With all the fuss going about Intel's issues with the Sandy Bridge motherboards, we're lucky to have gotten the MSI GT680R in early for a review. However since the error also affects notebooks, we couldn't quite finish our testing to do a full fledged review. However, we do have enough for a quick preview on what you can expect if you are deciding to set some cash aside to acquire a good Sandy Bridge based notebook.
Packing an Intel Core i7-2630QM (2GHz) processor, a whopping 16GB RAM and NVIDIA's speedy GTX 460M, the notebook is a performance machine designed to be a race car compared to your usual go-kart of an everyday notebook. No doubt with such specs, the notebook should easily crunch through games and the usual benchmarks.
The GT680R uses a similar design that we quite liked previously in the GT660, in fact, you'd be hard pressed to tell the two apart. The GT680 also shares the equally decent Dynaudio speakers and though the notebook on our hands uses a 1366 x 768 pixels panel, we're told that units sold in Singapore will have a Full HD screen instead.
If you didn't like the keyboard of the MSI GT660, then you definitely won't be liking the one on the GT680R. The eyes are indivdually isolated, but the bounce the flex we encountered in the GT660 still exists. As such, you may want to try this aspect out to see if it's within your tolerance level. The trackpad also suffers from odd moments where it just 'self clicks', and we've seen this problem before on other MSI notebooks.
Sure, the unit may share some of the issues we had with the MSI GT660, but the MSI GT680R is still a notebook to be reckoned with. Thanks to problems with Sandy Bridge though and the recall notices, it may be that we will have to wait awhile before actual retail units become available. Then again, Intel has indicated that if notebook manufacturers are willing to do a compromise by not using the affected ports in notebook systems (this shouldn't be hard to be honest), then we may see these units appear much sooner on the streets.
Meanwhile, we'll await for the next batch of retail-ready notebooks from MSI before we evaluate the GT680R in full.