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

    You can remap nearly every key... except Fn. :(
  • sheh - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Remapping is a partial solution. There's also the tactile issue: part of my typing is based around the feel of key edges and where keys are relative to other keys. And there's nothing you can do about the missing left WinKey.

    Yet, this is probably not as bad as some layouts like the UK one.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I've harped on MSI's keyboard layout a lot over the years, but they don't want to change it and apparently some users like having the Win key on the right. Having played with a lot of keyboards, what I've found is that if you consistently use any single keyboard (or two keyboards, say home and work systems), you generally adapt to most things. But all things considered, yes, I would like a Windows key on the left -- take that bottom backslash, move the spacebar to the right, and put the key to the left. This has the added effect of moving the spacebar a bit more towards the center, which in turn can move the touchpad towards the center.
  • sheh - Friday, August 22, 2014 - link

    I vote for industry-wide standardized keyboard/faceplate sets for notebooks.
  • jameskatt - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Why are you guys complaining about the price? This is a premium laptop with premium hardware. It is low priced for a premium laptop. Apple is like BMW and Mercedes Benz. MSI is like Hyundai. Dell and HP are like Volkswagen.
  • Legellan - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Did anyone notice there are 2 HDMI ports on this thing. One on each side?

    is one HDMI in so you could use it as a monitor? Kind of weird to have 2 HDMI out and a mini DP as well no?
  • limitedaccess - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    It's for multiple external displays including support for multimonitor gaming.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Sorry -- I apparently left a fragment in the "Left Side" portion of the HTML tablet. You can see on the pictures, but there's only one HDMI and it's on the right side. There's also no USB 2.0 port on the left (another fragment in the table), but I have fixed the data in the table now.
  • xenol - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Why in the holy mother of engineering do they keep putting the hottest parts of the cooling system on the LEFT side? Do they not realize that for a gaming PC that the left side is where important controls live?
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Your mouse hand is usually on the right when you're using a mouse. Personally, I'd rather the left side of my desk melt than have a burnt mouse hand.

    What they should really do is solve the problem properly by exhausting out back instead of on the sides.

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