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Update review Asus N56VM Notebook with GT 630M

Klaus Hinum, 07/08/2012

Cheaper. After the review of the N56VZ with the powerful GeForce GT 650M, we will now have a look at the cheaper model with a GeForce GT 630M.

In addition to our in-depth review of the Asus N56VZ with the GeForce GT 650M,  we want to briefly take a look at the cheaper model with a GeForce GT 630M. Otherwise, the rest of the specifications (including the CPU and HDD) are identical, but for a total of about 50 Euro (~60 USD) less.

Our test sample is a slightly modified pre-production unit of the N56VM series which Intel has provided for the purposes of benchmarking Ivy Bridge. Contrary to the series, it features the faster Core i7-3720QM and the HDMI-out is connected to the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 (according to Intel). Furthermore, the pre-installed Nvidia driver was a little older and even preferred the HD 4000 when launching games.

The following article will only briefly cover the performance of the GT 630M and the matte FullHD display, as our test sample features a different display than the N56VZ series sample.

Display

The matte 16:9 FullHD display in our test sample is based on a LG Philips LP156WF1. Much to our surprise it was about 100cd/m² brighter than the Samsung 156HT01-201 in our N56VM production model. The same black value of 0.58 cd/m² remains, however, so the contrast has increased to 700:1. Therefore, the test sample is more appropriate for outdoor use and convinces with decent screen legibility.

328
cd/m²
369
cd/m²
359
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
404
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
403
cd/m²
343
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 404 cd/m²
Average: 361.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 404 cd/m²
Black: 0.59 cd/m²
Contrast: 685:1

Performance

The GeForce cards of the 600M series allow the manufacturer to adjust the clock rates when under load depending on the effectiveness of the cooling system. Although the GeForce GT 630M with 96 Shadern and DDR3 graphics memory is still based on the old Fermi chip of the GeForce GT 540M, the N56VM significantly increases the clock rate under load and reaches levels close to that of the old GT 550M. While Nvidia's system information only displays a meager 475/950 MHz (core/memory), GPU-z lists a core speed of 660 -  897 MHz depending on the version.

The 3DMark results range between the faster GT 550M and the slowest GT 555M.  Of course, the powerful Core i7-3720QM has an impact here.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Asus N56VM (GT 630M)
1149 Points ∼7%
Asus N56VZ (GT 650M)
2147 Points ∼13%
Gigabyte P2532N (GT 550M)
966 Points ∼6%
Asus N55SF-S1124V (GT 555M)
1251 Points ∼7%
3DMark Vantage - 1280x1024 P GPU no PhysX (sort by value)
Asus N56VM (GT 630M)
4268 Points ∼9%
Asus N56VZ (GT 650M)
7446 Points ∼16%
Gigabyte P2532N (GT 550M)
3834 Points ∼8%
Asus N55SF-S1124V (GT 555M)
5316 Points ∼12%

Legend

 
Asus N56VM (GT 630M) Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
 
Asus N56VM (GT 630M) Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
 
Asus N56VZ (GT 650M) Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
 
Gigabyte P2532N (GT 550M) Intel Core i7-2630QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-75PKA4T0
 
Asus N55SF-S1124V (GT 555M) Intel Core i7-2630QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS

System Performance

Thanks to its faster CPU and hard drive configuration, our test sample can clearly outperform the N56VZ production model in PCMark 7 by about 33 percent. However the lead shrinks a little bit as the GT 630M is is weaker card than the GT 650M.

5.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.6
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.7
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.5
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.5
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark 73341 points
Help
PCMark 7 in comparison
Nokia Booklet 3G (min)
 Z530, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
457
   ...
MSI S30-i3U465 Slim
 3217U, HD Graphics 4000
3340
Toshiba Satellite S70-A-10F
 4700MQ, GeForce GT 740M
3341
Asus N56VM
 3720QM, GeForce GT 630M
3341
HP Pavilion 13-a000ng x360
 4030U, HD Graphics 4400
3349
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
 4600U, HD Graphics 4400
3349
   ...
Sony Vaio SV-Z1311Z9EX (max)
 3612QM, HD Graphics 4000
6624

Storage Devices

The built-in Seagate ST9750420AS is a conventional HDD with a 750 GB capacity. The drive transfer average of 90 MB/s places it as a mid-range 7200 rpm hard drive. The fastest HDDs currently achieve slightly more than 100 MB/s. However, compared to the Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 in the N56VZ sample, the Seagate here is significantly faster.

Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
Transfer Rate Minimum: 49 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 112.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 90.1 MB/s
Access Time: 15.3 ms
Burst Rate: 95.2 MB/s

Gaming Performance

In demanding games like Risen 2 or Max Payne 3, the GT 630M cannot achieve smooth frame rates beyond medium details. Older games or less demanding ones like Diablo 3 can be played at high details. Overall, only a handful of games can be played in the native 1080p display resolution.

low med.high ultra
Sims 3 (2009) 6835fps
Resident Evil 5 (2009) 31.2fps
Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising (2010) 11864.447.421.42fps
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011) 2918fps
Diablo III (2012) 105523323fps
Dirt Showdown (2012) 91593512fps

296.35 Driver

low med.high ultra
Risen 2: Dark Waters (2012) 3723189fps
Diablo III (2012) 94503223fps
Max Payne 3 (2012) 373712.69.7fps
Dirt Showdown
Asus N56VM
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset
91 fps ∼70%
1366x768 Medium Preset
59 fps ∼58%
1366x768 High Preset AA:2xMS
35 fps ∼39%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS
12 fps ∼14%
Asus N56VZ-S4044V
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset
85 fps ∼66%
1366x768 Medium Preset
78 fps ∼77%
1366x768 High Preset AA:2xMS
54 fps ∼60%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS
19 fps ∼22%
Legend
      Asus N56VM Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
      Asus N56VM Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M, Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS
      Asus N56VZ-S4044V Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024
Max. Load
 36 °C37 °C30 °C 
 37 °C38 °C31 °C 
 35 °C36 °C32 °C 
Maximum: 38 °C
Average: 34.7 °C
27 °C33 °C35 °C
36 °C34 °C40 °C
30 °C32 °C31 °C
Maximum: 40 °C
Average: 33.1 °C
Room Temperature 23 °C | Fluke 62 Mini

Verdict

Despite its higher clock rate, the GeForce GT 630M cannot keep up with the faster GT 650M in the Asus N56VZ. As a result, the surcharge of 50 Euro (~60 USD) is indeed recommended for gamers. With that said, casual gamers will be content with the performance of the GT 630M.

Similar to the N56VZ, the overall impression of this particular model is positive. We especially like the bright and improved matte FullHD display. But, it is uncertain for now whether or not the buyer will end up with a Philips or Samsung display or even a display from another manufacturer. 

The system noise should also be mentioned with a high note. Fan noise is low and the speakers have a high maximum volume.

We also discovered several points of critique. We would like to see two separate mouse buttons and a DisplayPort for connecting high resolution displays as HDMI is currently limited to 1920x1200 pixels. We also did not like the positioning of the interfaces and the somewhat heavy weight.

At a price of about 1000 Euro (~1230 USD) for each model, we believe that both models are priced fairly considering the performance.

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In Review: Asus N56VM
In Review:  Asus N56VM

Specifications

Asus N56VM

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x4096 Hynix PC3-12800
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M - 2048 MB, Core: 662 MHz, Memory: 897 MHz, DDR3, 296.35
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
Seagate Momentus 7200.5 ST9750420AS, 750 GB 7200 rpm
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Networking
Atheros AR8161/8165 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (b g n )
:: Optical drive
MATSHITA BD-CMB UJ141AF
:: Weight
2.7 kg
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

 

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Pro

+matte surfaces
+4x USB 3.0
+Keyboard light
+bright, matte FullHD display with decent viewing angles
+good sound due to external subwoofer
 

Cons

-loose LAN port
-inconvenient location of interfaces
-poor click pad

Shortcut

What we like

The matte and bright FullHD Display.

What we would like to see

DisplayPort and separate mouse buttons.

The competition

Without doubt the GT 650M in the Asus N56VZ.

Rating

Asus N56VM
06/21/2012 v3
Klaus Hinum

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
74%
Weight
78%
Battery
84%
Display
88%
Games Performance
78%
Application Performance
93%
Temperature
75%
Noise
90%
Add Points
84%
Average
83%
84%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Update review Asus N56VM Notebook with GT 630M
Author: Klaus Hinum, 2012-07- 8 (Update: 2012-07-14)