At a glance, ASUS N550JX-DS74T might look too expensive. The price is almost 1500 bucks which is indeed more than many are willing to pay for their notebook. But according to Amazon, the product still sells well and it has received mainly positive reviews. So we can deduct two things: 1) Some people indeed want (or need) such a powerful, expensive notebook and 2) the ASUS in question seems to be a quality one. But would you really find this high-end rig an useful tool to play with? Let’s see more about that…
Intel Core i7-4720HQ is a popular processor in expensive laptops. Its quad-core design packs a lot of performance, and 2.6GHz clock frequency with 3.6GHz turbo should be too sufficient for everyone. The chip is one of the quickest common processors to date, reaching a respectable 8200+ points in CPU Mark (a general-use laptop with mobile i3 gets grade of around 2500). If there’s a bottleneck in ASUS N550JX-DS74T, it’s certainly something else than the fast i7-4720HQ CPU.
The laptop has two 8GB DDR3L (1600MHz) memory sticks installed, so a very quick calculation shows there’s 16GB RAM in total. You can’t expand it but in my experience, no laptop user would really need more than 16GB anyway. Actually, most would be fine with eight. But since ASUS N550JX-DS74T is a premium laptop, also the memory amount is huge.
Yet another feature contributing to swift performance is the solid-state drive. It will especially make the applications and system load fast, meaning you only need to wait a split second opening programs. The SSD size is 240GB, not too much, but you can always replace it with a good old hard drive if you value storage over performance. Another option would be to put secondary storage in place of the built-in DVD drive.
Screen and graphics
ASUS N550JX-DS74T has a glossy 15.6 inch display. Thanks to the IPS panel type, colors and viewing angles are top-notch. Another nice feature is the Full HD resolution. It can be put to good use thanks to the laptop’s high-end components. The screen supports touch as well so you shouldn’t have problems diving into Windows 8.1.
The graphics engine in this model is called GeForce GTX 950M (GDDR3 2.0GB). It beats all the weak integrated graphics units, allowing you to play many games with a lot of eye candy on. To give an example, on high settings and Full HD, GTA V outputs ~30 frames per second. You might also be a friend of other heavyweight titles, Assassin’s Creed Unity to name one. That game would get 25-30FPS on medium details and 1920×1080 resolution, still playable indeed.
ASUS N550JX-DS74T sports the usual three USB ports, but a good news is, all of them are type 3.0. For video connections, HDMI and miniDP ports are available. This setting allows you to plug in two external monitors if you want.
Networking options include Gigabit RJ-45 port and 802.11 A/C WiFi adapter with Bluetooth 4.0. The laptop also features a DVD burner and SD/MMC card reader for file transfers.
There’s a 1.2MP HD webcam in the front, so feel free to fire up Skype and video chat with your friends.
ASUS N550JX-DS74T has a weight of 5.73 pounds which is some ounces more what these 15.6″ notebooks often are. The unit includes a sealed in 4-cell 59Wh battery which according to real life reports lasts ~4 hours on continuous web surfing.
The keys are illuminated so you’ll have no problems typing in the dark. Numeric keypad is also available which some will find useful and some nuisance.
The laptop exterior is aluminum, which in my opinion looks more professional than plastic. That said, small scratches are more visible than on other materials.
Summing it up
ASUS N550JX-DS74T is full of performance and features. Starting with the obvious, the i7-4270HQ with solid-state drive pretty much makes the laptop fly – no program, heavy or light, should lag on this system. It also offers something for gamers thanks to the GTX 950M graphics engine. Most games, even the recent ones, are playable with Full HD resolution and high settings. Connectivity is decent, and you’ll get a miniDP port for extended monitor support. Bad sides would include the internal battery which makes it tough to replace. All in all, the ASUS is a solid notebook for someone who needs all the bells and whistles it offers.