is the backlit keyboard--and that’s strictly for the user’s pleasure and accessibility under low-light conditions.
Unlike on the G73, the G74's numpad is separated from the main keyboard. The solution to the space issue, compared to the G73, was apparently to move the keys closer to the edge of the notebook, thus creating the extra room. We like the change, as it feels more like a spacious desktop keyboard than a typical notebook's cramped keys. Additionally, the keys themselves are sufficiently large and are labeled with big letters, uncluttered by markings for secondary and tertiary functions.
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Further, Asus built this notebook to eliminate heat as much as possible by getting creative with the vents. The intake fans are located just under the LCD and draw in air from the front of the machine; meanwhile, the back vents push all the air from inside out the back.
The result is impressive; not only did my lap stay cool after a couple of hours of gaming (yes, it’s a sacrifice we reviewers all have to make), but the fans maintained a low hum throughout, never once kicking into high gear and interfering with the game’s audio experience.
Another welcome design idea is evident when you flip the G74SX-A1 over to access the internals. One large panel pops off with one large screw to reveal the HDD bays and RAM slots. This makes it easy to swap out one of the drives for an SSD or add another 4GB SODIMM to bump up the total system memory.
Accessory-wise, the G74SX-A1 includes the Asus ROG Laser Gaming Mouse, which nicely matches the overall look and design of the notebook itself, and a ROG backpack for toting the machine around.