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MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 3K Gold Edition

What you see before you is a slim 1.9 kg gaming notebook. At a hair under 2 cm in girth, this is yet again a notebook for those who truly want portability and comfort above all else. From where we sit, there’s really no reason for any gaming notebook to be thicker or heavier. MSI once again strikes gold with the dimensions to say the least.

Before we go into what makes this a fantastic gaming notebook, let’s talk about the “gold” finish on it. It looks wonderful in pictures and it is strangely appealing as well, but we’re not sure how robust this gold finish would turn out to be in say 12 months. Perhaps a brushed aluminium package would have been a better choice. It does also come in a regular black finish, so if gold isn't really your personal taste then you have an alternate colour option to go with.


Right then, let’s talk about what makes this a worthwhile gaming notebook over everything else on the market. For one, it is powered by the latest Maxwell GPU in the form of the GTX 970M. Obviously it does not have the full complement of render outputs and so forth as presented on the desktop part, but it has plenty of advances over the outgoing Kepler (800 series) models to warrant your attention. Simply put, it packs more of a punch than the GTX 880M.

That’s right, for a lower TDP and subsequently longer battery life, it offers higher performance than last month’s GT72. It isn’t worlds apart but it’s enough to play Tomb Raider, at the ultimate graphics setting (apart from TressFX) at a solid 64.4fps in FHD. That is plenty of performance right there and to put that in context, it outclasses a highly overclocked desktop GTX 750 Ti by some margin which only manages 54fps. Why this matters is because in the previous generation, the GTX 870M for instance was not capable of matching this desktop GPU, falling short by around 10%.

With all this power, it means you can play every game there is on the market at 1080p at high to maximum detail levels Stay away from the antialiasing though as memory bandwidth is about half of what is available on the desktop model at 120 GB/s on the mobile GPU.

Directly related to your gaming experience is the 3K IPS panel that MSI has chosen for this model. More specifically this is a 2880x1640 display that is a sight to behold. Much like all IPS panels it has precise colour reproduction even at the most steep viewing angles. It is distortion free and is the most notable qualitative aspect of this machine. The higher resolution doesn't do much for desktop real estate as you’re dealing with 15.6” of space. Also do keep in mind that you'll not be able to play modern games at this native resolution as our performance in Tomb Raider literally halved to 32.2fps. As such, you're better off sticking solely to 1080p. It also would have probably made more sense for MSI to stick with an FHD IPS panel of the same quality as well, that way you’re never getting any interpolation when looking at the game image. Regardless, this is still a great combination of display
and cutting edge GPU technology.

MSI have facilitated the process of configuring the machine for the right situation as well. You can pick between three modes which dictate power, battery life and the amount of heat generated. Performance is scaled accordingly and all this can be selected with a combination of the function and F-number keys. How this works with NVIDIA’s own power saving mechanism in limiting frame rates isn’t clear, but there may be an opportunity to use both mechanisms to further extend battery life for those gaming sessions on the go.

Usability outside of the gaming context is always going to be very subjective. What we can say for sure is that there are a few shortcomings here and could just be a simple oversight. For instance, the “Caps” key has no light that indicates its status. That is, despite the entire keyboard being backlit, this was somehow not thought about. So you have lights, but they only work in a gaming environment. Furthermore, the keyboard on the GT72 spoiled us because it is housed on a separate piece of material than the casing, thus it has no flex at all when you push on it. However this isn’t the case here, but it’s understandable because the notebook is just so slim. There's literally no place to put it.

Audio sounds pretty much like all the previous notebooks with sound from DynAudio.  It’s adequate but hardly worth mentioning other than that it’s powered by Sound Blaster Cinema 2 software. It’s best experienced through headphones and gaming that way works well along with watching movies and listening to music this is provided you have a set of semi good cans.

Locally, MSI will be bundling a mouse with this notebook which isn’t the case in other regions, and we do appreciate this. At £1899 it would be a travesty to not bundle such a basic peripheral with it, especially since it’s a gaming notebook and there’s no way you’d be gaming on the trackpad, despite how great it is. This isn’t the direct successor to the original GS60 Ghost we reviewed some months ago, but given just how close the two are in pricing, there’s really no reason for you to consider the other model. If you can get this in the original black or don’t mind the gold then this is certainly the notebook you should be buying. Once you’ve used the Ghost Pro it’ll be hard to use anything else as most notebooks will seem underpowered, heavy and just lacking in performance and display quality. From a technical standpoint this is near perfect for this form factor and you can hardly go wrong with a purchase here. Design wise, some things could have been executed better, but they don't serve to detract from the overall quality of the product.

If anything, the GS60 2QE Ghost Pro 3K Gold Edition is a testament to MSI’s commitment to making gaming notebooks that stand out from the rest. This model proves once again just how far ahead MSI is of the competition.

8/10

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