MSI GT70 Dragon Edition 2 By Xotic PC: Haswell Goes Mobile

GT70 Dragon Edition 2 Exterior: Design And Features

The exterior of the Dragon Edition 2 is both striking and well-coordinated. Its lid is brushed red metal with a large dragon logo etched into the surface. A mirrored MSI logo sits in the middle, lighting up bright white when the screen is on.

Dark grey plastic covers the rest of the exterior when the machine is closed. Below the palm rest, the chassis has a matte textured finish. The buttons above the keyboard are surrounded by glossy red and black plastic, with a large silver power button in the middle and the Dynaudio speakers flanking each side. The palm rest has the same red brushed metal texture as the lid, with complementary etched dragon imagery there as well. Around the keyboard you get a glossy black plastic surface, flanked on both sides by smooth matte black plastic strips. The screen bezel is matte black plastic, with a tiny mirror surrounding the webcam. Solidly-built screen hinges are appointed in the same matte black finish.

The overall look and feel of the Dragon Edition 2 is very gamer-oriented. Its extreme thickness and large vents up front and around back are suggestive of fast, hot hardware inside. While the design is neither svelte nor subtle, it is cohesive.

On the right side, you have a pair of USB 3.0 ports and the Blu-ray drive.

On the back of the machine, there is (from left to right) a Kensington lock, power plug, and Ethernet jack, along with VGA, mini-DisplayPort, and HDMI video outputs.

On the left side, we see (from left to right) two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader (SDHC/SDXC/MMC), followed by another USB 3.0 port and the four audio jacks.

Opening up the lid, we see the SteelSeries keyboard with number pad and the trackpad dominating the bottom surface. Along the top of the keyboard you'll find a strip of custom controls and indicators. Right smack dab in the middle of that is the large silver power button. Speakers are positioned at the far corners. There's a 720p webcam embedded in the middle of the screen's upper bezel, surrounded by a silver inset. Stereo mics are placed to the left of the webcam.

From the back, MSI's GT70 Dragon Edition 2 has very a custom look. The brushed red metal lid with the etched dragon really is striking.

The MSI logo in the GT70 goes from mirrored to backlit when the display is on.

The lid does have some flex to it when you push down in the middle, though the side rails are much more rigid. This flexibility wasn't a problem during our week of use, though we were particularly careful about not crushing the GT70 with heavy items like textbooks in a backpack. 

The screen opens up to about 140 degrees.

Copious ventilation on the bottom of the machine is again indicative of a performance-oriented configuration. The rubber feet are absolutely massive for a notebook. There are vents everywhere. And the overall shape is shelved to give the CPU and GPU plenty of room to breathe. In fact, you can see the hard drive, SSDs, CPU, GPU, and memory just by peering through the vents. That white grille actually covers the integrated subwoofer.

The 87 Wh battery has a latch and lock to keep it from accidentally being removed. 

For a battery with 87 Wh of capacity, it's relatively small and light.

On the other hand, the included Delta Electronics 180 W AC adapter is quite massive.

Compared to the 90 W adapter from an office-oriented notebook, the Dragon’s brick is quite a bit larger.

However, the 180 W adapter is exactly what gamers want to see. It uses a standard PC power cord, is chunky enough to power the high-end hardware inside MSI's notebook, and has the surface area to dissipate heat. The GT70 utilizes a standard Delta Electronics supply found with many other laptops.

The GT70's chassis comes loaded with everything a gamer will need: plenty of cooling, a nice screen, and lots of I/O. It also has a great built-in keyboard (with a number pad), plus plenty of USB ports on both sides for gaming peripherals. The built-in speakers are high-end, and there are more audio ports than on most notebooks. 

