The Bottom Line
Mar 12 2014 - MSI proves with its GS 70 that gaming laptops don't have to be extremely large or heavy and yet still be relatively affordable. The system offers a very slim profile and weighs under six pounds yet has a screen and graphics capable of playing the latest PC games. It even offers battery life that is slightly higher than many of the 17-inch gaming laptops that are twice the size. The only downside is that the limited space does mean that cooling is a bit of a problem that results in it being a bit warming than others. The trackpad also has some major sensitivity issues but this will be overlooked by many gamers using external mice.
- Extremely Thin and Light For 17-inch Laptop
- Solid Performance
- Above Average Display
- Trackpad Has Major Issues
- System Gets Very Warm Under Load
- Intel Core i7-4700HQ Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 128GB Solid State Drive and 750GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 720p Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M 2GB GDDR5 Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wirelee, Bluetooth
- Four USB 3.0, HDMI, Two mini-DisplayPort, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.5" x 11.3" x .85" @ 5.73 lbs.
- Windows 8.1
Review - MSI GS70 2OD-001US
Mar 12 2014 - MSI may not have been first to produce an ultrathin gaming laptop but they have certainly lived up to the challenge by making the GS 70 only .85-inches thick and weighing under six pounds. The majority of the lid and system is covered in a black brushed aluminum with a few pieces of plastic and a textured bottom that makes it easy to carry. Overall, the system has a nice build quality to it but it still falls a bit short of the black aluminum Razer Blade Pro that it competes against. It does offer a bit of customizable lighting for the keyboard.
Powering the MSI GS 70 2OD-001US is the Intel Core i7-4700HQ quad core mobile processor. This is essentially the same basic core as the i7-4700MQ processor found on many systems other than it also includes support for Intel's Virtualization technology. Overall, it is a very strong processor that should have no problem with demanding tasks like PC gaming or desktop video work. The only downside is that under heavy loads, the temperature of the system can get quite high. The processor is matched up with 16GB of DDR3 memory which is more than is necessary but it provides a very smooth experience in Windows and won't likely need to be upgraded during its lifetime.
The storage for the MSI GS 70 2OD-001US is a mix of traditional hard drive and solid state drive. This is done by using a 128GB mSATA SSD drive as the primary operating system and programs drive and a 750GB 7200rpm hard drive as the data drive. While the solid state drive is a bit small, it still provides the system with a very fast boot time of around ten seconds and quick application loads. Users with lots of programs and games might have to get a bit creative on what applications they store on the drive to prevent filling it up. If you do need additional storage space, there are four USB 3.0 ports (two on either side) for use with high speed external storage drives. Due to the limited size of the system, there is no optical drive included with the system but this is less of an issue in this day of digital software distribution.
Since gaming is the primary purpose for the MSI GS 70, the display and graphics are key features. The 17.3-inch display panel features the typical 1920x1080 resolution for this size but it provides a better than average pictures. Brightness levels are good with strong color and contrast. Viewing angles are still a bit limited but that is to be expected from a TN based panel that provides faster response times and smoother motion of quick moving images. It features a nice anti-glare coating that helps reduce the glare and reflections when used outdoors or in challenging overhead lighting. The graphics are handled by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M processor. This is not the top of the line but it still provides some solid graphics in PC games. It should be able to handle many games up to the full native resolution with smooth enough frames rates. More demanding games will require some of the detail levels turned down however.
They keyboard for the MSI GS 70 uses an island style design that features a full numeric keyboard. One itme to note is that there is no windows key on the left hand side which can help prevent gamers from hitting it by accident in the standard WASD controls. The keys offer a good level of feedback and are comfortable to use given the slimmest of the design. While the keyboard does have back lighting, the light comes from around the edge of the keys rather than through it which could make key location in dark rooms a bit of a problem at times. While the keyboard is quite good, the trackpad does have some bit sensitivity issues which can be adjusted in the driver but the result is either overly sensitive or difficult to get to use. Most gamers probably won't care much though as they will use an external mouse.
MSI does not list the capacity for the internal battery of the GS 70 nor do they publish an estimated running time. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for four hours before going into standby mode. This is much longer than the average 17-inch gaming laptop and surprising for such a small system. This still falls short of the
Pricing for the MSI GS 70 2OD-001US is surprisingly low at just $1599. This is a grand less than the Razer Blade Pro that is the primary ultrathin gaming laptop competitor. The Razer features its customizable trackpad display rather than a numeric keypad but the general performance is nearly the same. The MSI system is also a bit thinner and lighter than the Razer but it doesn't have as high of build quality as the Razer. Another option is the Maingear Pulse 17 which uses the MSI GS 70 chassis as its basis thus offering a nearly identical experience but a bit more customizable and having more SSD space at a price of roughly $2000. Acer does offer a slightly larger system in the Aspire V3 772G with a DVD burner and a lower price tag of just $1300 but it doesn't have the same portability or build quality.