MSI released the latest incarnations of its 15.6″ and 17″ gaming laptops – also known as the GT60 and GT70 – in conjunction with Intel’s Ivy Bridge launch earlier this year. Now the manufacturer has updated the GT70 with an interesting dragon pattern, but also and more importantly with a brand new graphics card.
The standard version of the GT70 is MSI’s flagship and a high-end laptop in its own right, but the so-called Dragon Edition is even more impressive. Underneath the dark red accents and stylized dragon you will find one of the fastest mobile Ivy Bridge (quad-core) processors as well as Nvidia’s fastest mobile graphics card, the Kepler-based GeForce GTX 680M (technically, the fastest mobile GPU right now is the GTX 680MX, but this card is likely too hot for laptops).
The GTX 680M graphics card comes with 1344 CUDA cores running at 720 MHz and a 256-bit memory bus with 2 gigabytes of GDDR5 memory at 1800 MHz, the effective bandwidth being 115.2 Gigabytes per second. This graphics card is significantly faster than the Fermi-based GTX 675M (without the ‘X’) and is therefore more than sufficient to run all current games at high settings on the 17.3-inch display’s native resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
In terms of storage, there are several options, but the ‘entry-level’ Dragon Edition is equipped with two 128 GB SSDs in RAID 0 – also known as “Super Raid” – plus a 750 GB mechanical hard drive. Furthermore, the computer is equipped with up to 32 gigabytes of RAM, a Blu-ray burner, Dynaudio 2.1-channel audio, and a backlit keyboard from SteelSeries. It also uses Qualcomm’s Killer Wireless-N module that supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi in dual-band mode (2.4 and 5.0 gigahertz).
The GT70 Dragon Edition is available now with prices starting at just below $3,000 for the GT70 with a Corei7-3740QM processor (2.7-3.7 GHz). At the other end of the spectrum is the GT70 with Intel’s ‘Extreme Edition’ Core i7-3940XM (3.0-3.9 GHz unlocked) for about $1,000 more. All of the models are equipped with the GTX 680M, so it should be noted that at this level, a much more expensive CPU will only affect the gaming frame rates by an unnoticeable amount.