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

Storage And Audio Performance

Storage Performance

Our GT70 review unit came configured by Xotic PC with three SanDisk 128 GB mSATA SSDs in RAID 0 serving as the primary system drive. It also included a Western Digital 1 TB disk spinning at 5400 RPM for user storage.

CrystalDiskMark shows us that the RAID 0 array delivers sequential read and write speeds in excess of what one 2.5” SSD can do over a SATA 6Gb/s link.

Running the same test on Western Digital's 1 TB mechanical disk yields results in line with what we'd expect from a 5400 RPM drive.

The GT70 Dragon Edition 2 boots quickly, and is generally very responsive. The primary drive's 384 GB of capacity is more than enough to install our complete benchmark suite and games. If you need even more room, there's always the option of installing apps to the 1 TB repository, too. 

Audio Performance

Audio fed to external amplifiers via the analog headphone jack sounds good. Additionally, we had no issues hooking up to a receiver via HDMI. And we didn't hear any buzz or popping when we played music through the analog connectors.

The built-in Dynaudio speakers are excellent. In fact, they're among the best we’ve heard on a notebook. They offer excellent stereo imaging and tonal range, adding to the GT70's adeptness at gaming.

While the subwoofer on the bottom of MSI's GT70 is small, it certainly contributes to filling in lower frequencies. Playing back music on the system's speakers, we added a little EQ to bring out the highs. In games, we left the EQ flat.

We also listened to music via the headphone jack with several sets of IEM headphones. Through the very sensitive Etymotic HF3 in-ear earphones, we heard no unwanted noise; music playback sounded good. The sound was also good from the slightly bass-heavy Bowers and Wilkins C5 in-ear earphones. We also enjoyed listening with the very detailed and slightly bass-shy Shure SE425 in-ear earphones.

Additionally, we auditioned a couple of pairs of traditional over-the-ear headphones. The 32-ohm Grado SR125s sounded good, and the GT70 drove them without a problem. With Sennheiser's HD 600s plugged in, the headphone output drove the difficult 300-ohm load to decent listening levels. Sound through the HD 600s was neutral, but not as dynamic or detailed as a dedicated headphone amp.

  • cobra5000
    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!
  • sha7bot
    Forbes magazine posted a great article on this system, as well. Seems like Alienware, ASUS, and Clevo have some serious competition.
  • lunyone
    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.
  • Ducktor
    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
  • danwat1234
    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?
  • luckiest charm
    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
  • custodian-1
    With the problem with cell phones being stolen I would not take something out of the case.
  • boro169
    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...
  • adgjlsfhk
    "Plus, there's the warranty coverage on the tuned hardware, which is a plus."
  • warezme
    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.