Review MSI GX60 Notebook

Florian Glaser (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 12/20/2012

A bold hardware mix. How much power does the Radeon HD 7970M still have when the high-end graphics is combined with a weak processor? MSI installs AMD's low-cost A10-4600M quad-core in its GX60 to achieve the lowest price possible. Our benchmarks reveal the sobering results.

MSI GX60

For the original German review, see here.

The gaming giant MSI is particularly known for its attractively priced multimedia laptops (GE60 & GE70) and its powerful high-end machines (GT60 & GT70). It can be said that the GX60 released in late 2012 is an intermediary model.

The 15-incher promises a lot of gaming power with the Radeon HD 7970M installed in it. At least on paper. The 2.3 to 3.3 GHz frequency of the Trinity CPU does not exactly translate into good performance figures. No wonder that the A10-4600M has only been used in entry-level and midrange laptops until now. Most manufacturers rely on the efficient Ivy Bridge generation from Intel for their gaming products. We checked whether the quad-core's performance noticeably decreases using diverse benchmarks.

The other equipment in the GX60 is very impressive. The US model AC1-013TW  we were provided with features two small 64 GB mSATA SSDs that work together in a RAID 0 mode, in contrast to the German A10797287B counterpart (~EUR 1200/$1600). A 750 GB HDD from Western Digital is installed as the secondary hard disk.

The models are otherwise largely identical. A 4 GB DDR3 RAM module is in both working memory banks. Matching the Full-HD screen, the manufacturer also installs a Blu-Ray combo drive (burns CDs & DVDs). MSI opted for Windows 8 64 bit as the operating system of choice.

Case

Glossy lid
Glossy lid

The Taiwanese company continues to use flashy gamer looks although the current design trend is going toward elegance and simplicity. While the metal wrist rest makes a fairly high-end impression, the other surfaces look quite cheap. Glossy plastic elements might look chic on press pictures, but their high smudge susceptibility soon becomes annoying in practice.

Fingerprints and dust particles accumulate on the display bezel, the keyboard area and the useful function bar. However, the biggest shortcoming is the sensitive lid that clearly affects the quality impression. We would have appreciated a matte, aluminum finish like that on the more expensive GT60 model. If you generally like it less obtrusive, you should prefer Clevo's W350ET barebone (Schenker XMG A522) or the P150EM (Schenker XMG P502).

The GX 60 has to also accept criticism for its large size. The gaming laptop towers over most of the 15-inch competition with dimensions of 395 x 267 x 55 millimeters. For example, the previously mentioned Schenker XMG P502 has a size of 376 x 255 x 51 millimeters “only”. The GX60 also weighs more (3.4 vs. 3.2 kg). At least, the chassis features good stability. It is just the vents on the bottom that yield noticeably under higher force.

We would say that the build quality is good. Apart from minor details (display bezel / lid transition), MSI has done a good job. Unfortunately, the GX60 cannot compete with the quality standard of Asus' G75 or Alienware's M17x R4, but the latter devices are also much more expensive.

Connectivity

Interfaces

The interfaces are largely identical with the 15-inch GT60 model. We not only have to praise MSI for the three USB 3.0 ports, but also for the four (allegedly gold-plated) audio jacks that transmit a 7.1 signal when the cords are connected correctly.

Since a mini DisplayPort replaces eSATA, the desktop can boast with three video outs. In addition to the DisplayPort, we find HDMI and VGA ports. A Kensington lock slot and RJ45 Gigabit LAN port are standard fare. The built-in card reader supports SD, SDHC, SDXC and MMC formats.

Summing it up, the connectivity is above-average. However, it lacks eSATA or a FireWire port and ExpressCard slot which could have got it a very good rating. Although the interfaces on the back are a bit inconvenient to use, most gamers will cope well with the port distribution.

Communication

As appropriate for a modern laptop, the GX60 supports both the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n standards and Bluetooth 4.0. The gaming-optimized Killer e2200 network card is complemented by nifty support software (Network Manager).

Left: 2x USB 3.0, card reader, USB 3.0
Left: 2x USB 3.0, card reader, USB 3.0
Rear: Kensington lock, DC-in, RJ-45, Gigabit LAN, VGA, mini DisplayPort, HDMI
Rear: Kensington lock, DC-in, RJ-45, Gigabit LAN, VGA, mini DisplayPort, HDMI
Right: 4x audio, USB 2.0, Blu-Ray drive
Right: 4x audio, USB 2.0, Blu-Ray drive

Maintenance

Apart from the many screws, maintaining the GX60 is quite easy. All important components are accessible after removing the base plate. Among others, the RAM banks, the fan and hard disks (two 2.5 inch slots) can be reached. It is also theoretically possible to replace the graphics card and processor and it is noteworthy that both have a dedicated cooling construction. Damaging the warranty seal is not a major problem when remodeling is performed by an expert - at least not in Germany.

Software

Since a few of the praised programs were conspicuous by their absence (e.g. THX TruStudio Pro), we assume that the software bundle in our test configuration was not quite complete. As expected, MSI installs just as much bloatware on its devices as the competition. The cleanest operating systems are found on laptops from barebone resellers (Deviltech, One, Schenker, etc.).

Accessories

The included accessories for the US model are impressive. While a driver DVD, quick start guide, warranty card and warranty brochure are customary, the included gaming mouse (see right picture column) is an appreciated addition. The black-red mouse has an optical sensor with 3200 CPI and is capable of supporting features like macros and gaming profiles. A thick 180 watts PSU (~850 grams) and a slim 9 cell battery (480 grams) are also part of the package. The casing slides easily without the battery.

Warranty

Typical for MSI, the warranty period is 24 months.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Despite the cooperation with SteelSeries, the keyboard is not a high-flyer. In addition to the lack of a backlight, the unusual layout will annoy a few users. Like in the GT60, the ‘>’, ‘<’, ‘|’ and ‘#’ keys are not where they usually belong. Beyond that, the German model only has a single-row enter key.

Otherwise, the chiclet model is quite good. The rather angular, 14.5 x 14.5 millimeter keys exhibit a decent typing feel. The pressure point and stroke are very feasible owing to the hard base. The dedicated number pad is another bonus point. We were not quite happy about its sound. The keyboard generates a fairly loud and clattery noise depending on the typing vigorousness. The picture below shows the US keyboard.

Touchpad

The recessed touchpad has the same look and texture as the wrist rest (brushed aluminum). The dark black surface of 7.7 x 4.6 centimeters is sufficiently sized, but a few additional millimeters would not have hurt.

The multi-touch support has to be mentioned on the list of advantages this laptop has over its competition. Content can be scrolled, rotated and zoomed via two fingers as usual. The gliding characteristic and accuracy is middling in quality. MSI incorporates a deactivation function to prevent unintentional inputs during games. Both mouse keys, implemented as a single, continuous bar, featuring a rather high resistance to input and is something the user will need to get used to.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

Unsurprisingly, the 15.6-inch, non-glare screen uses an LED backlight. MSI does not experiment with the size. A 16:9 aspect ratio is the current standard. It is possible to work pleasantly with the laptop owing to the modern Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080. Two adjacently opened windows are no problem.

AIDA reveals the screen to be an LG Philips LP156WF1-TLF3. We have often seen this screen model in the past, like in Deviltech's Devil 6700, HP's EliteBook 8560w and Schenker's XMG A522.

225
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
223
cd/m²
230
cd/m²
254
cd/m²
230
cd/m²
204
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 254 cd/m²
Average: 225.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 254 cd/m²
Black: 0.41 cd/m²
Contrast: 620:1
Distribution of brightness

MSI sent us a second model after we discovered that the brightness could not be adjusted for unexplained reasons. Here, we ascertained a decent brightness. Nearly 225 cd/m² reading is enough even for light-flooded rooms.

The black value of 0.4 cd/m² is also great. Dark game and movie scenes can be adequately enjoyed. This also results in a contrast of approximately 600:1 which is an excellent value. As can be seen in the lower screenshots, the LG Philips screen accomplishes good sRGB space coverage. The colors are exceptionally crisp for a non-glare screen.

MSI GX60 vs. sRGB (grid)
MSI GX60 vs. sRGB (grid)
MSI GX60 vs. AdobeRGB (grid)
MSI GX60 vs. AdobeRGB (grid)
MSI GX60 vs. MSI GT70 (grid)
MSI GX60 vs. MSI GT70 (grid)

You will come to appreciate a matte screen surface outdoors at latest. The susceptibility for reflections is much lower than on a glare-type screen (e.g. Alienware's M17x R4 or Samsung's 700G7C). This also makes choosing a place rather secondary. One drawback of the AR coating is its somewhat paler colors.

Outdoors
Outdoors
MSI GX60 in outdoor use

At least the horizontal viewing angles do not give much reason for complaint. The picture is still acceptable even at a 90° angle. As most of the competition, the screen does not fare quite as well vertically. Inversions are soon visible particularly when looking up from the sides. However, this circumstance is hardly noticed in everyday use. The GX60 can be used as an entertainment platform for several people quite suitably.

