MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K Introduction

MSI has several lines of gaming notebooks catering to different types of users. In the past few months we've looked at MSI's top-of-the-line GT70, equipped with NVIDIA's GTX 880M GPU. While that's a great notebook for those who want performance first, the GE60 delivers decent performance in a smaller and less expensive chassis. Somewhere in between those two options sits the GS line of MSI notebooks, and today we have the updated GS60 on our test bench.

As usual, MSI has a few models of GS60 available, with GPUs ranging from the GTX 850M through the GTX 870M. The system we received is near the top of the product stack and includes the HiDPI 3K display along with an i7-4710HQ processor and GTX 870M GPU. This will round out our look at NVIDIA's current high-end mobile GPU options and show us where GTX 870M falls compared to the bigger 880M and the Maxwell-based 860M.

Perhaps more noteworthy with the GS line is that while many elements of the overall design are similar to the GE and GT models – they all have the same multi-colored backlit SteelSeries keyboard for instance – the GS line is slimmer and lighter, thanks in part to ditching the optical drive (RIP, DVD-RW). The GS series also sports a full aluminum chassis on the top and bottom, which gives it much more of a premium feel. Here's what we received for review:

MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro 3K Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-4710HQ
(Quad-core 2.4-3.4GHz, 6MB L3, 22nm, 47W)
Chipset HM87
Memory 2x8GB DDR3L-1600 (Max 2x8GB)
Graphics GeForce GTX 870M 3GB GDDR5
(1344 cores, 941MHz + Boost 2.0, 5GHz GDDR5)

Intel HD Graphics 4600
(20 EUs at 400-1200MHz)
Display 15.6" Glossy IPS 16:9 3K (2880x1620)
(Panasonic VVX16T029D00)
Storage 256GB SSD (2x Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD SuperRAID)
1TB HDD (HGST HTS721010A9E630)
Optical Drive N/A
Networking 802.11ac WiFi (Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7260)
(2x2:2 866Mbps capable)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel)
Gigabit Ethernet (Killer e2200)
Audio Realtek HD ALC892
Stereo Speakers
Headphone and microphone jacks
Battery/Power 6-cell, 52Wh
150W Max AC Adapter
Front Side Activity LEDs
Left Side Headphone and mic jacks
2 x USB 3.0
AC Power Connection
Kensington Lock
Exhaust vent
Right Side 1 x USB 3.0 (Sleep Charging)
Flash Reader (SDXC/SDHC)
1 x HDMI
1 x Mini-DisplayPort
Gigabit Ethernet
Exhaust vent
Back Side Exhaust vent
Operating System Windows 8.1 64-bit
Dimensions 15.35" x 10.47" x 0.78" (WxDxH)
(390mm x 266mm x 19.9mm)
Weight 4.31 lbs (1.96kg)
Extras 1080p FHD Webcam
103-Key 3-Zone Colored Backlighting Keyboard
Pricing Starting at $1991 Online
$2048 as configured

The core features of the GS60 are similar to the GE60 we looked at, except it includes a 256GB SSD array for the OS and applications, it has 16GB of memory, and of course there's the 3K display. It's definitely an attractive system, and if you're more interested in an anti-glare 1080p display you can save about $300 (and lose 4GB RAM and half the SSD storage in the process). The feature set is good, with everything you'd want from a modern PC, including dual-band 802.11ac WiFi. Performance should also be good for gaming or other tasks, though it's worth noting that driving the 3K panel at native resolution in games is likely to prove difficult for even a GTX 880M, let alone the lesser GTX 870M.

The SSD configuration is a bit of a letdown, as MSI is still utilizing two M.2 SATA SSDs in RAID 0 (a single PCIe M.2 SSD could potentially outperform this configuration), but it certainly gets the job done. My only real complaint with the SSDs is that I'd like to see MSI go up to a 512GB configuration, drop the HDD, and hopefully increase battery capacity at the same time. That's something Dell offers with the XPS 15, and we're fast approaching the days where I even want to have a 2.5" HDD bay in a laptop; I'd rather have a good 512GB SSD and more battery life, though others may disagree.

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K: Subjective Evaluation
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  • nathanddrews - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Figuring that a 256GB OS drive is included, a 1TB upgrade could be $400 and they would make plenty of profit. Depending on how much it costs them, they could make the upgrade $300 or $350 and still get some margin.

    I'm still waiting for 2TB SSDs to get under $500. I think that will spark a major boom in SSD adoption beyond just boot drives. 3-D TLC should get us there.
    Reply
  • falc0ne - Saturday, August 23, 2014 - link

    this is a gaming laptop and don't tell me you want to use play Starcraft while commuting and hope the battery will last the whole day. Lets be reasonable Reply
  • limitedaccess - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    No pictures with the back cover off?

    Also regarding notebook reviews in general I think size/weight measurements for the power brick would be useful information. Some review sites do include this already. Especially in a case like this where you'd in many (if not all cases) have to take that with you as well due to the battery life combined with one the core usage scenarios (gaming).
    Reply
  • limitedaccess - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Just to add something else that would be nice to see commented more on in reviews is wireless connectivity which it seems like quite a few laptops have issues with (and differing performance).

    Another common related issue is running off wifi and having a bluetooth device connected.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I did list WiFi throughput in the general performance benchmarks (the last chart before 3DMark). I didn't experience any unusual WiFi issues with the GS60; it lost connectivity a few times but that happens to nearly every laptop I've tested and it wasn't a constant problem. (It could have been my router as well -- the nature of the 802.11ac beast.) Reply
  • Arbie - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I would much rather have an SSD than the super high res, which I doubt will be much use on a screen that size. And on any laptop over $1K I would expect an SSD. This one is $2K. Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    It has two SSDs alongside the harddrive. Reply
  • GreenMeters - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I was late to the party for the last MSI gaming laptop review, so I'll ask again here: can the tacky badge on the back of the display be removed? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Nope -- it gets lit by the LCD backlight, so it actually would leave a hole through the metal cover. Reply
  • sheh - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I hate stupid keyboard layouts. If the WinKey only on the right wasn't bad enough, there's an extra backslash key to the right of the spacebar. What's the point of two backslash keys? Reply

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