Ryzeki's MSI GT60 2OD-026US review! Haswell plus 780m :D

Discussion in 'MSI' started by ryzeki, Jun 19, 2013.

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  1. ryzeki

    ryzeki Moderator Moderator

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    The new GT series from MSI are set to conquer the gaming world. As a company, MSI has been aggresively attacking every market they can set their eyes on. The new generation MSI laptops coming from the GE, GX, GS and GT series bring portable powerhouses for all kinds of users. The GT series in particular, represent the top of the line in terms of hardware. This also mean they are the thicker of the various series.
    The laptop being reviews today is the GT60 2OD-026US. I acquired this laptop from GentechPC, which is one of the many resellers that post on these forums, and quite possibly one of the better known around here. Ken Lee, the man behind GentechPC on the forums, was the man who attended my purchase from beginning to end, and provided incredible service, as always. If you are considering buying a laptop from the many stores/boutiques and places of the world, I suggest you first take a look at the great resellers that participate on this forum, because their service, in my experience, is invaluable compared to any type of warranty you get elsewhere.
    GentechPC made sure I got my laptop shipped quickly, configured as follows:

    • Core i7-4700MQ (Free paste job with ICD24!)
    • 16GB DDR3 RAM @1600mhz
    • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
    • nVidia GeForce GTX780m with 4GB GDDR5 vRAM (Free paste job with ICD24!)
    • 15.6inch Matte type 1920x1080 60hz display
    • 2.1 Dynaudio Sound system
    • Killer Ethernet+Wifi
    • Steelseries Keyboard with configurable backlit LED colors.

    The combination of all these components get you a well balanced gaming laptop, with strong hardware to push through your games with maximum brute force. Sound, keyboard, wireless/wired conectivity, CPU and GPU performance, build quality, screen, even SSD for usability, this laptop series means you simply have all areas covered with great quality all around. Noting is missing when it comes to features or hardware.
    Box and contents

    The laptop comes in a double box bundle. The outer box seems like a run of the mill box, nothing in particular standing out. The inner box, however, is quite impresively designed. Greeting you is a full black box with a dragon design. The contents are carefully placed to ensure protection of the notebook and to avoid scratches. The laptop itself comes inside a black sleeve, and the screen is protected additionally by a white sleve. Packed incomes the laptop, a battery pack, driver dvds and the AC adapter. You can see in dept unboxing screens and videos from users/resellers, like this one:
    MSI GT60 2OC 2OD Haswell Refresh Unboxing and Showcase w/ Benchmarks - YouTube

    IMPORTANT! Be sure to register your laptop within 30 days of purchase for full warranty coverage at MSI website! User Talon brought to my attention this important detail, and it's important to let all my readers know this: The standard warranty of this machine is a 2 year warranty along a 1 year accidental warranty. However! You must register within the first 30 days of purchase to obtain the 1 year accidental warranty so make sure you do register at the site!! Moreover the standard 2 year warranty will begin as soon as you register, otherwise you will be subject to day of production as a beginning date.

    Take the time to register and keep your new toy safe!

    Build quality and aesthetics
    I have used this type of laptop for a while now. Physically, the dimensions, size and overall distribution are very similar to the days of the Asus initial G50 series. The MSI GX660R and first gen GT60 used this type/size of body. Back then, while it was a sturdy machine, presented flexing on the keyboard and on the screen bezel. I am happy to see the GT60 presents neither of this. The overall build quality is excellent and strong. The plastic chasis is sturdy, and the added aluminum palm rest and back cover enhance that feeling. If my previous GT70 barebones and GX660R are any indication, this laptop will stand the test of time regarding abuse, as I used mine as a field engineer for nearly 3 years, and it was still in very good condition. This is the same base design that MSI has been using. Well, as they say, if it ain't broken, don't fix it?

