3D laptops: Asus G74sx vs. Toshiba Qosmio X775

We test these two high-end laptops to see how they work in all dimensions.

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How we tested

3D computer technology is still new, so I adapted and enlarged my typical testing routine. On top of using each system for several weeks, watching 3D movies, playing 3D games and looking at 3D images, I used each for more mundane tasks like sending and receiving emails, writing memos, updating a Web site and editing video.

I started by measuring, weighing and examining each system and trying out each major feature. I also tried (unsuccessfully) to fit each onto a mockup of a typical airplane seat-back table tray and into a standard Brookhaven notebook bag, and carried each on a day trip out of my office.

I connected each wirelessly to my office network as well as public hotspots and a mobile hotspot.

While each system was running full blast, I found its hotspot and measured the temperature with an Extech Pocket IR non-contact thermometer.

I tested the performance of each system with an array of standard benchmarks. First, I looked at overall performance with PassMark's PerformanceTest 7.0 benchmark test. This suite of tests exercises every major system component, from the processor, memory and hard drive to the graphics. It then compiles the results into a single score that represents the system's performance potential. I ran the software three times and averaged the results.

I also ran CineBench version 11.5, a suite of benchmarks for graphics and processor performance. The software renders several photorealistic scenes that stress the processor and graphics chip by manipulating up to a million polygons. It reports scores for processor and graphics performance; I averaged the results of three runs.

To gauge the 3D abilities of each system, I put the glasses on and watched portions of three different 3D movies, played Portal2 and viewed a dozen 3D still images. Then I loaded Instant Effect's FXD 3D media player and interacted with 3D models by moving and rotating them. I finished by watching a 3D business presentation supplied by Instant Effects.

I also ran Auran's Trainz Simulator, a 2D railroad simulation package that is particularly resource intensive. I looked for jerkiness, shimmering, differing shadowing, levels of detail and items that were left out. Each system ran the simulation of the Canadian National Railway (CNR) Transcontinential route for a full day without a train wreck.

Finally, with a USB drive containing six HD videos connected to the system, I set Windows Media player to shuffle through all the videos while PassMark's BatteryMon charted the battery's capacity. I reported the average of three runs.

Brian Nadel is a frequent contributor to Computerworld and the former editor in chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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