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Review MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Gaming Notebook

Red-hot.

The MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme is a serious competitor of every modding PC. A big logo on its lid, bright red flames everywhere you look, and a deep black case are the trademarks of the Extreme model we reviewed. So, you'll surely recognize it even from a distance. Inside the 17-inch notebook there are a Core 2 Duo processor, a nVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, two Gigabyte RAM, a HD-DVD drive, and a matte WUXGA-display. If you prefer a more decent design, the MSI GX700 provides you with nearly the same performance, but, has a more decent case.

MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme

Case

Its easy to recognize the purpose of the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme at the first glance. Each detail hints on the gaming aspect. Framed by bright red flames there is a big logo on the deep black lid. Once open, you'll detect the same flames on the palm rest area and dark red movement keys, W, A, S, D.  Even the touch pad has a glaring red colour spot. Furthermore, a laser mouse with the same design, a simple headset, and a handy knapsack are provided. The equipment with accessories is exemplary, so that there is hardly any need to buy additional  accessories for elegantly travelling to the nearest LAN-party.

If you take a closer look at the generous scope of supply, it gets obvious soon that MSI has been clearly inspired by the gaming series by Asus, one of its competitors. Asus gaming notebooks come with a similarly striking design, similar accessories and are offered at a comparable price. If you prefer a more business-like design, you can order the MSI GX700, model "performance", whose performance is nearly the same, but, has a case better suited for daily work without extensive striking design. However, this model does not include the knapsack and the other accessories mentioned above.

The MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme has a completely black case made of plastics. Our tests proved that it is quite robust and that its workmanship is good. However, it does not stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately the cavity for the interfaces at the front of the case is quite edged, so, daily work with the touch pad might not be extremely user-friendly. Typical big notebook made of plastics, the surface of the case slightly yields and creaks especially at the palm rest area when applying moderate force.

The quality of the lid conforms to the standard of this notebook class. Even when applying only some force at the outside, the whole lid deflects, so, the sensible LCD is not well protected. If you carry the notebook in the knapsack, you should, therefore, especially take care that nothing heavy, e.g., books, bear against the lid. Furthermore, the design is very sensible to dirt of all kinds. Fingerprints and dust almost stick to the shiny black plastic surface and it's merely a matter of time until there are some small scratches if you carry it frequently. Of course the same is also true for the inner surfaces which are made of plastics. Especially the palm rest area will look used soon. However, it can be easily cleaned by the provided micro fibre cloth.

Interface Equipment

Despite the first impression the equipment of the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme is not only suitable for computer games. The interface equipment consist of unfortunately only three USB ports, Firewire, and a memory card reader at its front side. There is a small web cam in the display frame, which is alright for video conferences. With the provided headset you are also  ready to understand you partners without problems. The integrated sound chip by Realtek has both, an analogue interface, which can be used to attach a stereo or surround system, and a combined optical out, which provides high-quality sound via a fitting adapter.

The last aspect is especially important for home use, because the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme is not only a gaming notebook, but also an exemplary multimedia computer. An analogue VGA port and finally a ultra-modern HDMI out increase combined with up-to-date LCD TVs the fun even more. It was possible to attach a LCD TV by Toshiba to the reviewed notebook within seconds. It's as easy and trouble-free as attaching an external computer screen. So, you can play games or watch films in unbelievable size. However, transferring audio signals via HDMI with the pre-installed driver did not work properly.

The movie itself can be as usual on hard disk or on CD. The optical drive even supports the still not widespread HD-DVDs. If you have the proper media, you'll be able to see new top quality pictures. The difference to standard DVD playback gets obvious at once and is really impressive, regardless of whether you connect an external 32 inch screen or use the 17 inch notebook panel. Also exemplary: This notebook comes with a proper software for watching HD-DVDs. So, there is, in contrary to other manufacturers, no need to spend a high amount on money on it. Apropos HD-DVD: The GX700 Performance can also be equipped with Bluray drive. According to the latest developments its seems that this standard is more wide-spread than the HD-DVD format. So, it is likely that there are more and more movies in this format available in the future. Hopefully, MSI will upgrade the more stylish GX700 Extreme with a Bluray drive soon.

Left Side: HD-DVD Drive, 2x USB 2.0
Left Side: HD-DVD Drive, 2x USB 2.0
Right Side: ExpressCard/54, USB 2.0, Fan, Firewire
Right Side: ExpressCard/54, USB 2.0, Fan, Firewire
Front Side: Firewire, Cardreader, Audio Ports
Front Side: Firewire, Cardreader, Audio Ports
Back Side: Fan, Battery, Kensington Lock, LAN, Modem, Power Connector
Back Side: Fan, Battery, Kensington Lock, LAN, Modem, Power Connector

Input Devices

Alike most of 17 inch notebooks also the MSI-Notebook has a complete keyboard including numeric pad. Because there is too less space for 104 keys of full size side by side, some hot keys, the umlauts (of the German keyboard layout), and the cursor keys are smaller than usual. Instead of the standard size of 1.7 x 1.7 cm² these are only 1.2 x 1.7 cm². Until you got used to this, some typing mistakes are likely. Although the keyboard clearly yields in its centre and partly clatters, the key feedback is rather definite.

The design for gaming has not seen through to completion. While the W, A, S, and D keys are highlighted in red, the left Ctrl key, which is also important for gamers, is not completely left, but right beside the Fn key. Those who like jump and run games won't be pleased by shrunk cursor keys too. If your hands are big, you might have troubles using them.

The mouse pointer can be precisely controlled by the 7.4 x 4.7 cm² touch pad. The vertical scroll area helps browsing through long documents and web sites. Because of the big resolution of its WUXGA panel, the GX700 does not provide a horizontal scroll area ex factory.  But, if you need one, you can simply configure the driver for it. Both of the pad's buttons are rather stiff and especially the left one clearly too loud. But, overall they work properly.

Keyboard
Touch pad

Display

Farbdiagramm

The display properties of the reviewed MSI GX700 Extreme differ from most other notebooks of its price class. The high resolution of 1920x1200 pixels (WUXGA) is uncommonly fine and it comes with a matt surface which is totally remarkable considering the GX700 is designed for gaming and multimedia. At the cost of brilliance, the display does at least not reflect.

The display scores average in our tests. Besides the matt surface good viewing angles get obvious at once. Especially horizontal the possible viewing angles are above average. As expected the quality diminishes faster horizontally, but, it stays just alright. The  colours are slightly dull, but neural. The contrast seem also somewhat weak.

89.2
cd/m²
119.4
cd/m²
103.3
cd/m²
99.6
cd/m²
117.5
cd/m²
109.4
cd/m²
138.1
cd/m²
155.6
cd/m²
146.7
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 155.6 cd/m²
Average: 119.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 57 %
Black: 0.5 cd/m²
Contrast: 235:1

Checking games the display showed its real strong side. Even if it is not used in its native resolution, which is very fine, the displayed picture is always alright. The resolution of 1280x800 pixels (WXGA) is brilliantly represented, so, the load on the video card can be reduced when running current games, which often do not reach sufficient frame rates for smoothly running at native display resolutions. Furthermore, after-images are rare when running fast shooters and there is hardly any video noise when watching movies.

On the contrary the measurements are not as good. The average brightness of just 119.9 cd/m² is clearly below-average. Furthermore, if the background is uniform, you'll detect a darkening to the upper corners with the naked eye. As expected with regards to our personal impression, the contrast ratio and the colour representation are below average.

MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Blickwinkelstabilität

Performance

Windows Vista Performance Index
Windows Vista Performance Index

The MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme is based on the most up-to-date technology by Intel, a Core 2 Duo T7500 with a clock-rate of 2,2 GHz and 4  MByte L2-Cache. The processor is part of the current Santa Rosa mobile technology and is connected to the chip-set via a 800 MHz bus. Furthermore, there are two GByte DDR2-667-RAM available, which is a good choice for Windows Vista.

The choice of the video card is clearly surprising. Although the look of the GX700 Extreme emphasises its gaming character there is only a nVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT with 512 MByte GDDR2-Speicher in its inside. Most other gaming notebooks of the same size are at least equipped with a Geforce 8700M GT. This is probably because its hardly possible to cool a more powerful chip inside the specially slim case - a compromise to the look.

The results in the 3D benchmarks are compared to competitor notebooks surprisingly good though. This might be a result of the good Windows configuration of the notebook we reviewed or of improvements of the video card driver developed during the last few weeks and months. We used the newest Beta-reference driver by nVIDIA, version number 171.16 throughout the review.

The result of the 3DMark06 benchmark run at a resolution of 1280x800 pixels was 3608 points. The PCMark05 resulted in 5182 points, which is above average. The universal Crystalmark2004R2 certify 97353 Punkte, Windows Vista displays 4.5 performance points – both are also good results.

The capacity of the built-in hard disk by Western Digital is more than sufficient for a lot of games and multimedia files. As in previous reviews the 250 GByte hard disk of the Scorpio series works always very fast and pleasingly quiet. Noises during access can only be suspected, because the loud CPU fan is much more evident.

Systeminfo CPU
Systeminfo CPU
Systeminfo CPU
Systeminfo CPU
Systeminfo CPU
Systeminfo GPU
3D Mark
3DMark 056511 points
3DMark 06
 1280x800
3608 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Asus N10E (min)
 N270, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950
91
   ...
Zepto Znote 6224W
 T7300, GeForce 8600M GT
3310
Dell Studio XPS 13
 P9500, GeForce 9500M G
3442
MSI Megabook GX700
 T7500, GeForce 8600M GT
3608
HP ProBook 6460b LG645EA
 2520M, HD Graphics 3000
3753
HP Compaq 8510w
 T7700, Quadro FX 570M
3904
   ...
Samsung Serie 7 700Z3C-S01 (max)
 3210M, GeForce GT 630M
9346
PC Mark
PCMark 055182 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Asus C90S
 E6600, GeForce 8600M GT
5173
Acer TravelMate 6592G-832G25N
 T8300, Mobility Radeon HD 2400 XT
5181
MSI Megabook GX700
 T7500, GeForce 8600M GT
5182
HP Pavilion dv5-1032eg
 P7350, GeForce 9600M GT
5192
Toshiba Satellite X200-21P
 T7700, GeForce 8600M GT SLI
5196
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
250 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 27 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 53.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 42 MB/s
Access Time: 17.8 ms
Burst Rate: 46.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 12.7 %
Doom 3
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768Ultra, 0xAA, 0xAF83.4 fps
 800x600High, 0xAA, 0xAF106.3 fps
 640x480Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF126.1 fps
 640x480Low, 0xAA, 0xAF149.7 fps
F.E.A.R.
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1024x768GPU: max, CPU: max, 0xAA, 0xAF36 fps
 800x600GPU medium, CPU medium, 0xAA, 0xAF114 fps
 640x480GPU min, CPU min, 0xAA, 0xAF303 fps
Crysis - CPU Benchmark
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1200Medium, 0AA, 0AF8.02 fps
 1920x1200Low, 0AA, 0AF13.67 fps
 1440x900Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF12.84 fps
 1440x900Low, 0xAA, 0xAF31.58 fps
 1280x800Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF15.15 fps
 1280x800Low, 0xAA, 0xAF35.87 fps
Crysis - GPU Benchmark
 ResolutionSettingsValue
 1920x1200Medium, 0AA, 0AF5.56 fps
 1920x1200Low, 0AA, 0AF21.01 fps
 1440x900Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF13.07 fps
 1440x900Low, 0xAA, 0xAF35.34 fps
 1280x800Medium, 0xAA, 0xAF15.59 fps
 1280x800Low, 0xAA, 0xAF42.38 fps

