If you’re spending up to $3,000 on a notebook you want to know it beats the pants off cheaper machines — and yes, this MSI delivers pants-busting performance. Plus it has a few tricks up its sleeve.
The 3D performance is particularly hot, beating nearly everything we’ve seen on the market in the last three months. It cranked out a 3DMark06 score of 3,606 thanks to Nvidia’s GeForce 8600M GT with 512MB.
We grimaced a bit at the big round Turbo Button, but it seems to work. Performance jumped from good to excellent, with the best PCMark05 result we’ve seen from a notebook in recent memory.
The speed comes from overclocking the FSB — MSI promises up to a 20% gain in CPU speed and you can hear the fans rev up to compensate. In some sense a Turbo Button makes sense on a notebook, letting you toggle speed on and off so as to save power where necessary (though perhaps more crudely than Vista’s power modes). Keep in mind that battery life isn’t great, lasting only about two hours in our DVD rundown test, but it is after all a gaming system.
This isn’t a cheap machine, but fortunately pure speed is not the only drawcard. You also get an HD TV Tuner and an HD-DVD drive, which is nothing to sniff at for under $3,000.
We’re in two minds over the 15.4in screen size, which has a cramped keyboard. If you aren’t going to be carting this around much, then the 17in model is the way to go. In short, lots of grunt, if you’re OK with the battery life and the flame paint job.