 

Viewing angles: MSI GX60
Viewing angles: MSI GX60

Performance

AMD A10-4600M
AMD A10-4600M

Processor

The A10-4600M is a mobile quad-core processor from AMD's low-cost Trinity range. In contrast to the latest Intel generation, the quad-core is still based on the older 32 nm process node. With a TDP of 35 watts, the power consumption is within the range of Core i5 dual-core processors.

Like Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs, the Trinity models can overclock dynamically. The A10-4600M's Turbo ranges from 2.3 to a maximum of 3.2 GHz. If we only look at the clock rate, its speed should roughly be on a par with the Core i7-3610QM (2.3 - 3.3 GHz). Regrettably, the Trinity CPUs are not quite as efficient, i.e. the performance per MHz is much lower. Overall, the performance is only adequate for an entry-level processor.

AMD is miles ahead of the competitor with its integrated graphics chip. Intel's HD Graphics 4000 doesn't stand a chance against the Radeon HD 7660G. However, the chip is rather insignificant since a dedicated graphics card is installed in the GX60.

System info CPUZ CPU
System info CPUZ Cache
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ RAM SPD
System info GPUZ (HD 7660G)
System info GPUZ (HD 7970M)
System info CrystalDiskMark (SSDs)
System info CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
System info DPC Latency
System information: MSI GX60

Turbo

According to the tools CPU-Z and HWiNFO, the processor's clock rate is noticeably boosted during load. 2.7 - 3.2 GHz in the Unigine Heaven benchmark. The programs also recorded between 2.7 and 3.2 GHz in Cinebench R10's single-core rendering. The multi-core rendering result was slightly more disappointing. The clock rate sometimes dropped below the default rate to about 2.0. This is strange since AMD's System Monitor displayed 2.3 GHz both times.

Single-core load
Single-core load
Multi-core load
Multi-core load
CPU & GPU load
CPU & GPU load

CPU Performance

The scores in the CPU benchmarks do not necessarily indicate a potent gaming laptop. Quite the contrary: 2.01 points in Cinebench R11.5 is everything but worthy of reference. Even the weak Core i3-3110M that does not feature Turbo calculates roughly 20% faster (2.41 points @ HP's ProBook 4540s). Intel's speedy 2.4 - 3.4 GHz Core i7-3630QM accomplishes three times as much (6.46 @ Deviltech's HellMachine). We will scrutinize how much impact the processor has on 3D programs in a moment.

Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
A10-4600M
MSI GX60
8042 Points ∼23%
Core i3-3110M
HP ProBook 4540s
9226 Points ∼26% +15%
Core i5-3210M
Gigabyte U2442N
10998 Points ∼31% +37%
Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
22003 Points ∼62% +174%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
A10-4600M
MSI GX60
3066 Points ∼12%
Core i3-3110M
HP ProBook 4540s
4243 Points ∼17% +38%
Core i5-3210M
Gigabyte U2442N
5312 Points ∼22% +73%
Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
5821 Points ∼24% +90%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
3066 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
8042 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.74 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.01 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
39.3 fps
Help

Graphics Card

Switchable Graphics Global Settings
Switchable Graphics Global Settings
Switchable Graphics Application Settings
Switchable Graphics Application Settings

The Radeon HD 7970M is currently AMD's fastest laptop graphics card. Like its desktop counterpart, the high-end model is based on the GCN architecture manufactured in the 28 nm process. AMD tries to justify its high power consumption (100 watt TDP) with 2.8 billion transistors, 1280 Unified Shaders and 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM (256 bit interface). The manufacturer clocks the card at 850 MHz (core) and 1200 MHz (memory).

Among others, the review of Alienware's M17x R4 underlines that the Radeon HD 7970M is a very good option for gamers. Alongside a strong Intel CPU, the graphics card can compete with the competition from Nvidia. The GeForce GTX 680M only wins in some games.

Back to topic, MSI installs a cutting edge driver with the Catalyst 12.11. That is also very necessary because AMD's graphics switching (codename: Enduro) caused a lot of problems in the past. Lousy identification rates, modest performance in low settings, black screens after driver installation: The problems were multifarious particularly in the Clevo P150EM and P170EM barebones.

Although Nvidia's Optimus technology still performs better (lower performance loss, higher reliability, more visible support), AMD has taken a big step forward with the Catalyst 12.11. Gamers no longer have to get annoyed about incorrectly assigned 3D programs since the driver features a global setting option (see right screenshot). Games are reliably started with the Radeon HD 7970M when the option is set to "Maximize Performance".

The menus is now perfect with the "Switchable Graphics Application Settings" now storing all installed and executed programs. The user can create and modify profiles similar to Nvidia. "*.exe" files can be easily assigned to a specific graphics card. The menus of the first few drivers were still quite unsatisfactory. However, Enduro still lacks a convenient update function and an indicator for GPU activity (Nvidia has already had this for years). The GX 60 can be connected to as many as three monitors owing to Eyefinity technology.

