MSI GT70 £2100
26th Jun 2012 | 08:30
Impressive performance let down by nasty design
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.
Battery life: 158 minutes
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.