Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Derek Sullivan Rating: 4 out of 5

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K review – Nvidia GTX 970M & 870M versions

86 Comments

  1. Noel

    October 14, 2014 at 2:07 am

    So the power supplies can be swapped without any modding? Is that the Razer blade pro power brick?

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 14, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      That’s the power supply from the 14″ Razer Blade 2014. I’m pretty sure all their laptops use the same PSU. No mods necessary and it works fine. Expensive though…

  2. Newell

    October 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Great review. Haven’t seen very many reviews of systems with the 970M in them yet and this one’s very informative. There are still a few things I think you should include, though.

    Is there any chance you could include benchmark comparisons between the native 3k and the 1080p versions? I imagine that overall performance would be a lot better on a native 1080p display as opposed to 1080p on a native 3k display.

    I’d also like to know your opinion on whether or not you think 3k displays are worth the sacrifice in balanced performance.

    • Newell

      October 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Image comparisons between native 1080p and 3k would also be very helpful. Thanks.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 19, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      I don’t have the 1080p version anymore so I can’t directly compare the two, which is why I left it out of the review. I had the 870M version a while back though and I ran the same games with the same settings. The fps results were pretty much the same. I think scaling has come a long way, so you’re probably not going to see anything more than a few fps difference between native 1080p and scaled 1080p.

      My opinion on the 3k screen is it’s worth the sacrifice. If it were 4k, I would say no, but 200% scaling in Windows settings makes the 3k screen great for everyday use. The only major issue I face is playing old games at 3k, which usually results in tiny text(Dragon Age for example). It’s no big deal to downscale to 1080p in those cases though.

      I’ll put up some comparison images soon. I already took them, I just need to format them so it can be useful to compare between.

  3. Tyler Steck

    October 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I have loved the 3k screen on my laptop because it is the glossy instead of matte. After viewing the youtube video on the 3k screen it was easy to make the decision. Also as a note I do run my screen at 1080p because i have a standing work station and its hard to focus on the 3k pixel size. Also I don’t like the scaling because I have issues with some games at high resolution with the cursor disappearing (Although LOL is sweet at 3k and ultra). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGdYC1sXeK0

    Also the heating issue isn’t bad even with high/ultra. I just limit the max frame rate and my machine works admirably. Also it is great for work for supporting my two (2560 x 1440) screen and usb 3.0 1080p screen.

    I use the Razer power supply at home for my gaming (I leave the bulkier MSI one at work). It gets really hot after a nice gaming session but performs is great! It does have a .5v higher and lower amperage but hopefully I won’t have any issues. because both are a 150W supply.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 19, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      plus/minus .5V is typical in any power supply anyways, so you should be fine. Did you pay full price for yours or were you able to get a discount somewhere?

      • Tyler Steck

        October 19, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        Nope sorry my work purchased it. I directed them to the website. I didn’t see it listed anywhere else. I Would post 3D mark between the batteries but some of them don’t run properly.

    • Kevin

      November 19, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Tyler, how are you running your 2560×1440 screens? Are you using the HDMI port or the mini displayport? Thanks!

  4. Alex

    October 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Andrei referred me to you. How would you compare Lenovo Y50 to NX500 in terms of sound reproduction? I’ve had MSI GX660R and now in the market for a new stylish and more portable laptop with great speakers like on my previous MSI. Any recommendations?

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      To be fair, I reviewed the NX500 and found the speakers pretty good. However, they lacked bass imh, since there was no longer that external subwoofer included, which Asus bundled with the older UX51 model. On the other hand, I’m not really a reference when it comes to speakers and it doesn’t take a whole lot to make me happy. And I was content with these :)

      I’ll leave Derek add his impressions on the Y50.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 20, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      Never had the NX500, so I can’t directly compare the two. I did have the Q550LF, which had excellent sound with 4 front speakers and an external subwoofer. I really enjoyed that, but was pretty impressed with what Lenovo did with the Y50. The bass didn’t hit as low frequency or as hard as an external subwoofer but the sound quality was top notch. Having the speakers on the top really helped too.

      As for the GS60, the speakers are great but certainly a step below the Y50. Mostly because the bass vibrates more components on the GS60. My opinion is it has a lot to do with how the internals are put together. A couple things like the battery and HDD are not screwed in at all(basically held in by the casing) so they probably vibrate a little more. Another thing is the bass on the GS60 was audible as low as 50Hz while the Y50 cut off at 100Hz, which could be where some vibrations are coming from. There is also a lot of software tweaking to get the sound on the GS60 to my expectations while the Y50 was good right out of the box. I’d prefer speakers facing up, but the GS60 did o with the front side speakers in addition to the read speakers. Somehow, the surround sound is pretty convincing from what I’ve seen so far. I would never in a million years choose the Y50 over the GS60 though, even if the sound was better. Too many sacrifices to make in my opinion(poor screen, thicker, heavier, no expandable storage options, 860M, so-so trackpad, etc).

