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MSI GT680R Notebook Review: Sandybridge for Gamers

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: MSI

Performance

The processor inside the MSI GT680R is Intel’s Core i7-2630QM, which serves as the entry-level mobile quad-core. We’ve tested this processor previously in the ASUS N53, and found it capable of incredible performance. Our first round of SiSoft Sandra benchmarks focus on processor performance, so we should see similar results.

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As you can see the performance of the ASUS N53 and the MSI GT680R is virtually identical in these benchmarks, which is what was expected. Intel quad-core mobile processors are by far the current kings of mobile processor performance. There’s nothing else that comes close. 

Now let’s move on to our general application benchmarks. These rely on more than the processor, so the results here are far less predictable.

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The MSI GT680R put forth a very strong showing here, particularly in the Peacekeeper and PCMark Vantage benchmarks. The performance of this laptop seems to be very well rounded, as there aren’t any sub-tests that the GT680R bombs. Given the hardware specifications, this isn’t outrageously surprising. 

What did surprise me, however, was how thoroughly the GT680R stomped the ASUS G53. At the time we tested it, the G53 was equipped with a quad-core first-gen Core i7 processor, but the GPU used on the G53 and the GT680R is identical. That means much of the performance advantage found on the GT680R is coming from the processor. 

Since this is a gaming laptop, it’s important to thoroughly test its gaming performance. Let’s see what Intel’s new quad-core has to offer in real-world gaming and dedicated gaming benchmarks.

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If the GT680R could sprout legs and dance, I’m sure it would, as these results are worthy of celebration. The GT680R thoroughly outperforms everything we’ve ever reviewed including the older ASUS G53, which was cutting-edge just six months ago. The only benchmark where the GT680R stumbles is Just Cause 2, which mysteriously ran slower than it did on the G53. I’m a bit confused about the result, but was unable to shake it. I’ve noticed that the game has run poorly on some other recently tested laptops, so there could have been a change in the game that is causing the trouble. 

Finally, let’s see how quickly this behemoth can boot.

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Unfortunately, the MSI GT680R seems to drag in these benchmarks. As I’ve pointed out time and time again, the hardware performance of a laptop doesn’t indicate how quickly it will boot or resume. In this case, the boot performance seems to be held back by a POST screen that hangs around for longer than is strictly necessary. 

The MSI GT680R’s performance can be summed up as predictably excellent. Given the hardware specifications, I was not expecting anything less than outstanding performance, and that’s what the MSI GT680R delivers. 

 

May 20, 2011 | 11:52 AM - Posted by dagamer34 (not verified)

Hmm... MSI's official specs have the display at 1920x1080. Typo? http://www.msi.com/product/nb/GT680.html#?div=Specification

May 20, 2011 | 04:22 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

I must not have had my head screwed on right when I did the table. I've made two corrections.

1. The drive in this model is a CD/DVD Drive, not Blu-Ray
2. The display resolution is 1920x1080.

My apologies to the readers.

August 10, 2011 | 12:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

MSI might be cheap but breaks down easily.
It also has a poor after sales service.
MSI service center will not cover the warranty and blame the defects on the user.
Don’t be a victim like me of this cheap laptop because instead of saving money you will spend more for its repair. I have IBM laptop since 2005 it’s still doing good until today Aug.10, 2011. Toshiba is ok still doing good after 3 years but MSI! did not last for a year. tsk! tsk! and the cost for repair is more than half of the price when i bought it. Shame on MSI! Poor quality with poor after sales service!

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