Review Update MSI GT60 WSPH-7216257BW Workstation

Tobias Winkler (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 08/09/2013

Work(station) zone! MSI makes a foray into the realm of professional workstations and challenges the well-established brands with a vivid Full-HD display, SSD RAID, Nvidia Quadro K2000M GPU, and Intel quad-core CPU. The notebook looks like a pretty compelling package - but can it threaten the workstation-elite?

For the original German review, see here.

MSI's GT60 WSPH-7216257BW (0NG-405de) Workstation is actually a gaming notebook modified for professional applications. Compared to full-fledged and specifically designed mobile workstations, a few drawbacks thus have to be expected. While the look of the chassis might be something that's debatable, professional users usually don't want to compromise functionality and features - and although the GT60 fulfills the overall requirements here, it's just missing a certain little "extra" in many areas. To be considered a workstation, a professional-grade GPU is of the utmost importance - and MSI outfits the GT60 with a both powerful and reliable Nvidia Quadro K2000M graphics card, which is designed to work well with certain applications. Our review notebook also includes a colorful Full-HD display, two 128 GB SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration, a 750 GB hard drive, 16 GB RAM, and an Intel Core i7-3630QM-CPU. The system - which still ships with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit - sells for about 2400 Euro (~$3200).

We decided to review the MSI GT60 Workstation for a second time because we ran into some issues when we examined the US model in February. We couldn't run the Furmark stress test, which means we had no data to compare sound level and temperature to other systems. A defective battery also prevented us from running our runtime tests. In addition, the German version supposedly ships with an IPS panel, which was - in addition to the SSD RAID - another compelling reason for us to conduct another review.

Case

The construction and materials show that the MSI GT60 has its roots in gaming: chrome trim, piano-black glossy paint, and red accent stripes seem a bit out of place on a professional workstation. The surfaces are prone to dust and fingerprints, and the build quality of the system falls short of the stalwarts HP EliteBook, Lenovo ThinkPad, and Dell Precision workstations. Gaps seem fairly large and not very even, and burrs and ridges are also evident upon closer inspection.

The base unit resists twisting well enough though and the display lid is not very susceptible to bending. The hinges hold the display securely - we only noticed minimal bouncing when the notebook was subjected to vibrations. The weight of 3350 grams is - compared to the ThinkPad W530 - a bit on the high side. With the power adapter, a bag, and some accessories, the weight rockets to about 5 kg, which is about 1 kg more than the ThinkPad.

MSI GT60 Workstation.
MSI GT60 Workstation.
Aside from the driver CD, no other media is included.
Aside from the driver CD, no other media is included.
Accuracy of the parts as well as their fit could be better.
Accuracy of the parts as well as their fit could be better.
The design: high-gloss with accent stripes.
The design: high-gloss with accent stripes.

Connectivity

Large USB devices block the neighboring ports.
Large USB devices block the neighboring ports.

Compared to well-established workstations, the interface selection leaves to be desired. The GT60not only lacks a FireWire, eSATA, and a docking port, but also a modular bay, smart card reader, and ExpressCard slot. What is included though is certainly usable. In the back there are three monitor connections (VGA, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort), which all can be used at the same time - in addition to the notebook display itself. We used an Asus PA238Q to check the VGA port quality and were rewarded with a very sharp Full-HD output. The back is also houses a Gigabit LAN port, courtesy of the Killer E2200 network card, which is supposed to offer increased performance during online gaming. The three USB 3.0 ports on the left side are close together, so larger devices are going to block the neighboring port.

The right side is home to four audio ports, including SPDIF, and the single USB 2.0 port, which is also too close to the neighboring ports. The DVD-RW drive is also able to read BluRay discs. The card reader can read MMC, MS, and XD cards as well as various SD formats.

