Laptops aren't generally known for their gaming performance, but if you haven't got room for a full-size PC and still want to do the odd bit of simulated action, then the MSI GX700-204UK may well be able to satisfy your virtual desire for around £900.
The GX700 isn't a super cheap laptop, but if you're looking for a desktop replacement with both a large screen and enough horsepower to play games, you could easily spend twice as much. Comparatively, it's a bargain.
It sports one of Intel's newest T8300 Core 2 Duo processors, running at 2.4GHz, and comes with a rather generous 3GB of DDR2 RAM. As a result, it managed an extremely high PCMark05 score of 5,580, which is almost unheard of for a machine with a sub-£1,000 price tag.
It's no slouch when it comes to gaming either, thanks to its Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT MXM graphics chip, scoring just shy of the 3,000 mark with a 3DMark06 score of 2,994. It could be an extremely good deal for gamers with shallow pockets.
The processor and graphics chip may be the standout items, but it's not bad when you consider its other components. The 250GB hard drive may be small compared to some other machines, but in reality, it's more than enough for the casual user.
The GX700 can certainly hold its own when compared to other desktop replacement models, but there are areas where its budget roots start to show. The 17-inch screen provides a large working area, but it only stretches to a resolution of 1,680x1,050 pixels, which is short of the 1,920x,1080 pixels required to show 1080p high definition content without downscaling. There's also no HD optical drive included, with just DVD on offer.
Like all desktop replacement models, the GX700 is far happier when it's safely indoors and isn't really equipped for a life on the road. Disconnect it from the mains power supply and you won't be able to get that much done before it complains about running out of juice. It managed to keep going for just 1 hour 15 minutes running the intensive Battery Eater test and only fared slightly better at 1 hour 57 minutes when faced with the more leisurely Reader tests.
When you first get it out of the box, the black glossy casing looks great. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes tarnished with greasy finger marks. If you like to keep your technology looking its best, you'll have to get used to giving this laptop a wipe down every now and again.
MSI has created an extremely capable machine with the GX700 -- especially when you consider its low price tag. It can't full take advantage of HD content, but in the performance and gaming stakes it's more than capable. Battery life is poor, but no worse than other desktop replacements and the rest of the spec is reasonable for the money.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday