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What do you think of this MSI laptop?


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#1 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17039

Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:21 PM

I'm looking for a ~$800 laptop for my brother, primarily for playing computer games (ugh, gaming on laptops).

He can tweak the settings down as needed, but being a Call of Duty fan, will no doubt want to play CoD: Ghosts (though he can lower the settings).

 

It's difficult to find a good laptop for gaming for such a low price. Heck, it's difficult to find a good laptop for gaming (Full stop).

 

Anyways, I'm looking at this laptop for him - here are my concerns:

  • The i7 core doesn't mention how many cores it has. But the model number (3630QM) implies that it's a quad core.
  • It's from a brand I'm not personally familiar (MSI). I've never had a MSI laptop, and until now I've never even heard of them. (But wikipedia says they are huge producers of motherboards and such).
  • The videocard is a NVIDIA GeForce GT 645M, which doesn't seem to be the fastest silicon in the drawer.

Is this a reasonable laptop, all things considered? What do you think about the MSI brand?


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#2 tychon   Members   -  Reputation: 652

Posted 04 November 2013 - 03:49 PM

MSI is a thing if you're into building your own gaming rig. I've never used one of their laptops, but I've used their motherboards before. Not bad stuff. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if their laptops were decent too. Also, the Q in the i7 model number means quad. Or at least it has for every one I've seen. I don't really keep up like I used to, but I assume it's still the same.

 

You're probably not going to find much better than something like that given the price range and it being a laptop. My other recently got a Dell Inspiron 17RSE with a 650M for $750, but it was also $150 off at the time. The rest of the hardware is similar to what that has, I believe. You'd have to find a sale to do better.



#3 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 17039

Posted 04 November 2013 - 04:44 PM

Thanks. Ordered it, after discussing it with some others and doing some more research.

If anyone else is interested in one, I can't vouch for their overall quality, but the price for that hardware is fantastic, at $600 on Newegg for the next 4 days (normally $830).


Edited by Servant of the Lord, 04 November 2013 - 04:45 PM.

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#4 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:15 PM

I would have gone with a Clevo. Faster CPU (albeit fewer cores), faster GPU, and much better screen.



#5 Vilem Otte   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1345

Posted 04 November 2013 - 06:39 PM

No one is AMD guy like me? I'm also buying one for me - but well at lower price and for work & net during travelling (no notebook can compare to desktop within the same price range ... and well I rather invest in desktop than in notebook) ... it's around EUR 400 (Lenovo IdeaPad G505 or something like that - quad core AMD CPU, Mob. Radeon HD 8570, ... 15.6 display and it's quite light - this made the notebook win at me) here (incl. 21% VAT ... sorry for saying this here, but f*** u EU and especially Czech government) - although I know few gaming people that bought MSI and their gaming editions are really good (still uncomparable to desktop at the same price).

 

Also care for heating - my good buddy bought an i7 notebook (not for gaming, business one) few years ago and the heating is really a problem (it sometimes just overheats and shuts down). Basically because of that I prefer less "powerful" notebooks, and if I play, I do on desktop.

 

And last think, don't ever buy notebook with integrated graphics card - that's true evil.


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#6 tharealjohn   Members   -  Reputation: 451

Posted 05 November 2013 - 11:30 AM

I can't touch too much on the quality of a MSI laptop, because I have never used one or owned their hardware. 

 

 

 


The i7 core doesn't mention how many cores it has. But the model number (3630QM) implies that it's a quad core.

 

The way I understand it, it works like this:

 

  • i7 - Quad Core, HyperThreading.
  • i5 - Quad Core, no HyperThreading.
  • i3 - Dual Core, no HyperThreading.

HyperThreading gives 1 "software" based core for each hardware core. So you can think of this as the i7 actually having 8 cores (not really, but basically), which is what will show up when you look at task manager in windows.

 

The graphics card is said to be able to run Battlefield 3 on medium settings (not 1920x1080 resolution) well, and (lesser) games like Modern Warfare 2 on high settings. That laptop meets the minimum system requirements for COD:Ghosts. So you can imagine playing it on low-medium settings, maybe some other tweaks will make it ok. 

 

I bought this laptop for gaming two years ago. I was able to play most games on medium-high settings. The nice thing about that laptop was the cooling system, which really made a difference. If you are going to let your brother game on that laptop, he will need a cooling pad. Not the silly 5$ walmart version either. Something like this should be better. The laptop I bought had better specs then my desktop (CPU, GPU, RAM, etc) but still my desktop performed better on games. The power and cooling is just more on my desktop, and sometimes the numbers on those chips just dont mean anything in the real world. Its almost a gamble!


Edited by tharealjohn, 05 November 2013 - 11:36 AM.

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#7 tychon   Members   -  Reputation: 652

Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:14 PM


The way I understand it, it works like this

 

You'd be right for desktop models, but current mobile i7 have dual core versions. Almost all mobile i5 are dual core, too. 



#8 SymLinked   Members   -  Reputation: 812

Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:47 PM

No offence intended, but let's be honest here... the people who claim it's such a big deal to play games on laptops are people who've never played games on high-end laptops.

