MSI GT680R Notebook Review: Sandybridge for Gamers
Heat and Connectivity, Battery Life and Portability
Heat and Connectivity
When I first benchmarked the MSI I left the room to make a sandwich. While doing so, I heard a steady noise that sounded like a box fan, so I went to see if I’d left it on. I hadn’t – it was the MSI GT680R, happily whooshing away as it ground through the benchmarks thrown at it. As if to add insult to injury, the GT680R even comes with a button besides the power button that simply turns the fan to full and leaves it there. It’s a good job that this laptop has excellent, loud audio, because you’d never hear your games otherwise.
A loud fan isn’t entirely bad news, however, because it leads to low temperatures. Even after ringing the GT680R through OCCT and Furmark I found that the system kept its cool. Processor and GPU temperatures idled just below 30 degrees Celsius. The GPU topped out at 61 degrees Celsius, while the processor went no higher than 54 degrees Celsius. These cool temperatures were reflected in the chassis of the GT680R, which was remarkably cool even under high load. Only the area around the left-side vent became hot.
Given the size of the GT680R, there is plenty of room for connectivity. On the left you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, a card reader and a USB 2.0 port. On the right you’ll find not one, not two, but four audio jacks and another USB 2.0 port. The rest of the connectivity, including the power jack, VGA and HDMI, Ethernet and eSATA, is found on the rear of the laptop. This is a great feature, as it means you’ll be able to plug the GT680R into an external monitor, an eSATA device, wired Ethernet and even the power adapter without stringing cords across your desk.
Battery Life and Portability
The MSI GT680R ships with a huge 87Wh battery that is located in the front of the chassis. The size of the battery is no surprise, as the hardware in the GT680R is sure to gobble power. This is not an Optimus enabled laptop, so the GTX 460 will be working to one degree or another the entire time it is unplugged.
Despite that, battery life was shockingly reasonable. The GT680R managed about two hours in the Battery Eater standard test, and over four hours in the reader’s test. Although these results are far from award-winning, they are surprisingly good for a gaming laptop. Entries in this market have traditionally been hopeless when it comes to mobile use, but the GT680R at least last longs enough to handle a typical airport layover.
That is, of course, if you manage to fit this beast into your carry-on. Although this 15.6” gaming laptop at least offers the potential for portability, it’s not small by any measure. It absolutely does not fit in my small satchel, and will only barely fit into my backpack. There’s not much that MSI can do about this. Beefy hardware requires beefy cooling and lots of space.