Left side: 2x USB 3.0, card reader, 1x USB 3.0
Left side: 2x USB 3.0, card reader, 1x USB 3.0
Rear: Kensington lock, power jack, LAN, VGA, Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI
Rear: Kensington lock, power jack, LAN, VGA, Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI
Right side: 4x Audio (including SPDIF), USB 2.0, BluRay combo-drive
Right side: 4x Audio (including SPDIF), USB 2.0, BluRay combo-drive
Front: no ports
Front: no ports

Communication

The Intel Centrino Wireless N-2230 module has two antennas, covers the 2.4 GHz band, and can reach theoretical speeds of 300 Mbit/s. During our time with the notebook, we never noticed any issues with signal quality or strength. For short-distance wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 is available; the aforementioned Killer E2200 network card allows cable-bound connectivity. The 720p webcam is good enough for videoconferencing in well-lit environments but produces grainy and pixelated pictures in darker conditions.

Maintenance

After removing several screws, the cover on the bottom allows access to the major components. One of the screws is sealed, but MSI Germany ensured us that breaking the seal has no consequence in the German market. The user can replace the fan, the two mSATA SSDs, the 2.5-inch drive, and the two RAM modules. Two additional RAM slots are hidden underneath the keyboard.

Warranty

In Germany, MSI covers the workstation for 36 months with pickup and return service.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The keyboard features 19 mm keys and is anchored very securely: even above the optical drive we had to use a lot of force to induce any flexing. Feedback is good, the sound pleasant, and the medium-short keystroke should satisfy even touch typists. The layout needs some getting used to, however, as the Windows, Fn, and AltGr keys are in different locations. The keyboard backlight is highly adjustable and offers 7 different colors.

Touchpad

The touchpad is comparatively small at 78 x 42 mm, which means that multi-touch gestures - up to three fingers are supported - require repositioning of the fingers frequently. The surface allows fingers to glide easily and the separate single mouse button works well - although the chrome look might not appeal much to the target audience.

Keys in a 19 mm grid layout
Keys in a 19 mm grid layout
Small touchpad
Small touchpad
Large arrow keys
Large arrow keys
The layout takes some getting used to
The layout takes some getting used to
Keyboard backlighting in color
Keyboard backlighting in color
7 different color choices
7 different color choices

Display

Colorful Full-HD display
Colorful Full-HD display

Although both the spec sheet and the homepage of the manufacturer mention a display with IPS technology, our review sample includes a TN panel from AU Optronics - the very same we encountered in the US version of the MSI Workstation and also in the Lenovo ThinkPad W530. The matte panel features a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 141 dpi, which works well for a 15.6-inch screen.

195
cd/m²
183
cd/m²
189
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
201
cd/m²
218
cd/m²
225
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 225 cd/m²
Average: 205.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 216 cd/m²
Black: 0.448 cd/m²
Contrast: 482:1
Distribution of brightness

The average brightness of 205 cd/m² is less than what measured for the US model (223 cd/m²) or the Lenovo ThinkPad W530 (259 cd/m²). The display brightness can be adjusted in 9 levels from 44 to 216 cd/m². For our WLAN test (see "Battery Life"), we chose level 7, which equates to 143 cd/m². Usability outdoors is restricted despite the non-glare panel, since the brightness is not quite high enough: even though we could decipher the screen most of the time, working with brighter displays is markedly easier on the eyes. Disconnecting the power adapter has no influence on the brightness.

The contrast ratio of 487:1 is better than what standard displays are capable of producing and blacks are sufficiently deep. A distinguishing feature of the display is the expanded color space coverage - the display supposedly reproduces 95 % of the NTSC color space from 1979. MSI equips the GT60 with a panel from AUO, which features a "R,G Phosphor LED Backlight". Standard displays commonly utilize pseudo-white LEDs - normally just called white LEDs - which are blue LEDs coated with yellow phosphor. The mixture of those colors produces a white light. The AUO panel also features layers of red and green phosphor to increase the number of possible colors. The panel produces 1.1 million colors, significantly outnumbering the colors of the sRGB color space. Coverage of blue and magenta hues is lacking though, so the panel can't completely reproduce the sRGB color space and falls short of AdobeRGB by about 15 %. We wanted to check the claim regarding the NTSC color space from 1997 but couldn't find a suitable ICC profile. Since this particular color space is smaller than AdobeRGB, the claim of 95 % coverage could certainly be accurate. MSI doesn't offer a tool like HP's Mobile Display Assistant or Dell's Premiercolor, which allows the user to chose pre-selected color spaces with the click of a button.

