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MSI PX60 6QD Prestige iBuyPower Edition Notebook Review

All play and no work… Known in part for their hulking portable gaming machines, MSI introduced the PX60 Prestige last year, which marked the company’s first foray into the business realm. Can this 2016 refresh correct some of the missteps of the previous model?

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When you hear MSI, you probably think gaming. But MSI has sought to expand their horizons, and they’ve set their sights on one of the toughest markets to infiltrate: the business segment. Several months ago, we evaluated their first attempt at this (the Broadwell-based PX60-034US), but came away unimpressed; for all its merits in terms of performance and gaming appeal, the machine neglected some of the most critical aspects of a successful business machine: case stability, input devices, biometric and security options, maintenance, battery life, and noise levels, in particular. That’s a laundry list of shortfalls to be sure—but now the PX60 6QD has arrived, so we’re hopeful it can answer the bell.

Our review configuration—customized by iBuyPower for a total of around $1326—packs an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, a 120 GB SSD paired with a 1 TB 7200 RPM hard drive, and NVIDIA GTX 950M dedicated graphics. Apart from that, the port configuration has changed slightly to accommodate a new USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port—but the rest of the body looks identical to the unit we reviewed last September. Can these changes alone prepare the PX60 for competition against perennial heavyweights like the Dell Latitude and Lenovo ThinkPad series?

MSI PX60 6QD (PX60 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M - 2048 MB, Core: 914 - 993 - 1124 (Boost) MHz, Memory: 1800 - 5000 MHz, 10.18.13.5396 - nVIDIA ForceWare 353.96, Yes
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2133 MHz
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, CMN N156HGE-EAL, TN, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Sunrise Point HM170
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, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm microphone, 3.5 mm headphones, Card Reader: SD
Networking
Atheros AR8161/8165 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.8 x 389.9 x 265.9 ( = 0.78 x 15.35 x 10.47 in)
Battery
47.31 Wh, 4150 mAh Lithium-Polymer, 6-cel
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1080p FHD (30fps)
Additional features
Speakers: 4.0, two bottom mounted, two top-mounted, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.176 kg ( = 76.76 oz / 4.8 pounds), Power Supply: 572 g ( = 20.18 oz / 1.26 pounds)

 

Preliminary Notes

As hardly anything has changed in the way of basic design, input devices, or port selection, we won’t be covering any of these items in great detail in today’s review. Please reference our previous review of the Broadwell model for a much deeper analysis of any of these categories.

But before we continue, here is one significant item worth noting which has changed: in terms of port selection, the third USB 3.0 port has been replaced by a smaller USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 port (Thunderbolt v3), which is also capable of 4K video output and 3A output charging. The mini-DisplayPort v1.2 also supports 4K 60Hz output (and 1080p 120Hz output), so in conjunction with the HDMI port, that makes three total options for video output. Elsewhere, the case is literally identical to that of its predecessor, as is the general positioning of the internal components. This truly is mostly a chipset refresh.

Unfortunately, that also means that the inadequacies in the realm of case stability and input devices that we mentioned in our previous review still remain—and while maintenance is possible, it’s incredibly inconvenient if you need to replace anything beyond merely the 2.5-inch HDD, battery, WLAN card, or fans. Any further maintenance requires a complete removal of the board, which most users are not likely to embrace. Even basic maintenance will void the warranty, however, and removal of the bottom panel is already too much work for a business notebook (after opening a ThinkPad or Latitude for repair, one begins to resent the removal of 15 screws before reaching the internal components).

Connectivity

As mentioned above, not much has changed on the connectivity front, apart from the swapping of the third USB 3.0 port for a USB Type-C Thunderbolt "SuperPort" (see below).

Front: no connections
Front: no connections
Left: Kensington Lock, charging port, USB 3.0 x 2, Microphone port, Headset port
Left: Kensington Lock, charging port, USB 3.0 x 2, Microphone port, Headset port
Right: SuperPort (USB Type-C), SD card reader, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet
Right: SuperPort (USB Type-C), SD card reader, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet
Rear: No connections
Rear: No connections

Display

Subpixel array PX60 6QD
Subpixel array PX60 6QD

The PX60 features a 15.6-inch 1920x1080 (1080p) resolution TN LED display with a matte finish; there are no other options available. This factors out to 141 PPI, sufficient for most needs. Unfortunately, there is no IPS panel option available, so viewing angles do suffer as a result (as we’ll see in a bit). Overall, colors seem rich, though brightness and contrast do not impress.