    Aesthetics wise, I believe this laptop looks gorgeous. Unlike my GX660R, this time around the GT series look much more serious. The lights and tones are elegant, and the overall finish looks very sleek. As a gaming notebook, it looks amazing, but as a notebook in general, I would say it simply seems... elegant. People complain about gaming machines with childish or too edgy aesthetics. Even the GX660R was at fault with this, considering it almost had a light show whenever you played games or music. But I think this laptop is something you can even use at work and feel good about it. I have done so, and I have had very good feedback from my coworkers and gaming friends alike.
    The only things one could improve in aesthetics is to make it look thinner. This is really a great looking, sturdy, well built machine.

    I personally like the darkish look of the machine, makes it look good, serious and elegant! Look!

    Keyboard & Touchpad
    Each new MSI laptop I use, brings improvements on the keyboard. I fell inlove with my original GX660R keyboard but it lacked backlight. They improved that with the next generation and I thought that they were perfect. But this time, the steelseries keyboard brings a nice tactile feedback to each keystroke. Added that is the built in control for the LED backlight to use whatever suits you best style and you have an amazing keyboard that types exactly what you want, when you want it. I did not get any missing keystroke typing this review up.

    The only way to improve a laptop keyboard is to go fully mechanical, but that's just up to personal preference. To me, this might be as good as it gets on gaming keyboards for laptops. This is a 10/10 keyboard on it's own for quality.


    Notes: When using max "brightness" on the keyboard such as to get white color, it is normal to see a greenish tint on some of the keys like spacebar, CTRL keys etc. You can see them on my pic that it happens to me and it has been reported by everyone.

    The touchpad is functional, although a bit smaller in size. It is able to perform multiple gestures according to the drivers but I rarely use them. One of the caveats of this machine is that while typing, the touchpad is disabled. It also can be disabled if you use a mouse. I suspect the reason this was programmed was because there was some "issues" of people gaming which normally uses the WASD keys, and accidentally touching the touchpad, misfiring or causing erratic movement while gaming.

    I am looking into it to see if there is a way to reenable touchpad+typing.

    I want to start by saying that this is the best stock screen I have used on a ny laptop so far in my life. Not counting upgrades or possible choices while configuring, this stock screen is pretty good. Ever since I started using the GT70 barebone, I grew acustomed to matte type screens. My previous 15 inchers have had mediocre screens, last three of which opted for the infamous AUOv5 panel if I remember correctly.

    In short: Colors are great, resolution is good for this screen size, contrast and viewing angles are good enough but vertical angles suffer the most. All in all, this screen keeps an excellent sweet spot for viewing, showing excellent vibrant colors and contrast. All the games I have tried and software I have used looks amazing, and it's among the better screens I have used in general. I doubt this screen will disappoint anyone, and even if you want the best of the best, you would be hard pressed to hate on this one.

    Sound - produced by speakers
    After using Dynaudio speakers for the first time back in 2010, it has since become a mandatory component for me. Sound quality is amazing, reproduction is crystal clear and loud enough to be enjoyable. Sound Blaster software brings modifications that can enhance your experience by switching between modes like surround or perhaps enhance the bass a bit in your music. Equipped with a 2.1 sound system, current MSI offerings bring quite possibly the best in class sound of any laptop so far in the market.

    Sound - Noise by fan
    Surprisingly, this is one rather silent laptop. Using windows around, browsing the net, typing this review or being in general productive, the sound, or lack thereof, was quite pleasant. Even the clicky sound of the keystrokes are somewhat diminished in a way that it feels nice to type. Fan spins slowly while hardly taxing the system. As soon as you use software, web pages, or any sort of taxing games, fan starts to spin. And even then.... it's still low noise.
    That is, of course, due to particular changes in how the cooling system works. First, we have a different threshold for fan speed per temp. And secondly, we have a thermal bridge uniting the CPU and GPU Heatsinks. Providing you are using Optimus, the discrete GPU will remain practically shutdown, and it's heatsink will aid in cooling for the CPU. This allows the fan to take less to cool down components.

    Turbofan, however, is quite the jet engine. It is quite loud on its own, and at first it might seem like an excessive feature, but it just might be one of the better features on the laptop. As an overclocker, I have grown excited to what it enables me to game with, to the point in which I welcome and embrace the jet sound with excitment.

    But as nice as the low sound of the fan is for a gaming laptop, it has its drawbacks. This will be covered in the Temperature section.

    Usability, Windows 8 and built in software.
    They say first impressions are the most important. I disagree. Were they true, I would have uninstalled Windows 8 on a heartbeat. In order to sum up my initial experience, it was awe, followed by excitment, and all dragged down by frustration. Windows 8 made Windows be more difficult to use for the usual experienced user. Doing simple tasks like uninstalling software, finding apps or checking device manager all had new ways of being stumbled upon. Things were changed unnecessarily so. However... after using Windows 8 for a week now, you get used to it, and I discovered a fundamental flaw in the system. As a new user, I am doing all in my power to stay away from the Start menu. Growing accustomed to Windows 8, I discovered I can simply start typing what I am looking for, and skip altogether the Start menu.

    Gamingwise.... I was under the impression that Windows 8 was stable and smooth running. Truth be told, booting is fast, and the interface is very responsive. But for games? Turns out using GFWL might be troublesome to people. Unlike in windows 7, my GFWL games did not work initially. This was due to the GFWL client not being properly installed, and after installing, it was not launching with the games, causing them to crash, or to simply not loading saved games, like Batman Arkham City.

    I have researched the issue and it seems to be widespread. I am currently testing the solutions and I will report back once I have them running, which should be soon as the issue seems to be to simply install the GFWL client first and then the games that use it.

    UPDATE: To properly install Windows GFWL client, make sure to first install the client via Microsoft's page directly, and excecute the installer both as compatibility for Windows 7 and as administrator. Then reboot. Afterwards, install the games you have and they should work. If you already have Marketplace and the client installed, uninstall them, reboot, and follow instructions again!

    It's not all bad. Booting is fast, using the OS feels snappy, and general transitions are all smooth. Changing between screens or menus is quick in general. You do get used to it, and quite frankly I will keep using it, but personally Windows 7 has my heart still. I will not attempt to downgrade as I don't feel the need, but if any user does it, let's just say I would understand.

    All in all, even if Windows 8 is at first scary or bothersome, it's not horrible and it is definitely usable. The laptop, equipped with an SSD, makes things fast enough to keep you focused on yout tasks. The roomy 1TB drive helps you install all your games and media so that the SSD makes software load quickly, while content sits comfortably onthe large drive.

    I say, give it a try in Windows 8 before considering downgrading to Windows 7. Maybe in the long run, it will be beneficial? Who knows!

    UPDATE: I caved in and installed Classic Shell. I recommend it if you want to make Windows 8 feel more... like a desktop OS. IT makes Windows 8 similar to win7 and so far everything works great. I am still baffled behind the design decisions of windows 8 apps but if you ignore them, it's as solid as Windows 7 somewhat. Except some games don't work yet (for me, Warhammer 40k Space marine).

    Performance Benchmarking
    Equipped with a next gen Core i7-4700MQ and an nVidia GTX 780m, one expects the best of the best in gaming. And rightfully so. This beast screams performance, and it shows. In this section I will mainly focus on 3dmark 11 and 3dmark Firestrike, which are the latest benches that show the muscles of this laptop. I will show a stock run and an overclocked (heavily so) run. Stock scores are with the laptop run as is, out of the box. Clocks will vary due to Turbo boost, but generally the notebook operates around 850mhz core and 2500mhzx2 (1250x4) memory. Overclocked scores will be run at 980mhz core and 3000mhz x2 (1500mhzx4) memory for now. As I update this review and fiddle with higher clocks, I will add the additional clockspeeds and benches.

    3dmark 11 Stock score
    Generic VGA video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4700MQ,Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. MS-16F4 score: P7466 3DMarks

    3dmark 11 overclocked to 980/3000
    Generic VGA video card benchmark result - Intel Core i7-4700MQ,Micro-Star International Co., Ltd. MS-16F4 score: P8287 3DMarks

    3dmark Firestrike Stock Score

    3dMark Firestrike overclocked to 980/3000 -5389 (GPU 6036, Physics 8823, combined 2257)

    Due to me not having a key for the software, I had to endure several dull run tests, which include both the demo and the test itself. I have no idea how much it lasts but it takes a loooong while haha.
    What other sort of benchmarks would you like to see here? I will update this later, maybe add Vantage, though I think it's largely unnecessary at this point.