MSI GT60 Workstation vs. AdobeRGB (t)
MSI GT60 Workstation vs. AdobeRGB (t)
MSI GT60 Workstation vs. NTSC1953 (t)
MSI GT60 Workstation vs. NTSC1953 (t)
MSI GT60 Workstation vs. sRGB (t)
MSI GT60 Workstation vs. sRGB (t)

As shipped, neither color accuracy nor saturation are very satisfying. Even with the naked eye, it's clear that the colors are pretty far off target. The intended audience for workstations will normally calibrate their display though - and after calibration, the display shines: gray levels, color accuracy, and color saturation are - for notebook display - highly accurate with a maximum DeltaE2000 of 2.38. Difference to the ideal values are now not visible any longer.

Gray levels
Gray levels
Color accuracy
Color accuracy
Colorchecker
Colorchecker
Saturation
Saturation
Gray levels - calibrated
Gray levels - calibrated
Color accuracy - calibrated
Color accuracy - calibrated
Colorchecker calibrated
Colorchecker calibrated
Saturation calibrated
Saturation  calibrated

Viewing angle stability is top-notch for a TN display, although it still falls short of IPS panels. Screen content remains easily readable; only in the vertical plane and very extreme angles the picture washes out and inverts eventually. The colors are affected earlier: viewed from the side, a white test background shows a red, from the top yellow, and from below a bluish cast. Since users are hardly ever going to work with  a single screen color, this is not really a major concern. For the best viewing experience, the screen needs to be tilted back slightly.

Blickwinkel MSI GT60 Workstation
Blickwinkel MSI GT60 Workstation

Performance

As far as the configuration is concerned, the review model makes quite a statement in the workstation arena: a 256 GB SSD RAID, 750 GB hard drive, powerful quad-core CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and the professional-quality Nvidia Quadro K2000M GPU - all for about 2400 Euro (~$3200) - add up to a potent package. Those willing to sacrifice 128 GB of SSD storage can purchase the MSI GT60WSPH-728127B (0016F3-SKU81) for less than 2000 Euro (~$2650).

CPU
Caches
Mainboard
Memory
SPD
GPUZ
HD Tune
DPC Latency Checker
System information MSI GT60 0NG-405DE

Processor

As it befitting for a mobile workstation, the MSI notebook features a potent quad-core CPU. The Intel Core i7-3630QM can process 8 threads simultaneously, while Turbo Boost can overclock the base clock speed of 2400 MHz to 3400 MHz. Although the performance was good enough for a top-ten spot at one point, the new Haswell processors caused this particular CPU to slip to the 27th spot in our extensive CPU benchmark list.

The GT60 workstation scored 5756 points running the Cinebench R10 64-bit Single benchmark test and 22031 points for the Multi test. The system converted MP3 files to AAC via iTunes at speeds of 49.8 times the nominal speed. We used Cyberlinks MediaEspresso to convert various videos into a format compatible with the iPhone. Using just the CPU for the conversion, the performance of the Intel Core i7-3630QM ranks between the Intel Core i7-3610QM and the Intel Core i7-3720Q. The conversion happens substantially faster when the GPU comes into play - and at the same time, the CPU utilization drops.

When we checked performance with the notebook on battery power and after a 2 hour long stress test with Furmark and Prime95, we noticed no decrease in CPU performance.

MP3 conversion
MP3 conversion
Video conversion
Video conversion
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4554
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
17902
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5657
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5756 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
22031 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5669 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.39 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.42 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
43.73 fps
Help

System Performance

With the selected hardware, the perceived performance is very good indeed - no bottlenecks are noticeable. From simple office tasks to lengthy conversion: the workstation has it covered. Only 3D performance could be better at times. The GT60 did very well running PC Mark Vantage and PC Mark 7: it ended up with 18704 and 4260 points, respectively.

