MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K Gaming Performance

Since this is a gaming notebook, we'll start our performance overview there. It's going to be interesting seeing how the GTX 870M compares to the GTX 880M and GTX 860M; the latter was generally sufficient for my gaming needs, but we should see a decent jump in performance with the 870M. I still want a Maxwell-derived GPU to compete with 870M and 880M, but we'll probably have to wait until later this year (or early next?) for that to come.

We have our usual suite of 1366x768 Medium, 1600x900 High, and 1920x1080 Ultra (max quality with 4xAA). I won't include all of the results here but instead focus on the "Mainstream" (1600x900 with ~high settings) and "Enthusiast" (1080p maximum quality) performance. Also note that generally speaking bumping up to the native 2880x1620 resolution will require dropping to our Mainstream (High) settings – and in some cases even lower – which I'll include in the Enthusiast charts for comparison.

Mainstream Gaming Performance

Bioshock Infinite - Mainstream

GRID 2 - Mainstream

Metro: Last Light - Mainstream

Sleeping Dogs - Mainstream

Tomb Raider - Mainstream

Enthusiast and 3K Gaming Performance

Bioshock Infinite - Enthusiast

GRID 2 - Enthusiast

Metro: Last Light - Enthusiast

Sleeping Dogs - Enthusiast

Tomb Raider - Enthusiast

There aren't any real surprises to be found. In general, the GTX 870M is anywhere from 10% to as much as 25% faster than the GTX 860M in gaming results. While this means that 870M may be able to run certain settings while staying above 30FPS where the 860M falls short, in practice it mostly means turning off a few settings to tune the performance. Thankfully, NVIDIA does most of the dirty work for you and if you use GeForce Experience you can typically get 40+ FPS with settings that provide a good blend of image quality and performance. Unfortunately (maybe), GFE drops the screen resolution to 1920x1080, so if you want to take advantage of the native resolution you'll have to find your own balance of settings. For what it's worth, GFE tends to target slightly lower quality settings than our Enthusiast options, resulting in average frame rates closer to 50-70FPS on most titles.

Of the games we've tested, Metro: Last Light continues its reign as GPU killer, knocking performance down to sub-20 FPS rates even on a GTX 870M when we use our Enthusiast settings. Most games aren't quite so demanding, but 3K resolutions are a different matter. All of the above games can still hit 40FPS at native resolution and Mainstream (High) settings, again with the exception of Metro which needs to run at our Value settings for 3K to become playable. The graphics look super crisp at 3K, though aliasing still seems to be a problem on some games. GRID 2 in particular has aliasing problems, but even at 3K High settings the frame rates are still quite high, so enabling 4xAA fixes the problem.

Overall, GTX 870M is a potent gaming GPU, but the extra 10-25% increase in performance over GTX 860M isn't a huge deal. It uses quite a bit more power to hit the higher frame rates, which in turn yields higher temperatures, and Maxwell GPUs do have a few extra (like Compute 5.0 support). The price difference between GS60 models with GTX 860M and GTX 870M ends up being $200, with the 3K display adding an additional $100. Unfortunately, you don't get the choice between 860M and 870M with the 3K display, nor do you get a 256GB SSD configuration with 870M and a 1080p display – you have to take the entire package.

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K: Subjective Evaluation MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K General Performance
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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    This system exhausts out both the back and sides, and I suspect it would run much hotter if they omitted the side vents. Thin designs are not cooling friendly, sadly.
  • henkhilti - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Nice notebook review.

    One small remark.
    In your conclusion you compared it to the Lenovo Y50 which links to Amazon.
    That is a unit with 4K display for $1500 (not $1300) but please also note that is has a 256GB SSHD (=Hard disk drive + Nand flash cache) not an SSD (scroll down on the amazon page).
    It also has a GTX860M instead of a GTX870M (if you compare it to the MSI's or Razer).
  • limitedaccess - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Something to keep in mind regarding the Y50 4k display is that it is supposedly a TN display that is locked to 48hz. Also the other characteristics are supposedly poor.

    In general it seems Lenovo's gaming oriented Ideapad series all have rather poor displays. Also to be honest in general for the entire Lenovo notebook line there doesn't seem to be a strong emphasis on display quality.

    The configuration he linked to though should be one with a 256gb SSD and not the configuration with a 1tb HD with 8gb nand cache.
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The Lenovo Y50 is $1300 with a 4K screen and 256GB SSD.

    It's a mistake to use Amazon as a source for validating information. Not only do the frequently get their specs wrong, they also blend reviews of similar models together and the pricing can change within hours due to allowing purchases through other vendors.

    Newegg, $1249:

    Either way, it doesn't matter. Lenovo officially discontinued the 4K option Y50.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Hold on... where are you getting that Lenovo discontinued the 4K Y50? I can't seem to find anything on that matter. As for the Amazon pricing, it changes regularly, just like Newegg. There's a reasonable chance the model I linked went out of stock between yesterday and now, leaving places that charge more.
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I just read last week, but when I go to official Y50 UHD website, it says "temporarily unavailable". I'm either totally full of crap or just misread it.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Yeah, that "temporarily unavailable" is what I saw. I thought it was new enough that maintaining stock was the issue, but who knows -- and a lot of people were complaining about backlight bleed on the 4K panel. If they're using a TN panel, though, that's the first I've heard of any 3K/4K LCD going the TN route; it would make me very sad if that's true.
  • creed3020 - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The stress testing graphs are missing labels for the duration of time along the x axis. Possible to add this in so we can get an idea of time elapsed in the test against temps?
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    The stress test charts are for one hour -- I had to hand-make the charts in Excel, and the data is actually at ~2.5 second intervals, so I figured it was best to just leave off units. I'll see if I can clarify this in the text.
  • larspehrsson - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Matte or glossy? all other reviews I have read of the 3k version state that it has a glossy display but now Anandtech say that it is matte? Which is it?

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