[Disclosure: A review unit was loaned to Gaming Blend for the purpose of this analysis]
After giving a thorough rundown of the GL551JM's system performance – how well it handles downloading, uploading, movie loading, data compression and streaming – it's now time to take a look at how well the GL551JM handles what it was built for: gaming.
The Republic of Gamers laptop is, through and through, a gaming laptop. It's packed with an Nvida GeForce GTX 860M 2GB GDDR5 GPU. “Smoking hot” doesn't just describe how much heat this thing can generate, it also describes how fast it and smooth it can run games.
The most basic of benchmarking tests was conducted with Futuremark Studios' 3DMark. The tests results are pretty positive. For a $1,000 machine the GL551JM managed to perform better than 33% of the machines that were benchmarked. You can check out the results here. An image of the benchmarks is also below.
The Fire Storm performed the worse, obviously. It just brought the whole thing down to a crawl, averaging 15fps. The highest was 20fps and the lowest was 6fps. The physics test for Fire Storm were quite impressive, averaging 60fps. However, the particle effects absolutely murdered the performance.
The Cavern demo dropped to around 24fps at frame 2400 during the long-shot of the arcade crumbling, and the Wingsuit demo performed superbly up until the pilot landed and there was a slight stutter during the fly-by when the LOD was transitioning into the post-processing depth of field effect.
Otherwise, the GL551JM handled the benchmarks like a champ, but it certainly didn't come close to high-end gaming rigs rocking an Nvidia GTX Titan. Then again, those cards run the cost of the GL551JM, so... you get what you pay for.
The pedantic benchmarks are good for systematic number matching and comparisons, but I've always been more interested in real-world tests. So I gave the laptop a run in various games, including DiRT 3, to see how well it handled consistent, fast-paced frame-rendering with a lot of graphical effects taking place. Running on the max settings – and outputting through both the laptop screen and a television – DiRT 3 ran at a consistent 60fps, with a very minor drop to 47fps during busy segments involving a lot of environmental screen real-estate. Even when running Fraps, DiRT 3 maintained 60fps at 1920 x 1080 resolution with the GPU averaging 78 degrees Celsius, and there's even some footage below so you can see it in action (unfortunately YouTube doesn't support 60fps, so it may look like there's more stutter than what was actually present).
I wanted to further test how well the system ran games with really fast frame refresh rates, so I booted up Sonic Generations, but unfortunately the game didn't recognize the Nvidia GPU, so it defaulted to the Intel 4000. I had to turn all the graphics off and scale down the resolution in order to hit 60fps in Sonic Generations with the embedded Intel chip.