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

Productivity Benchmarks

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 added 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.

The GX60’s AMD A10-4600M APU takes more than twice as long to encode videos as the Core i7-2720QM. However, these HandBrake results come with the caveat that the current release does not support OpenCL acceleration, which offloads much of the workload to a compatible GPU. Running the current beta of HandBrake with OpenCL support cut the A10’s cut encoding times in half, putting it very close to the quad-core Core i7s. Once the OpenCL-enabled version of HandBrake goes stable, the A10-4600M may be at the top of this chart.

While Premiere Pro CS6 does support OpenCL to speed up certain effects and playback, Adobe Media Encoder does not. This means that Premier Pro CS6 is faster with AMD GPU acceleration in the actual program, but once you export the video for encoding, you’re back to CPU-only. 

Once again, the AMD A10-4600M is half the speed of the quad-core -i7 chips. Should Adobe enable OpenCL acceleration in Media Encoder, the A10 might have a shot at catching up. 

The CPU-only Photoshop CS6 results continue to show similar performance.

CPU-only file compression testing also shows the AMD APU lagging behind the Intel CPUs.

When we consider the productivity performance measurements taken from the GX60, there are several things to note:

  • First, the measurements are meant to help evaluate CPU performance versus other CPUs. The A10-4600M's x86 cores cannot keep up with offerings from Intel. However, as more applications fully support OpenCL, this will quickly change since the A10 sports a very nice built-in GPU (not to mention the GX60's top-of-the-line discrete 7970M). 
  • Second, you need to make sure that you have your priorities in order. The GX60 has one purpose: serious gaming for the least money possible. If you need more productivity performance, go buy a machine with a faster CPU. You'll either need to pay more or sacrifice GPU performance in the process, though. If all you want to do is game, the only thing you should worry about is whether your CPU is fast enough to not bottleneck the GPU. 

Despite comparatively low scores, the GX60 is responsive enough in everyday casual use. And as you are about to see, it’s also very capable in real-world games.

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    Top Comments
  • ASHISH65
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
  • Other Comments
  • patrick47018
    Looks promising
  • 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
  • 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
    But does it fit a CableCard?
  • ASHISH65
    Looks good and helpfull review for laptop gamers!
  • 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.
  • Chewie
    Give this a 4 module APU, and keyboard backlighting, and it would really kick butt!
  • Madn3ss795
    AMD APU ruins the whole thing.
  • Chairman Ray
    Great build from Msi!
  • 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.
  • Cataclysm_ZA
    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.
  • ryude
    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.
  • Anonymous
    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...
  • DjEaZy
    patrick47018Looks promising

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

    and again a beautiful in depth review
  • mynith
    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.
  • ojas
    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.