MSI GX60 Gaming Notebook - Great Looks And A Fast GPU

2/15/2013 9:14:29 AM

Great looks and a fast GPU, but the AMDAPU can’t keep up

[+] RTM - Fast GPU; comparably light

[-] BETA - Disappointing screen; slow performance despite fast GPU; no SSD

At $1409, MSI’S GX60 is $90 cheaper than most of the other 15.6in and 17.3in laptops on test. It’s arguably the most racy-looking too, although its glossy plastic finishing takes the edge off the shine. MSI has also taken a rather unconventional approach with the GX60 and opted for an AMDA10-4600m APU as opposed to an Intel Core i5 or Core i7. This clocked at 2.7GHz [boosting up to 3.2GHZ], sports four physical cores and includes a Radeon HD 7660 G GPU – a similar configuration to AMD’s Trinity desktop APUs.

Description: MSI GX60

It’s the only laptop to go the AMD route but, like the OcUK Limited Edition P170EM and Scan LG10, it also includes a discrete AMD Radeon HD 7970M GPU. This runs at 800MHz, which is 50MHz below the standard 850MHz core frequency used by the Scan, OcUK and Alienware. As with most of the other examples on test, the GX60 also sports 8GB of RAM, a DVD drive and includes Windows 7 64-bit, while also offering a one year warranty.

Sadly, there’s no SSD or hybrid hard disk, though – the GX60 uses a 750GB Western Digital Scorpio Black hard disk, which despite spinning at 7,200rpm, made Windows noticeably slow and unresponsive compared to the SSD – equipped OcUK P170EM and PCSpecialist Inferno. Meanwhile, the GX60’s 15.6in screen has a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, making for a pleasingly high pixel density. Unlike LG10, though, the GX60’s screen suffered from clearly noticeable ghosting, motion blur and poor viewing angles.

Description: MSI GX60

Thankfully, the GX60’s build quality is generally good, although the glossy plastic finish makes it a fingerprint magnet. The keys and touchpad were pleasant to use, though, and the latter was much kinder on your fingers than the Gigabyte U244N's textured keyboard. The keyboard is apparently made by SteelSeries, although it’s hard to notice any real difference in terms of ergonomics. Meanwhile, there are four USB ports in total [three USB 3], pus HDMI, mini-DisplayPort and D-Sub video outputs. This allows you to connect up to three displays to the GX60 for EyeFinity three-screen gaming, although even the top-end 7970M will struggle to render playable frame rates at these resolutions.

Description: The keys and touchpad were pleasant to use

The keys and touchpad were pleasant to use

Weighing in at 3.4kg, the GX60 is also noticeably lighter than 17.3in screen models on test, although the similarly sized Scan LG10 is lighter still at 3.2kg. It’s still a sizeable lump to carry around, but you’ll need a significantly smaller a less powerful laptop to net any major weight saving. The extras list also include Bigfoot Gaming LAN software, which lets you monitor network traffic in real time and other similar issues, although we’ve never experienced a major benefit from it, benefit from it, beyond spotting bandwidth-hogging processes.

Description: there are four USB ports in total [three USB 3], pus HDMI, mini-DisplayPort and D-Sub video outputs

There are four USB ports in total [three USB 3], pus HDMI, mini-DisplayPort and D-Sub video outputs


Surprisingly, the screen fared quite well in the report generated by our monitor calibrator. Color reproduction and contrast were slightly better than the Scan LG10 screen, while color temperature was spot on out of the box. However, the ghosting and motion blur blighted it in every game we tried. It was a relief to finish testing and move to a different screen.

Sadly, our benchmarks also revealed that MSI’s choice of CPU was a poor one. In our image editing benchmark, the Scan LG10 was more than twice as fast, with a score of 1,607 compared to the GX60’s score of just 655. Video encoding was just as disappointing, with the LG 10’s score of 2,967 in a different league to the GX60’s 1,269. Overall, the GX60 managed a score of 910 less than half that of the LG10, S 1,985.

Games performance was better, thanks to the HD 7970, but the GX60 still returned some of the slowest numbers on test, clearly hampered by the slow AMD APU. Despite having the same GPU as the Scan LG10, albeit with a slightly slower clock speed, the GX60’s minimum frame rate in The Witcher 2 was 12ps slower, and it was also 9fps slower in Battlefield 3 at same resolution. Dropping the resolution didn’t help either – in The Witcher 2 at 1,366x768, the GX60’s unplayable minimum frame rate of 20fps was less than half the 43fps achieved by the Scan LG10.

In Battlefield 3, the situation was improved due to the game’s heavy GPU reliance, though; here, the GX60 managed a minimum frame rate of 59fps, compared to the Scan’s 69fps.

In a final act of defiance, the GX60s battery life proved to be better than the LG10’s by 15minutes [totalling 57minutes]. However, the GX60 also crashed numerous times during the test, pointing to possible cooling or stability issues during long battery only gaming sessions.


Whether you like the glossy aesthetics or not, the MSI GX60 has other concerning issues. The AMD A 10-4600M APU simply can’t compete with any of the Intel CPUs on test. It returned shocking results in our Media Benchmarks and clearly limited the Radeon 7970M GPU’s performance in games as well. AMD’s Trinity architecture might be fine for budget desktop gaming rigs, but it’s far from an ideal partner for a discrete GPU in a $1,049 laptop.

Its poor performance and lack of solid state storage also means that the GX60 offers comparably poor value for money too.

While the Scan LG10 also has a similarly modest 15.6 in screen, its performance in the benchmarks more than makes up for this shortfall. Once you add in the lackluster screen, it’s clear that you’re better taking your gaming laptop fund elsewhere


§  Price $1,409

§  Supplier :

§  Manufacturer:


§  Speed 24/40

§  Features 18/30

§  Value 20/30


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