      • Alex

        October 22, 2014 at 10:03 am

        Thanks for your feedback. It sounds like Y50 has decent speakers, although it has many faults. I guess I’ll have to wait till NX500 comes out and try it for myself. Although I am not looking for perfect speakers – cause there aren’t any — it’s nice to have nice, detailed and fairly in-built speakers. I’ve seen many other laptops and frankly, I’ve always been left with an impression that the audio on laptops is one area where it gets overlooked. I think NX500 is something that might fit the bill, both aesthetically, acoustically and performance wise (although the GPU/CPU are outdated). I would have waiter a bit longer and buy one in 2015, but I need to get a new laptop in the next two months.

        • Andrei Girbea

          October 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

          You could try to listen to the Asus G551/ N551 (without the external woofer connected) in stores, if you can find them anywhere. imh those are pretty close to the NX500 I’ve tested a while ago.

          And I don’t think manufacturers are overlooking the Audio on laptops. If you’ll look at all the latest releases, pretty much everyone advertise their “superior” Audio, working with JBL, Bang and Olufsen, etc etc. However, with cases becoming thinner and thinner, there’s less and less room for the acoustic chambers. And without those, there’s no way to get solid audio imh. Especially bass.

      • James Deano

        October 25, 2014 at 11:26 am

        Hey mate , I just got my gs60 today and I was wondering what audio settings did you tweak to get a good quality (and loud) sound out of it. TBH the speakers are not that bad as people make them out to be but could use a little volume boost. Thanks alot !

        • Tyler Steck

          October 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm

          I haven’t had any issues with loudness there are a couple of things that I have done.
          Run the Sound Blaster Cinema 2 and turn on the surround sound then pump it up to (60)
          Also you can uncheck the Loudness Equilization in “sound” then right click on “Speakers” then look at Enhancements

  5. Kokouvi

    October 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Hi! Great review. One question, how blurry are the games at 1080p on the 3k screen? Or do they still look perfectly crisp and detailed?

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Games look the same to me as if they were on a native 1080p panel. There are people out there that say they can see a difference but I’m not one of them.

  6. Alex

    October 26, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Apologize for the delay, Andrei. I decided that I’ll wait till it’s released and see what people have to say about NX500. Would you be reviewing and updating your finished review when of NX500 when it comes? Just wondering.

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 27, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      I might not be able to get my hands on a final release, but I will update my post with links towards other reviews I consider consider good enough, as well as update certain chapters if the final unit proves to perform/behave differently than the unit I tested.

  7. Bilal

    October 28, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Just an FYI, the keyboard back-light can be adjusted in the 970M version atleast, its Fn and one of the numpad keys.

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Wow, you’re right – I didn’t even notice that! Mine is Fn + and Fn -. The 870M version was only on and off for me. I wonder now if it was a bad keyboard or if they actually changed it. Thanks for pointing that out.

  8. Ricky

    October 31, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Hi Derek,

    Thank you very much for the review which really convinced me to get one myself. Now that I’m a proud owner of one of those, would you mind elaborating a little bit on the trackpad firmware update and alternate driver? Could you post a link to where I could download them? MSI website itself? What is the version?

    Thank you!

    • Derek Sullivan

      October 31, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      The trackpad firmware update will be on MSI website itself. The drivers I use are some old Elan Samsung drivers. The only download link I have is here: http://goo.gl/Uwhgvj

  9. rob

    November 1, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    hi – good review. r u sure battery is 73Wh? on MSI website they only list 52Wh which is really putoff for me, given upcoming asus gx500 has 96wh!

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 3, 2014 at 1:38 am

      Yes, thanks for pointing that out. I corrected it.

  10. muhammad

    November 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Why would you use integrated graphic card instead of of GPU in steam? Im using GPU cause is showing orange light. So cant se why i should change that :/?

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 3, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      If you go into Nvidia Control panel, you can change the default card for each program there. Steam is one of the ones I change right away since I have it open on startup.

  11. rob

    November 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Rob again here (am about to buy one in 2 days – GS60 3k)- besides the battery question (52wh batt seem lowest out there, do they really put only 52wh batt?), do u guys know if gtx970m can be purchased with 6gb? 3gb seems kind of low for me these days..

    Thanks!

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      I’m sure it varies a little, but yes. Mine is 56.5 according to HWMonitor. The battery pack is literally a pack too(no hard heavy shell), which keeps the weight low. I didn’t pay too much attention when I opened the machine up, but it felt light like they could have made it a little bigger. There’s some potential to make an aftermarket battery that takes over the 2.5″ HDD bay but I doubt anyone will take that on.

      6GB vram models are starting to become available just now. You should start to see listings for them soon, depending on your area.

  12. Mike Adams

    November 9, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    You can get the Sager NP8651 with the same i7 and 970m for $1200. This is crazy overpriced.

    • Derek Sullivan

      November 10, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Maybe a little but there’s a lot of tradeoffs if you want to switch to that model. Also, the base model is $1200, but if you add a 4k screen, 16GB of ram and an additional 128GB SSD to match the specs of the GS60, it becomes $1700(quoted from Xoticpc). Add another $80 for the operating system. Then it’s a matter of having a thicker and heavier machine, which puts the GS60 in a slightly different class.

