Gamers are always a tough crowd to please - the need for absolute power and uncompromising performance is what distinguishes them. For them, playing games was usually restricted to the desktop computer with no means of portability. Gamers on the go have always wanted something that could give them the performance of a desktop computer, at a size which was compact enough to carry. That is where Gaming Notebooks come in, offering the user comparable performance to the desktop while also having the ability to be portable.
We have reviewed the Asus G53J and the G51J. Both notebooks performed extremely well in our tests and notched up good scores. But today, we've reviewed The MSI GT663R, which packs in a lot of firepower in terms of hardware and looks stunning to boot. But games nowadays are more demanding than they ever were, so does the GT663R rise to the challenge? Let’s take a look.
Design & Build Quality
In one word, the MSI GT663R looks ‘awesome’. The chunky, all black design will remind you of an exotic supercar. The lid is completely bare with a huge MSI logo in the middle which is complimented with a glowing LED strip which also shows up on the sides of the screen and the vents (more on that later). Those who like ‘bling’ will live the metallic red hue around the keyboard and the in-built speakers. Speaking of bling, the GT663R has a row of touch-sensitive buttons which emit a cool orange glow when activated and adding to the cool factor is a large power button which is shaped like a shield.
The keyboard is great with large, spaced out buttons with the WSAD keys having the ability to toggle into arrows keys for our left-handed buddies out there. A separate numpad is also a plus in my book. While the touchpad is big and wide enough for a elephant to use, it’s the unresponsiveness that makes it almost useless.
It could be a glitch with our review piece, but unlike other touchpads which have a very fluid feel to them, the trackpad on the GT663R has a sandpaper-ish quality to it, which just kills it for us. MSI does bundle a mouse in the package, but that doesn’t give them a free pass to pack in a touchpad like this. With regard to build quality, the only downer we saw was that the keyboard had a tendency to flex when typing. So if you are someone who likes to slam the keys during use, go easy.
The MSI GT663R is powered by an Quad-core Intel i7 processor (Q740M @ 1.73 GHz) and has an 1.5GB NVIDIA 460M taking care of the Graphics. While the standard rate of 1.73 GHz won’t raise eyebrows, the Turbo Boost ability allows it to go upto 2.93 GHz as and when the situation demands it. The Notebook also has 8GB of DDR3 memory in a dual-channel configuration. The other hardware packed into the GT663R is a HD 15.6-inch Display (1366x768), which is great, but is also really glossy and does give off a certain amount of glare when you are out and about.
MSI has chosen two 500GB Western Digital hard drives which are set up in RAID 0 to provide a big boost in read/write speeds. Speaking of boosts, MSI’s TDE application aka Turbo Drive Engine overclocks the CPU and GPU via a button and provides a small boost to your performance.When activated(available only when plugged in) the TDE overclocks the GTX 460M's core rate to 709MHz from 675 MHz and the shader rate from 1350MHz to 1417MHz.
On the connectivity side, The GT663R provides four USB ports, two of which are the super fast USB 3.0 variant. It also has an eSATA port, one Express Card slot and a 5-in-1 card reader. Other trappings include your HDMI and VGA outputs as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR and Gigabit Ethernet. For those who like to video chat, MSI also gives you a webcam which record at 720p at 30 FPS which is really really good.
All things said and done, MSI pretty much has you covered when it comes to connectivity and features.
The MSI GT663R posted very impressive results in our volley of tests. It bested both the ASUS laptops in both synthetic and real world tests as and in games as well. But that was to be expected, partly due to a slightly better processor as well as the ‘Turbo’ feature we spoke of earlier.
Both the Processor and GPU were upto the task and we were able to play Call of Duty Black Ops at an average of 48 FPS, while Mafia 2 ran smoothly at 33 FPS. The only place it failed to deliver was when we tried to max out Metro 2033 - the GT663R managed a single digit score of 8 FPS. But do keep in mind that the game brings even the fastest hardware down to its knees when you crank up the settings. Games like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 which are very CPU intensive ran at an average of 29 FPS, which is very good considering the maxed out graphical settings.
The GT663R also has superb sound thanks to the two built-in Dynaudio speakers which are placed at the top left and right side of the keyboard. The audio is clear and crisp and is loud enough for when you want to watch movies with a couple of friends.
Heat, Sound and Battery Life
The people at MSI have done well when it comes to heat dissipation. At full load, things do get quite hot (literally), but thanks to the large vents at sides, the heat is pushed out rather well. The only little niggle is that the bottom does get a bit warm, so keeping it on your lap will may feel a tad uncomfortable after a few hours of use.
The GT663R is rather quiet as it completes the day to day mundane tasks. But fire up your favourite game and you will hear the the fan whining as it moves into high gear. This was very noticeable when we were running our 3DMark Vantage and PC Vantage tests. You might not give it too much attention in the beginning while you kill the aliens attacking Earth but as time moves on, you definitely will notice it.
