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MSI GT627 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 1,269
inc VAT

Specifications

15.4 in 1,680×1,050 display, 2.7kg, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

The GT627’s black chassis with red trim won’t be to everyone’s taste, and the touch-sensitive controls above the keyboard are a little gaudy.

A more practical concern is the cramped keyboard. Although it uses the full width of the case, it squeezes a number pad in on the right, which means a number of small keys on the right-hand side.

MSI has packed an astounding amount into the lurid case. There’s a quad-core Intel processor with 4GB of RAM, plus an Nvidia 9800M GS graphics chipset. Together, these power the GT627 to an overall score of 80 in our benchmarks, which is remarkable for a laptop. Gaming performance was equally impressive, with a score of 37.9fps in Call of Duty 4, and it managed 32fps in Crysis at the screen’s 1,680×1,050 native resolution, with medium detail and anti-aliasing disabled.

As well as a 320GB hard disk, you get a Blu-ray drive and all the expansion ports you might need: FireWire, HDMI, eSATA and coaxial S/PDIF. Gigabit Ethernet and Bluetooth are also included, although there are only three USB ports.

The GT627’s 15.4in display isn’t as vibrant as some LED-backlit screens, but colours are accurate. We’re used to seeing a 1,680×1,050 resolution on 22in desktop monitors. It means that each pixel is smaller, and images benefit by looking sharper. In games this means you can get away with a lower anti-aliasing setting.

The touchpad buttons are stiff and don’t have much travel. The surface of the touchpad isn’t smooth enough, and during the time we had it, it wore away an even-less-smooth shiny patch. Mind you, if you’re playing games, an external mouse is essential anyway.

The touch-sensitive panel above the keyboard includes controls for media playback and buttons that turn Bluetooth, WiFi and the webcam on and off. There’s also a button that switches between modes, including an Eco mode, and another that toggles Turbo mode. We noticed only a tiny difference in Turbo mode, while Eco mode turned the display brightness down to 20 per cent, which is too dark to see. Its poor battery life of just over two hours is typical for a powerful gaming laptop. This is a pity, as it’s actually fairly portable at 2.7kg.

The GT627 has the quad-core performance and gaming muscle to rival the desktop-replacement laptops in last month’s group test. All it really lacks is a full-HD screen to complement the Blu-ray drive, but you can hook up a bigger screen via HDMI. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop that isn’t too huge, this fits the bill. Despite a couple of minor issues, it’s a good choice if you need the power.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000
Processor clock speed 2GHz
Memory 4.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 4GB
Size 31x358x260mm
Weight 2.7kg
Sound Realtek High Definition Audio
Pointing device touchpad
Power consumption standby 1W
Power consumption idle 34W
Power consumption active 83W

Display

Viewable size 15.4 in
Native resolution 1,680×1,050
Graphics Processor Nvidia GeForce 9800M GS
Graphics/video ports VGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory 1,024MB

Storage

Total storage capacity 320GB
Optical drive model Optiarc BC-5500S
Optical drive type DVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Total Firewire ports 1
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11a/n
PC Card slots 1x ExpressCard/54
Modem Yes
Supported memory cards SD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other ports eSATA (shared with USB socket), 2x minijack audio input, 1x minijack S/PDIF output (shared), 1x minijack audio output, mini-RF port

Miscellaneous

Carrying case Yes
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included none

Buying Information

Price £1,269
Details www.msi.com
Supplier http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

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