    Performance Games
    While benchmarking is a nice indication to get an idea of relative performance in some tasks among different GPUs, it is on games where we will be using this hardware. Games run here will be done using both stock and overclock (Overclock will be done at +135/400 due to stability) runs, I will play random levels and use fraps or built in fps counter to get an idea of the average and also will comment on the feel I get from the game, from a performance perspective. In general, I will play for about 20 mins to have a representative idea.

    Alan Wake's American Nightmare [1920x1080, all max settings, 4x AA, 16x AF]
    Min:41 Max:76 Avg: 57
    OC Min:49 Max:97 Avg: 66
    Comments: The game plays very fluidly. The minimum fps showed when shooting the flaregun while standing with enemies around. All in all it looks and plays great from beginning to end. You can run this game on stock clocks and get a very fluid gameplay. If you decide to overclock, you can enable vsync as you will almost never dip below 60fps.

    Aliens vs Predator [1920x1080, all max settings, 4x AA, 16x AF]
    Min:49 Max: 120 Avg: around 68fps
    Comments: The game runs generally at high fps even at stock. Open world areas are usually around 70, inner parts are around 90fps, but sometimes opening doors or some transitions cause fps to drop around 50 fps for some sections. There seems to be no problems running this game whatsoever at stock.

    Batman Arkham City [1920x1080, all max settings, 2x MSAA]
    DX11 ON Min:9 Max: 98 Avg: around 56fps
    DX11 OFF Min:30 Max: 105 Avg: around 63fps
    Comments: I love BatmanArkham City.Well I also love Asylum. They are just awesome games in general haha. The 780m has little problem running the game, however.... due to past experience, I noticed that when gaming with the two DX11 features (Mvss and HBAO, as well as tessalation) it causes weird stuttering ingame, when turning the camera around. Running everything else extreme or enabled, even physics, and disabling the DX11 features, make for very fluid and consistent gameplay. Physics can be detrimental in certain parts of the game where there is heavy use, but that's where the minimum fps come into. I noticed during the benchmark that the ice shattering was the part that ran arund 36-40 fps so keep that in mind if you decide to use physics in high.

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [1920x1080, Ultra preset]
    All: 60fps
    Comments: Skyrim seems to be not so demanding. Or at least I didn't have problems running it back when my HD5870m was still around. I can't say much. I tried disabling vsync with the modification of the ini file but it didn't work. Well, it doesn't matter, I ran around and all I saw was 60fps constant, no matter what happened. Maybe later in the game something will happen that will reduce the fps for a bit? It's a very nice game that ruins perfectly fine :)

    Crysis 2 [1920x1080, All ultra, DX11 enhanced and high res textures]
    Min: 32 Max 74 Avg: 45
    Comments: For the areas I played in, it seems performance was quite alright for ultra spec. I personally prefer droping it to Extreme, to ensure very fluid gameplay. But even then, it's completely playble at ultra. Framerate drops the most with bullets impacting things a lot, for example with water etc.

    Lost Planet 2 [1920x1080, All High, DX11 high, 32 x CSQA ]
    Avg: 51.2 stock
    Avg: 58.1 OC
    Comments: Yeah, I decided to add the ridiculous amount of AA of 32 of something I cannot pronounce. The result is, forget that huge amount of AA, and use max settings with 2x or so of AA and enjoy buttery smooth performance :) The game looks and plays amazing as is, and there is only benefit in overclocking to play with the huge amount of AA. As a particular thing to note, this game taxed my CPU way more than the GPU, don't know why.

    Resident Evil 5 [1920x1080, All High, DX10, 8 x AA ]
    Avg: 104.3 stock
    Avg: 136.1 OC
    Comments: You don't need to overclock to absolutely crush this game, unless you want 120fps on a 120hz rate monitor. If you notice both images, when overclocking the GPU you get almost perfectly consistent performance, and if you use stock clocks, you get lots of spikes. This is due to CPU bottlenecking the system when overclocked, and the GPU bottlenecking the system when on stock :) Use all the settings you want, RE5 will not pose a problem at any part of the game :D.

