Radeon 8970M laptop
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Posted on 7 Jul 2013 at 19:07, by Tom Morgan
MSI has become the first laptop manufacturer to reveal a system powered by AMD's yet-to-launch Richland APUs, along with the newly-announced Radeon HD 8970m dedicated graphics card. As the bigger brother to the GX60 we reviewed earlier in the year, the GX70 will soon become MSI's most powerful AMD-powered laptop. We got an early look at the system earlier this month, and can now bring you our hands-on impressions.
With the same hulking black chassis and keyboard developed in partnership with Steelseries, the GX70 looks virtually identical to the GX60, albeit with a larger 17.3in Full HD display rather than a 15in model. With such large dimensions (428x288x55mm) it should come as no surprise that there's plenty of ports and connections - three USB3 ports, two USB2s, HDMI, VGA and mini DisplayPort video outputs, three 3.5mm audio jacks, Gigabit Ethernet powered by a gaming-optimised KillerNIC network card and a Blu-ray optical drive.
Inside, you'll find up to 1TB of mechanical storage, along with the possibility of fitting a second hard disk or SSD, up to 32GB of DDR3 memory split between two DIMM slots, the 8970M GPU and an as-yet unnamed Richland APU. Unfortunately, as we were shown the system at an AMD event, we can't go into further details about Richland - you'll have to check back in June when the embargo lifts - but the GPU is impressive on its lonesome.
We were able to play Crysis 3 running at its maximum settings on an external monitor at 1080p, with two other 1080p displays connected in an EyeFinity setup at the same time. Picking up the action at a combat-heavy portion of the game, the frame rate was mostly smooth, with only a few minor cases of slowdown - certainly impressive for such a graphically-intensive game.
Although we weren't shown them in action, AMD produced a graph suggesting the GX70 will have no trouble playing the likes of Skyrim, Deus Ex and Tomb Raider smoothly (30fps or higher) at 1080p resolutions.
The best news will surely be price - although MSI has yet to confirm how much the GX70 will cost in the UK, it will be available in the US for $1, 000 - roughly £650 before sales tax and VAT are taken into account. That should make it significantly less expensive than the Intel/Nvidia alternative when it launches later in the year.