May 8, 2012
- Competitive pricing
- USB 3.0, Bluetooth & Blu-ray burner
- "Ivy Bridge" CPU & updated graphics
- Superior performance, including gaming
- Display has limited viewing angles
The MSI GT70 is a 17-inch gaming notebook that aims to have the speediest of performance available. While keeping the price at a reasonable level, this notebook has a functional keyboard, several USB 3.0 ports, a Blu-ray burner and very good graphics performance. It was hard to find much to complain about with this gamer-focused machine.
Laptops specifically designed for gaming can be a tricky buy, but in the end it just comes down to performance. If the performance is there, the rest is just extra. The GT70 from MSI takes it one step further by providing multiple USB 3.0 ports for future peripherals and Blu-ray support.
Because this computer is designed for gaming (and that it has a 17-inch display), it is quite larger and heavy. It measures 16.8 x 11.3 x 2.2-inches (wdh) and weighs almost 9-pounds, so it's certainly no lightweight, portable machine. The body has a brushed-aluminum finish that feels sturdy and overall like a gaming laptop.
To add to the gamer vibe, the keyboard's backlighting can be customized in terms of color and different lighting effects. It looks really great, but the way the keyboard feels is much more important in our minds. Luckily, it doesn't fall short there. The keys are nicely sized and provide a good amount of feedback with each press. There is also a full numeric pad on the right side.
The touch pad below the keyboard is slightly off-center to allow for more ergonomic design. The touch pad has a slim red line that fits in with the rest of the design. The pad felt very smooth and frictionless, which is always great. We did find the pad to be a little too sensitive at times, which can cause problems.
MSI includes a 17.3-inch LED-backlit display with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels. The display seemed to have good brightness and vibrant colors. However, the viewing angles for the screen are extremely limited. Mostly the person directly in front can only see the screen without any washing out, so group use is not too convenient.
The MSI GT70's port selection includes three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, gold plated audio ports and a multiformat media card reader. The optical drive is a Blu-ray player/write and DVD+/-RW combo drive. It's quite rare to see a laptop with a Blu-ray burner, so this is a definite selling point. We really like the trio of USB 3.0 ports for future peripherals and the eSATA for speedy external storage capability. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Intel Wireless Display (Wi-Di).
As this is a gaming laptops, the internal specifications are paramount. The MSI GT70 has a quad-core third-generation "Ivy Bridge" Intel Core i7-3610QM (2.3GHz), 12GB of RAM, dual 64GB solid-state drives in RAID 0 configuration, a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce GTX670M graphics with 3GB of dedicated video memory.
In performance testing, the MSI GT70 scores at top of its class with PCMark 7 benchmarks at 4,292, which is extremely high and the best we've seen. The superb performance is most likely due to the new Ivy Bridge Intel chipset and discrete, updated NVIDIA graphics. Gaming performance was also very good resulting in smooth performance for all 3D games that were tested running at highest possible settings.
As a comparison, we reviewed the Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 in mid-April, a 17.3-inch gaming-centered desktop replacement. It had an excellent keyboard and speedy graphics performance, but overall performance, especially gaming, was only slightly above average. There also was similar display issues in terms of quality, but it lacked even a Blu-ray player.
Battery life clocked in at around 3-hours, which is just slightly above the desktop replacement category average.