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MSI GS40 Phantom: A compact gaming machine

Design90
Gaming Performance80
Value for money75
Reader Rating1 Vote90
Pros
Lightweight
Upgraded Graphic Card from the GE72 Apache
Small Size
Cons
Low FPS output in games
82

MSI recently launched another Gaming laptop to its long list of Gaming Products range. The new GS40 Phantom is a new lightweight gaming machine with upgraded specs from the GE72 Apache which we reviewed last.

We at TechPlugged got our hands on this device and have given our opinion below.

Design:

When you look at this laptop, you would be well mistaken to think how such a compact device can pack in the requirements to be a good gaming machine. Its comparatively small with a screen size of only 14 inches Full HD with 4K support which gives the idea of compactness. It packs in the same Dual Fan technology that is there in the GE72 Apache but size wise overall it is very light.

There is the same Nahimic Audio Enhancer and the DynAudio sound system but does not have the same volume effect as the other model. The keyboard is again the same SteelSeries one as in most of the MSI gaming laptop range with a wonderful red colour back-light. Also fitted in is a USB Type C port which was not there in the other model.

Specs:

Model name GS40 6QE Phantom
Operating System Windows 10 Home
LED Backlight Display 14? FHD (1920×1080), Wide-viewing angle, IPS level panel
Processor Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ (6MB L3 Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
Memory Type DDR4-2133, 2 slots, up to 32GB
Graphics GeForce GTX 970M, 3GB GDDR5
Hard Disk Capacity 1 x 2.5? HDD +1x M.2 PCI-E Gen3 x4 (NVMe) / SATA Combo SSD
Keyboard Single color backlighting (red) SteelSeries keyboard with SSE3
Optical Disk Drive NA
USB 3.1/3.0/2.0 1 (USB Type-C 3.1*1)/2/0
Super Port USB3.1 Type-C interface, 4K output, fast charger
Card Reader SD(XC/HC)
Video output: HDMI 1.4 x1 / MINI DisplayPort v2.0 x1 (4K 60Hz support)
Mic-in/Headphone out 1/1
LAN/WiFi Killer DoubleShot Pro with Killer Shield
Bluetooth Bluetooth v4.1
Webcam Full HD type ([email protected])
Battery 4-Cell
Power Adapter 150W
Dimension (WxDxH) 345 x 245 x 21.8~22.8mm
Weight 1.6 Kg (w/ Battery)

Gaming Performance:

The gaming performance was tested using a very popular tool called 3D Mark which used its set of pre defined testing mechanisms and provided the results that will give us exactly an idea on how it performs as a gaming device.

The 3GB graphic card, 16GB RAM and i7 Skylake processor were put under the pump by 3D Mark and a series of different mini games were run to do tests of Graphics and Physics with a score produced as shown in the below pictures.

As you can see the numbers are not really exciting as this laptop could only manage the same results as the previous one inspite of a GTX 970 Nvidia card. The most demanding test was the Fire Strike mini game where the numbers dropped to very disappointing levels. There was a lot of lag in the gameplay test and compared to the other 3 games, this one really pushed the device to the limits.

Final Thoughts:

While this is not a bad laptop to game on with its lower weight and smaller size, im still a bit surprised that inspite of some pretty decent specs the frame rate in the tests did not once cross the 30 fps limits. Nowadays its the time of 60 fps and above to which the gamers are really attracted and watching games being output at only 30 will be a deterrent. But there is no doubting that the gameplay will be quite smooth as was with the GE 72 Apache inspite of the low fps rating. Also the battery will last a max of a couple of hours at best before the charger will be needed.

My advice is that again this is not a bad laptop to consider while buying but only if you really want to have a laptop to game instead of a custom rig.  I expect the price to be similar to the GE72 Apache or thereabouts so i can again say that probably you are better off making a custom rig.