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Face Off: Aorus X5S v5 vs. MSI GS60 6QE vs. Acer Predator 15

Thin-and-light gaming. Gaming notebooks don't seem to be slowing down and the recent announcement of the HP Omen series shows there will be even more to choose from in the near future. For this comparison, we dive into the advantages and disadvantages between smaller and larger gaming systems of similar specifications.

Sales of gaming PCs are expected to rise in contrast to the flattening PC market due in part to VR and the desire for enthusiasts to have the latest and greatest. We compare three more 15.6-inch gaming notebooks, but this time with two ultraportable models against a thicker and heavier alternative with similar specifications. Is the larger Acer Predator 15 really any quieter or faster than the much thinner Aorus X5S or MSI GS60?

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15

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Case

Case rigidity is sturdiest on the Predator 15 than on both the Aorus and MSI. While our editor isn't a fan of its colors and design, there's no denying that its display and base are comparatively stronger. The surface directly above the FrostCore slot is a bit more susceptible to warping, but this is a common property of large notebooks with optical drives.

The Aorus and MSI are much more likely to creak when attempting to bend or twist them. The Aorus lid in particular is very weak and is a strong point of criticism for all of Aorus' notebooks as they share the same design. Of course, to their credit, the X5S and GS60 are much smaller and thinner by nearly half the thickness of the Predator 15, so users will be sacrificing case quality for a lighter and more portable unit.

Winner: Acer Predator 15

391 mm / 15.4 inch 300 mm / 11.8 inch 39 mm / 1.535 inch 3.5 kg7.76 lbs390 mm / 15.4 inch 272 mm / 10.7 inch 22.9 mm / 0.902 inch 2.5 kg5.58 lbs390 mm / 15.4 inch 266 mm / 10.5 inch 20 mm / 0.787 inch 2 kg4.41 lbs

Ports in Comparison

Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15

Connectivity

Each notebook offers a wide variety of available ports. The Acer notebook edges out the rest just slightly as it is the only one with a USB Type-C port capable of Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. This very versatile port gives the notebook longer legs due to its compatibility with newer docking ports and external displays. Meanwhile, the X5S is still one of the few enthusiast-level gaming notebooks to sport VGA while the GS60 is last with its meager 2x USB Type-A ports.

The signature FrostCore bay in the Acer is largely a novelty, so this particular feature should not be a major consideration for deciding on a purchase unless if having an optical drive is priority.

Winner: Acer Predator 15

Ports and Connections

Aorus X5S v5 MSI GS60 6QE Acer Predator 15
USB 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2 + Thunderbolt 3
Video-out 1x VGA-out, 1x mDP, 1x HDMI 2.0 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x mDP 1.2 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort
Audio-out 1x 3.5 mm earphones, 1x 3.5 mm microphone 1x 3.5 mm earphones, 1x 3.5 mm microphone 1x 3.5 mm earphones, 1x 3.5 mm microphone
Other SD reader, Kensington Lock, Gigabit Ethernet SD reader, Kensington Lock, Gigabit Ethernet SD reader, Kensington Lock, Gigabit Ethernet, FrostCore/Optical drive
Storage Bays 3x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III 1x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III 1x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III

Input Devices

The keyboard keys on all three models are relatively quiet with minimal clatter when typing. We didn't face any issues regarding spongy or unresponsive keys, so there are no significant differences in typing experiences to speak of.

The feature sets, however, are different between the notebooks. The Aorus and Acer carry dedicated Macro keys that gamers may appreciate. Depending on user preferences, this means that the Aorus may be preferable over the Acer and vice versa. Nonetheless, we do find the Aorus setup to be easier and quicker to press simply because the column of Macro keys are larger and closer to the WASD keys compared to the Acer. The MSI notebook includes no dedicated Macro keys at all.

