MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock

MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock

It remains the eternal dilemma in the laptop market: performance weight and size in the laptop market. MSI intends by the GS30 there offer an interesting alternative in a 13 inch laptop that can be linked to an external video card. We took the device in hand.

A little gaming laptop weighs a kilo soon or three. Not surprising, because in addition to a heavy processor must also be sufficient space for a video card and most importantly, the associated cooling. That usually makes this type of notebook is not too light and they are obviously not particularly thin, especially when compared to the increasingly slender Ultrabook-like laptops. Who wants to have high performance in a portable form factor, should suffer pain in his back?

Now MSI had the recent GS Series notebooks already found a pretty nice balance, but with the new GS30 MSI builds a different path. It is a 13-inch laptop with a weight of just 1.3 pounds. You if you need to link the performance of a large video card to an optional docking station where a graphics card is hidden. No mobile graphics card, a real full-size desktop PCI-Express card. In the case of our test model was a GeForce GTX 980 Gaming MSI, but it is also available with the cheaper GTX 970. In terms of pure performance, this is obviously a completely different level than what we are used in the laptop world. We published earlier a preview of the GS30, but in this article we will look at both the dock and laptop.

The GS30 laptop

At first glance, the GS30 looks like an everyday laptop. Well, the lights under the keyboard and along the edges to make it clear that this is no ordinary business laptop, but that he has something more to offer. Incidentally, it is a shame that the lighting should not disable the front is; the keyboard backlighting lets you off. In addition, MSI has on the rear panel of the screen next to the company logo, the familiar red dragon placed to make clear that this is not just a laptop. Besides the laptop is incidentally also included a cover that you can take it easy.

MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock

The working environment is as you would expect. The keys have a relatively light touch and the relatively large touchpad has no physical buttons.

The screen is a matte finish 13.3 inch display with full HD resolution based on IPS technology. Thus, it has an excellent viewing angle and color reproduction. The number of USB ports is somewhat limited: there are only two USB 3.0 connectors. Furthermore, the GS30 has a full SD card reader, HDMI, and a wired gigabit network connection. The latter is driven by a chip of Qualcomm Atheros.

For the WiFi is chosen for an Intel Wireless 7260 Dual-band AC adapter. That is a nice fast 802.11ac adapter for maximum 866 Mbit / s works through 802.11ac. 802.11n on both 2.4 and 5 GHz support up to 300 Mbit / s. At the back of the laptop sits behind a flap a connector used to connect the laptop to the docking station.

On a technical level, MSI has also in the interior pretty tired. If you open it, there is room for two M.2 SSDs. In our case were filled with two Kingston SATA 256GB SSDs, which are combined together in a RAID 0 setup. The memory is 16 GB large and consists of two 8 GB modules from the factory SK Hynix.

Quad-core and Iris Pro 5200

Laptops of this size generally have a dual-core processor on board, usually an additional energy-saving ’15 watt’-processor out of the U-series from Intel. Since MSI has not opted for the GS30: this model is powered by an Intel Core i7-4870HQ. That is a true quad-core processor, running at 2.5 GHz and 3.7 GHz with a turbo.

MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock

This processor, we are still not very much often encountered. It is a 47 watt processor, so similar to what you find in many heavier laptops. You will notice that if you have the GS30 what work harder, he is pretty hot. Compared with the popular Core i7-4710HQ this model offers a slightly higher turbo because that model works at 2.5 / 3.5 GHz.

More importantly, this processor features Intel Graphics Iris Pro 5200. In terms of graphics performance, that’s a whole other level than what we are used to the integrated Intel graphics processors. This is mainly due to the 128 MB of additional memory that is placed on the processor and as a kind of L4 cache acts. This makes the performance of this laptop close to that of a single mobile graphics processor from the somewhat lower midrange.

The combination of a quad-core processor and graphics performance of this level is already special, but the size and weight of this 1.3-pound laptop make it even more remarkable.

GS30 dock

The jack on the back of the MSI GS30 is actually a PCI Express x16 connector. The link between the dock and the laptop does not go as nicely as in business laptops, which often also have a docking capability. Thus, the laptop must be off before you docks him. In addition, the connector in the dock is just the PCB of the motherboard and no real connector. The notebook is not completely fixed in the dock, allowing the connector could move if the connection is enabled. It seems less durable than the connections of business laptops we are accustomed.

MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock

When the laptop is placed in the dock and the locks are being put, the laptop screen is deactivated. The image then goes on the card that is inserted into the dock. The dock has room for a full-fledged graphics card and you can also have a 3.5 inch hard disk lost, that the dock is connected via SATA.

