To my eye, when I looked at the two side by side, the Asus display was noticeably brighter, although the color palette on the Toshiba was richer. For instance, the Toshiba offered deeper blues for its sky scenes and richer greens for grass.
Each of these gaming systems is topped off with a rewritable BluRay drive. The Toshiba adds LabelFlash technology that lets you engrave a label onto the disc if you use the special media.
Because these gaming machines are so big, it's a shame they don't have a better assortment of ports. They both have three USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port as well as VGA, HDMI and audio jacks. Neither has a DisplayPort nor an e-SATA connector.
Along with Gigabit Ethernet jacks, both systems have 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth. The Toshiba takes the lead on audio with Harmon/Kardon speakers and Dolby Advanced Audio to produce sharper, richer and much louder sound. The Asus gaming monster comes with a Realtek audio chip as well as Creative Labs' EAX Advanced HD 5.0 as well as THX TruStudio Pro, but just didn't get loud enough to impress .
A nice touch for late night gamers is that both of these systems have backlit keyboards that are also comfortable to type on; the Toshiba adds a light for the touchpad. The Asus, on the other hand, comes with a USB gaming mouse.
Thanks to its extra memory, the Asus achieved a 2,043.3 on PassMark's PerformanceTest 7.0 benchmark, well ahead of the Toshiba's 1,727.7 score. These are systems that have roughly twice the performance potential of the typical notebook, which tend to score between 800 and 900 on the same test.
On the CineBench 11.5 processor tests, it was a virtual tie. The Asus' processor and graphics scores of 39.9 and 4.9 were slightly ahead of the Toshiba's 39.8 and 4.8; these differences are unlikely to be seen in actual use.
Despite having a pair of fans each, when the gaming got intense, the Toshiba system ran very hot, hitting 146 degrees F at its exhaust outlet on the left side. The Asus system kept its cool, never rising above 100 degrees F.
Incidentally, the Asus offers four system settings that let you choose the best compromise between performance and battery life; I did all my testing with the Asus set to the highest performance level.
The Asus' 5,400 milliamp-hour (mAh) battery ran for 1 hour and 46 minutes, 22 minutes longer than the Toshiba's 3,300 mAh power pack. In other words, make sure you do your gaming or video watching near an outlet.
Overall, there are three things that give me pause as far as these 3D notebooks go.
First, so far, 3D is a Windows-only show, with Linux and Macs stuck in a 2D flat world.
Second, watching too much 3D action can make you feel queasy and cause headaches -- I found that an hour and a half was my limit with either of these 3D powerhouses.
Finally, there's price. At $1,900 for the Toshiba and $1,950 for the Asus, these are two of the most expensive portable systems available at the moment. Either of them costs the equivalent of four basic notebooks -- but there are few systems that can match the configurations and abilities of these gamers.
If none of these factors bother you, then both of these 3D notebooks can kick the butts of lesser notebooks when it comes to 2D and 3D gaming. They will appeal to slightly different audiences, however.
The Asus G74sx has the better configuration, with more RAM, storage space and video memory, and did better on our performance tests. It also comes with a two-year warranty versus one year of coverage for the Toshiba Qosmio X775.