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Pros: At the time of purchase, this was the cheapest laptop I could find with a 970M video card that didn't belong to the manufacturer of my old laptop who I swore I'd never purchase from again. The backlit keyboard works right from boot and not when you login like my old gaming laptop which was the one feature I noticed immediately. The AC wifi is solid and I have had zero connection issues like I used to get with my wifi N laptop that would cut out periodically. I was very leary about upgrading to windows 10 figuring it would be like most new OS's with tonnes of bugs but I've yet to run into any major issue and will likely upgrade the rest of my PCs in the foreseeable future. The only issue I've actually had is some compatibility issues with Microsoft Edge, but you can open good old fashioned Internet Explorer instead right in that browser to deal with incompatible websites. This laptop is slightly thinner and less bulky than my old laptop and the AC adaptor doesn't get nearly as hot. I can play GTA V on high settings with no drop in frame rate. I haven't really pushed the settings on this yet but it was very seamless when I did play it a few times. Oddly enough FFXI online isn't as high in the frame rate department despite being more than a decade older but I'm guessing that's due to the lag delays associated with online gaming. If you can add a decent solid state drive to this PC you're laughing but see Cons as this process was far more complicated for me than it had to be with the limited amount of information out there about this laptop. After spending an entire Saturday pretty much on the problem I was able to successfully swap out the factory HDD for my 1TB Samsung SSD and the difference once I put it in Rapid Mode was astronomical. I would dare say with Windows 10 being that much more efficient at processing data, in some ways this gaming laptop is faster than my high powered Windows 7 gaming desktop PC at the time of this review. If you know what you are doing with PCs and hardware this is definitely a solid purchase and a great gaming laptop but you need a good SSD to swap in to make it worthwhile, otherwise it will just feel like a sports car stuck in first gear.
Cons: Swapping out the hard drive to put in the SSD from my old laptop was a complete pain in the you know what. First off it took me two and a half hours to figure out the last screw I needed to take out was under the "do not tamper" warranty sticker and I have posted a video on YouTube detailing this. Due to some bad advice by the sales rep at the computer store I was told I needed to remove the monitor hinges but this was not the case at all. You just need to take off the entire back plate which has quite a few screws, I'm guessing like 20 to remove before it easily pops off. No amount of unreasonable force should be applied to pop the back plate off up and to the right. Once there it's a fairly straightforward process to swap out the HDD for an SSD, that part I've detailed in the YouTube video.
For some bizarre reason, the HDD it comes with is split into like 5 partitions which to me seems useless but I guess it's a matter of personal preference or MSI needlessly trying to complicate things. You can definitely find free software online to extend the primary OS partition and get rid of the useless "data" one. Cloning software did not seem to work as there were too many partitions and the way most cloning software works the first partition is hidden on the MSI drive and it then doesn't allow you to copy the others essentially making the drive write protected during the cloning process. Is this just a big goof on MSI's part? I would think not. Considering the SSD option for a similar MSI laptop is significantly more expensive, I'm sure MSI didn't want to make this process that straightforward to make money off those without a certain degree of technical skill...
Also it doesn't look like there's anywhere to add in a secondary hard drive so you better make sure you have $ for a big enough SSD if you want space.
However, MSI has videos on their YouTube channel to show you how to recover your OS with a flash drive and I recommend using this technique and then just downloading whatever programs you need. Make sure you run their backup program and have a 32 GB flash drive to use for this purpose and it will be fairly straightforward. I just find it strange that they didn't put this anywhere in their documentation that came with this laptop.
One last con is that the registration process was long and drawn out as I spent most of the 30 minutes it took me answering questions related to market research.
Other Thoughts: I'm hoping the information here will save anyone who buys this the headaches I endured. Knowing what I know now things would have been much easier and more straightforward. MSI has provided enough tools and resources to walk you through the process of swapping out a HDD for a SSD on their YouTube channel. Although the laptop in the video is not identical, the process is still the same. I would suggest any MSI rep reading this review and responding add those useful URLs of which I speak.
The other thing I would like to know and what everyone reading this who is a smart consumer would like to know I'm sure is, did I violate my warranty by puncturing the sticker to get that last hidden screw and swapping out my HDD for a SSD? Or are you not allowed under Canadian consumer law to revoke such warranties as long as there's no obvious damage caused by my own stupidity?
Pros: Space and cost (at the time of purchase). The speed of this drive is excellent and it works well. Almost identical speed to the Samsung 840 Pro @ 256 GB I replaced this with. It also scores a 7.9 WEI for windows 7 x64 Ultimate in case anyone is wondering.
Cons: My computer takes longer to POST after installing this, but that might be due to a power cable I damaged on my secondary storage drive when performing the installation. It could also be that my BIOS might need an update to recognize this faster. Regardless I was expecting a noticeable performance difference over the 256GB 840 Pro it was replacing. If anything this drive might be a hair slower but the difference is really not that noticeable and I needed the space.
Other Thoughts: Glad I picked this up a couple weeks ago when it was $30 cheaper!READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Booted up right away on my motherboard without doing anything fancy except resetting to default CMOS settings.
Set it to XMP #2 and it immediately OC'd to 2400 MHz without a hiccup giving it a 7.9 WEI, now it's just my CPU that's stuck at 7.7 the rest of the system is max Windows 7 score.
Using the Newegg's Will Call function my order was ready in less than 3 hours!!! Great job on that and I love the new side office rather than the back factory room.
This is only the second RAM kit I've ever bought online that didn't have some kind of problem and sent back. Obviously quality control has gotten better as of late. (Thankfully) Needless to say I was quite pleased as I was sure I would have to RMA them for a proper working set but that was a chance I was willing to take and quite glad/lucky it worked out this time around.
My CPU was able to OC 100 MHz higher than in the past comfortably, which isn't much, but it's still an improvement with these chips.
Cons: I'm glad I bought the item when it was $20 cheaper a few days ago than it is now. Most people don't realize that faster RAM generally won't improve your noticeable system performance for Overclocking. I laugh at some of the prices out there, especially for certain DDR4 kits and won't be going to that platform any time soon hence this investment. At the time of purchase, less than a week ago, this kit was the best bang for the buck in my humble opinion.
Other Thoughts: I originally purchased this RAM kit in November of 2013 and wrote a review on it then which was less favourable than this one. Before making this purchase Gskill posted a guide on their forum that might have helped me should I have had any issues getting the rated settings on the RAM which probably was the deal maker. That and the fact I was ready to RMA the kit to the Gskill factory and not Newegg this time around. (Glad I didn't have to and these chips were perfect right out of the package) I love Gskill's lifetime warranty and customer support. It's not hard to see why they are considered the number one RAM vendor out there.READ FULL REVIEW