6.8
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.3
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.8
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.7

GPU Performance

AMD's weak processor does not have much significance in extremely graphics-heavy applications, such as 3DMark 11. With a GPU score of 6423 points, the GX60 overtakes Deviltech's Devil 6700 by about 8%. Its GeForce GTX 680M accomplished 5947 points in this test (slightly older driver).

That sounds like an excellent performance, doesn't it? It is as long as only the GPU scores are considered. The overall score is often dismayingly low. HD 7970M laptops equipped with an Intel CPU reach approximately 100% higher scores in 3DMark 05, 06 and Vantage.

The GX60 exhibits a good performance again in the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark. The laptop rendered 57.7 fps using 1920 x 1080 pixels, high details and default tessellation. The GTX 680M in Schenker's XMG P502 recently accomplished 57.6 fps. 

3DMark Vantage - 1280x1024 P GPU no PhysX
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
17084 Points ∼39%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23701 Points ∼54% +39%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3720QM
Schenker XMG P702
21060 Points ∼48% +23%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
16558 Points ∼38% -3%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
13019 Points ∼30% -24%
Unigine Heaven 2.1 - 1280x1024 high, Tesselation (normal), DirectX11 AA:off AF:1x
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
70.6 fps ∼43%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
83.9 fps ∼51% +19%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3720QM
Schenker XMG P702
74.2 fps ∼45% +5%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
54.2 fps ∼33% -23%
3D Mark
3DMark 0344681 points
3DMark 0513708 points
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
11638 points
3DMark Vantage12294 points
3DMark 114633 points
Help

Storage Devices

AS SSD Benchmark
AS SSD Benchmark

Last but not least, MSI touts the GX60 with a promising RAID 0 array. Both the small 64 GB mSATA SSDs from SanDisk easily defeat the competition. Looking at the sequential read rate, which is over 600 MB/s in the AS SSD benchmark is out of reach for most SATA III models. Even the 512 GB version of the extremely swift Corsair Neutron GTX (Schenker's XMG P722 PRO) has to be satisfied with results of about 514 MB/s.

However, as soon as focus is put on smaller files, the exultation quickly vanishes. 8 MB/s in the 4K test and 57 MB/s in the 4K-64Thrd test are rather moderate for SSD conditions. The 128 GB model of Samsung's successful SSD 830 is 2.5 times better in 4K with 21 MB/s and 5 times better in 4K-64Thrd with 291 MB/s. The big shock comes first in the write rates though. With a sequential rate of not even 44 MB/s, the RAID 0 array drops below the average HDD level (CrystalDiskMark still recorded 88 MB/s). For comparison: Both mSATA members accomplished a 9x better 391 MB/s in the GT70.

The distance to the SSD competition is also gigantic with smaller files. Most solid state drives can only smile wearily at a 4K rate of 12 MB/s and a 4K-64Thrd rate of 5 MB/s. The somewhat older but still popular Crucial Read SSD M4, for example, settles to 50 and 158 MB/s respectively (128 version @ Gigabyte's U2442N). Basically, we do not deem the RAID 0 array a good idea. A "conventional" 2.5 model would make a subjectively better impression in practice.

But the GX60 also sports a 750 GB HDD besides the solid state drives. MSI relies on a product from Western Digital dubbed the WC75000BPKT-22PK4. CrystalDiskMark certifies the SATA II drive to have very good performance. Only few HDDs surpass 114-115 MB/s in the sequential benchmark. The drawback of a 7200 rpm drive is the fairly loud operating noise.

2x SanDisk U100 (RAID 0)
Sequential Read: 437.6 MB/s
Sequential Write: 88.25 MB/s
512K Read: 160 MB/s
512K Write: 31.43 MB/s
4K Read: 12.29 MB/s
4K Write: 8.899 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 59.96 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 5.759 MB/s

System Performance

Since PCMark Vantage does not supply an overall score under Windows 8, we were limited to PCMark 7. The result will unlikely knock anyone's socks off. With 3174 points, the GX60 places itself between the multimedia laptops Dell Inspiron 14z-5423 (3102 points @ Core i5-3317U + Radeon HD 7570M) and the Samsung 700Z7C-S01DE (3281 points @ Core i7-3615QM + GeForce GT 650M). "Genuine" premium laptops end up in the 4000 - 5000 range.

PC Mark
PCMark 73174 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Fast GPU, lame CPU
Fast GPU, lame CPU

When looking at the gaming results, we wonder whether MSI tested the hardware combination thoroughly in advance.

Although the GX60 could sometimes outperform Intel devices equipped with a GeForce GTX 670MX or GTX 675MX, in extreme conditions (1920 x1080, maximum details), the Radeon HD 7970M often dropped to the level of the weaker GeForce GT 650M or GTX 660M in medium settings (1366 x 768, high details). In the worst case, the refresh rate was only just above the processor-integrated Radeon HD 7660G chip.

CPU-heavy tracks, such as Guild Wars 2, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Hitman Absolution and Assassin's Creed III can only be played with restrictions if at all. It is surprising to what extent the slow Trinity CPU affects the Radeon HD 7970M performance. The GX60 would likely score much higher with a low-end dual-core processor from Intel's Core i3 or Core i5 range. The HD 7970M is normally comparable with a GeForce GTX 680M.

After extensively studying the benchmarks, the retail price no longer seems particularly attractive. Less expensive laptops, such as Schenker's XMG A522 often accomplish a comparable gaming performance. MSI should have invested its budget in a faster CPU. The Radeon HD 7970M can only rarely exploit its true potential. A detailed benchmark list can be found below this article.

Graphics card / Processor Overall Performance
GeForce GTX 660M & Intel-Quad-Core -5 %
Radeon HD 7970M & A10-4600M base (average of 14 games)
GeForce GTX 670MX & Intel-Quad-Core +20 %
GeForce GTX 675MX & Intel-Quad-Core +40 %
GeForce GTX 680M & Intel-Quad-Core +60 %
Radeon HD 7970M & Intel-Quad-Core +60 %
low med.high ultra
Darksiders II (2012) 108.7fps
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 35.128.5fps
Counter-Strike: GO (2012) 89.4fps
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 17.816.6fps
Borderlands 2 (2012) 43.2fps
Fifa 13 (2012) 119.4fps
World of Tanks v8 (2012) 33.928.7fps
Dishonored (2012) 70.1fps
Medal of Honor: Warfighter (2012) 46.4fps
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012) 24.321.8fps
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (2012) 59.4fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 18.918.6fps
Assassin´s Creed III (2012) 16.213.4fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 31.721.8fps

Emissions

Case fan
Case fan

System Noise

Although the GX60 only sports one fan, the cooling system can easily compete with the Clevo P150EM and P170EM barebones. An average of 42 dB in the first 3DMark 06 scenario and 52 dB during full load are absolutely normal for a gaming laptop. Schenker's XMG P702 reaches 46 - 54 dB when using the Radeon HD 7970M.

The noise level did not quite convince us during idle use. On the one hand, the base noise of ~35 dB was already very audible. On the other, the fan's speed occasionally increased to a somewhat disconcerting 38 dB. Our meter only recorded 33 - 35 dB in Schenker's XMG P702. We again recommend Asus' G75 for noise-sensitive gamers.

Noise Level

Idle 35.0 / / 37.7 dB(A)
DVD 38.5 / dB(A)
Load 41.7 / 52.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test (Unigine Heaven 3.0 & Prime)

One of the GX60's biggest strengths is its moderate temperature development. Owing to the casing's clever build, the wrist rest never exceeds a temperature of 30°C even during demanding 3D programs. The chassis settled to decent 26°C in idle mode. The temperatures were also absolutely reasonable during load. The laptop only reached just below 40°C at the vent.

The user does not have to worry about the hardware, either. The graphics card "only" reached 80°C after one hour of stress testing. The processor climbed to an acceptable 70°C according to Core Temp, but the clock rate occasionally dropped below two GHz (throttling). Note: Our first test device crashed repeatedly in the stress test.

Max. Load
 38.0 °C37.6 °C26.7 °C 
 35.4 °C32.3 °C26.4 °C 
 26.4 °C26.4 °C23.8 °C 
 
25.5 °C40.0 °C41.5 °C
25.0 °C30.4 °C36.0 °C
23.1 °C24.4 °C24.2 °C
Maximum: 38.0 °C
Average: 30.3 °C
 Maximum: 41.5 °C
Average: 30 °C
Power Supply (max.)  44.6 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | Voltcraft IR-550

Speakers

MSI has done a great job with the sound. The GX60 sports a 2.1 system that is comprised of two speakers and a subwoofer. The sound is amazingly clear and rich for laptop conditions. In contrast to other devices, the bass is very audible. The THX support and the good maximum volume also have to be praised.

In short, only a fraction of the competition can compete with the sound quality of the GX60. Even Alienware's M17x R4 and Asus' N56VZ/N76VZ have a hard time competing against the 15-incher.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption is within limits when the Radeon HD 7660G is primarily active in idle use. With 13-24 watts, the MSI laptop consumes roughly the same power as Deviltech's GTX 680M contender Devil 6700 (16-22 watts). The GX60 is a bit more energy-efficient during load (85-138 vs. 100-149 watts).

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.3 / 0.7 Watt
Idle 12.8 / 18.6 / 23.8 Watt
Load 85.1 / 138.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Reader's Test
Maximum battery runtime (Reader's Test)
Classic Test
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)

The strong, 87 Wh lithium ion battery accomplishes good to very good runtimes. The 15-inch laptop lasts for around seven hours without the power outlet in ideal conditions (minimum screen brightness, low load).

We always perform our Wi-Fi test with a brightness of approximately 150 cd/m². This resulted in almost five hours of wireless Internet entertainment. A DVD ran for roughly 3.25 hours in maximum brightness. We ascertained a minimum runtime of around one hour.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 07min
WiFi Surfing
5h 00min
DVD
3h 14min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 00min

Verdict

MSI GX60
MSI GX60 (Picture: MSI)

All said, we regrettably cannot recommend the GX60 as a gaming machine for the enthusiast (on a budget). As our benchmark course illustrates, the lame AMD CPU affects the performance of the Radeon HD 7970M greatly in some gaming tests. The performance loss is so high in some areas that the frame rate drops to a that of a middle-level GPU.

We would have expected a more sensible hardware setup from an alleged gaming expert. The surprisingly low price is no argument. The 15-inch Clevo P150EM barebone is available for approximately 1300 Euros ( $1700) with an Intel quad-core and a Radeon HD 7970M. Its advantage is more consistent performance without nasty outliers.

Both mSATA SSDs are also a double-edged sword. The excellent sequential read rate contrasts the poor performance in small files. In addition to that, there is the unusual keyboard layout and casing's sensitive surfaces.

But that is enough complaining because the GX60 also has its good sides. Besides the generous connectivity and low temperature development, we have to mention the excellent TN screen. MSI has put particular focus on the sound. The built-in 2.1 system clearly excels over most other laptops.

Nevertheless, it is not easy to come to a final verdict. The GX60 is designed for casual gamers considering the CPU issue. Enthusiasts will have to look elsewhere with something containing ‘Intel’.

