No BS Podcast #228: MSI Talks about the Current State and Future of Gaming Notebooks

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Travis Penner

If Laptops are going to have any hope of continuing to be a viable option for gamers - parts manufacturers are going to need to standardize their parts so we can upgrade our laptops easily and also purchase those parts easily.

It's so frustrating that my Alienware is entirely up-gradable but the parts are so difficult to get ahold of. I can easily upgrade my video card and CPU on my desktop - I should be able to do the same damn thing for my laptop!!

I love gaming on my laptop for the convenience, but I may not buy another one unless the industry changes and becomes more versatile in terms of replacing parts and upgrading.

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fbaerkir

Don't get me wrong, I dearly love you guys and have subscribed for about eight years now. But the past two podcasts have been problematic. Not that they weren't interesting - they were. But it feels a little cheap to have companies come in and lob bombs at one another. And maybe it's just my perception, but it kind of seemed to me like you let the Nvidia team respond to a straw man representation of what the AMD folks were saying. That is, my recollection is that AMD had specific and detailed accounts of their complaints, and you flubbed the allegations when you relayed them to Nvidia.
It's not easy to ask someone a loaded question, I know. But that's why most magazines don't do it in a recording like that. It just strikes me that this debate would have benefited from moderation by the magazine rather than presentation as a he said/she said argument.
Also, and again because I love y'all, I cringed at Gordon's snarky aside about Future US. The magazine's seen some heavy turnover, which may or may not just be a natural thing with odd timing. But he's been a consistent voice that I appreciate since my subscription began, and I'd hate to see that change. With the great power of chief editor or whatever his title is now, comes great responsibility to not slot off the head office. Probably more so now than when he was just a curmudgeon at large. What I'm saying is, I'll be pissed at you if you get yourself canned, Gordon.

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tetris42

Yeah, if you get guests, don't treat it like an infomercial, like someone else said. Don't ask them to tell you about their product, ask them questions about the industry, what's changing, what are their concerns, what would they change if they could, what causes them the most problems, etc. Stuff like that is interesting, getting a rundown on the product made it feel like the worst MPC podcast I listened to. It got better towards the end, but the beginning was rough.

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jimmthang

Maximum PC Editor Jimmy Thang here. So here's our philosophy. MSI asked us if they could come to our office for us so they could show us some of their new toys. We could have gone the traditional route and put up a preview article about it, but we decided to go the "show me" route with the podcast rather than the "tell me" route. Furthermore, after we got on AMD's Richard Huddy, we've been getting a lot of request from readers to have on more industry guests.

In this particularly podcast, yes, we did talk about MSI's newest laptops, that's because we think there might be readers who might be interested in hearing about the product. If Intel came and showed off their newest Haswell-E chip, should we not ask them to talk about its specs?... Furthermore, most of the podcast was about the industry as a whole and a relatively small portion of the podcast was dedicated to those particular SKUs. 

The straight dope is, it is their job to inform customers about their new products. In addition, if we didn't talk about new products on the horizon, we wouldn't be doing our jobs. Now, if we said their products were the greatest thing ever there and then on the spot, then yes, you could say we're selling out, but not once did we ever say you should go out and rush to buy their product. We wouldn't recommend any products without first reviewing it ourselves. That has always been the case and that will always be the case. 

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sK0pe

So the AMD representative as a guest was interesting as that dude wasn't trying to sell me his product directly and informed me as to why there was a differential between the two companies and why.

This particular guest felt like the podcast walking into an MSI sales booth.

In my opinion gaming laptops re retarded, I can play CS:GO on an ultrabook if required to but predominantly it is for work, if I want to play games I would just use my desktop.

If the sales representative wants to talk about "gaming" laptops, how about a mechanical keyboard, high 120hz + refresh rate.

For the cost of their top of the line laptop you might as well get a laptop that you can do work on and a gaming desktop rather than an 8kg waste of room.

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resistorman

The first NO BS podcast I regretted downloading... deleted after trying to like it for 10 long minutes. I'm not opposed to product/ manufacturer spotlight podcasts, but they should be labeled as such. I also deleted the AMD one before I finished, though it was somewhat engaging. It just felt too one sided and two dimensional to hold my interest throughout.

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Insula Gilliganis

VERDICT - 7

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MSI
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- Like Jimmy's "what's ahead" intro

- Not as boring as I thought it would be (probably even less so if I had watched the video version)

- MSI guys did a good job presenting their latest and greatest

- Good on Jimmy for asking about AMD

- No Gordon rant

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ECS
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- No Gordon

- No Gordon

- 40 of the 48 minutes mostly a MSI AD

- Not many reader questions

- MSI guys not really interesting or informative when off topic/script

- Miss ending "printer" outro

- No Gordon!!

