MSI GT70 GTX 880M Gaming Performance

We’re at the point now where the fastest mobile GPUs can run just about everything at maxed out settings. There are a few exceptions, e.g. Metro Last Light will need to drop a setting or two to stay above 30FPS at 1080p, but the GTX 880M – and even the previous generation GTX 780M – are fast enough that some games are running into CPU limitations. That’s not really a problem in practice, since games that are CPU limited tend to still hit 60+ FPS, and if you’re running at lower detail settings just to show CPU bottlenecks it’s an artificial constraint.

Anyway, if you happen to have a system with a GTX 880M paired with an i7-4700MQ and you compare performance to a GTX 780M with an i7-4930XM, you’ll find instances where the faster CPU wins out. At our Mainstream and Enthusiast settings, however, all of the games we currently use for testing favor the faster GPU over a faster CPU. We’ve included results from some of the fastest notebooks we tested during the previous year for comparison. I’m only going to post charts of our Enthusiast settings, as anyone buying a notebook with a GTX 880M inherently qualifies as a gaming enthusiast in my book, but you can find the Mainstream and even Value scores in Mobile Bench (though the Value scores in particular are mostly meaningless).

Bioshock Infinite - Enthusiast

GRID 2 - Enthusiast

Metro: Last Light - Enthusiast

Sleeping Dogs - Enthusiast

Tomb Raider - Enthusiast

In their launch materials, NVIDIA claimed the new GTX 880M as being 15% faster than last year’s GTX 780M. Overall, our results with the GT70 compared to the Clevo P157SM or the previous GT70 Dragon don’t really agree with that figure, though it varies by game. It’s more accurate to state that the 880M is “up to 15% faster” rather than a 15% increase on average. The 880M boasts core clocks that are around 16% faster than the 780M, but memory bandwidth is the same so titles where the memory bandwidth comes into play (which is most games when we’re running at high/max details) will see quite a bit less than the maximum 16% increase in performance. The 880M does come with 8GB GDDR5 RAM, so there may be a few instances where the additional memory can help slightly, but right now most games are still targeting 4GB or less VRAM as the vast majority of GPUs shipped fall into that classification.

Overall, if we take the better result of the MSI GT70 Dragon and Clevo P157SM (on the assumption that driver differences may have negatively affected a few titles), the new GTX 880M ends up around 7% faster than the GTX 780M. It's not too surprising, considering we're looking at the same core architecture and the same memory bandwidth. 8GB VRAM is clearly more than the GTX 880M needs, at least with current titles; it might prove beneficial in the future, but I suspect by the time games are routinely using more than 4GB the 880M will be replaced by something newer/faster/better. While 7% isn't much of an improvement, keep in mind that the increase in cost (at least for an entire notebook) is only around $50. On an $1800 notebook that's a 3% increase, and considering the difficulty of acquiring a GPU upgrade for a notebook without buying a complete system, if you’re in the market for a gaming notebook the GT70 certainly offers a good value. If on the other hand you already own a gaming notebook with GTX 780M, you’ll likely want to wait for the inevitable “Big Maxwell” notebook GPUs to appear.

MSI GT70 Subjective Overview MSI GT70 GTX 880M: Battery Boost
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  • kishorshack - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Again an amazing gaming notebook from MSI
    Overall Gaming Experience Amazing
    LCD should have been a bit better
    Specially in gaming notebook
    Where what you see forms the basis of your overall experience
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    There are not that many good 17.3" panels out there if any. The 15.6" version ships with a PLS screen though.
  • lukedaly - Thursday, October 9, 2014 - link

    Well the LCD still isn't any good, it's no where close to matching the top notebooks that are on the market. /Luke from
  • phdchristmas - Saturday, April 19, 2014 - link

    I bought last years G70 with the GTX 770M. I needed a laptop to play FFXIV:ARR as my ole dependable Z575 wasn't going to cut it.

    I agree the LCD is poor at best. very uncomfortable viewing angles.

    came with CAS 11 memory and 5400 rpm hdd's in a raid0.

    And they threw in windows 8, without the bios update to fix a S3 wake error which complicated a lot of things, because the bios update from the MSI website would say "THIS BIOS IS NOT FOR THIS DEVICE" then shutdown. I took it back to the store and they just ended up giving a replacement with the same problems. The way transactions work in this country i couldn't return for a full refund, only store credit.

    Ended up gutting it and installing win7 to make it work. Warranty voided, but that was going to happen anyways. The point is that i shouldn't have to apply my technical skills and spend 12+hours to get a damn $1600 gaming laptop to work as intended.

    I'll be sure to avoid MSI in the future
  • kosmokenny - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    They announced that the GS70 will be available with the 870m, is there any word yet on when that will be arriving?
  • rxzlmn - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    You can already buy that, depending on where you live. Both GS60 and GS70 with 870M are avalaible (albeit at limited stock) here in Singapore.
  • willis936 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Heavy and loud but that's a lot of hardware. Please review the P34G v2.
  • highbrow - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Or maybe Jarrod could finish the full review he promised of the P34G v1? It's only been 6 months.
  • willis936 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    I would agree with you but I'm not considering buying a P34G v1 this summer.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, April 17, 2014 - link

    The P34G review had to be canceled -- basically, something died on my test unit during stress testing. Sorry for the lack of an update, but I didn't want to make a big deal about it and it was basically at the point where by the time I could get a replacement it would be too old to worry much about the review. I'm going to try and get one of the newer 800M Gigabyte laptops at some point, but no promises!

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