Pursuit of performance & sound - MSI GT70 Gaming Laptop
On the high end notebook market, it's all about Ultrabook in the past year.
Focus on thin & light with mobility, the price is higher than regular notebooks.
In fact, the high end notebooks still have another direction, it's the pursuit of higher performance and big display design products.
Gaming notebook market is not so popular in Taiwan, only few brand still working on this field, like Dell/Alienware, MSI Gaming and ASUS ROG series, it's all high-end level in the market.
Right now MSI notebook comes with 4 series, the Gaming series was for high-end users and gives different segmentation for the market.
Only Gaming series goes with high performance, high SPEC., high quality audio/video enjoyment, it's a niche product line in the market.
This time I would like to share the latest MSI Gaming notebook with top level SPEC., it's GT70 0NE.
MSI did not focus on Ultrabook like many other brands. They pay more attention on the Gaming series.
This kind of marketing strategy is quite difference, this type of laptop is more suitable for small living space or high performance notebooks demanding market.
GT70 outlooks overview, just little differences compare with their GT60, GT70 used big surface cover with brushed metallic aluminum material,
the frame used plastic matted material, the whole design looks more low key and solid design style.
Built on Intel Ivy Bridge platform, not only performance enhancement, but also get better layout and material enhancement.
The MSI logo on the middle of cover will shows white light since system boot up. The dimension of GT70 is 428 x 288 x 55 mm.
Adaptor was made by Delta, the quality should be good.
The bottom comes with 4 robber pad for stand, apply adaptor protection and enhance the thermal.
The bundled mouse is good on specific pointing position, the design and quality looks good. the red line will light up with orange/red color when you are using it.
It will be more friendly for big hand users if the mouse size could be bigger.
On the bottom of the laptop, use 5 soft pad for stand on 4 corners.
Left down side is battery bay, another side is CPU, HDD, DDR3 and thermal module.
DDR3 comes with 4 DIMM, up to 32GB support, this GT70 comes with 4GB x4 total 16GB.
On the bottom there is the subwoofer of the 2.1 channel speakers, it's few special design on notebooks, this could enhanced more of the bass sound quality.
The battery comes with 9 cell 7800mAh, the larger capacity could apply the longer battery life.
C side placement.
The palm rest side also use brushed metallic aluminum material, feels better quality when use it.
Keyboard size is the same as desktop regular keyboard, it's more convenient that comes with numerical keys.
Touch pad is good touching for use, very sensitive and good on point positioning.
The light on the bottom, the 5 signal light start from left is Bluetooth, WiFi, Battery, Stand-By, HDD reading.
SteelSeries gaming keyboard, this did cost a lot, it's really great help for gaming control, typing response is really good and much more durable.
The built in KLM software could apply multi color combinations, this is the popular Yellow-Green-Red combination.
The button in the middle is power key, will have white light when turn on.
The upper control panel used touch sensor design, have 6 feature keys to turn on and off.
Left 1: Turbo is to overclock GPU a little bit and disable the lock on GPU clock. but MSI only increase a few clock because of the system stability.
Left 2: Cooler Boost is the fan turbo key, could boost the fan speed up to 110% and cool down the system temperature.
One of the important factor of Gaming is the present of sound.
MSI again combined with the Sound By Dynaudio 2.1 channel HD speakers design,
comes with metal mesh style cover, this kind of high quality design could apply higher sound quality presents.
17.3 inch matted LED back light panel, with Full HD 1920x1080 resolution.
The word size was adjusted by MSI, the size is suitable for this resolution.
Built in HD WebCam, photo resolution up to 1280x1024 video resolution up to 1280x720 30fps, quite good.
The left side
Start from left, Line out \Line in \Mic-in \Headphone-Out \Multi Card Reader \ 3x USB 3.0 \ thermal air flow holes.
Both input and output audio jack use gold flashed design, and built in headset AMP to have better output sound quality.
GT70 is more professional on sound quality presents, design and material is more outstanding from others.
The right side
Start from left, BD Writer optical drive, 2x USB2.0 ports.
The back side
Start from left, thermal air flow hole \1xHDMI \1x eSATA \1x D-Sub \1x RJ-45 LAN \AC in \Kensington lock.
Theoretically this high performance and SPEC. GT70 is more suitable for small space and high performance demanded users.
Like in Japan, the 15.6" notebook or ITX/M-ATX Small PC will be more popular.
