MSI has put together a great gaming machine in the GT70. It's got great specs with a fast Ivy Bridge Core i7 quad-core processor paired with a a fairly high-end NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670M GPU and a pair of dual 60GB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration. While it wasn't quite able to completely topple our resident performance champ, the Dell Alienware M17X R3, remember that our fully specced out Alienware machine will set you back a cool S$4887, which is probably beyond what most gamers are willing to pay - and that's without Blu-ray or SSD. Last time we checked, adding those two extras will bump the price up to a ludicrous S$6518.85. The one thing that Dell had which the MSI GT70 didn't was a 3D screen, but it's not a must-have for many gamers yet.
At a far more reasonable S$3699, the MSI GT70 gives you almost everything the Alienware has to offer, plus a much better Steelseries keyboard, better audio with built-in subwoofer, and a Killer Gaming network card, making it a far more complete (and affordable) package.
While the MSI GT70 was on par with, or even better than the M17X R3 in our performance benchmarks, when it came to our gaming benchmarks, it was a bit underwhelming occasionally, losing - by as much as 20% in Dirt 3 on the Ultra High setting - in two out of three games. Turbo Drive Engine did provide a small boost to performance however, which may mean that there's some extra headroom to be squeezed out of the GT70 with the right tweaking.
On the whole, we were quite satisfied with the MSI GT70's overall performance, experience and usability, especially for it's price point. Though if we had to suggest a key area for improvement, we really hope the notebook could have been made slimmer and lighter. It's a tall order, but that's perhaps the next big leap to be made for gaming notebooks. Samsung's Series 7 700GA managed to pull that off last year and it still delivered comparable gaming performance to this new MSI GT70 notebook.
Of course, we haven't yet seen what Dell or the other gaming notebook manufacturers will do with their Ivy Bridge model updates, so it still remains to be seen how the MSI GT70 will fare compared to other Ivy Bridge gaming notebooks. For now, MSI is one of the earliest in this group of products and if you really need a powerful and up-to-date gaming notebook fast, you can't go wrong with it (if you don't mind its bulk).