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MSI GX60 is the first all-AMD high-end gaming laptop since... ever?

QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,775Member Uncommon

The MSI GX60 sports AMD's top of the line laptop processor, the A10-4600M, together with AMD's top of the line laptop video card, the Radeon HD 7970M.  The Radeon HD 7970M isn't quite as good as a GeForce GTX 680M, but it is about $300 cheaper.  And the CPU part of the A10-4600M isn't nearly as good as a Core i7-2630QM, but it's also about $200 cheaper. 

MSI announced this laptop months ago, but it's now available for pre-order:

http://www.xoticpc.com/msi-gx60-1ac021us-preorder-p-5009.html?wconfigure=yes

It ships with Windows 8, so that might be what you're waiting on with the pre-order.  The laptop does not use discrete switchable graphics, so the battery life is poor, which makes it inappropriate for some people.

But look at the price tag:  $1200 to start.  And that's not a junk base model that will need $300 in upgrades to make it livable, either.  That's with Windows 8, a 7200 RPM, 750 GB hard drive, a Blu-Ray drive, 8 GB of 1600 MHz memory, a matte 1080p monitor, and the aforementioned A10-4600M and Radeon HD 7970M.  You can chop that price down somewhat by skipping the Blu-Ray player or going with a smaller (but still 7200 RPM) hard drive, too.

On a $2000 budget, there's no reason to consider the MSI GX60.  You want an Intel Core i7 processor on that budget.

But on a $1200 budget?  An A10-4600M isn't as good as an Ivy Bridge quad core, even though not having the integrated GPU running will make room for more aggressive turbo usage.  But the savings there makes room for a Radeon HD 7970M, rather than having to settle for less than half of that GPU performance in a GeForce GTX 660M or getting an old, hot Fermi card that also trails far behind in GPU performance.  On a $1200 budget, this sure looks awfully nice--or maybe even $1300 if you can't live without a good SSD, which is also offered as an upgrade option.

Comments

  • CleffyCleffy San Diego, CAPosts: 4,623Member Uncommon
    I was hoping for switchable graphics.  I think the main reason this was delayed so long is because MSI was left out of the Trinity Processor shortage distribution.  With switchable graphics this would be an incredible notebook.  Unfortunately have to settle for a steal of a notebook at this graphics level.  However, the A10 is a bit useless in this notebook since the whole point of trinity is to have a good integrated graphics component.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,775Member Uncommon

    AMD's drivers for discrete switchable graphics have been rather troubled.  Catalyst 12.11 is supposed to fix it, and AMD is finally offering unified drivers for their laptops with discrete switchable graphics.  But it's possible that MSI simply didn't want to go that route and run into driver problems.

    Also, even when discrete switchable graphics work flawlessly, having to copy the framebuffer from the discrete video card into integrated graphics before you can display it costs you several percent of your performance.  That's intrinsic to discrete switchable graphics, at least the way it's normally implemented--regardless of vendor.

  • pykkypykky HelsinkiPosts: 2Member
    It does have switchable graphics. It uses the integrated on-chip 7660G most of the time, which is not far off the old discrete hd4670m in terms of performance. In this mode the laptop runs quiet and cool, with the fan off at least half the time. As of Catalyst 13.1 the switchable component is smart and efficient. Earlier versions of the driver package meant having to manually enter individual programs and games into the switchable graphics profile, now it does it automatically. The new drivers give a big performance boost too, no figures to show, but prob somewhere around 30%. A nice little bonus: the 7970m kicks in for some other progs too, eg photoshop cs6, speeding many tasks up and offsetting the underperformance of the A10. What's not to like?
  • pykkypykky HelsinkiPosts: 2Member
    One last thing - battery life is really good for a bulky desktop replacement. Without using the 7970m it gives almost 4 hours.
  • CleffyCleffy San Diego, CAPosts: 4,623Member Uncommon

    Yea, I learned later that it has switchable graphics.  There were just some... problems with the switching in early renditions of the driver.

    I would expect it to have impressive battery life because thats the whole purpose of Trinity.  The APU is truly impressive and really makes AMD the only game in town without a relatively good discrete card.

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