Gaming Performance

I had been hoping the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition would be an able demonstration of the performance of Intel's Haswell and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780M. While we can isolate the CPU performance easily enough, isolating GPU performance is much trickier. NVIDIA is using boost clocks on the GTX 780M, which means it's able to turbo up depending on thermal and power headroom, and there's actually a healthy enough variation in clocks that different chassis will be able to produce different levels of performance.

There's also the cooling system of the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition, which either doesn't have or just barely has the capacity to handle a combined 150W of heat.

Entry-level gaming results are in Bench, but suffice to say the GTX 780M is more than adequate for those settings, and so for the review I'm going to stick to Mainstream and Enthusiast level benchmarks.

Bioshock Infinite - Mainstream

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Mainstream

GRID 2 - Mainstream

Metro: Last Light - Mainstream

Sleeping Dogs - Mainstream

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Mainstream

Tomb Raider - Mainstream

In situations where the CPU is not a limiting factor, the 780M is able to boast a healthy lead on the 680M. But you'll notice that the GT70 Dragon is actually underperforming in certain cases; the CPU is getting throttled due to heat. The superior cooling system of the Alienware M17x is able to dissipate far more heat than the GT70's is.

Bioshock Infinite - Enthusiast

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Enthusiast

GRID 2 - Enthusiast

Metro: Last Light - Enthusiast

Sleeping Dogs - Enthusiast

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm - Enthusiast

Tomb Raider - Enthusiast

Situations that stress the GPU more exclusively can result in healthy gains over the 680M, but overall stress on the CPU stemming from processor-intensive games like Skyrim and StarCraft II, as well as the hit from TressFX in Tomb Raider, effectively keeps the 780M from really stretching its legs.

Remember that on paper, at stock clocks, the 780M has at least 22% more shader power than the 680M and 39% more memory bandwidth. That means that, bare minimum, the 780M should be roughly 15%-20% faster than its predecessor. We're getting that in the traditionally GPU intensive Sleeping Dogs and Metro: Last Light, and most of it in BioShock: Infinite. But other games see lower gains, or are even slower on the GT70 Dragon Edition despite it having directly superior hardware.

System Performance Build Quality, Heat, and Noise
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  • ickibar1234 - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    That single fan is enough. Notice that it keeps the CPU in the low 80s at full utilization and the GPU in the 70s Celsius. That is perfectly fine. Yes, you need to press the Cooler boost button to bring the fan to full speed but it is adequate.
    The fan is a different beast compared to normal laptop fans; It is 12 Volts! Yes, 12 Volts.
    brand/model/amperage; NSTECH PABD19735BM -N153 0.65 Amps @ 12V. That is over 6 watts of cooling power in a laptop.

    There have been some reports of bad paste jobs during assembly. Re-paste and temperatures should be very good especially with Cooler Boost on.
    Reply
  • Nocturnal32GB - Tuesday, August 6, 2013 - link

    If you really knew anything about mobile gaming you would never buy a laptop from MSI, Asus or Dell / Alienware in the first place. Those machines are cheap junk to begin with, you can purchase a gaming laptop from M-Tech with better features and way better cooling for less money. Even sager is a better way to go than throwing your money out the window on proprietary garbage like MSI Alienware and the like. Reply
  • MDX - Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - link

    Sager / Clevo laptops are fat, hideous, and bulky. At least Alienware does bulky with style, and they're definitely not low quality (mine's lasted 6 years so far, and I beat the crap out of my laptops). I'm not spending thousands to get something with a hideous clevo case, regardless of the internals. Reply
  • MDX - Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - link

    I trust you guys over Tom's Hardware, but why does they seem to think the cooling system is just fine and not seem to have an issue with heat? Reply
  • MDX - Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - link

    Can't edit comments >< http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gt70-dragon-ed...

    It almost seems like MSI updated the fan or something?
    Reply

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