The Bottom Line
Feb 1 2013 - Thanks to MSI's supplying of their chassis to other companies, the GT70 isn't as much of a standout 17-inch gaming system as it could be. The chassis itself offers some nice features including an anti-glare screen and some solid base performance. What MSI does to differentiate itself though is provide a bit more including a Blu-ray drive that most companies ignore. For its price, the GT70 offers a great gaming value but it doesn't have that same level of appearance as some of the other name brands offer.
- Strong 3D Gaming Performance
- Anti-Glare Display
- Blu-ray Drive
- Display Has Narrow Viewing Angles
- Cooling Fans Can Be Quite Loud
- Intel Core i7-3630QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 12GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 750GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader and Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M Graphics With 2GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, VGA, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.9" x 11.3" x 2.2" @ 8.6 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter
Review - MSI GT70 0ND-444US
Feb 1 2013 - MSI is a major supplier of laptop chassis to system builders and their MSI 1762 chassis is the basis for their own branded GT70 systems. This means that the system has much in common with several of its competitors other than it has an MSI logo on the back of the screen. The system is clearly targeted at PC gamers through features like the Killer branded network adapter and the overdrive function.
MSI has updated their GT70 laptops to use the latest of the Ivy Bridge processors. The Core i7-3630QM quad core processor provides the system with more than enough performance for PC gaming or even demanding tasks like desktop video work. The processor is combined with 12GB of DDR3 memory which is a bit more than average. It provides a smooth overall experience in Windows and applications and frankly doesn't really see much of a boost over those that use 8GB but at least it makes future memory upgrades less of a requirement if software needs change.
Storage for the MSI GT70 0ND is primarily handled by a 750GB hard drive. This is a good amount of storage space for applications, data and media files. It is a bit lower than some of the competition that use terabyte class drives but this drive spins at the full 7200rpm spin rate that provides it with a bit more performance. It would have been nice to see MSI include a small solid state drive for caching to boost boot and application load times but this is still relatively uncommon outside of the ultrabook segment. If you do need to add additional storage space, the system comes with three USB 3.0 ports as well as an eSATA port for use with high speed external drives. One nice differentiation that MSI has from the competition is that it features a Blu-ray compatible drive for watching the high definition movie format. The drive also has the ability to record or playback CD or DVD media as well.
With gaming as the focus, the graphics and display are big pieces for the MSI GT70. The 17.3-inch panel offers a nice 1920x1080 resolution that fully supports 1080p high definition video. The panel also uses an anti-glare coating that helps reduce glare and reflections especially if you might be using it outdoors. The only downside is that the display doesn't quite have the color or brightness as some of its competitors. In addition, the screen seems to have some very narrow vertical viewing angles where the color drops off quickly if it is tilted back or forward just a bit too much. The graphics are driven by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675M graphics processor. This provides it with a strong level of 3D performance that should allow it to be used for most modern games up to the panel's native resolution. When the system is under a heavy graphics load during gaming, there can be a lot of noise from the various cooling fans which may be important for some gamers. The graphics also have a very strong ability to accelerate non-3D applications such as Photoshop or various distributed computing clients for folding.
The keyboard for the MSI GT70 is quite flashy thanks to the multicolored backlighting that can be adjusted by the user. The layout is decent although a bit cramped on the right hand side for the shift key to make room for the arrow keys. It is an isolated design that many companies now use and is decent but certainly not one of the best keyboards on the market. The trackpad for the system is of a decent size and has dedicated right and left buttons. Multitouch support is good for Windows 8 but frankly most gamers won't be using this much instead favoring to use a dedicated mouse instead.
Unlike some of the other systems that are based on the MSI 1762 chassis, MSI has decided to use a larger 87WHr capacity battery for the GT70 0ND. In digital video playback testing, the system ran for just under five hours before going into standby mode. This is quite good for a 17-inch laptop but this is under conditions that aren't as demanding as PC gaming. PC gaming will likely result in closer to two hours or less before the system will need to be plugged in. Only the Alienware M17x R4 with a slightly larger battery and lower rated graphics processor really offers a longer running time at five and a quarter hours.
Priced at $1500, the MSI GT70 0ND is not atypical for a gaming focused 17-inch laptop. Of course, there are a couple models available from other companies that use the same basic chassis in a similar price range. The iBUYPOWER Gamer Valkyrie CZ-17 differs by providing extra video memory but uses a smaller battery, a DVD burner and less RAM. The CyberPower Gamer Zeus X7 offers 16GB of memory but uses a DVD burner and the smaller battery. The Alienware M17x R4 is a bit more stylish and better built but has less graphics performance and storage features at the same price point. Finally, the Samsung Series 7 Gamer offers an alternative with the AMD Radeon graphics and a terabyte hard drive but with less memory.