Joined on 10/17/08
True Desktop Replacement Gaming Laptop
Pros: This laptop allows me achieve every task that my desktop computer was able to achieve. Whether gaming, running electromagnetic simulations, encoding video or running over a dozen applications at once, this machine maintains a very high baseline speed. The laptop came with a backpack, mouspad, wrist rest and support stuff. This information is not listed and it should be as it is very difficult to find an adequately sized bag to fit this laptop. I have yet to find one. I keep the power brick, power cord, 30ft Ethernet cable, wireless mouse, wrist rest, mousepad, laptop, lab notebooks and writing implements in the backpack. It can fit one additional large book and a few smaller books if needed but I do not typically use it like this. The boot time from power button to lock screen is four seconds, full boot to use with all of the startup items loaded is ten seconds. The GPU button is ideal for gaming mode and non-gaming mode. While it requires a restart, it is very quick to do so. Being able to change modes is great for battery life, about an additional two hours depending on load put on the system. Fan system provides roughly 10 C of cooling when activated which is perfect for ambient room heating or heat dissipation from GPU's. They are loud though as expected but this is expected. I would rather have loud fans that significantly improve cooling versus some quiet fans. The SSD's are very quick both read/write. Previous EM simulations using Momentum are significantly quicker. Layout software runs quickly without delays. Gaming is smooth even running in Fullscreen Windowed modes. The mechanical keyboard is fantastic. The response of the keys is seemingly perfect for long programming sessions or even quick login punches. One can sit in a meeting or a class and not distract others given the response of the keys. One can bang away or lightly tap and the keyboard will respond nicely to both. The backlighting is adjustable which is great for when one does not need heavy red glow from the keyboard. The quick keys available to the user are a nice add. Being able to quickly change performance modes when plugged in allows for additional performance when desired. The keys that I find myself using the most are volume, backlight, webcam, and mute. These keys are all accessible as a functions. The Blu-ray drive works well for ripping movies into MKV using MakeMKV. Likewise the system has enough horsepower to re-encode this file using Handbrake in a reasonable amount of time. What is nice is that the system still can operate while re-encoding which is a plus. Typically this process will just slow everything down. This machine still runs well despite the load created by this process.
Cons: This laptop is massive, do not fool yourself. With this size comes weight so be prepared to use the provided backpack. While there is a handle on the top of the backpack, its height means it will at times strike the ground if walking up stairs. I typically drape one shoulder strap of the backpack over my shoulder of which I wear a normal backpack for school purposes. This method works surprisingly well. The multipurpose trackpad/numpad works well as a trackpad. As a numpad, I have found it to be frustrating at times. It does take some time getting used to the trackpad given the fact that it appears to have a limited striking area to accurately record button presses. There are times when I will press a key and it does not respond unlike a dedicated numpad which always responds. KPM tests proved disappointing compared to even basic numpads. I typically use the number keys in lieu of the numpad. Note: I would honestly have preferred a full mechanical numpad and remove the touchpad entirely, it is just not reliable enough to depend on in a pinch. It works, just not as well as a true numpad. I imagine my stance on this will change with extended use of the numpad.
Overall Review: This laptop has made the transition from a desktop to a laptop seamless. The initial setup time was roughly four hours which included installing all necessary software. In terms of a gaming laptop, the graphics performance exceeded my desktop. I am using roughly half of the 256GB SSD for critical allocation and offload the remaining non-critical allocation to the HDD. The mechanical keyboard is smooth and precise, facilitating accurate and quick typing. The large area between the speaker grill and keyboard has proven to be a useful staging ground for sticky notes. While it looks cheesy, this is invaluable for writing down critical values for engineering related tasks or even ideas that pop into my head. Even reminders are useful here. It makes use of a rather large area. The laptop does come with a quality backpack, quality wrist rest, usable mousepad and support stuff. It does not list this but it should as it is truly a complete system with them included. I would recommend this laptop to any gamer. I would also recommend to any student that needs to run simulations that require significant time and processing power. I would also recommend this to professionals that want a computer that serves as a seamless bridge between home and professional life. This laptop can do every task that a desktop can do. Battery life without GPU is roughly four hours and with the GPU running on games is about two hours. MSI offers great incentives for registering product which include extending warranty period. I have been using this machine now for about eight hours a day every day since I first booted up and have been impressed. My expectations have been met and in many instances have been exceeded. This is worth the price tag. Bio: RF engineering student, electrical engineer, MMORPG/RTS gamer, video encoding/decoding enthusiast and tech enthusiast.
Pros: Performance is excellent for World of Warcraft. 1680x1050 w/ maximum settings runs brilliantly especially where you want it to: Dalaran @ peak hours FPS > 30, 25 ToC/25 Ulduar FPS > 40, IoC/Arena FPS > 40 and Fraps FPS > 35. Card runs cool given adequate air flow. Installation is quick and drivers work. Card was installed over lunch in less than 25 minutes. 3D works! Surprising depth of game play rendered with card while using a standard Samsung 2232GW. Additional driver required for 3D rendering, obtained quickly from NVIDIA. 3D does impact FPS to some extent, but is still adequate.
Cons: The card has a large physical profile which is to be expected given its performance. Make certain your tower has adequate space in in addition to adequate air flow in this space. Not a con, merely something to be mindful of. No issues or complications.
Overall Review: This is the card you want. The price is right while the performance is stellar. If you have been using an older card that uses DDR2 and has 512MB or less, take the next step. Upgraded from an older DDR2 512MB (value card $50) and the difference was noticed the moment shadows could be rendered without excessive FPS loss. Fraps runs in raids and the FPS remains stable around 35. If you want to capture full-screen videos, this card is sufficient. All around great card. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to upgrade from an older card or is building a new system and wants exceptional performance for demanding gaming. Note: You have to try the 3D. If you play WoW, just turn it on during the pulls to Hodir. Jormungars and AoE spells is simply remarkable.