MSI GT680 Sandy Bridge Gaming Laptop Review
Performance Summary & Conclusion
MSI has combined some of today's best technologies in the new GT680R. This notebook boasts of a 2nd Generation Intel Core i7-2630QM processor along with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M graphics and 1.5GB of video memory. It also has a vibrant 15.6-inch display that's capable of full HD (1980x1080) resolution.
MSI included two 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration in our test system. This setup definitely provides added performance (and additional storage space) over a single, smaller hard drive. However, an SSD will still provide even greater performance. Other configurations of a similarly-equipped laptop with an SSD are available from MSI.
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During our benchmarking tests, scores came in about where we expected them to—near the upper end of the spectrum. Overall, the GT680R performed very well in all of our benchmark tests. The gaming benchmark tests showed that the GT680R struggled to provide playable frame rates at the display's top resolution, though we were able to achieve very playable frame rates at slightly lower resolutions. To be fair, this notebook supports a very high 1920X1080 native resolution, which you simply do not find on many notebooks today. Dialing things down to a modest 720p resolution while gaming is really not much of a compromise.
We also liked the look and feel of the MSI GT680R. It looks stunning, the keyboard feels very comfortable, and the extra details such as the textured surfaces and small metallic accents are a nice touch. Some users will like the LEDs that surround the machine and others won't. Fortunately, they are easy to turn off if you're in the latter group.
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MSI also included Dynaudio speakers as well as HDMI and USB 3.0 ports with the system. Although these might not be make-it or break-it options, they're definitely a nice addition to the entire package. All in all, MSI's GT680R may not replace your desktop if you're a really high-end user, but it's certainly a very capable machine with top-shelf, leading-edge components that provide excellent performance in a mobile form-factor. As the first "official" Intel Sandy Bridge system we've seen, we're relatively impressed.