The MSI GX70 3Be-007US gaming laptop costs a little more than the Editors’ Choice MSI GX60 1AC-021US, but it is money well spent. It adds a backlit keyboard and larger screen, and it edged the GX60 in our gaming-centric tests, running 3D games at playable frame rates even at 1080p resolution. Although it isn’t as well rounded performance-wise as the Editors’ Choice CyberPower FangBook X7-200
, the GX70 delivers where it counts for budding gamers on a budget, and earns an Editors’ Choice for entry-level gaming laptops.
Like the GX60 1AC-021US, the GX70 earns its 3D gaming chops largely at the expense of multimedia creation. If you aspire to be the next Stephen Spielberg, this is not the laptop for you. But it’s a great choice if you’re laser-focused on getting the most out of your gaming but have limited funds to spare.
Design and Features
The GX70 measures 2.2 by 18.8 by 11.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 8.6 pounds. Although you wouldn’t want to travel with it regularly, it isn’t too heavy to lug to LAN parties. This black laptop has a handsome brushed aluminum frame. It sports a 17-inch screen with native 1,920-by-1,080 full HD resolution. Though it’s similar in price to the Maingear Pulse 11, our gaming ultraportable Editors’ Choice, the GX70 3Be-007US’s screen dwarfs the Maingear system’s 11-inch screen, which is limited to 1,366-by-768 native resolution.
Under the hood, you’ll find an AMD A10-5750 quad-core processor, AMD Radeon HD 8970M discrete graphics card, a 750GB (7,200 rpm) hard drive, and a Blu-ray reader. Hi-def video looked sharp on screen, and the sound is loud and of good quality. It has an ample supply of ports, including VGA, three USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, Mini-DisplayPort, and HDMI 1.4 port.
The keyboard is comfortable and responsive. The layout has a few unusual flourishes; the Windows control key is to the right of the spacebar, and a numeric keypad is to the far left, and there are a few extra keys and duplicates. The backlit keyboard is a nice addition; the keys to the left are red, the ones in the middle, green, and the ones to the right are blue, creating a pleasant rainbow effect. Through the Keyboard LED Manager (accessible through the KLM icon on the desktop), you can change the color scheme or add pulsing lights—or, if you prefer something less garish, go with an ordinary white backlit scheme.
As is the case with most non-business Windows laptops these days, the GX70 3Be-007US runs Windows 8. Using this operating system, which was designed primarily for tablets, without a touch screen is awkward, even with its gesture-based touchpad control enabled. That said, most other Windows 8 gaming systems are in the same boat.
The GX70 3Be-007US’s AMD A10-5750M quad-core processor and an ADM Radeon 8960M discrete graphics proved to be a potent combination for 3D gaming, if a bit anemic for multimedia tasks and overall performance. When I tested Heaven at medium detail settings and 1,366-by-768 resolution, it turned in an average rate of 79 frames per second (fps), and at 1,920 by 1,080 with high detail enabled, a playable 36 fps. It did even better at Aliens vs. Predator at 1080p, with a quite playable 43 fps.
These scores bested both the CyberPower X7-200 (61 fps at medium resolution and 25 fps at 1080p for Heaven and 29 fps for Aliens vs. Predators at high resolution) and the MSI GX60 1AC-021US (39 fps for Heaven and 35 fps for AvP, both at 1080p resolution). They also surpassed the Editors’ Choice Asus G75VW-DH72, which turned in scores at Heaven of 70 fps at 1,366 by 768 and 28 fps at 1,920 by 1,080 and a mere 18 fps in Aliens vs. Predator at 1080p.
Though the other machines can play these games, the GX70 3Be-007US can do so without you having to dial down the eye candy, a rarity for a sub-$2,000 laptop. Some higher-end models turn in massive scores—the Origin EON17-SLX, which uses twin graphics cards in SLI configuration, played Heaven at 178 fps at mid-level quality and 71 fps at 1080p, and AvP at 75 fps at high resolution. They’ll provide smoother gameplay, but they also cost a lot more.
In our multimedia testing, it took the GX70 3Be-007US a ponderous 6 minutes 21 seconds to crawl through our Photoshop CS6 test, and 1:46 to finish the Handbrake video transcoding test. Both of these are far slower than the times put up by the FangBook (3:45 and 37 seconds, respectively).
In PCMark 7, which measures overall system performance in a variety of tasks, the GX70 3Be-007US scored 1,680 points, lagging the MSI GX60 1AC-021US (1,852 points) and far short of the CyberPower X7-200 (5,884 points). Likewise, its 2.07 points at CineBench, which tests a system’s 3D rendering ability, was far lower than the FangBook’s 6.38 points.
In our battery rundown test, the GX70 3Be-007US played video and its audio track for 4 hours 16 minutes before shutting down, a respectable score for a gaming laptop. The MSI GX60 1AC-021US managed 3:51, while the Asus G75VW-DH72 eked out 3:02 and the CyberPower FangBook X7-200 lasted just 2:12. Chances are that you won’t be spending much time with this behemoth away from an outlet, but it’s good to know that the GX70 3Be-007US can operate on battery power in a pinch.
The MSI GX70 3Be-007US put up splendid scores for 3D hi-res gaming for a laptop of its price, even when pitted against two comparably priced Editors’ Choice gaming laptops, the CyberPower FangBook X7-200 and the MSI GX60 1AC-021US. If your interests extend beyond gaming, the FangBook X7-200 provides more well-rounded performance while still putting up very good frame rates for its price. But the GX70 comes through where it matters most for gamers, earning its place as a new Editors’ Choice for entry-level gaming laptops.
|Processor Name||AMD A10-5750M|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon HD 8970M|
|Processor Speed||2.5 - 3.5 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||Blu-Ray Disc|
|Screen Size||17.3 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||750 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc