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MSI GT70 2PC Dominator review




  • Recommended by TR

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Our Score:



  • Table-topping games power
  • Fast processor
  • High-quality screen
  • Good keyboard
  • Excellent value


  • Poor battery life
  • Extremely heavy
  • Inconsistent SSD
  • Quite noisy

Key Features

  • 17in 1,920 x 1,080 TN display; 3.9kg; 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-4800MQ processor; 8GB RAM; 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD; Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics
  • Manufacturer: MSI
  • Review Price: £1,299.00

First reviewed March 2014

What is the MSI GT70?

This monster gaming laptop has one significant advantage over a host of hefty rivals: Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 870M. It’s a brand-new GPU that’s got some of the highest clock speeds we’ve ever seen from a mobile graphics core, and the rest of the MSI’s specification is just as impressive – a quad-core processor, an SSD, plenty of RAM and a 17-inch screen.

The GT70 is no Ultrabook. It’s one of the heaviest and thickest laptops we’ve heaved onto our test bench, and it’s got all the hallmarks of a gaming system – a high-end keyboard, optimised audio gear, plenty of flashing lights and an eye-catching, illuminated logo. But this is no exercise in window dressing because the GT70 delivers performance where it matters and at a price that's not ridiculous.

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MSI GT70: Design & Build Quality

The GT70 isn’t exactly subtle. Its body is 55mm from top to bottom at its thickest point, with rubber feet that add four more millimetres, and it tips the scales at 3.9kg with an extra 500g for the power brick. That’s thicker and heavier than the Alienware 14, and on a par with the Asus G750JX; the MSI is fine for lugging from room to room, or schlepping to LAN parties, but it’s hardly ideal for a regular commute.

The MSI’s traditional design also means it’s got loud looks. It’s made from a combination of plastic and aluminium, which means brushed metal on the lid and wrist-rest and glossy plastic elsewhere. It’s got sharp angles, big vents, flashing status lights, a colourful backlit keyboard and an illuminated logo on the lid. This is a machine designed to make statements as well as break benchmarks, and it stands out among its rivals: it’s flashier than the Asus, but it’s not quite as coherent as the Alienware, which is matte throughout and is overloaded with colour-coordinated lights.

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It’s also got strength that will withstand being lugged around. The base and wrist-rest are both robust, with no give in the former and the tiniest hint of depression in the latter. The monitor’s rear can be flexed a little, but the panel’s enclosure is so thick that there’s no sign of on-screen distortion.

The port selection is broad. The right-hand edge has two USB 2 ports and a DVD writer, the left-hand side serves up three USB 3 connectors, a card reader and four audio jacks, and the back edge has Gigabit Ethernet, and a trio of display outputs: HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, and D-SUB.

Killer Networking is used for connectivity, with this specialist hardware deployed for both the dual-band 802.11n wireless and Gigabit Ethernet connections – it’s designed to prioritise game traffic for a smoother experience. There’s also Bluetooth 4.0.

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MSI GT70: Screen & Sound Quality

The MSI’s panel ticks the right boxes for gameplay: a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a matte finish, and no touchscreen layer.

The screen is made from TN hardware, but don't let this lure you into believing not up to the task. Its brightness level of 343 nits is great – better than the Alienware’s 276 nits – and the black level of 0.29 nits is similarly impressive, which means plenty of depth to the darkest shades. The contrast ratio of 1,191:1 is top-tier, even if it can’t quite match the Alienware’s stunning 1,425:1 result.

The high brightness and contrast means colours are punchy and vivid, but they could be more accurate. The temperature of 6,760K is better the Alienware, but the Delta E of 7.2 can’t match the more accurate 4.66 result from the rival notebook. This isn't a huge deal for gaming, but budding photographers should take note.

Overall, the MSI has one of the biggest, brightest and best screens on any gaming laptop, but it’s not without issues. The deepest shades of black are crushed together, which means there’s not enough distinction at the very bottom of the colour range, and the matte layer adds a little too much grain for our liking.

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Audio comes from Danish firm Dynaudio, which has optimised the two speakers and single subwoofer. It's done a good job, with crisp high-end and a punchy treble that sits proud from the rest of the range without becoming dominant. Bass is present, thanks to that subwoofer, which lifts the MSI above many tinny rivals – but, if we’re being picky, we’d prefer a little more oomph to the low-end. The GT70’s audio kit has the punch to make games sound suitably brawny, and it’s also has more than enough volume to fill a room.


