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MSI GT680 - Connectivity and Usability

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR


Our Score:


When it comes to connectivity, as you might expect from a next-generation laptop, the GT680 is very well endowed. Video can be output over either VGA or HDMI 1.4, which supports resolutions higher than 1,920 x 1,080 and Full HD stereoscopic 3D, as well as 7.1 digital audio. Uniquely to MSI (as far as we're aware), there are no less than four 3.5mm audio jacks so those without decoders can still output up to 7.1 to cheaper surround sound speaker systems, and one of these functions as a digital output too.

On the data front there's a card reader which supports SD/HC and MMC, two USB 2.0 ports, two super-speedy USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA II port, meaning transfers with compatible media should be lightning-fast. For networking there's Gigabit Ethernet and Wi-Fi N, and Bluetooth rounds out its wireless credentials.

Even the webcam is worth a mention. As we also saw with the Dell XPS 17, it's of the HD variety, managing 720p at 30fps – perfect for HD video services like the new Skype.

Only the lack of a Blu-ray drive on our GT680R model disappoints, but MSI had to make cuts somewhere to maintain its (relatively) bargain price, and the PC game on Blu-ray has yet to come out. Besides, adding an external, slimline Blu-ray drive at any stage shouldn't set you back more than £80, while those who opt for MSI's GT680H get this and an SSD boot drive for £240 extra.

MSI has also made progress on the usability front. The aforementioned touch controls are very responsive, and the GT680's isolation keyboard now finally has its Fn key to the inside of Ctrl, a blessing to those who regularly switch between desktop and laptop keyboards. Key placement in general is excellent, with shortcuts exactly where you would hope to find them.

Keys are well-spaced and though feedback is shallow, they manage to give enough action to prevent typing from being unpleasant. More detrimental is that the entire upper left area (including the WASD 'gaming' keys) feels lose and keys rattle audibly - we're sincerely hoping that this is another fault that will be fixed in retail models. Even if it isn't, it's not nearly as off-putting as the dodgy spacebar on the Novatech X70 CA Pro, and the GT680 remains perfectly usable for both typing and gaming.

Like its predecessor, the touchpad here is large and comfortable, though MSI still hasn't added multi-touch. To be honest this is not a major concern, as we got on perfectly well without it for years, but it's a nice-to-have and practically every other laptop on the planet features it. The pad's buttons are worked into a single, brushed metal rocker switch, but aside from being a tad on the stiff side they offer no reason for complaint.

Denis iii

January 28, 2011, 2:02 pm

£1400 for that ugly monstrosity? MSI must be having a laugh!

MSI laptops albeit ugly used to be priced well on a level with US pricing but looks they are taking evil ASUS' tactic of highly jacking up the price in the UK.


January 28, 2011, 4:19 pm

Im a resident supporter of MSI and in reply to Denis iii - their pricing has been consistent over the past 2/3 years on their top end gaming platforms. The quad core GT725 I picked up 2 years ago was maybe only a shade under the price of this one - both at the higher end of the market at time of release.

You also have to remember that MSI are a Chinese company (I think!) so their pricing structures will be hugely effected by $/£ exchange rates and the fact that the Chinese economy machine is largely making most things more expensive.

This is a different chasis to mine but I recently needed the power port re-soldered due to too much fiddling with it. Same thing happened at almost the same time with my brothers GT725. But then this is amongst the most common of issues with power hungry laptops. Just a word of warning - the guts of MSI machines are apparently several degrees more complicated than usual laptop internals. I didnt get charged extra for the repair but it did take the fella a good 3 or 4 times longer than usual.

And who buys an expensive laptop for its looks?!


January 28, 2011, 10:12 pm

This looks like a promising option for someone like myself who is looking to grab a Sandy Bridge powered laptop asap. But do we know who'll be stocking this, and when?


February 2, 2011, 6:35 pm

For the spec this is a MONSTER, looks are good also, wish I could swap my acer 5920g for one, but its out my price range, but I dont think it is overpriced, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. I would love one.


February 2, 2011, 8:39 pm


Never judge a book by its cover.

And all gaming laptops are 'monstrosities', though some are indeed a sight more attractive.

Still, MSI's latest design is definitely a positive evolution.


"And who buys an expensive laptop for its looks?!" Two words: Macbook Air. As far as gaming laptops are concerned though, internals and ergonomics are indeed far more important than visual impact.


Micro Anvika should be but one of many retailers getting stock in this month.


Agree that it's excellent value!


February 2, 2011, 9:47 pm


Looks like we might have to wait a little longer for retail availability :(

The following is direct from MSI:

"MSI has been informed by Intel about the design issues in the Intel 6 series chipsets. According to Intel the performance of some of the Intel SATA ports on Intel 6 series products can degrade over a period of 3 years. MSI takes the quality of our products very seriously, so at this moment we are investigating product batches that may be affected and, meanwhile, have stopped all shipments to our distributors and resellers. Additionally, we asked resellers to hold sales of the Intel 6 series based MSI products to customers until the issue can be resolved."

Unfortunately, as it uses Intel's PM67 chipset, the GT680R is one of the products apparently affected...


November 21, 2011, 2:52 pm

Many pople are using MSI Laptop,and me,too.I think it's very good.I don't want to have a change.

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