Review: MSI GT680

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Review: MSI GT680

The MSI GT680 is exactly what you want from a gaming machine. Raw power, great speakers and a chassis that looks like it began life as an X-Files prop.

The limited battery life and flimsy keyboard mean you won’t want to use this as a work machine but it’s excellent value for gaming.

Beginning with the design, the MSI GT680 continues the gaming laptop trend of aggressive styling, plenty of bulk and blinking LEDs. The black plastic chassis isn’t going for subtlety and the large speaker grilles next to the screen hinges are immediately noticeable. As is the chrome border around the touchpad and the banks of orange LEDs edging the screen and palm rest.

Unfortunately, while the LEDs look cool, they aren’t particularly bright and are easily forgotten when using the laptop in any brightly-lit environment.

The build quality doesn’t extend to the keyboard, which flexes horrendously. It looks nice, and there is plenty of space for typing, but it feels flimsy when working for any length of time.

The 15.6-inch screen is smaller than some of the other gaming and multimedia laptops we’ve seen, but this does mean you can fit the MSI into conventional laptop bags for some mobile gaming. At least, this would be the case if it didn’t weigh 3.5kg and have a battery life of 122 minutes.

The screen has a Super-TFT coating that adds plenty of colour and depth to games and movies. However, it isn’t nearly as bright as some machines we’ve reviewed, such as the Dell Latitude XFR.

The sound, meanwhile, took full advantage of the Dynaudio speakers and filled the room with gunshots, screeching tyres and the anguished cries of wounded henchmen.

Top specifications

Inside the MSI GT680 are some very impressive components. The Sandy Bridge Intel CPU is a top-spec Core i7 2630QM and the 8GB of RAM is twice as much as we’re used to.

Unsurprisingly the dedicated graphic card is one of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 460M models and capable of running the latest games on their highest detail settings without affecting the frame rate.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 122 minutes
Cinebench: 17212
3DMark 2006: 13936

MSI has included plenty of connectivity and the GT680 boasts two USB 3.0 ports for faster connections to external drives and peripherals. Elsewhere there are two regular USB ports, HDMI and VGA slots for external monitors, an eSata port and a Gigabit Ethernet connection if you don’t fancy using the 802.11n Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. We’re also pleased to see a Blu-ray drive included as standard.

In most cases, we can recommend gaming laptops because their superior spec means they are suited to almost any task. Not in this case. If you’re a gamer, we’d suggest the MSI because of the way it looks and the excellent performance from that Intel Core i7 processor. If you’re not a gamer the irritating keyboard and mediocre battery life all count against the MSI as an all-rounder.

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MSI CR650 Laptop with AMD Fusion APU Announced

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MSI has released the Classic Series CR650, the company’s first notebook with AMD Fusion technology.

The 15.6-inch MSI CR650 includes the AMD E-350 APU, incorporating dual CPU cores at 1.6GHz, the Radeon HD 6310 graphics and UVD 3 HD video decoder. Other specifications include DDR3 RAM, up to 500GB of storage, a DVD burner, 1366×768 LED-backlight screen, and Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

MSI’s Fusion-based laptop sports a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, 802.11n wireless, Gigabit LAN, HDMI and VGA outputs, three USB ports, and a 4-in-1 media card reader.

The notebook weighs around 5 pounds and has a new gradient color design.

There’s no word on pricing and availability.

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MSI WindPad 100W Windows Tablet Now Available

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MSI’s first tablet device, the WindPad 100W, is now available for purchase.

The MSI WindPad 100W features a 10.1-inch 1024×600 multi-touch display and runs Windows 7 Starter OS with Wind Touch user interface. The 1.7-pound tablet is based on the Intel “Menlow” low-power platform for mobile devices and includes the Atom Z530 1.6GHz single-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a 32GB solid state drive, and “over 6 hours” of battery life.

There are also front- and rear-facing cameras, a mini HDMI port, single USB connector, SDHC card reader, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The WindPad 100W can be currently found only at Simply Electronics and costs $709.95.

MSI is also expected to release the WindPad 100A tablet with Android OS.

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MSI GT663 Gaming Laptop with GeForce GTX 460M Launched

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MSI has updated the G Series gaming laptop line with the GT663 15.6-inch model, featuring the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M dedicated video card.

Besides the GTX 460M with 1.5GB of GDDR5 video memory, the MSI GT633 includes a Core i7 quad-core processor, three DDR3 memory slots for a maximum of 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage using two 500GB hard drives, a DVD burner, and a LED backlight display with “full HD or HD” resolution.

The notebook has DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC audio technology and built-in 2.1 speaker system, a 720p/30fps web camera, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Gigabit LAN, and HDMI and VGA outputs.

MSI’s GT663 incorporates Turbo Drive Engine+ technology for “boosting system speed for enhanced processor and display performance” and Cooler Boost technology for enhanced system cooling. Both technologies can be activated with a single touch of a dedicated hotkey above the keyboard.

