Play3r Attends MSI Notebook Launch…

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Play3r Attends MSI Notebook Launch... 36

You heard it here. Play3r.net’s Gavin and Dave had the pleasure of attending MSI’s Notebook event at Meltdown eSports Bar in London on Thursday 29th January. The event was for MSI to announce the release of 3 new notebooks, the GE62 Apache Pro (Dave’s personal favourite), GS30 Shadow and, the behemoth, GT80 Titan SLI. The slightly less new GS60 Ghost and GS70 Stealth were also available for us to try at the event, with Gavin preferring the GS60 overall.

Some info on the new notebooks below:

GE62 Apache Pro

  • Intel 4th gen Core i7 CPU
  • Nvidia GTX970M GPU
  • SteelSeries Engine and keyboard
  • Super RAID 2 with 3x SSD’s in RAID 0
  • Dynaudio 4.1 sound system
  • Cooler Boost 3: High-efficiency cooling
  • Killer E2200 NIC
  • Matrix display with 2 outputs
  • Metallic chassis, Mg-Li alloy with traditional aluminium

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GS30 Shadow

  • Intel 4th gen Core i7 CPU
  • Optional Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
  • Super RAID with 2x SSD RAID 0
  • Gaming Dock with PCI-E 16x GPU link – more to come about that later
  • Killer E2200 NIC

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GT80 Titan SLI

  • Intel 4th gen Core i7 CPU
  • 18.4″ WLED FHD 1920×1080 anti-glare screen
  • Dual Nvidia GTX980M 8GB GPU’s in SLI
  • Steelseries Cherry MX brown mechanical keyboard
  • Super RAID 3 with 4x M-SATA SSD’s in RAID 0
  • Killer Double Shot Pro (Killer Gb LAN & Killer 802.11 AC WiFi)
  • Cooler Boost 3: High-efficiency cooling
  • Audio Boost 2 with 3 independent amplifiers
  • SteelSeries Engine 3
  • Matrix display with a max. of 4 screens
  • One touch numeric keypad on touchpad

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Some features, software in particular, were unanimous across the board. All notebooks come bundled with Windows 8.1 pre-installed along with Xsplit game casting software. Hardware wise, Dynaudio comes as standard across the entire range, along with Intel and Nvidia variations.

Now, as I, Dave am writing this article I thought I’d share some personal opinions on each one with one having spent some time at the event having a go (basically playing) with each individual laptop.

Let’s start with my favourite, the GE62 Apache Pro. Here’s why; the Apache Pro was quite simply the only one that wasn’t a desktop replacement. Now hear me out, the Apache Pro comes in at what I think is the perfect laptop size 15.6″ so it’s portable, it also weighs in at 2.4 Kg’s, giving it nothing to complain about. Moving on to the panel, the anti-glare FHD 1920×1080 resolution is perfect for gamers, end of. Powered by the GeForce GTX970M with 3GB of VRAM will make for an enjoyable and playable experience out of the box. The trackpad is standard so not much to mention thereabouts, you’d be using a gaming mouse anyway. Moving on to the keyboard, it’s produced by SteelSeries and comes with full colour backlit RGB keys which are programmable, lovely jubbly! Powered by the Intel HM87 chipset, it supports a 4th gen Intel core i7 CPU and up to 16GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM.
Moving on, sound is provided by Dynaudio with Audio Boost technology and Creative Sound Blaster Cinema. The webcam uses [email protected], SD (XC/HC) cards are supported, Killer GB LAN, Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11 AC, 1x USB2, 2x USB3, 1x mini DP, 1x HDMI, 1x headphone and microphone jacks are all on board. It’s powered by a 6-Cell Li-Po (60Wh) battery with a 150w AC adapter.

Overall thoughts, it’s perfectly sized, light, portable, looks fantastic, all “metal” unibody, beautiful keyboard, 1080p display with horsepower to boot. That summary is why it’s my’s favourite, it’s something I can take to use along side my desktop PC, not replace it. I’ll take one please MSI? 😉

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Next let’s move on to the GS30 Shadow. We obviously have to start with the “What the hell is it?” and “What is the box thing underneath?” don’t we? Well, and here is where MSI is being rather clever, the notebook is a portable device measuring in at 13.3″ with a weight of 1.2Kg’s when not docked. Making this a notebook perfect for, albeit at the time of writing this article, “rich students” and professionals that want the portability of the notebook by day, using the onboard Intel Iris Pro 5200 graphics, to then, come home after college, university or the office and “Gaming Dock” the notebook to get some gaming on the go because let’s face it, it’s a gaming notebook solution. Now, here is where the Gaming Dock comes into play. The dock comes built with a regular PSU, a GTX980 desktop GPU as standard (MSI may change the card or sell barebones in the future) as well as a 3.5″ HDD as a external storage drive for, and I’m going to say it, games! The connection from the notebook to the dock is provided by a proprietary connector which runs at PCI-E x16 speeds with a bandwidth of 32GB/s.