Emissions

Loudness

If you are very sensible to noises, you won't be happy with this notebook. Regardless of the load, the fan runs permanently and is thereby clearly audible. We did hardly recognize any hard disk accesse due to a noise level of about 39.0 dbA. When running 3D games the speed of the fan is slowly increased in two further steps. So, the noise reaches 47.3 dbA after some minutes. The sound via the integrated speakers or via the headset is able to compensate the turbine like noise of the fan to some extent. Most other laptops of this class are clearly quieter though.

Noise Level

Idle 38.6 / 39.0 / 39.0 dB(A)
HDD 39.1 dB(A)
DVD 44.1 / 48.6 dB(A)
Load 41.5 / 47.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Despite a loud fan the temperature increase of the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme was above-average during our tests. The maximum was 38.4°C at the top side, which is already rather uncomfortable. At some parts the bottom side gets as hot as 52°C. We won't recommend running one of the current 3D games lap top.

When running standard office applications the temperatures stay alright. We measured up to 30°C at the top side and up to 31°C at the bottom side.

Max. Load
 28.4 °C33.6 °C36.2 °C 
 27.6 °C31.6 °C38.8 °C 
 22.6 °C29.4 °C38.4 °C 
Maximum: 38.8 °C
Average: 31.8 °C
37.0 °C52.6 °C30.6 °C
47.6 °C41.8 °C31.0 °C
35.2 °C37.2 °C27.4 °C
Maximum: 52.6 °C
Average: 37.8 °C
Room Temperature 20.0 °C

Speakers

This MSI notebook is equipped with four stereo speakers and a small sub-woofer. Their sound is surprisingly good in computer games: Explosions and noises of weapons of the Egoshooter Crysis sound considering they are notebook speakers surprisingly full although the speakers are only recognized as standard stereo system by Windows.

However, this 4.1 system is not so fit for movies. Typical for this notebook class the speakers frequently omit smaller details. So, overall the sound is somewhat blurred. The sub-woofer is not able to compensate the weaknesses regarding middle and high tones of the four stereo speakers. Nonetheless, the sound system is sufficient for listening to background music.

A 9-cell battery with nearly 800 Wh capacity provides energy, if the notebook is unplugged. The battery weighs about 470 g and protrudes the back side of the notebook by about one and a half centimetre. In return, its runtime is good. Up to four hours are possible, under full load still nearly one and a half hours. When running standard applications like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint the runtime is about three to three and a half hours - laudable.

Power Consumption

Idle 22.9 / 33.0 / 34.5 Watt
Load 70.4 / 87.8 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 07min
WiFi Surfing
2h 57min
DVD
2h 08min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 29min

Verdict

MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Gaming Notebook
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Gaming Notebook

Overall the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme is a successful desktop replacement. Due to striking design it should be able to attract its target group, but put others off. The provided mouse, the headset, and the knapsack will surely attract attention at the next LAN party, whereas the knapsack makes it easier to get there.

Inside this 17 inch notebook there are a fast Core 2 Duo processor with 2.2 GHz by Intel,  two GB RAM, and a fast 250 GB hard disk which ensure good performance in all fields of operation. The built-in nVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT video chip is generally no bad choice. Nonetheless, a more powerful chip would have been desirable for a gaming notebook of this size. Nevertheless, all current games can be played smoothly with the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme.

Being comprehensively equipped, this MSI notebook stands out of the crowd. HDMI and VGA out, an analogue and an optical 5.1 audio out and finally a HD DVD drive are seldom provided in a bundle. The high resolution WUXGA display is somewhat dark and its colours are weak. Nonetheless, the desktop size is enormous and its interpolation properties are brilliant. However, a reflecting LCD with brilliant colours would probably better match the multimedia character of this notebook.

