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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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MSI GX660R Laptop Review
Technology People on PCB
stainsteelrat
I posted a review for the laptop over at eBuyer, so might as well repost it here with some minor revisions - this has a lot more details than I've written in other posts. The specs for my particular variant are as follows:

MSI GX660R
CPU = Intel Core i5-460M
VGA = ATI Radeon HD5870 (1GB DDR5)
LCD = 15.6" 1920 x 1080
RAM = DDR3 8GB
HDD = 1TB (500GB * 2 RAID 0)

Review based on usage for 5 days. I've been using it over a week now.

I chose this after looking at Alienware and Apple. This has a Class 1 graphics card, and is loaded with features (fast processor, 1TB drive, 8GB RAM, and Blu-ray drive). To get an equivalent Alienware meant spending over £2k (and their 3-year guarantee is £320!). This comes with a 2-year guarantee. The Apple can't compare on speed, other than it comes with an SSD drive (looking at the Air). Ultimately I went for speed and value.

The MSI does feel slightly cheap and plasticky compared to an Alienware laptop. It has LEDs on the sides and front - a clear steal from Alienware - which can be disabled (more eye candy than anything), although they can be set to breathe (pulse), and accompany music (or at least they try to).

There are a set of quick keys at the top of the keyboard which allow you to quickly switch between power modes and speed, among other things. Easy to use and all worked out of the box. It took me a minute or two to figure out how wireless was turned on, but it was via one of these keys, rather than the Function key equivalent. Ditto for the webcam, which can only be enabled via a function key.

Audio is excellent, and they have clearly spent a lot of time in improving this, also emphasised by the video that comes with the laptop (a file on the Windows desktop which interviews the CEO of MSI, along with the people that designed the audio system).

It ships with Win DVD 8 for the Blu-ray playback, but this required an upgrade from Corel which would not download. More Corel's fault than MSI, but even so. Cyberlink Power DVD is a better option, albeit £50! I'm just using the trial for the moment.

It more or less has a full size keyboard, but with some keys juggled around to fit it all in. For those used to smaller non-full size keyboards it takes some getting used to. For those used to full size keyboards it's also a little confusing to the moved keys. My only other niggle relates to the trackpad, which is a bit insensitive. I have to press fairly hard to get a response from it, so beware if this sort of thing annoys you. I am slowly getting used to it, as much as I can.

The screen is full HD, and that's quite small squeezed into roughly a 16" screen. If you struggle with your eyesight you're going to need to wear glasses to be able to use this. Beware! Same issue as any laptop with a full HD screen in this format though. Personally I love it - bags of screen real estate, and great quality for Blu-ray playback. And I try to wear my glasses when using it!

Overall though great value for money, and I haven't found a single significant problem yet. General and in-game performance is excellent. It out performs my gaming desktop I reckon!

Update: The MSI forums shows a handful of issues with the two 500GB hard drives performing strangely, which causes game lock ups. That's about it. I have a problem where if I leave the laptop suspended for a fair few minutes then the screen will not turn back on when I turn the laptop back on. If I suspend for a brief time, or suspend the laptop in the screen-less state and turn back on, then all is fine. Strange.

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