Review of the MSI GS30 2M Shadow: ultrabook + GTX 970 = ?
The weakest link of gaming laptops has always been the graphics card. Quad-core processors, these powerful portable PC a few years ago reached an impressive level of performance, which is enough for any game. Therefore, from year to year the developers of graphics cards trying to reduce the gap in performance between mobile and desktop graphics cards. If you believe the slide from the official presentation of the NVIDIA, at the time of this writing, the gap between the top desktop and mobile graphics cards (NVIDIA GTX 980 and GTX 980M, respectively) was 20%. Of course, skeptics may argue that desktop video card is still faster than mobile, but the gap is however gradually decreasing.
Apparently, MSI decided not to wait until mobile graphics will catch up with desktops, and have realized the dream of many gamers: notebook MSI GS30 2M Shadow is equipped with a docking station, which is a complete graphics card. By the way, something similar, however, with the help of wires, and engineers implemented a Dell Alienware.
The appearance of the laptop
He 13 inch laptop MSI GS30 2M Shadow is very thin – maximum thickness is only 25 mm. This “harmony” was achieved due to the fact that the laptop has no discrete graphics for image output in the absence of the docking station meets the CPU core.
Laptop lid is made of metal, but covered with the trademark black paint, quickly collecting fingerprints and not very willing to part with them.
The workspace of the laptop is plastic, with Soft-Touch surface. Fingerprints stay on it with the same speed as on the cover, and to fight the “pollution” not a bit easier. The creators of the notebook is clearly aware of this problem: the box with the “Shadow” can be found, first, a microfiber cloth, and secondly, a cover for the laptop.
Touchpad from MSI GS30 2M Shadow large (150 × 70 mm), and thus very convenient. Moreover, there is the normal drivers, so that problems with the gestures and “right click” is not observed.
Keyboard our hero normal, “island”. The course of buttons, as a small deflection in the Central part, it was quite common for keyboards of this type. By the way, this gaming laptop MSI no pre-installed software that allows you to record macros and reassign keys programmatically. It is also worth noting that the GS30 2M Shadow is the first modern gaming laptop MSI, which has the “Windows” key is in the lower left corner of the keyboard, not the right. All this is because when you connect the laptop to the docking station is much more convenient to use a separate keyboard, so the notebook additional game optimization is not needed.
The keyboard and the front edge of the laptop there is a white backlight. Highlighting the front end will be lit and the keyboard backlight can be disabled using the key combination [Fn + F6]. No brightness from no backlight.
With connectors from MSI GS30 2M Shadow, things are a little better than most “trinsic”, but still not too rich. On the left side of the laptop is one USB 3.0 and two 3.5 mm audio jacks for headphones and microphone. On the right side of the laptop is another USB 3.0 port, HDMI version 1.4 b, and network Ethernet port and a slot device for reading memory cards. On the front face there are no connectors, but on the back is located the most interesting hidden proprietary PCIe x16.
On the bottom of the laptop is nothing but a large number of holes for ventilation and almost as large number of labels.
The appearance of the docking station
Docking station MSI GS30 2M Shadow is much larger than the laptop itself. In fact, it is understandable, because inside it there should be a place to install a discrete graphics card, 3.5-inch hard drive, two speakers, subwoofer and system fan.
If desired, the user will be able to upgrade the dock: no restrictions except for the dimensions of the graphics and TDP – no. For example, we could install inside and quite hungry dual-chip NVIDIA GeForce 690.
On the left side of the docking station is the power supply and the outputs of the video card, and on the right — 4 USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet and two 3.5-mm audio Jack designed for headphones and headsets. By the way, the network controller from the docking station: this is the Gigabit Killer E2200, which we sometimes meet in MSI motherboards. The laptop also has another network controller, Atheros AR8161/8165, which is not available while connected to the docking station.
The whole upper part of the docking station are given under the Lapdesk. Stand allows you to properly connect the laptop to the proprietary connector, and through the recess in the center of the base cooling system of the laptop should handle the job.
To connect MSI GS30 2M Shadow to the docking station, you must turn off the laptop (PCIe, even proprietary, do not support hot plug), pin it on the stand and either move the laptop by itself or pull the lever located at the right corner. After proper connection of the laptop stand will automatically close the mechanical lock, which prevents accidental disconnection of the laptop from the dock. From locking and unlocking lever has only two positions: connected and disconnected. For some unknown reason, the state of “connected” is shown by the schematic image resistor, and the “off” position – schematic representation of the capacitor.
