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Pros: High Performance, Lower Price, Very Pretty.
Cons: Errors in Newegg specifications
Other Thoughts: Unboxing this, my first thoughts, in order, were "Whoa, big," "Ooof, heavy," and "Oh, shiny."
It's a very big and heavy laptop, as you'd expect for a 17.3" "Gaming Laptop". The build quality seems very good, everything fits together well and there are no rough or unfinished edges. The aluminum portions are well finished, the laser-engraved dragons on the lid and wrist-rest are subtle, barely visible unless the light catches them. The Steelseries keyboard lights are another nice effect.
The only real complaint I had was that the default video card is the internal Intel HD chipset, which has less than 1/6 the performance of the 870m. That's more of a Windows issue, although an option in the MSI setup to set the NVidia as the default would have been nice. You can set this in NVidia Control Panel -> Manage 3D Settings -> Global Settings -> Preferred Graphics Processor.
Once I had everything tweaked to my liking, I ran some benchmarks on it, and it was awesome. It runs like a dream, powered through Passmark with great scores (3850 3D score, comparable to a Radeon 7970 or NVidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti). The only source of underperformance is the drive, the HDD does well for a magnetic media device but it just can't compare to SSD's. There is a bay for mounting an additional hard drive/SSD, but reaching it requires breaking the warranty voiding sticker. There are also two 204-pin memory slots on the easily reached side of the mobo (same caveat), the 8gb stick that comes with it is in one of the two slots that the keyboard must be removed to reach.
It's big and heavy, intended as a semi-portable desktop replacement rather than a true laptop computer. I have it on a Cooler Master X-Slim pad (big but nearly silent fan), this seems to keep it from getting very hot (the fan noise rises to barely audible, way below the noise of the max cooling setting on the hotbar).
The included MSI branded utilities seemed functional enough, but I have stripped most of them out of the installation to maximize performance and reduce memory footprint. The backpack is decent enough, but not solid enough build or stitching quality that I'd want to trust the safety of the laptop to it. I got the Rosewill backpack with the steel reinforcing cable for actually carrying this around. I also got an MSI branded mousepad and mouse as a Newegg gift, both are decent quality, the mouse seems close to an older-design Razer Nemesis and I'll keep it for a backup, the mousepad is better than I expected and I'll probably keep using it.
Overall, I couldn't be happier, for what I spent ($1450) this is a hell of a lot of horsepower. Did I mention it's pretty? The extra $50 for this over the Dominator-895 (otherwise identical) was worth it to me, but others may not agree. At any rate, a good laptop at a good price, equalling competitors costing $500+ more.
Pros: Reliable, run for 20-30 hours from one pair of NiMH batteries
Cons: Not very sturdy, would probably break if pulled on or the battery pack dangled.
Other Thoughts: Bought these as a nightlight for my 5 year old. The blinking would drive me nuts, but she loves them. They blink through the available colors (as shown) independantly, with roughly 20 color changes per second, and a pair of Rayovac NiMH AA's lasts for 2-3 nights as long as she remembers to turn them off in the morning.
Makes just enough light to navigate her room (I have them mounted on "Command" hooks) as long as the blinking doesn't give you a seizure.
You could probably convert them to plug-in if you had a 3V wall wart and basic electronics skills, I have one but haven't been bothered enough by swapping batteries to actually do it yet.
Pros: Low power consumption, small form factor, good expandability options, dual gigabit ethernet ports.
Cons: Can't easily substitute 3.5 HDD for slim DVD
Other Thoughts: I got this for use in an RV, where power is limited by battery capacity and solar input. I need something that can manage my internal network, act as an wifi access point for my tablet, interface that to either Clear wireless broadband or external wifi (without having to reconfigure all my other devices), and act as a file server.
And it needed to do all of that while consuming no more than 25 watts of power. Obviously that didn't leave me with a lot of options, even though actual CPU horsepower could be minimal.
It took some finessing to get it working on Ubuntu 12.04, the first 4 hours was spent banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why the USB stick would boot and install to an old notebook drive, but the HDD wouldn't boot. Turned out to be a bum drive, and I installed to a 500GB 3.5" desktop drive instead (actually, it already had 10.04, and I just let it auto-upgrade).
There's barely enough room to put a 3.5" drive inside at the front, but no way to sec