The new MSI GT663 gaming laptop comes with the latest Intel Core i7 [720QM-840QM] quad-core processor as well a three slot setup of memory banks allowing up to 12GB [4GBx3] of installed memory at up to 1333MHz. Unlike many "i7"-branded processors that are actually dual-core or double-channel memory, this is a fully fledged triple-channel memory, quad-core with Hyper-Threading i7.
In addition to the desktop replacement-like specs MSI also integrated the sound technologies from Dynaudio to improve the GT663?s auditory experience. The GT 663 also features DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC technology to give you cinema-class sound at no extra cost through either dual-channel speakers or headsets.
The GT663 also doesn?t skimp on hard drive space coming with two hard drives with up to 1TB in storage capacity. This allows not only for the expansion of hard drives in the future, but it also leaves open the realm of possibility of running an SSD as a boot/OS drive and a 500GB 7200RPM drive as a data drive. This would be the ultimate gaming solution, and we hope MSI considers it in some of their offerings. Then again, we do advise to go for post-market upgrade with the latest SSD hard drive, rather than the current situation where you buy a hybrid notebook carrying an SSD that doesn’t support TRIM or Garbage Collection combined with a perfectly good hard drive.
When it comes to the Graphics, the MSI GT663 utilizes the all-new GeForce GTX 460M processor which enables high-end graphics gaming in a mobile form factor. The GTX 460M features all of the usually expected technologies that are associated with a gaming chip, helped along by the 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory. The GT663 can display these graphics through a wide array of displays ranging from the two types of onboard LCDs that display at 1920×1080[16:9] and 1366×768 [16:9] to the VGA and HDMI outputs on the back of the laptop. The GTX 460M is also supplemented by a 720P webcam that enables high-resolution video chatting without the need of purchasing a new webcam. This is all powered by a beefy 9-cell battery that gives the MSI GT663 it?s unplugged, albeit fairly short, life. In our view, Toshiba still leads the desktop replacement category with their 12-cell battery, but their graphics configuration doesn’t come close to performance offered by the GT663.
A shot of the back of the laptop showing the VGA and HDMI ports among others
Another place where the GT663 shines is the fact that it boasts two USB 3.0 ports. This is one more than the ASUS N71JQ-X1 that we played with. The ability to use USB 3.0 is absolutely invaluable considering the fact that there are ever increasingly more and more USB 3.0 devices out there. For those that don?t know the benefits of USB 3.0 over 2.0 the simple fact is that USB 3.0 has more than 10x the bandwidth capability of USB 2.0 and as such, the storage medium [drive] now becomes the bottleneck instead of the interface [USB]. We are happy to see Taiwanese manufacturers going out there and thumbing their noses at Intel?s lack of support of USB 3.0 and simply driving the market without Intel. As such, we are always excited to see the use of USB 3.0 in more laptops and desktops every day.
Side view of the laptop showing the dual USB 3.0 ports, express card slot, memory card reader, and USB 2.0 port.
TDE+ double Turbo Drive technology: The GT663 has double Turbo Drive technology to rev up both processor and display performance. Just one touch of the luminescent Turbo hotkey above the keyboard engages the TDE+ technology [Turbo Drive Engine+], instantly boosting system clock speed for enhanced processor and display performance. Not only does it keep your system from bogging down when performing load-intensive tasks, but it also ensures that your system doesn?t skip a beat during any heat of the moment gaming scenario. As part of the TDE technology, the MSI GT663 also features Cool Boost which is yet another button that allows the user to easily adjust fan speeds and overall system cooling on the fly.
The control panel where all of the on the MSI on the fly controls are accessible.
MSI states that in order to build a laptop with superb sound, you need to be meticulous about every detail. Even speaker locations and sound field design have to be calculated with precision. MSI worked side by side with Dynaudio to carry out vast amounts of study and countless calculations on the GT663 to determine ideal locations to install speakers to obtain obstruction-free sound transmission.
With DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC technology, your dual channel laptop provides 5.1 channel theater-class wrap-around sounds without the need to calculate optimal positions for the six speakers. To be honest, we wouldn?t expect most gamers to use the built in speakers much considering that almost all gamers end up using a headset of one sort or another. Because of this, we would probably say that the most important time when these speakers would be useful would be when playing music or movies when a headset wouldn?t be utilized as much. Nevertheless, having good sounding speakers on a laptop is always great to have whenever a headset or headphones aren?t available.
The GT663?s specifications in short list form:
Processor Intel Core i7 Processor
Operating System Windows 7
Memory DDR3-1333MHz up to 12GB
Display 15.6" Full HD or HD LED backlight [16:9]
Graphics nVidia GeForce GTX 460M -1.5GB
Video Output 1x HDMI, 1x VGA
Hard Disk Drive[s] 500GB/640GB RAID 0/1TB RAID 0
Optical Disk Drive DVD Super Multi/ Blu-ray
Interfaces 2x USB 3.0,2x USB 2.0,1x eSATA,1x Express Card,5-in-1 card reader
Sound 2.1ch speakers sound by Dynaudio, DTS surround sensation UltraPC
Communication 802.11 b/g/n WLAN,Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR,1x Gigabit LAN
Webcam HD [30fps@720p]
Battery 9-Cell Li-Ion
Dimension 395 x 267 x 55mm [15.5 x 10.5 x 2.2 inches]
Weight 3.5Kg [7.7lbs]