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The MSI GX720 is a solid 17-inch notebook designed for users who want an affordable yet well-specced rig for all their gaming or multimedia needs. It may not be as powerful as other portable gaming rigs out there, but MSI made sure that it can still perform during LAN parties with its ‘overclock’ option.


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Classy is the word that can describe the GX720: the lid cover sports a brushed aluminium finish, while the outer body is surrounded by a ‘flame’ red design.

Connectivity is not an issue as the GX720 hosts a multitude of ports. The optical drive (DVD Multi Recorder), USB (two), Ethernet, Modem, and Kensington ports are located on the left side; the right side hosts a USB port, Firewire and eSATA ports, Expresscard Slot, SD/MMC card reader, as well as a headphone, audio-in, audio-out, and microphone jack. The unit can also be hooked up to any display, as the notebook comes with a D-sub and HDMI out ports located at the back of the unit.

The unit measures 395 X 278 X 26.5-35mm and weighs 3.2kg, which is relatively light compared to other gaming notebooks. Opening the lid reveals a 17-inch WXGA ACV Display with a native resolution of 1680 x 1050, a built-in webcamera and microphone, a touch sensor (more on this later), a keyboard with dedicated numeric keypad, as well as the unit’s trackpad.

 


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The touch sensor located on top of the keyboard comes with four multimedia buttons (previous, stop, play/pause, next), an Eco and Turbo button, a webcamera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and P1 (a user-defined key) buttons.

The Eco button allows a user to change the power profile of the notebook. It has five modes (Gaming, Movie, Presentation, Office, Turbo Battery), all aimed to extend the battery running time while performing different tasks. The unit can also be ‘overclocked’ by pressing the Turbo button. According to MSI, this mode will ‘simultaneously increase the speed of your CPU, with the computer running smoother and to the best of its abilities.’

Specification-wise, the GX720 uses an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 processor running at 2.4Ghz, has 4GB of RAM, and utilises Nvidia’s GeForce 9600M GT graphics card with 512MB memory. A 320GB hard drive is used by the unit, and is divided into two (OS Install and Data).

 


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Windows Vista Home Premium (with SP1) is pre-installed on the GX720, in addition to programs like Microsoft Office 2007 (60-day trial), Norton Internet Security, Windows Live, Burn Now, Adobe Reader 8, WinRAR, and MSI BurnRecovery for instant data backup.

In our graphics test, the GX720 garnered a score of 17060 on 3DMark03 and 5333 on 3DMark06. These scores are just about average and can satisfy casual gamers, but enthusiasts may not like the fact that they cannot run the latest games in high settings with this notebook. The GX720 lasted for only 84 minutes in our DVD playback test, which is not a good thing especially if you are going to use the notebook to watch movies.

The MSI GX720 is the perfect notebook for users who want to play the latest games while on the go. Although it doesn’t have a powerful processor and graphics card, its price tag of $2,099 offers value for money. The only problem we had with this unit is its abysmal battery life.

See page over for product specifications and final rating.

 

MSI GX720 Gaming Notebook Specifications:

Processor: Intel Centrino 2 Processor (P8600 @ 2.4Ghz)
Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium
Chipsets: Intel PM45 + ICH9M
System Memory: 4GB
Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce 9600M GT (510MB DDR3)
LCD: 17-inch WXGA ACV (Amazing Crystal Vision) Display
Audio: HD Audio, 4 speakers + 1 subwoofer
HDD: 320GB
Optical Drive: DVD Super Multi
Webcamera: 2-megapixels
Card Reader: 4-in-1 (SD/MMC/MS/MS Pro)
Communication Port: Built-in Gigabit Ethernet LAN and Modem Module, Built-in 802.11b/g/n WLAN Card / Bluetooth V2.0+EDR

I/O Port:
Graphics Card Output (15-pin, D-Sub) X 1
USB2.0 Port X 3
Mic-in Port X 1
Headphone Output X 1
Modem Port X 1
LAN Port X 1
PCI Express Card X 1
eSATA X 1
HDMI X 1

Dimensions: 395 x 278 x 26.5-35 mm
Weight: 3.2 kg

MSI GX720 Gaming Notebook |$2099 |  | www.msicomputer.com.au

For: Good design and build; Good performance; Audio and video clear and crisp; Heaps of matching accessories; Various Eco mode; Turbo mode
Against: Abysmal battery life
Conclusion: A good notebook for gamers who like to go on LAN parties.

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