  13. Newell Albay

    November 10, 2014 at 7:46 am

    I think it’d be cool if you guys did comparisons between MSI’s GS60 Ghost and similarly spec’d rebranded MSI’s, like the Evo15-S from OriginPC. Would be pretty pricy, though, considering they’re boutique sellers.

  14. Jason

    December 4, 2014 at 1:51 am

    I went to place an order for this laptop today and unfortunately it is no longer available in Australia and has been replaced with the 4k screen.

    Really hoping that the 4k screen is on par with your review of the 3k one. Unfortunately little is know on it at the moment so it’s difficult to gather information on just how good it will be.

  15. Mike

    December 4, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Fantastic review!

    Have you been able to prolong the battery life by adjusting any of the settings for the gpu or anywhere else? If so, for how long? If the Razer Blade had 16gb available I would choose that; a 970m would be icing on the cake! What is your opinion or choice between this and the Blade?

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 8, 2014 at 2:11 am

      I haven’t really done much besides knowing to keep the brightness low and fooling with the advanced power settings to turn off turbo boost when in power saver mode. I’ve been able to stretch it past 4 hours but not by much and not all that often really. I’ve just gotten used to dealing with it but it would still be nicer to have a little more.

      I had the Razer Blade a while back. Given the choice now, I would choose the GS60 hands down. If the Razer Blade had a 970M(which I assume it will eventually), I would be a little more leaning towards the Blade but I still think I would choose the GS60. Gaming is better on a 15″ screen, num pad is nice and you have multiple storage options. Plus the 3k screen on the GS60 is a little nicer to look at in my opinion. Razer Blade’s build quality is so amazing though. It’s literally equal to a Macbook Pro.

  16. Jason

    December 9, 2014 at 3:57 am

    As far as build quality goes, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a razer blade how close is the msi? Debating between the two. Razer blade 2014 or a ghost pro 3k w/970. I just love the quality of Apple products and if they made a gaming Mac id already own one, and everyone compares the razer to the Mac pro. I plan on a about a 30-30-40% split between gaming, web browsing, and school work (PowerPoint, excell, word).

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      I’d say a 7.5-8. What kills it is the lid because of the plastic bezel. The lid is very thin, so the added plastic bezel allows zero support so there’s some flex when opening and closing at the corners. It’s not permanent or anything – my lid is still straight. If they opted to put a glass pane on the lid like Apple and Razer, it would be much more sturdy. The bottom half of the laptop is just as nice as the Razer Blade. All metal, feels solid and I’d even give it a bonus for being more rounded at the edges.

  17. Lloyd

    December 10, 2014 at 8:11 am

    How does the fan noise on the 970m model compare to other systems?
    Say, for instance, the Razer Blade 2014 and Lenovo Y50.

    I currently use a Sager np8258 (Clevo p157sm) with 780m, and as much as a like it, it sounds like a hair dryer while gaming.

    Was hoping my next upgrade can be slimmer and a BIT quieter at least :)

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 10, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      When I had the 870M version and the Blade at the same time, the fans were about the same. It might be a little better now since the fan’s don’t kick on as early as the 870M did. The Y50 is quieter but it’s an 860M and in a completely different league, in my opinion. The Y50 is also throttled out of the box so it will run cooler and quieter. If you did the same throttling to the GS60, you could probably make it that quiet.

      I’ve never had the np8258, but the 780M was a major bust so I’m assuming that since yours hasn’t overheated yet, you probably have an extremely large and effective fan. All these models are likely quieter than what you have. If you want to compare with numbers, play a heavy game and use a decibel measuring app on your phone. I took my readings from head and got a max 23 dB.

      • Lloyd

        December 11, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to reply Derek.

        23dB seems very reasonable. It’s in stark contrast to the typical reports the GS60 receives about being an above average loudness machine.

        I hope you review a HP Omen soon as I’m quite interested in this model and your reviews really are excellent.

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      Sorry – I said the 780M was a bust when I was thinking of the 880M. I’m actually not sure how big the 780M fan is but I’m assuming it was pretty large.

  18. Pavel

    December 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Bought 870M 3K Ghost two days ago. Was looking for NX500 / GX500, but the first is just about to hit the stores in neighbour countries, meanwhile in Ukraine it’s not even close yet. And the price equals top rMBP for pre-order (ASUS, what’ya smoking out there? Must be some heavy sh#t…) GX500 is even far from that as delayed due to some production issues or whatever. So I was just tired of waiting and then a bargain came out and I got this one for 1.5k only (running 16Gb RAM & 256 SSD Raid 0 + 1Tb HD).

    As for now, totally worth its price tag. Screen is impressive enough though it’s glossy, heat during my everyday work stuff is not disturbing. Was expecting some better keyboard in terms of travel, but maybe I’m just getting used to it. And it’s so amazingly lightweight and solid-like I first thought it’s a somekind’a user manual magazine when I opened the box.

    Wish there was a black or silver 970M model available, but there were only “limited” weird golden ones in the stores which is totally unacceptable for my work. Otherwise would go for it to. Still, I don’t run games for quite a while so I guess this is a just a perfect buck4value deal now.

  19. Michael

    December 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I just got approval from my work to spend $2,000 on a laptop. I think I can go over a little. The Office Manager said, “Not a gaming laptop”. Well, that just means I need to find one that doesn’t look too much like a gaming laptop. I want the Asus NX500 but its too much $. The MSI GS60 might be too “gamer”. I need help!

    • Derek Sullivan

      December 18, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I was in the same boat as you a few months ago. The NX500 was my ideal laptop but is far too expensive. The GX500 was my alternative but it’s been postponed indefinitely and there’s still the price that I believe will be too high for me. I ended up settling with the GS60 and just learned to make it work in a business environment. There are 3 things with the GS60 that make it too “gamer” for the business environment: the logo, colored keyboard backlight and the font. Other than that, you could totally get away with it. The backlight, you could always turn to white or turn off if you needed. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do with the font, but I haven’t had any comments on it at work(yet). I think the lid logo is the biggest giveaway and you have a few options. You could cover it up with a sticker, but there is a bulge to the shield, so it would stick out. You could also remove the shield and place a decal over it(might mess up your warranty though). There are also GS60 clones out there that have the exact same specs but different lids. The Origin EVO-15S, for example, has a very subtle look with gaming laptop specs.

      Alternative laptops are out there but they all have some sacrifices. The Y50 has a mild gamer look with an 860M but has horrible screen choices. The HP Omen looks almost professional except for the off colored WASD keys. The Acer V15 Nitro Black is probably the most subtle of the “gaming” class but now you’re pushing almost an inch thick. I’ve never reviewed the Omen and the V15 Nitro, so I can’t comment on them much. Reviews on the Omen have been pretty decent, so that might be an option. My stipulation would be how the keyboard looks with the backlight off, because having WASD keys that stand out is a dead giveaway for a gamer laptop.

      • Michael

        December 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

        Awesome response Derek! Just what I was looking for.

        I have been look at the Origin EVO-15s for the very reason of the front of the lid on the MSI GS60! I’m going back and forth, having a tough time. I have narrowed it down to:

        Origin EVO-15s – For the reasons you and I already mentioned.

        Gigabyte 34W v2 – I love that its a 14″, but doesn’t have 4k screen

        Asus ux303ln – I like that its really small, and still has 4k. The 840M might be tolerable because it is at least faster then integrated gpu’s. The battery life of 9+ hours is tempting!

        I only play DOTA 2 right now and not very often, however, I don’t because I don’t have anything that plays it well other then my desktop. I don’t plan on playing much more, but I sure do like being able to if I ever want to. I might be a little obsessed with future proofing the machine, hence my interest in the Origin.

        If I had the money i wanted i would go Origin and an iPad Air 2!

        • Andrei Girbea

          December 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm

          That UX303LN won’t last 9+ hours unless you keep it idle. More like 6, maybe 7 tops. And you do have to consider the faulty panel with skewed colors (especially yellows). Asus haven’t released a fix for that if I’m not mistaken, although they said they were working on it and was scheduled for November. On the other hand, it only sells for $1300 and that 840M is enough for Dota 2, unless you plan on playing at native res (if supported, I don’t know, haven’t played it in years).

        • Derek Sullivan

          December 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm

          The 840M should be able to handle Dota 2 just fine on the UX303LN. Just play in 1600×900 instead of 4k. The 970M will allow you to play at 3k with 60fps on ultra with no problems. My temps still run 70-75C for long sessions.

          • Michael

            December 18, 2014 at 7:50 pm

            I would love some extra battery life but, if the UX303LN won’t give me much more then the Origin or Gigabyte, then I might as well go big. If the UX303LN = 6.5Hrs, what should I expect from the Origin and Gigabyte?

            Also, there might be times when I need to use the laptop on my lap for work (1-2 hrs). Is this possible on the Origin and Gigabyte?

          • Andrei Girbea

            December 18, 2014 at 10:23 pm

            I haven’t tested those two so can’t comment, but I did test the UX303LN for quite a while, that’s why I jumped in.

          • Derek Sullivan

            December 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

            You won’t get anywhere near as much battery with the Origin or Gigabyte as the UX303LN. They all have similar sized batteries but the Quad core processors have a TDP of 47W while the Ultrabook processor in the UX303LN has a TDP of 15W. It makes a huge difference having the different processor, let alone having less hard drives to power, less ram, less fans, etc. That said, you will get about as much battery life out of the Origin unit as the GS60, which is about 3 hours tops if you manage your settings right. The gigabyte has a slightly larger battery and the P34G was pretty much on par with Razer, so the P34W should be similar. There’s no formal review that I know of yet, so I don’t know for sure.

  20. James Cygnus

    December 26, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I have the Ghost Pro 3K with the 870M and the fans on the GPU spin up to freight train levels within a minute of playing any game at 1920 x 1080, even on medium settings.

    Higher resolution are even worse. MSI support wanted me to check GPU temps, which ended up being impossible because no program could find the GPU sensors. I have a feeling there are some serious issues with this model – MSI now wants me to RMA this (I pay for shipping to them) so I’m now in the market for another laptop.

  21. Max

    January 6, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Awesome review! Read it through three times, super informative and very convincing!

