• Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX970M
  • Memory: 16GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD, 1 TB HDD
  • Others: Bluetooth 4.1, Full HD webcam, Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, SD card reader
  • Dimensions: 345mm x 245mm x 22.8mm
  • Weight: 1.6kg
  • Pros:
  • Compact & light Performance
  • Cons:
  • Price
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 8 Home: 3,311 points
  • PCMark 8 Creative: 3,325 points
  • PCMark 8 Work: 3,420 points
  • 3DMark Fire Storm: 6,616 points

Size Matters

In a year filled with lots of ups for the gaming scene, MSI continues to champion quality gaming products. There is, of course, MSI’s marquee gaming product of the year – the massive MSI GT80 Titan. But there are plenty of options that are great for gamers, smaller too, like the MSI GS40 Phantom.

The GS40 Phantom is among an increasing number of Intel Skylake laptops. Under its brushed plastic casing, it houses an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, an NVIDIA GTX970 GPU, and 16GB of 16GB of DDR4-2133 RAM.

Built to be highly portable, it has a 14 inch Full HD IPS panel with excellent viewing angles and contrast. For your fast boot and storage needs, there’s an NVME M.2 SSD of 128GB – with Windows 10 installed on it – and a standard 2.5 inch 1 TB HDD.

In terms of input and output options, the GS40 Phantom comes with a HDMI v1.4 port, one mini DisplayPort 1.2 (it’s at the back, which is quite unusual these days), and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. The Type-C port doubles as what MSI calls a Super Port, allowing you to also use it for 4K output as well as fast charging for compatible devices. Finally, rounding off the IO is a SD card reader.

To really immerse you into your choice of entertainment, the laptop not only has the Nahimic technology for virtual surround sound, but also an ESS Sabre DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter). This DAC is basically a sound chip that can deliver better quality audio, and should work best with a set of good speakers or headphones.

After we’ve gotten some mileage out of the laptop, our conclusion is that gamers on the go will like it a lot. College students, for example, will appreciate the performance it can output, all in a lightweight body. MSI has designed it in a way that keeps the hot zones away from the palm rest, which ensures that you will not get sweaty palms. The fan noise can be noticeable when we benchmarked and gamed on it, but that shouldn’t be a problem when you have speakers or headphones on.

As expected from the hardware it houses, the GS40 Phantom is an able performer. We managed to play many of the latest titles, such as The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4, in Full HD resolution and settings at high without any major issues. Thanks to its Cooler Boost 3 technology, the notebook never felt more than slightly warm to the touch while gaming.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Powerful and power hungry the Fury X is a great buy for anyone looking for a powerful, cool and quiet graphic card and already has the right PSU to support its high minimum power requirement.

(previously published in issue January 2016)

MSI GS40 Phantom