6.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.6
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.7
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
6.9
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.9
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
7.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage18704 points
PCMark 74260 points
Help

Storage Devices

MSI uses a combination of SSD RAID 0 and a conventional 750 GB hard drive (7200 RPM) for this workstation. The OS and the applications reside on the fast SSDs, the hard drive is reserved for data. The SSD combo consists of two Sandisk X100 mSATA SSDs with a total capacity of 256 GB. The RAID 0 allows read speeds of over 1000 MB/s and write speeds of about 500 MB/s. Since data is spread over two disks, data loss is inevitable if one of the SSDs should fail. Regular backups are therefore imperative. Even though the 750 GB hard drive could be used for that, it's probably better to use an external solution. Although there are no other choices in the Bios, MSI will also configure a RAID 1 (mirroring) as an option.

2x Sandisk X100 SD5SF2128G1014E RAID 0
Transfer Rate Minimum: 818.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 1018.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 917.9 MB/s
Access Time: 0.2 ms
Burst Rate: 2889.2 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1 %

GPU Performance

MSI's GT60 WSPH-7216257BW (0NG-405de) Workstation utilizes Nvidia's Optimus technology and therefore allows switching between the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 and the dedicated Nvidia Quadro K2000M. The user can pick via Nvidia's software if the switching happens automatically or as defined.

The preferred usage scenario for the Intel HD Graphics 4000 includes standard tasks and operations while the notebook is on battery power. For graphics-intensive 3D applications - especially CAD - the Quadro GPU is the much better choice and offers significantly better performance. For CAD software in particular, the optimized Bios and drivers obviously play an important role, as the SPECviewperf 11 benchmark results put even supposedly stronger consumer GPUs like the Nvidia Geforce GTX 770M, GTX 780M, and AMD Radeon HD 8870M to shame in most test sequences. From a hardware standpoint, the Nvidia Quadro K2000M is roughly equivalent to the  Nvidia Geforce GT 650M, which offers less performance than the GPUs mentioned above.

Compared to other professional GPUs, the performance depends a lot on the application. As expected, Nvidias Quadro K5000M is quite a bit more powerful overall, so the Quadro K2000M is best compared to AMD's FirePro M4000. This GPU, which sees duty in the entry-level EliteBooks and Precision workstations, does much better when for applications like Lightwave, Maya, or Solidworks. The US modell, which we reviewed in February, showed better results for SPECviewperf 11. We think that the culprit is the driver: Nvida seems to focus more on stability as time progresses - results were nearly identical when we used the older driver 307.13.

Even though the Quadro-driver is optimized for certain tasks, performance under DirectX is not hampered in any way. The benchmark results put the performance of the Quadro K2000M right between the Nvidia Geforce GT 640M and the GT 650M. The QPU scored 8112 points running 3D Mark Vantage, 1991 points for 3D Mark 11, and 43.73 fps during the OpenGL Shading component of the Cinebench R11.5 benchmark test.

In addition to just the processor, video conversions can take advantage of technologies like Intel Intel Quick Sync Video or Nvidia CUDA. While the processing speed goes up significantly, the CPU load drops and the user can accomplish other tasks in the meantime. The screenshot attached in the section "Processor" under "Performance" shows these differences clearly.

