MSI GT70 0NE-276US Review

MSI has released the Kraken. The massive 17-inch MSI GT70 0NE-276US continues MSI's tradition of stuffing powerful components -- including a quad-core Ivy Bridge CPU, an Nvidia GTX GPU and dual SSDs -- into a bad-ass chassis. Although $2,599 is a lot to spend, we're talking about epic power here. Find out how the GT70 holds up against other gaming titans.



The GT70's chassis is an intimidating union of metal and plastic. Similar to the MSI GT60, the GT70's center panel is made of black brushed aluminum surrounded by thick black matte plastic borders. The edges of the lid are slightly curved and raised, creating interesting lines and angles. The sole embellishment is the prominent backlit MSI logo in the aluminum panel. After two days of handling, though, the lid was covered with fingerprints.
The notebook's interior is very shiny because of the glossy black plastic keyboard deck. The touchpad is also lined in high-gloss, fingerprint-magnet plastic as well as the display. A pair of silver Dynaudio speakers rest above the keyboard on either side of the function bar and the power button.
Similar to most gaming notebooks, the GT70 features a customizable backlit keyboard that you can tweak using the accompanying software. MSI's KLM utility gives Alienware's AlienFX software a run for its money, offering a plethora of color options and effects. We were even able to create custom profiles for when the keyboard was in use or sitting idle.
While the GT70 has an arresting design, we prefer the subtle beauty of the Alienware M17x R4, which has a more refined look.
The 8.6-pound GT70 is thick around the middle at 16.9 x 11.3 x 2.2 inches. The 8.4-pound Samsung Series 7 Gamer (16.1 x 11.2 x 1.3 inches) and the 8.2-pound Origin Eon 17S (16.2 x 10.9 x 1.7-1.8 inches) are slightly lighter and slimmer. However the 9.8-pound, 16.1 x 11.9 x 1.75-inch Alienware M17x R4 has the distinction of being the heaviest of the bunch.


We always appreciate a glare-free matte display, especially at its full 1920 x 1080 resolution. When we played "Max Payne 3" on this 17-inch panel, we saw vibrant magentas and cyans, particularly during the nightclub level. We were bombarded with neon and pulsating lights that bathed Max and the dancers in an eerie glow, complete with realistic shadows. However, some colors, such as the pinks and oranges of the evening sky, appeared washed out.
We also wish the GT70's 205 lux display were brighter. It failed to match the 250 lux desktop replacement category average and was also outshone by the Origin Eon 17S (262 lux) and the Alienware M17x R4 (282 lux). The Samsung Series 7 Gamer was by far the brightest with 325 lux.


The MSI GT70 comes with more pre-installed software than we're used to seeing on a gaming notebook. In addition to the KLM backlighting configuration software, there's the S Bar, a virtual control panel located at the top of the display. The Battery Calibration software keeps the battery operating at peak efficiency while Eco mode provides five settings (Game, Movie, Presentation, Office and Eco Off) to manage power.
MSI also included its VGA Overclock software and Qualcomm's Atheros Killer Network manager to give gamers that extra boost of power during grueling frag or grind sessions. We like how Network Killer identifies important tasks such as gaming and other video and audio data, and gives them priority for high-speed connectivity.
Users with a penchant for multimedia creation will appreciate the Magix software bundle. There's Video easy SE for video editing, Music Maker 16 for audio edits and Photo Manager 9 for stills. Other third-party software includes Microsoft Office Starter, Google Chrome, Windows Live, Adobe Reader X, Windows Live and a 30-day free trial of Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2012.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The GT70's island-style keyboard (complete with a full number pad) delivered impressive travel and a satisfying snappy feel. However, MSI should have taken advantage of the 1.45-inch of space along either side of the keyboard, which would have left room for larger Backspace, Enter and Right Shift keys. Still, on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, we scored 55 words per minute with a 1 percent error rate. That's slightly faster than our usual 50 wpm/1 percent error rate.
The 1.8 x 3.75-inch Synaptics touchpad is a little small for our tastes, but we suspect most gamers will use a mouse instead. Nevertheless, multi-touch gestures were fluid, and we found it easy to navigate the desktop. We were also happy to see a pair of discrete mouse buttons that delivered solid feedback.