The dock also provides a number of additional connections: gigabit ethernet through a Killer E2200 chip, four USB 3.0 ports and two audio. In the dock incorporates a 450 watt power supply from FSP, which provides a whole food. You can if you want the video card quite easily replaced by another.

Downside is that the whole is not very quiet: the fan in the dock is audible and the fan in the laptop jumps quite quickly if he is placed on the dock. A solution is to use the built-in speaker of the dock, which, incidentally, sounds pretty good. Do not like the music in the background, the cool sound can be quite bothersome. Perhaps MSI here in the future will find a solution.


One of the most important aspects of a laptop is the screen. We therefore measured separately, using SpectraCal Calman 5 analysis and X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter.

First a brief characteristics: the screen of the MSI GS30 2M-018NL is one of the IPS type. The diagonal is 13.3 inches and the resolution is 1920×1080 pixels, which the pixel density is equivalent to 166 ppi. That is a nice resolution screen ratio to work with, although it is true that small picture elements to be able to feel without scaling.

Subsequently, the measurements. We first look at the color mixing and range. It is important that the brightness in gray from black to the whitest point goes nicely proportionate. In addition, the distribution of the primary colors red, green, and blue is important. Finally, we look at the color fastness, color temperature, brightness and contrast of the panel.

Blue has clearly prevailed in the gray views, making this show a clear blue color cast. The joint gamma value shows a slight decrease from 10 to 90 percent white, so this value in terms of brightness comes closer than desired completely white. As a result, the difference is smaller than desired, and thus less visible. The average gamma value is therefore 2.10. The desired value is 2.2.

The color shows deviations outside the sRGB color space. Therefore green has an unwanted deviation along with yellow and red, but to a lesser extent. Blue is in the right place, but the intermediate colors cyan and magenta to deviate too much from there. In the mutual clarity, we see little spikes of red and blue. A number of colors performs under the acceptable limit of five DeltaE 94 points, but the rest is there far above. This is clearly seen in the defects. Lower in these scoring better.

MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock

The color temperature of 8134 Kelvin clearly deviates from the ideal value for the most applications of 6500 Kelvin. This is a blue color cast visible, which we already saw in the range measurement. The maximum screen brightness is 298 cd / m² excellent. In addition, the contrast is fine with 851: 1, which is a good value for an IPS panel. A contrast of 500: 1 for a laptop is normal.

The screen in the MSI GS30 2M 018NL shows mixed results. The contrast and brightness are excellent, but the color and greyscale displays show just a bit too much deviations. Therefore, this notebook is not recommended for color critical work. Even calibration by the saturation of the colors is not get quite right. For gaming and other tasks, however, the screen is well suited.


The MSI GS30 is in itself a very special laptop. A 13.3-inch laptop with a weight of just 1.3 pounds and still feature beautiful specifications as a quad-core processor, two SSDs and a Full HD IPS display. Ideal if you’re a powerhouse, but preferably not with an overly heavy laptop goes down the street. Main drawback is the limited battery life: 3 hours 40 minutes is not a great good score. That’s the price you have to pay for the compact size, low weight and yet good performance.

The dock is also very special. Which gives you access to a lot of graphics power when you’re not on the road. The space for a hard drive is convenient, as well as the built-in speaker. The latter is not superfluous, because the cooling of the dock makes quite noise. In the dock you find an ordinary PCI Express MSI GeForce GTX 980 Gaming back and can – if it ever becomes necessary – just be replaced. A pretty good story. It is not the first time we see such a solution, but the first that convinces in terms of function and performance.

However, we make us a little worried about the construction. Actually raise your laptop’s motherboard in a slot on the dock. We can imagine that after a few years quite some wear going to get. In addition, the laptop is not completely locked so that it is quite possible that the connector in this way undesirable gets too much to endure. Another disadvantage is that the laptop must be disabled to connect. Quite a lot of ifs and buts so through this complicated structure.

MSI sells this product only as a complete set: laptop and docking station. You have the choice of this laptop with two 128GB SSDs and a GeForce GTX 970 in the dock, or two 256GB SSDs and a GeForce GTX 980. Dock or laptop are not sold separately. If you work in two places, you can obtain it as not in both places about much graphics power. The dock is not available without a graphics card. Quite unfortunate that you can not buy loose laptop. Along this path we want MSI still look as sweet if they can not change it in anyway bring.

MSI GS30 Review: 13,3 inch quad-core laptop met dock updated: March 5, 2015 author: John Malkovich