    Hitman Absolution [1920x1080, Ultra preset, 2 x AA ]
    Avg: 36.1 stock
    Avg: 41 OC
    Comments: Hitman Absolution is quite demanding on it's own. While gaming normally around the first parts of the game, I had 45-50 fps. I ran the benchmarks to have a better idea. While fps are on the limit of playable to me, I have to say they were rather consistent. The minimum framerate was only noticeable in very little moments, and overall it felt fluid. Overclocking yielded better results, specially with the minimum fps being above 30, but not by a huge margin. Both stock or OC are more than playable, and I would only advice to OC if you want a bit of extra performance. The game looks amazing regardless :D

    Metro 2033 [1920x1080, (High and very high), nothing to 4 x AA, DoF and Physx on and off ]
    Avg: 62.53 stock High and no AA
    Avg: 44.60 Stock High and 4x AA
    Avg: 37.04 OC Very high 4x AA
    Avg: 23.86 OC Very high all enabled/max

    Comments: Metro 2033 is just such a hard hitting game when it comes to graphics. The best recommendation I can give is to run High, no AA and disabling DoF and Physx. That way you get high fps normally, a very good average and the minimum fps are high enough to get consistent performance. Any other higher settings I personally can't see much difference yet it hits hard performance. Even when overclocked, the system is brought down to its knees haha :)

    Arma 3 Alpha [1920x1080, Ultra preset]
    Min: 24 Max: 45 Avg: 30 on stock clocks
    Min: 28 Max: 53 Avg: 34 OC
    Comments: Thanks to Talon who helped me with a key for the Arma 3 Lite version I was able to test it out. I only tried the ultra preset with everything else on stock, and I have to say, performance is on the minimum with an average of 30 fps. However, performance itself was very consistent. All fps shown were near the average even when I had some firefights. When overclocking I had a nice 10%ish bump in performance, but the game felt very similar due to the framerate. All in all, despite being hard on the system, it runs quite consistent making it a rather fluid game, despite the lowish fps. I will try later with lower settings and see how it fares.

    Payday: The Heist [1920x1080, maxed settings]
    Min: 108 Max: 130 Avg: 128 on stock clocks
    Comments: I am quite enjoying this game :) This is not very demanding so don't worry about being able to play it or not. Maxed out, I noticed a bottleneck since my fps were reading 130 flat fps constant for 90% of the time. I imagine the GPU can go higher but the CPU limits it :)

    More games can be updated in the thread as per request and availability :)

    So far, the review might show my overall thoughts of the machine. Truth be told, I love it. But as much as I would like to say it's perfect, it is not. There is a major trade off for the silent fan, and that is temps. While testing the unit, I like having a feel of the machine before monitoring everything. You could say, an out of box experience. While gaming, I had stable performance even after an hour, and fans never seemed to kick in that high, if at all. Sure they became audible but not uncomfortably so. After the hour of gaming, they kicked up a notch but not anything near turbofan loud. After monitoring temps.... boy o boy, this runs hot. Now keep in mind, I experienced stable all the time, but I noticed that Turbo clocks varied to control tems (770mhz up to 850mhz).


    There is simply no spin to put here. The laptop runs great normally but hot when gaming, and part of it is the combination of fan speed, with the thermal bridge. You see, while not gaming, you are hardly taxing the system. Even when fully using only the CPU, it doesn't get as hot. My usual idle to working temps range between 40 and 60 degree Celsius, averaging at 51. This is with steam on, using office apps, and having some webpages open. Taxing the CPU 100% using wPrime with 8 threads alone, I get between 78 and 80C temps jumping around. This is a good temp for a maxed CPU. Here, the thermal bridge helps as the GPU is practically off.

