MSI GX660R £1699
20th Sep 2010 | 08:30
A great gaming platform that offers some truly unique audio performance
MSi is a Taiwanese component manufacturer that also produces laptops. The GX660R is the company's latest gaming machine and, apart from a slightly suspect keyboard, this is a great laptop that boasts serious performance, great sound and useful features at a competitive price.
In keeping with its gaming credentials, the laptop features a garish design. The angular lines and fully customisable orange LED lights dotted around the chassis won't suit everyone, but will appeal to those who like their laptop to stand out.
Build quality is excellent and the tough materials make this a laptop that will comfortably survive rigorous gaming use. Weighing in at 3.5kg, this is a surprisingly light gaming laptop and, while not spectacular, the 118-minute battery life isn't shocking for a machine this powerful.
One slight disappointment is the spongy keyboard. You can feel it flexing beneath your fingers as you type, which is disconcerting, and it isn't as responsive as we would like. However, it is comfortable to use and you might not mind the action.
The 15.6-inch screen offers a full high-definition (HD) 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution and is both detailed and bright. Test images proved crisp and clear, and Blu-ray discs (played on the integrated Blu-ray optical drive) and photos look fantastic.
As expected, the quad-core Intel Core i7 processor (combined with 8192MB of DDR3 memory) provides formidable everyday performance, and you'll have no problems running multimedia-heavy applications, such as music or high-definition video editing software when not gaming.
The laptop also features MSI's Turbo Drive Engine which, when activated by a hotkey, overclocks the processor over its own Turbo Boost speed, giving a 4.8 per cent increase in power when you need it.
Graphically the laptop is extremely capable. The ATi graphics card despatched our benchmarking software ruthlessly and you'll have no problems running the latest games with the settings turned up.
Audio specialist Dynaudio has built the laptop's speaker system and sound quality is actually very impressive – easily beating all other 15-inch laptops we've reviewed.
A fan booster button lets you instantly set the cooling system to maximum, successfully drawing heat away from the palmrest, which remained at a cool temperature during all our testing.
Two USB 3.0 ports provide extremely fast data transfer rates to external devices.
The MSI GX660R proves to be a very competent gaming machine with a raft of excellent features at a very sensible price. All in all, this laptop comes highly recommended.
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