MSI GP Series GP70 Leopard-490 is advertised as gaming laptop but one thing makes me doubtful. And that’s the low price – cheap notebooks rarely excel at gaming. However, this unit features Core i5-4210H processor and GT940M graphics card, so at least some games can be played without problems. But what are those games? Moreover, is the laptop worth its price at all? Below you will find my opinion about this…
So, the processor is called Intel Core i5-4210H. It’s a mobile CPU for high-end laptops, released in mid-2014. The unit contains two cores, 2.9GHZ clock speed and a turbo feature of 3.5GHz. In the trusted Passmark tests the chip receives a grade of ~4700. That’s considerably more than mobile Core i3s that reach ~2500 points. However, some Core i7s that I’ve seen in other gaming laptops get over 8000 points. This is not to say the i5-4210H is poor, on the contrary, it’s very fast. And it’s always the graphics engine that matters more for playing. As such, this processor is very logical choice for a “budget” gaming laptop.
MSI GP Series GP70 Leopard-490 comes with 8GB DDR3L 1600MHz memory. As far as I know, it’s installed on one stick. There are two memory slots in total with support up to 16GB. Thus, you can add another eight gigabytes chip if you want more RAM. However, starting with the default 8GB should work well for most.
For storage this thing offers a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive. It’s faster than older 5400RPM models and offers a lot of space to store your games on. That said, its performance is still far from a solid-state drive. Luckily there is one mSATA slot inside which you can use to install an SSD.
Graphics and screen
MSI GP Series GP70 Leopard-490 features a matte display with 17.3″ diagonal, a good size for gaming. The resolution is of course Full HD, allowing you to have enjoyable sessions with most games. It’s not a touchscreen, however that really shouldn’t be an issue for players.
The graphics engine of this unit is GeForce GT940M (the 2GB model). If you ask me, it’s a low end gaming card, although still faster than integrated Intel HD chips found in cheaper laptops. Basically all games can be played, but the heaviest ones with only some eye candy on. For example, GTA V with medium to high settings and 1366×768 resolution would get a nice 50FPS. On the other hand, with ultra details and Full HD the frame rates would drop below 15-20 on GTA V. Older games than that, such as World of Warcraft and Sims 4, can be played with settings maxed out.
MSI GP Series GP70 Leopard-490 has two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports. For video ports, VGA and HDMI outputs are offered so you can hook up an HDTV or a PC display of any age.
The laptop features Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) and Intel 3160 AC WiFi to get you connected to Internet. Bluetooth 4.0 is also enabled.
Appropriate for a gaming notebook, the MSI includes an integrated DVD burner. SD card slot is installed as well.
The webcam in this model has a 720p resolution. You can use it to (video) chat with your gaming buddies.
Other noteworthy things
MSI GP Series GP70 Leopard-490 weighs 5.95 pounds, not much if compared to other 17.3-inch laptops. However, it’s good to keep in mind these gaming notebooks are never very portable. The 6-cell Li-ion battery lasts around 2 hours if you’re gaming and bit more if web surfing etc. So you’d better keep this thing plugged in very often.
The keyboard doesn’t have illuminated keys. Numpad is installed on the right hand side.
The operating system is Windows 8.1 (64-bit).
MSI GP Series GP70 Leopard-490 indeed is a budget gaming notebook. Its i5-4210H CPU and GT940M graphics engine are solid components however not really top of the line. Every game I know runs on this machine, even the heavyweight GTA V, although the most demanding ones must be played with reduced settings. What comes to software, this rig can pretty much run any application or program you throw at it. It also has a nice 17.3″ Full HD screen offering you sharp picture and accurate colors. If these things are enough for you, and you don’t have too much money to spend, going for this “inexpensive” MSI makes sense.