    But what happens when both the CPU and GPU get taxed? Temps raise together, and usually it is the GPU that ends up raising the CPU temps. On a hot environment of up to 100F here in México, I got up to 90 degrees CPU temp and 92 degrees C GPU temp. This was the max stable temp I got after 3 nonstop hours of gaming. During those three hours, the GPU changed its turbo boost speed between 770 and 850. It never went down below that range. Tempswise, gaming on stock I had my temps around 88 to 92 degrees as turbo clocks adjusted, per game. Performance was stable.

    What happens if you enable turbofan?

    My jaw dropped. At stock settings, I was seeing 70s CPU temps and 78-80 degrees for the GPU with 100% utilization. In those same 3 hours of gaming, I dropped almost 20 degrees off the CPU and 14 degrees off the GPU. Sure it's quite loud but it is also quite cool compared to before. And this is where its potential hit me.

    As it was seen on the performance section, I used an overclocked GPU of 980mhz for the core and 3000mhz for the memory. This is a +135mhz core increase over the already turboboost of 850mhz, which was already increase from the stock 771mhz. The memory received a whooping +500mhz increase. The end result, was basically a desktop high end level, gaming on a 8675 GPU score 3dmark 11 machine. And this is not even the limits of the GPU at all. With no voltage change, and not even the top of its performance squeezed, I had fully 100% stable gaming performance. At what temp? 86 degrees C. Of course, thanks to turboboost. This was measured in hours of gaming.

    After this, I simply started using turboboost whenever I played heavy hitter games that required the extra performance. Games that run easily don't even require it, as vsync caps fps and helps reduce % of GPU utilization, directly impacting temps positively.

    Components on this beast run hot indeed. While I can understand why MSI opted for a silent approach with the fan, I personally would have prefered even a 15% higher fanspeed as stock non turbofan. With that 15% fan speed, maybe temps would go to the 80s most of the time, and ensure constant turboboost for most users. Turbofan on the otherhand, is a nice extra but definitely a love or hate feature. I, for one, love it as it enables me to use the GPU overclocked nonstop, but I can see why it would bother users when they run it. After all, it does sound like a jet engine taking off :)

    Which is kind of exciting on it's own... hehe

    I will test with the back lid off, and using my cooling pad to see how it behaves, both stock and OC'd!

    Overclocking potential (Turbo Fan and NOS)
    One of the new features included, marketed as Hybrid Power (NOS) is the inclusion of joint PSU + Battery power, giving your hardware the juice needed for overclocked sessions. This feature is fully needed to use the GPU overclocked heavily. On the desktop, there is a shorcut that once you execute, a small window showing the AC power status and battery power stats on. Once open, you are good to go as long as it's running!

    While it seems I can get around 900mhz core and 2800mhz memory without NOS, it really depends on how much the system gets taxed. Using NOS with max overclocks, I noticed that 15 mins on average reduced around 2% of my battery life. This would mean that in 3 hours, battery life could be down 24%. It remains to be seen how this will impact performance, and battery life in the long run. I will keep testing to find out!

    The GPU so far has been proven to be extremely overclockable. A stock unit like mine got up to +135 core and +450mhz on memory. Core clocks are limited to +135 on stock vbios using any overclocking tool, which yields a maximum of 980 core when gaming. Using unlocked vbios to test further OC I easily got up to 1020 core and 3000mhz memory stable enough to finish all benchmarks and game a little. At such speeds I got up to 9.1k 3dmark 11 GPU score. Battery consumption was already on by default when I gamed/benched.

    This GPU is very very overclockable and offers a huge deal of potential both in performance and stability. Even my previous 680m had a lower overclock ceiling for stability at stock voltages.

    Until newer vbios come out, which get a bit more stable and hopefully won't require modded infs. But to be honest...most games don't require it, at least yet. I normally use stock speeds with 60 frame limiting so i also get decent temps. Games like Dead Space 3 run at an excess of fps on their high settings.

    If a game does require it, I use the +135/+450 clocks and I can get through :D at these temps, I can still manage it using turbo fan or pherein's tool to keep my laptop cool enough and avoid throttling of the gpu.

    Battery Life
    During one episode of Game of Thrones, my battery went down to 77% left. Game of thrones eps lasts about an hour, so that's actually impressive!

