Conclusion: Green Dragon

Each time I've tested this chassis from MSI I've been a little less enamored with it. Finding a good gaming notebook isn't a trivial thing and there's a lot of room for innovation and improvement in this market segment, but it seems like only Alienware, Razer, and maybe ASUS are actually trying (although Toshiba's next-gen Qosmio is a pretty attractive alternative as well). This is basically the third generation of this chassis from MSI and improvements are incremental to non-existent.

To be sure, there are nice features in the MSI GT70 Dragon Edition. I like the red aluminum shell, and despite an awful layout for western consumers, the keyboard still has some of the best action you can find in a gaming portable. Killer wired and wireless networking is much appreciated, and there's at least a little bit of appeal in a notebook that has three mSATA ports. Finally, though it's the same 1080p panel we've tested three times now, it's still a perfectly good one.

Unfortunately MSI seems to have juggled the wrong design decisions with the GT70 Dragon Edition to court western consumers. The number one line item isn't performance or industrial design, it's always "features." You wind up with a gaudy shell instead of a clean design. Instead of fixing the cooling system or at least tweaking the fan profile, they simply add a toggle above the keyboard to set the fan to maximum. This is not a feature, this is deliberately sabotaging your own product to add another bullet point in your marketing material.

The keyboard could be amazing, but MSI opted to save a few bucks by just using the same bezel and key layout for every region; that's why you have a slash key next to the spacebar. And instead of using a sensible layout of document navigation keys about the keypad, they included the borderline useless Scroll Lock and Pause/Break keys. Which one do you use more? So why would Home and End be Fn combinations? It's a small thing but an incredible nuisance that again sabotages a potentially good product. The GT70 could at least have potentially my favorite keyboard, but there's no thought to it and no understanding of how westerners even type.

Here's a gaming notebook that has a mountain of bullet point features: backlit SteelSeries keyboard, Killer networking, 1080p display, fan toggle, "Super RAID 2" (just three mSATA SSDs in RAID 0), Sound Blaster Cinema...but the cooling system is a bust. It fails at the single job it's supposed to do best. I cannot in good conscience recommend the GT70 Dragon Edition until MSI fixes the keyboard layout, enlarges the touchpad, or at least, heaven forbid, produces a system that doesn't thermally throttle. In an ultrabook, throttling is a problem but can be forgivable. In a high performance system? Inexcusable.

Battery Life
POST A COMMENT

115 Comments

View All Comments

  • 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

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now