Medion Erazer X6815

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 Medion Erazer X6815

Medion’s Erazer X6815 is a powerful and impressive all-round laptop with more than enough punch for your pound, thanks to the inclusion of Intel’s sophisticated second-generation Core i7 processor.

Gamers are the intended audience, which is obvious from the included GeForce GT 555M graphics card. Despite the powerful components, Medion has kept the price down to £699, and at this price it’s an absolute steal.

Unfortunately there are some build concessions. For a 15.6-inch laptop, the Erazer is quite the chubbster. At 2.7Kg and with a 37mm chassis, it’s heavy compared to other models of the same size, although it’s still compact enough to carry around without breaking your back in the process.

The glossy black design means it looks cool, but is a magnet for our fingerprints and dust. The glossy design stretches over the touchpad too, which sits with a slight indentation beneath the keyboard so your fingers can find it easily.

Sadly, the pad and keyboard have a cheap unreceptive clack and the individual keys are so loose in the chiclet array that we managed to get a couple caught underneath the casing. While typing is easy because the keys are isolated, we don’t hold out much hope for longevity before they break.

Excellent features

Fortunately, everything else is more than up to scratch. Four USB ports line the edges, with two at the super-fast 3.0 speed. VGA and HDMI connections fill out the right side, with nothing around the back and just a Blu-ray drive on the left. You also get a multi-format card reader, fingerprint scanner and a 1.3MP integrated web-cam.

Audio was solid thanks to the Dolby Home Theater v4 HD audio, provided by two speakers and a subwoofer for reproducing the sort of low-end rumble that underpins movie or games soundtracks. It’s not going to set the world on fire and disintegrated into a cacophony with the volume up, but was resolutely serviceable for film and music.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 169 minutes
Cinebench: 16627
3DMark 2006: 10555

Medion did a great job by adding a Full HD 1080p screen. It was less glossy, hence less vibrant, than most and the viewing angles disappoint. However, for a single laptop user in lower lights it played back HD video well, and it’s hard to complain at this price point.

As well as Intel’s excellent CPU and Nvidia graphics, the Erazer has 4GB of memory and 500GB of storage. With a great set of specifications under the hood, we had no issues with multimedia playback or multi-tasking with several apps open.

Kudos to Medion for compiling such a great array of specs at a low price point. Hardcore gamers looking to play the latest titles on maximum detail should look elsewhere, but for gamers and power-seekers on a budget, this is a genuinely great buy.

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Review: MSI GT780 DX

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Review: MSI GT780 DX

Someone’s put some thought into the GT780 DX. For starters, this isn’t a badge engineering job using a commodity-spec whitebook as a starting point: MSI has commissioned a unique design.

The result isn’t going to have Apple rethinking its approach to laptop chassis quality but there is at least a frisson of flair in the multi-coloured (and user configurable) keyboard backlighting, slices of genuine brushed aluminium and bevelled chassis edges.

That keyboard is the result of an alliance with peripherals specialist SteelSeries and is probably the most tactile and satisfying we have used on any recent gaming laptop. Unlike the slightly rattle-prone and spongey boards offered by, for instance, Rock Xtreme 768 and Medion Erazer X6811, this one is solid of base and slick in action.

Speaking of partnerships, MSI has also teamed up with Dynaudio to sort out the sound. The idea is to project it carefully to the user, creating more depth and immersion. Put simply, it works. Although the sheer volume on offer is fairly modest, there’s a richness and expansiveness to the soundstage not many other laptops can match.

Another nice touch is the trackpad disable button. If you’re serious about serving up some online devastation, you’ll be using an external mouse. The last thing you want is accidental trackpad inputs. With the trackpad turned off, that’s not going to happen.

MSI trackpad

If the bits MSI is responsible for are best on test, what about the off-the-shelf components?

As TN LCD panels for laptops go, the 17.3-inch display is decent enough. Thanks to an LED backlight, whites are clean and bright. As TN screens go, the colours and viewing angles are far from shabby, too. Likewise, we’ve no beef with its responsiveness or the 1,920 x 1,080 native resolution.

The only problem is the existence of the Sony F Series and its drop-dead gorgeous screen. What’s been seen cannot be unseen and unfortunately the GT780DX’s LCD looks positively pedestrian by comparison.

Performance

Still, we’ve no such complaints about the gaming performance on offer. The quad-core Intel Core i7 2630QM and Nvidia GeForce GTX 570M are choice components.

Okay, we’d rather have a GTX 580M or AMD Radeon HD 6990M pumping the pixels. But with 336 shaders, 3GHz memory and a 192-bit bus, the GT780DX has genuine gaming chops. It certainly makes absolute mincemeat of Dirt 3, even at 1080p and with 4x anti-aliasing.

An average of 38 frames per second at the same settings in World in Conflict is very decent, too. Only the GPU-wilting Heaven benchmark really gets the better of it.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Rendering performance
Cinebench R10: Seconds: Quicker is better
MSI GT780 DX: 51s
Rock Xtreme 685: 46s

Battery life performance
Battery Life: Minutes: Higher is better
MSI GT780 DX: 141
Rock Xtreme 685: 108

DX11 gaming performance (1,280×720, 4x AA)
Dirt 3: Frames per second: Higher is better
MSI GT780 DX: 102
Rock Xtreme 685: 108

Industry standard 3D performance
3DMark 06: Index score: Higher is better
MSI GT780 DX: 16,634
Rock Xtreme 685: 20,497

DX10 gaming performance (1,280×720, 4x AA)
WiC: Frames per second: Higher is better
MSI GT780 DX: 57
Rock Xtreme 685: 74

Tessellation gaming performance (1,280 x 720, 4x AA)
Heaven: Frames per second: Higher is better
MSI GT780 DX: 28
Rock Xtreme 685: 40

As an overall package, this MSI has got to be the best balanced and most desirable notebook here. It’s not the fastest, it hasn’t got the best screen, but as a full package it’s very hard to fault.

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