    While using the laptop only to browse around the web and type, I got around 4.5 hours of it, which felt like forever. This is the longest lasting laptop I have owned. This probably means a lot more for the ultramobile notebooks or lower power ones, but as a gaming notebook, I was used to getting 2 hours haha!

    I am normally given around 4 hours of combined use. I have gotten anywhere from 3 to 4 hours of watching moves/tv series on the laptop depending on the brightness and sound output, streaming from netflix. Overall I am impressed as this kind of battery life can last you several classes on college, or a couple of movies to watch with friends.

    I don't game on battery, but assuming it did trigger the integrated GPU, I wouldn't expect more than a single hour tops, maybe even less, and no overclocking :)

    Matrix Display
    One of the advertised features of these new MSI laptops, is the "Matrix Display" capability. If you read the MSI website it mentions that these laptops support up to 4 total displays including the internal LCD of the laptop, using the VGA, HDMI and Display port.

    My first thought was "I sooo wanna game with 3 displays" and went on my quest to acquire similar spec'd 24 inch monitors and 3 cables to HDMI connections. Upon finally installing all the required cables, and setting up everything, I was blessed with multiple monitors on my desk, here is a pic of the setup :D

    Setting up and arranging the monitors is really easy. Using nvidia's control panel, you can select which monitor is which and in what order to ensure you go a smooth transition among all screens. Multitasking is very much possible as you can see from the pic. I was actually watching a movie while browsing some pages, while selecting some music on grooveshark and messing with steam, all at the same time.

    But after the multitasking goodness, comes the bad news: We can't game on multiple displays.

    I was having a hard time setting up nvidia surround (the technology they call for multiple display gaming) and after reading I found out how limited it was, plus its requirements. First we need three monitors that are routed directly to the GPU, and turns out we have only HDMI and Display port routed to the GPU, but VGA is routed to the intel HD4600. Second, it needs to be three, it can't be 2 or 4 etc, to use as a single virtual machine of 5760*1080. And lastly you need to enable it on your nvidia control panel.

    Theeeen you must find if your game currently supports such insane resolution haha, but at least nvidia has a dedicated page for that :) or you can google more info about it.

    So if this laptop doesn't do multi display gaming, any model does? It seems that YES, there is one GT60 model that can.... the 3K edition. This laptop in particular is advertised to have such feature and does mention nvidia surround. Right now I don't think it has been reviewed/tested yet so it's still speculation, but it is the most likely candidate. Maybe after it we will see future itterations of GT60 with the proper capability for multi display gaming.

    For now, Matrix display for all msi models means multi tasking. You can still game in one screen, chat in another, view pages in another etc, but switching among screens can minimize the full screen of a game. Maybe you can try multi display gaming by dragging the game screen among the others haha :)

    MSI has built the definitive GT series, and quite possibly the definitive gaming laptop. As a quick recap, even if looks are not your style, this laptop packs a strong processor, the most powerful single GPU in the world for laptops, low power high quality 16GB of DDR3 ram, SSD plus big HDD, dual killer network with a strong performer gigabit LAN and a strong wireless ABGN card, bluray, bluetooth, strong build quality and chasis, excellent LCD matte screen etc etc etc...

    The point is, you really do get a machine that they skimped out on nothing. Everything is of good, to excellent quality, per individual component, and the whole package comes out quite nicely. The only real drawback are temps, because we might be used to cool running temps on our laptops. Even I was used to 8 degrees less on the GPU (wth my 680m). But I don't feel upset, because at the end of the day, the laptop delivers in the performance expected, and even on stock it already outperforms my gaming OC 680m. Thanks to turbofan, I finally reach the performance of a high end desktop, all in a nice portable 15.6 powerhouse :)

    I really recommend this for those looking for a premium laptop that want the absolute best in single GPU hardware. If you are concerned with temps, or maybe performance is not required to be the highest end, then the 770m version might just be what you are looking for. If you opt for this laptop and would like a laptop cooler recommendation, my personal choice is the Cooler Master U2/3. They are really good, and you can arrange the fans to the best position for you!

