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MSI GT70 2PE Dominator Pro Review

MSI GT70 2PE Dominator Pro Review

April 24, 2014 1:00 am0 comments

MSI currently has the most affordable series of gaming laptops on the market, with models as spectacular as the one we will analyze today. Truly a wonder.

Introduction

MSI has currently almost 30 models in their gaming series. They have an option for anyone, with AMD and Intel processors, different screen sizes, and different purposes, like gaming machines or workstations oriented to graphic designers. The model we’ll take a look today can be considered the flagship of the brand; we nor present you a practical demonstration of its capabilities.

MSI GT70 Dominator Pro

Outstanding hardware

But before we begin, let’s talk a bit about what makes it so great. Its specs, for starters, are truly spectacular. It is definitely superior to the models we can commonly find in stores.

MSI GT70 Dominator Pro

It is based on the Intel Haswell architecture, with four cores and eight processing threads. Specifically, it features a Core i7-4800MQ processor with 6MB of cache at 3.7GHz in turbo mode. It is a powerful processor with a consumption of merely 47w, so you should not be surprised that this laptop uses an 180w PSU. It incorporates an Intel HD 4600 GPU, which you can use alternatively with an integrated graphics card, changing from one to the other depending on the task at hand.

CPU detail specs:

CPU-Z

MSI GT70 Dominator ProHeart Detail of GT70 GT70 Dominator Pro.

The gaming heart of this model is the spectacular Geforce GTX 880M from Nvidia. This graphics card features 1536 shader engines with working frequencies above 950MHz. You can mount memory configurations of four or eight gigabytes. The built-in model is a MSI GT70 2PE, the 8GB version. It uses GDDR5 RAM with a 256-bit configuration, producing a total of 160GB/s of bandwidth. It is a very powerful graphics chip that brings the performance of a Geforce GTX 770 to a portable environment.

MSI GT70 Dominator Pro

Here you can take a look at the underside of the GT70 2PE. The 9-cell battery seems ridiculous in the enormous body of this laptop. MSI has maximized the air inlet with a background full of grids.

MSI has also incorporated a powerful storage system, combining mSATA SSD disks with mechanical storage drives so you can have the best of both worlds. Now it’s time to test the performance.

The MSI GT70 2PE supports up to 32GB of DDR3 high-speed SODIMM-type RAM. Our test unit mounted 32GB of RAM but the commercial configuration comes with 16GB. In either case, it seems more than enough to offer an exceptional performance.

MSI has incorporated the Doubleshot Killer technology for both the Gigabit Ethernet card as well as the Wireless N dual-band card. It doesn’t feature AC technology, since it’s not really necessary. It features Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity as well. It is capable of reaching speeds of over 20MB/s in the 5GHz band.

network

It also has an HD Webcam capable of recording and streaming 720p video at 30FPS A well-done feature, nothing to complain about. It includes, of course, a microphone located near the webcam.

camera

So far we’ve seen its most obvious features and specs. Let’s take a more detailed look at it.

MSI GT70 Dominator Pro Specs

Design, keyboard and other features

The GT70’s design is the same as previous models. This monster weighs 3.9kg along with the battery, and the charger may add almost another kilogram to the load. It is, clearly, not designed to be lightweight, instead it ditches that and focuses on being a powerful gaming station you can take with you almost anywhere.

MSI GT70 Dominator Pro ChargerThe 180w charger is enormous, but not everything can be good news with such specs.

MSI GT70 Dominator ProActivity LEDs on the front.

Its size: 55mm thick, 288mm wide and 430mm long, so as you can see, it’s quite big. On the right side we can find two USB 2.0 ports and the Bluray drive.

USB and HDMI

There are other connectors on the rear, like the mini Displayport 1.2 where you can connect up to three HD displays, an HDMI 1.4a and a VGA connector. There’s also a Gigabit Ethernet connector.

USB and HDMI

Finally, on the left we will find three USB 3.0 connectors, a card reader and four audio 7.1 jacks.

USB and HDMILet’s focus on the keyboard for a bit: the laptop features a SteelSeries keyboard, something regular consumers will surely recognize. Its membrane system and its colorful backlighting have been improved, and it also features an antighosting system to avoid pressing keys when you don’t want to.

keyboard

We still don’t like the new position of the Windows key, located on the right to prevent accidental presses. It can be a bit hard to get used to this position and that can be quite frustrating. Although there is more than enough space between the keys, the Keyboard felt sort of small.

keyboard

Having a trackpad does not make much sense for a laptop like this, since almost everyone uses a gaming laptop with an external mouse, but it still has one for those who like it. The trackpad is very good and responds nicely. The space between keyboard and trackpad makes it very comfortable to use, and you can also deactivate it to avoid accidents while gaming.

trackpadtrackpadHere you can take a look at the button to deactivate the trackpad. If you connect a mouse, the trackpad will be automatically deactivated.

