Notebookcheck

MSI GE60 (GTX 960M) Notebook Review

Sascha Mölck, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Vinay Pradhan), 05/23/2015

Solid gamer. The MSI GE60 is a powerful, yet affordable, gaming notebook. The laptop performs well but suffers from high noise and temperature emissions.

For the original German review, see here.

The GE60-2QEWi781 is an upgrade over the GE60 of last year, the MSI GE60-2PEi781B. Our test model replaced the Core i7-4700HQ and the GeForce GTX 860M with the Core i7-4720HQ and the GeForce GTX 960M, which should allow it to outperform its sister model from last year. We will find out whether this is true in our in-depth review.

The competition of the GE60 includes laptops like the Acer Aspire VN7-591G, the Schenker XMG A505 or the Gigabyte P34W V3. These are all notebooks which have scored a spot in our Top 10 list of mobile gaming notebooks.

As both GE60 models have the same build, we will not discuss the case, the connectivity, the input devices or the speakers in this review. For information on these topics, we direct the reader to the review of the MSI GE60-2PEi781B from last year.

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MSI GE60-2QEWi781 (GE60 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M - 2048 MB, Core: 1097-1176 MHz, Memory: 2000 MHz, GDDR5 (128 bit interface), ForceWare 350.12 (9.18.13.5012), Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3-1600, Single-Channel, two RAM slots (one occupied), max. 16 GB
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, LG Philips LP156WF4-SPL1, IPS, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM86 (Lynx Point)
Storage
HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, 1000 GB 
, 7200 rpm, HDD, 880 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC892 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones, Microphone Jack, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Sensors: Brightness sensor
Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ8E0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32 x 383 x 249 ( = 1.26 x 15.08 x 9.8 in)
Battery
49 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD-Webcam (720p)
Additional features
Speakers: 4 Speaker + Subwoofer, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Power Adapter: 120 W, Cyberlink PowerDVD 10, Magix MX Suite, Microsoft Office (trial), Windows Essentials 2012, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.6 kg ( = 91.71 oz / 5.73 pounds), Power Supply: 458 g ( = 16.16 oz / 1.01 pounds)
Price
1149 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Display

The GE60 is equipped with a matte 15.6-inch panel, which has a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. MSI has not stuck with the Samsung panel of the 2014 GE60 model. Instead, the manufacturer has chosen an LG display, which turns out to be a bad choice: the LG screen (219.9 cd/m²) offers less brightness than the Samsung panel (308.9 cd/m²). It is disappointing to see a laptop of this price class having such low brightness.

234
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
233
cd/m²
248
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
209
cd/m²
197
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LG Philips LP156WF4-SPL1
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 248 cd/m² Average: 219.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 79 %
Center on Battery: 220 cd/m²
Contrast: 611:1 (Black: 0.36 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.46 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 4.74 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
38% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.54
MSI GE60 vs. sRGB
MSI GE60 vs. sRGB
MSI GE60 vs. AdobeRGB
MSI GE60 vs. AdobeRGB

Contrast (611:1) and black value (0.36 cd/m²) are decent but could have been higher. As expected, the panel cannot cover the sRGB and AdobeRGB color spectrums fully: 38% of AdobeRGB and 60% of sRGB. Right out of the box, the display has good colors. The DeltaE 2000 deviation measures 5.46 (ideal: DeltaE smaller than 3). A blue tinge is not visible on this panel. A calibration can drop the deviation from 5.46 to 3.34 and presents an opportunity to balance the gray levels.

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Gray Levels
CalMAN - Gray Levels
CalMAN - Saturation
CalMAN - Saturation
CalMAN - ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN - ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN - Gray Levels (calibrated)
CalMAN - Gray Levels (calibrated)
CalMAN - Saturation (calibrated)
CalMAN - Saturation (calibrated)

MSI has granted the GE60 an IPS panel, which translates into great viewing angles. The notebook can be comfortably used outdoors as long as the surroundings are not too bright.

