MSI GX60 Review: Radeon HD 7970M In A $1,200 Notebook!

Hitman: Absolution, DiRT, And Batman: Arkham City

Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution is the opposite of Sniper Elite V2 when it comes to resource utilization. In the game's built-in benchmark, thousands of NPCs are animated throughout the scene. The overhead needed to animate these non-player characters means that the GPU may end up waiting for the CPU to finish.

In the Ultra quality benchmark, we see that the GX60’s APU is definitely holding the machine back. However, 21 FPS is still playable, and the game itself is never as demanding as this benchmark. In normal play, you can easily run Hitman: Absolution at max settings on the GX60 without issues. Still, you can see that frame rates double on the GTX 680M-based system, with its $1,100 Core i7-3940XM.

Taking the quality down a notch does not help the GX60; the bottleneck is still the thousands of NPCs moving around on-screen.

At Medium Quality, there is slight bump in performance, but the CPU-bound GX60 still trails both Intel-based comparison machines.

DiRT: Showdown

DiRT: Showdown's built-in benchmark is very tough on both the CPU and GPU.

With everything maxed out, the GX60’s Radeon 7970M gets a very solid 40 FPS. In comparison, the GeForce GTX 680M also achieves about 40 FPS at 1920x1080. At lower resolutions, it scales, though. The GX60 does not, indicating a processor bottleneck.

Dropping the settings down to High quality, we see excellent scaling from the two Nvidia-based machines as the load on the GPU is lightened. The GX60 picks up an additional 5 FPS on average, again pointing to an elephant in the room: a processor bottleneck that prevents the GX60 from going any faster.

At the Medium quality setting, all three systems exhibit symptoms of a processor bottleneck.

Batman: Arkham City

At Ultra quality settings, the GeForce GTX 680M offers about 10% more performance than the Radeon HD 7970M. Both high-end cards breeze through the testing, though, while the Blade's GTX 660M also delivers a borderline-playable 25 FPS.

At High quality, there is a small bump in performance. The two Nvidia/Intel machines seem to get a more significant boost at 1366x768 than the GX60.

Only the slower GTX 660M sees any real increase in speed after moving down to the Medium quality preset. 

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    Top Comments
  • Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
    10
  • Other Comments
  • Looks promising
    9
  • 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
    5
  • I also own an MSI, a GX660r with a 5870M and a Core i5 480m. The 5870M desktop equivalent is a HD5770. The GPU is quite struggling to play on high in current games, mid-high or sometimes medium (all low on crysis 3 except resolution and textures) is required to maintain playable frame rates.

    I might just upgrade to this and just swap GPU between the two. i5 480m > A10-4600M
    -11
  • But does it fit a CableCard?
    1
  • Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
    10
  • 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.
    8
  • Give this a 4 module APU, and keyboard backlighting, and it would really kick butt!
    5
  • AMD APU ruins the whole thing.
    -13
  • Great build from Msi!
    3
  • 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.
    -3
  • 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.
    0
  • 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.
    -5
  • 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...
    2
  • patrick47018Looks promising

    ... not just that... loooook... there is a windows 7 logo... it looks exscelent...
    0
  • 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.
    3
  • afford one *
    0
  • 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
    -3
  • Now that's what i call a Budget gaming Laptop

    and again a beautiful in depth review
    2
  • 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.
    2
  • 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.
    -1