Although battery runtime is not a crucial aspect for 17 inch notebook, this MSI notebook scores alright here. This 3.5 kg light notebook needed to be recharged only after a maximum runtime of four hours.

During our test we found hardly weaknesses of the MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme.  These are a not ideally designed and clattering keyboard and the high noise and temperature emissions. The display could be brighter too.

The MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme with the reviewed equipment will cost nearly 1400 Euro, but is not available yet. This laptop is about 150 Euro cheaper without HD-DVD drive. The "Performance" model, which looks that striking, is available for about 1050 Euro and more.

Reviewed: MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Gaming Notebook
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Gaming Notebook

Specifications

MSI Megabook GX700

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel PM965
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR2 PC5300 667 MHz
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT - 512 MB, Core: 475 MHz, Memory: 400 MHz
:: Display
17.1 inch 16:10, 1920x1200 pixel, WUXGA, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
250 GB - 5400 rpm, 250 GB 5400 rpm WDC WD2500BEVS
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC888
:: Connections
1 Express Card 54mm, 3 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Modem, 2 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Microphone, Headphones (combined with optical out), Card Reader: 3in1 (MMC/SD/MS),
:: Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN (a b g n ), V2.0+EDR Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
Toshiba DVDW/HD TS-L802A
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 31-35 x 396 x 297
:: Weight
3.538 kg Power Supply: 0.544 kg
:: Battery
80 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1V, 7200 mAh
:: Price
1400 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32 Bit
:: Additional features
mouse, headset, knapsack, Cyberlink PowerDVD HD, 24 Months Warranty

 

[+] compare
The MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme has a slim case ...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
A powerful 80 Wh battery makes a runtime of up to four hours possible.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
Not reasonable: Small cursor keys are especially for jump and run games not really user-friendly.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
The edged front part is not very user-friendly.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... and considering it is a 17 inch notebook the case is very slim.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
The workmanship of the black case is good...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
The fine WUXGA-Display is 17 inch big, non-reflecting, and able to brilliantly interpolate other resolutions for games. However, contrast ratio, brilliance of colours, and luminance are below-average.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... and a HD DVD drive at the left side it is fit for watching (high-resolution) movies in the living room.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... Due to a HMDI interface at the right side ...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
Looking closer this MSI notebook has also other qualities:...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... and a number of further accessories, whose colours fit well to the notebook's design. The knapsack is sufficiently big for everything needed at the nearest LAN party.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... a simple headset...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
The manufacturer also provides a precise laser mouse...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... and the palm rest areas are worth a closer look.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... the touch pad...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... but also the inside, the keyboard...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
First of all you'll notice the big log on its back...
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
... with striking design.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image
The sound system consists of four speakers and a small sub-woofer.
MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Image

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Price Comparison

MSI Megabook GX700 on Ciao

Pro

+Comprehensive Scope of Delivery
+Recovery-media provided
+Analogue VGA and digital HDMI out
+HD-DVD-drive
+Non-reflecting display with high-resolution and very good interpolation performance
+Low temperature emissions during office work
+Good battery runtime
+Compact case
+Integrated web cam
 

Cons

-Only 3x USB 2.0
-Display unevenly illuminated
-High temperature increase under full load
-Keyboard with weaknesses
-Partly edged edges
-Fan runs always
-Loud under load

Rating

MSI Megabook GX700
09/27/2007
Kristian Kübeck

Chassis
82%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
88%
Weight
63%
Battery
62%
Display
75%
Games Performance
91%
Application Performance
97%
Temperature
73%
Noise
67%
Add Points
91%
Average
80%
80%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review MSI Megabook GX700 Extreme Gaming Notebook
Author: Kristian Kübeck, 2008-02- 3 (Update: 2012-05-26)