Skip to main content

Gaming Notebook: 15-Inch Vs 17-Inch

A Closer Look at the GX740, the 17-Incher

While you may not think two inches make much of a difference, the GX740 is a beast of a machine. It weighs noticeably more than the GX640, coming in at just over 7 pounds. It's also surprisingly larger, large enough that you'll want to make sure any carrying case you use is specifically designed for 17-inch notebooks.

All of this extra size and weight isn't just for show, of course. The 17-inch display is immensely convenient, as long as you're not carrying it around. When paired with a surround sound headset, games and movies are noticeably more immersive, and you also get some beefier hardware to help make that so.

At the heart of the GX740 is Intel's Core i7-720QM, a quad core beast giving you eight cores though Hyperthreading, and just like the Core i5, the i7 also utilizes Intel's Turbo Boost technology, keeping the energy consumption relatively low when at idle, and boosting performance considerably when the system is working hard. The i7-720QM isn't quite as energy conscious as its dual-core counterpart, though, and this is reflected in the GX740's battery life. Also doing its part to help drain the battery is ATI's Radeon Mobility 5870, arguably the current pinnacle of mobile GPUs.

Unlike the GX640, the larger chassis of the GX740 allows it the benefit of extra cooling features, keeping it from heating up nearly as much. Its larger frame also gives you an additional USB port, making four in total, so while its bulkier size may be a bother at times, it does have its benefits.

  • quantumrand
    I went back and forth between these two laptops more times than I can count. I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but I do like to play the latest games from time to time. In my case, battery life wasn't really a concern since I rarely use my laptop away from a plug, so it was really no holds barred between the two.

    On the one hand, the GX740's quad core CPU with hyperthreading was a huge selling point for me. I do a lot of video converting as well as 3D modeling, so 8 cores is pretty sweet. The size of the thing is pretty extreme though and takes up almost all of my available desk space, leaving little room for my mouse, lol.

    On the other hand, the GX640 is very similar to my current laptop, the GX620. It's the same size, same design, same layout, so switching to it would be very simple. It still has plenty of power to be more than useful, but compared to the GX740 it feels like a big hit to take.

    When it all comes down to it though, the GX640 just offers the best performance per price of anything I've seen. I'm by no means a big spender, so at the end of the day, I have to go with the best deal.
    Reply
  • Trueno07
    I have an older MSI gaming notebook (it's not really that old, only a year, but they don't make them anymore) and i love it. It hasn't given me any trouble, and aside from some wear and tear on the keyboard (all my fault :D) it's a fantastic performer.
    Reply
  • stewartwb
    This is an interesting review, but it seems dangerously close to being an advertisement for MSI, with just a token mention of another vendor in the closing paragraph.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    Both the MSI laptops are great performers and coupled with 3 year warranty, they should be giving Alienware a run for their money.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Awesome review and comparison.

    Stewart: Although I understand your point I think it would be very hard to find another 15 inch laptop with equipment that high spec for such a low price (and likewise for the 17 incher outside of the asus consideration) which makes it easy to explain why we are only seeing MSI. Not to mention Toms can only review the equipment they are given so if no other vendors offered a laptop for a review then MSI deserves any adverts they are getting.
    Reply
  • nice advertisement, where are the game benchmarks.
    Reply
  • quantumrand
    snorenice advertisement, where are the game benchmarks.
    It seems like the content management system doesn't like certain links. The benchmark data can be found here: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AlI_WGE7CQWXdDExTkE5ZHQxOC10eE1pR19Cd0VRLVE
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    This was not a paid advertisement--the writer selected these laptops to illustrate the 15 vs 17 issue for performance-oriented laptops. Truthfully, there aren't many comparable products in this price range, but if you know of some please feel free to let us know in this comments section. Also, keep in mind that we usually limit our reviews to new products--we were unable to find any recent product launches in the same price range/category.

    Thanks for reading,

    Rachel Rosmarin
    Editor, Tom's Guide
    Reply
  • ghostofanonion
    Xan I just say the only thing beastly about tuhe i7-720 is the price. It's no where near the makrketing hype. In saying that I'm quite pleased the performance of my system (i7-720, 8gb, 5870) I just didn't see the raw power these reviews are promising.
    Reply
  • quantumrand
    ghostofanonionXan I just say the only thing beastly about tuhe i7-720 is the price. It's no where near the makrketing hype. In saying that I'm quite pleased the performance of my system (i7-720, 8gb, 5870) I just didn't see the raw power these reviews are promising.
    You're definitely right. In terms of raw power, these laptops certainly don't compare to the possibilities of a similarly priced desktop. No laptop would. Just looking at ATI's Mobility 5800 series makes it plainly clear (the Mobility 5800 is dreadfully similar to the 5700 desktop core).

    But when it comes to laptops, these two systems really stand out, both in terms of performance and price. In my opinion, they're a perfect fit for any serious gamer who likes to LAN it up with his friends.
    Reply