Viewing angles of the GE60
Viewing angles of the GE60
Outdoors with the GE60 (cloudy)
Outdoors with the GE60 (cloudy)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
LG Philips LP156WF4-SPL1
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Samsung 156HL01-102
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Sharp LQ156D1JW04
Schenker XMG A505
AU Optronics B156HAN01.2 (AUO12ED)
Gigabyte P34W V3
AU Optronics B140HAN01.1
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Samsung SDC4852
Screen
25%
28%
46%
13%
13%
Brightness middle
220
327
49%
322
46%
284
29%
305.4
39%
268
22%
Brightness
220
309
40%
325
48%
275
25%
277
26%
227
3%
Brightness Distribution
79
90
14%
90
14%
87
10%
84
6%
74
-6%
Black Level *
0.36
0.43
-19%
0.37
-3%
0.23
36%
0.72
-100%
0.39
-8%
Contrast
611
760
24%
870
42%
1235
102%
424
-31%
687
12%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.46
3.59
34%
3.77
31%
2.46
55%
2.81
49%
4.12
25%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.74
4.86
-3%
5.36
-13%
2.3
51%
1.92
59%
3.65
23%
Gamma
2.54 87%
2.35 94%
2.39 92%
2.32 95%
2.21 100%
2.5 88%
CCT
7130 91%
7177 91%
7163 91%
6393 102%
6384 102%
6423 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
38
60
58%
61
61%
60
58%
60.4
59%
49
29%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
92

* ... smaller is better

Performance

MSI presents the GE60: a 15.6-inch gaming notebook. It can run all modern games fluidly and is available for around 1,150 Euros (~$1266). Various other configurations are available on the website of the manufacturer.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
LatencyMon
 
System information - MSI GE60-2QEWi781

Processor

Like the 2014 GE60 model, the test model is equipped with the latest Haswell processor: the Intel Core i7-4720HQ. This quad-core CPU works at a base clock speed of 2.6 GHz and Turbo allows it to boost up to 3.4 GHz (all cores), 3.5 GHz (2 cores) and 3.6 GHz (1 core). This means that our CPU operates at slightly higher speeds than the Core i7-4700HQ processor, which can be found in the 2014 model of the GE60. The performance is fully unleashed while the laptop is plugged in. While running on battery, the laptop does not offer the Turbo feature and merely operates at its base speed.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6602
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
19960
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5083
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
58.4 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.33 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.54 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
81.01 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
677 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
134 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
134 Points ∼61%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
135 Points ∼62% +1%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
138 Points ∼63% +3%
Schenker XMG A505
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
142 Points ∼65% +6%
Gigabyte P34W V3
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
130 Points ∼60% -3%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
139 Points ∼64% +4%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
677 Points ∼15%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
642 Points ∼15% -5%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
642 Points ∼15% -5%
Schenker XMG A505
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
538 Points ∼12% -21%
Gigabyte P34W V3
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
636 Points ∼15% -6%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
642 Points ∼15% -5%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.54 Points ∼63%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
1.5 Points ∼61% -3%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.56 Points ∼64% +1%
Schenker XMG A505
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.57 Points ∼64% +2%
Gigabyte P34W V3
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.47 Points ∼60% -5%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.57 Points ∼64% +2%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.33 Points ∼17%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
6.97 Points ∼16% -5%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.07 Points ∼16% -4%
Schenker XMG A505
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
5.87 Points ∼13% -20%
Gigabyte P34W V3
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
6 Points ∼14% -18%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.1 Points ∼16% -3%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
5083 Points ∼47%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
4927 Points ∼45% -3%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
5123 Points ∼47% +1%
Gigabyte P34W V3
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
5080 Points ∼47% 0%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
5206 Points ∼48% +2%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
19960 Points ∼31%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
18504 Points ∼28% -7%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
19831 Points ∼30% -1%
Gigabyte P34W V3
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
19447 Points ∼30% -3%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
19577 Points ∼30% -2%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
11920 Points ∼15%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
12551 Points ∼16% +5%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
12160 Points ∼15% +2%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
3075 Points ∼63%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
3302 Points ∼68% +7%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
3262 Points ∼67% +6%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
84.5 ms * ∼1%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
94.4 ms * ∼1% -12%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
82.1 ms * ∼1% +3%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1962.5 ms * ∼3%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1979.1 ms * ∼3% -1%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1955.1 ms * ∼3% -0%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
16591 Points ∼32%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
16556 Points ∼32% 0%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
16518 Points ∼32% 0%
Peacekeeper - --- (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
3065 Points ∼49%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
3036 Points ∼49% -1%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
3000 Points ∼48% -2%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