204.9
cd/m²
241.5
cd/m²
207.7
cd/m²
193.2
cd/m²
221.1
cd/m²
208.9
cd/m²
195.9
cd/m²
206.3
cd/m²
195.7
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 241.5 cd/m² Average: 208.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 221.1 cd/m²
Contrast: 361:1 (Black: 0.612 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 10.96 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 11.8 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
99.76% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 73.9% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.17
MSI PX60 6QD
15.6, 1920x1080
MSI PX60 QD-034US
15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
15.6, 1920x1080
HP ZBook 15 G3
15.6, 1920x1080
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
15.4, 2880x1800
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
15.6, 3840x2160
Response Times
-18%
-30%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
44.4 (22.8, 21.6)
54 (24.4, 29.6)
-22%
58 (21, 37)
-31%
Response Time Black / White *
27.2 (9.2, 18)
35.6 (11.6, 24)
-31%
35 (12, 23)
-29%
PWM Frequency
200 (99)
198 (95)
-1%
Screen
43%
63%
40%
55%
52%
Brightness middle
221.1
300.9
36%
307.3
39%
306
38%
341
54%
361
63%
Brightness
208
285
37%
285
37%
289
39%
315
51%
344
65%
Brightness Distribution
80
86
8%
85
6%
85
6%
82
3%
90
13%
Black Level *
0.612
0.431
30%
0.3
51%
0.34
44%
0.34
44%
0.38
38%
Contrast
361
698
93%
1024
184%
900
149%
1003
178%
950
163%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
10.96
1.79
84%
5.1
53%
2.07
81%
5.34
51%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
19.39
3.96
80%
9.9
49%
3.27
83%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.8
2.19
81%
7.4
37%
1.9
84%
4.84
59%
Gamma
2.17 111%
2.29 105%
2.37 101%
2.62 92%
2.21 109%
CCT
15654 42%
6724 97%
7263 89%
6514 100%
7395 88%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
73.9
63.1
-15%
63
-15%
58
-22%
89
20%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.76
97.8
-2%
95
-5%
91
-9%
100
0%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
43% / 43%
63% / 63%
11% / 26%
55% / 55%
11% / 37%

* ... smaller is better

We measured an average brightness of just 208.4 cd/m², well below average for notebooks in this price range. Brightness distribution is only average at 80%; the bottom quadrants are notably dimmer than the top center. Thanks to a black value of 0.612 cd/m², the PX60 only manages a contrast ratio of 361:1, which is certainly on the low end.

In terms of color saturation, our measurements reveal 99.76% coverage of the sRGB spectrum, which is adequate for most users. AdobeRGB coverage is, of course, quite a bit lower at just 73.9%, but only professional photographers and graphic designers should be affected.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. MSI PX60 Broadwell
vs. MSI PX60 Broadwell
vs. MacBook Pro Retina 15
vs. MacBook Pro Retina 15
vs. Dell XPS 15-9550
vs. Dell XPS 15-9550

CalMAN 5, meanwhile, reveals some pretty serious deviations pre-calibration. With ColorChecker and Greyscale DeltaE2000 measurements of 10.96 and 11.8 respectively (ideal: 0), the situation with color accuracy is unfortunately not as positive as saturation. The CCT average of 15654 is also incredibly high (ideal: 6500), but at least the total gamma of 2.17 is in line (ideal: 2.2). Post-calibration, these were transformed to near-ideal values, however, with deltaE averages well below 3 and a CCT Average of 6438.

Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)

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
27.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9.2 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. » 56 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
44.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22.8 ms rise
↘ 21.6 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. » 68 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41.4 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 200 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 200 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 200 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8821 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoors, although the PX60’s mediocre brightness and contrast render it difficult to use in sunlight, it still manages comfortable use in the shade (thanks to the matte finish). The screen is also afflicted by narrow viewing angles typical to most TN panels. Again, no IPS option is available. Backlight bleed is noticeable on dark screens at the bottom of the panel.

In the sun
In the sun
In the shade
In the shade
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The most notable internal upgrade the latest PX60 provides is that of the CPU from the previous Broadwell-based Intel Core i7-5700HQ to the Skylake i7-6700HQ. Alongside the modest improvements to efficiency from the CPU directly comes support for DDR4 memory as well, which is the new standard for high-end workstations and gaming machines. Our review unit came equipped with two 8 GB SODIMMs of DDR4-2133 memory. The system supports up to 32 GB across two slots, but it’s unlikely that the user will be upgrading the RAM post-purchase since doing so requires removal of the motherboard—quite a ridiculous situation for what is supposed to be a business notebook.

A second run of 3DMark 11 reveals only a slight reduction in performance while unplugged (we recorded 4528 on this second run versus 4740 in our original test). Lastly, LatencyMon reveals no issues with streaming real-time audio and video.

CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z RAM SPD
CPU-Z RAM SPD
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWiNFO
HWiNFO
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

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Processor

The Intel Core i7-6700HQ is a quad-core processor based on the Skylake architecture with a base clock rate of 2.6 GHz (incidentally, 100 MHz lower than the base clock of the i7-5700HQ) and a Turbo clock rate of up to 3.5 GHz (single-core) or 3.3 GHz/3.1 GHz (2-core/4-core). Performance is likely to be on par with the Broadwell predecessor, dependent on thermal/TDP headroom and throttling conditions. The 2 W of reduced power consumption (45 W TDP total) is not likely to be evident in practical use.

In fact, during our benchmarks, the system consistently performed slightly below the median for all i7-6700HQ benchmarks in our current database. The differences weren’t major—only a few percentage points—but the trend was mostly reliable. As for performance compared to its predecessor, we saw somewhat more pronounced deficiencies: as much as around 10%, as seen in the Cinebench tests (R11.5 multi-CPU: 7.15 vs. 7.86 points; R15 multi-CPU: 656 vs. 723 points). Single-threaded performance was even below that, with discrepancies of 12% and 16% in comparison to the previous PX60 (see our graphs for a full breakdown). Many of these tests were performed multiple times to ensure no extraneous circumstances were in play. All power settings were, as always, set to their highest performance levels.

It is worth noting that in spite of this, performance is still very good and should not likely disappoint most users. Most of the scores we received were still in the top quintile of all machines we have reviewed, which is good considering the relatively affordable price tag for the PX60.

Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
1.44 Points ∼62%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
1.67 Points ∼71% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
1.62 Points ∼69% +13%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1.78 Points ∼76% +24%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
1.64 Points ∼70% +14%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
1.58 Points ∼68% +10%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
1.66 Points ∼71% +15%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
1.6 Points ∼68% +11%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
7.15 Points ∼30%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
7.86 Points ∼33% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
3.57 Points ∼15% -50%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7.91 Points ∼33% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
6.3 Points ∼26% -12%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
6.18 Points ∼26% -14%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
7.41 Points ∼31% +4%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
7.93 Points ∼33% +11%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
129 Points ∼62%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
144 Points ∼70% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
130 Points ∼63% +1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
158 Points ∼76% +22%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
144 Points ∼70% +12%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
143 Points ∼69% +11%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
147 Points ∼71% +14%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
142 Points ∼69% +10%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
656 Points ∼22%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
723 Points ∼25% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
320 Points ∼11% -51%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
732 Points ∼25% +12%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
594 Points ∼20% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
589 Points ∼20% -10%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
663 Points ∼23% +1%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
732 Points ∼25% +12%
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.44 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.15 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
39.72 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
129 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
656 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
45.04 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

Overall system performance, meanwhile, was much more in line with what we’d expect to see. The PCMark 8 scores we recorded were within a few percentage points of the previous PX60 (Work Accelerated: 4703 vs. 4669; Home Accelerated: 3590 vs. 3691), and subjectively, general performance seemed snappy and responsive. Some competitors, such as the Dell Precision 5510, were as much as 10% quicker in some benchmarks—but the difference is not really noticeable in everyday use.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
4703 Points ∼72%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
4669 Points ∼72% -1%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5221 Points ∼80% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
4638 Points ∼71% -1%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3950 Points ∼61% -16%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
5100 Points ∼78% +8%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
4426 Points ∼46%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4392 Points ∼46% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
4662 Points ∼49% +5%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
4358 Points ∼46% -2%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
4429 Points ∼46% 0%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
3590 Points ∼59%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
3691 Points ∼61% +3%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3959 Points ∼65% +10%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
3821 Points ∼63% +6%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3121 Points ∼51% -13%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
3941 Points ∼65% +10%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3590 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4426 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4703 points
Help

Storage Devices

Although the PX60 supports NVMe SSDs, our review unit did not feature one, but instead merely included a 120 GB Intel 535 Series M.2 SSD paired with a 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD. This SSD is specified on the iBuyPower website as having sequential read/write speeds of 540 MB/s and 480 MB/s, but our benchmarks only recorded speeds of closer to 450 MB/s and 180 MB/s, respectively. Nevertheless, as explained in the above System Performance section, the effect this has on overall performance is not all that noticeable.

Replacement of the 2.5-inch hard drive is easy enough, though the aforementioned 15 screws are involved. The M.2 SSD is much harder to reach; alongside the RAM and other components, the only way to replace it is to remove the system board entirely. As such, for sake of convenience and warranty, it would be wise to ensure you have the desired M.2 drive installed from the factory.

AS SSD
AS SSD
CDM (Intel SSD)
CDM (Intel SSD)
HDTune (HGST HDD)
HDTune (HGST HDD)
The 2.5-inch hard drive
The 2.5-inch hard drive
Transfer Rate Minimum: 144.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 394.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 292.2 MB/s
Access Time: 0.2 ms
Burst Rate: 163.4 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.9 %

GPU Performance

The PX60’s GPU has not changed since the 2015 Broadwell model; it remains the very capable NVIDIA GTX 950M. It should also come as no surprise, then, that graphical performance is nearly identical to that of the previous PX60, with respectable scores of 3448 in 3DMark Fire Strike (versus last year’s 3342) and 4740 in 3DMark 11 (vs. 4575). This is only around 15-17% lower than the Dell XPS 15-9550 (which packs a GTX 960M), and for the average business user it’s debatable whether or not it’s even necessary to have this sort of GPU power at hand (since there also comes a trade-off in the realms of both size and power consumption).

3DMark 06
3DMark 06
3DMark 11
3DMark 11
3DMark
3DMark
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
4740 Points ∼16%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
4575 Points ∼15% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
1336 Points ∼4% -72%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5414 Points ∼18% +14%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
3942 Points ∼13% -17%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
5477 Points ∼18% +16%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
4648 Points ∼15% -2%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
3448 Points ∼13%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
3342 Points ∼12% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
628 Points ∼2% -82%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3820 Points ∼14% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
2350 Points ∼9% -32%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3909 Points ∼15% +13%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
3344 Points ∼13% -3%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
16389 Points ∼33%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
16086 Points ∼33% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
5330 Points ∼11% -67%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
18230 Points ∼37% +11%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
11048 Points ∼22% -33%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
16529 Points ∼33% +1%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
16180 Points ∼33% -1%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
85864 Points ∼8%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
85899 Points ∼8% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
45208 Points ∼4% -47%
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
89211 Points ∼8% +4%
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
92723 Points ∼8% +8%
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
48680 Points ∼4% -43%
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
41248 Points ∼4% -52%
3DMark 06 Standard
23380 points
3DMark Vantage P Result
18030 points
3DMark 11 Performance
4740 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
85864 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
16389 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
3448 points
Help
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 16611210439fps

Emissions

System Noise

The MSI PX60 never was the quietest notebook around, and for the most part, things haven’t changed with the Skylake refresh. Idling still produces fan noise that we measured at around 35 db(A)—though now the maximum has dropped slightly to just 35.2 db(A) from 37.4 db(A) previously. This is in comparison to the field, which boasts values ranging from 30 db(A) to 31.4 db(A), and many of which can operate under passive cooling until a heavier load is introduced. At its highest level, the PX60 still reaches nearly 49 db(A), down just 1% from the Broadwell predecessor. Other notebooks featuring dedicated GPUs (including all of the others in our field of comparison shown in the table below) come close to this measurement. But the T560, which relies solely on integrated graphics, sustains a much lower 38 db(A)—once again showcasing the benefits of forgoing discrete GPUs when they are not absolutely necessary.

One of the two dual fans
One of the two dual fans
Noise profile, PX60 6QD
Noise profile, PX60 6QD
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
MSI PX60 QD-034US
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Noise
-4%
15%
4%
8%
3%
off / environment *
30
30
-0%
Idle Minimum *
35
34.8
1%
30
14%
30
14%
28.9
17%
31.4
10%
Idle Average *
35.2
37.2
-6%
30.7
13%
30
15%
28.9
18%
32.5
8%
Idle Maximum *
35.2
37.4
-6%
31.4
11%
30
15%
28.9
18%
33.6
5%
Load Average *
38.8
41.8
-8%
33.8
13%
45.3
-17%
46
-19%
45.2
-16%
Load Maximum *
48.8
49.4
-1%
38
22%
49.7
-2%
46
6%
46
6%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
35 / 35.2 / 35.2 dB(A)
Load
38.8 / 48.8 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30 dB(A)

Temperature

Oddly enough, the temperatures we measured from the PX60 6QD (even after compensating for a discrepancy of roughly 1.5 °C in ambient room temperature) were notably higher than those of the 2015 Broadwell model. The hot spot—located in the top center quadrant of the bottom of the unit—climbed to 60.4 °C (up from 56.6 °C, adjusted to 58.1 °C after room temperature) in our measurements, while the overall hot spot on the bottom is now 37.4 °C (up from 34.8 °C, adjusted to 36.3 °C). These adjustments are not directly comparable, of course, but the bottom line is that our review unit of the Skylake model is at least as warm as the previous model.

This leads to average temperatures of 36.6 °C and 43.6 °C under load on top and bottom. As for the other competitors, again, results are not directly comparable due to minor differences in ambient temperatures—but for the most part, after taking those discrepancies into account, the MacBook Pro dominates the rest of the field, the Dell XPS 15 shows a couple of hot spots (but manages tolerable thermal distribution in adjacent quadrants), and the HP ZBook performs similarly to the XPS but with considerably higher temperatures in those same hotspots. The PX60 thermal map shows the spreading of the heat to the opposite corners of the machine accomplished by the dual fan design—so it works, but the notebook nevertheless runs quite warm under load.

Thermal profile, top of base unit
Thermal profile, top of base unit
Thermal profile, underside
Thermal profile, underside
Max. Load
 38.8 °C
102 F
42.6 °C
109 F
39.8 °C
104 F
 
 34.6 °C
94 F
39 °C
102 F
38 °C
100 F
 
 29.8 °C
86 F
33 °C
91 F
33.4 °C
92 F
 
Maximum: 42.6 °C = 109 F
Average: 36.6 °C = 98 F
54.2 °C
130 F
60.4 °C
141 F
50.8 °C
123 F
43 °C
109 F
50.2 °C
122 F
34.6 °C
94 F
35.8 °C
96 F
33 °C
91 F
30 °C
86 F
Maximum: 60.4 °C = 141 F
Average: 43.6 °C = 110 F
Power Supply (max.)  52.6 °C = 127 F | Room Temperature 23 °C = 73 F | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Stress Test

Now, let’s see whether that heat hinders actual performance. Under our CPU stress test, the PX60 6QD’s processor clock rates eventually bottom out at around 2.8 GHz, which is 300 MHz below the i7-6700HQ’s maximum turbo of 3.1 GHz for quad-core operation. GPU stress produces a minimum value of 732 MHz for the GPU, which is below the base clock rate of 914 MHz, thus qualifying as throttling. Still, the synthetic loads imposed upon our test units by Prime95 and FurMark are not realistic in everyday use, even when demanding tasks are at hand—so these limitations are unlikely to mean much to the average user.

Combined stress of both CPU and GPU, of course, means even more throttling, with the CPU frequencies shuffling between 3.0 and 3.1 GHz and GPU clock rates fluctuating from 915 MHz to 640 MHz. Judging by readings from HWiNFO, these limitations appear to be a consequence of TDP as opposed to any thermal constraints.

Full CPU stress
Full CPU stress
Full GPU stress
Full GPU stress
Combined CPU + GPU stress
Combined CPU + GPU stress

Speakers

The PX60 6QD features four speakers, two of which are located above the keyboard and the other two which fire downward from the notebook’s underside. While the audio has good volume, the shape of the sound is rather hollow, lacking some of the lowest-end frequencies. Playing around with the Nahimic software grants you some control over this, and disabling features such as Virtual Surround does help. In fact, the sound is better overall than most other business notebooks by a fair margin—though a few (such as the Dell Latitude 7000 series) manage to eclipse it.

One of the underside speakers
One of the underside speakers
Speaker analysis
Speaker analysis

Energy Management

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.27 / 1.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 15 / 18.6 / 19.7 Watt
Load midlight 64.6 / 129 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Life

Battery life was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the PX60 we reviewed last year, so the hope was that with a somewhat more efficient chipset (and DDR4 memory) we would see lengthier runtimes. We do, but not by much: the PX60 6QD managed just 2 hours and 59 minutes in our Wi-Fi Surfing benchmark, which is poor for a business notebook regardless of the specifications. To truly compete in this space MSI is going to have to seriously refine this in future models.

BatteryEater Reader's Test
BatteryEater Reader's Test
BatteryEater Classic Test
BatteryEater Classic Test
Surfing with Wi-Fi
Surfing with Wi-Fi
MSI PX60 6QD
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ
Lenovo ThinkPad T560 20FH001APB
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
HP ZBook 15 G3
Quadro M2000M, E3-1505M v5, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch 2015-05
Radeon R9 M370X, 4870HQ, Apple SSD SM0512G
Dell XPS 15-9550 i7
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Dell Precision 5510
Quadro M1000M, E3-1505M v5, SK hynix SC920 512 GB
Power Consumption
53%
19%
25%
-9%
8%
Idle Minimum *
15
3.8
75%
5.7
62%
6
60%
12.5
17%
8.6
43%
Idle Average *
18.6
10.2
45%
12.2
34%
12.8
31%
19.6
-5%
16.2
13%
Idle Maximum *
19.7
15.6
21%
12.6
36%
13.3
32%
22.8
-16%
16.7
15%
Load Average *
64.6
30.8
52%
83.1
-29%
82.4
-28%
102
-58%
82.6
-28%
Load Maximum *
129
33.9
74%
138.2
-7%
91.8
29%
107
17%
131.8
-2%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
4h 01min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
2h 59min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 05min

Pros

+ very good keyboard
+ attractive exterior
+ relatively lightweight for its class
+ loud speakers with decent audio quality
+ mostly consistent performance while unplugged
+ snappy overall system performance
+ reasonably priced given the specifications

Cons

- poor battery life
- cumbersome disassembly and maintenance for a business model
- low display brightness and contrast
- narrow viewing angles
- PWM present at all brightness levels below 100%
- poor color calibration out of the box
- noisy under load and still rather warm regardless
- performance is no better than last year's model

Verdict

In review: MSI PX60 6QD. Test model provided by iBuyPower.
In review: MSI PX60 6QD. Test model provided by iBuyPower.

Though our ratings system has evolved and the competitive landscape has continued to refine itself, our assessment of the PX60 has barely changed since last year’s Broadwell model. If that machine was without critical faults then this would not be discouraging; however, we found much to be desired throughout our review process—and the Skylake PX60 turns a blind eye to most of those inadequacies, opting instead for a marginal improvement in terms of chipset and CPU architecture (and, correspondingly, battery life).

The result is another “business notebook” that is really more along the lines of a mid-range gaming machine, except outfitted in silvery metallic attire instead. It’s a minimal effort to rebrand the GS60 Ghost series for another purpose. The problem is its chosen target: the business computing market is a highly competitive space rooted in seasoned principles—and the first of those is always usability and practicality above all else. By falling short in such crucial categories as battery life, maintenance, and—in the case of the touchpad—input devices, the PX60 needs to do some reinventing to truly compete with the rest of the field. Truly, it needs to be a different notebook altogether.

On the other hand, when viewed instead as a more subdued variation of a gaming notebook, it makes a lot more sense for the value.

It’s still got its share of flaws, but as long as you don’t go in expecting a ThinkPad or a Latitude, the PX60 might work as an inexpensive desktop replacement (portable, yet short on battery) for the budget-minded gamer. Business users, meanwhile, have far too many other superior choices.

MSI PX60 6QD - 05/03/2016 v5.1
Steve Schardein

Chassis
74 / 98 → 76%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
60%
Connectivity
63 / 80 → 79%
Weight
62 / 20-67 → 89%
Battery
69%
Display
74%
Games Performance
81 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
89 / 92 → 97%
Temperature
85%
Noise
71%
Audio
50%
Camera
67 / 85 → 79%
Average
70%
74%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI PX60 6QD Prestige iBuyPower Edition Notebook Review
Steve Schardein, 2016-05- 4 (Update: 2016-05- 9)
Steve Schardein
Steve Schardein - Review Editor - @othersteve
In grade school, my first computer—an Apple IIGS—started it all for me. Later, in the nineties, if I wasn’t repairing computers for family and friends, I was busy cooking up nifty Visual Basic projects and playing PC games like Command & Conquer and Heroes of Might and Magic. Soon, much of my free time was spent moderating popular gaming forums and covering the industry for various websites. All the while, I never stopped repairing computers, and in 2006, I started a technology consulting company in Louisville, KY—Triple-S Computers—which I have been fortunate to nurture to great success by specializing in not only repairs, but also new machine consultations and purchasing, data recovery, and malware/security. And since 2012, I have proudly contributed many dozens of reviews to Notebookcheck, a site which I have long considered to be the ultimate authority on laptops and related technology. Today, I am truly living my dream: still a child at heart, ever-curious, constantly learning, and thankful to you, our readers.