ASUS G74-SX-A1 Gaming Notebook Review

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Performance Analysis:  On Asus’ Web site, the company claims that this notebook can hit P2008 in 3DMark11 and P9180 in 3DMark Vantage--but we hit P2222 and P10012, respectively. It’s not often that lab-tested scores actually surpass what’s advertised.  In terms of performance, we were a little surprised at how inconsistent the G74SX-A1 scored; sometimes it rocked the competition and other times it fell short. However, in no test did it demonstrate an inability to perform the task at hand, so take the up-and-down with a grain of salt.

One issue we noticed was that although in terms of gaming audio the G74SX-A1 definitely delivered, just playing music through the built-in speakers was disappointing. Most tracks sounded like they were coming out of a radio; only highly compressed audio (i.e., pop music) sounded very good.

The volume itself left something to be desired, too--even with all the settings at the proverbial “11”, ambient noise really cut into the sound. We’d also like to hear and feel more low end, but in that regard you take what you can get with notebook audio solutions.

The upside to this machine, in addition to the solid performance, is in the details--the smart cooling system, the comfortable palm rest, the well-laid out keyboard, and the styling that looks cool at a LAN party but doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb at the coffee shop.

At $1,749 MSRP, the G74SX-A1 is reasonably priced, and the street prices you'll find for this unit are significantly lower. You can also easily add some juice to this particular configuration via an SSD.  Asus did a lot of things right with the G74SX-A1, and it's every bit a worthy successor to the G73 series.

  • Solid CPU & GPU combination
  • Excellent overall design
  • Plenty of storage
  • Beautiful display
  • Relatively strong battery life


  • Mediocre speakers
  • Some performance inconsistency
  • An SSD would be nice (although it is an option in other configurations)

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