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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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    This system exhausts out both the back and sides, and I suspect it would run much hotter if they omitted the side vents. Thin designs are not cooling friendly, sadly. Reply
  • henkhilti - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Nice notebook review.

    One small remark.
    In your conclusion you compared it to the Lenovo Y50 which links to Amazon.
    That is a unit with 4K display for $1500 (not $1300) but please also note that is has a 256GB SSHD (=Hard disk drive + Nand flash cache) not an SSD (scroll down on the amazon page).
    It also has a GTX860M instead of a GTX870M (if you compare it to the MSI's or Razer).
    Reply
  • limitedaccess - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Something to keep in mind regarding the Y50 4k display is that it is supposedly a TN display that is locked to 48hz. Also the other characteristics are supposedly poor.

    In general it seems Lenovo's gaming oriented Ideapad series all have rather poor displays. Also to be honest in general for the entire Lenovo notebook line there doesn't seem to be a strong emphasis on display quality.

    The configuration he linked to though should be one with a 256gb SSD and not the configuration with a 1tb HD with 8gb nand cache.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The Lenovo Y50 is $1300 with a 4K screen and 256GB SSD.

    It's a mistake to use Amazon as a source for validating information. Not only do the frequently get their specs wrong, they also blend reviews of similar models together and the pricing can change within hours due to allowing purchases through other vendors.

    Newegg, $1249:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N8...

    Either way, it doesn't matter. Lenovo officially discontinued the 4K option Y50.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Hold on... where are you getting that Lenovo discontinued the 4K Y50? I can't seem to find anything on that matter. As for the Amazon pricing, it changes regularly, just like Newegg. There's a reasonable chance the model I linked went out of stock between yesterday and now, leaving places that charge more. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I just read last week, but when I go to official Y50 UHD website, it says "temporarily unavailable". I'm either totally full of crap or just misread it.

    http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/lenovo/y-seri...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Yeah, that "temporarily unavailable" is what I saw. I thought it was new enough that maintaining stock was the issue, but who knows -- and a lot of people were complaining about backlight bleed on the 4K panel. If they're using a TN panel, though, that's the first I've heard of any 3K/4K LCD going the TN route; it would make me very sad if that's true. Reply
  • creed3020 - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The stress testing graphs are missing labels for the duration of time along the x axis. Possible to add this in so we can get an idea of time elapsed in the test against temps? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The stress test charts are for one hour -- I had to hand-make the charts in Excel, and the data is actually at ~2.5 second intervals, so I figured it was best to just leave off units. I'll see if I can clarify this in the text. Reply
  • larspehrsson - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Matte or glossy? all other reviews I have read of the 3k version state that it has a glossy display but now Anandtech say that it is matte? Which is it? Reply

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