What is the GS60 6QE Ghost Pro 4K?
4K and gaming laptops aren’t something you normally would put together due to the comparatively low performing hardware, but the rather long titled GS60 6QE Ghost Pro 4K from MSI is looking to change that. For £1,599.99, this 15.6” UHD laptop has a mouth-watering specification including an Intel Skylake i7-6700HQ CPU, GTX970M graphics, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and both a 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD. Read on to see how this 4K beast fares...
Design and Connections
The last section to mention about the SteelSeries Engine is the statistics section. You can run this in the background and it will record all your key presses, actions per minute and show you which buttons were pressed most often, thereby allowing you to setup some kick-ass macros or alter button assignments to improve your gaming even further. The keyboard, itself, feels very comfortable to use and includes a full array of keys which are printed using high grade silver lining which should, in theory, last a lot longer than conventionally printed keys.
It is one of the thinnest of MSI’s gaming laptops that we have reviewed coming in at just 20mm with an overall footprint of 390 x 266mm. It’s also fairly light weighing in at only 2.1kg. As for the connections, to the right we have HDMI (v1.4b), RJ-45, SD card reader and mini display port. Plus, a single USB SuperPort (Type C) which is exclusive to MSI as it combines Thunderbolt3, Display Port and USB 3.1 in a single connector and allows charging power up to 5V/3A and dual 4K external monitors. To the left we have the power connection, audio and 2 x USB 3.0 ports. No additional connections to the rear or the front, which just has the various LED indication lights to the front right. If we were being picky, just 2 x USB v3 ports is a little mean.
- OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
- CPU: Intel® Core™ i7 Skylake-6700HQ (2.6GHz - 3.5GHz)
- Display: 15.6" UHD, (3840*2160) 4K PLS Wide View Angle
- Memory: 2 x 8GB DDR4 @ 2133Mhz
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX970M with 3GB GDDR5
The storage here is provided in both SSD and HDD formats. The SSD is a 256GB M2 form factor Toshiba THNSNJ256G8NU with quoted speeds of 534MB/s read and 482 MB/s write. With our ATTO Disk Benchmark test we received an excellent 540MB/s read and 457MB/s write. The HDD is a 1TB 7200RPM HGST Travelstar 7K1000 which tested at 139MB/s read and 130MB/s write in our tests. Although not supplied in our review sample, the GS60 6QE can take a PCI-E Gen 3.0x4 SSD which offers read speeds up to a blistering fast 2200MB/s.
Using PC Mark 8's Storage test, which uses workload traces recorded from actual programs and is not affected by differences in CPU or GPU performance we get a decent score of 4957 with a storage bandwidth of 242MB/s. The results here are roughly in line with other laptops with a SSD that we have reviewed. The 256GB SSD equates to 237GB in Windows and arrived to us with 180GB of free space and the 1TB HDD equates to 911GB in Windows. Manually timed from power on with a cold boot to the Windows desktop we get a reasonable average result of 14.10 seconds, although this is amongst the slowest of the times we have seen, of late, in SSD equipped laptops.
Is the 4K Display any good?
Using SpectraCal software and our C3 Colorimeter, the maximum screen luminance was detected at 236 cd/m2. The screenshot above shows the pre and post calibration results. As you can see the pre check gave a fairly high ColorChecker error of 6.6 (an error level less than 3 is the target) and a fairly decent out of the box GreyScale error of 1.02. Following the successful calibration, the ColorChecker error has reduced to a 4.16 with the GreyScale error down to just 0.85.
Many thanks to SpectraCal for providing the software and C3 Colorimeter for use with our reviews.
The last - and probably the best if you are addicted to one particular game - is the very useful Instant Play Feature. Here you can add a single game to the quick launch list (Fn+F4) and then configure the system to suit that game such as altering brightness, gamma, volume and even closing any unnecessary applications or tasks that are running. When that game is then quick launched your configuration will run changing the settings as required to give you the best personal experience for that game. They will then revert back to normal when the game is closed.
XSplit Gamecaster is again present which offers a very simple way to record and stream your gaming exploits and is integrated with YouTube, Twitch and UStream. We also get the Killer Network Manager which gives detailed information on network activity, bandwidth usage and blocking access to a particular application if required. The usual free 1-month trial of Office 365 is ready to activate. Thankfully MSI have seen sense and not imposed the resource hogging Norton Internet Security on us.
Is the audio up to scratch?
