Sunday, July 3, 2011


If you're someone who wants a high-performance gaming notebook packed with 1TB of storage, a 1GB Nvidia GTX 285M graphics card and one of the most powerful Intel Core i7 processors currently on the market then you better be prepared to pay close to $2,500. Well, that was before the MSI GT660R arrived in stores. This 16-inch gaming notebook is packed with premium components, a fantastic speaker system and the ability to overclock the CPU and the GPU for $1,700. Keep reading to find out more.

MSI offers multiple configurations of the GT660. Our review unit of the MSI GT660R comes with the following features:
  • 16-inch 720p (1366x768) display with LED backlighting
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • Intel Core i7-740QM (1.73GHz) Overclockable
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 285M (1GB DDR3) Overclockable
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM 1066MHz (2GB x 3)
  • 1TB of storage (two 500GB 7200rpm HDD in RAID 0)
  • Super-Multi/Blu-Ray optical drive
  • 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth
  • 9-cell Li-ion battery with 150W power adapter
  • Weight: 7.74 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15 x 10.25 x 1.78 inches
  • MSRP: $1,699.99
Build and Design
The MSI GT660 series was designed in partnership with Dynaudio to create a gaming notebook chassis that also offers a "true-to-life sound experience." The speaker housing structures, speaker circuits and overall position of the stereo speakers and subwoofer were designed to combine the extreme performance of a gaming notebook with the rich audio performance of a premium multimedia notebook.

Despite the heavy use of plastics, the exterior surfaces of the GT660R are covered in a scratch-resistant coating to improve durability. The screen lid itself is also covered in "MSI Color Film Print Technology" which is essentially in multi-layer printed image imbedded into the plastic. In this case you can see a faint honeycomb pattern in the lid similar to the texture used on the palm rests when you open the notebook.

The build quality of the MSI GT660R is a combination of good and bad. The solid main chassis doesn't squeak, creak, or flex even under significant pressure. Unfortunately, the keyboard suffers from quite a bit of obvious flex under heavy typing pressure and the screen lid flexes inward with ease. The screen hinges are nice and tight, but the heavy use of glossy plastics means that your fingerprints and smudges quickly cover every exposed surface of the notebook and make it look dirty unless you constantly clean your notebook with a microfiber cloth. The metal-reinforced main chassis offers a fair amount of structural rigidity for the plethora of high-performance components inside, but this also adds to the bulk and weight of the notebook.

The bottom of the notebook includes a single, massive access plate for the RAM, wireless cards and the dual hard drives. The battery also clips into the bottom of the notebook underneath one of the palm rests. The three RAM slots are stacked, making use of the extra chassis thickness necessitated by the high-performance graphics card. Despite the thickness and weight of this notebook, the internal layout helps keep the chassis design as thin as possible. My only complaint here is that you have to remove too many screws to get inside the GT660. Considering that the target audience for this notebook is likely upgrade the RAM or hard drives at some point (possibly as soon as they buy it) we would have appreciated it if MSI made it easier to get inside this notebook.

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