The laptop connected to the docking station looks quite nice. After connecting the USB ports the laptop can be used for connecting peripherals. Thus the total number of universal USB 3.0 ports is increased to 6 pieces – like a solid workstation.
|MSI GS30 2M Shadow|
|Hard drive||RAID-0 256 GB (really — 224 GB)
composed of two M. 2 SSD Kingston SNS8100S3/128GD1 with capacity of 128 GB each;
|Interfaces||2 × USB 3.0;
1 × HDMI (v 1.4 b);
1 × Ethernet;
1 × headphone Jack (3.5 mm mini-jack);
1 × connector for microphone (mini-jack 3,5 mm);
1 x proprietary PCIe x16 connector for docking station
|Wi-Fi||802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHz, 2 × 2, (Intel Wireless-N 7260)|
|Network adapter||10/100/1000 Mbit/s (Atheros AR8161/8165);|
|Connector flash cards||SD (SDHC/SDXC)|
|Sound||Two microphones, two speakers|
|Battery||Built-in, 47,36 WH (6400 mAh, 7.4 V), 3 cells|
|Power supply||65 Watts (19 V, 3.42 A)|
|Size||320 × 227 × 23 mm|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows 8.1 Single Language 64 Bit|
|Estimated price||130 000 rubles for the version with the dock without a video card;
180 000 rubles for the version with docking station with video card
|Video card||MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G, 4GB GDDR5 (optional)|
|Connectors card||1 X DL DVI-I;
1 X DL DVI-D;
1 × HDMI;
1 × DisplayPort;
|Interfaces dock||1 x proprietary PCIe x16 for connection to laptop
4 × USB 3.0;
1 × Ethernet;
1 × headphone Jack (3.5 mm mini-jack);
1 × connector for microphone (mini-jack 3,5 mm);
|Network adapter||10/100/1000 Mbps (Killer E2200);|
|Power supply||450 W, for connecting graphics card provides two 10+2 pin connector|
|Size||364,4 x 209 x 197,7 mm|
|Weight||4.2 kg without a video card and HDD;
4.8 kg with the video card and without HDD;
The laptop is equipped with a processor Intel Core i7-4870HQ processor with a clock frequency of 2.5 GHz (up to 3.7 GHz in Turbo Boost mode), L3 cache size 6 MB and teplopaket 47 watts. It should be noted that CPU-Z recognizes installed in the laptop is the processor like Intel Core i7-4710HQ, which is totally wrong. But in AIDA64, which also uses CPU-Z utility, CPU is recognized no problem.
Of RAM the laptop has 16 GB. Recruited two memory modules DDR3L-1600, 8 GB GB. If desired, the user can these modules be replaced.
In the notebook, as we have said, is only available in CPU GPU, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200. In the docking station, which appeared in our lab, has installed the desktop video card MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G 4 GB GDDR5 memory.
MSI remained true to himself and equipped with the hero of our article RAID array of two SATA SSDS format M. 2. The total amount of constant memory available to the user is 224 GB. For hard drive space in the laptop is not found, but it can be installed in the docking station and to store the installed games requiring the most space on it. In our version of the dock pre-installed drive was not.
For wireless connection meets Intel Wireless-N 7260 — thanks to him, the laptop can connect to networks Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz. Alas, this adapter can not work in a 5-GHz band. But supports Bluetooth 4.0.
The battery from three cells are non-removable, its capacity is 47,36 WH (6400 mAh, 7.4 V).
According to information received by us from the representative of MSI, notebook MSI GS30 2M Shadow with docking station, not equipped with discrete graphics will cost 2 171 U.S. dollar, which is about 130 000 rubles is not very optimistic the rate of 60 rubles to the dollar. The version of “Shadow” graphics MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G will cost 2 838 U.S. dollars, i.e. about 170 000 rubles at the rate of 60 rubles to the dollar.
“Yandex.Market” shows a more optimistic options to 115 000 and 150 000. For comparison: modification ASUS ROG G751JY with the fastest mobile graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M is an average of 155 000, which is about the same as asking for the hero of this article. And in our opinion, it is the cost of laptops with flagship graphics would be MSI when the price for GS30 dock. It is still a very significant sum, but such are the current realities.
The internal structure of the notebook and docking station
Disassemble the MSI GS30 2M Shadow is not very easy. First you have to Unscrew eight screws on the reverse side, and then very carefully trying not to damage the fragile but tenacious plastic latch – take it off the bottom. After this operation the user will have access to the memory modules, storage devices M. 2, wireless module and the cooling system of the laptop.
This is the cooling system consists of two flattened heat pipes (with a width of 11.5 and 8.3 mm), compact impellers and two radiators. The view FROM it is quite compact, although it will have to cool the 47-watt processor.
To disassemble the docking station much easier than the laptop. To access the discrete graphics card, it is sufficient to Unscrew the six screws and without sudden movements so as not to damage the ribbon cable acoustics is to remove the front panel.
Then a discrete graphics card can be hassle-free to get from the dock – it is only necessary to dismantle the plate, which holds it.
The dismantling of the power supply also nothing complicated, but a special need to do this too, no power regular PSU manufactured by FSP 450 W, that is, he can even pull dual-chip graphics card. And to install inside the hard drive, remove the power supply unit is not required.