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In one of the most "interesting" moves I've seen in the mobile market, MSI has equipped their GX60 gaming notebook with an HD 7970M...paired with an AMD A10-4600M APU. Curious to see how the combination would stack up against the Intel i7-3720QM + HD 7970M combination used in AVADirect's Clevo P170EM, I ran some quick benchmarks and put together a video of Batman: Arkham City showing the systems running side by side. First, here's the video link:

Not surprisingly, the Ivy Bridge solution walks away from the Trinity laptop when we turn down the details a bit, but at maximum quality the two solutions appear relatively close. The issue is that while average frame rates may be close in some cases, minimum frame rates often tell the real story. There are points in the above video where Trinity falls to sub-30 FPS for a second or two at a time, which can be very noticeable in gameplay.

Anyway, I'm curious: are you interested in more videos like this? It takes a lot more time than a simple reporting of a benchmark number, but if there's enough demand for it I'll be happy to oblige. I should also note that there are some titles where the Trinity and Ivy Bridge notebooks are fairly close in performance (at maximum detail at least), while other titles are even more in favor of a faster CPU (e.g. Skyrim). Regardless, the full review of the MSI GX60 will be forthcoming.

Pricing for the GX60 is the one area where MSI looks to beat Intel HD 7970M offerings. The base model comes with a 750GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, A10-4600M, and of course the HD 7970M. Right now (if it's in stock), you can get that configuration for around $1200. Our particular unit takes yet another odd approach by including a 128GB RAID 0 SSD set for the OS and apps, which might sound appealing until you realize they're using SanDisk U100 drives (not exactly the fastest SSDs around); we're not sure what pricing is for this particular configuration. AVADirect's P170EM by contrast is priced at $1519, with a $100 off coupon available at the time of writing. That will get you an i7-3630QM and the 7970M, so for about $150 to $200 extra, for gaming purposes we recommend most users go that route.

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  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    We've already done that, back with the launch of Trinity. A10-4600M has a better iGPU than the HD 4000; there's not doubt about that. The problem I have is that the reverse is also true: Intel has a much better CPU than Trinity, without a doubt. So now you can choose Intel for mobility with not too much worry about gaming (and despite what many might like to say, gaming is really a minor concern for a majority of users), or you can get Trinity for moderate gaming with overall worse performance elsewhere ("fast enough", yes, but not fast), or for roughly the same price as A10 you can get Intel + NVIDIA for switchable graphics to give you battery life, gaming, and overall better performance. Reply
  • lmcd - Sunday, April 14, 2013 - link

    I wasn't seeing "roughly the same price" before and I'm not seeing it now. Where are these mythical devices with GT 640s and i5s for A10 prices? Reply
  • jospoortvliet - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    What I wonder - is there any use for the IGP, and if so - how? After all, it could do something like physics, right? The IGP is the only thing the APU has over Intel and it's unused in this scenario (which is of course why we're all so surprised anyone would put together a system like this). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    I'm not aware of anything that really leverages an AMD iGPU this way when you have an AMD dGPU as well. I guess if you have certain GPGPU programs that run well on AMD, you can run and use both the 7970M and the 7660G, but most games that use the GPU for physics are using PhysX, and that's an NVIDIA-only affair for the foreseeable future. Reply
  • Miroslav - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    This review does not make much sense. All conclusions have been based on just one game, and it is one that favors Intel processors. I'm a bit disappointed and frankly I expected more from AnandTech. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Did you actually read the text? Mostly this was me wondering if people would like more videos like this, e.g. before I spend the time required to create them. I'm more than a bit disappointed with a comment like yours, as I expect more of the readers than to assume that a three minute video is representative of all that has gone on behind the scenes.

    Take this quote, though: "I should also note that there are some titles where the Trinity and Ivy Bridge notebooks are fairly close in performance (at maximum detail at least), while other titles are even more in favor of a faster CPU (e.g. Skyrim)." I've got benchmarks from about ten titles, with more to run still, so any opinions are not "based on just one game".

    As for Batman favoring Intel processors, ALL games favor Intel processors, because they're substantially faster than AMD's processors; the closest we get is pretty much a tie. There is one title (Sleeping Dogs) where at maximum details the Trinity system is a few FPS faster, but step down a notch or two and the gap is once again firmly in favor of Intel. My best guess is that the bottleneck on the Intel platform in that specific title is the Enduro drivers, not the CPU -- with and AMD dGPU copying data to an AMD iGPU, potentially there are some optimizations present that help a bit.

    Anyway, more to come... I've made videos of Sleeping Dogs and Skyrim, to show the real extremes. Now I just need to edit them and post, which will take a few hours each.
    Reply
  • Miroslav - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Well, my bad! I only watched the video and made some wrong assumptions, sorry, my apologies. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    Stay tuned for more butt kicked amd - the way it is going to be played, because that's how it plays out.

    The A10 is limited to half the performance, what a shame.
    Once again I read the hope and change a comin' for the glorious day when games make the A10 faster.... it's coming say the fanboys, it's a comin', it's the reason for the season...

    BULL.
    Reply
  • Laststop311 - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    AMD is only good for HTPC. I own an overclocked phenom x6 1100t OC'd to 4.2ghz and it loses handily to my friends i7-920 thats not even overclocked. Reply
  • wpine - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    If the tool you use to measure the frame rates allows logging of the measured frame rates, I think it would be easier for you and more useful for the reader to provide statistics on the frame rates, rather than a video. For instance, you could provide:
    - variance or standard deviation
    - quantiles or percentiles
    - plot of the probability density function
    Reply

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