Avid gamers pay attention: MSI's newly announced GX70 gaming laptop packs a pair of potentially powerful firsts from AMD. The notebook sports AMD's fresh new "Richland" A10-5750M accelerated processing unit, along with the recently unveiled flagship Radeon HD 8970M mobile GPU.
The MSI GX70 3BE is the first notebook to offer either of those, and that combination gives it the most potent possible AMD GPU/APU combination for the immediate future.
Of course, you pay for that power, though not as much as you would for Intel-based gaming laptops. The MSI GX70 starts at a competitively priced $1,400. It has a 17.3-inch screen at full 1920-by-1080 resolution, and it’s also a bit chunky 2.17-inch thick and 8.6 pounds. That heft, however, hides a lot of power under the GX70's hood.
The GX70 ships with AMD's Richland A10-5750M, a quad-core chip that starts clocked at 2.5GHz but is capable to hitting 3.5GHz under load thanks to AMD's Turbo technology. The chip includes several other handy-dandy software features, which you can read about in PCWorld's Richland APU overview.
The Radeon HD 8970M GPU, meanwhile, is powered by AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture using the 28nm manufacturing process. The GPU can power a 4K resolution display or up to six traditional displays (assuming you have a bunch of multi-streaming DisplayPort cables handy). The new GPU sports the same basic specs as its 7970M predecessor, but tosses in a slight clock boost, pushing the chip to 900MHz.
Together, the Richland/Radeon duo should prove to be a fairly formidable pair, especially in games that hit the GPU harder than the CPU. (APUs, while powerful graphically, can't really hang with Intel's higher-end Core processors on the computing front.) AMD's Enduro power-saving technology should intelligently switch the graphics workload back and forth between the two components depending on the heft required, but this is still a gaming laptop—don't expect this rig to last all night long unless you're plugged into a wall socket.
The MSI website has a full list of specs for the GX70. We're one the list to receive an evaluation unit from the company's new notebook lineup and we'll follow up with a full review as soon as possible.
The GX70's little brother, the 15.6-inch MSI GX60, also received a Richland refresh, though its graphics are still handled by the slightly older (yet still potent) Radeon 7970M GPU. Its price tag is marginally lower, starting at $1,300.