We saw a very minimal difference of a about 5 % when we checked the performance with the notebook running on battery (41.88 fps compared to 43.73 fps during the CB R11.5 OpenGL test). When we subjected the workstation to maximum load for extended periods of time with Prime95 and Furmark running in parallel, the GPU maintained a clock speed of 745 MHz.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
11991 points
3DMark Vantage8112 points
3DMark 111991 points
3DMark Ice Storm63588 points
3DMark Cloud Gate8066 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme1249 points
Help
SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Catia AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
28.54 fps ∼41%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
33.54 fps ∼48% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
33.53 fps ∼48% +17%
Dell Precision M4700
33.44 fps ∼48% +17%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
16.28 fps ∼23% -43%
Dell Precision M6700
50.18 fps ∼72% +76%
One K73-3N
11.9 fps ∼17% -58%
Schenker XMG P703
12.88 fps ∼19% -55%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
7.44 fps ∼11% -74%
1920x1080 Ensight AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
18.14 fps ∼30%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
18.18 fps ∼30% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
18.21 fps ∼30% 0%
Dell Precision M4700
20.8 fps ∼34% +15%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
18.8 fps ∼31% +4%
Dell Precision M6700
47.12 fps ∼78% +160%
One K73-3N
19.74 fps ∼33% +9%
Schenker XMG P703
22.73 fps ∼37% +25%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
23.64 fps ∼39% +30%
1920x1080 Lightwave AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
39.28 fps ∼49%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
46.35 fps ∼57% +18%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
45.69 fps ∼57% +16%
Dell Precision M4700
44.38 fps ∼55% +13%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
61.01 fps ∼76% +55%
Dell Precision M6700
50.62 fps ∼63% +29%
One K73-3N
20.28 fps ∼25% -48%
Schenker XMG P703
20.14 fps ∼25% -49%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
24.59 fps ∼30% -37%
1920x1080 Maya AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
43.41 fps ∼39%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
46.44 fps ∼41% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
46.94 fps ∼42% +8%
Dell Precision M4700
47.58 fps ∼42% +10%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
52.84 fps ∼47% +22%
Dell Precision M6700
56.68 fps ∼50% +31%
One K73-3N
15.11 fps ∼13% -65%
Schenker XMG P703
15.86 fps ∼14% -63%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
12.79 fps ∼11% -71%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
11.4 fps ∼60%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
13.54 fps ∼71% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
14.98 fps ∼79% +31%
Dell Precision M4700
13.13 fps ∼69% +15%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
6.27 fps ∼33% -45%
Dell Precision M6700
17.16 fps ∼90% +51%
One K73-3N
1.48 fps ∼8% -87%
Schenker XMG P703
1.51 fps ∼8% -87%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
2.37 fps ∼12% -79%
1920x1080 SolidWorks AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
31.09 fps ∼48%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
35.2 fps ∼54% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
35.59 fps ∼55% +14%
Dell Precision M4700
33.01 fps ∼51% +6%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
45.85 fps ∼71% +47%
Dell Precision M6700
46.78 fps ∼72% +50%
One K73-3N
11.11 fps ∼17% -64%
Schenker XMG P703
11.88 fps ∼18% -62%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
23.43 fps ∼36% -25%
1920x1080 Tcvis AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
27.98 fps ∼47%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
29.46 fps ∼49% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
29.26 fps ∼49% +5%
Dell Precision M4700
28.1 fps ∼47% 0%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
18.62 fps ∼31% -33%
Dell Precision M6700
47.72 fps ∼80% +71%
One K73-3N
1.1 fps ∼2% -96%
Schenker XMG P703
1 fps ∼2% -96%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
6.09 fps ∼10% -78%
1920x1080 Siemens NX AA:0x AF:0x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
24.77 fps ∼39%
MSI GT60 0NG-294US
24.9 fps ∼39% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE
24.67 fps ∼39% 0%
Dell Precision M4700
25.63 fps ∼41% +3%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
23.69 fps ∼38% -4%
Dell Precision M6700
42.07 fps ∼67% +70%
One K73-3N
2.26 fps ∼4% -91%
Schenker XMG P703
2.54 fps ∼4% -90%
Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE
12.1 fps ∼19% -51%
Legend
      MSI GT60 0NG-405DE Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, 2x Sandisk X100 SD5SF2128G1014E RAID 0
      MSI GT60 0NG-294US Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT-22PK4T0
      Lenovo ThinkPad W530-N1K43GE Intel Core i7-3820QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
      Dell Precision M4700 Intel Core i7-3720QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZMPC256HBGJ-00000
      HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, AMD FirePro M4000, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
      Dell Precision M6700 Intel Core i7-3940XM, NVIDIA Quadro K5000M, Samsung SSD PM830 256 GByte mSATA
      One K73-3N Intel Core i7-4800MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770M, Samsung 840 Series 500 GB (MZ-7TD500)
      Schenker XMG P703 Intel Core i7-4900MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M, Samsung SSD PM841 MZMTD256HAGM
      Samsung 770Z7E-S01DE Intel Core i7-3635QM, AMD Radeon HD 8870M, Samsung SpinPoint M8 HN-M101MBB

