MSI’s GE40 is the company’s first small gaming laptop. Its aiming rather squarely at the Alienware M14x with which it shares many specs and traits. Like the M14x, the GE40 sports new hardware from Intel’s Haswell processor family and Nvidia’s refreshed GeForce 700 mobile lineup.
Locally the MSI GE40 will be on sale for an estimated R18,000 RRP and is available from participating retailers right now. Currently the high-end, SSD-packing version on Laptop Direct goes for a reasonable R18,210, which is only a little more expensive than the cheapest Alienware M14 notebook available from the local Alienware portal. MyGaming has also been informed that MSI’s local distributor, Corex, has healthy stock levels of the GE40 available.
From a Computex Taipei showing to local availablility in just two weeks? Damn.
The market for small gaming notebooks is dominated by a few notebook vendors. ASUS has offered something in the past and is working on a Intel Haswell-based product; Alienware has had the M14; Acer has the thin and nifty Aspire M5 with Geforce GT640 graphics; and locally the Proline W110ER is your best bet if you don’t mind the smaller screen. It’s good to see MSI finally entering the fray, bringing a dragon into the knife fight.
The really distinctive feature about the GE40 is the lid design. When the notebook is powered up, two red eyes light up on the back, giving it a menacing look. The rest of the lid is made of aluminium with a finely brushed finish and covered in matte black paint – it looks pretty cool. With the battery attached (a 6-cell 90Whr unit) it weighs in just under 2kg.
The rest of the body is also made out of aluminium and fits in a full-sized notebook keyboard, sans the number pad. The screen is a 14-inch anti-glare TN panel with a maximum 1600 x 900 resolution. It ships with an Intel Haswell quad-core processor that can boost up 3.2GHz, 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, Nvidia’s GTX760M mobile graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM and a flexible storage array, supporting one mSATA SSD and one 2.5-inch mechanical hard drive.
The GE40 will launch in two configurations, one with a DVD drive and one swapping out the drive for a 128GB mSATA SSD, boosting up the price another $100. In its high-end form its $50 more expensive than a similarly kitted Alienware M14, with the exception that the M14 has a better screen (now a 1080p unit) but misses out on the SSD speed-ups.