MSI GE40/GE60 gaming laptops review

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May 4, 2013
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Though better known as a vendor for graphics cards, MSI has some noteworthy experience in the realm of notebook design too, showing no hesitation in stepping on Alienware's turf at the higher-end of the gaming laptop market. With the roll-out of Intel's fourth generation of Core CPUs, it has decided that now's the time to unveil its very first 14-inch GE40 laptop, and also bring the revised Haswell architecture to its 15.6-inch GE60. As both come equipped with Nvidia dedicated GPUs as well, we're looking at an unprecedented spec-list here, and one which poses serious questions regarding heat and power intake. MSI promises to offset this by using its new Cooler Boost 2.0 technology, and by suiting each with sizeable batteries - but is this really enough?

Let's take a brief look at the specs first; on the CPU side, each laptop is equipped with processors fabricated at the 22nm process, with Intel declaring its latest mobile chips improve power efficiency over the previous Ivy Bridge design by means of superior idle power management. The smaller GE40 model comes installed with an Intel Core i7-4702MQ, rated with a thermal-design power value of 37W that compares favourably against the 47W of the GE60's processor, the marginally faster i7-4700MQ. Given the larger battery capacity of the smaller laptop as well, all signs point to a much more flexible battery life for the GE40.

On the GPU side, power ratings lurk at around 50W for the dedicated Nvidia GTX 760M found in the GE40. This is a hard-fought rating, particularly given that this is based on the same GK106 chip as the 765M version used for the larger laptop, where the power draw theoretically peaks at up to 75W.

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