The system runs smoothly and we did not encounter any major issues. The PCMark 8 Creative benchmark was the exception to the rule: it crashed and displayed an error message. Overall, the PCMark 8 benchmark results are good and the PCMark 7 scores are noticeably low, as our test model does not have flash storage. In comparison to our test model, competitors which have flash storage can post higher scores. The system performance of the GE60 has room for improvement: the user can install a Solid State Drive. In fact, this is quite easy as the GE60 has a maintenance flap and a free mSATA slot for an appropriate SSD.

PCMark 7 Score
3437 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3213 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4407 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
3213 Points ∼53%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
3242 Points ∼53% +1%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
3019 Points ∼50% -6%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
3746 Points ∼61% +17%
Gigabyte P34W V3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On LMT-128L9M
4006 Points ∼66% +25%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
3061 Points ∼50% -5%
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
3437 Points ∼38%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
3142 Points ∼34% -9%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
5804 Points ∼63% +69%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Micron M600 MTFDDAV256MBF M.2
6042 Points ∼66% +76%
Gigabyte P34W V3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Lite-On LMT-128L9M
6182 Points ∼68% +80%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
5866 Points ∼64% +71%

Storage Devices

The storage of the GE60 is a 2.5-inch HDD from HGST. It offers a capacity of 1 TB and operates at 7,200 rpm. MSI partitions the drive into two sections: operating system (572 GB) and data (337 GB). CrystalDiskMark measures a read speed of 128.4 MB/s. HD Tune delivers an average transfer rate of 108.1 MB/s. These are typical values for a 7,200 rpm drive. 

The GE60 offers an empty mSATA slot, which, once occupied by an SSD, can be used as the OS partition. This would not require re-installing Windows 8.1 as the user could simply copy over the files onto the SSD. This would place the Recovery Partition onto the SSD as well, which would allow the user to re-install the system at anytime or reset it to its delivery state.

We recommend an SSD with a minimum capacity of 90 GB and believe 120 GB would be sufficient. A 60 GB SSD would not suffice for this task, as the user will put the OS and all needed programs on the drive and thus would be cramped for space. We use Macrium Reflect Free to clone the drive. The procedure is self-explanatory and takes a few minutes to execute.

An mSATA SSD can be installed.
An mSATA SSD can be installed.
HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Transfer Rate Minimum: 54.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 141.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 108.1 MB/s
Access Time: 16 ms
Burst Rate: 240.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.6 %

Graphics Card

The switchable graphics system, Optimus, powers the GE60: for everyday use and while on battery, the laptop employs the Intel HD Graphics 4600 IGP, but when we require more performance, the system swaps to the GeForce GTX 960M. The switch is automatic, but it can be manually regulated by the user. The GeForce GTX 960M operates at a base clock speed of 1,097 MHz. Turbo allows it to boost its speed up to 1,176 MHz. Furthermore, the GPU is accompanied by 2,048 MB of GDDR5 VRAM. In essence, this is a slightly faster GPU than the GeForce GTX 860M of the 2014 GE60 model: the GTX 960M core is up to 7% faster. However, the GPU from last year has faster GDDR5 VRAM (1,253 MHz vs. 1,000 MHz). This places the 3DMark results of both models neck-to-neck.

In comparison, the GeForce 940M, which is often found in cheaper notebooks, lies up to 55% behind our two GPUs, whereas the 950M lies around 18% behind. The GTX 970M is a beast and can surpass our model by 71-76%.

