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Exterior: Design And Features

MSI GX60 Review: Radeon HD 7970M In A $1,200 Notebook!
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The GX60's exterior design makes it seem like each major assembly was handled by separate groups without a lot of coordination between themselves. The lid is glossy and beveled, with a touch of very fine sparkle and a large inset MSI logo that lights up a bright white when the screen is on. The rear end of the lid features a textured surface that feels like rubber. The entire bottom of the chassis is built with a matte finish and texture. The buttons above the keyboard are surrounded by glossy red and black plastic, with a large silver power button in the middle and speakers flanking each side. The palm rest has a brushed steel texture, while the keyboard is flanked by smooth matte plastic on both sides. The screen bezel is a mix of glossy plastic around the screen, with an outer framing of matte plastic. Screen hinges are matte black with silver caps. Silver streaks run down half of each side of the lid.

Somehow, the GX60’s overall aesthetic grows on you, though. It’s very thick, with large vents on the side and back. Punches of silver and red convey a sense of style that has no idea what subtlety is. The GX60 is for people who want to game. Those who place performance before all else. Some of the design inconsistencies are probably a result of MSI attempting to build a frugally-priced machine with top-shelf parts. If the lid had been the same brushed steel finish as the palm rest, that would have tightened up the overall look of the machine, although it may have also contributed to higher costs. Mixing finishes and being unashamed of ports and vents filling every side of the machine is indicative of the GX60’s performance-oriented nature.

On the right side of the GX60, we have (from left to right) jacks for headphone out, microphone in, line in and line out, a USB 2.0 port, and the Blu-ray drive.

On the back of the machine, you have (again, from left to right) a Kensington lock, power plug, an Ethernet jack, VGA, mini-DisplayPort, and HDMI.

On the left side, from left to right, we see two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader (SDHC/SDXC/MMC), followed by another USB 3.0 port.

Opening up the lid, the GX60’s layout is fairly straightforward. The SteelSeries keyboard with number pad and the trackpad take up most of the space. Along the top of the keyboard lies a strip of custom controls and indicators. Smack in the center of the control strip is the large silver power button, while speakers are positioned at the far corners. There's a 720p webcam embedded in the middle of the screen's upper bezel, surrounded by a silver inset. Stereo mics are placed just to the left of the webcam.

On the bottom of the machine, we have a design clearly built for gaming. The rubber feet are absolutely massive for a notebook. There are vents everywhere, and the overall shape is shelved to give the CPU and GPU plenty of room to breathe. In fact, you can see the hard drive, SSDs, CPU, GPU, and RAM just by peering through the vents. If you can see those components, you know they're getting outside air to help them stay cool. That fan-like circle at the very top of the picture is actually the integrated subwoofer.

The 87 Wh battery has a latch and lock to keep it from accidentally being removed. For a battery with 87 Wh of capacity, it's smaller and lighter than we were expecting.

The included Delta Electronics 180 W AC Adapter, on the other hand, is quite massive.

Compared to the 90 W adapter from an office-oriented notebook, the GX60’s is quite large. 

However, the 180 W adapter is exactly what gamers want to see. It uses a standard PC power cord, is chunky enough to deliver full power, and has the surface area to dissipate heat. This is a standard Delta Electronics unit used in many machines. If non-gamer friends scoff, go online and show them what a 300 W adapter looks like. Now that’s a knife!

Overall, the MSI GX60 may be a little mismatched, but its piece work well together. The little strip of rubberized coating on the back of the lid makes the machine easy to grip when closed. The palm rest has a mix of finishes, but it has a full-sized keyboard with number pad, direct controls for system modes, and a pretty decent trackpad (as far as trackpads go). Everything below the palm rest is solid and cohesive, with plenty of ports, output options, and massive cooling capability. All-in-all, the MSI GX60 is a solidly-constructed machine. A little thick, and not always well-coordinated, but then again, those qualities also describe some of our favorite gamers.

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  • 10 Hide
    ASHISH65 , April 29, 2013 10:07 PM
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    patrick47018 , April 29, 2013 9:09 PM
    Looks promising
  • 5 Hide
    yobobjm , April 29, 2013 9:11 PM
    I own an MSI (with some weird number classification that I can't remember) but it has proved to be a dedicated and powerful gaming laptop. It also has had really no problems other than the glossy finish getting scratched (which doesn't even exist on this laptop) so I would recommend MSI products :D 
  • 1 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 29, 2013 9:50 PM
    But does it fit a CableCard?
  • 10 Hide
    ASHISH65 , April 29, 2013 10:07 PM
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
  • 8 Hide
    acktionhank , April 29, 2013 10:24 PM
    Hey Tom's run a few gaming tests again with PScheck forcing the CPU to run at a 2.5-2.7ghz so that it won't throttle itself so much.

    I'd like to see exactly what speeds we'd need to get an A10-4600 running at to reduce these severe bottlenecks.
  • 5 Hide
    Chewie , April 29, 2013 10:52 PM
    Give this a 4 module APU, and keyboard backlighting, and it would really kick butt!
  • 3 Hide
    Chairman Ray , April 30, 2013 12:20 AM
    Great build from Msi!
  • -3 Hide
    silverblue , April 30, 2013 12:27 AM
    Very nice machine. It's a shame that AMD stopped with the A10-4600M and didn't look to produce a higher model as that'd help, however until the HSA initiative really kicks in, the Bulldozer architecture's FPU implementation is always going to be found wanting, and that's without even talking about the sharing issues which Steamroller looks to fix.
  • 0 Hide
    Cataclysm_ZA , April 30, 2013 1:16 AM
    No frame latency graphs from FRAPS? Its not difficult to keep a log of them and produce the graphs for those who are interested. I'd like to see the minimum frame dips for a machine like this one.
  • -5 Hide
    ryude , April 30, 2013 1:22 AM
    The A10-4600M can be overclocked relatively easily, up to 3.6Ghz+. That won't fix the fact that's it's an APU, but it will help a little.
  • 2 Hide
    Tee-Kheang Ng , April 30, 2013 2:19 AM
    There's is a GX60 with a10-5750m richland APU...
    Which the improvement is modestly 10-15% CPU powers, it should alleviate some of the CPU bottleneck...
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , April 30, 2013 2:51 AM
    patrick47018Looks promising

    ... not just that... loooook... there is a windows 7 logo... it looks exscelent...
  • 3 Hide
    Cryio , April 30, 2013 3:39 AM
    This notebook is a ridiculous concept to me. Its greatest achievements are its price and its performance where it matters: maxed-out directX11 games in 1080p, working as good or BETTER in most of the cases than its Nvidia sibling. Its greatest disadvantage being its gaming ability is limited in anything under 1080p (still talking only about games here).

    One hell of a laptop for me, if I could afford when, when I'll go to college this Octomber.
  • 0 Hide
    Cryio , April 30, 2013 3:40 AM
    afford one *
  • -3 Hide
    TheBigTroll , April 30, 2013 3:48 AM
    the apu is the bottleneck. when you compare this to a i7 ivy bridge mobile chip with the same GPU and everything, it performs 50% faster
  • 2 Hide
    sanilmahambre , April 30, 2013 4:50 AM
    Now that's what i call a Budget gaming Laptop

    and again a beautiful in depth review
  • 2 Hide
    mynith , April 30, 2013 5:33 AM
    Interesting heatsink design. Shame really that APUs don't come with L3-cache. If they did, they would show performance not unlike the FX-series. In my mind.
  • -1 Hide
    ojas , April 30, 2013 5:37 AM
    With respect to handbrake: It's getting QuickSync support too in the coming months (i believe it's in the same beta version you're talking about) so I'm not sure if the OpenCL advantage will last for AMD.
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