The weight of GT70 with battery is around 3.9kg, if compare with regular 17.3" notebooks is heavier,
but if we consider about its high performance Gaming level with more components, most of the gaming notebook will be over 4kg, MSI GT70 around 3.9kg is much more acceptable.
MSI GT70 use Intel Ivy Bridge platform Core i7 3610QM CPU
The clock is 100x20 => 2GHz, L3 is 6MB, Quad Core with HT multi core technology.
TurboBoost 2.0 native overclock will boost up to 3.3GHz, comes with 3rd generation HM77 chipsets.
Native USB3.0 with 22nm process CPU and more technology.
The performance benchmarks
Use Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit English version OS from factory default.
GT70 SPEC. have 3 versions, this one is the highest level one, so the price range is also higher.
Compare with Taiwan standard version (Dual 64GB SSD RAID/DDR3 8GB/Blu-Ray Combo/NVIDIA GTX675M), there are 4 points of SPEC. difference.
This GT70 built in 128GBx2 SSD RAID0, DDR3 4GBx4 with 16GB, GPU upgrade to GTX680M 4GB, and BD Writer ODD.
The hardware info under Device Manager.
MSI GT70 installed software on desktop. There is a hidden manual on the top, apply quick launch of many software application.
System performance tests
Hyper PI 32M X8 => 17m 46.465s
CPUMARK99 => 507
Nuclearus Multi Core => 22172
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 24.02/11530
CrystalMark 2004R3 => 300898
OpenGL => 43.10 fps
CPU => 6.18 pts
CPU (Single Core) => 1.35 pts
PCMark Vantage => 20533
GT70 with Core i7-3610QM is obviously faster than last generation Core i7-2630QM, it around 20%~30% faster no matter single core or multi core,
because of the enthusiast level Dual SSD RAID0 and nVIDIA GTX680M, the performance reached to extreme high score on above tests.
windwithme remove the shield of GT70 bottom to explore the inside design and placement.
Right upper side is main thermal module design, use 2 copper pipes to release the heat of Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU, use 3 copper pipes to release the heat of nVIDIA GTX680M graphics.
On left up side, MSI designed a 2.5 inch SATA3 HDD space, this time they change the placement become 2 mSATA3 SSD,
it not only for save space but also increase much performance.
But mSATA SSD is not popular in the market, this interface of SATA3 SSD will come out slower and performance is less than regular 2.5 inch SSDs.
To have a high performance mSATA SSD is the part that MSI need to working on.
Below image is 2 DDR3 DIMM, here installed 4GB DDR3-1600 modules, another 2 DIMM should be in another side of the motherboard.
Another part is 2.5 inch SATA2, here used HITACHI 7K750-750 7200rpm HDD, use this big capacity HDD for mass storage use.
C: Main system devices performance was built on 2x128GB SSD RAID 0.
HD Tune Pro 5.00
Read - Average 975.3MB/s, Access Time 0.111ms
ATTO Disk Benchmark over 128k tests could reach the highest reading speed to 1073.7MB/s, writing speed 1032.4MB/s
HD Tune Pro 5.00 sequential reading speed up to 1029MB/s
ATTO Disk Benchmark sequential reading and writing speed also could over 1000MB/s.
CrystalDiskMark of the right image on random benchmark, the writing speed will be lower.
This SSD should be use SandForce SF-2281 control chip depends on the performance characteristic.
We could see that the NAND Flash used Micron chip.
Left side of the image, CrystalDiskMark change to 2 pure sequential mode test, the writing speed is good enough to reach formal data.
Use the SSD with SandForce SF-2281 chip to run AS SSD Benchmark, single 120GB SSD could reach 500MB/s more,
Compression Benchmark writing performance is frim 300MB/s up to 900MB/s.
Although SandForce SF-2281 SSD control chip is not always on the highest performance and stable, it says that's because to reduce the write times to increase the life time o the SSD.
So this is good or bad depends on the choice of end users.
Time to Logon 7 seconds
Time to Desktop 12~22 seconds
From boot up to desktop after loading all programs is around 19~29 seconds,
The test use MSI installed OS system, it comes with some permanent small tools, so the loading time will be slower compare to pure OS.
Besides that, the RAID 0 mode will also take few seconds to detect Intel RAID combination when boot on at BIOS post.
But SSD RAID 0 is indeed make the boot up speed much faster, it's pretty smooth on launch software or program installing.
If user installed a clean system without many extra tool bar programs, the real high speed SSD could get into OS desktop under 15 seconds.