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Pros
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- I am not into laptops but still found the AD/podcast halfway interesting

- MSI guys staying on message by saying "thinner, faster, lighter" and "putting a desktop into a laptop" more than a few times

- Decent questions asked by the MPC crew

- No rant!!

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Cons
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- Where was Gordon??? Jimmy.. can't say "joining me AS USUAL" any time you now introduce Gordon

- Sorry but basically one long MSI laptop ad. Same as with Richard Huddy, you have to be polite with these guys and not grill them too hard and make them actually have to answer hard, tough questions.. but because of that, it just ends up being an ad when only one side is presented with just positives highlighted and nothing negative explored.

If this was presented with reps from MSI, ASUS and Lenovo and Razer all together talking about laptops in general and some specifics about their own SKUs and what might be wrong with their competition's products, then you don't have just an ad but real information being presented and discuss. But I understand why this never happens.. all manufacturers want the stoplight for themselves.

- Where was Gordon?? In the bathroom?? At lunch?? At the Apple Genius bar? Have a feeling, if Gordon was there, he might have asked MSI a bit more about the Killer NIC.. why did MSI choose it.. does MSI really have proof it works as advertised or it is just marketing fluff?

- Not many reader questions unless you just used the best ones submitted. I wonder how popular or important laptops are for MPC readers. I never have been interested in a gaming laptop, and MPC only reviewed two during the past three issues, so perhaps you also don't see a big interest level as well.

- Sounded like the MSI guys had no clue about Broadwell or anything non-MSI related.

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** A comment about "touch screens".. last year when I was buying a laptop for my son for use in college, I found two identical ACER laptops.. same price.. same processor.. same everything EXCEPT one had a touch screen and one didn't. The one with the touch screen was HALF A POUND HEAVIER.. and a smaller hard drive (250GB instead of 500 on the other model) to keep the price from increasing.

** Jimmy.. where are these readers found who ask for more interviews?? Please don't count me as one. I know going in that these kind of podcasts are about a manufacturer's representatives being there to plug something, and MPC is there to mostly hear the plug and perhaps get the representatives to explain more fully something more in depth or ask why "such and such was used instead of this".

These "interviews" are the tech equivalent of Hollywood stars going on "Late Night" or "Conan" to plug their latest project. Not until MPC decides to do something more like what CNN, MSMBC, or Fox does, where more than one side is presented and debate actually happens, MPC readers shouldn't complain about the end results being ADS.

These guest "interviews" would be a GREAT time for Gordon to get into RANT mode.. but he rather save that energy for talking about Star Wars and Apple.. instead of anything more important!!

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don2041

INFOMERCIAL BS

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jimmthang

*Readers asks for more guests on the show. 

*We get more guests on the show

*Audience complains that we sold out for getting guests on the show to talk about their latest gadgets. 

There is no winning at this thing, is there? :P

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sK0pe

We want compelling guests not salesmen.

The AMD rep was an example of a knowledgeable and interesting guest, the MSI Marketing representative was an advertisement.

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don2041

I just felt like I went to hear Steven Hawking talk about the universe. and all he did was try to sell me a radio telescope.

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IreMinMon

What's the future of gaming laptops?

Laptops of the future are slim, light, elegant and useful in every aspect, not just gaming. They feature SSDs + large HDDs spinning at 7200rpm. Because they are gaming laptops, they have large (17.3") 16:9 low resolution (FHD) touchscreen displays with IPS (non glossy) panel and fast response times and refresh rates. Their battery life pretty much sucks, but that's what energy saving modes are for.

If we go a little bit further in future we can see that those laptops are able to spin 360 degrees like Lenovo's ultrabooks, so we can use them as tablets. It's not much of a experience having a tablet like this, but it's certainly good to have the option.

Oh yeah and they are available worldwide with different backlit keyboards, not just US and UK, but also German etc.

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Insula Gilliganis

My "haven't heard the podcast yet" comment is..

1) This will probably be better than a regular podcast.. but

2) Most likely an unpaid commercial/promotional video for MSI (especially after seeing two posts down "MSI Drops RAM Heavy GT72 Dominator Pro into Gaming Laptop Arena - A desktop replacement that's short on compromises"). Must be plug MSI day at the MPC offices. :-)

Will post my comments tomorrow afternoon after I give it a listen. I will be slightly amazed if this turns out to be something else than I believe it will be.. but will man-up if I am wrong!!