It was initially rather poorly implemented in MSI’s GE62 and then to much better results in their PE60 2QE, but when done well the Nahimic sound technology really does give a noticeable improvement to the audio quality. The sound stage effects and the volume boost work well together to really offer a level of audio quality that we haven’t experienced on any other laptops that have come across our review desk. The Nahimic software also includes an HD audio recorder which works with XSplit Gamescaster and automatically detects the start of a recording and processes the sound to give an HD audio experience to anyone watching, if you are fortunate enough to have one.
GS60 6QE Battery Life
Battery Life Tests
|Powermark Battery Test||127 minutes|
|YouTube 4K, High Performance, 100% Brightness||60 minutes|
|YouTube 1080P, Balanced, 50% Brightness||122 minutes|
|Netflix 1080P, Balanced, 50% Brightness||105 minutes|
GS60 6QE Benchmarks
Benchmark Score Summary
|Time to Desktop||14.10 Seconds||8|
|Super Pi @ 1M||11.05 seconds||9|
|3D Mark - Ice Storm 1.2||71720||6|
|3D Mark - Cloud Gate 1.1||20453||6|
|3D Mark - Fire Strike||6569||6|
|3D Mark - Sky Diver||18793||6|
|Passmark Performance Test 8.0||3569||6|
|Cinebench R15||Open GL 96.57FPS - CPU 678 CB||7|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0||1139||6|
|Unigine Valley 1.0||1503||6|
|PC Mark 8 - Home Conventional 3.0||2938||5|
|PC Mark 8 - Storage Test||4597||6|
|3840x2160 4K Resolution||FPS (Fraps)|
|Battlefield 4||High Settings||28|
|Battlefield 4||Ultra Settings||22|
|Sims 4||Medium Settings||63|
|Sims 4||Ultra Settings||55|
|Max Payne 3||High Settings||29|
|Max Payne 3||Maximum Settings||26|
|Metal Gear Solid 5||Maximum Settings||
|1920 x 1080 Resolution||FPS (Fraps)|
|Battlefield 4||Ultra Settings||69|
|Sims 4||Ultra Settings||90|
|Max Payne 3||Maximum Settings||32|
|Metal Gear Solid 5||Maximum Settings||54|
System Noise and Heat
Judging by the excellent CPU temperatures received under load, MSI are definitely onto a winner with their Cooler Boost 3 system employed in this GS60 chassis. With a maximum system noise of 43dBs during testing and 38dBs for gaming it is slightly noisier than others we have reviewed, but not excessively so and definitely not at a level that would cause any annoyance. At idle the system is almost silent with the fans very occasionally whirring away.
- Beautiful 4K Display
- High Specification
- SteelSeries Engine
- Not enough USB ports
- 4K gaming too much for the GTX970M
- Poor battery life
- Restricted gaming performance using battery
MSI GS60 6QE Ghost Pro 4K Gaming Laptop Review
Should I buy the MSI PE60 2QE?
At £1,599.99, MSI’s GS60 6QE Ghost Pro 4K 15.6” gaming laptop is no minor investment but for those looking to be ahead of the crowd, with a stunning 4K display and a system with a very meaty specification, then the GS60 is definitely one to consider. The system is powerful enough to cope with watching 4K videos, but unfortunately struggles with 4K gaming, the GTX970M is just not up to the task in this regard. Lower the settings to 1080p and you get excellent results across the board.
It’s fairly lightweight, very thin and has some tasty additions such as the excellent SteelSeries Engine to name just one, that are exclusive to MSI and really add to the overall package. Battery life is an issue, yet again, but then it always is with gaming laptops. If you want to max out the system and play games in high settings, then unfortunately you will have to keep it plugged in.
What alternatives are available?
At just shy of £1,600 there are not too many alternatives that match the high specification. 4K laptops are becoming more common such as the £1,100 Acer Aspire VN7-591G with a lower specification GTX960M GPU, half the RAM and older generation CPU or the ridiculously cheap Toshiba P50-T which can be found for under £600 but, apart from the 4K screen, it doesn’t really have anything to offer.
The best alternative we could find was from the custom builders, such as Scan’s 3XS LG15 Carbon G-Sync which has an almost identical specification albeit with a faster CPU and a G-Sync 4K panel and 6GB GTX970M for around £1,570. Compared to this and other systems the GS60 6QE Ghost Pro 4K offers a lot for the money, with many exclusive and useful MSI features. Overall this system is a worthy winner of our AVForums Recommended award.
Value For Money
Our Review Ethos
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