MSI GX720 review, gaming portable with Turbo functions

Mobile/Laptops & Netbooks by geoffrey @ 2009-02-11

Gaming is going mobile, extending their product range MSI is offering the GX series portables for the person who wants to have the option of gaming entertainment on the go. Today we at Madshrimps take a close look at MSI´s GX720 model, a good all-round system with gaming capabilities, rich on multimedia features and a retro Turbo overclock button, but is it worth your money? Read on and find out!

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Turbo/ECO functions discussed & Benchmark methods

Turbo/ECO functions discussed

Madshrimps (c)

Before we run the GX720 through our benchmark routine, let us have a quick look at MSI's ECO and Turbo buttons. Yes it's true that you can overclock or adjust your power profile via software, though it is not to be said that your pc system is supported by the various oc-tools around and neither will software ever be as quick and flexible as using easy accessible buttons which are positioned just few inches away from the keyboard (and it’s covered by warranty!). The MSI ECO button is a touch sense button which allows the user to quickly navigate through different power profiles. Each power profile is named to the kind of task you're going to require from your MSI notebook. Each touch on the ECO button puts you in the next power profile, MSI has added access to 6 different profiles:

  • ECO off (default)
  • Gaming mode
  • Movie mode
  • Presentation mode
  • Office mode
  • Turbo battery mode

    With Movie mode we noticed a slight decrease in screen luminance, choosing Presentation mode darkens the screen even more and locks the CPU to multiplier 6 even if CPU heavy tasks are being executed. More power can be saved when choosing Office mode, we have no clear view on what precisely is happening, CPU-Z reads the CPU clock at 1,6GHz just like with the Presentation mode but through our testing we noticed how far more integrated circuits and processor have been tweaked to safe power usage. Turbo Battery does little better by again lowering the screen luminance.

    A 7th profile can be selected by touching the Turbo button. In Turbo mode the Front Side Bus is overclocked up to nearly 310MHz (266MHz default) which results in a 2,6GHz cpu clock and higher DRAM and North Bridge performance. We ran a few quick tests to see the impact of the many different profiles, here is the outcome:

    Madshrimps (c)

    Benchmark methodology

    As you can see there are 4 profiles which adjust the system performance, we selected Office, Presentation, Normal and Turbo mode to run our whole batch of tests through. To get an idea of how much this notebook is worth its money I threw in my own Acer Aspire 5630 which is a mainstream portable of roughly 2 years old. The Aspire is based on the first generation Centrino Duo technology and comes with a 1,66GHz Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T5500 (Merom core), 1Gb DDR2 RAM and Intel on-board graphics. In other words, no match for the GX720, but sure handy for our readers to know how much there is to be gain when upgrading to the MSI notebook. Here is a small specifications overview where we compare both of today’s competitors:

    Madshrimps (c)

    Both systems come with 32-bit Windows Vista and all the latest patches and drivers installed.

    We ran the following tests:

  • Futuremark 3D Mark 2003
  • Futuremark 3D Mark 2005
  • Futuremark 3D Mark 2006
  • Futuremark PC Mark 2005
  • Cinebench 9.5
  • SiSoft Sandra 2007 Memory bandwidth & CPU multimedia tests
  • Superpi v1.5 XS 1M & 4M tests
  • wPrime 1.55
  • Futuremark PC Mark 2005
  • HdTach 3.0

    FRAPS was used to measure the FPS during repeated manual run-troughs of a certain part of the games tested, the minimum, maximum and average values were recorded.

  • TrackMania Nations
  • Colin McRae D.I.R.T.
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