Hands-On with MSI’s Latest Gaming Laptops: Which One Do You Want?

Above: MSI Dragon Edition GT70 Gaming Laptop – $2,699

MSI isn’t a stranger to the gaming hardware scene by any means. Its components – particularly video cards with non-reference design coolers – are some of the best around. The same can be said of MSI’s gaming laptops, which have always been high performance machines, even if older models were a bit garish.

Thankfully, the last few model refreshes have brought some fresh and appealing design to MSI’s lineup, and the latest GT70, GT60, GX60, and GE60 are no exception. The GT70 and GT60 are MSI’s high-end Intel/Nvidia gaming laptops, complete with Core i7 CPUs and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M GPU. This combo means both laptops, as well as the special Dragon Edition GT70 (the sleek red number pictured above), will play Far Cry 3 on Ultra settings at 30fps. Both platforms also come with Steelseries keyboards with zone lighting and Killer Ethernet and wireless. The GT70 also has SuperRAID 0, which pairs two SSDs in RAID with an additional 750 GB drive. The price on the GT series has gone up a bit, with the GT60 (16″) starting at $1,999, and the GT70 going for $2,699.

MSI isn’t abandoning the lower price points, however, as the GE60 comes in at $1,299. Another Intel/Nvidia combo, the GE60 keeps the Steelseries keyboard, sans backlighting, and the GPU is a mid-range GTX 660M. You might not run Far Cry 3 on Ultra settings, but the GE60 will still run any game on the market today at playable framerates.

Last but not least, MSI showed off the GX60, its AMD gaming machine. Similar in size to the GT60, it comes complete with an AMD Trinity A10 APU paired with a Radeon HD 7970M. Because the A10 has an integrated GPU, the GX60 makes use of AMD’s Enduro graphics switching, which uses the discrete 7970M for gaming, and the integrated solution for low-power tasks. AMD hardware mean Eyefinity is an option, too, so a three display solution can be had without breaking a sweat. AMD has a reputation for high performance at a low price, so the GX60 can be yours for $1,495.

All four of these MSI gaming laptops are beautiful machines, although the red accents on the Dragon Edition might be beyond your tastes. The GE60 is a slim gaming powerhouse that won’t break your back, and its restrained┬ástyling is a hit in my book (I dig low-key gaming muscle, like Origin’s EON gaming laptops). And it’s nice to see AMD represented in a category that many consider lost to Nvidia, as the 7970M is a powerful and affordable GPU. Price is an issue with some of the models, as $2,700 for a GT70 is a hard pill to swallow, especially for a machine with no overclocked parts or SLI graphics. The GX60 is the best deal at under $1,500 — that’s where my money would go, for sure.

Game Front was on-site at CES 2013 (January 8-11), covering all the latest gaming gadgets. Check out all of our CES 2013 news, previews and features.

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