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Pros: The MSI GS30 Shadow represents exactly what we have always wanted since AGP/PCI-E graphics cards became common and laptop CPUs became powerful: a simple dock that lets a powerful graphics card connect to a capable, lightweight laptop for gaming. One computer to rule them all.
The pros are pretty obvious:
* Very lightweight laptop.
* Very fast quad core i7 CPU with Iris Pro graphics
* 16 GB of fast DDR
* 256 RAID 0 M.2 SSDs that I have clocked at 900MBps Read and 800MBps write in Windows 10 Preview
* Full speed PCI-E 16x interface to a full size graphics card
* Additional "internal" hdd storage inside the dock.
* USB 3.0 in the dock
* Great keyboard keys and layout with good travel and feel
* Nice highish pixel density full HD display at around 165 ppi.
* When the bottom is opened, it is fully upgradable. Larger faster M.2 PCI-E storage can be added up to 1TB RAID 0 and faster / different memory can be added if desired. As well as dismounting the CPU/IGP heatsink and adding a better TIM.
* Design isn't crazy, but looks cool.
* Cooling system really does keep the heat away from your typing fingers
To sum up, this is the only laptop on the market with 16GB of RAM that is less than 3lbs, and on top of that it has one of the fastest CPUs in any laptop, even against the new crop of Broadwells. This is basically a no-compromise solution. Could they have used the 4720 instead of the 4870? Sure, but they didn't and that gives you the Iris Pro for when you want to fire up a game while mobile.
Cons: IMO there is only one huge drawback to this notebook that was unexpected: the trackpad is just awful. After having clean installed Windows 10 on the laptop I was unable to set certain gesture settings on it like two finger tap and scroll, etc. So I made the huge mistake of installing the Elan driver for it. Oh my, the trackpad is basically unusable now with horrible movement lag, multiple presses required to get it to register a click. Coming from a MacBook Pro, you will basically just reject this trackpad and always bring an external mouse with you. Based on this experience, I think you have two options: 1, deal with having no gestures and a decent trackpad that tracks your motions well, or have gestures but the worst finger tracking and tap detection I have ever seen in my life. In my opinion, this HAS to get fixed. As a workaround, the laptop has Bluetooth 4.0, making it compatible with Logitech's new Master series mice that work with their proprietary dongle or Bluetooth 4.0. I have high hopes for this!
The second thing I want to talk about as a "con" is actually to dispel this myth that the laptop is loud. It isn't, not even by a long shot. Being an older guy, I remember the jet engine gaming laptops of the 90s, and this is no where near that loud. If you use the laptop in a silent room you will hear the fans. My 4970K OC 4.6Ghz tower is louder than this if you put your face up to it like you do with a laptop. If you use it in an office, unless it is going full blast, you won't. Also, be sure to utilize Windows 10's feature to prevent the CPU from going over say 75% utilization. This seems like a good breaking point between the fan going full blast. You can set this as the battery profile and let it go full blast when doing gaming.
So, to iterate out all the cons:
* The trackpad is from hell and I hate it
* The fan is noisy if you are used to very low noise.
* The speakers on the front are a nice addition in a pinch, but are very hard to orient for actual stereo sound. Basically useless other than playing music for the room like a boom box.
* The buid quality is good, but not as good as the Apple line of laptops. There's a little flex in the body and lots of air gaps unlike the machined aluminum style of most laptops these days.
* The screen has some bleed from the backlight, only really noticeable when watching dark movies on the internal screen. Irritating, but maybe it's a screen lottery.
* The battery life for me is about 5 hours taking notes on battery saver mode and CPU throttled to 75% and ALL the Windows 10 battery sucker garbage turned off (Photo whatever and anti-malware whatever)
Other Thoughts: So this is it, the future is here. You can have a two and a half pound ultra fast laptop that you can take notes in in class, come home and slap on your dock and play games on it. I got between 120 and 200 FPS playing Call of Duty Black Ops II Zombies on an older GTX 770. All the Blizzard games play at +60FPS as well.
There's also significant modding potential here for you makers out there. Some people are putting in water cooling systems in the dock for a water cooled video card.
Not listed as cons are a few quirks which are to be expected. For example, I couldn't get into the BIOS using a keyboard plugged into the dock, had to plug it into the laptop or use the laptop keyboard. No big deal. Also you have to shut down Windows to switch from dock to portable or back. Small price to pay for me considering Windows 10 boots in like 5 seconds, but waiting on Steam and other stuff to start back up after logging in can be tiresome.
Ultimately, this is a good buy. The only reason I took off an egg is that horrid Elan track pad. For pity's sake MSI, please switch to synaptics!!!!
Pros: Lots of screen settings to tweak the color profile.
Great behind the monitor button joystick thing.
Super sharp at 4k over Display Port
Cons: I have had a lot of problems with this monitor and I probably should just send it back for a different one.
Stuff that is bad no matter what:
The stand is cheap and wobbly
No VESA mount
Cords stick straight out of the back, making cable routing a challenge
The screen randomly seems to be "resying" with whatever I have it plugged into. It will just freeze, go black, then come back. I'm not even gaming, just software engineering stuff. I think maybe it can't actually handle 60Hz at 4k over DisplayPort. See below for machines used.
If I wanted 30Hz, there's a wide range of monitors I could have used. I bought this one so I could get 60Hz! I'm an engineer, I can't have my screen randomly blinking out and locking up.
Other Thoughts: Computers used:
15" MacBook Pro Late 2014 10.9 and 10.10 with Intel Iris Pro over Display Port 1.2 (Haven't tried HDMI yet)
i7 4970K w/ GTX 770 4GB Windows 7 and Windows 8 over Display Port 1.2 (Haven't tried HDMI yet)
This review is from: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - CPU Cooler with 120 mm PWM Fan
Pros: Just wanted to update that it appears that the noise issue I complained about in a previous issue was NOT made by this fan. I updated the fan to a silent one and the noise is still there. I'm assuming that the video card was the actual issue, but I still can't seem to pinpoint where the grinding noise is coming from under load. See previous review by doku.
Cons: See ProsREAD FULL REVIEW