3DMark 11 Performance
5299 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
45746 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
12388 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3688 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5299 Points ∼15%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
5049 Points ∼14% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
2380 Points ∼7% -55%
Schenker M505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
4356 Points ∼12% -18%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5398 Points ∼15% +2%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5639 Points ∼16% +6%
Gigabyte P34W V3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9320 Points ∼27% +76%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9080 Points ∼26% +71%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
3688 Points ∼14%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
3679 Points ∼14% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
1426 Points ∼5% -61%
Schenker M505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
2810 Points ∼11% -24%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
3914 Points ∼15% +6%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
4071 Points ∼15% +10%
Gigabyte P34W V3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6644 Points ∼25% +80%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6596 Points ∼25% +79%
1280x720 Sky Diver Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
11360 Points ∼18%
Schenker M505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
9142 Points ∼14% -20%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
12230 Points ∼19% +8%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
12472 Points ∼19% +10%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
17334 Points ∼27% +53%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
12388 Points ∼20%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
14746 Points ∼24% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
6134 Points ∼10% -50%
Schenker M505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
9514 Points ∼15% -23%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
16151 Points ∼26% +30%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
15511 Points ∼25% +25%
Gigabyte P34W V3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
21105 Points ∼34% +70%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
15582 Points ∼25% +26%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
45746 Points ∼4%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M
101592 Points ∼9% +122%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
NVIDIA GeForce 940M
42339 Points ∼4% -7%
Schenker M505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
62912 Points ∼6% +38%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
83675 Points ∼8% +83%
Schenker XMG A505
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
84779 Points ∼8% +85%
Gigabyte P34W V3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
124743 Points ∼11% +173%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
46514 Points ∼4% +2%

Gaming Performance

The hardware of the GE60 is powerful enough to run modern games fluidly at the native FHD resolution. A few demanding games require a lower resolution or details to run fluidly. Due to the faster graphics core, the GE60 should deliver slightly higher frames than the 2014 sister model. However, there is no tangible difference. The 2014 GE60 model has faster VRAM than our test model and thus, compensates somewhat. The GE60 faces a worthy competitor in the Schenker XMG A505, which uses the same CPU-GPU combination. In fact, the Schenker laptop surpasses our test model in terms of performance. Why? Our laptop rarely uses the Turbo for the GeForce GPU and operates usually at 900 - 1,097 MHz.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 241.5164.9100.147.3fps
Thief (2014) 47.343.541.825.2fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 154.178.251.540.4fps
Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
47.3 fps ∼17%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
49.1 fps ∼18% +4%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
50.8 fps ∼18% +7%
Gigabyte P34W V3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
81.3 fps ∼29% +72%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
88.1 fps ∼32% +86%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
100.1 fps ∼20%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ
97 fps ∼19% -3%
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
109.6 fps ∼22% +9%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
114.7 fps ∼23% +15%
Gigabyte P34W V3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
191 fps ∼38% +91%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
189.7 fps ∼37% +90%
Thief
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
41.8 fps ∼29%
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ
37.4 fps ∼26% -11%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
55.2 fps ∼38% +32%
Gigabyte P34W V3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
77.3 fps ∼53% +85%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
69.9 fps ∼48% +67%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
43.5 fps ∼29%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
64.9 fps ∼44% +49%
Gigabyte P34W V3
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
81.1 fps ∼55% +86%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
71.3 fps ∼48% +64%
GRID: Autosport
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
40.4 fps ∼27%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
51.9 fps ∼35% +28%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
83.9 fps ∼56% +108%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
51.5 fps ∼26%
Schenker XMG A505
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
83.6 fps ∼42% +62%
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
92.9 fps ∼46% +80%

Emissions

System Noise

The fan of the GE60 is always audible as it is never off. While idle, the laptop has a noise emission of up to 36.2 dB. The laptop gets really loud at full load: 51.8 dB. While gaming, the noise emissions lie around 48.4 dB. Thankfully, the fan does not emit distracting and annoying noises, like whistling.

