MSI GS70 laptop review
A powerful gaming laptop, but you'll pay for it in battery life.
- Great gaming performance
- Plenty of storage
- Slim for a 17 inch gaming laptop
- Serious heat issues
- Poor battery life
- No touchscreen
Price$ 2,599.00 (AUD)
MSI's GS70 is an interesting gaming machine, with a very slight nod towards portability thanks to its thin profile, at least as far as gaming laptops are concerned. There's plenty of grunt under the multicoloured Steel Series keyboard, although that grunt comes with a heavy price when it comes to battery performance.
Luggable But Not Really Portable
Most gaming laptops are absolute behemoths, because they try to be all things to gamers specifically, with large high resolution displays, cutting edge graphics processors and CPUs, and an accent on being a desktop replacement that you also use for keeping earth safe from invading aliens, or whatever your gaming fancy happens to be.
The MSI GS70 takes a kind of halfway bet between more distinctly portable gaming solutions such as the Alienware 13 and more fuller figured gaming laptops. At 419 x 287 x 22 mm (WDH) and 2.6kg, it's somewhat svelte for a 17.3 inch laptop, but there's only so far you can slim down a unit like this. It's definitely something you could stow into a larger laptop bag and not feel in the same way as some gaming laptops, but we'd still put it in the "luggable" rather than truly "portable" category.
Under The Hood
To a certain extent, gaming laptops are all about bragging rights, and MSI decks out the GS70 with plenty of eye catching goodies. The star attraction is an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU from the current "Skylake" generation of CPUs. That brings with it plenty of processing grunt, as well as a certain amount of power optimisation, at least in theory. More on that later. On the GPU front, the MSI GS70 comes with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M 6GB GPU, as well as Intel's own HD Graphics 530 if you're really not going to push it hard. There's 8GB of DDR IV RAM on board, and the display is a 17.3-inch, 1920x1080p panel.
In terms of expansion slots, you get two USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 ports, two mini DisplayPort sockets, one HDMI socket, gigabit ethernet, SDHC reader and a Kensington lock slot. There's also substantial space given to the side heating vents, which is a very necessary step.
It's Getting Hot In Here
When you start pushing the MSI GS70, the fans seriously kick in. We rather quickly adopted a policy of gaming with the MSI GS70 6QE 017AU using headphones, because the fan noise was quite noticeable. The speakers on the MSI GS70 are decent, but they're overcast far too easily by the noise of the fans.
Despite the fans working hard, the MSI GS70 6QE 017AU can quickly become uncomfortably hot to hold, especially around the fan exhaust ports. It could be handy in the depths of winter to have that much heat coming out of your laptop, but it most definitely means that this is a laptop that you can't actually leave running on your lap unless you like being scalded.
The MSI GS70 features a customisable multicoloured Steelseries keyboard with very good key travel characteristics. If you could somehow convince your boss that this was a productivity laptop, there's no reason why you couldn't do more productivity-centric work with it. The touchpad is recessed and quite large, although it's not always entirely precise for scrolling tasks. Again, with the gaming focus of the GS70, we suspect all of its buyers will have a gaming mouse in mind to pair with it anyway.
Games are still where the MSI GS70 is solidly pitched, and there we had little trouble running just about anything we could find on it at absolutely rock solid frame rates, as long as those apps were installed on the SSD. On the benchmark front, the MSI GS70 recorded 6466 in 3DMark Fire Strike, 3375 in Fire Strike Extreme and 1701 in Fire Strike Ultra. If you're a fan of older games you should have no problem whatsoever; the GS70 managed a very respectable 17,492 in Sky Diver.
The MSI GS70 ships with a combination SSD/HDD setup for storage. The supplied SSD is on the smaller side with only 128GB available, while a 7200RPM 1TB SATA drive handles the heavy drive lifting. CrystalDiskMark showed the distinct difference between the two, reporting read/write rates of 518.4/357.8MBps for the SSD and a much pokier 140.3/133.4MBps for the mechanical drive. Amongst the utilities that MSI preinstalls on the GS70 is a popup to tell you if SSD storage is running low, or more to the point, when it's running low, unless you shift your game files to the larger mechanical drive.Read more: MSI Wind U270 netbook
The MSI GS70 ships with Windows 10 preinstalled, as well as a smattering of MSI utilities. Its Dragon Gaming Centre App allows you to set specific games to pre-launch, as well as giving you a quick snapshot of current system performance, which could either be handy or the kind of thing that you quickly uninstall to free up disk space, depending on your gaming preferences.
Battery life on gaming laptops is always something of a challenge, and it's a challenge that the MSI GS70 6QE 017AU pretty much fails. During our battery rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness, and loop a Full HD MP4 file, the MSI GS70 6QE 017AU managed a paltry one hour and twelve minutes before conking out.
That means that it's not even capable of getting through a single movie, or for that matter, a reasonable length gaming session on the go. Our test is deliberately brutal, but anyone spending this kind of money on a gaming laptop isn't likely to use it simply to play Solitaire. You might game on the GS70, but unless it's plugged in, you won't be gaming for terribly long.
What's The Verdict?
Every gaming laptop manufacturer will have its Skylake products either for sale right now or for sale very soon; even MSI fits this bill with multiple gaming-centric laptops offering Skylake right now. That's an important caveat, because the MSI GS70 isn't the top of MSI's offerings right now; that'd be the MSI GT72 Dominator, which runs around $400 more than the MSI GS70's $2599 asking price.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixelbook, Google Home Mini & Max: Everything Announced At Today’s Google Event
- MSI GE73 7RF VR Raider Gaming Laptop: Full, in-depth review
- Traditional Aussie PC market defies global downward trend again
- Acer expands gaming notebook lineup with Predator Helios 300
- ASUS Announces Two New Entries into the VivoBook Range with the VivoBook 14 and VivoBook 15
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- iPhone 8
- Canon 6D MK II: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic’s EX600U UHD HDR TV + HTB688 soundbar:
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior Systems Analyst - Network/InfrastructureOther
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTChange Manager - must have experience working in Fin ServicesOther
- CCBusiness Analyst - Multiple RolesACT
- FTService Desk Technical LeadOther
- FTDevOps ConsultantVIC
- FTConfiguration AnalystOther
- FTProfessional Services Consultant - UCMOther
- FTNetwork Infrastructure Development EngineerNSW
- FTProgram ManagerOther
- FTDigital Marketing Specialist - Senior roleOther
- CCLinux & Windows Systems Engineer - BrisbaneVIC
- FTIT Security Assurance AnalystOther
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCDevOps Developer (Brisbane Location)NSW
- FTMarketing CoordinatorOther
- FTDigital Reporting AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Digital Producer | 6 Month ContractOther
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystOther
- FTJunior DeveloperQLD
- CCInstructional DesignerNSW
- FTMarketing Executive - Digital, Direct and Customer MarketingOther
- CCCICD ArchitectVIC
- FTJunior-Mid level Technical Software Support/Project CoordinatorQLD