The Bottom Line
- Strong Performance
- Excellent 3D Graphics Processor
- Wide Range Of Peripheral Ports
- Battery Pack Extends Out Back Of Laptop
- Keyboard Layout Problematic For Gaming
- Display Falls Short Of 1080p Video Support
- Intel Core i7-720QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3
- 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer DVD Burner
- 17" WSXGA+ (1680x1050) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Four USB 2.0, eSATA, ExpressCard/54, HDMI, VGA, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 15.6" x 11" x 1.4" @ 7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium
Guide Review - MSI GX740-079US 17-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jul 13 2010 - MSI has built a lot of performance into their GX740-079US 17-inch desktop replacement laptop. Since the primary focus of the system is for mobile gamers, they need to put in a lot of performance. To do this, they have chosen to use the Intel Core i7-720QM quad core processor with its auto clocking features to allow the system to function well between single threaded games or multi-threaded desktop video applications. The 4GB of DDR3 memory let it cruise through most applications without an issue.
Storage features on the MSI GX740-079US are pretty common for a desktop replacement class system. It comes with a sizable 500GB hard drive that provides plenty of space for applications, data and media files. It spins at the faster 7200rpm desktop rate for improved data access rates. A standard dual layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CD and DVD media.
Rather than use a newer 16:9 aspect ratio display, MSI has stuck with the more traditional 16:10 aspect ratio 17-inch display. This gives the system a slightly higher 1680x1050 resolution compared to 1600x900 but it still falls short of a full 1080p high definition panel. Color is bright and response times are quick which is good for gaming and fast video. Gamers will be happy with the ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 graphics. This allows the system to fully handle games up to and past the panel's native resolution and even allows for the use of filters. It also is fully Direct X 11 capable for the highest level of details in modern games.
With the emphasis on gaming, the keyboard design of the GX740 is a bit odd. Rather than keeping the left control key on the outside with the function key just to its right, MSI has flipped these two keys. This makes makes it more difficult for most games that use the typical WASD control layout. The right hand shift key is also a smaller size and placed next to the arrow keys that could cause issue for gamers and regular touch typists.
MSI packs the GX740 with a very large nine-cell battery pack. It should be noted that this battery pack does extend out the back of the laptop behind the screen and can cause issue with some cable placements for the power cord. In terms of battery life, the system was able to achieve roughly one and three quarter hours before going into standby mode in my DVD playback test. This is about average for a gaming specific laptop. More typical usage should yield between two and two and a half hours.
While the GX740 does an excellent job for gaming albeit with a few quirks with the keyboard, the system actually does a better job at being a more general purpose desktop replacement that also can be used for gaming. With a price around $1400, it also is quite affordable for such a high level of performance.