It’s been a while since the GT780 was first announced, but now MSI has started to show up for pre-order on eBay and elsewhere. The 780R is the version with dual hard drives in RAID 0 (or SSD/HDD combinaitons,) and the one that seems to become available first. MSI has previously launched the GT683R–a 15.6-inch variant with similar specs–and the GT780R is, not surprisingly, a 17-inch gaming laptop but with a different design.
The base components are nevertheless the same: a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor from the latest Sandy Bridge batch clocked at 2.0GHz that normally goes to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost. MSI is however using its proprietary Turbo Drive Engine (TDE) technology that takes the standard overclocking feature even further. Up to 30% further to be more precise (there’s a video explaining TDE in the GT683R post linked to above). All this overclocking is of course bound to generate some extra heat, but judging from past experiences it is really not as bad as it sounds. The bigger 17-inch model should also be better equipped to handle excess heat as opposed to the comparatively small (considering the high-end hardware) GT683.
SteelSeries Keyboard and Custom Backlighting
Unlike its 15-inch counterpart, the GT780 is also inspired by the Alienware lineup in that it comes with customizable LED backlighting for various parts of the keyboard. Said keyboard, by the way, is a component that MSI wants us to focus our attention on. It is designed by the gaming apparel manufacturer SteelSeries, which is supposedly more rugged than average and comes with larger CTRL and ALT button as well as a repositioned Windows key.
The CTRL + W, A, S, D buttons are also selectively backlit in gaming mode instead of highlighted in red like previous models, which does indeed sound like a great feature in a gaming laptop. As for the rest of the exterior, it was “inspired by design concepts found in space ship” (from the press release). The press release doesn’t go into specifics as to what particular spaceship it was inspired by, but it should be emphasized that it was a spaceship and not a stealth bomber. Spaceships and stealth bombers aside, it looks like a clever keyboard and some extra thought has obviously gone into its creation.
Other than the aforementioned processor, the GT780R has room for dual drives, which can be configured in RAID o for better performance, or for better performance still: with a fast SSD for combined with a hard drive for storage. The graphics card is the new GTX 560M from Nvidia with 1.5GB of GDDR5 and hopefully the version that hasn’t been somewhat crippled by a 128-bit memory bus instead of 192-bit, which the card is capable of (thanks, Chatmort for providing this important detail about the GTX 560M).
Furthermore, the laptop can house up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM (most likely spread over 4 slots). It is also generously equipped with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 3 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, Gigabit LAN and Bluetooth. The weight including a 9-cell battery is 3.9kg/8.6 pounds, which is more than OK for a laptop in this size category.
Here’s an unboxing/presentation by MSI: