Notebookcheck

MSI GS60 6QE Ghost Pro Notebook Review

Nino Ricchizzi (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 02/18/2016

Gaming with Skylake. MSI has updated its GS60 by equipping it with a new Skylake processor. But this is not the only new feature of the new model. However, the drawbacks of the old model are still issues in the current gaming companion.

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MSI now offers its slim GS60 series with the latest Skylake generation from Intel. Once again, the graphics performance of the updated gaming notebook is provided by the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M. You also get a 4K display, a 256 GB SSD, a 1 TB HDD and 16 GB DDR4-RAM. Some aspects including the chassis have not changed, which is why we want to refer to the previously reviewed model. Our review configuration retails for around 2100 Euros (~$2334).

Although this article primarily focuses on the differences to the Haswell version of this notebook, we will still compare it with other rivals. The list of comparison devices includes the Schenker XMG P506, which uses an equivalent CPU/GPU combination for around 2000 Euros (~$2223), but it is equipped with a Full HD panel. Acer's Predator 15 G9 also similarly equipped, is around 100 Euros ($111) more expensive than our review unit. You will also have to dispense with the 4K panel, but on the other hand, you get Nvidia's high-end GPU GeForce GTX 980M.

MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21 (GS60 Series)
Processor
Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Intel Core i7), 4 cores, TDP: 45 Watts
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M - 3072 MB, Core: 924 MHz, Memory: 1250 MHz, ForceWare 353.74, Nividia Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2x 8 GB DDR4-2133, Dual-Channel, all slots occupied, up to 32 GB
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel, Samsung 156FL02-P01 (SDC424B), IPS, 4K / UHD, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Hynix HFS256G3MND, 256 GB 
, M.2-SSD + HGST HTS721010A9E630, 1TB HDD @ 7200 RPM
Soundcard
Realtek ALC899 @ Intel Sunrise Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Headphones (S/PDIF), Microphone, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Networking
Qualcomm/Atheros e2400 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1525 Wireless Network Adapter (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20 x 390 x 266 ( = 0.79 x 15.35 x 10.47 in)
Battery
47 Wh, 4150 mAh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1080p
Primary Camera: 2 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: 4.0 Dynaudio, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, PSU: 150 Watts, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2 kg ( = 70.55 oz / 4.41 pounds), Power Supply: 512 g ( = 18.06 oz / 1.13 pounds)
Price
2123 Euro

 

We can already see the first difference to the predecessor when we look at the ports. The new model features a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the right side. It replaces one USB 3.0 port, which means that all the Type-A connectors are now located on the left side. This port layout could make it harder to use common Type-A USB devices.

Rear
Rear
Left: Kensington Lock, power, 2x USB 3.0, microphone, headphones
Left: Kensington Lock, power, 2x USB 3.0, microphone, headphones
Right: 1x USB 3.1, SD-card reader, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet
Right: 1x USB 3.1, SD-card reader, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet
Front
Front

Display

Pixel array
Pixel array

As with the GS60 2QE, MSI has equipped our test model with a high-resolution 4K display and a native resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. The IPS panel is provided by Samsung and has a glossy surface. As with the predecessor, you can choose another display, but the price for the FHD model is not available yet.

The 4K screen leaves a good impression with Windows 10. Objects and windows with scaling issues are rare, which was still a common issue for Windows 8.1 last year.

Unfortunately, the situation has not changed in terms of the low luminance and the poor contrast ratio. The average brightness is just around 200 nits, which is even 30 nits lower than the old model. Overall, the results are just not contemporary anymore; the brightness distribution has also dropped from 87% to 78% for the current model.

197
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
211
cd/m²
193
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
167
cd/m²
187
cd/m²
177
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 215 cd/m² Average: 196.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 78 %
Center on Battery: 212 cd/m²
Contrast: 433:1 (Black: 0.49 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 7.8 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.4
ΔE Greyscale 5.23 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
80% sRGB (Argyll) 50% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 3.05
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
Samsung 156FL02-P01 (SDC424B)
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
Samsung SDC4852
Schenker XMG P506
Samsung 156HL01-102 (SDC324C)
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
LG LP156WF6-SPP1 (LGD04D5)
Response Times
13%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
40 (12, 28)
31 (10, 21)
22%
Response Time Black / White *
26 (8, 18)
25 (7, 18)
4%
PWM Frequency
1316 (20)
Screen
20%
36%
39%
Brightness middle
212
241
14%
310
46%
310
46%
Brightness
197
228
16%
299
52%
287
46%
Brightness Distribution
78
87
12%
84
8%
86
10%
Black Level *
0.49
0.45
8%
0.35
29%
0.36
27%
Contrast
433
536
24%
886
105%
861
99%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
7.8
3.73
52%
4.1
47%
3.83
51%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.23
3.23
38%
5.7
-9%
2.53
52%
Gamma
3.05 79%
2.3 104%
2.53 95%
2.42 99%
CCT
6693 97%
6610 98%
7454 87%
6934 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
50
47
-6%
63
26%
56
12%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
80
96
20%
86
8%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
20% / 20%
36% / 36%
26% / 34%

* ... smaller is better

The measured black value is pretty high at 0.49 cd/m², so black does not appear very rich. The resulting contrast ratio is 430:1 and could also be better.

Next, we want to evaluate the deviations of the grayscale and the colors. Our CalMAN analysis shows a DeltaE value of 5.23 (Grayscale) and 7.8 (ColorChecker), respectively. These deviations are rather high for an IPS panel, and the predecessor was more accurate. The situation can be significantly improved by calibration: 0.95 (grayscale) and 2.18 (ColorChecker).

The sRGB color space is covered by 80% and the AdobeRGB color space by 50%, which is mainly important for professional graphics designers.

CalMAN Grayscale pre-calibration
CalMAN Grayscale pre-calibration
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN Grayscale calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker pre-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker pre-calibration
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
CalMAN ColorChecker calibrated
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps calibrated
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps calibrated
sRGB color space coverage
sRGB color space coverage
AdobeRGB color space coverage
AdobeRGB color space coverage

The outdoor capabilities are not important for a gaming notebook, but we want to mention them anyway. The combination of a dark display and the glossy panel makes it tricky to use the notebook outdoors. Direct or indirect light sources will affect the operation; you are restricted to a place in the shade.

Outdoor use (cloudy, winter day)
Outdoor use (cloudy, winter day)
Reflections from the clear sky are distracting
Reflections from the clear sky are distracting

The integration of an IPS panel suggests wide viewing angles. Neither the colors nor the luminance deviate with horizontal or vertical shifts. Thanks to a generous maximum opening angle of the lid, you can even adjust the display very comfortably when the notebook is sitting on your lap.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
26 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8 ms rise
↘ 18 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 43 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.2 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
40 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12 ms rise
↘ 28 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 42 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41.9 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 1316 Hz ≤ 20 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1316 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 20 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1316 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10377 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Performance

MSI's GS60 is a slim gaming notebook with fast components. The combination of an Intel Core i7 processor from the current Skylake generation and a dedicated GeForce GTX 970M provides plenty of performance and can even handle modern games. MSI has also updated the RAM to DDR4; the 16 GB of our review unit is more than sufficient. The package is rounded off with a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD. The price for our model is around 2100 Euros (~$2334).

HWInfo
HWInfo
LatencyMon
LatencyMon
Preloaded software
Preloaded software

Processor

The most significant difference compared to the GS60 2QE is the Core i7-6700HQ. It is based on Intel's latest Skylake architecture and is one of the fastest chips.

