Gaming notebooks are rarely preferred over full-fledged desktop PCs. The primary reason being the cost. It’s possible to build a powerful desktop for the same price as an average gaming notebook. Gaming notebooks are large in size and heavy, so you can’t really carry these around too often. MSI’s last gaming notebook – the GTX663R, was a great performer but also came with a heavy price tag. Now with the GX660, we definitely hope to see some more value for money.
Design and Build Quality
At first glance, the GX660 looks quite similar to the GTX663R, in more ways than one. Other than its size, we’re not totally impressed by its looks. The top lid is glossy and the notebook is black in colour. The LED that illuminates the logo on the lid is a nice touch. The notebook , though, isn’t up to date on the design - I mean to say it’s not directly comparable to a high-end Alienware notebook.
Very average looking for a gaming notebook
After opening the notebook, you notice that the insides aren’t too different from the previous GTX663R notebook. At 15.6 inches, the GX660’s screen is quite large and the bezel surrounding the screen is pretty sleek and doesn’t waste too much space. The keyboard has a chiclet design and is spaced out well. The trackpad doesn’t perform as well as we’d like, but its soft velvet-like surface makes it comfortable to use. Above the keyboard, there are a few touch-sensitive buttons that act like shortcuts for a variety of functions like powering the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth features. There are even buttons for switching between various performance modes. The panel in itself is a thoughtful addition by MSI. Surrounding the panel at its two ends, MSI has supplied us with two Dynaudio branded speakers. They are larger than most speakers we’ve seen and we hope this results in superior audio quality.
eSATA accompanied with VGA and HDMI
While the design is not inspirational, the build quality is not up to the mark, either. For one, the plastic used throughout the notebook has a cheap feel to it. The keyboard’s chiclet design might be nice, but the keys don’t look like they could sustain heavy usage. Gamers are bound to use the same keyboard while spending hours gaming, so the keyboard needs to be chunky and sturdy enough to take the abuse.
The configuration of the notebook is good, but is pretty similar to its predecessor. Intel’s Core i7 Q740 quad-core processor clocks at 1.73 GHz and can also be pressed to give about 2.93 GHz. The notebook comes with a colossal 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, which again is similar to the GTX663R. The biggest difference is the graphics solution being used. While the older model had an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M, this one features AMD’s Mobility Radeon HD 5870. That along with a good 640 GB hard drive, is what is different from the previous model.
Bulky for sure and heats up as well
Leaving the specifications aside, we come to the ports that the GX660 boasts of. There are two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports and along with these, MSI has also thrown in an eSATA port and then there’s an HDMI port included, as well. While HDMI is a standard feature that we see in most notebooks today, the eSATA port looks like a nice addition to connect to any eSATA drives. Also, you’ll find a VGA port along with an optical drive as well.
The touch-sensitive shortcut keys also deserve a mention here. As mentioned earlier, there are keys to change performance modes like Eco Saving, Document Only or Turbo. The turbo option is not new in the gaming notebook segment and is supposed to give a slight boost in performance. But what interested us most is a button that controls the fan, so press it once and the fan speeds up, cooling down the notebook if needed. There's also a customizable shortcut key which will perform an operation just as you want it to.
While the design and build quality is not impressive, the features and connectivity options that the GX660 offers us is definitely worth an applause.