After playing with the MS-1656 barebones unit, i loved the idea of building something to suite your specifications and putting what you want in it to get what you want out of it. It seems that 15.4″ Screen and a GTS 250M was not enough, i needed something to be close to my desktop specs, my expectations kinda rose a little after having crossfire and an i7 OC’D for quite a while, even though from real world numbers it seems (for playing games and doing “normal” things) it seems no different. So i decided to see what i could find out there to suite what i needed. I needed something close to the following:
– Core i7 920 2.66Ghz
– 6GB 1066Mhz
– 2 x HD 4890 1GB
Meeting those was a tall order, i mean i could get those in a notebook if really wanted to splurge the monies to do so, but i think it would be better to stick to realistic budget and performance. I first place i started looking was something to compare if it was worth it to get the barebones upgrade or to go with something pre-built / OEM. Now i have had OEMS before over the years but only in the last 3 years have i started using notebooks for gaming on the go and hard lanning. I mean we have all lugged our machine to LANS and back and caused outselves damage indoing so, after i moved to laptops to get over that issue i started noticing a few things. All OEMS today seem to built thier notebooks with GPU’s not as the focus and if they do build gaming notebooks they are always 3,0000000,00000000 dollars more than they should be for what you get.
So i set in mind to continue down the path of barebones unit building, but i didnt know where to start, i mean there are a few main contenders to start with:
And then there are pre-built units using custom versions of each sold by (mostly EU builders) like DevilTech and XoticPC, these units again are still a little to steep for the needs but do live up to the performance bar very very well, the only other part that discounted them for me was simply that they don’t accept most customers outside of the EU areas. There are only a few other options but i then turned my attention to the USA, there are some there i could find again finding not what i was looking for, after looking around on http://forum.notebookreview.com/ and found a lot of ravings about clevo and the MSI range but more so towards the barebones. So i started looking towards what the resellers had comming out and the future proofing my idea. I set my sights then on the MSI based barebones mainly the MS-1727 as even the OEM version of it, GX740 was not even released at the time, Core i5 was the fastest CPU in these pre-built units. I then did some more hunting and discovered a interesting reseller Frostycomputers. The first thing that came to my head was “there is sooo much stuff here!!!!” and starting looking at the range of product and the amount of support and information on this site is extensive, a main thing that caught my eye, INTERNATIONAL WARRANTY?!?, smokes most places dont even support local warranty besides the reseller, but there guys sell the machine with international warranty on parts and machine for all MSI based products. this was definatly not the adverage seller, they new thier stuff, video reveiws and all.
So i looked at what they had for the MS-1727 and even pre-order for the MSI-GX740, which again was a surprise. These blokes have everything in MSI gear and if your looking for the good on MSI barebones and OEM i’m telling you not to go past it. Considering the parts i already had, i went first for the GT720, but after a few minutes of confirming the order i emailed back support and asked if they could upgrade to the GX740 (MS-1727) even though it would be on pre order. They changed my order ASAP and even threw in a wonderful 17″ carry bag FTW!!
A week after the unit had been ordered in the US, it arrived at desk! UPS is such a brilliant idea for this sorta thing, and as included with the pictures i have already, i assembled it with the following specs:
– Core i7 720QM
– 4GB 1066Mhz DDR3
– 5870 1GB (Alredy with this model ;-) )
– 128GB A-RAM PRO SSD
– Intel 5100 N WIFI
And the results from first boot was rather impressive, though anything with an SSD these days will be awesome as it is. 3D Mark Initial tests with 10.3 Preview drivers were giving around the 11000 Mark, so i was then able to use the drivers from the GX740 as they were released, sadly the normal AMD drivers will not work without some mild INF tweaking. But after the unit began to give some interesting results compared to my desktop setup, 3D mark of 12000 and even the ability to OC the GPU close to its desktop counterpart. This however from most of my testing didn’t seem to make too much difference in the real world gaming but another 350 points in 3Dmark. Temps i have also included here for idle, gaming and heavy usage. The AUDIO controller in this unit is very very nice, the software to support it is defiantly recommended as this adds some support for other surround setups, the fact that it have individual controls for all 4 audio output jacks makes it great for multitrack recording situations.
I will be also including the second part of this review with my full thoughts and conclusions about the performance and feel of the machine, Including HDMI and usage on battery and keyboard and touchpad feels when in use.