As for the integrated touchpads, the Aorus is the least comfortable due to the uneven gliding of the surface and the below average clickpad with soft feedback. The Acer should have easily taken this round with its dedicated mouse keys, but its touchpad was not very precise during our review. The MSI touchpad has no major issues and wins this round almost by default. Its gliding properties are smooth and while its integrated mouse keys aren't better than dedicated ones, they are at least firmer and easier to press than on the Aorus.

Winner: Keyboard -- Aorus X5S v5

              Touchpad -- MSI GS60 6QE

Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15

Display

The three notebooks are equipped with very different matte panels with advantages and disadvantages for each. First, the Aorus system has the brighter backlight with deeper and more accurate colors. On the flip side, it suffers from slight backlight bleeding and much slower response times for more ghosting than on both the MSI and Acer. Meanwhile, the MSI and Acer systems both have faster response times than the Aorus, but the former is held back by its dimmer backlight, weaker contrast due to its RGBW subpixel structure, and poorer colors without calibration.

The Acer is only slightly dimmer and with a slightly smaller color gamut than the Aorus, but we feel that this is an acceptable trade-off for its better response times since these are gaming machines and not dedicated machines for editing or graphics work.

Winner: Acer Predator 15

Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15
Displays at a Glance

Aorus X5S v5 MSI GS60 6QE Acer Predator 15
Size 15.6-inch IPS 15.6-inch IPS 15.6-inch IPS
Native Resolution 3840 x 2160 3840 x 2160 1920 x 1080
Pixel Density 282 PPI 282 PPI 141 PPI
Panel ID Sharp LQ156D1JW04 Samsung 156FL02-P01 Philips LP156WF6-SPP1
Aorus X5S v5MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21MSI GS60 6QE-002USAcer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
41.2 (20, 21.2)
40 (12, 28)
43 (18, 25)
Response Time Black / White *
36 (17.2, 18.8)
26 (8, 18)
24 (4, 20)
PWM Frequency
198 (20)
1316 (20)
Screen
Brightness middle
324.7
212
291.2
302
Brightness
324
197
292
287
Brightness Distribution
90
78
83
91
Black Level *
0.403
0.49
0.547
0.36
Contrast
806
433
532
839
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.62
7.8
4.29
4.93
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
4.59
12.34
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.55
5.23
2.51
3.47
Gamma
2.11 104%
3.05 72%
2.13 103%
2.16 102%
CCT
7000 93%
6693 97%
6403 102%
6622 98%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59.4
50
54
54
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
92.3
80
82
82
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15

Performance

CPU Performance

Aorus, MSI, and Acer all offer multiple CPU options beyond what we have here, so this comparison is only between the configurations on hand.

The three notebooks are sporting the same quad-core i7-6700HQ Skylake CPU that is common on most newer gaming notebooks. Thus, CPU benchmark results between them should be very similar. We see this occurring between our Aorus and Acer, but our MSI is consistently a few percentages behind according to both CineBench and even further behind in 3DMark Physics. Fortunately, this has no tangible impact on the gaming performance of the notebook.

See our dedicated CPU pages on the Core i7-6700HQ for more benchmarks and comparisons.

