MSI GX660R review: MSI GX660R

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The Good Phenomenal spec for the price. Better than usual audio. Good expansion options.

The Bad Construction is a little cheap, especially the keyboard. Audio weirdly attenuates system sounds. MSI's software still needs polish.

The Bottom Line While we'd be more comfortable with the Asus G73J, if you're a gamer who wants to squeeze the most value for your dollar, you may find your goal in the GX660R.

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8.0 Overall

Review Sections

Gaming predictions

If we were to pick what design screams "gaming laptop" more than anything else, it would be lots of angles, the speakers would be highlighted in some fashion, and the laptop would be decked out in a combination of red, black, grey and carbon fibre, like some sort of super car. Oh, and lights. Lots of lights.

So MSI's GX660R rather snugly fits into the cliche, even if its carbon fibre wrist rest is faked. The power button has even been transformed into a shield that wouldn't look out of place on a Lamborghini.

This is MSI's take on Asus' G73J, even down to the hardware. Imitation, flattery, all that.

This means a Core i7 720QM, ATI Radeon HD5870, dual-500GB 7200rpm hard drives, a Blu-ray combo drive and a Full HD screen. Recent CPU and graphics card announcements aside, this is some seriously powerful kit.

Coming into its own

Where it's one-upped its rival is by offering its gaming nerdvana in a 15.6-inch form factor rather than 17.3, and cramming 12GB RAM instead of 8.

While Asus is set to answer this with new hardware in the upcoming G53Sw (and MSI itself with the GT680), MSI has had to deal with the fact that less space equals less airflow, and thus have offered a touch button situated under the monitor that spins the fans up to full.

This is particularly handy, as right next to it is a turbo button that increases the bus speed from 133MHz to 138MHz, giving you the tiniest extra puff of performance and desperately needing the extra cooling the aforementioned fan button offers. Without it, the GX660R crashed out of our benchmarks each time.

There are other touch buttons too: one that turns off the Windows key in case you're infuriated by such things; wireless and Bluetooth radio switches; and an "Eco" button that cycles through power profiles.

Lights! Sound!

Oh, and a button that lord knows what it does. Supposedly it's meant to open MSI's LED manager, but it never would. Then again, the LED manager wouldn't turn on the LEDs to begin with either, requiring an uninstall and a reinstall with the latest version from MSI's website. MSI still clearly hasn't picked up its software game.

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