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MSI GT70 review (GTX880M edition) | Black Hole Tec

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MSI GT70 review (GTX880M edition)

Submitted by Robbie Pyckhout on Sat, 06/28/2014 - 18:36
 

Introduction

MSI's GT70 belongs to their Gaming Series line-up. The one we're reviewing today is the GTX880M version which is probably the newest one MSI has to offer. On MSI's website, I didn't find any GT70 with exactly the same specifications than this one... Our testing product has only 1 SSD of 128GB and a 7200RPM HDD of 1TB. Anyway, that's only that part. The rest seems to be similar as it features a GTX880M with 8GB GDDR5 vRAM and a high clocked  i7 4800MQ. Our expectations are very high with these high end hardware parts inside. The price tag of this laptop should be around 1850 euro as I found a product model named MSI GT70-2PE12H11 with exact the same specifications. This is the GT70 version we're reviewing today.

 

 

Specifications

CPU Intel Core i7 4800MQ Processor
GPU Nvidia Geforce GTX880M / 8GB GDDR5
Screen 17.3" FHD (non-glare) LCD 1920x1080
RAM 12 GB DDR3 L Memory 1600MHz (4+8)
Storage 120 GB SSD + 1 TB 7200RPM HDD
Network 802.11a/b/g/n Killer E2200 Game Networking
Battery Lithium Ion Battery, Rating: 11.1Vdc __ 7800mAh, 87Wh

 

Unboxing

The usual stuff is hidden inside the case. A power adapter, the manual, the laptop itself and a DVD.

 

Showcase

 

 

Design

The design of this laptop is rather bulky and a little dated after all these refreshes these years. The device is made of a sort black plastic. It's covered with faux-brushed aluminium panels where your palm rests. As you can see on the pictures, the laptop is one of the thickest mobile devices I've ever seen. Sure it packs some great specifications that need proper cooling and space, but then I've seen much thinner laptops with equal higher end hardware parts. The device also weighs a ton. Away from that, the laptop also feels and looks strong. The use of the plastic and the design of the casing makes the material looks much cheaper though.

 

 

The 17-Inch size is quite clumsy to travel with regularly. Also the weight is another point that opposes to do this. Probably the best use for this laptop can be found inside the house; an ultrabook, hybrid or smaller 15" laptop should be a better choice when you need to take it with you every day. A third reason why this should be scratched off the list is the thickness of the laptop:

(compared to the Acer V3 722G which is already a pretty thick laptop)

Another great feature is the awesome touch of the keyboard. This keyboard offers a mixture of soft typing experience and a pretty strong shield against a punch or some kick upon it. Though, uou can push the framework a little deeper in the middle of the laptop's keyboard. Another positive side of the keyboard are the enlightened keys, which makes it easy to use the laptop in your dorm room or another dark place.

Also the white dragon at the back of the screen enlights a little:

The trackpad for navigating your cursor has dedicated buttons below which I rather find a little old-school. In some situations, it can be very handy, but I prefer (which is subjective) a normal clicking pad without. The pad also feels a little too small in my opinion. Reaction on touch is perfect. A great thing about the keyboard and the trackpad is the grease resistant ability to counter fingerprints. Also the thin aluminium panels are doing great on this one. Another good point is the ability to disable your trackpad when an external mouse has been plugge into the laptop. That way, it doesn't cause chaos when you accidently hit the trackpad while gaming. Gaming needs a proper mouse to improve your gamplay experience in most situations. 

From what we can see on the bottom of the laptop, the chassis offers some extreme exhaust solutions. We're not going under the hood of this laptop, but guys, we can see the results of the temperatures themselves later in this review.

There're also 2 huge exhaust openings on the left side and back:

 

Screen

The LCD screen from this MSI laptop offers okay brightness, far less than we've seen with the V3-722G from yesterday. When you decide to go outside, it's still pretty easy to read everything on your display if you turn up the brightness. The non-glare spec is also very handy for use in shiny locations. On darker places, the MSI laptop is able to let the screen shine very softly, which is great for your eyes and of course the battery.

The viewing angles of the screen are just great! We measured not one transformation in color over the whole range of 180°c. It was always as clearly visible compared to how you'd sit normally in front of a laptop. A great laptop to have a movienight with, together with some friends. Also the sound is great, we'll discuss that in the next.

