Video outputs are provided in the form of HDMI and VGA, while external devices can be connected using the four USB ports. There’s also an eSata port and 54mm ExpressCard slot, while Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet are both included.
Annoying lights adorn the lid
Asus has gone for an Intel WiFi Link 1000 card to provide wireless support. This can handle 802.11n but, unlike the 5100 and 5300 models, it’s a single band card and therefore only operates at 2.4GHz – if you’ve a dual-band router the laptop won’t be able to talk to it using the less-cluttered 5GHz spectrum.
A pair of Altec Lansing speakers is located just below the display, but they’re not nearly as loud as we’d like on a gaming laptop. The underside of the chassis also has what looks like a grille for a sub-woofer but, given its extremely tinny audio playback, this model clearly doesn’t actually come with a sub.
A Blu-ray drive is slotted into the right side of the chassis, but with the 15.6in screen’s relatively low native resolution of 1366 x 768 you won’t be able to enjoy 1080p movies without hooking up an external HD TV.
Asus hasn’t held back with storage on the G51J 3D and ships it with no less than two 500GB hard drives whizzing along at 7,200rpm. However, before you get ideas of boosting performance, it’s best we point out there’s no RAID controller. This means you’re stuck with the 1TB of storage, which seems a bit excessive on a laptop. Asus might have been better off dropping one of these drives and shaving some money off the price tag.
Best avoid wearing the 3D glasses in public
So, back to the 3D side of things. Given they house active shutters, it’s no surprise Nvidia’s 3D Vision glasses are bulkier than the polarised pair shipped with the Acer 5738DZG. Their chunky nature also means the glasses will happily fit over most prescription specs. A power button is found on the top of the glasses, while a mini USB port lets you charge the battery – Nvidia reckons 40 hours is possible from a single charge.
nice, but i hope things improve from this...
Particularly, I like how the shutterspecs have a non-laughable framerate now - but as one who was close to offering celebratory sacrifices to whichever small god was responsible when flickeriffic CRTs were washed away by rock steady LCDs, I hope we can re-double that. Anything much below 85Hz makes my eyes and head hurt after a while, and sub-72Hz is nasty. My only, thankfully brief encounters with 56Hz original SVGA were battles against near-unreadable text (monitor phosphors have FAR shorter persistance times than 50Hz TVs) and the 60Hz default was a bane.
No, it's not one of these stupid "powerline fields cook my brain" claims. Set me up a CRT and I will have a fairly good chance of guessing what the refresh rate is if it's between 37i and 75p. The flickering is visible and eventually causes irritation, much like the also-detectable 15.6kHz whistle from a TV tube. However there is an upper limit to what even the most hyperactive rods & cones will detect before their nerve impulses reach 100% duty cycle and the output is considered as "steady". Even with it right up against the eye (making the whole world flicker!) instead of only being a relatively small, distant screen, 120Hz Per Eye should do the trick. We have 200Hz TVs now, allegedly, for whatever good they're supposed to give against a 100Hz (or 50Hz 2D LCD), so it can't be impossible.
By the way, what causes the framerate to drop so? Is it because it's having to render two seperate scenes but not flip the buffer for either of them (except flipping between L & R of course) until both are updated to prevent mind-warping 3-dimensional "tearing"? Like, a 3D Vblank? If they're not doing this, then I see no reason why simply jittering the POV position left and right by a few inches for each drawn frame and dropping the result into a different buffer should be difficult.
Suppose what we need is some kind of SLI-type setup that can offer a reasonable guarantee of maintaining 60fps for each eye to keep up the illusion... well so long as you keep the detail levels down ;)
Finally why do we need to wait for special software to support this concept? Descent, Terra Nova and a few others have been supporting shutterspecs and other true-3D render methods since the mid 90s (ever since fully shaded & textured polys became a practical prospect) and the guys selling the devices allegedly had go-between drivers for a variety of other titles to retroactively enable it. Can't we do similar now? And where, goddammit, is my 3D, HD-movie-capturing digital camera?
External IR emitter?
Has Will asked Asus why the IR emitter for the glasses isn't integrated into the lid?
BTW, the alternating shutter glasses effectively have the fps of the display, as the odd-numbered frames display the left image, and the even-numbered the right.