For Comparison

Far Cry 3
1366x768 DX11 High Preset (SSAO, Standard Alpha To Coverage) AA:2x MS
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
31.7 fps ∼36%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
58.5 fps ∼67% +85%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
68.4 fps ∼79% +116%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
55.1 fps ∼63% +74%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
44.2 fps ∼51% +39%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
35.5 fps ∼41% +12%
1920x1080 DX11 Ultra Preset (HDAO, Enhanced Alpha To Coverage) AA:4x MS
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
21.8 fps ∼34%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
25.4 fps ∼40% +17%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23.6 fps ∼37% +8%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
17.5 fps ∼28% -20%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
13.7 fps ∼22% -37%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
10.6 fps ∼17% -51%
Hitman: Absolution
1366x768 High Preset AA:2xMS AF:8x
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
18.9 fps ∼27%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
43.3 fps ∼61% +129%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
50.3 fps ∼71% +166%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
41.4 fps ∼59% +119%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
30.9 fps ∼44% +63%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
27.6 fps ∼39% +46%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
18.6 fps ∼28%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
28.8 fps ∼44% +55%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
22.6 fps ∼35% +22%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
19.3 fps ∼30% +4%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
12.7 fps ∼19% -32%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
11.5 fps ∼18% -38%
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - 1920x1080 (Extra) High / On, FXAA AA:4xMS
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
59.4 fps ∼38%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
75 fps ∼47% +26%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
75.3 fps ∼48% +27%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
57.4 fps ∼36% -3%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
46.2 fps ∼29% -22%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
37.3 fps ∼24% -37%
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
1366x768 High / On
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
24.3 fps ∼41%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
51.2 fps ∼85% +111%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
58.3 fps ∼97% +140%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
59.3 fps ∼99% +144%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
49.8 fps ∼83% +105%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
41.5 fps ∼69% +71%
1920x1080 High / On
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
21.8 fps ∼36%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
48.4 fps ∼81% +122%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
51.4 fps ∼86% +136%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
38.2 fps ∼64% +75%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
29 fps ∼48% +33%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
23 fps ∼38% +6%
Medal of Honor: Warfighter - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS AF:16x
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
46.4 fps ∼58%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
46.2 fps ∼58% 0%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
40.9 fps ∼51% -12%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
34 fps ∼42% -27%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
25 fps ∼31% -46%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
20.8 fps ∼26% -55%
Dishonored - 1920x1080 High / On, FOV: 75 AA:FX
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
70.1 fps ∼54%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
99.9 fps ∼77% +43%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
115.7 fps ∼89% +65%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
103 fps ∼79% +47%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
75.4 fps ∼58% +8%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
66.7 fps ∼51% -5%
World of Tanks v8
1366x768 High Preset AA:LQ FX
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
33.9 fps ∼41%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
60.8 fps ∼74% +79%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
39.7 fps ∼48% +17%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
38.8 fps ∼47% +14%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
65.8 fps ∼80% +94%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
33.4 fps ∼40% -1%
1920x1080 Maximum Preset AA:HQ FX
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
28.7 fps ∼44%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
50.4 fps ∼78% +76%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
29.5 fps ∼45% +3%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
26.7 fps ∼41% -7%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
38.2 fps ∼59% +33%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
19.5 fps ∼30% -32%
Fifa 13 - 1920x1080 High AA:4xMS
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
119.4 fps ∼30%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
226.6 fps ∼57% +90%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
256.9 fps ∼64% +115%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
248 fps ∼62% +108%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
180.6 fps ∼45% +51%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
155.7 fps ∼39% +30%
Borderlands 2 - 1920x1080 (Ultra) High / On (PhysX low) AA:FX AF:8x
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
43.2 fps ∼34%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
62.9 fps ∼50% +46%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
71.1 fps ∼56% +65%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
62.9 fps ∼50% +46%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
45.3 fps ∼36% +5%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
41.3 fps ∼33% -4%
Guild Wars 2
1366x768 Best Appearance Preset AA:FX
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
17.8 fps ∼27%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
42.8 fps ∼65% +140%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
48.5 fps ∼74% +172%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
43.3 fps ∼66% +143%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
47.2 fps ∼72% +165%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
40.4 fps ∼61% +127%
1920x1080 All Maximum / On AA:FX
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
16.6 fps ∼30%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
30.6 fps ∼55% +84%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
31.9 fps ∼57% +92%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
24.7 fps ∼44% +49%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
18.8 fps ∼34% +13%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
16.1 fps ∼29% -3%
Counter-Strike: GO - 1920x1080 (Very) High, FXAA AA:4x MS AF:8x
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
89.4 fps ∼35%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
153.5 fps ∼60% +72%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
128 fps ∼50% +43%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
131 fps ∼51% +47%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
95.7 fps ∼37% +7%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
88.5 fps ∼34% -1%
Sleeping Dogs
1366x768 High Preset AA:High
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
35.1 fps ∼31%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
47.3 fps ∼41% +35%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
67.7 fps ∼59% +93%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
59.4 fps ∼52% +69%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
49.3 fps ∼43% +40%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
36.7 fps ∼32% +5%
1920x1080 Extreme Preset AA:Extreme
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
28.5 fps ∼39%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
28.5 fps ∼39% 0%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
22.7 fps ∼31% -20%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
16.1 fps ∼22% -44%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
13.1 fps ∼18% -54%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
8.6 fps ∼12% -70%
Darksiders II - 1920x1080 2/4 Shadows, No Ambient Occlusion, AA:Low
Radeon HD 7970M / A10-4600M
MSI GX60
108.7 fps ∼56%
Radeon HD 7970M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
104.1 fps ∼53% -4%
GeForce GTX 680M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
108.8 fps ∼56% 0%
GeForce GTX 675MX / Core i7-3740QM
One M73-2N
80.2 fps ∼41% -26%
GeForce GTX 670MX / Core i7-3630QM
Deviltech HellMachine
63.2 fps ∼32% -42%
GeForce GTX 660M / Core i7-3610QM
Schenker XMG P502
49.6 fps ∼25% -54%

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In Review: The MSI GX60
In Review: MSI GX60 (Picture: MSI)

Specifications

MSI GX60

:: Processor
AMD A10-4600M 2.3 GHz
:: Mainboard
AMD AM70 FCH
:: Memory
8192 MB, 2x 4096 MB SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 2 slots, max. 16 GB
:: Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon HD 7970M - 2048 MB, Core: 850 MHz, Memory: 1200 MHz, GDDR5, Catalyst 12.11, Enduro
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, LG Philips LP156WF1-TLF3 (LGD0259), TN LED, Full-HD, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
2x SanDisk U100 (RAID 0), 64 GB + WDC WD7500BPKT-22PK4, 7200 rpm, 750 GB
:: Soundcard
Realtek ALC892 @ AMD Hudson-3 FCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: headphone, microphone, line-out, line-in, Card Reader: SD,SDXC,SDHC,MMC,
:: Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Qualcomm Atheros AR1111 WB-EG Wireless Network Adapter (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
TSSTcorp DVDWBD SN-406AB
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 55 x 395 x 267
:: Weight
3.426 kg Power Supply: 0.848 kg
:: Battery
87 Wh Lithium-Ion, 7800 mAh, 11.1V, 0.48 kg, 9 cell, BTY-M6D
:: Price
1199 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: HD (30 fps @ 720p), Speakers: 2.1 (THX TruStudio Pro), Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, PSU: 180 watts, driver DVD, warranty brochure, warranty card, quick start guide, MSI gaming mouse, 24 Months Warranty