    What is the best online store for me to buy one of these bad boys? I can’t seem to find one on amazon that offers the same specs that you mentioned.
    (Tried Newegg, can’t find anything either)

    Looking for:
    3k model, 970M, and 2 x 128gb RAM.

    Also, quick question: is 3gb of vram enough to cope with the 3k display?

    Thank you!

    • Jason

      January 6, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Not sure what country you are in Max but I was not able to buy the 3k model in Australia as it had been superseded with the 4k model.

      I’m using the 4k model and for what I need it doing ok but I’m not 100% sold as I was moving from a 15″ Retina MBP. The screen is not a Panasonic but a Samsung so this review isn’t valid in regards to the screen, this was actually my main reason for wanting the 3k model as Derek’s review of the screen had me sold. The 4k screen is 48Hz too not 60Hz, but this for me isn’t a huge issue but there is plenty of debate online about it.

      The main issue I am having is that DPI scaling in windows is just plain annoying. On my rMBP I never had one issue with an application installing or viewing any content online but under Windows you constantly get applications that do not scale correctly. I play World of Warcraft and the launcher is tiny, YouTube in a browser the play button and controls are so small you can hardly get the mouse to hit stop or change the quality and possibly the worst application is VMware Workstation 11. My work VM (Windows 7) under VMware Fusion on OS X ran like a dream not the case on this laptop. You could specify it not to take the host graphic resolution (retina 2880×1800) and full screen it would use 1440×900, I could Apple(alt) – Tab across from the VM back to OS X and then tab back, you can forget it under Windows as the host OS.

      The constant reminder that with a AU$2800 laptop that the operating system is a borked hunk of junk really has me thinking of selling this laptop and going back to a rMBP.

      Is 3GB vram enough for 4k? I would of got the 6GB version had it of been an option in Australia but it wasn’t, but it plays WoW, World of Tanks, 7 Days to Die, Star Wars- The Old Republic and Diablo 3 fine for me.

      Cheers.

      • James Cygnus

        January 7, 2015 at 9:56 pm

        You’re comparing apples to coconuts… No Apple product even comes remotely close to the role that this notebook fills. Macs never have been and never will be, gaming systems. Period.

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      I read the 3k models are being phased out and being replaced by 4k, which is unfortunate. The 4k screen they are using is stuck at 48Hz, and from my experiences with the Y50 it’s not all that great. It uses a RGBW pentile display made by Samsung which is much different than the typical RGB IPS displays we see in other laptops. I haven’t heard confirmation from 4k GS60 owners yet, but the Y50 had much different looking yellows than your average IPS display. They were a little darker and looked off. Given the choice, I would take a FHD screen over the 4k. The main reason is the scaling issues on 4k bring it to the intolerable level. Legacy applications are impossible to use and/or read without major effort. With the 3k display, the scaling is not ideal but is certainly tolerable when you set everything to max(200% I think) in windows display settings. On top of that, playing games in 4k is pretty much out of the question since your card is driving 2x the pixels when compared to 3k and 4x when compared to FHD(1080p).

      That said, there are still 3k models out there in stock. Might want to grab one while you can if you’re set on 3k. I didn’t find a 2x 128GB option either but I did find a 256GB option here: Amazon GS60-3K Xotic PC is a pretty well known custom retailer and they claim they can make upgrades without voiding the warranty. This might be a better option than the RAID version imho. From my experience, when RAID is enabled, boot times typically get higher. You also increase the likelihood of disk failure while adding only minimal real life disk speed. At least with the model in that link, you’d have a spare M.2 slot open for future upgrades.

      As for your Vram question, I think for most people 3GB will be enough. The only game I have found so far that uses more than 3GB of Vram is Shadow of Mordor. The thing is, I can’t play it on max settings anyways, so it doesn’t matter. I get about 50-55fps on high settings at 1080p resolution and it looks fantastic. I think many future games will utilize 6GB of Vram but since the 970M will likely not be able to handle it on Ultra settings anyways, it doesn’t matter. If I had the choice of 6GB(which I didn’t in the US), I certainly would have taken it just for the heck of it. Hope this helps.

      • Max

        January 7, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        Thanks for your fast and detailed response Derek!

        One last thing:
        I’d like to know your opinion on whether or not I should get the 3K version on this 15.6″ laptop.

        I’ve read that FHD is more than enough for this and it’s also cheaper for better specs. You have the 3K model, do you think it’s really worth it to get the 3k version based on your experience with it? Or is it equally good to get a FHD version with let’s say 2x128gb SSD and 6gb Vram?

        I’d really like to have a beautiful display to game on and i guess what i’m asking is if 3k is really much more of an upgrade from FHD on a 15.6″ screen after scalling?

        Thanks once again!

