Review: Intel's Haswell chip strong on PC gaming

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SummaryIntel's latest processing chips, known as Haswell, easily handle the rigors of the most demanding PC games.

PC gaming has been a withering entity lately. Consoles rule, and game makers primarily target Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox as the game systems of choice. That hasn't stopped PC gaming specialists from trying their best, though.

Despite the dwindling number of quality PC game titles, the machines themselves are getting stronger.

Intel's latest processing chips, known as Haswell, easily handle the rigors of the most demanding PC games. These may be the waning days of PC gaming, but as far as technical heft, they could very well be the best.

Here's a look at a new gaming laptop and a desktop tower, both running Windows 8. They come from MSI and Digital Storm, two strong builders of high-quality gaming PCs:


- MSI GT70 laptop ($2,799 for configuration with 3.4 gigahertz processor, 32 gigabytes of RAM):

Calling MSI's GT70 a laptop is technically true, but it's a beast compare with the thin and light breed of laptops that dominate these days. But those trim and slim PCs aren't optimized for gaming.

This unit is large and in charge: The configuration I tested weighs 8.6 pounds and boasts a 17.3-inch screen, measured diagonally, with a resolution of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels for high-definition graphics. It has plenty of ports for accessories.

The gaming gravitas, of course, is under the hood in the form of an Intel Core i7 3.4 gigahertz quad-core processor. Coupled with 32 gigabytes of internal memory, the maximum this processor can use, the GT70 handles a demanding blend of titles without a hitch or hang-up. There's a generous 1 terabytes of hard drive space to store your games and 128 (AP1) gigabytes of solid-state storage for faster access to data.

''Wolfenstein,'' a first-person shooter involving Nazis and supernatural powers, recommends systems with at least at a 2.4 gigahertz processor and 2 gigabytes of memory. The GT70 essentially stomps all over these recommendations. That's the case with all the other titles I tested, including ''Far Cry 3,'' ''Crysis Warhead,'' and ''Risen.'' The GT70 laughs at recommended specs.

I couldn't make this laptop wilt even after toggling the screen resolution, shadows and graphics options to the highest settings. There was no buffering, lagging or glitches.

Everything runs smoothly because the internal technology has outpaced what game developers are throwing onto the shelves. I easily achieved more than 60 frames per second during play on both ''Wolfenstein'' and ''Crysis

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