- Operating System: Windows 8.1
- Processor: 4th Gen Intel Sharkbay i7-4870HQ
- Graphics: External NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980, 4GB GDDR5 graphics card, Intel Iris Pro (internal)
- Memory: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB SSD (M.2 SATA)
- Others: Bluetooth 4.0, HD webcam. LAN. 802.1ac Wi-Fi, SD card reader
- Dimensions: 320 x 227 x 19.8mm
- Weight: 1.2kg (with battery)
- High performance
- Noisy gaming dock
- Can’t use laptop display when docked
- Benchmark Results
- PCMark Work: 4,150 points
- PCMark Home: 4,066 points
- PCMark Creative: 4,992 points
- 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme: 5,805 points
- 3DMark Fire Strike: 11,182 points
The Beast Lurks In The Shadows
Have you ever bought a gaming laptop and wondered how nice it could be if you could change the graphics card in order to play next generation games in the years to come instead of reinvesting on another gaming laptop. The MSI GS30 Shadow is the solution to that problem as it comes with a gaming dock that houses a desktop grade graphics card allowing you to play any game on maximum resolution.
The first thing one notices as you open the packaging for this device is the sheer size comparison of the gaming dock compared to the laptop. The laptop itself comes with a 13.3-inch FHD display and a backlit illuminated keyboard. The laptop also has two USB 3.0 slots and a HDMI output for external monitors. Plugging in the laptop to the gaming dock is done easily as it is snapped shut with a locking device that holds it in place.
The gaming dock provides extra USB and display outputs as well as featuring a 2.1 sound system setup as well as power supply for your GPU. The main advantage of using the gaming dock prevails in multi-screen setups whereby you can fully utilise the raw power of your desktop grade graphic card to its maximum potential. However, users should take note that when docking the laptop to the gaming dock, there is a certain procedure to follow in order to activate the external device.
Performance-wise, this laptop does daily task nicely on its own, and becomes a gaming beast after docking on to the gaming dock. Our benchmarks reveal that it has an amazing performance and it is able to run any game on maximum settings. The other benefit of a gaming dock is that you can easily upgrade your rig with newer cards thus saving you money and time in the long term. Users should note however, that when your laptop is docked, it won’t be able to display any content on the laptop thus requiring you to have an external monitor.
CHIP CONCLUDE: In conclusion, the MSI GS30 Shadow with GamingDock is a worthy gaming device that would be able to handle the games of today and tomorrow, but at its hefty price tag, very few would be likely to own one except for the truly passionate.
(previously published in issue July 2015)