quality posts: 3
I bought this laptop from Amazon at full price, and even though I am jealous at the sales price, I've gotten my extra $600 out of it over time :-)
The great thing is this - Not only is it a capable gaming rig, but it also is a capable desktop replacement for me as I travel often for work and need a machine capable of handling my IT work, while being portable. Ability to game with it after hours is just the icing on the cake.
Heat dissipation is much better than most machines with Asus's dual fan, rear exhaust design. Keeps your lap nice and cool and the machine temperature properly moderated as well.
I would agree with those who say that the HDD could use the upgrade to SSD, however I've not done that yet and I still enjoy playing Far Cry 3 and Skyrim without delays, and Compiling large amounts of .Net code for work is just as fast as I need it to be.
Some of the Cons:
1) The Weight. This thing weighs a HUGE amount. If you're like me and travel with it a lot, you'll want a dual-strap backpack to help off-shed the load. I question the Specs listing the weight at 9.9 lbs -- I find it to weigh more in the neighborhood of 12-15 lbs when I fly.
2) The design that I like the most, heat dissipation, causes some headache with most bags for 17.3 laptops. Because Asus decided on rear instead of bottom exhaust, it extends the form factor of the machine by about 1.5 - 2 inches. I purchased a rugged backpack for mine, and had to return it for the 18" model because of this extension
Ultimately, I am very happy with the purchase, and feel that it will long outlast my expectations. I typically buy any machine for my business or personal use spec'd out to attempt to last me on a 4-6 year cycle without coming too dated. This machine, I feel, for what I do (programming and casual gaming) will far outlast those expectations.
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