Friday, 12 July 2013

MSI GE40-20C Dragon Eye - Acer Aspire 3820 Clone?

I am curious in acquiring a portable laptop without sacrificing the raw power of a laptop since the release of the MacBook Pro 15 with retina display (hereinafter MBP-r). The  MBP-r is a good laptop. It comes with an 15.4" screen with retina display and it weighs approximately 2.02kg. If you have purchased a full body transparent casing for the laptop, you will be looking at a total weight of 2.5kg. Bearing in mind that even after the installation of the casing on the MBP-r, it is still considered light in weight. One of the strong points of the MBP-r is the low noise level and the slim chassis with a backlit keyboard. However, the problem with the MBP-r is that users will not be able to upgrade cpu and the memory as they are soldered on the motherboard. Above all, it is fairly expensive as it is being sold around £2000 in the UK.

Will a consumer be able to obtain a laptop which has similar specification as the MBP-r without breaking the bank account? Yes, indeed.

MSI has just launched their gaming laptop called GE40-20C Dragon Eye. The chassis is similar to the old Acer Aspire 3820 which I had before. Consumers in the USA and in many parts of the world will be able to customise their MSI GE40-20C but the option is not available in the UK. The GE40-20C is quick to boot up after I have swapped the original 750GB HDD for a 250GB Samsung 840 SSD. I have also managed to upgrade the existing 8GB DDR3L SODIMM memory to 16GB DDR3L SODIMM. Users will have to pay attention as the memory is not the normal DDR3 memory but instead, it is the newer DDR3L SODIMM memory. At this moment in time, it is very difficult to obtain another stick of DDR3L SODIMM memory from ADATA so many users of the laptop have sorted to sell the existing memory and buy a pair of 8GB DDR3 SODIMM memory from Kingston.

I am also happy with the performance of the laptop. Apart from swapping the hard drive and adding more memory, I have also swapped the wifi/Bluetooth combo card to my old Intel Advanced N6235 as the Azureware 1x1 ART8723AE wifi/Bluetooth combo card is nowhere near the superb performance of the N6235 card from Intel.

Some users have complaint about the noise level of the unit but I have no such problem at this moment. Perhaps potential buyers in the USA might want to modify their GE40-20C's copper heatsink solution as it is available from Xotic PC to ensure that they will definitely not have any problem with the heat especially during gaming. I am not sure whether the company will be able to sell the modified copper heatsink to customers outside USA but I will have to try asking them for help.

If you are thinking of downgrading the existing GE40-20C from Windows 8 to Windows 7, it is possible provided you download all the necessary drivers and utility suits for Windows 7 before you commence downgrading. I would advise users to avoid meddling with BIOS update.

Since I had the machine for four days, I am satisfied with the performance of the usb 3 ports on the left hand side of the machine and the speedy starting and shutting down time of the machine. I would recommend users to downgrade the machine from Windows 8 to Windows 7. Apart from that, the machine is very portable and it fits into my medium sized bag! I think the 14" 1600x900 resolution anti-glare screen with almost 8 hours of usage with a single charge with light surfing the internet and accessing word processor heavily is a good buy.

When it comes to gaming, users may feel that the noise is loud but it is bearable. The palm rest may get slightly hot but other than that, the machine is fine. The sound system is good even though it comes with a pair of stereo speaker without a subwoofer.

Overall, with a price of £955.14 from Scan computer in the UK, it is worth every penny of it. However, you need to be careful with computers being sold online as it might be returned units within the 14 days cooling period and it has been mixed up and being sold as new. Just be careful.

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