        • Derek Sullivan

          January 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

          It’s really a matter of preference. After seeing the Zenbooks last year with the 2560×1440 display, I’ve been hooked on finding an Ultrabook that can play games and have a high res screen. Unfortunately everyone skipped that res this year and went straight to 4k, which no mobile processor can decently game on. So the 3K GS60 was close enough for me, and given the screen size difference between it and the Zenbook Infinity, the pixel density is virtually the same. Some will argue that you don’t need 3k because you can’t tell the difference on a 15″ panel. Most of them likely have never seen the 3k/4k display and/or need glasses(true possibility – my friend at work couldn’t understand what I was talking about until he got his first pair of glasses about a month ago. He was shocked at the difference). I’ve used the FHD and 3k panels on the GS60 and the 4k panel on the Y50. I 100% agree with Jason’s comment on the issues with the 4k panel. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone. The difference between rMBP and Windows machines is Apple was READY for high ppi displays. Microsoft basically put a band-aid on it with Windows 8.1 and left the legacy software in the dark. Hopefully Windows 10 will be better but that’s months away and there is no certainty. 3k is better but still has slight scaling issues that I tolerate: like Steam chat windows being super small when playing a game at 3k and the Origin app being kind of small. The media controls on WMP are smaller but it’s nowhere near as bad like in Jason’s case with 4k. It’s still usable and the pros outweigh the cons for me. It might not feel that way for everyone though which is why I say it’s really a matter of preference.

          One thing that might aid in your decision is if you don’t like 3k, you can certainly just set the resolution to 1080p and run the laptop like that. Some claim there is distortion but I literally can’t tell the difference. I zoomed in with a DSLR and took pictures at 3k, 3k on FHD settings and a native FHD panel of the same size. I couldn’t tell a reasonable difference between the native FHD and the 3k at FHD. I also play quite a few games at FHD and am not disappointed or annoyed one bit. I’d guess if you spent a good amount of time using productivity software and the web, you’ll be quite happy with the 3k version. If you primarily game, you’ll probably prefer the FHD, mainly because the library of games you can play in 3k isn’t that large. Also if you prefer matte and/or use it outdoors a lot, you’ll want the FHD. The beauty of this laptop is it was made for people who do a little bit of everything. I still use this laptop for almost everything I do. The only exception is on an airplane which I use an 11″ Ultrabook. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  22. Max

    January 9, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Thanks Derek and Jason!

    I’ve decided to go with the FHD version for the 6gb Vram and more storage.

    Buying it off Amazon at this link if anyone’s interested:
    amazon.com/Custom-Pro-064-256GB-Notebook-Upgraded-i7-4710HQ/dp/B00PHS7QNO/
    Cheers everyone!

    Thanks for the review once again Derek!

  23. butch

    January 17, 2015 at 10:25 am

    hey. I got a some small problem on my msi gs60 3k, because it comes in point that its laging and suddenly turns to blue screen and go back after a few seconds.

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      I’ve never had that problem and have never heard of anyone in the forums having it either. It could be software or hardware but would take some testing to identify which. You should probably consult MSI and/or your retailer for a possible repair or replacement. That’s certainly not normal behavior.

  24. DN

    January 17, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Thanks for the review! I just got one of these and the trackpad leaves much to be desired. In fact, I am seriously considering returning the thing (using a Macbook for work has sort of spoiled me with trackpads). Could you share where you got the alternative drivers for the trackpad? Thanks!

    • Derek Sullivan

      January 19, 2015 at 1:42 am

      This is the driver I use. http://goo.gl/Uwhgvj
      You might also want to make sure your firmware is up to date.

      Note that even with this driver, it will never be as good as your Macbook’s trackpad. I’ve certainly gotten used to it over the past few months but if I had to go back and forth between great trackpads and this one, I would probably be annoyed with it.

  25. Mikell

    February 24, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I’ve done at least a full time job week’s worth of research to find the perfect gaming laptop. My budget is virtually unlimited at this point in time, so imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the perfect gaming laptop doesn’t exist.

    Obviously I’m using the term “perfect” loosely, but basically something that was thin, light, cool, and super powerful, with good battery life. Sadly everything suffers in one area or another but I had it narrowed down to 3 or 4 picks and I have to say Derek, this review is what nudged me over to make the MSI my final choice. Such a well written and thorough piece. Thank you so much.

    Just in case you were interested, I was down to the Alienware 15, the Aorus x7pro, the Gigabyte P35x, and this guy. Alienware was too big and heavy, Aorus to hot and lous, Gigabyte WAY too hot, and very blah looking. The GS60 really seems to have it all, at least as much as a modern gaming laptop can. Only real downside seems to be the weak battery, but of all things that was my lowest priority. Battery was gonna suck no matter what, so this one sucks a little more, no big deal lol.

    Anyway, thanks for this. I’m confident this is the right solution for me.

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 24, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Glad to have been of help! I feel your pain – there is no perfect gaming laptop yet, but this one still fits my needs as well. Battery life is a big loser for this one but I keep an Ultrabook on standby for when I need it(which isn’t that often).

      • Mikell

        February 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm

        Hey, thanks for the reply!

      • Mikell

        February 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm

        Oh, also in getting the 064 variation, had the gtx970m 6GB

  26. Michael

    March 1, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I am confused about the fan system.
    You say that there is only ONE fan while the product description on the MSI website talks about a Dual Fan Thermal Cooling System..(msi.com/product/nb/GS60-2QE-Ghost-Pro.html)
    I looked at different models of the GS60 Ghost Pro on the MSI website and I always found 2 fans.
    Is it an error?
    Thanks

    • Mikell

      March 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      I didn’t catch that but as far as I know it’s two fans but they are independent. One is for the CPU and the other for the GPU and they can’t help each other.

