Battery Life

We’ve already covered the gaming aspect of battery life and Battery Boost, but we still haven’t properly addressed “normal” battery life. We ran our two standard tests for battery life; the Light workload simulates constant web surfing by loading four pages every minute until the battery is drained, while the Heavy workload loads the same four pages every 10 seconds while downloading (via Filezilla from a local PC) a constant 8Mbps stream of data and playing back a 1080p MP4 H.264 movie. We have switched to using the Video app on Windows 8, so our updated Heavy workload tends to get better battery life than our previous setup, but the results are at least moderately comparable.

For all of our battery life tests, we optimize the power profile and software to deliver what should be a best-case result. This includes disabling/uninstalling any firewall or anti-virus software, turning off other extraneous utilities that are not needed (e.g. Live Updates), and we use the Power Saver profile. We find a brightness setting as close as possible to 200 nits (cd/m2), set the minimum CPU performance to 0% and the maximum to 100%, disable screen dimming or powering off, and disable sleep/hibernate modes. The HDD/SSD is set to power off after 1 minute of inactivity, and the WiFi is set to maximum power savings. Here are our results.

Battery Life 2013 - Light

Battery Life 2013 - Heavy

Battery Life 2013 - Light Normalized

Battery Life 2013 - Heavy Normalized

The updated GT70 shows a nice improvement in battery life compared to the previous model, though it should be noted that BIOS updates to the earlier GT70 Dragon did help as well. Perhaps even more impressive is the result in our Heavy workload, though at least some of the difference is due to the change in video playback software and the movie we use for testing. The Dell XPS 15 is the only other notebook in our charts to use the same file/player, and interestingly it’s only slightly ahead of the MSI GT70 (compared to easily surpassing it in the Light test). It looks like the GT70 is better optimized for performance over battery life in lighter loads, and while five hours of useful battery life won’t make it through an entire day for most people, it’s at least enough that you won’t need to pull out an AC adapter during a typical domestic flight. Unless you’re gaming, in which case you can expect closer to 1-1.5 hours, even with Battery Boost enabled; that’s the price of a high performance gaming notebook.

Temperatures and Noise

 

Running a “worst-case” 100% CPU+GPU workload, the GT70 does get quite toasty, but we’ve seen worse. Typical gaming temperatures (i.e. without loading all the CPU cores as well) run about 10C lower on the CPU and a 5-10C cooler on the GPU, and pure CPU loads are not really a concern at all. I’d be a hesitant to try running a fully loaded GT70 24/7, but for normal use where you’d only hit the system hard for a few minutes at a time, MSI’s GT70 should suffice. Even in our full stress-test workload, the CPU cores never dropped below 3.1GHz. The GPU dropped a bit lower – 875MHz – but this is really an atypical workload on both the CPU and GPU. If we turn off our GPU load and replace it with a game, the clocks don’t drop below 950MHz (at least, not that we’ve seen).

As for noise levels, not much has changed since our last look. At maximum load the GT70 fan generates 51.5dB from 18”, which is very loud – in fact, I’m pretty sure it has the dubious distinction of being the loudest notebook we’ve ever tested. This is really the major complaint we have with the single fan cooling arrangement. Games do tend to be a bit quieter (45dB), but if you're in a warmer environment you'll likely hear the full speed fan kick in.

The temperatures may or may not be “too high”, depending on whom you ask, but when other gaming notebooks never get above 45dB – and notebooks like the ASUS G750JH stay under 40dB – the GT70 makes a statement in a way that’s likely to turn heads with people wondering, “who turned on the blow dryer!?” Other notebook manufacturers have shown that it’s possible to put two largish fans into a 17” gaming chassis, so it’s not a matter of it being too difficult; instead, it appears MSI is simply content to stick with their several years old design, and perhaps pass along some of the cost savings to the users.

MSI GT70 LCD Quality Conclusion
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  • kishorshack - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Again an amazing gaming notebook from MSI
    Overall Gaming Experience Amazing
    but
    LCD should have been a bit better
    Specially in gaming notebook
    Where what you see forms the basis of your overall experience
    Reply
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    There are not that many good 17.3" panels out there if any. The 15.6" version ships with a PLS screen though. Reply
  • lukedaly - Thursday, October 9, 2014 - link

    Well the LCD still isn't any good, it's no where close to matching the top notebooks that are on the market. /Luke from http://www.consumertop.com/best-laptop-guide/ Reply
  • phdchristmas - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    I bought last years G70 with the GTX 770M. I needed a laptop to play FFXIV:ARR as my ole dependable Z575 wasn't going to cut it.

    I agree the LCD is poor at best. very uncomfortable viewing angles.

    came with CAS 11 memory and 5400 rpm hdd's in a raid0.

    And they threw in windows 8, without the bios update to fix a S3 wake error which complicated a lot of things, because the bios update from the MSI website would say "THIS BIOS IS NOT FOR THIS DEVICE" then shutdown. I took it back to the store and they just ended up giving a replacement with the same problems. The way transactions work in this country i couldn't return for a full refund, only store credit.

    Ended up gutting it and installing win7 to make it work. Warranty voided, but that was going to happen anyways. The point is that i shouldn't have to apply my technical skills and spend 12+hours to get a damn $1600 gaming laptop to work as intended.

    I'll be sure to avoid MSI in the future
    Reply
  • kosmokenny - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    They announced that the GS70 will be available with the 870m, is there any word yet on when that will be arriving? Reply
  • rxzlmn - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    You can already buy that, depending on where you live. Both GS60 and GS70 with 870M are avalaible (albeit at limited stock) here in Singapore. Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Heavy and loud but that's a lot of hardware. Please review the P34G v2. Reply
  • highbrow - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Or maybe Jarrod could finish the full review he promised of the P34G v1? It's only been 6 months. Reply
  • willis936 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    I would agree with you but I'm not considering buying a P34G v1 this summer. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    The P34G review had to be canceled -- basically, something died on my test unit during stress testing. Sorry for the lack of an update, but I didn't want to make a big deal about it and it was basically at the point where by the time I could get a replacement it would be too old to worry much about the review. I'm going to try and get one of the newer 800M Gigabyte laptops at some point, but no promises! Reply

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