The fan becomes quite loud at load.
The fan becomes quite loud at load.

Noise Level

Idle
35.2 / 35.6 / 36.2 dB(A)
DVD
40.2 / dB(A)
Load
48.4 / 51.8 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GTX 960M/4720HQ
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GTX 860M/4700HQ
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GTX 960M/4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
GTX 960M/4720HQ
Gigabyte P34W V3
GTX 970M/4720HQ
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GTX 970M/4720HQ
Noise
2%
12%
8%
1%
7%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
35.2
34.2
3%
30
15%
29.2
17%
34.2
3%
29.4
16%
Idle Average *
35.6
34.6
3%
32.2
10%
30.8
13%
34.3
4%
31.8
11%
Idle Maximum *
36.2
35.6
2%
35
3%
42.6
-18%
38
-5%
36
1%
Load Average *
48.4
49.4
-2%
41.7
14%
41.6
14%
43.8
10%
46
5%
Load Maximum *
51.8
49.8
4%
42.6
18%
43.8
15%
55
-6%
51.8
-0%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Stress test.
Stress test.

Our stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least 1 hour) performs differently while the notebook is plugged in and while it is on battery. In both cases, the CPU and GPU start at high speeds (1 to 2 minutes). While plugged in, the CPU speed drops slowly and settles at 1.2 to 1.6 GHz. The GPU operates at a speed of 1,050 MHz. While on battery, the CPU operates at a constant 1.4 GHz and the GPU runs at 460 - 470 MHz. During the stress test, we measured temperatures above 50 °C at multiple points.

Max. Load
 48.1 °C
119 F
48.2 °C
119 F
33.2 °C
92 F
 
 49.2 °C
121 F
50.1 °C
122 F
34.9 °C
95 F
 
 44.4 °C
112 F
46.5 °C
116 F
34.4 °C
94 F
 
Maximum: 50.1 °C = 122 F
Average: 43.2 °C = 110 F
25.4 °C
78 F
44 °C
111 F
52.8 °C
127 F
28.6 °C
83 F
41.6 °C
107 F
53.4 °C
128 F
28.8 °C
84 F
36.3 °C
97 F
37.1 °C
99 F
Maximum: 53.4 °C = 128 F
Average: 38.7 °C = 102 F
Power Supply (max.)  54.1 °C = 129 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 43.2 °C / 110 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 50.1 °C / 122 F, compared to the average of 39.6 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 53.4 °C / 128 F, compared to the average of 42.2 °C / 108 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.9 °C / 75 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(-) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 46.5 °C / 115.7 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (-17.7 °C / -31.9 F).
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GTX 960M/4720HQ
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GTX 860M/4700HQ
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GTX 960M/4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
GTX 960M/4720HQ
Gigabyte P34W V3
GTX 970M/4720HQ
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GTX 970M/4720HQ
Heat
-5%
-30%
-33%
-21%
-16%
Maximum Upper Side *
50.1
44.9
10%
53
-6%
56.4
-13%
45.2
10%
53.4
-7%
Maximum Bottom *
53.4
49.1
8%
53.2
-0%
61.8
-16%
56.8
-6%
43.3
19%
Idle Upper Side *
25.6
30.6
-20%
38.6
-51%
41.3
-61%
34.6
-35%
34.7
-36%
Idle Bottom *
28.5
33.6
-18%
45.9
-61%
40.2
-41%
43.6
-53%
39.6
-39%

* ... smaller is better

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the GE60 is typical, considering the hardware. While idle, the laptop consumes up to 23.3 W - normal. During the stress test, the hunger rises rapidly to 133.6 W and places our test model higher than similarly equipped laptops, like the Asus GL771JW. The reason: the CPU of the Asus laptop is throttled far more. While gaming, both laptops consume the same amount. The power consumption of the GE60 lies between 81 to 103 W (average 89 W).

