In and Around the MSI GX60

I'll say this for MSI: they've kept a pretty uniform aesthetic for their gaming notebooks. I'm actually of the opinion that the slightly smaller 15.6" form factor serves it better than the outsized 17.3", and the cooling system designs between the GX60 and its larger cousin are basically uniform. In fact, almost everything between the two chassis is uniform, making any kind of detailed analysis almost redundant. Just about everything I said about the iBuyPower Valkyrie CZ-17's chassis design applies here.

We're looking at black plastic used for essentially the entirety of the MSI GX60. The touchpad continues to be a sticking point; it was abnormally small on the Valkyrie, CyberPower FangBook, and the GT70 Dragon Edition, and the slightly smaller GX60 has the same issue. The SteelSeries licensed keyboard loses the backlighting (likely sacrificed to bring the price down) but retains both the excellent key action that makes it such a strong choice and the baffling layout that utterly undermines it for American consumers. Even the L-shaped access panel on the bottom is similar.

For reference, this is the internal layout of the CyberPower FangBook, which uses the last generation cooling design for the GT70:

Now, here is the internal layout of the MSI GX60. Remember that the GX60 is a 15.6" notebook and thus a couple pounds lighter than the 17.3" FangBook/GT70:

And, just for reference sake, the interior of the recently reviewed GT70 Dragon Edition:

Apart from very minor differences in the heatpipes on the CPU coldplates, MSI appears to be using essentially identical motherboard layouts and cooling systems between their 15.6" and 17.3" lines. Eyeballing it, I have a hard time believing much, if any, cooling capacity is added moving up in the line. That means that the only reason to buy a 17.3" gaming notebook from MSI would be because you want the larger display. Not higher resolution, just larger. The keyboard size is identical, port layouts are almost identical, cooling systems are almost identical. While there are no stock GT60/GX60 units that sport 32GB of memory, iBuyPower's 15.6" Valkyrie (based off of this chassis) can be configured with up to four 8GB DIMMs.

It's a commodity design and like a lot of MSI's decisions, it seems predominately geared towards being as frugal and cost-effective as possible. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but sacrificing specialization of any kind is damaging. The most brutal thing about the GX60 may be the existence of MSI's own GE60, which trades the APU for an Intel i7-4700MQ and the Radeon HD 7970M for an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M. I'm in the process of testing a notebook that has a 765M, and its performance is almost on par with the outgoing GeForce GTX 675MX. That's still slower than the 7970M, but you gain a boatload of CPU performance.

Introducing the MSI GX60 System and Futuremark Performance


View All Comments

  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - link

    "Because the GPU IS discrete it heavily depends on the RAM as there is no "dedicated memory" for the GPU."
    Discrete GPU means that there is an extra GPU connected with the mainboard that has its own RAM supply, like a normal, PCIe desktop graphics card (dGPU). Integrated GPU (iGPU) means there is a GPU on the same package or die as the CPU (it used to mean that there is a GPU on the motherboard, but not anymore since a few years). That GPU has to use the system memory (RAM) in order to operate. You seem to be confusing the two.
  • eanazag - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    The 1866 RAM really helps the iGPU in AMD APUs. The performance bump adding it to this specific machine is going to be less than we would hope. The reality is that if I were purchasing it I would be adding an SSD and RAM. I would go for the 1866 because the CPU supports is, but I wouldn't expect it to compete with Intel. I would just be hoping to eliminate those odd cases where the Trinity version was beating it. Reply
  • CNP-Keythai - Sunday, June 30, 2013 - link

    Thats right. Its surprising to see only one slot for RAM. Also the PC can take only 8 GB, I afraid. None of these make any sense to me. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, June 30, 2013 - link

    There are two SO-DIMM slots on the GX60; only one is populated on this particular model, but as shown the benefits of dual-channel RAM (especially with DDR3-1600 memory) are almost entirely targeted at iGPU usage. Reply
  • eanazag - Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - link

    This laptop supports 4 DDR3 slots for a total of 32GB and the A10-5705M supports 1866 RAM. In looking at the part 1 article numbers, they opted to put two sticks in and performance was better in relation to the previous Trinity generation. I believe including a total of two or four sticks of 1866 RAM should give this machine a boost. That is a question for the customer as the model they received ships with only 1 stick of 8GB @ 1600.

    The concept of this whole notebook is to ship something the end user can upgrade; like the RAM and storage.

    Specs from MSI:
  • tincmulc - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    Is it possible that cpu issues will be mitigated by the fact than both next generation consoles use 8 relatively slow cores? The Achilles' heel of the apu is single thread performance and since new console games will be optimized to run on more slower cores, the cpu part of the apu could finally be used to it's full potential. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    I'd like to believe that. however, this part is only quad core, and the mobile i7s are quad core with eight thread...they might benefit more. what amd really needs to do is release a 45w part. intel's quad cores are all 45 watt, with the exception of the 3612m. if amd upped the tdp, they could push the cpu clock to something like 3.0/3.9 GHz, which might help make up the distance. or better yet, release the 45 watt model with the a4's gpu, since it would probably only be used in laptops like this. that would give the cpu even more power to work with. Reply
  • Rontalk - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    Yes, future games will run better with slow CPU cores but fast GPU. 1-2 years and MSI GX60 gonna be good gaming machine. Reply
  • Khenglish - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    Dustin how about putting in another memory stick and seeing how much of an improvement there is? This thing needs more CPU power and an extra $35 on memory might make the laptop acceptable. Reply
  • JMC2000 - Saturday, June 29, 2013 - link

    The results with dual-channel mode are in the article, sadly, it doesn't help much. Reply

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