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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  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    And how is this relevant? A) you can find the most reliable notebook and still find people with problems. B) GX-660 is an old model. OEMs tend to progress with quality as the gain more experience Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Just read your post now.

    How is it MSI fault that someone else hardware fails?
    And how is it MSI fault that you continued to use a PSU with power connector for a different product even though you noticed yourself they didnt fit like it should?
    Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Said PSU was sent back by MSI. Therefore THEY should have checked that they were sending correct parts back. Plenty of small changes happen during manufacturing silently. This could be one of them., More QC fails.. No thanks, so many other companies do much, much better... Reply
  • fanofanand - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    I've been reading this site for over 5 years and have never been compelled to register until I read these comments. Dustin has done an admirable job with this review and huaxshin is clearly a paid shill. Never have I seen someone so adamantly defend something they didn't have a vested interest in, and I have no doubt that this case is no exception. People complain that Anand is too cozy with Intel, too nice to Nvidia, too hard on AMD etc. Readers here are CONSTANTLY looking for bias and here comes an honest open review and Dustin has been slandered repeatedly claiming the review is bogus etc.

    Why on earth should Dustin have to modify the laptop to review it??? A reviewer should NEVER alter a product during the course of a review. A buyer shouldn't be expected to do so, in fact it would void the warranty. If this is how MSI is shipping their product, then that's exactly what should be reviewed. Huaxshin you need to get out of here with your trash and go back to Tom's Hardware where reviews are regularly bought. Anand has higher standards and has been a positive force of change within the industry.

    Dustin I applaud your honesty and candor with this review, it's refreshing to see somebody call out a company that has poor QC or in this case, bad design. Kudos!
    Reply
  • huaxshin - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Its not about modifying anything. Its about giving your partners, who send you a free sample, a chance to respond or resend a proper unit, before posting it online.

    Not spitting in their face first, then using a towel to clean up after MSI have discovered the fault.
    I would have understood it if it was a different error like keyboard malfunction, or any other poor designed part of the notebook. But not a clearly faulty notebook not functioning like it should.

    Which is clearly the case here because there is no chance MSI designed this system to run at 98C, which not only is too hot for comfort, but will also cause the CPU to throttle and not perform like it should.

    MSI is not this stupid, to push out a system like that. It doesnt make any sense
    Reply
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    You're wrong - this is typical MSI - pure garbage, cheap, gaudy, cheesy junk. I made the mistake of buying an MSI motherboard, once, before I started paying attention to substantial reviews such as this. MSIs style is to pack product full of feature-set bullet points that they hope to appeal those ignorant consumers in the market, but in reality, turn out to have zero substantial value to the overall product.

    MSI - pure trailer-park-trash junk.
    Reply
  • JBVertexx - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    And huaxshin, you are only adding to that trailer-park-trash image by evidence of your ignorant rants throughout this forum. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - link

    Let me just chime in by saying I have an MSI GX60 with A10-4600M. I know it's a different laptop, but it warrants mention simply for the fact that it too appears to have performance issues. A10-4600M is no i7, certainly, but in many cases I'm getting performance that's closer to what I'd expect from the integrated HD 7660G rather than a high-end HD 7970M. I've tried to get better performance, so far to no avail. I thought the problem might be with AMD's Enduro or their drivers in general, but now I'm wondering if the APU is simply getting so hot that it's running at lower CPU speeds.

    I have no idea (well, I *do* have suspicions though) why haxshin is so adamant that Dustin did something wrong with this review, but the fact is the system is underperforming, and it appears to be throttling quite severely. Getting to the CPU to replace the TIM with something better is not something I have ever had to do in the course of a laptop review, and I know this review from Dustin is a couple weeks late. I would assume he at least mentioned some of the concerns to MSI, but if they sent out a lemon laptop to a major review site, what does that say about the potential for retail notebooks? Ugh.
    Reply
  • huaxshin - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Are you guys really this uninformed? Not you too Jarred :/

    The reason why you get lower performance with a AMD APU + 7970M (any high end really) is because the CPU part of the APU is bottlenecking the GPU. Its too weak to drive the 7970M. Notebookcheck did an extensive test on the GX60 and found out that the APU cause the overall result over 18 games, to fall down to GTX 660M with i7.
    Its that bad.

    Temperatures is not the culprint there at all. Just weak APU used. The A10-4600M is a 35W TDP, its one of the most cool running CPUs out there. Since it use the exact same chassis as the GT60 with a cooling system built for 45W i7s.
    Running Prime95 caused the A10-4600M to max out at 71C, which in no way will cause throttle.
    http://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadmin/_migrated/p...

    I stand on my opinion that you should contact MSI to make a solution with a replacement than putting out a review that cause both benchmarks and temperature measurements to be wrong. MSI is at fault here for not doing better quality check, no doubt about that. I just hope Dustin thought this through before posting the review.
    Reply
  • DeltaActual - Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - link

    Can admin please ban this lamer? Reply

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