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MSI GX60 Gaming Laptop Review (A10-4600M/HD7970M)

The MSI GX60 Laptop is a well priced machine targeting a wide enthusiast audience who don't wish to pay £1,500-£2,000+ for a new high powered gaming laptop. The recommended retail price of £999.99 inc vat is very competitive. The fact that Overclockers are selling it this week for £899.99 inc vat makes for a very tempting proposition.

The MSI GX60 has many strong points worthy of mention. The included Steelseries keyboard is fantastic, offering tactile feedback, well spaced out keys and a full numpad. The only problem is the lack of double height return key, which always causes a problem for me, long term. It isn't backlit either which is slightly disappointing.

The trackpad is also very good, although both buttons feel a little too stiff to me, requiring a lot of force to register. The 1080p LED screen is better than we had expected at this price point. The colours are both vibrant and life like and it is extremely easy to read with fine text, ideal for on the move office workers and designers alike. Viewing angles are also well above average and the matte coating ensures that the screen isn't excessively reflective in a variety of environmental situations.

The onboard THX sound is also quite good, although to get the best out of the system, we would recommend high quality headphones or dedicated external speakers. Still, for on the move duties, there is enough clarity and volume available. Bass is a little lacking, as would be expected.

The GX60 doesn't emit an excessive level of noise, although when gaming there is a noticeable hot spot at the back of the machine, related to the hot running AMD HD7990M graphics card.

For gaming duties, the GX60 certainly won't disappoint, although the AMD A10 4600M won't offer a serious challenge to an Core i5 mobile chip. It is a capable, well priced processor, with onboard 7660G graphics, but when tasked with more demanding programs such as 3D rendering and video editing, it does struggle to finish the tasks in a reasonable time frame. To be fair, a gamer is unlikely to notice this, so we can't fault the machine too much, especially given the low asking price.

We did encounter some issues during game testing however. The AMD switchable graphics would often default to 7660G, requiring manual user intervention to get the best performance from the machine. Battery life was also slightly disappointing considering the 9 cell Lithium ION 87Wh 7800mAh which is shipped with the machine. Expect around 2 hours and 30 minutes under normal situations with screen brightness up high.

The omission of a solid state drive is the biggest performance issue for the GX60. The large 7,200 rpm mechanical drive is about as good as you can get in a 2.5 inch form factor, but it is still limited to around 120 MB/s which can cause the machine to grind at times. If I bought the GX60 I would budget another £130 for a Solid State Drive, then use Acronis software to mirror the drive, swap them out and use the 750GB in an external USB drive enclosure for backup duties.

Pros:

  • Great gaming machine.
  • very competitive price point.
  • 8GB of memory.
  • HD7970M is a powerhouse mobile gaming solution.
  • screen is very good.
  • connectivity is strong.
  • Steelseries keyboard.

Cons:

  • No solid state drive.
  • AMD switchable graphics often defaulted to the onboard 7660G.
  • A10 4600m can run out of steam with more demanding tasks.
  • can get hot.
  • battery life isn't great.

Kitguru says: At the price, we can overlook some of the misgivings.

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Rating: 8.0.

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