D: is the data Drive, also use higher level 2.5 inch HDD, 750GB with 7200rpm, let's take a look on the HITACHI 7K750-50 benchmarks
HD Tune Pro 5.00
Read - Average 98.7 MB/s Access Time 17.2ms
ATTO DISK Benchmark over 128k tests could reach the highest 120.2MB/s reading speed, writing is 120.3MB/s
Highest read/write could over 120MB/s, average speed is close to 100MB/s, its really good performance as 2.5 inch HDD.
Compare to the SSD RAID 0 storage system, the performance is 3~10x faster than HDD, but if compare with 2.5 inch HDD, this 7K750 is on the top performance level.
GT70 set it as D: drive for mass data storage. the SSD RAID 0 + HDD combination indeed comes with great performance an large capacity.
GT70 built in 2 kinds of GPU, one is the Intel HD4000 from i7-3610QM, another one is nVIDIA highest level GeForce GTX680M with huge 4GB GDDR5 memory.
3DMark Vantage - P24211
StreetFighter IV Benchmark
1920 X 1080 => 223.65 FPS
DEVIL MAY CRY4
DX10 1920 X 1080 => 201.85/188.26/223.79/157.84 fps
FINAL FANTASY XIV
1920 X 1080 => 2906
LOST PLANET 2
DX11 1920 X 1080 TEST B - 56.4 fps
Heaven Benchmark 3.0
DX11 1920 X 1080 => 65.8 FPS
The nVIDIA GTX680M is really powerful on 3D performance, especially the 3D Mark Vantage got really high score.
Compare to last generation GTX560M, this GTX680M is over 50%~140% faster, this performance could run most 3D games easily and smoothly with highest detail.
Of course the GTX680M could be better, if you want every game title could runs great as 3D Mark Vantage to over P24000,
the other Game Benchmark just present 60%~90% of the GTX680M performance, the fine tune nVIDIA driver could enhance more gaming performance when new version release.
Diablo 3 gaming
1920 x 1080 with highest detail setup => 115FPS
Maze theme => 153FPS
Normal single gaming status is around 113FPS
This global popular game is not so demanded on 3D performance, but it's more suitable on Desktop platform.
If we use GT540M on 1366x768 resolution it's only 23FPS on setup screen. So this could be a issue on middle or entry level notebooks for most consumers.
On GT70 with GTX680M, highest detail and highest resolution with Full HD still over 100FPS,
if play to higher level stage with more monsters and magic effects with heavy loading, GT70 will still runs smoothly like a piece of cake.
GT70 supports THX TruStudio Pro technology, first we take a look on THS SW interface.
Enable the SMART VOLUME and DIALOG PLUS options.
This will make surround sound stage batter, but the detail of middle frequency will reduced, recommend to enable this when gaming or movies.
Below is the feeling of listening. This part is more subjective feeling. compare with notebooks built in speakers.
Turn the volume to maxima, the sound is really loud, you don't need to worry about the volume at all.
High Frequency - No sharply sound, rich on detail, presents high quality.
Mid Frequency - Crystal clear, detail is better than TOSHIBA Harman/Kardon. It will be better if the mid-frequency could be stronger.
Low Frequency - It's good with 2.1 channel on law frequency, the subwoofer presents good on the power of bass. And the sound is not muddy at all.
The sound of GT70 is very suitable for movies and gaming, good on surround sound effect and sound stage, it belongs to multimedia type of speakers.
Middle frequency had great improvement compare with last generation MSI gaming notebooks. It will present good sound quality and sound stage if you use GT70 to listen to music or songs.
For high-end gaming laptop, we often use gaming headset together.
Used own CORSAIR Vengeance 2000 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset for experience.
Vengeance 2000 packing, provide 2 years warranty.
Apply mic device, let gamers could communicate with company in the game.
Wireless headset become more and more popular, especially to use on the notebooks for higher mobility.
Headset is high level design on material and quality.
Use full size cover design, make user feels comfortable. I used for a time and did not have any uncomfortable feelings.
Vengeance 2000 positioned as Gaming Headset, it's good on bass, deep enough and not feel hard at all.
All the sound detail could heard clearly when gaming, the sound stage positioning is clear.
If use for gaming environment, Vengeance 2000 presents alive and good surround sound experience.
If users love music or songs, the performance still good, just could be better on mid frequency to be stronger.
Power consumption tests
Under OS desktop with idle mode - 26W
CPU full loading - 91W
Intel Burn Test V2.4, Stress Level Maximum.