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  • My A10 laptop w/7660g may not have the specs but it plays great and only cost me $505.99.
    How about that for bragging rights!
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  • Forbes magazine posted a great article on this system, as well. Seems like Alienware, ASUS, and Clevo have some serious competition.
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  • I have an AMD a6 quad core CPU w/7670 dGPU that cost me <$400 and it will game okay for most things. Of coarse it's no screamer unit, but for 95% of what I do it works just fine. Yes I would have loved to had a better system for light gaming, but my laptop fit my budget. I wish that we got off this 1366 x 768 resolution and started out at 1600 x 900 for 11-15" laptops as a minimum, but that is just me.
    -1
  • Please remove the term W/h from the text as well as "Watt per hour" from the graph on page 14. This unit is meaningless! 1W = 1J/s which is already a rate of power consumption. Dividing this unit by an hour yields 1W/h = 1J/3600s^2 which actually implies an acceleration in power consumption! Such mistakes are really hard to accept on a technical site like Tom's
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  • Yea, the 180w ac adapter in this laptop, and also in the Gt60-2od laptop (the 15" version of this laptop) should really come with a ~240w AC adapter like what the Asus G750 has, but it doesn't. So they made NOS to adapt.
    It is unfortunate. What if I want to crunch on the high-end CPU and the GPU 24/7 for some reason? Can't do it with a 180w AC adapter.

    To those thinking that the built in single fan isn't good enough, it is a 12V fan! I have never seen a 12V fan in a laptop before but this one has it. The Coolerboost feature ramps up the fan RPM to maximum and really keeps the temperatures down.

    There are some reports of bad paste jobs so if you are having high temps, that may be the reason. Call up MSI to verify that your warranty will not be void and then repaste it. MSI is cool in that they'll usually allow you to take off the heatsink whereas Asus won't.


    Thanks Tom's for making a much better review than what Anand did!

    So on page 14, the max power draw from the battery when the laptop is unplugged and you are gaming is only 85 watts? That must mean that the dedicated graphics is shut down and the HD4600 is only on? Can you have the 780m when on only battery power?
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  • I would feel awkward using this machine in trains, at relative's places, or anywhere else I can be spotted on so I don't become a laughing stock. :P
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  • With the problem with cell phones being stolen I would not take something out of the case.
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  • I think it should be noted that derived notebooks from this like deviltechs are much cheaper. the starting point of msi is 2400 euros in my country and deviltechs modified msi cost me 2050 with a 250gb samsung 840 and a 1 tb 5400 hdd and the 780m.. yeah it doesn't have the steelseries keyboard it has de gt60 blue blaclight one but...
    for those talking about its not for hardcore gamers... I think they are wrong because i can't take my cosmos II tower with the 3930x and my titan on my back when i visit my girlfriend on train a 300km away from my home... and not everybody can have two of those beasts.. the desktop is always better but you can't drag it always with you to trips...
    for the one talking about being scared of being robbed... I don't know why he walks on the streets wearing a wallet you COULD be robbed... or a plane could crash on your head.... ¬¬ then nobody would buy an smartphone. because to use it indoor and using outdoors and old nokia because if it is robbed its not an expensive lose....
    if you at least talked about the processing power lose when not wall plugged or so that would be a reasonable comentary...
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  • "Plus, there's the warranty coverage on the tuned hardware, which is a plus."
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  • You know the new Haswell GTX780m Alienware models have been out for awhile. You should have done your comparison with one of those. LIkely more expensive but more direct comparison.
    -1
  • For all those bucks, it needs a 120Hz refresh

    :D
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  • Those dragon decals are very sexy :)
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  • The multi-colored keyboard is stupid.

    If you have multi-colors, use them to some utility. Make the Numpad blue, and numbers and function buttons green with the rest red or something useful. Ideally, alternating number colors would be great. Or maybe the whole keyboard red except for green AWSD and Shift keys.
    -2
  • 136622 said:
    Those dragon decals are very sexy :)


    Not decals. The graphics are etched into the red anodized metal. I tried to capture them in the photos, but they still look better in person.
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  • wow, awesome review. You guys covered pretty much all bases.
    And it looks like you put Anandtech`s review to shame.

