MSI is well known for their motherboards and graphics cards. Although the brand has been dabbling across almost all consumer technology segments, they have been concentrating quite a bit on the notebook segment with offerings across all price ranges. Their high-end gaming notebooks in the past offered good competition for Dell and Asus, but they have always lacked the finesse and build quality of the other two, and that’s just a fact. Today, we have another high-end graphics muncher on our hands, the GX780R. Styled very similarly to the new GT783 that the company unveiled at CES 2012, let’s see if any of their earlier shortcomings have been rectified in this new model.
On video: MSI GX780R
Design and Build
MSI have gone with an aggressive look for the GX780R, but mercifully have skipped the hideous orange LED lights on the sides from their earlier models. However, we are once again subjected to flimsy plastic for the lid and the body, which isn’t something you expect when you’re paying more than a lac. The lid itself is sturdy, though, and doesn’t cause any smearing of the pixels on the panel when pressed. The area near the hinge, however feels flimsy and there’s a lot of flex in the plastic.
Anti-glare screen keeps the reflections away
The main chassis is designed with a slight incline, similar to the Asus gaming notebooks, making it more ergonomic to type on. We have no dearth of connectors starting with two USB 3.0 ports and three USB 2.0 ports, giving you a total of five USB ports, which is the highest we’ve come across. You also get multi-channel audio out up to 7.1 channels, which again is not something you see everyday, so props to MSI on that. The other connectors, include a DVD drive (no Blu-ray), powered ESATA port, HDMI and VGA.
Plenty of connectivity options
MSI have chosen SteelSeries to design the chiclet keyboard for the GX780R, which is a big upgrade, compared to their earlier attempts. While the feedback of the keys are certainly better than before, they still feel a bit too tiny and you’ll often find yourself hitting the Caps Lock button more often. They could have easily made it larger, given that there’s ample of wasted space around the keyboard. Another minor niggle is the ‘Windows’ key, which is on the right and not the left (which only has the ‘Fn’ key). There are a bunch of shortcut buttons placed above for toggling Wi-Fi, Turbo, etc. The keyboard is backlit this time around and just like Alienware, you can customize the lighting for various colours and patterns. On the whole, the design is good and the build is certainly better, but it’s not quite up to the mark.
The GX780R packs in similar horsepower as the Dell XPS 17, we recently reviewed. The notebook is powered by an Intel Core i7-2630QM and the graphics is handled by the same Nvidia GT 555M. MSI have beefed up the rest of the specifications though, as the GX780R packs in a whopping 16GB of RAM and comes with two 640GB hard drives in RAID 0 configuration.
Funky lighting effects
The 17.3-inch screen is Full HD, so you get plenty of screen real estate and it’s anti-glare as well, so reflections should not be a problem. Along with this, you also get some exclusive features from MSI, like Turbo Drive Engine, which bumps up the clock speeds dynamically at the touch of a button, Dynadio speakers with THX sound enhancements, i-Charger program, which helps charge USB devices quicker, among others.
We’ve compared the performance of the GX780R to the Dell XPS 17, since they both have very similar specifications. The Dell, however is quite a bit cheaper, so let’s see if the extra helping of RAM and RAID configuration have any real world benefits. For the most part, the performance is very similar, except for the video encoding and gaming tests, where MSI is just a tiny bit ahead. As it turns out, despite being a 64-bit OS, 16GB of RAM makes barely any difference in day-to-day activities.
Not a bad performer
The audio quality is pretty good as the speakers are placed facing up. There's also a sub-woofer placed underneath, which makes the sound more wholesome. The backlighting for the keys have a gaming mode, which only illuminates the left hand side of the keyboard where the WSAD keys are.
Keys could have been bigger
While gaming, the notebook does get a little warm, but not overly hot which is good. Engaging the Turbo mode boosts the frequency of the graphics card and CPU dynamically and this also engages one of the exhaust fans, which is needed to clear out the excess hot air. It does get a little noisy, though, while in this mode.
Since there is no Optimus technology, the discrete card runs all the time, so don’t expect great battery life. Even with a 86Wh battery, we managed only 1hr in Battery Eater Pro. Under normal usage, you should get about 3hrs of battery life, tops, with Wi-Fi usage.
The GX780R is a definite improvement over MSI’s earlier gaming notebooks, but it’s not quite there, yet. At Rs.1,20,000, it’s still very expensive and the fact is, it doesn't look or feel like a premium notebook. It has some good things going for it like good audio quality, multi-coloured backlit keyboard, good set of hardware components and multi-channel audio out. Having said that, the build quality is still questionable, as the plastics feel too flimsy and weak. Also, for this price, you don’t get a Blu-ray drive. The battery life is below average and the keyboard feels a bit cramped. The Dell XPS 17 will give you the same features and performance for a lot less, plus you get 3DVision support as well and the build quality and design is miles ahead.
What do gamers want? MSI knows it well! GX780 was powered and co-developed by Fnatic, the worldwide leading professional gaming team in Europe, and SteelSeries, the leading brand of gaming devise. We insist on the perfection; GX780 provides you the best gaming experience! MSI and internationally renowned manufacturer of professional gaming peripherals and accessories, SteelSeries, collaborated to create a laptop keyboard that is designed specifically with gamers in mind. GX780 has a 17-inch Full HD screen, which projects a vibrant visual effect. The NVIDIA Geforce GT 555M video card with a 1GB GDDR5 memory and its powerful GPU gives this notebook an extraordinary gaming performance. Turning off the “Render details” option is no longer required as all frames will be rendered smoothly. The Geforce GPU also supports NVIDIA 3D vision, providing the notebook with an extremely realistic 3D experience. The GX780 is fully compatible with DX11, which provides all the advantages of the latest drawing standards. The exterior design of the GX780 combines the classic, succinct appearance of a limousine with the aerodynamic contour of a spacecraft creating a low-key composure but powerful image. The black casing of the GT780/GX780 is specially covered with brushed aluminum, coupled with the silver msi logo, it makes the GT780/GX780 a symbol of the coexistence of textural quality and ultimate performance.
|Processor||Intel Core i7 2630QM|
|Inbuilt HDD||2 x 640GB|
|Optical Drive||DVD Writer|
|Screen Size||17.3 inches|
|Maximum Display Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Panel Type||LED backlight|
|Chipset Model||Intel HM67|
|GPU Model||NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M|
|GPU Memory (shared)||1GB DDR5|
|Ethernet Port (Nos)||1|
|WiFi Type||802.11 b/g/n|
|Audio Solution||THX TruStudio Pro|
|Sound Technologies||Sound by Dynaudio|
|USB 2.0 ports||3|
|USB 3.0 ports||2|
|Bluetooth||Yes, V3.0 + HS|
|Digital Media Reader||SD, MMC, MS, xD|
|Battery Cell||9 Cell|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||428 x 288 x 55 mm|
Misc Bundled Software
|Other Features||Best gaming keyboard designed by SteelSeries|#|Golden Triangle|#|Power 10 Keys|#|Exclusive Turbo Drive Engine(TDE)|#|Speaker Placement|#|Aerodynamics Design|
After Sales Service
|Warranty Period||1 Year|
|Warranty Period||1 Year|
Published Date: Jan 16, 2012 04:57 pm | Updated Date: Jan 16, 2012 04:57 pm