Performance and Benchmarks
If you’re looking for raw performance across the board then the MSI GT70 delivers … and then some. A closer look at the specs outlined above pretty much explain why. You’ve got a brand new fourth-generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ quad-core processor fueled with a massive 32GB of fast RAM and paired with NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line GeForce GTX 780M graphics.
It’s worth mentioning that this configuration of the MSI GT70 was in our office around the same time as the similarly equipped Alienware 17 … and in terms of real-world performance these two notebooks were nearly identical. In fact, you’re in for a tough decision if you’re debating whether to purchase the more expensive Alienware 17 or this MSI GT70. The Alienware brings marginally superior build quality to the table, but the GT70 offers as good (or marginally better) performance for about $100-$200 less as configured.
The combination of three 6GBps mSATA SSDs each with a 128GB capacity in a RAID 0 configuration (357GB in real life) and an additional 1TB hard drive means the GT70 delivers speedy response when booting into Windows and loading games and still has plenty of storage for your entire Steam library of games installed locally on the hard drive.
Our MSI GT70 (GT70 2OD-039US) review unit has the following configuration:
- Windows 8
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor
- 17.3″ Full HD Anti-Reflective Display (16:9; 1920 x 1080)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5
- Cooler Boost 2
- Full Color Programmable Backlit Keyboard by SteelSeries
- Super RAID 2 (128GB SSD x 3; RAID 0) + 1TB HDD
- 32GB DDR3L 1600MHz System Memory
- Killer DoubleShot Technology (Killer E2200 + Killer Wireless-N 1202)
- USB 3.0 x 3, USB 2.0 x 2
- VGA, HDMI, mDP
- Blu-ray Disc Burner
- Built-in 720p HD webcam
- World-Class Dynaudio Premium Speakers
- Audio Boost Technology
- MSRP: $2,799.99
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark 7 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 measures overall graphics performance in DirectX 11 games (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance tests:
3 x 128GB SSDs in RAID 0
Heat and Noise
The GT70 does a remarkably good job with heat management and remains cool to the touch even after a full hour of playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The latest generation Intel quad-core processor and GeForce discrete graphics handle heat very well; the only exterior areas of the notebook that exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit were the two heat vents on the rear left corner on the notebook. The touchpad and keyboard never exceeded 88 degrees during our gameplay tests. In short, if you’re using this notebook as a desktop replacement you should not experience any problems with external temperatures.
The cooling fan kicked in when playing visually intense games at 1080p resolution and when we ran our PCMark and 3DMark benchmark tests but the rest of the time the notebook was essentially silent. Even when the fan is on high it is quieter than my custom built gaming desktop at home which uses an older Radeon HD 6870 desktop card.
We use Powermark in the “Balanced” mode; running the laptop with a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, video playback, and gaming workloads. This gives gives our readers an easy way to duplicate our findings at home and it pushes laptop manufacturers to deliver better battery life for “real life” use and not just light web browsing with the laptop essentially idle.
The MSI GT70 ran Powermark in Balanced mode for only 1 hour and 3 minutes using the included 9-cell battery. That obviously isn’t very impressive by modern standards, but is close to the average for a 17-inch gaming notebook. Sure, the 9-cell battery inside the GT70 is larger than most laptop batteries, but this is also a larger notebook packed with significantly more hardware. For purposes of comparison we’ve included results from several other gaming PCs that we’ve tested. If we were to use our old battery life test (which basically leaves the laptop idle and refreshing a website every 60 seconds) this laptop would probably deliver around 6 hours of battery life with the screen dimmed and without playing games.
Powermark battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):