Storage options

Our test rig had three Toshiba mSATA SSD units of 128GB each, connected to a SATA 6Gbps interface. This chipset supports up to six connectors so the 1TB HDD is also connected to this interface. This guarantees a storage system that combines surprising speed with large amounts of data.

RAID mode

The GT70 can house up to three mSATA drives in RAID mode. This means we can add another 248GB disk, ideally the same model, and thus achieve an incredible performance.

SSD TEST

AS-SSD offers excellent results for this model that has 3 disks in RAID 0. With its three discs, it reach almost 1800 points.

SSD TEST

The linear velocities can be improved, but that doesn’t really show the quality of an SSD. I abide by the result of the AS SSD as a reference but it is always great to see a storage system exceed 1 GB/s.

1TB HDD ATTO Disk Benchmark:

1TB HDD ATTO Disk Benchmark:

Regarding the performance of our analysis rig, this is the data we could get from it. By the way, the laptop comes with a handy case to carry it around with you, being a sample for analysis, though the availability of it may vary depending on where you buy it.

Handy case

Screen, Graphics and Sound

It features an antiglare 17.3-inch screen with a 1920×1080 resolution and an IPS panel. The perfect angles and good contrast of colors make it suitable for any demanding FPS game. Though MSI could’ve certainly offered a bigger resolution, we feel this is more than enough. The addition of a touchscreen wouldn’t made sense as that would increase the brightness of the screen, so they made a great choice for this gaming laptop.

Screen

The screen can sometimes get too bright, but it’s nonetheless excellent and performs commendably. It doesn’t need a brightness filter, which is a nice plus.

Sound-wise, this laptop is more than capable. MSI’s Dynaudio technology and the 2.1 speaker system (two speakers and a subwoofer) it features produce clear sounds with varied tones and a powerful bass. The GT70 also has an excellent analog and digital connectivity that can be used with headphones or speakers for more elaborate systems.

Speaker

3DMark

3DMark

We used the normal version of 3DMark Fire Strike, achieving a really good score, only limited, partially, by the processor. In a desktop computer, the Geforce GTX 770 produces a score of nearly 7000 points.

3DMark

In “Extreme” quality, the Fire Strike offers almost 2800 points, which, on a desktop computer with a very similar graphics card, goes up to 3300.

Heaven Benchmark 4.0

The performance in Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is good, just what we expected. This ensures good performance in games that use DX11 with Call of Pripyat. (Ultra Quality)

Overall performance

Heaven Benchmark 4.0

Heaven Benchmark 4.0

The GT70 offers an exceptional performance. Both its storage system and graphics processor are excellent. By combining this with great programs and applications that are able to make good use of the resources of this system, the result is a formidable workstation that can even be combined with a 4k screen.

Cinebench R15

Cinebench R15

The result with Cinebench is good, similar to the one of a previous generation processor like the Core i7-3770, except with an inferior frequency.

PCMark 8.Home

PCMark 8.HomeThe overall result of the GT70 is very good, close to 4000 points, a balanced outcome that guarantees a good overall performance under any circumstance, no matter the program we need to handle.

Battery life and noise levels

Sadly, it’s not always possible to have everything. Although the computer features the Optimus technology and a 9-cell battery, its battery life is around 3 hours and a half. Still, not bad for a gaming computer, which also benefit from the improvements introduced by the components, but certainly nothing outstanding.

Battery life

The GT70 2PE has a heat dissipation system with bridge. A single turbine located on a corner of the laptop allows the heat to escape. This system features 3 heatpipes forming a ring around the turbine. The heatpipes are copper-made and cool both the CPU and the GPU. According to our experience, the turbine does get the job done nicely when gaming. It also has a manual Turbo mode. In the following video you can listen to the maximum levels of noise produced by the turbine. This noise is almost unnoticeable in most situations, however.

noise levels

noise levelsIts competition

Currently the GT70 2PE MSI is one of the best options when it comes to price-performance ratio. The case has space for every component we need, allowing us to use the latest components as they get to the market. The most similar models on the market are the Asus G750JH, which has a not as recent GPU (a Geforce GTX 780M), and it’s a bit more expensive.

Asus G750JH

The Alienware 17 was updated recently with an impressive GTX 880M with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. However, it offers a 100MHz slower processor, 8GB of RAM instead of 16GB and less storage capacity with a single SSD mSATA drive. The Alienware 17 has an excellent HDMI input that lets you use an HD screen with other external devices.

 Alienware 17

Conclusion

If size and weight are the least of your worries, then this laptop may be perfect for you. This is a revamped version of MSI’s gaming case with additional benefits like three SSDs in RAID 0 or 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. This makes it the most powerful laptop we’ve seen so far.

GT70 2PE Dominator Pro

Its 1920×1080 resolution is more than enough for a gaming laptop (More: Best Gaming Laptop), as it’s the standard of such models. Its connective capabilities are remarkable, the performance of the wireless network card has been particularly improved, and its overall performance is amazing. It is undoubtedly the most powerful laptop ever.

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