CPU and GPU full loading at same time - 188W
OCCT Power Supply test
Ivy Bridge architecture Core i7-3610QM is less power of 2~5W than last generation Sandy Bridge of same level CPU.
Core i7-3610QM is better than older architecture on clock and performance, maybe the Watt saving is not too much, but still have great help to use 22nm process.
On OCCT test, because of nVIDIA top level GTX680M graphics, let the whole system power consumption up to 188W.
9 Cell battery, BatteryEaterPro tests (Enable WiFi and BT)
Full loading - 1:16:51
GT70 use 9 Cell battery with such enthusiast level hardware SPEC., the performance is good on full loading or idle mode battery life.
Tested with some 13.3~15.6 inch notebooks with lower SPEC., but still presents same battery life as GT70.
If use GT70 for video broadcast, the playback time is around 3 hours, it's ok for mobility usage.
If compare to last generation GT683R, GT70 built in more high level SPEC., but still keep same battery life as GT683R.
Summarize of MSI GT70
1. The seldom 17.3 inch large panel Gaming notebook in the market, SPEC. is closer to top level of desktop PC.
2. Dual mSATA3 SSD plus a 2.5 inch 750GB HDD to make balanced on great performance and large capacity. 4 DIMM of DDR3 extend more capacity in the future.
3. The IO port is rich, 3 USB3.0 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports, with HDMI, D-Sub and eSATA.
4. With full size SteelSeries gaming keyboard with multi backlight. with Turbo and Cooler Boost keys to increase the GPU and FAN performance.
5. Designed with better 2.1 channel speakers, use Sound By Dynaudio technology, present better quality than last generation.
6. Built in 1920x1080 high resolution panel, matted design could make eyes feel more comfortable for gaming or Full HD video experience.
7. Cable LAN use Bigfoot Killer E2200 Gaming LAN, this is good help for faster response internet gaming and streaming.
1. Beside brushed metallic cover, the exterior design could refer DELL Alienware with robber plastic material.
2. Recommend to use smaller size power adaptor for high level notebooks.
3. High level Gaming notebooks will cost much more higher than regular notebooks.
4. Recommend to use CREATIVE latest Sound Core3D quad core sound processor chip to enhance the total sound quality.
MSI Gaming Series NoteBook on latest Ivy Bridge platform comes with 15.6" and 17.3" design, and also separate with Enthusiast GT series and Performance GE series,
the GT70 is much more difference with GE70, the top level GT70 ID design is more low-profile and solid design style, and brushed metallic to increase the sense of quality.
The SPEC. combination is really good on GT70, of course you have to pay more for it.
The storage comes with dual 128GB SSD RAID 0 as system drive, 750GB 7200rpm HDD to be data drive.
Sound By Dynaudio 2.1 channel speakers, Audio Boost with gold jack and headset AMP circuit design.
Keyboard comes with more durable and better feedback which was Keyboard By SteelSeries, combine 3 zone of multi color backlight design.
Used Core i7-3610QM CPU and nVIDIA GTX680M top level graphics.
MSI keep improvement on every generation gaming notebooks, this time we could see the big enhance of design and hardware.
We mentioned that GT70 comes with 3 version of graphics, this GT70 with GTX680M graphics is the top level, it's around $2799USD in US, it still cheaper compare to same level same SPEC. from other brands.
But since GT70 top level version comes with highest SPEC., the price is also the highest as well.
The middle level GT70 in Taiwan with lower SPEC., use dual 64GB SSD/DDR3 8GB/Blu-Ray Combo/nVIDIA GTX675M, the price is around $2335USD, it's still high at first look, but still lower than the top level one.
But most consumers will be more interested on the GE series, since GE70 is only 60% or less price range compare to GT70.
In recent years, more consumers wants to use NB to replace PC, it also more and more popular especially on high-end level notebooks.
MSI provide GE60/GT60/GE70/GT70 in the market, it's more option for Gaming Series of the NB brands.
Everyone have their own condition and budget to buy a notebook, it's the first priority to choose with your favor from your limitation.
The MSI GT70 top level gaming notebook test and share as above, for people who need these info for a detail reference.
MSI GT70 is the same as other notebook brands, the different region might have different SPEC. combination. This article is from one of the version I got in hand.
Attached is the color correction fie from windwithme with Spyder tool. Share to users who had GT70 on hand. windwithme-msi GT70.icm