I went from only having stationary computer rigs to a G74SX and I've never been happier. I can't tell much difference in performance, and the keyboard is huge.



#9 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1176

Posted 05 November 2013 - 12:49 PM

- You can and SHOULD always look up information on the components different resellers list for products. Because resellers always have motive to make everything sound better than they are and sometimes they just borderline lie and live out "details" in their benefit. Intel has good site for their products: http://ark.intel.com/products/71459/

 

- MSI should be one of the "quality" manufacturers, although they are mostly known for motherboards at least around where I live.

 

- The most important factor in any laptop, especially gaming laptops for me is the warranty. Because they will be constantly used near their peak performance, these machines will overheat, they will get cluttered with dust and hair, they will likely have a vital component break after certain amount of years because of all of that. When your motherboard, processor or graphics card breaks beyond what you can repair yourself the machine is essentially worthless if you don't have a warranty because repairing it with all the shipping will take months and cost several hundred dollars minimum depending on the components and your location. In my country you can get a 3 year warranty at best when you buy from certain reseller, some manufacturers even offer warranty extensions beyond that. 

 

I had a semi-gaming laptop (800 euros) break some 4 years ago ONE month after warranty had expired. GPU fried because of overheating, I diagnosed. It was a good brand (Asus) with 2 years warranty but what can you do when it's just expired. Asked around for estimates and they totalled some 550 euros including shipping, repairs and new components, data loss of course. For a machine that had no further warranty and was couple years old, I could have grabbed a new and better laptop with full warranty in a store for that price. But I actually decided to take a good break from gaming back then.

 

Seeing you already purchased something I can but wish you good luck with it smile.png

 

EDIT: Also note about AMD: Their processors have a history of heating more than Intel although they tend to pack more power for the price. After this lesson in thermal effects I'm considering my next processor value more carefully. I don't know if AMD has improved on the subject, it is quite possible they have but these things tend to haunt the average consumer for a long time which is why we have so strong AMD vs Intel and Nvidia vs Ati camps :)


Edited by ShadowFlar3, 05 November 2013 - 12:55 PM.


#10 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6728

Posted 05 November 2013 - 01:07 PM

Performance wise, it should be pretty decent for gaming. My Lenovo W530 has a roughly-equivilent NV Quadro K2000M, and I played through borderlands at 1920x1200 with high settings and a solid framerate.

 

If you hadn't have ordered already, I might have recommended the Lenovo Y410 -- Its in your original price range when you catch it on sale (like it is now) and has a slightly better GPU than the MSI. The Y410, Y510, and last year's Y400 support an extra GPU for SLI in Ultrabay form-factor which isa really neat way to amp up the graphics performance, and it was cool that you could add it later if you couldn't afford it right away -- I think the extra GPU went for about $200, so it wasn't cheap, but I hope they don't abandon the idea of ultrabay GPUs in the future.



#11 Chad Smith   Members   -  Reputation: 1041

Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:45 AM

Just saying, I have a MSI Laptop.  I bought it a little more than a year ago.  Here are the specs:

Intel i7 3610QM Processor

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M 2GB GDDR5

8GB RAM

 

I love it and would definitely suggest their hardware.  I haven't had a single problem with it and it is put together just as well as most other laptops in the price range are.  Build quality isn't Apple or anything close to that but for what it is it is very good.  So yes I am very happy with my purchase and I would consider purchasing another one of their laptops.



#12 Sirisian   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1635

Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:09 PM

I would have gone with a Clevo. Faster CPU (albeit fewer cores), faster GPU, and much better screen.

Yeah I have two Clevo laptops. Can't get much better. Lot of resellers. I would have recommended malibal if you're closer to them. That said their screens are amazing. I didn't realize this until I started comparing mine against others. Most resellers have these LED Glossy "Glassview" displays. The quality of the screen is way higher than any LCD you'd find a normal gamer using. I made an image to help. On my clevo I can see all 18 squares easily. If you can only see the top row then this is what it looks like color corrected into your screens lower gamut. The range of colors is basically much higher and more vibrant. The difference is really evident in games with darkness.

 

That said for your price range you did pretty good.


Edited by Sirisian, 06 November 2013 - 11:11 PM.


#13 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:27 PM

I made an image to help. On my clevo I can see all 18 squares easily. If you can only see the top row then this is what it looks like color corrected into your screens lower gamut. The range of colors is basically much higher and more vibrant. 

 

I'm on a retina MacBook Pro and I can just barely make out the second row. angry.png



#14 wintertime   Members   -  Reputation: 1599

Posted 07 November 2013 - 05:02 AM

You can not tell the screen quality from viewing a single very dark picture. It pretty much only depends on some settings like gamma in screen and graphics driver.

Its the little secret of shop people who screw up the settings of cheap screens (and often hide the controls so you can not adjust it), to make people buy the expensive ones.

There are websites with real calibration images for adjusting your settings, for example, http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/. It only takes a few minutes.



#15 tharealjohn   Members   -  Reputation: 451

Posted 07 November 2013 - 12:54 PM


but current mobile i7 have dual core versions

 

Thanks for sharing! I didnt know that!


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