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Digital Life
 

MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro looks more like an ultrabook than a gaming laptop

Published on May 30, 2014 5:00 AM
 
MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro

MSI trumpeted its GS70 Stealth as the thinnest 17-inch gaming laptop when it debuted last year. Now, it has applied the same slimming formula to a 15.6-inch version.

The new GS60, which has a metal chassis, looks more like an ultrabook than a gaming laptop.

It weighs about 2kg, but lacks an optical drive. Unlike most gaming laptops, it looks clean and almost bland, except for a glowing MSI crest on the lid.

Its matte screen has much better viewing angles than the GS70's. This vibrant display is not touch-enabled, although I doubt users would mind.

When the laptop is mostly idle, the power button will glow blue. However, it will turn red as the laptop's dedicated Nvidia chip - the latest GeForce GTX 870M - kicks in when starting a game. For less intensive tasks, such as playing video clips and Web surfing, the built-in Intel graphics chip, which consumes less power, is more than adequate.

While it is light enough to be used comfortably on the lap, its base can get quite warm. It has an internal cooling fan to alleviate this. Unfortunately, it is very loud when called into action.

This would probably be a deal-breaker on an office machine, but gaming laptops have some leeway as a game's soundtrack and audio effects are often loud enough to drown out a fan's whirring.

MSI has continued its collaboration with third-party companies for the GS60. The laptop has a SteelSeries-designed keyboard with decent key travel. However, the keys for the number pad are a bit too narrow. The Windows key has been moved from its usual position left of the space bar. A good move. In the old position, it was likely to be pressed by accident in the course of playing a game.

The pre-installed SteelSeries utility lets you customise the keyboard backlights. MSI includes its own Dragon Gaming Center tool, which monitors the laptop for enthusiasts who care about CPU load and temperature.

The audio from Dynaudio is lacking in bass, although, to its credit, it did not crackle or distort at maximum volume.

MSI managed to fit in two 128GB mSATA solid-state drives in a Raid configuration and a 1TB 7,200rpm hard drive within the laptop's slim confines. As a result, the system feels quick while opening apps. There is plenty of storage space too.

Gaming performance is much improved over the older GS70 model because of a newer graphics chip. Crysis 3, for instance, ran at more than 25 frames per second (fps) at the Very High setting, compared with less than 10fps on the GS70.

Battery life is still mediocre at about three hours, probably because of the 15-inch screen. But this is less important than its gaming performance.

  • Steep as its price may be, the GS60 is, in every way, an improvement over last year’s model. The excellent screen and gaming performance seal the deal for me.

vinchang@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on May 28, 2014.

Background story

TECH SPECS

Price: $3,199

Processor: Intel Core i7-4700HQ (2.4GHz)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M 3GB GDDR5

RAM: 16GB

Screen size: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Connectivity: HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, 3 x USB 3.0, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, microphone and headphone jacks

Battery: 52 watt-hours


RATING

Features 4/5

Design 4/5

Performance 4/5

Value for money 3/5

Battery life 2/5

Overall 4/5