MSI GX660 review: Gamer's envy, owner's pride

CHENNAI, 04/05/2011: MSI GX660 GAMING LAPTOP. Photo: S_S_Kumar   -  THE HINDU

With PC games becoming increasingly graphics heavy, there has been a growing need amongst hardcore gamers to graduate to computers that are more capable of running a game to its full potential. MSI, a relatively young entrant in the gaming laptop market, aims to bridge the gap with the GX660. We spent a major part of our time glued to its screen this week, and here are our thoughts.

Look & Feel

The GX660 looks like something out of an alien movie, we kid you not. The glossy black contoured lid has angled edges, and the base has a checkered totem pattern. Open up the lid and you're greeted by a 15.6-inch Full HD LED Backlit LCD display, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. The GX660 incorporates a full size island-style keyboard, and a dedicated number pad. There are WASD keys for gamers, as well as two sets of conveniently located directional arrow keys.

The trackpad is smooth and spacious, with a brushed metal clickpad. The palmrest features the same checkered pattern as the lid. The top corners of the keyboard hold circular speakers.

A cool feature is the row of touch sensitive buttons on top of the keyboard. This includes one touch access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Cooler Boost. Interesting keys include Turbo, which allows you to increase the speed of your CPU. The Eco key allows you to change power consumption depending on the task you're using, while the ‘breathe' key allows you to personalise LED behaviour in different modes.

These buttons, along with various other LED lights located around the laptop glow orange, depending on what program you're running.

The GX660 has a nice selection of ports, mostly everything you need from a full-fledged gaming lappie. The sides hold two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, 4-in-1 card-reader, headphone and microphone jack and DVD writer. A DDR3 SO-DIMM x 3 slot allows you to easily expand memory. The back holds an HDMI, eSATA, VGA and LAN port. There's also a 720p HD webcam for video chats.

The inside

The MSI GX660 is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, and is equipped with ATI Radeon HD5870 graphics. One of the best graphics cards for gaming, it's usually found on laptops that don't require long battery life. The hard drive has a capacity of 640 GB which is quite generous, although it should be mentioned that a lot of the more expensive notebooks in this category now ship with 1 TB hard drives. The laptop has 4 GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 12 GB if desired. Sound is powered by Dynaudio, and the laptop also features DTS surround sound.

Performance

In order to test the gaming capabilities of this laptop, we played Crysis 2 and StarCraft 2, games so graphics heavy that put even the most powerful PCs to the test. At the laptop's native screen resolution, there was no frame dropping during gameplay. The Dynaudio speakers complemented the gaming experience, and being ideally located on top of the keyboard, didn't muffle sound.

We ran the Passmark benchmark, and got an overall score of 999.4, and a 3D Graphics Mark score of 1338.7, which is higher than scores by similar laptops in the cateogory.

Because of its enhanced gaming capabilities, the laptop is also great for watching videos or listening to music. However, its high-end processor and graphics card means that it is power-hungry and heavy, so it's not ideal for carting around. The laptop loaded websites quickly, but the trackpad doesn't support pinch to zoom. Battery life lasted us about 1 hr 10 minutes during gameplay.

Our Verdict

The GX660 is a laptop that's built to optimise your gaming experience. From a drool worthy screen to excellent graphics to a surround sound system, this lappie has everything a gamer needs. Priced lower than other laptops in its category, this could be a tempting buy for budding gamers.

Love: Good 3D graphics performance, Dynaudio speakers

Hate: Laptop heats up during gameplay

Rs 90,000

Published on May 11, 2011

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