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
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  • darkhawk1980 - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Dustin,

    I realize that this is straight out of the box, but I highly suggest checking out MSI's own forums. There should be an electronic controller firmware you can flash that removes the throttling problem that is present in these notebooks.

    I personally have one of the older GT70 0NE laptops with a GTX680M, and I can safely say that mine will trounce this notebook. This is because once the throttling issue is resolved, it's possible to run the GTX680M core at 950 MHz without any issues.

    And while I do find turning on the fan to maximum while gaming, I think you're really putting the noise issue as being too high of a problem. It's not nearly that bad. I actually made a custom cooler for my GT70 simply because I wanted better cooling, and this custom cooling allows me to game at 950MHz without the maximum fan setting.

    Honestly, the GT70 is a great notebook for the price with the super raid feature. It's perhaps not as 'nice' as an alienware, but it can compete easily, and for a good bit less money. Keep in mind, you are comparing the last generation hardware in the alienware, to the current/new generation hardware in the MSI. Of course the prices are going to be the same.....Compare the new alienware and realize that the price will now be $500 more than the MSI for the same features, possibly even less. MSI has again, priced it very competitively against the competition. It's the whole reason I bought a GT70 instead of an Alienware.
    Reply
  • kogunniyi - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    The author hasn't written "Alienware is better than MSI" or "Alienware provides better value for the money than MSI." Why do you define your MSI against Alienware?

    MSI is MSI, and Alienware is Alienware. A negative review is not a reason to justify your purchase to anyone else.
    Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    He doesn`t need a new firmware. He need to remove the bad paste job and redo it.
    All CPUs no matter what model will throttle at 98C.
    Reply
  • BobBobson - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    OMG..

    shut up, please!

    If you are happy with your GT70 then great, why dont you go away and just be happy about it cos there are plenty here who aren't.
    Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    "Plenty here who aren't"

    I see you moved to Anandtech to whine more about your notebook. For those who doesn't know, this is the Only guy from notebookreview who had any problems with his GT70 and cried about it instead of sending it in.
    Yes many here who complain about it. Only you just like in NBR.
    Reply
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Your ranting is actually making MSI look worse - it's pretty obvious from your rants that you have some sort of personal ax to grind. Really, perhaps you should do as BobBobson suggested. Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Yes because I work for MSI and represent them.

    lol
    Reply
  • BobBobson - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Yes, you do. And you are paranoid as well. If you don't actually work for MSI, then what the hell are you doing rabidly defending this company as though it were your dear old mom who was getting slighted? Reply
  • mercutiouk - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    As we have a paid shill here, could you possibly get in touch with the european branch of the MSI repairs?
    Hitachi drive fails, sent back - came back from repair with a different power supply. This didn't fit the socket on the back snugly.

    Come a warm summer the arcing between badly fitting power plug and power pin resulted in the socket basically melting. Sent back. "Customer damage". It took threat of forum posts detailing exactly how poor your service treatment in Europe was to get a "ok, we've approved it - this one occasion only".
    5 months later... the hard drive fails again. The laptops now got 1 hitachi and 1 WD blue, in a raid-0...

    I can well believe the review here. Notebookcheck or no, you screwed up your flagship product. I think more reviews will show this to be true.
    Reply
  • mercutiouk - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Didn't make clear but this was on a GX660-R Reply

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