 

Windows 8 is installed as the operating system of choice.
Windows 8 is installed as the operating system.
The casing's bottom sports a small subwoofer.
The casing's bottom sports a small subwoofer.
The battery (lower left) features a rubber foot.
The battery (lower left) features a rubber foot.
The US model includes two small 64 GB mSATA SSDs.
The US model includes two small 64 GB mSATA SSDs.
The Radeon HD 7970M doesn't heat up much even when doing a 3D operation.
The Radeon HD 7970M doesn't heat up much even in 3D operation.
AMD's processor quickly finds its limits.
AMD's processor quickly finds its limits.
The integrated HDD is a lot of storage space.
The integrated HDD bids a lot of storage room.
87 Wh capacity is above-average.
87 Wh are above-average.
According to the spec sheet, the webcam supports 30 fps of video.
According to the spec sheet, the webcam supports 30 fps.
MSI tries various new things with the keyboard.
MSI tries various new things with the keyboard.
Allegedly, SteelSeries was involved in its development.
Allegedly, SteelSeries was involved in development.
The fan button (center) ensures better cooling.
The fan button (center) ensures a better cooling.
The handy function bar does not always respond ideally.
The handy function bar does not always respond ideally.
Brightness and volume can be controlled conveniently.
Brightness and volume can be controlled conveniently.
Up to three monitors can be connected to the GX60.
Up to three monitors can be connected to the GX60.
Five status LEDs are located below the touchpad.
Five status LEDs are located below the touchpad.
The audio jacks can transmit a 7.1 signal when desired.
The audio jacks can transmit a 7.1 signal when desired.
A mini DisplayPort is rare.
A mini DisplayPort is rare.
The card reader is surrounded by three USB 3.0 ports.
The card reader is surrounded by three USB 3.0 ports.
Several info leaflets are in the box.
Several info leaflets are in the box.
The 180 watt PSU is quite large.
The 180 watt PSU is quite large.
Our test laptop included a chic gaming mouse.
Our test laptop included a chic gaming mouse.
MSI want to particularly attract gamers with its product.
MSI want to particularly attract gamers with its product.
The sensitive lid conveys a cheap plastic charm.
The sensitive lid conveys a cheap plastic charm.
The design and material mix are unusual.
The design and material mix are unusual.
Fingerprints gather quickly on the surfaces.
Fingerprints gather quickly on the surfaces.
We would call the looks flashy.
We would call the looks flashy.
The big maintenance cover is secured with several screws.
The big maintenance cover is secured with several screws.
The laptop has a height of almost 55 millimeters when closed.
The laptop has a height of almost 55 millimeters when closed.
Kudos: The maximum opening angle is 180°.
Kudos: The maximum opening angle is 180°.
A few interfaces are located at the rear.
A few interfaces are located at the rear.
The GX60 scores with good equipment.
The GX60 scores with good equipment.
The MSI logo lights up when in use.
The MSI logo lights up when in use.
The glossy display bezel is highly reflective.
The glossy display bezel reflects the surroundings.
The interior makes a neat impression.
The interior makes a neat impression.
The 15-incher weighs over 3.4 kilograms with the battery.
The 15 incher weighs over 3.4 kilograms with the battery.
The wrist rest is made of brushed aluminum.
The wrist rest is made of brushed aluminum.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pro

+Casing's cool surfaces
+Very potent graphics card
+Matte, Full HD screen
+Blu-ray drive
+Many interfaces
+Strong battery
+Great sound
+Fair price
 

Contra

-Unusual keyboard layout
-Very flashy design
-Weak processor
-Sensitive lid
-Bulky chassis

Shortcut

What we like

Above all, the good picture and sound quality.

What we'd like to see

A plain design and matte casing surfaces.

What surprises us

The processor has a surprisingly high influence on the gaming performance.

The competition

15-inch high-end laptops such as the Asus G55, the Deviltech Devil 6700, the Schenker XMG A522 or the Schenker XMG P502.

Rating

MSI GX60
12/09/2012 v3
Florian Glaser

Chassis
76%
Keyboard
76%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
82%
Weight
64%
Battery
81%
Display
84%
Games Performance
87%
Application Performance
92%
Temperature
84%
Noise
62%
Add Points
74%
Average
78%
81%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review MSI GX60 Notebook
Author: Florian Glaser, 2012-12-20 (Update: 2013-06- 6)