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MSI goes big on gaming notebooks, eyes workstation market

by Tarinder Sandhu on 11 January 2013, 03:58

Tags: MSI

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With NVIDIA and AMD yet to reveal their hands with respect to next-generation GPUs, card manufacturers are turning their attention towards different products at CES 2013. Larger partners, such as ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte, who retail cards for both companies, often produce notebooks and tablets in addition to graphics cards.

We popped along to MSI to see the firm's 2013 plans for notebooks. Focussing on the high-growth area that is represented by gaming laptops, MSI has recently launched a limited edition of its premium GT70 gaming beast. Dubbed the GT70 Dragon Edition, this potentially $2,500-plus machine can pack in desktop-rivalling hardware - including a quad-core Intel CPU and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M graphics card.

Switching gears and moving over to AMD, the 15.6in GX60 uses an AMD Trinity APU and Radeon HD 7970M graphics. We feel as if the CPU's somewhat on the puny side, compared to Intel's best, but the GPU is a solid fit for the 1,920x1,080 screen. One differentiating factor for this circa-$1,499 laptop rests with the ability to run three screens for Eyefinity gaming. MSI demonstrated Far Cry 3 running smoothly enough at high-quality settings.

MSI is also trying its hand with workstation-based laptops with the release of the GT60 Workstation. Packing in the same basic design of the gaming-orientated GE60, these machines substitute the GeForce card for either a four-display output Quadro K2000M or K1000M. The full-HD screen is improved, too, as it covers 95 per cent of the NTSC colour gamut, compared with around 72 per cent for the gaming models. Priced from $1,499, they appear, on first perusal, to offer a decent specification for the money.

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Hmm, the AMD version does seem like it could be good value for money, the 680M equipped model isn't though. Straight conversion gives a price of £1550 (ignoring VAT) and for that kind of money you can get Clevo chassis with top end specs (I'm about to blow £1450 on one with a 680M, Ivybridge 2.7GHz quad and so on).