 

Sound

MSI used 2 Dynaudio speakers in front of the screen to support the laptop of some noise. There's also 1 small woofer beneath the laptop. The brand of the speakers is specialised quality sound. Let's have a look at our results.

These sound levels are measured on a sitting distance of 60cm.

Certainly not the loudest laptop speakers I know, but you can call it well respectable. The quality however, was brilliant. A much better experience than any other laptop we've tested recently. A clear sound with reasonable depth like you can feel in a cinema (but not quite as much). The loudness was enough to fill our 18m² room with a reasonable amount of sound in all corners.

 

Wireless Network Connection

Wireless network speed is very important for laptops and especially when you're travelling around in your house, or from one building to another, a good wireless network adapter could mean a hell of a lot for most people. We are comparing the network speed of laptops to eachother and the normal wired LAN connection speed (which is mostly the same on all desktops/laptops; this speed should also be the ultimate goal for wireless connections)

We're using the famous speedtest.net online benchmark to become our results. Here's the network speed with wire as baseline:

This compared to the wireless connection of laptops:

None of these laptops in the list are cheap devices and should offer almost the best wireless wifi connectivity available. We can deduce from our results that the 2 bottom laptops use a similar network adapter. The MSI laptop however makes use of "Killer E2200 Game Networking" or "Killer LAN", this is supposed to be an important feature for gamers. You can clearly see the difference in download speed. The difference in Ping speed can be ignored since it really changes time to time. The Acer supports a good wireless networking connection that can be found in most more expensive laptops. MSI's wireless connection is just perfect. Most of the speed depends on your own internet connection though, you better pay enough for a good wireless network connection.

 

Drive Speed

To test the drive speed of the 2 storage devices, we used the CrystalDiskMark which gives us a very realistic view upon the speed of these particular hardware parts. Everyone can conclude that it's beginning to get a must to have an SSD in your laptop. Windows loads MUCH faster and basic programs like microsoft office or maybe some games installed on the SSD open in instant. However, not all SSD are as good as we think they are. Let's see what this MSI can bring us:

It seems like MSI uses a Toshiba SSD inside the GT70. We have to say that the reading speed of this thing is blazingly fast. Also the writing speeds are very very good! The only think we need to mention about its performance is the varying of testing results. Of course we put op our fastest test, but both (write and read) could differ from 1 to even 80 mb/s in reading/writing speeds. Opposed to the SSD, we got the 1TB HDD inside the MSI laptop which is pretty fast as well (for an HDD). We're fairly impressed about this part of the laptop

Due to these speeds, the laptop starts up in 8-9 seconds after a clean boot and almost wakes up immediatly when you turn it back on while sleeping.

 

Compute Performance

Black Hole Benchmark V4.2 Final

• Multithreaded will test your CPU's efficiency of running more than one thread without major system lag. The higher you score on this one, the more threads your CPU can handle with a comfortable speed. High multithreaded scores generally means you can render things faster.

• 4 Threaded tests your CPU's performance in games, since most games currently run on 4 threads.

• Singlethreaded evaluates how fast the CPU can handle a single, dedicated thread of processing.

Since Multithreaded is arguably the most important and most future-proof test, it has a greater impact on the overall score results than the other individual tests.

Singlethreaded performance is not as good as you'd expect on a more expensive desktop CPU, but the difference isn't that big.

The CPU inside the MSi laptop comes very close to the famous i5 3570K gaming chip. Another great score that indicates a better gaming experience

This is the subtest where the device really shines. Ending up as second in the chart and almost reaching the highly clocked desktop i7 4790!

We can conclude that the GT70 offers a great laptop processor that's able to handle many workloads at the same time. This reflects desktop performance in the form of a laptop. Opening more than 5 programs at once won't slow you down that much, a good choice for messy minds like myself! This is probably one of the strongest processors you can get in a mobile device. The cooling well need to be a little harsh to cool this big boy down.