      • Michael

        March 1, 2015 at 10:56 pm

        I think I misread the review. It is 1 fan to cool EACH so there are still 2 fans. I just thought the review said there is only 1 fan in total.

        I can see in your comment that you chose the GS60 Ghost Pro with the 970m.
        How is it going so far? I am also looking at the new Gigabyte P35.

        I’m looking for a laptop where the fans will not be constantly running when I just browse the internet or things like that.

        • Mikell

          March 2, 2015 at 5:25 am

          I was considering the P35 as well, it looks to be more powerful with that 980m but from what I’ve read it also gets much hotter because of it. Like, it has a worse cooling system and generates more heat to the point where where after like 10 minutes of a modern game on high settings the back middle and right (where the card is) is too hot to touch.

          So I’d you’re gonna be on a desk or hard surface all the time, it’s got extra muscle, but for my purposes or wouldn’t work. It does have superior battery life though.

          Haven’t gotten in yet. In fact I only just placed my order with XoticPC on Friday so they won’t even process it until Monday. Will most likely be another week or two till I have it. But I will gladly come back here and let you know what I think I’d you’re willing to wait that long to decide.

          • Michael

            March 2, 2015 at 11:57 pm

            Yes I agree, I am not interested in the 980M either.
            However the P35 also has the options of a 965M or a 970M on XoticPC.
            Did you find out that the P35 still gets much hotter with those?
            Thanks

          • Mikell

            April 16, 2015 at 3:21 am

            Okay so I don’t know if anyone is gonna see this but after a moderate debacle with XoticPC that I won’t get into here (hint: by from someone else), I have my brand new Gs60 Ghost Pro 2k. Decked it out with two 256gb ADATA m.s SSDs in RAID 0 for my OS and games, a 500GB Crucial MX500 SSD for my files and media, 16GB of 1833mhz Crucial Ballistics RAM, and of course the GTX970M.

            I absolutely love it. Typing from it right now and it’s easily the best laptop keyboard I’ve ever used. The trackpad definitely needed the software update (it seriously sucked ass before it), but once it was updated it works really well, very smooth and responsive and accurate. It’s SOOOOOO light. My Lenovo U430 touch feels almost twice as heavy. The footprint is definitely larger than average for a 15.6 inch laptop but it’s so thin and so light, the increased size simply won’t matter. It feels solid, premium, and looks sexy as hell.

            Heat is not a problem at all, though admittedly I haven’t played anything extremely demanding. But it’s very comfortable, very quiet, the speakers are very good, the display is gorgeous, and it’s so blazing fast with everything it’s stupid. Like seriously, some of my games that used to take 20 to 30 seconds to load on my previous laptop (that had a hybrid drive) load in less than 5 seconds. And I’m talking levels/maps while playing. I’m running some sort of demanding games; Homeworld Remastered, Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion (big maps), Supreme Commander Forged Alliance, Skyrim with quite a few graphics mods, etc. at absolutely MAX settings with no framerate issues or stuttering or slowdown of any kind.

            Yes, battery life kind of sucks. But what can you do? If I’m babying it and basically just word processing and internet browsing at low brightness I can get close to 3 1/2 hours. Gaming I get an hour or so, so most reviews have it right.

            It’s good enough honestly. I used it for a little over and hour one day, closed it, let it turn off, used it for an hour and 40 minutes or so the next day, closed it, let it turn off, then used it for about an hour the third day (all just browsing and typing emails and social media and stuff) and still have 18% left when I finally decided to charge it.

            Anyway, this is already too long lol sorry but this is the most amazing piece of technology I’ve ever owned, I have ZERO complaints.

  27. Mikell

    March 3, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    @Michael no reply button for your comment for some reason.

    I didn’t know that! O_0

    I believe you have a really tough decision lol. This is only from stuff I’ve read (though I’ve read quite a lot) but basically it seems to look like this

    Performance: Tie (970m on both)
    Screen MSI
    Battery Life: Gigabyte
    Temperatures: Tie (with the 970m on the gigabyte)
    Portability: MSI (thinner and lighter)
    Expandability:Gigabyte (can have an optical drive, which is pretty amazing)
    Design: MSI (completely subjective)

    Basically it’s a toss up. MSI is thinner and lighter with a slightly better screen. Gigabyte has better battery life and more drive options. Good luck picking between that!

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Did you read any reviews on the screen to confirm what the model is? I just assumed it was the same panel as the GS60 since there are hardly any choices for a 2880×1620 screen. There’s also a glossy and matte version. I’ve read the FHD panel is really nice and bright(400 nits). I’ve been contemplating trying one out but it would be an expensive switch for me and I really don’t have a whole lot of complaints for the GS60.

      • Mikell

        March 7, 2015 at 8:30 pm

        Sorry man, didn’t notice this before, as far as I know it’s a 3k IPS matte but the color depth and reproduction and brightness isn’t as good as the panel MSI uses.