    Good job guys :)
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  • There's an error on the first page. You say the Geforce GTX 780M normally has memory running at 2.5 GT/s, but it's actually 5 GT/s. GDDR5 effectively runs at a quad data rate, so 1250 MHz = 5000 MT/s.
    -1
  • I actually have a model that looks exactly the same (GT780DX), but has lower specs so i might be able to point out a few key points:
    First, lets get rid of the CONS:

    -The screen is too heavy for the plastic covering it, this can cause a lot of problems. In reality, if you dont open and close the lid with both hads carefully each time, you are almost guaranteed to break the union point of the plastic surrounding the screen.

    -Loud. The fan is good and quite eficient but its loud. I dont know why they decided to use 1 fan instead of 2 (one for gpu other for CPU), but i guess its for more features.

    -Thin plastic covers. Some parts of this laptop feel weak, especially the botton part of it. Ive iopened the laptop around 3 times for mods and thermal paste change and each time i was SURE id braek that cover. It hols dor now thou.

    -Keyboard. While the keyboard is definitly above average. However, you need to press quite hard to make sure it registers. This is ok with the keyboard as its quite sturdy (1.5 years in, no issue whatsowever ), but bare in mind you will need strong actuation force to use this keyboard correctly.

    -Touchpanel( i dont mean the one used as mice, but the one at top for turn on, etc): The touchpanel is usefull, however it can become unresponsive at times (lucky they aded a Blue ray open button). The worst part is that it feels very fragile and cheap. It will do its job, but since the rest of the laptop is build very well, this feels out of place.

    -Trackpanel (the one used as mice): At laeast in my laptop its fairly unaccurate. Its not a problem for me as i would not game with it, but at times it is bothering.

    -Um, oh and... yeah, this thing is heavy. If you get the laptop+the charger+some mice+some cds.... you can end up carring around 8-10 KG :D.

    Now to The PRos:

    -The screen is amazingly good (dont expect to use it outdoors, but its quality is some of the best in the market).

    -The sound is decent (I am an amateur audiophile and this thing sounds awsome for a laptop, and its totally pasable for regular use).

    -The performance and temperatures are great. Granted my verion is not so packed as it runs a i5-2340M//GTX670M, but my temps after changeing thermal paste to arctic silver 5 at 30 C ambient never surpased 70 C at load (thou this was a short test to check if i applied the thermal paste correctly, so it will vary im sure).

    -The gimiks are fairly cool. The MSI logo is not too chessy, the beyboard lighting system is feirly nice and usefull, and in general it does not seem that they added this just to justify the price.

    -Button to instantly turn off trackpanel. This is just nice.

    -Good overall conectivity (many usb) and also a decent webcam.

    Now the only thing that could be a deal breaker for me is the fact that this is a machine you need to be very carefull with.
    I highly recommend this laptop chasis (MSI actually sold the patent to a few competitores on the chasis, so its very good), and any model using it, but i STRONGLY suggest to anyone that buys it to use a very good carring case.

    The laptop dosent lay well in bags. Allow me to explain: Most bags dont carry laptops in horizontal but in vertical. In most cases, the thiner part of the laptop goes down, and the wider up. This will make the pressure of each step you make impact the screen, as the screen gets all the pressure if you put the laptop downwards that way.
    In other words, without a carring case that will keep the laptop well safe, sooner or alter the screen will suffer, and also most likely the conectors between the screen and the rest of the laptop.
    2
  • The look of this laptop is sweet, but the price tag will make me think twice about buying one. Especially when you consider that it's basically a rebaged Sager NP9570 with a crazy RAID SSD setup.
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  • I owned an MSI for a while, I had it for about 2 years and never have any problems. Now I want one of their new GS70s
    0
  • I think using an old Alienware to make this machine look good is very wrong,still, I bet my m17x with dual 5870's would blow it away though!
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