Gaming and Graphics

What a difference an upgrade makes. Outfitted with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 680M GPU and 4GB of VRAM, the MSI GT70 blew through our real-world and benchmark tests without breaking a sweat.
The notebook switches automatically between its discrete Nvidia and its integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU for optimal performance using Nvidia's Optimus technology. When writing this review in Word or watching video, the notebook relied on the integrated graphics, and the GTX 680M kicked in when it was time to go run and gun through the Brazilian favelas in "Max Payne 3."
During our benchmark testing, the GT70 notched an impressive 6,014 on 3DMark11. That's 3,355 points above the desktop replacement category. It wasn't enough to overtake the Alienware M17x R4's 6,158, which has the same GPU, but crushed the Origin Eon 17S and the Samsung Series 7 Gamer (3,651 and 3,502, respectively), both of which have Nvidia GeFoce GTX 675M GPUs with 2GB of VRAM.
On the "World of Warcraft" test, the GT70 scored a frame rate of 231 fps on autodetect at 1920 x 1080 pixels, well above the 168 fps category average. The Series 7 Gamer and the Eon 17S notched 167 and 232 fps, respectively, while the M17x R4 delivered a whopping 279 fps. When we cranked the settings to maximum, the GT70 notched 137 fps, once again outpacing the Eon 17S and Series 7 Gamer (129 and 135 fps). However, the M17x R4 reigned supreme with 147 fps.
The GT70 did some heavier lifting on "Batman: Arkham City." On low at native resolution (1920 x 1080), the GT70 and the Eon 17S got 69 fps, slightly above the 64 fps desktop replacement average. The M17x R4 scored 82 fps while the Series 7 Gamer notched 65 fps. At maximum settings, the GT70 dropped to 44 fps, 11 frames higher than the 33 fps average. The Series 7 Gamer and the Eon 17S squeezed out 30 fps and the M17x R4 delivered a strong 52 fps.
During our playthrough of "Max Payne 3," we averaged 50 fps with all the settings on Normal and MPAA turned off at 1920 x 1080. Turning all the settings to high and increasing the MPAA to 4x dropped the average frame rate to 29.6 fps, which is borderline playable.


The MSI GT70 packs components that can plow through any task -- and lots of tasks at once. Our configuration features a 2.3-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU, 16GB of RAM, dual 128GB SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration and a 750GB 7,200-rpm hard drive. We streamed an episode of "Desert Punk" with 12 open tabs in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, while running a full system scan without a hint of stutter.
During PCMark07, the GT70 scored 4,983, well above the 3,524 desktop replacement category average. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer, which also sports a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU, notched 3,611. The Alienware M17x R4 and its 2.6-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-3720QM CPU scored 4,610 while the Origin Eon 17S and its 2.9-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-3920XM CPU delivered a searing 5,602.
The GT70 booted Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) in 32 seconds - 23 seconds faster than the 0:54 average. The Series 7 Gamer's dual 750GB 7,200-rpm hard drives loaded in 42 seconds while the M17x R4's 500GB 7,200-rpm and 32GB SSD cache booted in 34 seconds. The Eon 17S and its dual 120GB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration and 1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive killed the competition with a blistering 17-second boot time.
On the File Transfer Test, the GT70 duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 18 seconds, which translates into a blistering rate of 282.7 MBps. That's 236.3MBps faster than the 46.4MBps average. The Eon 17s turned in an impressive 254.5MBps, while the Series 7 Gamer and the M17x R4 notched 33.3 and 23.6 MBps, respectively.
The GT70 took 4 minutes and 44 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses on the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test. That's a little slower than the 4:19 category average. The M17x R4 finished in 4:10 while the Eon 17S clocked in at 3:17.


