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MSI GT680 - Gaming, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Recommended by TR


Our Score:


Thankfully, the GT680's so-far excellent overall performance is supported by graphics that deserve the name of 'gaming-worthy'. Backed by 1.5GB of dedicated video RAM, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460M is superseded by the GTX 470M, 480M and 485M, but is nonetheless still a very capable chip in the mobile space.

In fact, it comes out top in our standard TrackMania Nations Forever test, though that's more due to the fast CPU. In Stalker: Call of Pripyat (a more demanding DirectX 11 title) it shows its true colours better, slightly trailing the MSI GX740 and Asus G73Jh which both use AMD's top-end Mobility Radeon 5870.

Switching to Ultra detail and upping the resolution to 1080p in Stalker, the GT680 remained undaunted, managing a 43.8 frames per second (fps) average, where the G73Jh managed 48.6fps at the same settings.

Even the incredibly demanding Crysis is playable if you compromise a little, managing a smooth 35.7fps average at High Detail on 1,280 x 720 – again roughly on par with the Radeon 5870-equipped machines. Notching detail up to Very High at the same resolution resulted in a just-about-playable 23.1fps, but here it's really reaching its limits.

Unlike the Acer Aspire 5745DG's underpowered GT 425M, the GT680's GTX 460M is powerful enough to run quite a few games in stereoscopic 3D and on the GT680H 3D Blu-rays aren't an issue, though of course you'll need a 3D monitor/TV and glasses.

So far then, MSI has created an absolute beast, which doesn't get too noisy in use. As usual with sub-£1500 gaming laptops, graphics are its weakest link, but in every other regard you're getting power, connectivity and features that will easily match even recent desktops, paired with a good screen and very competent speakers. In fact, though we're not overly impressed with the design and build quality in general, and could have wished for the keyboard to be backlit, our only real niggle is with the rattle of keys in the upper right corner (which is hopefully a flaw that's unique to our pre-production sample).

As usual, the price of entry MSI charges is more than reasonable too, with an MSRP of £1,359.99 for this configuration of the GT680 (designated the GT680R). The version with an SSD boot drive and Blu-ray drive (GT680H) will set you back £1,599.99, and if you can afford it the £240 extra is definitely worthwhile. In fact, that model has a better chance of living up to MSI's claim, as it should be one of the fastest laptops around, with everything but its graphics as good as it gets in the mobile sector.

As retail prices for the GT680R are likely to be lower than £1,360 within weeks of its February launch, it's a bit of a bargain if you need what it offers. However, if you're on a budget, the older GX740 will offer similar performance in most games (though it's inferior in many other ways) and is available for under £900.


It's not the most stylish or best-built gaming laptop we've seen, but when it comes to features and power for the money, few rivals can match the MSI GT680. Throw in an above-average screen, impressive speakers and excellent battery life, and this is one portable games machine that's easy to recommend.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 8

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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