MSI GX740 review

MSI GX740 is now updated with Core i7 and Radeon HD 5870…

Jonesing for a new gaming laptop, are you? We’re sure you’ve already spent far too many hours browsing your options, but MSI’s hoping that it can grab a moment of your time to demonstrate the merits of the GX740. This 17-inch beast measures a full 1.5-inches thick and weighs just over seven pounds, but all that heft nabs you a great deal of potency

The striking design of the MSI GX740 laptop isn’t about style, sophistication or elegance – it’s about power, speed and excitement.

Its bold red interior and retro-futuristic design let you know immediately that the MSI GX740 is a gaming machin, and a mighty powerful one at that.

The full-sized keyboard incorporates a numeric keypad with cursor keys and the gamer’s home keys (W, A, S and D ) marked out in red. Beneath the MSI GX740’s keyboard sits a rather standard two-button touchpad, but above it we find what appears to be some sort of radiator-grille and dashboard combo sporting looks which manage somehow to strike a balance between futuristic sci-fi and 50s Americana.

The grille covers two of the MSI GX740 laptop’s five speakers, the remainder of which make up a 5.1 surround sound-style audio system incorporating a subwoofer. The dashboard is actually a touch-sensitive control panel containing illuminated icons which provide quick access to several useful functions.

Within, you’ll find a 1.6GHz Core i7-720QM processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB hard drive, DVD burner, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 GPU (1GB DDR5), gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) running the show. The panel tops out at 1,680 x 1,050, but you will get an ExpressCard slot, a trio of USB sockets as well as VGA and HDMI outputs.

You get media transport controls, plus on/off toggles for the WiFi, Bluetooth and webcam as well as an ‘Eco’ switch which cycles through five different power management modes appropriate to different usage scenarios. The MSI GX740’s ‘cinema pro’ mode boosts both the displayed image and the audio when watching video, while the final control is user-programmable.

Gaming of course requires a lot of computing power, and the MSI GX740 comes with a 2.27GHz Intel Core i5-M430. Although a little slower than the version found in the Acer Aspire 8942G-526G64Bi and MacBook Pro laptops, and lacking the quad-core power of HP’s Envy 15, this is still a very fast processor which helps the GX740 to deliver 104 points in WorldBench 6.

Unfortunately, the MSI GX740 laptop is also very power-hungry, just scraping past the two hour mark under MobileMark 2007 (129 minutes, 126 minutes on performance settings). This is some 20 minutes behind the short-lived HP Envy 15, despite being fitted with a large 85Wh battery which protrudes from the rear of the case.

If your mind has been made up, you can get this one headed your way now for the tidy sum of $1,399.99.


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