Though they look a tad gaudy, the pair of Dynaudio speakers gets plenty loud, especially with the THX TruStudio Pro software enabled. Gwen Dickey's mesmerizing soprano filled our small test space on Rose Royce's "Love Don't Live Here Anymore." Dickey's vocal was accompanied by a vibrant bass guitar and keyboard. However, at full volume the cowbell sounded a bit harsh, as did the rest of the percussion.
During "Max Payne 3," Payne's gritty noir-drenched monologues were loud and crisp. Gunfire wasn't as loud as we would have liked, but the sounds of reloading and bullet casings hitting the floor were nice and clear.


When we watched 15 minutes of "Naruto" at full screen on Hulu, the touchpad measured 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The space between the G and H keys and the bottom registered 86 degrees. However, the bottom right of the notebook reached 96 degrees, slightly warmer than our 95-degree comfort threshold.
We also took the notebook's temperature after playing "Max Payne 3" for 15 minutes. The touchpad, space between the G and H keys and underside measured 76, 89 and 84 degrees, respectively. That's good, but the bottom right area soared to a hot 110 degrees.


Our test shots using the GT70's 720p HD webcam yielded relatively accurate color and realistic skin tones. However, there was a bit of graininess, obscuring the fine details of the shot. Using CyberLink YouCam 3, the webcam can capture stills and video up to 1280 x 720.


Heavy peripheral users will love the GT70's spread of ports. There are two USB 2.0 ports and a tray-loading Blu-ray burner on the right. A trio of USB 3.0 ports, a 7-in-1 card reader and jacks for a pair of headphones and a microphone along with a pair of gold-plated audio jacks sit on the left. The rear of the notebook holds HDMI, VGA, eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet, a secure lock slot and the AC adapter jack.


The MSI GT70 comes with a 2-year limited warranty.

Battery Life

The MSI GT70 0NE-276US lasted 4 hours and 27 minutes during the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi). That's 37 minutes longer than 3:50 desktop replacement category average. The Samsung Series 7 Gamer and the Origin Eon 17S delivered dismal times of 3:21 and 2:35, respectively. The Alienware M17x R4 clocked in with an impressive 5:27.


Our $2,599 review unit has a 2.3-GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU with 16GB of RAM, dual 128GB SSD in a RAID 0 configuration, a 750GB 7,200-rpm hard drive, Intel HD Graphics 4000, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M GPU with 4GB of VRAM and a Blu-ray burner. However, those with tighter budgets can pick up the GT70 0NC-008US for $1,649; that system comes with an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX670M GPU, a 750GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive, and 12GB of RAM.


Cœur du système
Core i7 3610 QM 2.3 GHz
Intel HM77
12 Go DDR3 1600 MHz CL11
Système d'exploitation
Seven Premium 64 bits
428 x 288 x 55 mm
3.9 kg
GTX 680 M 4 Go
17.3" 1920 x 1080 Mat
Disque dur
Super Raid 128 Go + 750 Go 7200 trs
Blu Ray/DVD-RW
Cartes mémoires
PCMCIA / Express Card
0 / 1
Modem / Ethernet
0 / 1
3G / WiFi
Non / Wifi 802.11b/g/n
S-PDIF / Casque / micro
1/ 1 / 1
Sorties vidéos


Gamers searching for a powerful gaming rig to carry them through those harrowing firefights need look no further than the MSI GT70 0NE-276US. Although $2,599 is steep, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M GPU delivers high frame rates and beautiful textures, creating an immersive gaming experience. Throw in a quad-core Ivy Bridge processor, a blazing SSD and a heaping helping of hard drive space, and you've got a gaming juggernaut.
For the same price as the MSI GT70, the Alienware M17x offers a brighter display, better gaming performance and a sleeker design, making it our top pick. However, if you prefer a matte display and want more storage space for your money, the GT70 will make gamers very happy.


  • Powerful graphics and performance
  • Matte 1080p screen
  • Good audio
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Good battery life for gaming rig


  • Expensive
  • Some keys undersized