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Gaming Notebook: 15-Inch Vs 17-Inch

Performance on the Go

There's really no argument as to whether or not these are powerful systems. They absolutely are, but one of the main desirable features of a laptop is portability. When you compare performance versus mobility between the GX640 and GX740, some interesting points come up.

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The first and most obvious comparison would be physical size. The GX740 is noticeably larger than the GX640, and it weighs more too. Yes, it weighs less than a pound more, which may seem negligible, but when you account for its larger size necessitating a larger carrying case, that one pound quickly turns into one and a half or more. If you make long trips on foot often, the additional weight will be something you'll notice.

You also need to consider battery life, and the results in this case really aren't surprising. The GX740's more powerful equipment is also more power hungry, and significantly so. Under continuous use, in general situations (such as web browsing, word processing, and etc), the more power efficient GX640 lasts nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes, while the GX740 hardly manages to survive past 2 hours (these timed tests were conducted with the extended 9-cell battery). With the flush sitting, 6-cell battery, you can expect battery lives to be reduced by up to a third. Needless to say, neither of these systems are battery life champions, but for high-performance laptops, they do post some respectable times.

Now, on top of all of this, you do need to consider performance. This is where things get interesting. Under full load, meaning both the CPU and GPU are running at 100% capacity, both the GX640 and GX740 manage impressive battery lives, 1 hour 45 minutes, and 1 hour 27 minutes respectively. Naturally, if you were to look at this in terms of work units completed, you'd expect the GX740 to take the performance crown, but because the GX640 is so much more energy efficient, it will actually complete about 10% more work units than the GX740: a classic case of tortoise versus hare.

When it comes down to mobile computing, the GX640 is the clear winner, and if you expect to spend the majority of your time away from a plug, you may want to give the GX640 some extra consideration. Although, if that's the case, you may want to consider an entirely different type of laptop altogether.

  • 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