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Pros: I wanted to update a new review from my previous review on this laptop after using it for a few weeks now. It definitely deserves more credit than the below reviews have given it.
I've been playing World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and the Wildstar beta with no issues at all. The games run smooth at the higher settings and look fantastic on the 1080p screen.
The first thing I noticed with WoW is that when sliding the preset quality to Ultra which maxed everything including AA, AF and shadows that it still obtained a nice 50-60fps in most outdoor areas. This had bogged my previous laptop down causing me to have to lower settings to medium/high.
I also really like the design and feel of this laptop.
The steelseries keyboard is also a perk with custom lighting and feels great to type on.
Cons: The touchpad for the cursor is known to not be all that great on these although I use an external mouse 90% of the time so it's no issue to me.
I haven't been able to determine if this is an issue yet but the heat does get a little warm. I've been running Real Temp and have noticed temps up to 90-92c max on the CPU and around 88-90c max on the GPU while gaming for hours at a time. This is with me using a cooling pad and the turbo boost fan button. The only fan exhaust is on the left side of the laptop rather than the rear.
Other Thoughts: After previously owning an Aliewnare m14x r2 and debating on the Alienware 14, I had came across this laptop and jumped right on board with it for the below reasons after comparing it with the Alienware 14:
Gorgeous 15.6" 1080p screen (Alienwares 14" models strain my eyes a little and I didn't want their heavy 17" model)
The latest Nvidia GTX 860m 2gb card has been excellent for me so far and is much stronger than the GT 765m card in the Alienware 14
The i7 processor is the 4700HQ opposed to the 4700MQ in the Alienware 14
Hard drive is also noticeably better as the MSI has the 1tb 7200rpm hdd compared to the slower 500gb 5200rpm hdd in the Alienware 14 unless you upgrade it for additional cost.
The RAM is the same 8gb 1600mhz except that the MSI comes with a single 8gb stick with an open slot that you can add another stick later to upgrade if needed and the Alieware 14 comes with 2x4gb sticks filling both slots.
One last thing I'll point out is that the MSI has a 2 year warranty while the Alienware 14 only has a 1 year unless you pay additional of course.
Total cost on the Alienware 14 with the upgraded gt 765m was going to cost me over $1500 after taxes. The MSI won me over hands down with the $1249 price tag and having the overall beefier hardware.
I'm not trying to make this all about making the Alienware 14 look bad because it is really a well designed beautiful laptop and may have better cooling than the MSI although I'm only trying to compare the tech spec differences of what you get with your money.
Pros: I received the laptop this morning while at work so I haven't had a change to fully test it out but I will update this review again over the weekend. I read the review below me and had to throw my experience in also which is very similar as mine also only came with 8GB ram instead of the 12GB as advertised.. I immediately contacted customer support via web chat and awhile they offered to have it RMA'd back to them to make it right, I opted out since I just received this and do not want to worry with shipping back so they credited my payment method $20. I'm sure they could have done better than this or at least shipped me the 4GB stick so I can put it in myself which is what I asked for but the rep wouldn't do it... I compared prices to the matching 4GB stick for this laptop and it runs around $80 so a $20 isn't justifying. I will contact customer support again after this to see if they can make this right.
With that aside, I love the laptop so far from what I've been able to see. It's light weight and sturdy feeling. The hinges on the lid feel well built. The Steel Series keyboard is excellent and having the buttons for the fan/light control is nice.
I can't wait to see how well it performs on some games. I will update this review after I can test them and after chatting with customer support again to bump the eggs from 3 to 5 if all goes well.
Cons: Does NOT come with 12gb of ram, only 8gb!READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: I replaced my two Radeon HD 5670's running crossfire with this single XfX 6870 this morning. First off I have a full size Alienware Aurora case with an X58 mobo, i7 920 OC'd to 3.2ghz, 6gb triple channel DDR3 ram, 875w PSU and it is liquid cooled. After removing my 5670's I actually had to nudge some cables over a little to fully fit this 6870 into my case, it literally took up the whole motherboard going across lol but nothing to complain about as long as you have room.
After installing the new drivers from amd.com my Windows Experience Index for video/graphics went from a 5.9 to a 7.7 with this beastly single card. I logged into WoW and selected the Ultra preset settings in 1920x1080 resolution and was flying around org and twilight highlands at a smooth 60fps with vsync. Very impressed. I'll be trying out SWTOR later.
Cons: No cons for me atm. My only concern atm is my CCC was showing my idle temp was 54c and around 62c in WoW. Is 54c idle at 35% fan something I should worry about or should it be lower? The results were the same after letting my character sit in the populated area of ORG for around 20 minutes, at 60fps of course. I'll try more stressful games later too to see how temps look there.
Other Thoughts: I didn't have any problems installling and updating drivers. If anything I would say that the card is so large that I wouldn't want to crossfire another one with it because they would take up all the room and possibly be almost touching that it's such a tight fit even in my full size case. Plus my 875w PSU only had 2 available 6 pin PCIE connectors that this single card is now using. I doubt I'll actually need crossfire anyways as powerful as the single card is.READ FULL REVIEW