The CPU has four cores with a nominal clock of 2600 MHz, but the cores can reach up to 3.5 GHz (four cores: 3.1 GHz, two cores: 3.3 GHz) via Turbo Boost. We use Cinebench R15 to compare the performance with the Intel Core i7-4720HQ from the GS60 2QE. We cannot really see a difference between the two CPUs in the Multi-Core test. All in all, the CPU of our review model is on the expected performance level. Other devices with similar components are pretty much on par.

A few words about the efficiency: Our review model starts Cinebench R15 with a steady clock of 3.1 GHz, but starts to fluctuate between 3.0 and 3.1 GHz after around 50% of the test. This behavior does not change even after repeated runs.

Finally, we have a look at the performance on battery power. Unfortunately, there is a performance drop of almost 25% (505 points @ Multi test) without the attached PSU.

More information and benchmarks for different CPUs are available in our Tech section.

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6828
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
20355
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5454
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
51.81 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.33 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.47 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
64.42 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
663 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
128 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
128 Points ∼62%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
108 Points ∼53% -16%
Asus G752VT
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
135 Points ∼66% +5%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
137 Points ∼67% +7%
Schenker XMG P506
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
146 Points ∼71% +14%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
663 Points ∼31%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
653 Points ∼30% -2%
Asus G752VT
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
680 Points ∼32% +3%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
667 Points ∼31% +1%
Schenker XMG P506
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
680 Points ∼32% +3%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.47 Points ∼63%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.56 Points ∼67% +6%
Asus G752VT
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.69 Points ∼73% +15%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.57 Points ∼67% +7%
Schenker XMG P506
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.69 Points ∼73% +15%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.33 Points ∼31%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.16 Points ∼30% -2%
Asus G752VT
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.48 Points ∼31% +2%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.37 Points ∼31% +1%
Schenker XMG P506
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.48 Points ∼31% +2%

System Performance

PCMark 7
PCMark 7

The gaming notebook does what it's supposed to do: It is very fast thanks to its powerful CPU and the PCMark 7 supports our subjective impression; an overall score of 5941 points is above-average. The Schenker XMG P506 on the other hand manages around 8% higher scores with the same components. The predecessor of the GS60 is on a similar level with almost 5800 points.

PCMark 7 Score
5941 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3134 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Hynix HFS256G3MND
5941 Points ∼69%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, 2x Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD (RAID 0)
5794 Points ∼67% -2%
Schenker XMG P506
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZHPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
6228 Points ∼72% +5%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
6021 Points ∼70% +1%
HP Pavilion 15-ak003ng
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Samsung CM871 MZNLF128HCHP
5628 Points ∼65% -5%
MSI GE62-6QD16H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 250 GB
5839 Points ∼68% -2%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, 2x Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD (RAID 0)
3444 Points ∼53%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
5069 Points ∼78%
HP Pavilion 15-ak003ng
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Samsung CM871 MZNLF128HCHP
4823 Points ∼74%
MSI GE62-6QD16H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 250 GB
4797 Points ∼74%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, 2x Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD (RAID 0)
4445 Points ∼47%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
4965 Points ∼52%
HP Pavilion 15-ak003ng
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Samsung CM871 MZNLF128HCHP
4551 Points ∼48%
MSI GE62-6QD16H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 250 GB
4610 Points ∼48%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Hynix HFS256G3MND
3134 Points ∼52%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ, 2x Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD (RAID 0)
3174 Points ∼53% +1%
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
4045 Points ∼68% +29%
HP Pavilion 15-ak003ng
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Samsung CM871 MZNLF128HCHP
3665 Points ∼61% +17%
MSI GE62-6QD16H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO M.2 250 GB
3703 Points ∼62% +18%

Storage Devices

CrystalDiskMark SSD
CrystalDiskMark SSD
Transfer rates SD-card reader
Transfer rates SD-card reader

Our test model is equipped with two storage solutions. A fast M.2 SSD is attached via PCIe. It manages very fast reaction times and has a capacity of 256 GB. MSI has also included a conventional hard drive as a secondary storage drive. The 1 TB model works with 7200 rpm and is perfect for larger data collections.

We evaluate the performance of the solid-state drive with the AS SSD benchmark. Even though the drive manages very decent transfer rates of almost 520 MB/s (read) and around 400 MB/s (write), the results are lower than the MSI GS60 2QE. The predecessor sometimes managed much higher results thanks to its RAID-0 array (read @889 MB/s, write @501 MB/s).

Before we head on to the next section, we want to have a look at the transfer rates of the integrated SD-card reader. We use a Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II for our test. The transfer rate of 250 jpg files (5 MB each) is 145 MB/s. AS SSD determines sequential transfer rates of 188 MB/s (read) and 164 MB/s (write).

Hynix HFS256G3MND
Sequential Read: 518.1 MB/s
Sequential Write: 407.2 MB/s
512K Read: 388 MB/s
512K Write: 392.2 MB/s
4K Read: 31.83 MB/s
4K Write: 96.65 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 308.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 318 MB/s

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GPU Performance

As with the predecessor, we get a powerful chip from Nvidia. The GeForce GTX 970M is a high-end graphics cards and can even handle smooth gameplay in modern games. Our model uses 3 GB VRAM and runs at a base clock of 924 MHz, which can be increased to 1038 MHz via GPU Boost. We use 3DMark 11 to compare the performance with the older version of the MSI GS60. Our review unit (9536 points) manages around 200 points more than the predecessor with the Haswell CPU. This difference could also be caused by the GPU driver or measuring tolerances.

The GS60 cannot utilize its full performance on battery power; the 3DMark 11 result is significantly lower at 7210 points.

Several benchmarks of the graphics card are available in our table with current notebook GPUs.

3DMark 11 Performance
9536 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
75735 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
13453 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
5982 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9536 Points ∼32%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9312 Points ∼31% -2%
Asus G752VT
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9656 Points ∼32% +1%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
8533 Points ∼28% -11%
MSI GS70 6QE-036XPL
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9612 Points ∼32% +1%
Schenker XMG P506
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
9627 Points ∼32% +1%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
5982 Points ∼22%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6548 Points ∼24% +9%
Asus G752VT
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6598 Points ∼25% +10%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6487 Points ∼24% +8%
MSI GS70 6QE-036XPL
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6669 Points ∼25% +11%
Schenker XMG P506
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
6672 Points ∼25% +12%

Gaming Performance

The 15-inch device is predestined for gaming. Thanks to the powerful hardware, you can even enjoy new games smoothly on high settings. The GS60 that we reviewed in 2014 in basically on par with the new model. The successor manages around 9% more frames per second in “Watch Dogs” and “Dragon Age Inquisition” (both High). Our list of games shows more titles that can be smoothly played with the GTX 970M.

low med. high ultra4K
Watch Dogs (2014) 92.681.449.434fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 157.7125.46952.4fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 217176.22111.378.1fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 148.2123.155.437.2fps
FIFA 16 (2015) 240.5211.3176.2fps
Anno 2205 (2015) 133.4113.654.71719.8fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 135.2103.455.544.618.6fps
Star Wars Battlefront (2015) 191.8141.970.160.219fps
Rainbow Six Siege (2015) 228.6150.182.862.825.2fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics Quality AA:2x MS (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
37.2 fps ∼22%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
34 fps ∼20% -9%
MSI GS70-2QE16SR51
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
33 fps ∼19% -11%
1920x1080 High Graphics Quality (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
55.4 fps ∼32%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
43 fps ∼25% -22%
MSI GS70-2QE16SR51
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
48 fps ∼28% -13%
Watch Dogs
1920x1080 Ultra Overall Quality, Ultra Textures AA:4x MS (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
34 fps ∼46%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
36 fps ∼48% +6%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M, 4870HQ
34.4 fps ∼46% +1%
1920x1080 High Overall Quality, High Textures AA:2x MS (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
49.4 fps ∼58%
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
45 fps ∼53% -9%
Schenker XMG P505
GeForce GTX 970M, 4870HQ
49.4 fps ∼58% 0%
Star Wars Battlefront
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
60.2 fps ∼31%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
59 (min: 50) fps ∼30% -2%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
70.1 fps ∼35%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
70.8 (min: 61) fps ∼36% +1%
Fallout 4
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
44.6 fps ∼27%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
43.4 (min: 33) fps ∼26% -3%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:T AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
55.5 fps ∼32%
Schenker W504
GeForce GTX 970M, 4700MQ
49.4 (min: 38) fps ∼28% -11%

Emissions

System Noise

Noise development idle
Noise development idle
Noise development load
Noise development load

After we spent some time with the MSI GS60, we noticed the pulsating fans that constantly changed their frequencies. The right fan is active and perceptible even while idling. The fans can become extremely loud under load (up to 50 dB(A)). The fan speed will quickly decrease when we switch from load to normal operating conditions. This behavior is actually pretty convenient.

Noise Level

Idle
35 / 36 / 37 dB(A)
Load
40 / 50 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1 (15 cm distance)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG P506
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
Noise
-1%
3%
-1%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
35
32.6
7%
30.8
12%
31
11%
Idle Average *
36
34.8
3%
32.8
9%
32
11%
Idle Maximum *
37
38
-3%
35.9
3%
42
-14%
Load Average *
40
43.4
-9%
42.2
-6%
47
-18%
Load Maximum *
50
52
-4%
51
-2%
48
4%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Our review unit stays quite cool while idling and hardly warms up at all, but this changes dramatically under load. In this case, we can measure up to 68 °C (~154 °F) at the bottom of the GS60, which is clearly too hot. The notebook should always be positioned on a solid surface and not be used on the lap when you stress it. We had already experienced this issue in the review of the predecessor. The thin fans cannot dissipate enough heat from the slim chassis. The situation is not as bad for the keyboard area, where we can measure temperatures of up to 51 °C (~124 °F; average 43 °C/~109 °F).

We can measure an idle temperature of 23.5 °C (~74 °F) and up to 54.7 °C (~130 °F) under load at the power adapter. Therefore, it should not be hidden under blankets or cushions.

The next step is the hardware. We use the tools Prime95 and FurMark to fully stress the components simultaneously. After an hour, the CPU still runs at 3 GHz most of the time and can therefore utilize its Turbo. All core temperatures were below 80 °C (~176 °F) on average, while the GPU reached up to 87 °C (~189 °F).

The MSI GS60 leaves ...
The MSI GS60 leaves ...
... a good impression ...
... a good impression ...
... during the stress test.
... during the stress test.
Max. Load
 51.4 °C45.5 °C41.7 °C 
 42.6 °C43.8 °C43 °C 
 38.3 °C41.3 °C40.6 °C 
Maximum: 51.4 °C
Average: 43.1 °C
61.6 °C68.9 °C62.8 °C
52.3 °C59.4 °C53.8 °C
43.2 °C43.4 °C40.4 °C
Maximum: 68.9 °C
Average: 54 °C
Power Supply (max.)  54.7 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | Voltcraft IR-900
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 4K (2QEUi716SR51G)
GeForce GTX 970M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG P506
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
Acer Predator 15 G9-591-74ZV
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
Heat
-4%
-2%
3%
Maximum Upper Side *
51.4
48
7%
49.3
4%
49.8
3%
Maximum Bottom *
68.9
65.1
6%
60.4
12%
59.2
14%
Idle Upper Side *
27.1
29.9
-10%
31.4
-16%
32.2
-19%
Idle Bottom *
30.4
36.1
-19%
32.3
-6%
26.9
12%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

Volume
Volume

The sound from the speakers leaves a good impression. You can adjust the sound with the audio software from Nahimic, but it still lacks a certain presence and rich bass. The four speakers could also be a bit louder; we measured 72 dB(A) pink noise and 70 dB(A) white noise.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the current GS60 is typical for a gaming notebook. The 15-inch device consumes between 17 and 28 watts while idling. The components are never really frugal, which obviously affects the battery runtimes as well.

We can measure a maximum consumption of almost 150 watts under load. The provided power adapter also has a nominal output of 150 watts. However, notebooks with these components should be shipped with at least a 170-watt PSU. We also have to mention that the battery discharges under load; a more powerful PSU could solve this issue. This should not be a problem for a gaming notebook in particular, which is often stressed. Unfortunately, we can see this phenomenon with many laptops from MSI.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.5 / 1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 17 / 22 / 28 Watt
Load midlight 91 / 149 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

Gaming notebooks are known for their mediocre battery runtimes due to their high power consumption. This was also the case for the old GS60. According to HWInfo MSI uses a different battery compared to the old model. The lithium-ion battery now has a capacity of only 47 instead of 52 Wh.

We deactivate the communication modules and use the minimum brightness to determine the maximum runtime. The battery of the review unit is empty after just 3.5 hours, which is a full hour shorter than the old model from 2014. The Schenker XMG P506 also has more stamina (5:14 h); the best device is the Acer Predator with more than 11 hours.

A more realistic runtime is determined by our Wi-Fi test. We adjust the luminance to around 150 nits and simulate web browsing. The gaming notebook shuts down after just 2.5 hours.

We check the minimum runtime with the Battery Eater Classic Test at the maximum luminance. One battery charge will only suffice for one hour. However, this is common for a high-end notebook.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
3h 33min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
2h 37min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 01min
Battery Runtime - WiFi Websurfing 1.3 (sort by value)
MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21
47 Wh
157 min ∼10%
MSI GS40-6QE16H11
61 Wh
297 min ∼18% +89%
MSI GS70-6QE16H21
56 Wh
180 min ∼11% +15%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
51 Wh
154 min ∼9% -2%

Pros

+ individual keyboard illumination
+ high system performance
+ aluminum chassis
+ thin construction
+ no throttling

Cons

- limited maintainability
- battery discharges under load
- touchpad suffers from delays
- meager runtimes
- pulsating fans

Verdict

In Review: MSI GS60 6QE Ghost Pro. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.
In Review: MSI GS60 6QE Ghost Pro. Test model courtesy of Cyberport.

Once again, MSI offers a nicely designed and slim gaming notebook. Fortunately, the current version features a USB 3.1 port. The second new feature is the DDR4-RAM. However, our main focus was the Skylake processor, which manages solid overall results. There is, however, no real performance benefit.

Even though the new model is not equipped with a RAID-0 array consisting of multiple SSDs, both the new processor and the DDR4-RAM result in slightly higher system benchmark scores.

Unfortunately, apart from these new features, we cannot see any improvements in terms of the familiar issues: The display is pretty dark and the black value is too high, which means that we cannot fully enjoy the high 4K resolution.

Once again, the current version of the MSI GS60 is an interesting and powerful gaming companion. Thanks to sophisticated materials and the slim design, you can always transport the high-end notebook.

We hope that the manufacturer will address these last issues for future iterations. A look at the rivals is still recommended. Acer's Predator 15 for 2200 Euros (~$2445) offers immense battery runtimes and is even more powerful. The Schenker XMG P506 is a worthy competitor as well. You will also get a good notebook if you can still find an inexpensive model from the Haswell series.

MSI GS60-6QE4K16H21 - 03/08/2016 v5
Nino Ricchizzi

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
66 / 81 → 81%
Weight
63 / 10-66 → 95%
Battery
67%
Display
76%
Games Performance
85%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
70 / 95 → 74%
Noise
64 / 90 → 71%
Audio
75%
Camera
68 / 85 → 80%
Average
74%
79%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI GS60 6QE Ghost Pro Notebook Review
Nino Ricchizzi, 2016-02-18 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.