I contrast to some AMD GPUs, which show performance differences between their OpenGL and DirectX interfaces when running Unigine Heaven 3.0, the Quadro K2000M remains consistent, but still lags behind the AMD FirePro M4000. This gap became even more evident when we used the OpenCL benchmark Luxmark 2.0, which determines the performance of the OpenCL interface using complex light-and-shadow calculations. This is important for programs like Adobe Photoshop, Sony Vegas Pro 12, or WinZip 17, when filters, graphics effects, or compression are to be applied using OpenCL. AMD's FirePro M4000 outperforms the Nvidia Quadro K2000M by several hundred percent in this scenario.

Unigine Heaven 3.0
1920x1080 DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
17 fps ∼12%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
21.3 fps ∼15% +25%
Sony Vaio Pro 11 SVP121M2EB.G4
6.5 fps ∼4% -62%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2013 MD760D/A
12.1 fps ∼8% -29%
1920x1080 OpenGL, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders AA:Off AF:Off
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
17.1 fps ∼23%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
17.7 fps ∼24% +4%
Sony Vaio Pro 11 SVP121M2EB.G4
7 fps ∼9% -59%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2013 MD760D/A
12.1 fps ∼16% -29%
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit
Sala Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
105 Samples/s ∼4%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
470 Samples/s ∼19% +348%
Sony Vaio Pro 11 SVP121M2EB.G4
186 Samples/s ∼7% +77%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2013 MD760D/A
306 Samples/s ∼12% +191%
Room Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
49 Samples/s ∼3%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
270 Samples/s ∼18% +451%
Sony Vaio Pro 11 SVP121M2EB.G4
117 Samples/s ∼8% +139%
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2013 MD760D/A
221 Samples/s ∼14% +351%
Legend
      MSI GT60 0NG-405DE Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, 2x Sandisk X100 SD5SF2128G1014E RAID 0
      HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, AMD FirePro M4000, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
      Sony Vaio Pro 11 SVP121M2EB.G4 Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Samsung MZNTD128HAGM
      Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2013 MD760D/A Intel Core i5-4250U, Intel HD Graphics 5000, Apple SSD SM0128F

Gaming Performance

For all games evaluated, the performance is sufficient to play at comfortably at medium settings. Depending on the game, high and maximum settings are also possible at times. For some of the current games like Tomb Raider or Hitman Absolution, the Nvidia Quadro K2000M is clearly the better graphics card. Bioshock Infinite, on the other hand, runs better on a system equipped with AMD's FirePro M4000. It pays to know what the notebook is primarily going to be used for, even when it comes to gaming.


low med.high ultra
Anno 1404 (2009) 31248fps
Total War: Shogun 2 (2011) 190.839.114.5fps
Batman: Arkham City (2011) 115834621fps
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 89.366.124.86.3fps
Torchlight 2 (2012) 1099786fps
F1 2012 (2012) 1421038541fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 51.535.422.813.4fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 100.354.133.614.4fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 84.846.739.810.9fps
GRID 2 (2013) 131.885.558.913.3fps
Tomb Raider - 1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
33.6 fps ∼11%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
16.5 fps ∼6% -51%
Hitman: Absolution - 1366x768 High Preset AA:2xMS AF:8x
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
22.8 fps ∼32%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
15 fps ∼21% -34%
BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 High Preset
MSI GT60 0NG-405DE
39.8 fps ∼19%
HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD
44 fps ∼21% +11%
Legend
      MSI GT60 0NG-405DE Intel Core i7-3630QM, NVIDIA Quadro K2000M, 2x Sandisk X100 SD5SF2128G1014E RAID 0
      HP EliteBook 8570w LY550EA-ABD Intel Core i5-3360M, AMD FirePro M4000, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630

Emissions

System Noise

The GT60 workstation is far from silent. Even during idle and with an energy-savings profile enabled, the notebook reaches 35.8 dB(A). The fan is always on and remains audible at all times. Playback of optical media - no matter if a DVD or a BluRay disc is inserted - increases the noise level to 37.2 dB(A). At medium load - we use 3DMark 06 to simulate this scenario - we recorded 42.9 dB(A); at maximum load - simulated with Furmark and Prime 95 - the notebook reached a fairly annoying 52.8 dB(A).