Hardware at a Glance

Aorus X5S v5 MSI GS60 6QE Acer Predator 15
CPU 2.6 GHz Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Core i7-6700HQ
TDP 45 W 45 W 45 W
RAM 16 GB DDR4 PC4-17000, Dual-channel, 2x SODIMM 32 GB DDR4-2132, Dual-channel, 2x SODIMM 16 GB DDR4, Dual-channel, 4x SODIMM
GPU GeForce GTX 980M w/ 8 GB GDDR5 VRAM GeForce GTX 970M w/ 3 GB GDDR5 VRAM GeForce GTX 970M w/ 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM
Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
138 Points ∼63%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
128 Points ∼59%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
142 Points ∼65%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
681 Points ∼16%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
663 Points ∼15%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
676 Points ∼15%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
1.64 Points ∼67%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
1.47 Points ∼60%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
1.63 Points ∼67%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
7.47 Points ∼22%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
7.33 Points ∼22%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
7.41 Points ∼22%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
229.514 s * ∼3%
32m (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
7.505 s * ∼2%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
565.023 Seconds * ∼3%
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
9619 Points ∼33%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
9615 Points ∼33%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
6544 Points ∼23%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
9795 Points ∼34%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
6890 Points ∼17%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
5292 Points ∼13%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
7034 Points ∼18%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
46336 Points ∼54%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
39324 Points ∼47%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
5307 Points ∼74%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
5488 Points ∼77%
Computation (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
18292 Points ∼65%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
16401 Points ∼58%
Creativity (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
10359 Points ∼72%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
10105 Points ∼70%
Entertainment (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
4441 Points ∼41%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
4435 Points ∼41%
Productivity (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
4623 Points ∼42%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
5168 Points ∼47%
Lightweight (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
5435 Points ∼74%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
5981 Points ∼82%
Score (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
5941 Points ∼65%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
5974 Points ∼65%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
3937 Points ∼60%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
4747 Points ∼45%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
3260 Points ∼54%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
3134 Points ∼51%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2 (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
42.36 fps ∼1%
Pass 1 (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
156.2 fps ∼58%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance Physics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
8746 Points ∼46%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
8529 Points ∼44%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
8610 Points ∼45%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

The GTX 980M in the Aorus consistently outperforms the GTX 970M in both the Acer and MSI by roughly 25 percent each as expected. Fire Strike GPU scores are slightly lower on the MSI compared to the Acer due in part to having half the VRAM capacity of the Acer. The performance advantages of having 6 GB VRAM versus 3 GB VRAM is minimal and highly dependent on the game and graphical settings.

See our dedicated GPU pages on the GTX 970M and GTX 980M for more benchmarks and comparisons.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
12197 Points ∼24%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
10014 Points ∼20%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
9845 Points ∼19%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Combined (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
3675 Points ∼30%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
2451 Points ∼20%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
2846 Points ∼23%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
9441 Points ∼23%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
7252 Points ∼18%
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
7624 Points ∼19%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Aorus X5S v5
99.51 fps ∼40%
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
64.42 fps ∼26%

Stress Test

To test system stability, we run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads or even gaming, but are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity.

Impressively, no notebook will throttle CPU performance even when under the most extreme of benchmarking conditions. Nonetheless, the Aorus system is more capable at maintaining a higher Turbo Boost clock rate compared to the MSI and Acer. The MSI is the only system of the three that will not throttle both of its CPU and GPU at the cost of higher core temperatures. In fact, it runs warmer than even the Aorus X5S despite the fact that the GS60 uses a weaker GTX 970M GPU.

Lastly, the Predator 15 is the cooler system when under stress especially in regards to its GPU. The downside is that the its stable CPU and GPU clock rates under stress are slower than on the MSI, so the temperature advantages of the Acer are only partly due to its thicker build and cooling system. There is no objective winner in this category as each system handles extreme stress differently and with dissimilar outcomes.

Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

Aorus X5S v5 MSI GS60 6QE Acer Predator 15
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 1038 924 924
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) 810 1013 848
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 2.6 2.6 2.6
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 3.1 3.0 2.7
Average CPU temperature 78 C 82 C 77 C
Average GPU temperature 86 C 87 C 62 C
Aorus X5S v5
Aorus X5S v5
MSI GS60 6QE
MSI GS60 6QE
Acer Predator 15
Acer Predator 15

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

It shouldn't be too surprising that the more powerful GTX 980M in the thin Aorus runs louder than both the MSI and Acer when under gaming loads. Nonetheless, the GS60 runs almost as loudly but with even warmer surface temperatures on average.

Acer comes out the winner in this category due to a variety of factors that all lead to lower surface temperatures including its slower stable clock rates under extreme stress, lower core temperatures, and thicker build. Its fans are unfortunately not that much quieter as we would have hoped.

