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MSI GT70 review

Impressive performance let down by nasty design

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Excellent performance
  • 128GB SSD
  • Great screen

Against

  • Ugly design
  • Battery life
  • Usability

In the same month that Alienware unleashed the Ivy Bridge powered Alienware M17x, MSI has declared its 17-inch gaming contender - the MSI GT70.

And, like the Alienware effort, we're dealing with an Intel Core i7-3610QM quad-core powered gaming monster that laughs in the face of the slimline Ultrabook brigade with its gaudy and heavyset chassis.

Measuring in at 428 x 288 x 55mm, it's not quite as weighty as the M17x at a shade under 3.9kg, but it's certainly not light either. The case is a sore-point for us, sadly.

We've come to expect flashy designs with game-focused PCs but the GT70 is, quite frankly, ugly. It's not too bad with the lid closed but it opens up to cheap-looking plastic, tacky speaker grills and more right angles than a trigonometry exam.

The track-pad and the Steel Series keyboard, with its customisable neon backlights, didn't win us over either. The keys are sharp with a disappointing travel and the physical buttons of the trackpad are quite clunky.

However, the controls are set up in the 'golden triangle' arrangement, with the Windows key moved out of the way, so your fingers are all in prime positions for a game session.

Design-flaws aside and the GT70 is a colossal performer that breezed its way through the multitude of tests that we put it through. High-def video looks great on the Full HD 17.3-inch display and sound quality is great (and loud) as a result of the optimised Audio Power Amplifier.

The GT70 also boots up incredibly swiftly thanks to the dual SSD / HDD setup, with Windows 7 Ultimate sitting on the former for optimised performance.

Gaming is obviously core for the GT70 and, thanks to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M GPU, it has no worries when it comes to playing the latest titles. MSI has also added its Turbo Drive Engine technology, which means speed boosts for video decoding and encoding, as well as 3D gaming. Intel HD 4000 graphics are also on board for less demanding graphical tasks.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 158 minutes
Cinebench: 21,253
3DMark 2006: 19,150

On the go

Under stress, the battery lasted 158 minutes, which is slightly better than the M17x.

There are five USB ports to choose from, three of them the speedier 3.0 variety, four gold-plated audio jacks, an SD card reader, as well as HDMI and VGA.

In any other month, we may have forgiven the meretricious design of MSI's gaming rig, so impressed were we by its performance and spec-sheet. But, as we had a chance to sit it side by side with the Alienware M17x, we were unable to totally fall in love with it.

The M17x is an example of brazen flashiness done right, the GT70 is a perfect illustration of it gone awry. But if you can forgive the design disaster, or you're not as deterred as we are, the MSI GT70 does offer a wealth of high-end tech and a superb HD and gaming experience for a price-tag that is on par with its main rivals.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA, Intel
Graphics Controller ModelGeForce GTX 670M, HD 4000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityDedicated, Shared
Solid State Drive Capacity128 GB
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyGT70 0NC
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli7-3610QM
ColourBrush Aluminum Black
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameMSI
Processor Speed2.30 GHz
Processor TypeCore i7
Screen Size43.9 cm (17.3")
Number of Cells9-cell
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Standard Memory16 GB
Weight (Approximate)3.90 kg
Cache6 MB
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM77 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots4
Optical Media SupportedBD-R/RE
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 3 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports5
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height55.1 mm
Width428 mm
Depth290.3 mm
Screen ModeFull HD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesGT70 0NC
ManufacturerMicro-Star International Co., Ltd
Product ModelGT70 0NC-011US
Product NameGT70 0NC-011US Notebook
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number9S7-176212-011
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.msicomputer.com
Marketing Information

Priority Online Gaming-Lead the Way

The GT70 represent the first time that MSI has incorporated Big foot Gaming LAN (Killer Gaming Networking)- Killer E2200 Intelligent Networking into its notebooks, endowing them awesome online speeds. The Advanced Game Detect technology recognizes online game data packs and processes them first, accelerating them in the process. The best weapon against stuttering characters, freeze-ups, and lagging, it vastly improves the prowess of online gamers. Now, whether FPS or MMO gaming is your cup of tea, you'll have that extra edge you need to be victorious.

Game data will be defined as 1st priority and accelerate the package delivering

Audio boost design for greatly enhance headphone performance and faithfully reproduce each acoustic detail

The MSI Audio Boost design enhances sound output by 30%. The gold flash audio jack provides stable sound transmission (reduced obstruction) and works in conjunction with the optimized AMP (Audio Power Amplifier) design, characterized by low noise and low distortion, to greatly enhance headphone performance and faithfully reproduce each acoustic detail.

Detail is everything! Hear any sound in game! Response faster!!

Maximum Memory32 GB
Limited Warranty2 Year