Noise Level

Idle 35.8 / 35.8 / 36.6 dB(A)
DVD 37.2 / dB(A)
Load 42.9 / 52.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    PCE-322A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Despite the fact that the fan is always on, the workstation develops some critical hotspots under full load. We measured 62.4 °C on the bottom near the location of the fan and 67.6 °C on the side at the fan exhaust. Since a workstation is usually sitting on a table, this negative aspect might not be such a big deal. Compared to competing workstations with a dual-fan  layout, the MSI GT60 is certainly at a disadvantage as far as cooling properties are concerned. When not tasked to heavily, temperatures only rise to a maximum of 42.7 °C, which means that the workstation can be placed on the lap without too much discomfort.

Max. Load
 44.8 °C39.2 °C32.8 °C 
 40.7 °C46.3 °C33.5 °C 
 36.0 °C35.5 °C33.2 °C 
 
33.5 °C36.3 °C62.4 °C
33.6 °C40.6 °C46.0 °C
32.5 °C34.3 °C35.4 °C
Maximum: 46.3 °C
Average: 38 °C
 Maximum: 62.4 °C
Average: 39.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  66.8 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Fennel Firt 550

Speakers

The MSI GT60 Workstation is equipped with a total of four separate speakers integrated on the front and above the keyboard. The bottom of the notebook also houses a subwoofer. Overall sound quality is well balanced and much better than what we've come to expect from standard notebooks. Highs are slightly over-emphasized, but mids and the bass are well defined, which means there's a larger adjustment range when using the equalizer. External components can be hooked up using the 3.5 mm headphone jack, USB, HDMI, but also SPDIF.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

87 Wh battery
87 Wh battery

We measured a minimum power consumption of 20.1 watts with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. With the Nvidia Quadro K2000M enabled, the workstation consumes 23.1 watts. Since the Lenovo ThinkPad W530 uses only 11.3 watts, it appears that MSI wastes some potential as far as conserving power is concerned. An explanation for the higher requirements might be the presence of additional RAM modules and mSATA SSDs. When the tasks get more demanding, the difference in power consumption becomes more noticeable: under medium load and with the integrated graphics active, the system consumes 62.7 watts, with the Nvidia GPU 80.5 watts. We measured a maximum power consumption of 118.4 watts when we ran Prime95 and Furmark in parallel (stress test). During this test, the CPU maintained a clock speed of about 2900 MHz, the Nvidia GPU 745 MHz.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.8 / 1.2 Watt
Idle 20.1 / 26.3 / 31 Watt
Load 80.5 / 118.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

Battery Eater Readers Test
Battery Eater Readers Test
Battery Eater Classic Test
Battery Eater Classic Test

Battery life actually takes less of a hit than we would have expected after our previous findings. MSI seems to activate some power saving measures when the workstation is running on battery - but we also need to consider that the Battery Eater Classic test is less demanding than our stress test with Furmark and Prime 95. The capacity of the battery is 87 Wh, which is a bit less than the 97 Wh battery installed in the Lenovo ThinkPad W530. It took close to 6 hours when we ran the Battery Eater Readers Test (energy savings profile enabled, display brightness set to the lowest setting, wireless off, Intel graphics) before the battery was depleted. During the more realistic WLAN-test (energy savings profile enabled, display brightness set to 143 cd/m², wireless on), the GT60 lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes. BluRay playback - with the display set to maximum brightness and wireless off - was possible for about 3 hours. When we ran the Battery Eater Classic Test (performance profile, display set to maximum brightness, wireless on), the system lasted about 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 47min
WiFi Surfing
3h 41min
Blu-ray