[PAX East 2013] Powerhouse Gaming Laptops by ASUS & MSI – First Impressions

PC Duo

In the world of PC gaming, it is commonplace for your traditional PC gamer to have a rig that they built themselves. I still have mine, although it was built during the creation of Stonehenge. But how about your closed-quarters gamer looking for a desktop replacement? Not everyone has the space for a 500 key Razer keyboard with a game stats screen. So what do gamer-supporting computer companies consider a proper all-in-one gaming package?

On the floor at PAX East 2013, we got our hands on ASUS’ G75VW and MSI’s GT70. So we let MSI and ASUS show us what a flagship gaming laptop should look like.

As you should expect, both of these 8.6~8.7 lb flagship machines demonstrate the standard of a strong foundation; Each sporting an Intel i7-363QM Quad Core (mobile) processor with a processing speed of 2.4 GHz – capable of reaching 3.4GHz, 16GB of DDR3 memory and an HM77 chipset. They both have 17″ displays with a 1920 by 1080 resolution and have complete audio set-ups – stereo speakers with built in subwoofers. Built-in connectivity includes Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 10/100/1000 LAN port, Multi-media card reader, VGA and HDMI outs, headphone/mic ports, and USB 3.0 ports. Each desktop replacement here comes with Windows 8 64bit and Blue-ray combo burner drives. No dongles needed here…

But lets hear it from the horses’ mouths, yes? (No horses were present or hurt when we filmed these videos…)

MSI GT70 Series

This brush aluminum black machine was easy on the eyes in its external shell, its anti-reflection screen, and its SteelSeries full-color programmable backlit keyboard. It hits hard with an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 680M (4GB) video card, Dual 128GB Solid State Drives (aka SSD’s) using RAID 0, a 750GB HDD (Hard Disk Drive) running at 7200 RPM and a 9 Cell battery. The LAN components (both wired and wireless) are made by Killer. In the accessory components department, it has a 720P HD Webcam, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and 2 USB 2.0 ports. Special Features include MSI’s TDE (Turbo Drive Engine) Technology which provides a 3-5 percent boost in graphics performance to accelerate video decoding and MSI’s Cooler Boost Technology which Instantly increases airflow to cool down the engine for better performance. The MSI GT70 goes for $2799.

 

GT70 Photo11 GT70 Photo9 GT70 Photo6 GT70 Photo29 GT70 Photo30

 

ASUS G75VW

 

This machine expresses its power while focusing on comfort for long-term gameplay with its anti-glare panel, a spacious illuminated keyboard with isolated arrow keys, soft-touch palm rest and rear-vented cooling exhausts with detachable fan filters. It powers through 3D gaming with an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 670M (3GB) Video card and supports true 3D gameplay using NVIDIA® 3D Vision™ 2 with NVIDIA® 3D LightBoost tm. technology. Inside you also get a 256 GB Solid State Drive, a 750GB HDD (running at
7200 RPM) and a 8 Cell battery. The 4 USB ports are all USB 3.0. And while the machine combats discomfort it also combats impatience thanks to instant-on technology (provides a 2 to 5 second instant resume). The ASUS G75VW is available now for $1799.
G75VW-MAING75_Left_Side G75_Left_Top G75_Right_Side  G75_Right_Back_Open

 

First Impressions

Now, its safe to say that you can play pretty much anything out there now with either of these powerhouses. Now you have to understand what you want to pay for, given the $1000 difference in price. MSI put in a slightly higher-end video card, big name gaming brand components by Killer Gaming and SteelSeries, the dual 128 GB SSD drives on RAID 0 for a faster read on a 240ish GB volume, and a non-reflective matte screen. Any SSD is fast on its own compared HDD’s leaving one to ask if they need that speed (There are people that do want it). Personally, I would settle with the 256GB SSD in ASUS’s model considering that both machines have the supplementary 750 GB HDD. Keyboard customizing coloring is entertaining; It was one of my favorite customization features on my Alienware M11x. But if I wanted to shave off some dollars, I’ll find myself getting accustomed to a standard (non-color) backlit keyboard quite quickly.

Next you’ll have to make an important decision of whether you want a 3GB Video Card or a 4GB one(the aforementioned GTX 670M vs the GTX 680M, respectively). NVIDIA’s Geforce GTX 600 Series video cards are their current top of the line. One has to assume that the difference in the two is also influencing the difference in overall cost here. Again, you have to assess what you want vs. the cost. That’s not to say that true 3D gaming and a consideration of ergonomics should be looked over. As these are just “first impressions”, only long-term use of either machine can properly vet whether one is more comfortable than the other. But there is an audience for 3D gameplay, and if one has the money to spend on these PC’s they’ll find themselves spending $1000 less for what they want.

At a first glance, both machines come across as perfect for any gamer. As I said before, there most likely isn’t a game out now that either these “porta”-rigs can’t handle. And I cannot see anyone that buys one of these machines and look in the other direction with envy. But if you are a PC gamer like several of us here at RFMAG, you’ll know what you want. So consider what you want to pay for. Then again, if you don’t want a gaming desktop solution and you want something even cheaper and more mobile, you could always check out the $949 15 inch “little guy” G55VW mentioned during the latter half of the ASUS demo.

Want to look into the GT70 or more that MSI has to offer? Click here to visit MSI’s GT70 page.

Want to look into the G75VW or more that ASUS has to offer? Click here to visit ASUS’ G75VW page.

Double-Jump

Double-Jump spends his day double-jumping over users' IT HelpDesk requests so that he has more time to double-jump in games. He enjoys double-jumping in PC, console and mobile games. His element resides mainly in Shooters, RPGs, and Fighters with a hint of the miscellaneous. The only time he sits still is when he gets his hands on a gadget.

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