March 14, 2014, 9:41 am

This looks good for the price, and that is an admirable goal, but the footprint is insane! The new Razer Blade (14 inch) packs in a QHD IPS display and a GTX 870m into its 18mm thick chassis. Its also only weighs 2kg's. It is impressive and expensive but it just throws these 'old school' gaming laptops into stark contrast. If I was in the market for a gaming laptop this would be my only choice, everything else just looks and feels prehistoric by comparison.


March 31, 2014, 5:55 pm

i heard that the razor gets so hot it's painful to the touch which is a bit much for the price of it, still amazing how it is so thin yet so powerful.

Bjørn Olav Henjum

April 6, 2014, 7:16 pm

I just found this review now after ordering it a few hours ago, but the version I ordered differs in some ways in that it has the GTX 880M (8GB) instead, and a 256 GB SSD. Looks like I have something to look forward to. The price was more reasonable than many of the other selections with equal or even lower specifications, although the noise-'warning' was a bit distressing. But I usually use a headset anyway, so I hope I'll survive... :)

Link to specs at the nethsop (in Norwegian): https://www.komplett.no/msi-gt...

Thanks for the review!




April 12, 2014, 7:48 am

The GT70-2PE has the 880m, the GT70-2PC has the 870m.


April 12, 2014, 7:52 am

But that Razer Blade doesn't have a CPU as powerful as this laptop and this MSIlaptop can handle a 4940MX 3.1GHZ/4GHZ CPU whereas the Blade is not upgradeable. Also the audio in this laptop is probably better with the subwoofer.


April 17, 2014, 8:59 pm

PLEASE find a way to ship the GT60 and GT70 2OD and 2PE and other 780m/880m MSI laptops with 240W AC adapters because 180W is not enough. "NOS" is a joke, a crutch. Why does the laptop have to suck power from the battery when the GPU and CPU are fully utilized when a slightly larger AC adapter would stop this?
Asus uses a 240w AC adapter for good reason in their G750 and MSI should as well. I thought MSI would probably have learned their lesson after the tomshardware review blasting NOS back in July of last year;; http://www.tomshardware.com/re...

This is especially important if an Extreme CPU is in the laptop. Having that being fully utilized along with the GPU, NOS will engage and whatever you are trying to do cannot be done forever because the battery will eventually drain to 30%!


August 24, 2014, 10:23 pm

The only selling points of the Razer Blade is the QHD (which will slow performance considerably), and small size. But it's got a worse CPU, worse audio quality, and it's 1,000$ more expensive. I want a portable desktop, and this fits the bill.

Jonathan Wint

October 17, 2014, 4:08 pm

there full crap. SLI or crossfired cards from 2 years ago will out perform a new card nearly every time and a lot cheaper and easier to upgrade. I heard the Arguments done the tests. This system over priced crap.


May 11, 2015, 10:18 pm

Granted some time has gone by, I was looking at the GT70, with the 4810mq, g870, it is now listed around $1,100. I picked up 3, 256ssd Samsung pro's for $75 each along with 32gb ram, for a total laptop around 1400. I'm not a gamer yet, but I do a fair amount of AV editing. is this going to be an ok match-up? will this be an alright machine for a beginning gamer?

Joseph Masterson

September 13, 2015, 10:01 pm

Your Comment was irrelevant, and crap by nature, do yourself a favor, and comment like a big boy!!!!!

Jonathan Wint

September 30, 2015, 4:04 pm

So you work for MSI?


February 14, 2016, 5:13 am

Should kick butt! And later you can put in an 4940MX CPU for more X86 performance, and upgrade the GPU when the new Pascal GPUs come out, maybe. Depends if there is a heatsink that will work with it.


February 14, 2016, 5:15 am

Buying this laptop used, say in another year from now will be a good deal. Probably for about $600 on Ebay. Enjoy the latest games at medium detail settings. Then in afew more years, upgrade the GPU as far as you can into the Nvidia Pascal range (hoping MSI continues to support these laptops), hopefully getting a good deal on a 1st gen Pascal. Upgrade to a 4940MX Extreme CPU. Now they are about $450 but less than $200 probably within a few years.
It's all about buying used.
Same goes with plugin hybrid / electric cars and cars in general.

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