Moving on to the specs, it features an 4th gen Intel Core i7 CPU, uses the Intel HM87 chipset, up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM, optional Intel Iris Pro graphics 5200 built into the notebook, 1920x1080p FHD anti-glare panel and up to 512GB Super RAID m.2 SSD’s in RAID 0.
Also featuring, 2x 2W speakers, [email protected] webcam, SD4.0 (XC/HC) support, Gb LAN, 802.11 AC, BT 4.0, 1x HDMI, 2x USB3, 1 x headphone and microphone jack, single colour backlit keyboard, a 4-Cell Li-Po (47.36Wh) battery and 65w AC Adapter.

Finally the Gaming Dock, PCI-E x16 (Gen3) link, 24 pin power, 2.5″ SATA HDD support, 2x 5W speakers, 1x 5w woofer, Killer Gb LAN, 4x USB3, 1 x headphone and microphone jack, 450W PSU and weighs in at 4.2Kg’s.

However, everything is not as rosy as it seems. Once connected, the notebook screen will not, under any circumstances work. You are required to purchase an additional monitor with a keyboard and mouse to connect to the dock as essentially it becomes a desktop computer.
Performance is excellent as expected, but having the surprise of finding out that once docked, the screen just doesn’t work is strange. Now, playing devil’s advocate; it’s amazing what MSI have brought to market with the GS30 Shadow. The idea of pairing the notebook to the dock immediately changes it from a notebook solution to a desktop solution and this is where I understand the point of it. Like a desktop solution. You have the case and attached to it is a keyboard, mouse and monitor.
It’s not something that personally interests me, but I can see a market for the GS30 none-the-less. As before it is truly a first-to-market product. Kudos MSI!

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“The Titan’s are coming!!!”

The main event, the GT80 Titan SLI was without a doubt the main event at Meltdown. MSI Notebook’s flagship model is upon us and it brings a mighty smackdown to the notebook foray. Jumping straight into specs, the GT80 Titan SLI comes with a 4th gen Intel Core i7 CPU, Intel HM87 chipset, 4! Yes 4, SO-DIMM slots supporting up to a maximum of 32GB of 1600MHz RAM, an 18.4″ WLED FHD 1920×1080) anti-glare panel, GTX980M 8GB GPU’s in SLI, 4x m.2 SSD’s in Super RAID: RAID 0 config, Killer Double Shot Pro AC WiFi and Gb NIC with teaming, 4+1 Dynaudio speakers on board and a Red Backlit Cherry MX Brown switch mechanical gaming keyboard (OMG!).
Coming in with [email protected] webcam, SD (XC/HC) support, BT 4.1, 1x HDMI, 5x USB3, 2x Mini DP, 1x headphone and microphone jacks, SPDIF-out, a 330W AC Adapter and a built in 89Wg Li-Io battery.

The GT80 Titan SLI is a 100% desktop replacement notebook. It’s a large, heavy machine with a beautiful design, insane features and more of what seems to be the typical MSI first-to-market features like the Cherry MX Brown mechanical switch keyboard, also my personal favourite switches, SLI’d GTX980M’s, 4x m.2 RAID 0 otherwise known as Super RAID and SteelSeries engine 3. This notebook is balls to the walls ready for professional gamers and hardcore enthusiasts.
An insane amount of hardware is packed inside the notebook too, delivering an unparalleled experience like no other. At first I thought to myself why have they got the keyboard at the edge like that, without really thinking about the mechanical keyboard.
The plate above the keyboard is removable and reveals the amount of engineering that has gone into this model. It’s a well thought out and engineered product.

Now, being a desktop replacement means exactly that, it’s a desktop computer. It was, by my own admittance, somewhat lighter than I imagined when I picked it up, but its size makes it impractical for constant on the go use. However, moving it from home to the office in a bag and vice versa has potential. I really see a model like this having a better use for LAN shows/parties or events similar to that. Maybe if you work away a lot, this could be good for gaming in your hotel room after a day at work. Just my two cents.

Final thoughts; it’s a behemoth, beast that is designed for a single purpose. A desktop based notebook that is somewhat portable for use on another desktop. If I had the money, sure I’d buy one. But would I use it over my desktop PC I already have? Probably not. However, that is because I work 5 minutes away from my house and I very rarely have to leave home unless I’m on holiday or covering an event. Should my situation change the GT80 Titan SLI may well become a lot more of a viable option.

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Gavin with Kian from MSI Notebook’s UK asking about the GT80 Titan SLI.

Play3r attends the round table group discussion with TechTeamGB and GamingTillDisconnected, our thoughts on the new notebooks from the event.

As always, Dave and Gavin from Play3r.net are very grateful to MSI Notebooks for inviting us to the event and the free bar. (especially Gav!!!)

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