Ports, Display and Audio
More Ports Please!
While the G74SX has most of the essential ports, compared to other notebooks of a similar size (or even smaller) it's relatively lacking. A few extra USB 3.0 ports would definitely have helped.
The back of the unit is port free, but sports two massive cooling vents which look like the front grille of a sports car. It’s actually one of the more interesting design elements on the notebook, so it’s unfortunate that it’s facing away from you most of the time. They are designed to ensure heat is quickly and efficiently exhausted away from the critical internals with ducting and guides in place with active fans.
The underside of the G74SX has an easy access plate. A screw with a coin-sized groove on it secures the plate in place. Removing the plate will give you access to four RAM slots (our unit had 8GB of RAM) and two hard drive bays (our unit was configured with dual 500GB hybrid SSDs). With a little poking around, you can also access the wireless network module from here.
The Display Quotient
With seemingly every notebook today fitted with displays of various levels of glossiness, the matte, non-reflective screen on the G74SX was most welcome. We were also happy with the image quality, which was bright, crisp and with relatively wide viewing angles, both horizontally and vertically. 3D movies through NVIDIA’s 3D Vision glasses required a few settings tweaks (most significantly, depth of stereoscopic vision, which we reduced to 10%) but ran smoothly after that.
Audio on the G74SX comprises of a single speaker bar located above the keyboard. Sound was quite disappointing overall, especially considering the size of the unit. The lack of a subwoofer (which there's definitely room for) also left audio sounding thin and tinny, and the volume was also underwhelming.
To make up for the poor audio, ASUS has included a black Steelseries Siberia V1 headset with the G74SX, one of the better quality gaming headsets out there (although it would have been nice if ASUS had opted for the updated V2 model instead). We were a bit surprised that they didn't package their own line of gaming headsets.