The only explanation I can guess at for why the MSI GX660 looks the way it does is that someone made a bet with an MSI engineer, challenging him to design the most horrendously ugly computer possible.
This engineer has succeeded admirably. Not since the original Dell Inspiron XPS has a computer this fugly been unleashed upon America.
It is a throwback to an era that has never actually existed except in the minds of ’70s sci-fi enthusiasts, with harsh angles, weird textures, and a combination of automotive inspirations and goofy octagonal designs attempting to live together.
It’s like someone saw a Battlestar Galactica highlight reel and just didn’t get it. Even the Windows desktop wallpaper is hideous.
And MSI, known for its dirt-cheap yet capable machines, wants to convince you to fork over $1,750 for this monstrosity.
Pushing past the design aesthetic, here’s what MSI is giving you for your investment: a high-res, 1920 x 1080-pixel, 15.6-inch LCD; a 1.73-GHz Core i7 Q740 CPU; two 320-GB hard drives in a RAID 0 configuration; 6 GB of RAM; and an ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card. Hey, looks pretty good.
Designed as a gaming laptop (complete with arrows on the WASD keys), the GX660 is powerful, but hardly a record-setter. Benchmarks were on target for a high-end machine, but we’ve gotten better numbers on both general apps and games out of a ThinkPad.
Props to MSI for at least putting a real battery in the system. With 1 hour, 51 minutes of battery life, the MSI is genuinely portable in ways that few gaming rigs are. Its mere 7.6-pound weight is positively gossamer for this category, too.
We also liked the MSI’s touch-sensitive control panel along the top of the base. These seem to be all the rage, but most barely work. The MSI’s icons are actually easy to comprehend, and they perform as expected.
We were less thrilled with the much-touted Dynaudio speaker setup, which puts very visible, oversized speakers on both corners of the base. They’re nothing to write home about. In fact, it would have been nice if they’d been even louder, so as to drown out the jet-engine–class fan that’s installed to cool the dang thing.