  28. Soso

    March 5, 2015 at 10:22 am

    I’m considering this laptop (GS60 line) for my next software development machine. I planned to buy the configuration with 2*128GB SSD in RAID 0 mode because I assumed it would be faster for boot and overall usage (Visual Studio, lots of small files). Based on your review it does not seem to be the case. Can you give more details? Because if what you are saying is true, then I’ll go with the configuration that includes only the 1 TB HDD, no SSD, (it’s cheaper) and then replace the HDD with a Samsung 850 SSD.
    Thanks.

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      The only thing I can think of is the fast boot option was not set up correctly in my bios. It SHOULD have booted faster but it seems like it got hung up on the RAID screen for a few seconds, which is why it was slightly slower than the non-raid configuration. In many UEFI menus, the fast boot option is enabled, which bypasses many of the checks to provide a quicker boot. There may be that setting and it may actually boot faster, but I don’t have that configuration set up anymore to test it further.

      That said, the SSD included is not the greatest for small files anyways. The built in latency with RAID controllers sometimes drops the 4k read speeds and that is the case here. 18MB/s is nothing to write home about. A single SSD option would be a better choice for you since you deal with the small files. Except for sequential R/W, the Evo 840 has better speeds over the build in RAID 0 config in every other category. I wasn’t aware they sold a non-ssd version. If I purchased my unit today, I would probably go with that one. I currently have a 1TB Evo 840(boot) + the SSDs in my unit and I would have loved to save money and have the empty bays to put better M.2 drives in it in the future. This should not the case for most people though, because the M.2 bays are super hard to get to(requires almost a full disassembly).

      • Mikell

        March 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        Great response!

        I loaded up all three slots, 2 m.2 ADATA 256gb SSDs I’m raid 0 for boot and games, and another 500gb corsair mx200 500gb SSD for everything else. Did quite a bit of research to see what would work best. Hopefully it plays out like I imagine. One of the best things about the SSDs is the low heat and power draw.

      • Soso

        March 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

        The model you have probably comes only with SSD, but I’m looking to other models in GS60 series that come only with HDD and a mid range video card. It will be used mainly connected to an external monitor so the FullHD screen is fine for me.

    • Steck

      March 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      I have been using this machine as my main development machine for 6 months now and absolutely love it! I used to use a z800 with dual CPU, PCIe SSD, and running 5 displays. I have the 128 x2 Raid 0 ssd and it performs amazing (10 sec bootup in my tests when I had auto-login setup). The build and file copy are so fast I don’t notice them too much. I do place most of my development files on my 1TB HDD which isn’t optimal fast but haven’t really had any issues. I wish I had the 256 x 2 mSata drives because I seem to have to clean up my root drive because I have just 1 VM on there and everything required for the system to run.

      The only downside to this laptop is the trackpad is not a top performer. One thing to mention is the fan noise is not too bad especially when compared to my co-workers MacBook Pro Retina 13″. Plus it is nice that I can jump on Titanfall & BF4 with my co-worker during lunch :) Feel free to reply and I can get you some more information on my setup. BTW I use 4 screen (main 1080p, hdmi 2560×1440, mdp->hdmi 2560×1440, and usb display 1920×1200).

      • Steck

        March 5, 2015 at 3:27 pm

        Sorry correction 15 sec bootup to the desktop. Then maybe 25 till all my startup actions are done. I hardly ever just leave my laptop in sleep because of how fast the bootup is. Ohh one other really wierd quirk on my laptop and if anyone else has this let me know. If I hold the left shift and type something like HOME then the “M” doesn’t register unless I wait a second before pressing the key. Please if someone else has this issue. If I type without holding shift no problem.

      • Mikell

        March 5, 2015 at 5:39 pm

        That is a serious set up, this thing really is a beast. Do you notice an increase in speed in any other areas besides the boot up time with the RAID 0? Do you install your games to the RAID drives?

        • Steck

          March 5, 2015 at 6:47 pm

          Everything is very responsive as far as windows is concerned. I don’t install my games to the main drive because of the space but I am able to play games great… I beat my friend into every game. The biggest things is a nice GPU and plenty of ram for the game. I have played with the under and overclocking but eventually gave up on it because it was more trouble than it was worth. If I was only using it for gaming I would just leave on the overclocking and not worry about the noise… but since I want both it was not worth fine-tuning it. The WIFI works great for me no concerns there and I bought a razer power supply so I had a lighter one to carry around and leave the other one at work.

          • Mikell

            March 5, 2015 at 9:53 pm

            Right yeah I doubt I’ll ever bother with over and under clocking. Good idea getting the razer power brick.

            I’m betting that if windows is more responsive/a little snappier on the RAID then any home a game installed there has to load and read info from the mSATAs it will decrease those times, which is great. Less time loading, more time playing, and I’ll get more time actually in game on battery. That’s the plan anyway. I know a lot of these things create very minor differences but every little bit helps and adds up. Thanks for the reply!

  29. Caleb

    March 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Hey, great review! my main concern is what the fan volume may be. I am planning on taking this to college and just want to make sure the fan is not too loud for the times that I may be bringing it to class. As a note, I am looking at the 970m version

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