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 8.4 / 12.8 / 23.3 Watt
Load midlight 89 / 133.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
GTX 960M/4720HQ
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
GTX 860M/4700HQ
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
GTX 960M/4720HQ
Schenker XMG A505
GTX 960M/4720HQ
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
GTX 970M/4720HQ
Power Consumption
1%
-30%
-23%
-33%
Idle Minimum *
8.4
8.5
-1%
16.2
-93%
11.2
-33%
14.7
-75%
Idle Average *
12.8
12.9
-1%
20.2
-58%
18.6
-45%
20.9
-63%
Idle Maximum *
23.3
22.9
2%
22.8
2%
26
-12%
25.6
-10%
Load Average *
89
90.9
-2%
96.4
-8%
100.2
-13%
101
-13%
Load Maximum *
133.6
126.2
6%
126.9
5%
147.6
-10%
138.8
-4%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The GE60 offers a runtime of 6:26 h while idle. The Acer Aspire VN7-591G (3:36 h) cannot keep up. We checked the idle runtime using the Battery Eater Reader's test: the panel is set to the lowest brightness and the "Power Saver" profile is active. The wireless modules are also turned off. At load, the GE60 lasts 0:58 h and places at the same level as the Aspire (0:58 h). The runtime at load was calculated using the Battery Eater Classic test. For this test, we set the "Performance" profile and all wireless modules on along with max brightness. 

In our practical WLAN test, the MSI notebook runs dry after 3:42 h. The Aspire (2:46 h) has a far shorter battery life. In this test, we used a script which loads websites every 40 seconds. The "Balanced" power profile was active and brightness was set to around 150 cd/m². The video playback test was carried out using the short film Big Buck Bunny (H.264 coding, 1920x1080 pixels) which ran in a loop. The wireless modules are off and brightness is set to around 150 cd/m². The GE60 holds out for 2:50 h and once again places alongside the Aspire (2:56 h).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 26min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (IE 11)
3h 42min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
2h 50min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 58min
MSI GE60-2QEWi781
49 Wh
MSI GE60-2PEi781B
49 Wh
Acer Aspire VN7-591G-727P
52 Wh
Schenker XMG A505
62 Wh
Gigabyte P34W V3
61.25 Wh
MSI GE62-2QFUi716H11
51 Wh
Battery Runtime
-6%
-16%
31%
38%
-15%
Reader / Idle
386
303
-22%
216
-44%
352
-9%
522
35%
234
-39%
H.264
170
176
4%
208
22%
165
-3%
WiFi v1.3
222
166
-25%
162
-27%
Load
58
64
10%
58
0%
105
81%
82
41%
63
9%
WiFi
222
216
284

Pros

+ Matte FHD IPS screen
+ Decent performance
+ Free mSATA slot
+ Lots of storage space
+ Maintenance flap

Cons

- Cover too easy to deform
- Modest brightness

Verdict

The MSI GE60-2QEWi781. Test model provided by Notebooksbilliger.de
The MSI GE60-2QEWi781. Test model provided by Notebooksbilliger.de

The MSI GE60-2QEWi781 offers sufficient performance to run any game fluidly. However, the laptop gets quite loud and hot. On the bright side, the laptop is equipped with decent input devices and an HDD with lots of space. The user can even install an mSATA SSD in the empty slot provided. The battery life is acceptable, considering this laptop is a gaming notebook. Aside from the modest brightness, we do not feel that the laptop lacks much. MSI has installed a matte IPS FHD panel with great viewing angles, but sadly it is not bright enough for the price.

MSI GE60-2QEWi781 - 05/17/2015 v4(old)
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
76 / 98 → 78%
Keyboard
77%
Pointing Device
60%
Connectivity
67 / 81 → 83%
Weight
59 / 10-66 → 88%
Battery
77%
Display
83%
Games Performance
89%
Application Performance
89%
Temperature
76 / 95 → 80%
Noise
59 / 90 → 66%
Audio
70%
Average
74%
80%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > MSI GE60 (GTX 960M) Notebook Review
Sascha Mölck, 2015-05-23 (Update: 2018-05-15)