    Thank you for reading, and to remind all my readers, this is still a work in progress! I will add the much needed content and pics as quickly as I can!
    jaug1337, teuing and RMPG505 like this.
  2. ryzeki

    ryzeki Moderator Moderator

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    To everyone reading, thank you so much! :D I will go sleep now but I hope this review gets you an idea of what the GT60 is :)
  3. vector7

    vector7 Notebook Guru

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    Very nice review ryzeki!!!

    Looks like a real gem, can't wait to get mine from Ken. ;)
  4. Caliaztec

    Caliaztec Notebook Enthusiast

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    Super stoked getting one of these in the 17.3in variety from Ken Lee and GentechPC as well.
  5. cloudpm

    cloudpm Notebook Consultant

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    I've been reading you guys for such a loooong time, and I decided to sign in for the 1st time to react to this thread :D

    Alright so basically, I wanna buy this GT60 with GTX 780m... but yesterday, read the review of the GT70 Dragon Edition with GTX 780m by AnandTech... And I had been "cooled down".

    They say that the cooling system is BS, and does not cool the laptop well. They talked about throttling when you go up to 95°C while playing video games.
    I was wondering if it was the case on this one :(

    Can you try to play Crysis 3 for 3 hours and give us a feedback :D That will be really cool.
    No kidding, do you guys think that the GT60 is concerned about these throttling issues ?

    Thanks a lot for the response !
  6. IKAS V

    IKAS V Notebook Prophet

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    Very well done review ryzeki, better than most professional reviewers :)
    You have me convinced to buying one very soon!
    Thank you

    As for the AnandTech review of the GT70 there must have been something wrong with either the heatsink or factory thermal paste application, most factory paste jobs are done very sloppy using too much thermal paste which cuases high temps, there are members here that have this laptop and applied there own thermal paste (ICD) and it helped a lot.
  7. Cloudfire

    Cloudfire (Really odd person)

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    If you are concerned about that MSI perhaps programmed the fan to run too low on the GT60 and focused too much on low fan noise, a solution could be to use Pherein`s fan tool :)

    Great review btw.
  8. IKAS V

    IKAS V Notebook Prophet

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    What exactly is Pherein's fan tool?
    Never seen it and what does it do exactly?
  9. Cloudfire

    Cloudfire (Really odd person)

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  10. ryzeki

    ryzeki Moderator Moderator

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    Thank you for reading! I really think it's an amazing machine :) Let us know how yours goes! Remember to take advantage of the free ICD24 paste from GentechPC!:D

    Great choice! The GT70 should have slightly better cooling due to the bigger chasis allowing a bit more airflow.

    Thanks for reading!

    The thing is, the unit in anandtech review came with a bad paste job, or so I believe. My CPU is the cooler part out of the two, with temps usually ranging between 40 and 70. When gaming, it reaches 80 degrees, due to the comment I mentioned about thermal bridge. But I never get anywhere near 90 for the CPU.

    I don't have crysis 3, does crysis 2 work for you? I actually tested it for 3 hours and my max temps were stable around 90C for GPU without turbofan, and 84 C for CPU. The only "throttling" I have seen is the GPU itself reducing the turbo boost back to stock clocks. It is supposed to run at 770mhz but as soon as you fire a game up, it goes to 850 until it reaches high temps, then it stats moduling around 770 and 850 for a while. Depending on a game, it can settle for 800mhz. Personally I would have prefered for nvidia to release the GPU with a working permanent clock instead of overclocking and downclocking automatically.

    Nothing so far has suggested to me that the laptop throttles heavily on any game. If you have cool ambient temps, be sure to repaste or if you buy from gentech get the free paste ICD24, so that you can enjoy cool gaming all the time.

    Thank you IKAS V! I am glad you will be joining our ranks soon :D Hope to hear from your impressions!

    I will keep updating the review so don't worry lets build the biggest database for gaming as we can!

    Thank you Cloudfire! What laptop will you be getting?

    Thanks for the fan suggestion, I will look into it. Does the tool mean fiddling with the BIOS? Because I think the fan at 80% would be more than enjoy to even maintain turbo boost on the GTX780m.
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