Sunday, August 17, 2014

[Hardware Review] MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K [Gold] Unboxing and Day 1

The Backstory

About four months ago, I had one of "those days." At work, PC on one side, personal notebook (Alienware m11 r3, with upgrade RAM, HD replaced with SSD, etc.) on the other, large cup of coffee (even with a lid on) in the middle. I bet you already know what happens next. Like a bullet time scene, I turn toward my notebook, arm hits to coffee, tipping it toward the notebook.

"No....." I reach out to grab it. Grab it I did, with just a little to much force. Yeah... In slow motion, the cup tilted over, the top popped off and the entire cup literally poured on, and into, my notebook (which of course was on at the time). After picking up the notebook and pouring the coffee out, well, it was never the same, to say the least. It never booted again.

Since then I've been using one of my Haswell review units ([Hardware Review] It's been a Haswell Summer... Haswell/Harris Beach Intel SDS Ultrabook Review - Part 3) while I shopped for a replacement.

I needed a system that would travel with me on the train, could game, was a good dev box and would last me for a couple years. It needed an SSD, large storage, and over 8GB of RAM.

This is on my dime, so I kept going back and forth as I shopped for a system. High-end Surface Pro 3? Light and travels great, but a little under powered. MSI GT72 Dominator Pro? Uber machine that made me drool, not a bad price for the features, but heavy. Ultrabook? Not enough dev juice. Another Alienware or Dell? Nothing there really stood out for me. Choices, choices, choices...

In the end, I took a middle of the road approach. A good gaming machine (if it games good, it dev's good. of course ;) yet not a boat anchor.

The Hardware

MSI GS Series GS60 Ghost Pro 3K-451 Gaming Laptop Intel Core i7 4710HQ (2.50GHz) 16GB Memory 1TB HDD 256GB SSD NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M 3 GB GDDR5 15.6" Windows 8.1 64-Bit


(I'm not going to copy the spec's here, you can seem them well enough on the site....)

The Purchase

I hate to lose the geek cred, but I've not bought much (cough... anything) from newegg before. Why? I don't know, Amazon is just my default etailer. What a fool I've been... lol

This limited newegg only edition of the GS60 Ghost Pro seemed to be just what I needed. Friday I finally pulled the trigger, the credit card out of the wallet and hit submit order. The purchase process was fast, smooth and easy. Picking the free three business day shipping, I looked forward to getting my new toy the following week.

Yet luck was on my side. Newegg is located in the Greater Los Angeles area, the same area I am. The notebook was not only in stock, but actually shipped on Friday and was delivered... wait for it... Saturday afternoon! Yep, next day, on a Saturday. Now that's awesome!

The Unboxing

Look, it's a box! In a box!


And more boxes!


With stuff! Besides a limited edition case color, the package came with a mouse, mouse pad, headphones and best of all, a keyboard cover (aka. Greg Coffee Protector ;)


Finally, the notebook itself...


Day 0

Needless to say the next few hours was spent doing the notebook setup boogie. Updates, upgrade to Win Pro, uninstalling included trial antivirus, installing Office, Blogging stuff, Visual Studio, Windows Updates (again)...

Crapware? No. The notebook was nicely clean of nearly all crapware. There's some MSI utilities, but those look okay and again, all-in-all it's pretty clean. As I said, I removed the included trial antivirus, which went smooth and easy too. Oh sure there's a "Register" nag-app that I'm going to have to kill (since the "I've already registered it" checkbox doesn't seem to make it go away), but even with that, I'm pretty darn happy.

One thing I'm not really too happy about is the C Drive space. It's fast as heck, two 128 SSD, RAID 0 (i.e. 256 GB). I really wish the C drive was 512 GB. The D drive is a 7200 RPM 1TB HD, which is also pretty fast, but something I think I'm going to replace with a SSD in the future. 7200 is fast, but once you SSD you never go back...

Day 1

The day continues with final setup, but that goes quick. A couple reboots, which are blindingly fast. Like I said, you HAVE to love SSDs!

How's fit and finish? Nice! The screen is great, no pixel problems and the resolution is great. 2880x1620 on a 15.3 is pretty darn sharp.

The keyboard is nice (even with the Greg Protector) and it's great having a 10 key.

Fan noise and heat is reasonable.

Performance is great. The performance, even when doing simple stuff like reading my news feeds it much faster and smoother. Visual Studio runs like a champ...


If you're looking for a high-mid end gaming notebook, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K is one that should be on your short list...

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