 

Graphical Performance

  3DMark Sky Diver 3DMark Fire Strike
Graphics score 20979 6312
Processor score 8983 9594
Combined 17174 2265
TOTAL 17161 5598

 

Call Of Duty: Black Ops II MAX Settings (min/avg fps) Battlefield 3 MAX Settings (min/avg fps) Unigine Valley Benchmark
102 / 152.391 52 / 77.2 1472

The laptop offers awesome 3D graphics performance. Games like Black Ops II can easily be played at maximum settings. Also Battlefield 3 on Ultra is easy for this beast. If we look at the 3DMark scores, we can conclude that the performance should be on par with an HD7950, GTX660Ti or GTX760. The performance is much better than the average seen in laptops, this is the performance you're looking for if you want a real gaming laptop.

 

 

Battery

We used the benchmark: BatteryEater to load both GPU and CPU. After we setup this benchmark, we measured the time between the time that the battery was full and when the battery was almost empty (20%). The brightness of the screen was set to 60%. In normal cases, you can easily set the brightness of your screen to 40% or even 20% which will also make your battery last longer.

The battery from the MSI laptop is pretty good compared to other laptops. Also while browsing the web, you can expect more than 6 hours of battery life! Watching movies is also possible without charger, you can watch movies whole evening without the need of your power adapter. When you imagine how much these high end hardware parts consume, this laptop must have a beastly battery. All with all, you won't get as much battery life as an ultrabook or something.

Charging the battery takes pretty long due to the big capacity of the battery

 

Temperatures

These temperatures are measured at a room temperature of 24°c.

Seems like the MSI laptop features some good cooling. Although, the MSI has a very heavy CPU which produces much more heat than the cpu in the other 2 laptops. The temperature, however, is rather reasonable to me. While gaming, you won't have any problems either. The GPU wasn't getting any warmer than 75°C in unigine Valley. In Black Ops however, the temperatures from both (CPU and GPU) raised about 10 °c (MAX).That makes Toshiba the worst performer in these tests. Acer showed us some real cooling inside a laptop build factor.

 

Noise

We don't have any concrete numbers from the noise these laptops produced. But all we can say is how irritating/soft the blowing noise is.

MSI's GT70, which is one of the most powerful laptops on the market, created so much noise that we thought it could have been launching a rocket inside our living room! Toshiba's laptop, however, wasn't any better and was even louder... We can't say that Acer's solution was quiet, but we can say that this laptop was a whole different world in terms of noise levels. The V3 722G kept it on medium levels, even when fully loaded. That coupled with some nice temperatures makes the Aspire a hero in thermal design. MSI's laptop offered very good thermals, but the noise that came with it was more than audible while gaming.

 

Conclusion

For gaming purposes and heavy computing, this laptop is great. There are some negative points about it, like the very big size of the laptop while it was also relatively thick and sturdy. The laptop is also quite heavy and is as a consequence not very handy to travel around with.

Well, let's make an easy to understand "what's good? What's bad?" table, a continuous text is rather boring and requires much more attention to get the same impression.

+ -

- Quality and materials of the case

- Simple and sturdy, yet stylish design. Looks badass

- Great CPU performance for parallel processing, running multiple programs at once

- Blazingly fast reading and writing speed on the primary drive (SSD) (+ a pretty fast 1TB HDD)

- GREAT Wireless Network Speed/Connection

- Good Viewing angles

- Good 3D graphics performance

- Big battery capacity

- Trackpad disabled when connecting an external mouse

- Very Thick and heavy

- Screen not very very bright

- Loud while gaming

- Design is a little dated

- The materials used in this laptop make it look a little cheaper

- Premium Price Tag

 

The review ends here, only the last points need to be given to reach out the right award for this laptop which will be....:

CPU performance = 9/10

In price range = 4.25/5 , global = 4.75/5

Graphical Performance = 9/10

In price range = 4.5/5 , global = 4.5/5

Battery = 8.5/10

Storage = 9.5/10

Space = 4.5/5 , Speed = 5/5

Sound = 4.5/5

Screen = 4.25/5

Design = 8/10

Thermal Design = 8/10

Wireless Network Speed = 10/10

Value = 15/20

 

Total Score ≈ 8.58/10

 

We decided to give the MSI GT70 GTX880M Edition a Silver award.

More info about the award can be found here.

About the Author

Keeping up with new inventions and technological improvements is kinda my thing. Writing about technology is just a result of my fascination with it. I hope to provide readers with as much news as possible, everyday.
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