Being a Gaming laptop, there is no point in expecting six to eight hours of battery life. But even so, the MSI GT663R fares decently with its nine cell, 7800 mAh battery. At full charge, the battery will last you a good hour and 10 minutes under intensive gaming conditions and over 3 hours under low load while you surf the web or send emails.
The MSI GT663R is a great gaming laptop and tears through almost anything that you throw at it. Priced at Rs. 1,49,999, it does provide the performance it promises and is a great buy for those who want a gaming machine on the go. The only downsides are the bad touchpad and the noisy fan at full load. Another thing that worried me was the weight - at 3.5Kgs, lugging the notebook around will be quite tiring. But that is just a small price to pay for that kinda horsepower it delivers.
MSI Premium Sound Technology The complex and interconnected elements that comprise excellent sound were painstakingly identified one by one to ascertain how to systematically develop the proper notebook technologies. After undergoing a very long process of cooperative development, Dynaudio and MSI have come up with the GT663. The four directions used to develop MSI Premium Sound Technology are summarized below. For serious gamers who demand extreme audio performance, the GT663 is the best and only choice! Speaker Placement In the past, limited space on notebooks meant speaker position was always considered last, which resulted in muddled sound in notebook speakers. Because of this, speaker position was considered during the initial stages of the GT663\'s development to facilitate optimum audio performance and to avoid sacrificing audio quality for incorrect speaker placement. Extreme Optimized Speaker Design GT663 speakers, having undergone design optimization, are capable of transmitting authentic audio without sound degradation. With improved sound permeability, listeners won\'t feel sharp sounds and will experience less interference. Audio will sound thoroughly clear and lifelike. High, mid, and low range frequencies are also more balanced, giving an impression of layered and transparent audio that makes listeners feel like they are in a sound stage. DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC The MSI GT663 also has the DTS Surround Sensation|Ultra-PC to achieve superior audio performance. Whether the audio source is stereo or surround, the GT663 creates a virtual surround sound experience for you to be fully immersive. Get ready for the incredibly surround sound effect via the built-in speakers of the GT663 or the headphone-out. Exclusive Cooler Boost Technology Only one finger!! Exclusive Cooler Boost technology provides powerful cooling capabilities and receives real-time notification of the GT663\'s core temperature variations and fan speed. Exclusive LED Performance Illumination Technology This exclusive, dazzling LED performance illumination technology increases the sensation of instant immersion when listening to music, watching video, or while wrapped up in the gaming world, thanks to changes in the GT663\'s cool LED lights. Audio Synchronize Mode When listening to music, watching a video or when knee-deep in the exciting world of gaming, simply press the MSI LED light performance control hotkey and the GT663 enters Audio Synchronize Mode. Then, the GT663\'s LED lights on both sides of the notebook and at the front of the keyboard will light up all at once. The light performance will follow different changes in sound, allowing you to unconsciously follow the rhythm of the dynamic lighting and envelop yourself in an atmosphere of sound and light that will leave you breathless! Built-in HD Webcam Genuine 720p high-definition (HD) video quality to 30fps (30 continuous images per second Allowing smooth, natural progression without jerkiness; ordinary webcams only offer 8fps). This guarantees truly clear and smooth video and picture quality and exceptional audio effects. In addition, the 16:9 HD wide-screen video display can be used with all kinds of social networking media, allowing optimum high-quality video communication and production of HD videos for the enjoyment of friends and family. ECO Engine provides greater flexibility for battery usage, extending battery life and giving the GT663 an extra edge in mobility and productivity, while offering you added convenience.
|Processor||Intel Core i7|
|Inbuilt HDD||500GB SATA|
|Maximum Display Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Chipset Model||Intel PM55|
|GPU Model||NVIDIA Geforce GTX 460M|
|GPU Memory (shared)||1.5GB GDDR5|
|Ethernet Port (Nos)||1|
|WiFi Type||802.11 b/g/n|
|Speakers||2 HD Speakers+1 Subwoofer|
|USB 2.0 ports||2|
|USB 3.0 ports||2|
|Built-in Camera||Yes, HD Webcam|
|Digital Media Reader||XD/SD/MMC/MS|
|Battery Cell||9 Cell|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||396 x 269 x 55 mm|
Misc Bundled Software
|Other Features||Premium Sound Technology|#|Extreme Optimized Speaker Design|#|Speaker Placement|#|Sound Card Circuit Design Optimization|#| DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC|#|Dominate Next Generation DirectX11 Gaming|#|Exclusive Cooler Boost Technology|#|Audio Synchronize Mode|#| Intelligent Simulation of Sound Source|#|Built-in HD Webcam|#|Smart Power Management System|
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