The laptop weighs 7.7 pounds and runs Windows 7 OS.

There’s no word on pricing and availability.

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MSI Announces FR600 3D Multimedia Laptop

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MSI has announced the FR600 3D multimedia notebook with 3D graphics technology and THX TruStudio Pro surround sound with 4-channel speakers.

The 15.6” FR600 3D includes LED-backlight 3D display, the Intel Core i5 Processor, integrated Intel HD graphics, up to 8GB of RAM, up to 640GB hard drive, DVD burner, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HDMI.

MSI’s 3D laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

There’s no word on pricing and availability.

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MSI FX600 15.6″ Entertainment Laptop Now On Sale

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The MSI FX600, a 15.6-inch notebook that belongs to the company’s new entertainment-oriented F Series, is now available.

Newegg offers two FX600 models – the MSI FX600-002US with the Intel Core i5 450M processor and a DVD writer and MSI FX600-003US with Core i3 350M CPU and a Blu-ray combo drive. Both configurations feature the Nvidia GeForce GT325M 1GB dedicated graphics, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and 500GB of hard disk space. The product page of the FX600-002US says the laptop includes NVIDIA Optimus switchable graphics and THX Surround Sound technology. It is not clear if these features are available in the FX600-003US.

The notebooks’ 15.6″ display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.

MSI FX600 has a 720p HD web camera, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, three USB ports, an eSATA/USB combo port, 4-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard slot, and HDMI and VGA outputs.

The 5.28-pound laptops include a 6-cell battery which provides up to 3 hours of work time and run Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

Both models are priced at $799.99.

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MSI GT660R Gaming Laptop Now Available

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MSI’s GT660 (GT660R) 16-inch gaming laptop is now available in the US.

The offered MSI GT660R-004US features the Intel Core i7-740QM quad-core 1.73GHz processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX285M 1GB graphic card, 6GB of DDR3 memory, 1TB of hard disk space using dual HDDs, and a Blu-ray combo drive.

Its 16″ display has a resolution of 1366×768 pixels.

The MSI GT660R also includes a chiclet-style keyboard with numeric pad, a 720p web camera, stereo speakers and a subwoofer, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA/USB combo port, ExpressCard slot, 4-in-1 card reader, VGA and HDMI outputs, and LED lights around the notebook’s edges.

It also has TDE+ (Turbo Drive Engine+) technology, which allows users to increase processor, memory, and GPU performance instantly with one touch of the luminescent Turbo hotkey above the keyboard.

The 7.7-pound laptop includes a 9-battery which provides up to 3 hours of run time and runs Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

MSI’s GT660R-004US is priced $1,699.99 and is available via Newegg and Amazon.

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MSI Announces FX610 15.6″ Laptop

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MSI has announced the new laptop from their entertainment-oriented F Series – the 15.6-inch FX610.

The FX610 features the AMD Phenom II triple-core processor, ATI Radeon HD 5470 1GB dedicated graphics, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, a 500, 640 or 720GB hard drive, a DVD writer, Windows 7 Home Premium OS, 1366×768 display, and a “unique raised totem seal coating.”

MSI’s new multimedia laptop also includes a web camera, two speakers with THX TruStudio Pro surround sound technology, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, Bluetooth, two USB ports, an eSATA/USB combo port, a 5-in-1 card reader, and HDMI and VGA outputs.

The MSI FX610 weighs 5.29 pounds with its standard 6-cell battery.

There is no word on pricing and availability.

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MSI Announces F Series Laptops

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MSI has announced the F Series fashionable 14- to 17-inch laptops for entertainment.

The FX400, FX600, FX700, and FR600 feature the Intel Core i5 processor, while the FX610 sports 2010 AMD Mainstream Notebook Platform. The notebooks have a sound system designed by Dynaudio and THX, and, in select models, switchable graphics with the Nvidia GeForce GT325M 1GB discrete GPU.

MSI’s FX400 has a 1.3MP web camera, while the other F series notebooks include the 720P HD cam.

The laptops have a textured black finish and chrome-plated MSI logo in the center of the cover.

There is no word on pricing and availability.

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MSI GX740 Gaming Notebook On Sale in US

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The MSI GX740 17-inch gaming laptop with the quad-core Intel Core i7-720QM 1.6GHz processor and ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB discrete graphics is now available for purchase in the US.

The GX740 includes 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 500GB hard disk, DVD writer, Windows 7 Home Premium OS, and a display resolution of 1680×1050.

MSI’s new gaming notebook also features a chiclet-style keyboard, a 2MP web camera, stereo speakers and a subwoofer, a 7.1 channel audio output with SRS technology, 802.11n WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth, three USB ports, an eSATA/USB port, ExpressCard slot, 4-in-1 media card reader, and VGA and HDMI outputs.

The laptop has a brushed aluminum chassis with fire engine red accents and weighs 7.04 pounds with its standard 9-cell battery.

The MSI GX740 is available via Amazon.com ($1,420) and Newegg.com ($1,400).

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