Winner: Acer Predator 15

Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature

Aorus X5S v5 MSI GS60 6QE Acer Predator 15
Fan Noise when idling 34 dB(A) 35 - 37 dB(A) 31 - 36 dB(A)
Fan Noise under high loads 50 - 54 dB(A) 40 - 50 dB(A) 40 - 47 dB(A)
Average surface temperature when idling 27.7 C 27.1 C 22.6 C
Average surface temperature under high loads 41.6 C 48.5 C 32.5 C
Ambient temperature 23.0 C 21.0 C 20.0 C

Battery Life

Runtimes are longest on the Acer followed by the Aorus and MSI. Perhaps coincidentally, the Acer sports the larger battery pack while the MSI has the smallest. Users can expect an impressive battery life of 7 to 8 hours from the Predator 15 under WLAN loads compared to 3 to 4 hours and 2 to 3 hours from the Aorus and MSI, respectively.

The battery is not easily removable on any of the three notebooks.

Winner: Acer Predator 15

Aorus X5S v5
73 Wh
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
47 Wh
Acer Predator 15 G9-592-7925
89 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
313
213
WiFi v1.3
223
157
476
Load
82
61

Verdict

There are numerous reasons to prefer a larger, heavier, and even less attractive gaming notebook. Thinner and lighter solutions like the  X5S or GS60 only make more sense if they will be constantly carried around between locations.
There are numerous reasons to prefer a larger, heavier, and even less attractive gaming notebook. Thinner and lighter solutions like the X5S or GS60 only make more sense if they will be constantly carried around between locations.

Our quick comparison shows the advantages of choosing a thicker and heavier gaming notebook over smaller and more portable solutions. The Predator 15 is more strongly built with longer runtimes, cooler temperatures, and more connectivity features than its two thinner alternatives. If any of these are important, then users may want to consider skipping sleek and thin gaming notebooks for something larger instead.

The Predator 15 is not necessarily any faster, however, given the same or at least similar specifications. Instead, the smaller systems simply run warmer and louder to compensate for the tighter sizes. Consequently, MSI will be boasting an improved cooling system on the recently announced GS63 refresh as a likely response to the temperature and noise complaints of the current GS60 series. Meanwhile, other aspects like display quality and keyboard are more independent of the size and thickness of the system.

There are still some features that can be improved upon on the Predator 15 to better take advantage of its size. Serviceability could have been easier and additional storage options would put it more in line with established 15-inch gaming notebooks like those from Alienware or Clevo. FrostCore is a neat marketing gimmick to distinguish the Predator series from other gaming notebooks, but it does not do enough to in practice to give the system any real advantage.

Aorus X5S v5MSI GS60 6QEAcer Predator 15

+ Brighter display with deeper contrast and colors

+ VGA-out

+ Larger dedicated Macro keys

+ Easier serviceability

+ Lighter and more compact design

+ More comfortable touchpad

+ Easier serviceability

+ Sturdy design and quality

+ More USB ports; USB Type-C with Thunderbolt 3

+ Dedicated mouse keys

+ Longer runtimes; Larger battery capacity

+ Cooler core temperatures

- Chassis more susceptible to creaking; Weaker lid

- No native Thunderbolt 3 support

- Slower display response times

- Poor gliding and integrated keys on touchpad

- Chassis more susceptible to creaking

- Only 2x USB Type-A ports; No native Thunderbolt 3 support

- No dedicated Macro keys

- Dimmer backlight, lower contrast, least accurate colors without calibration

- Shorter battery life; Smaller battery capacity

- Warmer surface temperatures; Higher core temperatures

- Thicker and heavier

- Only two storage bays

- Smaller dedicated Macro keys than the Aorus

- Imprecise touchpad

- More difficult serviceability

- Slower stable Turbo Boost under extreme loads

Aorus X5S v5

Pricecompare

MSI GS60 6QE

Pricecompare

Acer Predator 15

Pricecompare

See more quick comparisons in our Face Off series:

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Face Off: Aorus X5S v5 vs. MSI GS60 6QE vs. Acer Predator 15
Allen Ngo, 2016-05-31 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.