I’d like to take up a couple of points around the MSI GT70, the Fang III X7-100.
Firstly, considering you have mentioned build quality a couple of times in relation to other notebooks listed in this article, it’s worth pointing out that the build quality of the GT70 is poor. The plastics used are extremely fimble and there is noticeable flex in the underside of the chassis. Although it may have more “verve and style than Clevo’s notebooks” as Dustin mentions in his referred review, it does look a lot more tackier than the P150EM in comparison.
Dustin also says “Ultimately I continue to be disappointed by the relatively cheap plastic used for the majority of the shell. It still feels much more solid than older Clevo units did” – worth pointing out that this article was written in August 2012 when the P150EM was available and the P150HM had been around for quite a while using the same eternal chassis. You have to go back to the W860 to have a partially valid point of criticising “older Clevo units” build quality – the P150 chassis is far from un-solid in comparison!
Secondly, the thermal design of the MSI chassis leaves a lot to be desired. Unlike the Clevo and Alienware alternatives, the MSI uses a single fan to cool both the CPU and GPU. This may just be acceptable with a 3630QM and 675MX but push both hard at the same time and you will loose clock speed on either component due to throttling. Install a 680M, which is available in the chassis, and pair it with any quad core CPU and you will see the 680M throttle heavily.
The “High End” choice really should have a 7970M (vast majority of driver issues have been resolved) or 680M included. The 675MX, although a capable card, is not going to let you play ultra at 1080 – the two more powerful cards will and you certainly wouldn’t want either of these in an MSI chassis! IMO “High End” should mean the best of the single GPU solutions, if not higher.
This is one of the main reasons why people don’t understand gaming laptops. A single GT 660M really should be the absolute lowest GPU option to render a notebook “Gaming”. Yes you can play games at lower resolutions with lower spec GPUs but IMO a “Gaming notebook” should allow you to play at decent quality settings at 1080 – if you only play at 720 you may as well just buy a console.