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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  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    When the GPU is pumping 100+ W into those tiny heatsinks, the CPU has to be cooled by some seriously hot air. It's actually almost a heatpipe-miracle that this tiny fan manages to keep things running at all. Reply
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    That thing looks like a laptop right out of the 1990's - probably the ugliest, gaudiest looking laptop I've seen in a long time.

    You have to wonder, though, if thermal performance is going to be a common issue with these Haswell systems. If it's true that system builders were provided CPUs that produced much less heat than the actual production versions, then what do they do? You've designed your system, lined up your supply chain, and then the CPU's are now producing more heat than your design spec allowed for. I can see the "Max Fan" button being a last minute addition as a way around this issue.

    Even so, my Dell Latitude has a better designed cooling system than this Laptop. MSI looks like they tried to cut corners based on the Haswell promise and got bit.

    It really is typical MSI though, all gaudy "style" and no substance.
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, July 11, 2013 - link

    i think it was a msi problem. clevo laptops with haswell, the asus laptop with haswell, and the sager models with haswell dont have this issue. only msi does. Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    This review is a bust. I just knew it, from the time it took to make this review.

    The game benchmarks you did is nothing short but plain BS.
    1080p benchmarks.

    TES Skyrim:
    Anandtech: GTX 780M 18% slower than GTX 680M.
    Notebookcheck: GTX 780M 26% faster than GTX 680M.
    Notebookit: GTX 780M 21% faster than GTX 680M.

    StarCraft 2:
    Anandtech: GTX 780M is 12% slower than GTX 680M.
    Sadly nobody else have tested it. Nvidia got +20% with the 780M over the GTX 680M. Pretty much logical. 12% slower? Give me a break

    Tomb Raider:
    Anandtech: GTX 780M is 3% slower than GTX 680M
    Notebookcheck: GTX 780M is 102% faster than GTX 680M.

    I won`t even bother going through the benchmarks where the GTX 780M leads, but its most likely very inaccurate as pretty much every game benchmark in your test.

    Source: Notebookcheck and Notebookreview

    I previously used Anandtech as a source for information about mobile products, but seeing that you can`t even review a product properly, this site goes far down my must-read list.
    I`m actually sick in my stomach that you guys messed up this much with a new flagship GPU.

    You ought to be ashamed of yourself for not double checking your data before pushing out a BS review like this one. You numbers doesn`t make any sense at all.
    Reply
  • kogunniyi - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Did you even read the review? That was the point... Reply
  • kogunniyi - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    I'll spell it out: the GTX 780m is underperforming in the MSI. Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    No its not. Go read the GT70 review on Notebookcheck.
    They had no CPU throttling OR any performance issues with the GTX 780M

    This review should be deleted and redone.
    Reply
  • kogunniyi - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    OK, I came on a bit too strong. The results in the review are bizarre, but they do provide reason to pause: we have no guarantee that the MSI's cooling system can handle a heavy CPU/GPU OC over a long time. The bridge doesn't help much during a load that stresses the CPU and GPU. Notebookcheck reported throttling and up to 90C for the CPU and GPU.

    Of course, my thoughts might be misplaced, and the issue might be the 180W power supply.
    Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    That is plain wrong.

    The thermal capacity inside the GT70 is more than capable of cooling the 4700MQ and the GTX 780M. Visit Notebookreview forum and read reviews from owners of GT70, or read any other reviews on the internet. Nobody have these high temperatures when gaming.

    The temperatures in the Notebookcheck review is when they are running Prime95 and Furmark. Not remotely close to any scenario a user will EVER encounter.
    The temperatures when using it is much lower.
    Reply
  • BobBobson - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Blah Blah Blah........

    Why don't you go cash in your MSI company pay cheques you paid shill.

    This review is equivocal with my and many other peoples experiences with the new GT70 Haswell notebooks. Why would Anandtech dishonestly smear a product of a major computer tech manufacturer? For the same reason you and your type scour the internet talking a sweet game about every bit of excrement that comes out MSI's back-end?

    If there was a bit more honesty on the internet when it comes to tech products, people would have a lot less hassles in their lives and the world would be a better place. I commend Anandtech on this honest GT70 review, the first honest review I have seen,
    Reply

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