Software and Performance

MSI recommends running Windows 8 on the GX60 although our test unit arrived with Windows 7 pre-installed. It's unclear why that was the case but as we've found in the past, gaming performance is virtually unaffected so testing should reflect the hardware capabilities on either OS. Unlike the recently reviewed Lenovo Yoga 13 running Windows 8, everything about the GX60 with regards to Windows and navigation was all familiar (e.g. no Metro this or that).

From a cold boot, the GX60 is ready to go in Windows 7 in 48 seconds - a tiny bit slower than I anticipated from a system equipped with a solid state drive, but still not terrible for Microsoft's previous-gen OS that many hardcore users and gamers appear to prefer.

The first thing I typically do with a new PC after measuring initial boot time is head to the Add/Remove programs list and take a count of what I need to discard. MSI's GX60 did pretty well here as there were only about 6 or so programs that I would typically get rid of. Culprits include Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2012, Norton Online Backup and even MSI's own S-Bar.

S-Bar is a widget that loads alongside Windows 7. It sits at the top of your desktop as a small icon that when opened, provides the user with a series of shortcuts to accomplish tasks like adjusting the volume and enabling or disabling Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or the webcam. It might be a handy tool for beginners but seasoned Windows 7 veterans will likely want to uninstall it to save resources and reduce clutter.

Benchmarks Results

Synthetic Tests MSI GX60 TimelineU Asus N56VZ
3DMark 06
3DMark Score 12343 3DMarks 11958 3DMarks 9665 3DMarks
PCMark Vantage
PCMark Suite 9024 PCMarks 6743 PCMarks 8675 PCMarks

Application Tests MSI GX60 TimelineU Asus N56VZ
iTunes Encoding Test 1 min 55 sec 1 min 19 sec 1 min 5 sec
File Transfer Test
Small files 45 sec 1 min 11 sec 1 min 17 sec
Large file 52 sec 1 min 19 sec 57 sec

The iTunes encoding tests consist of converting 14 MP3s (119MB) to 128Kbps ACC files and measuring the operation's duration in seconds. For file transfers, we measure how long it takes to copy two sets of files from one location to another on the same hard drive. On the small files test we transfer 557 MP3s, totaling 2.56GB. For the large file, these same MP3s were zipped into a single file measuring 2.52GB.

Gaming Performance MSI GX60 TimelineU Asus N56VZ
Far Cry 2
1024x768, Medium Quality 62.8 fps 69.0 fps 85.2 fps
Native res, High Quality 48.9 fps 55.5 fps 36.4 fps
StarCraft 2
1024x768, Medium Quality 31.7 fps 39.7 fps 68.4 fps
Native res, High Quality 21.6 fps 29.9 fps 31.5 fps

  • 15.6" 1920x1080 matte display
  • AMD A10 Processor (2.3 GHz)
  • AMD Radeon HD 7970M, 2GB discrete
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 128GB SSD, 750GB HDD (7200RPM)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

  • 15.6" 1366x768 LED-backlit display
  • Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz - 2.6GHz)
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM
  • Intel HD 4000 Graphics + GeForce GT 640M LE 1GB
  • 20GB SSD + 500GB 5400RPM HDD
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

  • 15.6" 1920x1080 LED-backlit display
  • Intel Core i7-3620QM (2.6GHz - 3.8GHz, 8MB L3 cache)
  • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 memory
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 650M 2GB
  • 750GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit