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

Test Setup And Benchmark Suite

Test System Specs

Synthetic and gaming tests are performed on the MSI GX60, Razer Blade R2, and Alienware M18x. The Blade uses Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 660M mobile GPU, while the M18x employs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680M. The 7970M and GTX 680M represent the fastest mobile graphics modules currently available. Both comparison machines have 8 GB of RAM, and their CPUs and GPUs run at factory clock rates.

We perform our productivity-oriented benchmarks on systems equipped with the previous-gen Core i7-2720QM quad-core and -2640M dual-core processors. In addition, we're adding a 45 W Core i7-3720QM quad-core chip to show the difference an extra 10 W makes up against the GX60’s 35 W APU. While we did not have any other gaming notebooks on-hand with these specs, we did have several Dell Latitude E6520s and a Latitude E6530 available. The Latitudes are primarily used as business notebooks, but seeing as how these tests are CPU-only, we don’t have an issue using them.

All productivity benchmarks were run on an optimized image of Windows 7 loaded on a 180 GB Intel SSD 520 drive, which we installed ourselves. Compression tests were run on a RAM drive to minimize the impact of storage hardware on each machine.

Dell Latitude E6520
ProcessorIntel Core i7-2640M
PlatformIntel QM67 Express
Memory8 GB
Dell Latitude E6520
ProcessorIntel Core i7-2720QM
PlatformIntel QM67 Express
Memory8 GB
Dell Latitude E6530
ProcessorIntel Core i7-37820QM
PlatformIntel QM77 Express
Memory8 GB
MSI GX60
ProcessorAMD A10-4600M APU (Trinity) Dual-Module/Quad-Core @ 2.3 GHz, 35 W TDP
PlatformAMD A70M (Hudson-D3/M3)
Memory8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7970M 2 GB GDDR5
Storage64 GB SSD + 64 GB SSD in 128 GB RAID 0 Array
Razer Blade (2nd-Gen)
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3632QM (Ivy Bridge) Quad-Core @ 2.2 GHz, 35 W TDP
PlatformIntel HM77 Express
Memory8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 660M 2 GB GDDR5
Storage64 GB SSD + 500 GB 7200 RPM HDD
Alienware M18x
ProcessorIntel Core i7-3940XM (Ivy Bridge) Quad-Core @ 3.0 GHz, 55 W TDP
PlatformIntel HM77 Express
Memory8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 @ 1600 MT/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 680M 2 GB GDDR5
Storage180 GB Intel 520 Series SSD + 500 GB 7200 RPM HDD

Benchmark Suite

Audio/Video Encoding
HandBrake CLIVersion 0.98: Video From Canon EOS 7D (1920x1080, 25 FPS) 1 Minute 22 SecondsAudio: PCM-S16, 48,000 Hz, Two-Channel, to Video: AVC1 Audio: AAC (High Profile)
Adobe Creative Suite
Premiere Pro CS6Version 6.0.0.0, 6.61 GB MXF Project to H.264 to H.264 Blu-ray, Output 1920x1080, Maximum Quality
Photoshop CS6Version 13 x64: Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image: Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
File Compression
WinZipVersion 17.0 Pro: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to ZIP, command line switches "-a -ez -p -r"
WinRARVersion 4.2: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to RAR, command line switches "winrar a -r -m3"
7-ZipVersion 9.28: THG-Workload (1.3 GB) to 7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=5"
3D Gaming
Call Of Duty: Black Ops IICampaign Mode, "Celerium" Mission 2-Minute FrapsTest Set 1: Extra Quality, High Filtering, 8x MSAA, Ambient Occlusion, High Depth of FieldTest Set 2: High Quality, Medium Filtering, 2x MSAA, Ambient Occlusion, Medium Depth of FieldTest Set 3: Normal Texture Quality, Low Texture Filtering, Low Depth of Field
Battlefield 3Campaign Mode, "Going Hunting" Mission 90-Second FrapsTest Set 1: Ultra Quality SettingsTest Set 2: High Quality SettingsTest Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Sniper Elite V2Built-in BenchmarkTest Set 1: Ultra Quality PresetTest Set 2: High Quality PresetTest Set 3: Medium Quality PresetTest Set 4: Low Quality Preset
Hitman: AbsolutionBuilt-in BenchmarkTest Set 1: Ultra Quality SettingsTest Set 2: High Quality SettingsTest Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
DiRT: ShowdownBuilt-in BenchmarkTest Set 1: Ultra Quality SettingsTest Set 2: High Quality SettingsTest Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
Batman: Arkham CityBuilt-in BenchmarkTest Set 1: Ultra Quality SettingsTest Set 2: High Quality SettingsTest Set 3: Medium Quality Settings
World of Warcraft: Mists of PandariaHoneydew Village, Between Guards In The Rain, 60-Second FrapsTest Set 1: Ultra PresetTest Set 2: High PresetTest Set 3: Medium Preset
The Elder Scrolls V: SkyrimRiverwood, Walking Around 60-Second FrapsTest Set 1: Ultra Quality, 8x AA, 16x AFTest Set 2: High Quality, 8x AA, 8x AFTest Set 3: Medium Quality, 4x AA
Total War: Shogun 2Built-in BenchmarkTest Set 1: High Graphics @ 1920x1080, FXAATest Set 2: Very High Preset @ 1920x1080Test Set 3: Balanced Graphics @ 1280x720

A Note on FPS

We realize that acceptable frame rates are debatable on a per-game and per-vendor basis, which is why we're simply listing averages. As long as we're getting smooth game play, we typically choose higher-quality visuals over higher frame rates. After all, we want to see all of the work that game designers put into making a game visually appealing. Typically, we find that 20 FPS is the absolute minimum we’re willing to call acceptable, with 30 FPS a more ideal minimum. In multi-player games we favor higher frame rates and low lag.

  • patrick47018
    Looks promising
    Reply
  • yobobjm
    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
    Reply
  • flowingbass
    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
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    But does it fit a CableCard?
    Reply
  • ASHISH65
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
    Reply
  • acktionhank
    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.
    Reply
  • Chewie
    Give this a 4 module APU, and keyboard backlighting, and it would really kick butt!
    Reply
  • Madn3ss795-1283924
    AMD APU ruins the whole thing.
    Reply
  • Chairman Ray
    Great build from Msi!
    Reply
  • silverblue
    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.
    Reply