With some meaty hardware and an interesting design, the 17.3-inch MSI GX780R could be a great gaming laptop. We just hope the price won't be too steep.
We'll always reserve a spot in our hearts for monolithic, glowing gaming laptops. As such, the MSI GX780R looks set to bound straight into our chest cavities when it goes on sale in the second half of the year. It's a 17.3-inch monster that jams tonnes of cool hardware into its wedge-shaped chassis.
We don't know exactly how much this laptop will cost yet, but it'll certainly be pretty expensive. If we had to guess, we'd say it'll cost about £1,000. Still, here's hoping MSI can keep the price down.
Like most gaming laptops, the GX780R isn't built to travel. It's really heavy and it's not exactly slim either. Once lodged in your home, this PC won't ever want to leave, and will use its substantial weight and dimensions to keep itself out of satchels and rucksacks. Still, the minuscule Alienware M11x aside, we're used to gaming laptops being lumbering beasts. This is a desktop-replacement machine after all.
We're fond of the design. It doesn't offer the minimalist precision of a MacBook Pro but, for a gaming machine, the GX780R's styling is actually rather demure. The angular trackpad and lid may put you in mind of Tron, but the brushed-aluminium effect across the wrist rest and lid also adds a touch of class.
Still, it's not a gaming machine unless it's covered in glowing lights, and the GX780R certainly delivers in this capacity. A bright, multi-coloured array of LEDs is hidden under the keyboard. Unlike the wussy backlights on some laptops, these LEDs seem capable of illuminating the keyboard even in well-lit conditions. The power button lights up too.
The keyboard has been designed by gaming-accessories manufacturer SteelSeries. That company certainly knows its keyboards, but, alas, we didn't have enough time to test this one out properly. It certainly looks carefully laid out, though.
We noticed there's no Windows key on the left of the keyboard -- presumably so you'll avoid accidental presses that jump you out of your game and back to the Windows desktop. Assuming it's a deliberate omission, that shows a promising degree of care.
The 17.3-inch display feels massive, with a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels keeping everything looking sharp. At first glance, it also looks very bright and colourful, so the experience of blowing someone's skull into pieces should be even more enjoyable.
Some chunky internal hardware delivers this machine's gaming grunt. A quad-core, 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM CPU runs the show. Naturally, the machine also has a hefty graphics card, in the shape of an Nvidia GeForce GT 555M.
We don't know how much memory this laptop will eventually pack, but we imagine it'll have plenty. The unit we examined had 16GB of RAM, but that seems excessive even for a machine of this calibre. We guess the final product will probably arrive on the scene with between 4GB and 8GB of memory.
With all of this hardware inside, we expect the GX780R to handle current-generation games with the settings dialled up high. The real test will come when we put this machine through our benchmark tests, though. Then we'll be able to say whether this monster is really worth your time and money.
MSI's produced some appealing, affordable gaming laptops in recent times, so, if the company can keep the price down, the GX780R could prove to be every gamer's dream machine. Stay tuned for a full review soon.
Edited by Charles Kloet