The Bottom Line
Jan 11 2012 - The gaming laptop market segment is awfully competitive and MSI is trying to edge out some of the bigger names with its GT740DXR-405US laptop. Its beautiful high resolution display with matte coating and high performance NVIDIA graphics make it great for mobile gaming. Add to this a slightly above average battery life and it certainly is a compelling option for those willing to spend up to $1700. It does lack a few features like the competition at this price point including no Blu-ray drive and a smaller overall storage capacity. These are minor issues overall for gamers though who will likely overlook many of the smaller annoyances.
- 12GB Of Memory
- Large Hard Drive RAID 0 Array
- High Resolution Display With Matte Finish
- Very Large And Heavy
- Would Be Nice To See Blu-ray Included At This Price
- Intel Core i7-2670QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 12GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- Two 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drives In RAID 0
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) LED Backlit Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDA GeForce GTX 570M Dedicated Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 2.0, Three USB 3.0, eSATA, HDMI, VGA, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.9"x 11.3" x 2.2" @ 8.6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Review - MSI GT780DXR-405US
Jan 11 2012 - Those looking for a compact or lightweight 17-inch laptop will definitely want to look elsewhere. The MSI GT780DXR is certainly designed with gaming and performance in mind and as such, size and weight are secondary issues. This system is massive with an incredible 2.2-inch thickness at the display hinge and a very hefty 8.6 lbs weight. Still, it is much lighter than the http://compreviews.about.com/od/PC-Gaming-Laptops/fr/Alienware-M18x.htm">Alienware M18X with its near 12 lb weight and the very popular ASUS G74SX at almost 9.5 lbs.
Powering the MSI GT780DXR-405US is the Intel Core i7-2670QM quad core processor. This processor offers a strong level of performance whether the laptop will be used for gaming or desktop video work. What is very unusual for the system is the inclusion of 12GB of DDR3 memory. Frankly, this is a bit overkill for the memory system as most users will rarely need beyond 8GB for even demanding tasks and certainly no games will use this much memory. At least buyers won't need to worry about upgrading it at all even for demanding programs such as desktop video work.
While solid state drives offer a lot of performance, they are limited in their overall storage capacity. To get around this problem, MSI has put two 500GB 7200rpm hard drives into the laptop and put them together into a RAID 0 array. This offers a full terabyte of storage space for users along with the added performance from striping data across the two drives. Only a couple of companies do this and the feature really does speed things up close to what many lower capacity solid state drives will achieve. It also includes a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media. External storage can be handled by either the two USB 3.0 ports or the eSATA port for high speed external storage. What is also nice is that it is a dedicated eSATA port rather than shared. There also are three USB 2.0 ports providing a huge number of external peripheral ports.
With the focus of the MSI GT780DXR-405US for gaming, there was a lot of attention paid to the display and graphics. The 17.3-inch display uses the high 1920x1080 resolution for full 1080p high definition video support. Another great aspect is that the display uses a matte finish rather than the glossy coating found on most consumer laptops. This helps it function better outdoors and in certain bright lighting. The graphics themselves are handled by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570M graphics processor. It isn't the highest of NVIDIA's graphics options but it should handle playing most modern games just fine up to the panel's full resolution. The 1GB of memory will prevent the use of some filtering effects however at the higher resolutions. For those looking to use it for non-gaming applications will be glad to known that this also does an excellent job at boosting non-3D applications.
The keyboard of the MSI GT780DXR-405US uses a fairly typical isolated design that has become common. The keyboard does feature backlighting with a custom LED lighting that can be set to a wide range of color options. With a laptop of this size, it would have been nice to see a bit more effort put into the keyboard to provide a better level of feedback. In addition, some of the keys have an awkard location or size but they won't likely impact gamers much. The trackpad on the other hand has a few more issues. It seems a bit small compared to other 17-inch trackpads but this is actually beneficial as gamers are less likely to touch it accidentally. The response times seem a bit slow on the trackpad itself. Once again, most serious gamers will use an external device so it isn't a huge problem.
In order to power all of these components inside this mammoth chassis, MSI has included a larger nice cell battery pack with a high 87WHr capacity rating. While this is an above average battery size, it is still below some other 17-inch laptops in terms of overall power capacity. In DVD playback testing, it was able to run for just under three and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. Now using it for standard work should yield over four and a half hours but PC gaming on it obviously will be more draining and will likely result in under two hours of running time. This is certainly above average especially for a gaming class laptop but it still falls short of what can be achieved by much thinner yet still powerful laptops such as the class leading Apple MacBook Pro 17.