MSIís GX70 has one of the most complete software stacks weíve come across in recent memory and its nearly devoid of bloatware. Every gamerís worst enemy, Windows 8, has thrown into the mix too which ensures a healthy mix of frustration, mind-boggling interfaces, and bewildering backgoround processes eating up precious resources. Unfortunately, the GX70ís pedestrian-speed 7200RPM hard drive doesnít help the situation either since it canít cope well with these demands and causes the entire computing experience to feel unwieldy.
AMDís Face Login is a key component within the Richland ecosystem and MSI advertises it within their marketing materials. It functioned quite well in conjunction with the included HD webcam and was able to log every user into Windows 8 without the need for a password.
The list of pre-installed programs doesnít include any surprises and thatís a good thing since MSI hasnít loaded up their notebook with unnecessary junk. With that being said, there are a few additions here which can be deleted if extra hard drive space is required. BlueStacks App Player is a simple program that allows Android apps to be used in a standard PC environment, though it tended to crash quite a bit. MSIís Remind Manager and Social Media Collection are there to ensure you stay connected with MSI.
One of the major annoyances here Ėother than Windows 8 that is- is the Norton Security programs. They are only installed on a trial basis, cause constant pop-ups while in-game and essentially cause havoc whenever an application consumes more than 60% of the processorís workload. Norton also happens to be nearly impossible to uninstall (special utilities are required for that) and merrily gobbles up more than 300MB of memory.
The main issue here is Windows 8 though. We wonít go through its well-publicized eccentricities but in this iteration it uses a shocking 2.4GB of system memory to keep itself propped up. Thatís 33% of the GX70ís available resources which is unacceptable in our books considering you canít upgrade the memory without voiding MSIís warranty.
MSIís System Control Manager or SCM serves as a jump-off point for a number of functions from performance settings to a Wireless toggle. All of these can be controlled with keyboard inputs or hotkeys but itís still convenient to have them in one universal location.
The keyboardís backlighting controls are grouped into a single interface which isnít quite as in depth or user friendly as the one found on Alienwareís offerings. However, it is still relatively well designed with different patterns and colors available alongside zone-specific settings and several illumination presets for Gaming, Audio and other tasks.
When the Killer network card is installed, its application is a must in order to achieve optimal network performance. Without going through its entire setup process, we actually found that Windowsí default sharing center played tug of war with the network card, resulting in dropped WiFi signals or packet conflicts. At least the Killer software is easy to navigate and it gives a dizzying array of options.
Last but not least we have Sound Blaster THX Cinema Pro which essentially gives the user preset audio settings which are optimized for either Surround, Headphone or Stereo setups. Thereís also a full-band equalizer, bass options, additional presets for Smart Volume (which adapts volume to your environment) and a well-designed positional sound interface.
Our personal favorite was the Dialog Plus setting which allowed actor's voices to come to the forefront when watching a movie, ensuring they didn't get lost in the other audio that's typically present in a 2.1 sound stage.
|Latest Reviews in Mobile News|