The MSI GE40 is the first notebook we have tested to use both Intel’s new fourth generation Core processors and also NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 760M GPU. From a performance standpoint, the MSI GE40 performed admirably.
The processors on the MSI GE40 and Lenovo IdeaPad Y500 are actually quite comparable, but the results on PCMark 7 are lopsided because of the MSI’s SSD storage configuration. That said, we noted that MSI GE40 was on a par with the rest of the high-end gaming notebooks such as the Dell Alienware M17X R4 and MSI GT70 0NE. On PCMark 8, we can see that the MSI GE40 performed better overall if we were to look at the Home, Creative and Work workloads.
As for graphics performance, the MSI GE40 has been bestowed with the new NVIDA GeForce GTX 760M, which is a very competent mid to high-end discrete graphics chip. It was able to run Crysis 2 at Full HD resolution even at "Very High" settings and also blitzed through Far Cry 2. Some users might lament the fact that the MSI GE40's display was not Full HD, but as we found out, having a lower resolution display could be a blessing in disguise as performance on its native resolution was often significantly better.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the MSI GE40's battery life. Intel claims that its new Core processors would improve battery life by significant margins and they were not kidding. In our tests, we found that the MSI GE40 could last almost 7 hours, which is unheard of for a notebook offering this kind of performance. It is a bit too early yet to provide a definitive verdict on the impact of battery life from Intel's newest processors, but the MSI GE40's showing is very encouraging.
Overall, the MSI GE40 is very capable machine and is easy to recommend, especially when you consider its price - just $2099, which is just $100 more than the previously review Lenovo IdeaPad Y500. Of the two, the MSI GE40 is easily the more capable gaming machine thanks to its beefier GPU, but it is also more compact, lighter and offers a much longer battery life.
However, the old adage that goes "You get what you pay for" rings true for the MSI GE40. We won't go as far as to say that the MSI GE40 is cheaply made, but it does not feel well put together. Specifically, the flexing in the keyboard is quite unnerving if you are an enthusiastic typist. Furthermore, it lacks some of the features that you get in more premium notebooks such as an IPS display or a backlit keyboard.
In a way, you can think of the MSI GE40 as the computing equivalent of a Mitsubishi Evolution. It's not as well-built or as luxurious as its European rivals, but the Evolution has got the goods under its hood to be capable of keeping up with the best of the European sports saloons.
For the MSI GE40, what you are paying for really are the components in its chassis: the fantastically frugal and capable Intel Core i7-4702MQ, the powerful GeForce GTX 760M and the pair of blazing quick mSATA SSDs.