Let’s talk about the G771 – a 17″ gaming laptop from the Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) line. The ROG’s popularity has been on the rise, with a strong emphasis on offering innovative hardcore hardware for gamers and overclockers. The ROG G771 is part of a new series of gaming laptops from Asus, alongside the G551. The G771 gaming laptop is powered by the Intel® Core™ i7 processor and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 860M graphics. It is not the top end Asus gaming laptop, (that’s reserved for the G751), but rather, it offers a unique combination of powerful processing power, midrange GPU capability, and portability.
The design of the Asus G771 is kept simple, which seem like an oddity for a gaming laptop. The G771 is mainly black, with a matte-black brushed aluminum finish. There are hints of red around the chamfered edges and an ROG logo on the top lid. Power on the machine and the illumination of the ROG logo and the red backlighting of the keyboard comes to life to give away hints that it is more edgy and aggressive than initial looks.
Point to note: the matte black aluminum finish is a fingerprint magnet, and you would be advised to keep a microfibre cloth nearby if you want to keep it looking in tip-top condition.
A 17″ laptop is never going to be portable, but at 3.3 kilos, I still managed to lug the G771 around. The weight was rather bearable (for short distances) but it was the dimensions that made it unweidly and don’t expect it to fit in a normal size bag at 418 x 284 x 37 mm. Although 37mm is relatively slim for the specifications. For those looking towards LAN parties, gaming at a few locations, or a laptop for a dorm or hostel, a 17″ gaming laptop might be a good alternative. The G771 offers a spacious interior (duh), with a large arm-rest, full keyboard (inclusive of number pad) and trackpad, plus speakers near the top.
For that added gamer touch, Asus have added red backlights to the keyboard, and you can adjust the illumination intensity or switch it off. There’s an accent red border around the WASD keys, which is frequently used by the FPS gamers, for that added gaming touch. It is a nice element to an otherwise boring internal layout. The number pad and directional keys are a little smaller compared to the standard keys which makes it slightly more uncomfortable to use. Needs some getting used too, especially if you use them frequently in games for hot key commands and navigation.
Nothing much to fault on the connectivity, but the lid hinge design means that the ports and exhaust are on the sides instead of the back of the laptop, which could get in the way if you want to set it up with other devices or external monitors. There are a total of 4 USB 3.0s, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort and LAN, together with an optical drive (Blu-Ray). There’s also a card-reader and status LEDs near the front middle. The card-reader accepts normal SD cards but they are not fully flushed when inserted. The exhaust fan is on the left, which gets a little toasty under intense gaming situations. The battery is 56 Wh and is able to last around 4-5 hours on normal (non-gaming) use. Removable battery is a nice touch.
The G771 runs on the Intel Haswell Core i7-4710HQ 2.5 GHz with 16 GB of RAM and a dedicated video card Nvidia GeForce GTX 860 with 4 GB of GDDR5 RAM. The CPU and RAM are near top of the line and almost similar to the top end Asus Gaming Laptop the G751, except for the graphics card, which runs on the newer generation graphics card. One would spend a lot of time staring into the G771 17.3″ full HD 1920 x 1080 screen, and it is great that Asus used an IPS matte panel here. I like it over the more common TN panels with the better viewing angles and colour reproduction. The matte screen deserves notable mention too, as it just more adaptable to various lighting conditions.
The review set with a 256GB SSD and a 1TB SATA HDD. The SSD was a MZHPU256HCGL-00004 (256GB,Read 1080MB/s,Write 800MB/s) which makes loading times extremely short. 256GB is a good size such that you can keep your most frequent games on the SSD. A 128GB is too small if you want to balance Windows, essential programs, and especially with games also requiring humongous storage. I believe SSD is a configurable option when you choose the particular laptop model.
The G771 generally performed well on most games at the Ultra / Highest settings. It breezed through most other games I thrown at it, Fifa 2015, Call of Duty series, DOTA 2, etc. Benchmark scores in the images below are pretty consistent with the specifications. It struggled slightly on Titanfall at the highest max settings and 16xMSAA with around 15 frames per sec but that was solved by reducing to 2xMSAA. Framerates were an acceptable 35-45 FPS. The 860M is listed as amid range graphics card but should suffice for most games if you are willing to drop a little on the anti-aliasing settings or just pull back slightly on texture quality, etc. I played all games at 1080p and didn’t had to drop the resolution but that’s an option when future games become more demanding.
Other benchmark scores:
+ PC Mark Vantage: 20107
+ PC Mark 7: 6094
There’s significant throttling once you game on battery though. The frame rates start to drop, and everything seems a little slower. Even less intensive games such as Fifa start to show some choppiness in game at the highest settings. The laptop would detect that is in running on battery and automatically throttle down on CPU / GPU performance. For example, 3Dmark Sky Diver scored 4551 on battery but jumps up to 10369 while hooked up to a power source. So make sure you are connected if you want to game. While gaming, I was impressed that the laptop itself regulated temperatures pretty well. The touch surfaces remained cool to touch and the laptop generally stayed quiet. The fans do spin up but within bearable limits. The heat is exhausted out on the left hand side, which might get uncomfortable if you are a left hander.
Price and Availability
No news on price and availability yet, but it could be as early as SITEX 2014? That’s when the Asus G751 goes on sale. Asus have a weird naming convention this time around. I initially thought the G771 was higher-spec compared to the G751 and turned out to be wrong. So much for bigger numbers = better specs.
Overall, I like that the laptop was robustly build and yes, while the design was muted for a supposedly gaming laptop, some would appreciate the strong, silent vibes it exudes. It has all around solid specs minus the graphics card, which seems a little strange considering that it offers high end specifications paired with a mid range card. Such specifications may not sit too well for the discerning gamer. That could be where ASUS pricing strategy comes in to play. Unfortunately, I don’t have that information yet so can’t comment on whether it is value for money. There have been some comments that perhaps it would be better suited more as a multimedia laptop with moderate gaming capabilities, and I sort of agree. It is more than capable of high power computing number crunching, video rendering, and still retain the ability to handle current-gen games.