The Blade Killer?
Gaming laptops are usually huge bulky pieces of hardware that gamers usually stay away from unless they need some kind of desktop replacement on the go. That’s till Razer unveiled the Blade, a thin form factor laptop comparable to MacBook but packed with a lot more grunt for pushing pixels. Slim, light and powerful is in true sense what portable gaming should be about but the incredibly high $3,398 price tag drove people away from it. Razer thought they had the only thinnest gaming laptop on the market – that’s when MSI drops in the GS70 Stealth for a one on one battle.
- Intel Core i7-4700HQ Processor 2.4GHz (Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz)
- 16GB (2x 8GB) 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
- 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD) + 1TB Hard Drive (HDD)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M 2GB GDDR5 VRAM Graphics
- 17.3″ Full HD LED Backlight Anti-Glare Screen
- 1x Gigabit LAN + 1x Wireless LAN – Killer DoubleShot
- Price RRP: $2,299 to $2,499
Slim, Light and Deadly
The MSI GS70 is one incredibly slim system coming in under 0.9 Inches and weighing only 2.6KGs. Transporting the GS70 around is easy as the slim design fits into a backpack without any hesitations (unless you have a bag not suited for the screen size) – I took this laptop with me on my daily commuting to the office and back and the ease of pulling this thing in and out on the train was hassle free. The big screen coming in at 17.3″ can be quite intimidating on your lap but the weight doesn’t take a toll on your legs.
The GS70 is kitted with an array of available ports which is more than enough for the average gamer however it is missing an optical drive but with PC games mostly done through a online client – optical drives have seen little use these days. On the sides, you’ll find 4x USB 3.0 ports, a SDXC card reader, a Gigabit LAN, HDMI and 2x DisplayPorts at your disposal.
The MSI GS70 Stealth is so thin – you could virtually cut through butter. However we don’t recommend you try it.
Pushing more of the gamer edge on their laptops, the GS70 also features chiclet keyboard designed by Steelseries. The keyboard is responsive as much as a chiclet keyboard could be – although not mechanical, this probably one of the better ones we’ve used on a laptop. You can also light up your face with all colours of the rainbow with the customisable backlighting on the keyboard. We prefer keeping it at a minimal red which suits the laptop best. You’ll also notice the layout of the keyboard with the dreaded Microsoft key moved all the way to the left – MSI knows how gamers think.
The trackpad is probably the most least thing I like about the GS70 inputs – its rather annoying to use in gaming and also when doing general usage. I’ve used plenty of trackpads out there but the one on the GS70 just seems a little unresponsive at times applying more pressure than you should and at other times it’s too sensitive. In saying that, gamers would rather use a mouse attached anyways. The track pad is good enough for standard use but sure could be a little better.
Packing a Punch – the Stealth Performance
It looks like it’s not packing much but the MSI GS70 hides quite a performance underneath it’s slim chassis. The GS70 comes with a mid-range video card – the GTX 765M in combination with quick Intel i7 processor and enough RAM. Also adding to the speed, is a SSD combination that will speed up the boot time of programs and games. While specs wise looks good on paper, we tried out some real world tests with the GS70 to see how well the laptop performs under gaming conditions.
First we tried some Battlefield 3 on the laptop running at maximum (ultra) settings – 1920 x 1080. Battlefield 3 runs the older Frostbite engine but still requires a decent spec rig to perform well. The MSI GS70 outputs around 30FPS (average) in just general gameplay – which is sort of playable but probably not ideal for a first person shooter game. Making it less taxing, we dropped the settings to medium-high on 1920 x 1080 and it fared out a decent 55FPS (average) making it more ideal.
The MSI GS70 may not run all games on the highest settings but it’s offers adequate performance for something so sleek and light.
We then tried it with Bioshock Infinite with everything on very high settings – 1920 x 1080 and we got similar performance as Battlefield 3 coming in at an average of 32FPS. Again we had to drop settings to deal with the low FPS we’re getting from the laptop to make the game more playable.
Just from the two games – the GS70 has an issue of playing games at maximum settings and we suspected that dealing with medium-high settings with current games on the market. If you’re after extreme performance, the Gs70 won’t offer you that but for the form factor of the chassis – it’s the best you’re going to get.
Situation Report – The Other Factors
One of the most important thing to laptop users is battery life and MSI has stated a promise of 5hrs with the GS70. With the tests, it managed a measly 2 hours of gaming before the need to suck more juice out of the walls. General use like internet browsing and such, we pushed the GS70 just over the 5hrs mark. Don’t expect fragging your mates on long journeys as taxing games will see the GS70 fall short.
Heat was a problem we noticed with the GS70 plenty of times especially in sessions spanning over an hour. While the fan does kick in to push all the hot air out, the unit does get incredibly hot on the surface and underneath. The fans were also quite loud when it kicked in and was somewhat of nuisance when gaming unless you slap on a pair of headphones.
Overall – Is it for you?
If you’re after a laptop that plays all the games on Ultra, walk away now as the GS70 is not capable of such caliber. For gamers wanting the best performance without carrying a massive desktop replacement then the GS70 is most likely the best choice out there. It’s thin, powerful and well priced (against the Razer Blade) – so why not.
Thanks to MSI Australia for providing a review unit of the GS70 Stealth.
If you hate carrying massive gaming laptops, the GS70 offers adequate performance in a super slim chassis without breaking the bank too much.