The MSI GT70 0NC is a formidable, powerful gaming system. It managed to smash through our benchmark suite asserting itself as one of the bold performers on the powerhouse laptop scene.
Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i7 3610QM processor is blazingly fast and has no problems delivering fantastic frame rates and nippy media conversions.
The pair of 64GB SanDisk U100 SSDs offers ample high-speed storage space and delivers excellent read speeds when used in RAID 0 configuration. Write speeds are somewhat lacking in comparison, but they aren’t slow. Western Digital’s Scorpio Black hard drive is also a strong performer, offering plentiful storage at a decent speed.
The 17.3″ Full-HD LED display has no problem producing images of excellent quality from a well-lit, high-contrast source such as a high definition game or BluRay.
The anti-glare function works well, but in certain scenarios it can have a negative impact on the sharpness and contrast of the image. When basic sources such as many of the Windows Aero schemes and web pages are nicely displayed, the screen begins to look bland and dull with the anti-glare coating becoming easily observable.
MSI’s GT70 0NC isn’t the most stylish laptop on the market. The podgy design which measures in as almost 60mm at the thickest point is built for the purpose of cooling and housing high-end hardware … not aesthetics.
Thankfully, the front is more attractive with the aesthetically-friendly keyboard, red accents and reflective materials. Attractiveness of the brushed-aluminium lid is also a positive point.
With large physical dimensions that aid cooling and energy-efficient hardware, the idle noise output of MSI’s GT 70 0NC is low and non-intrusive. During BluRay playback the acoustic output remains tolerable even with the optical drive in operation. Once a demanding load was applied, the fan’s speed increased to offer better cooling. At full fan speed, the system was easily heard and at a level we would consider irritating for extended use.
The biggest disappointment of all comes from the graphics card. nVidia’s 3GB GTX 670M is no match for AMD’s mighty HD7970M which is used on the cheaper competitors from PC Specialist and AlienWare. In reality, the 670M is little more than a re-named GTX 570M and sadly the last-generation performance is clear.
In graphically-intensive benchmarks, the GTX 670M lags way behind the performance that we have observed from AMD’s competing part. Granted, the HD7970M isn’t the GTX 670M’s primary competitor, but if the system which incorporates it is priced similarly to the AMD flagship-based model, it can do little to escape the comparison.
Gamers should have few complaints with the SteelSeries keyboard. The backlit implementation will impress users for style and convenience when typing in low-light conditions.
On the negative side, the keys require a high actuation force which is less than ideal for the important buttons. Throughout testing, we consistently encountered errors which had arisen from the key presses not being registered. This was frustrating to say the least, but on the bright side, it shouldn’t take long for a user’s typing style to adapt.
As a gaming laptop, the MSI GT70 0NC isn’t worth the extra £700 spend over PC Specialist’s Vortex III HD7S or the £200 spend over AlienWare’s M17x R4. Both of the 7970M-equipped systems offer better gaming and game-related benchmark performance thanks to their far superior graphics card.
Priced at £1,999, the MSI GT70 0NC gaming laptop is slightly difficult to wholeheartedly recommend. A similar system based on the PC Specialist Vortex III HD7S could save you over £500 and, with the HD7970M, offer better gaming performance. If the GT70’s price were to drop to around £1,700, it would be a much more attractive option.
- Powerful Core i7 3610QM processor.
- Super fast RAID 0 SSDs.
- 16GB memory.
- Plenty of ‘extras’ – BluRay burner, Bluetooth, Killer LAN.
- Excellent audio from the 2.1 speaker system.
- Anti-glare LED screen.
- Excellent battery life.
- Backlit keyboard.
- Effective cooling.
- Turbo mode.
- Can get loud.
- Not very stylish.
- Poor typing experience with keyboard.
- Could have a better graphics card at this price.
KitGuru says: A powerful all-rounder let down by its overly optimistic price tag.