Purchased this laptop over the similarly priced Destroyer with the GTX870M GPU for the style and portability that this unit offers. It is also the most powerful Maxwell GPU available in a laptop currently (870 and 880 are both slightly modified Fermi based units).
Stuff you want to know: - It appears to be running the Maxwell 860M, supported by clock speed and part number. - There is one 2.5' bay (filled with an excellent HDD), two mSATA slots, and two RAM slots (filled with an 8GB and 4GB). Accessing any of these will require breaking a warranty seal. - According to MSI the warning seal is "preventative" and they don't actually deny service when broken, still -1 star for the scare tactic. - Laptop runs shockingly cool for a rig of this power. 45C at the bottom and 65C at the exhaust port after 30 min. of BF4 on Ultra. - There are some glitches. Relatively minor thus far, but you should expect this on a system this new.
Pros: - Extremely appealing aesthetic design, not the typical garish gaming rig. - Most powerful overall unit in this price range that will still fit in your backpack! - GTX 860M performs fantastic with the new 337.50 driver. 1080p Max settings on everything! - HDD is excellent, for a HDD. Absolutely the fastest HDD based laptop I have ever used. - Keyboard is fantastic. Easily the best laptop keyboard I have ever used, and the color effects can be configured to your preference. - Screen is extremely good for a matte solution.
Cons: - Ships with an outdated GFX driver that wont run anything. 337.50 Beta drivers were released today (4/7/2014) and are the only alternative to the shipped version. No issues with 337.50 thus far, but given the Beta status I suspect I will find something broken before long. - Really should be using at least a small hybrid SSD to be called a modern gaming laptop, but as I said the included HDD isn't bad for what it is. - Must void warranty to install RAM, add an SSD, or clean the crap out of the fan? -2 stars for this alone, FIX IT MSI! - Sound Blaster presets are extremely poor. DTS and Dolby have had some wonderful innovations in the past decade, Sound Blaster is still the same as they were back in the 90s from a preset perspective. - Integrated speakers are disappointing. Midrange and Bass are completely gone. If you only listen to Banjo riffs this should be perfect for you... - Windows 8.1. It's not MSI's fault, but sometimes I wonder how Microsoft can be so out of touch. Metro was and is a huge flop in the mobile space on Windows Phone, what makes them think it will be a different story here? - It is configured out of the box with a dynamic disk! That's bad news for those of you who want to add an SSD as you will almost certainly end up reimaging the entire thing. - Occasional low level crashes that cause the device to completely power down without warning. Able to reproduce this 100% in the boot recovery menu->advanced->boot options. Wait a few seconds after it boots into the utility and it will crash. Have seen it twice randomly in windows.
I'll update this review if anything significant happens over time.
Update: I installed the SSD, what a pain! Use the "Burn Recovery" utility to create a set of backup DVDs or flash drive, then install the SSD (remove the HDD even if you are using an mSATA for now), hold F3 on boot, run recovery disk, proceed thru recovery, after booted into new OS install open disk management, delete the data partition, expand the OS partition to fill the space. If you are doing an mSATA drive you will also need to: connect HDD to USB with adapter, use Acronis True Image to wipe all of the old windows 8 partitions (cant do this in drive management), reinstall HDD in SATA bay, and finally format with a new MBR NTFS partition in drive management. If this process description does not make sense I would strongly suggest you buy one of the models with an SSD included!!
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