MSI GS60 Ghost Laptop
A Ghost With Serious Game
- Making plans for a summer vacation? Time to take some time off the have a little fun in the sun, hit the beach, get a tan, and forget about your worries. And just in time, there’s a gaming laptop that’s actually powerful enough to make you say, “I’ll never need a desktop again. Ever.” What better way to enjoy that mojito.Gaming laptops have a sad past. They’ve never been powerful enough to want to play on, but the only way to play anything more exciting than Solitaire was with a $2,000 box that never fit in a bag right and weighed like an elephant.This year that all changes. The first for gaming: the MSI GS60 Ghost, a 15-inch stunner with a 1080p display, a brand new smoking-hot graphics card, and enough raw power for you to forget about anything else.Xbox? PlayStation? The outdoors? Ha.
Power for anywhereThe Ghost comes complete with top-of-the-line parts: a 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 4700HQ chip, a NVIDIA 860M 2GB graphics processor, a 15.6-inch full HD display, and a Killer E2200 network card to optimize your online play. I tested a model with 16GB of high-speed DDR 3 RAM, courtesy of MSI; this bad boy retails for $1,799. The company also offers a $1,699 model with 12GB of RAM.
This laptop is one of the fastest on the market today, and for the price, good luck finding a better deal.This laptop is one of the fastest on the market today, and for the price, good luck finding a better deal.
As if the specs-price combination weren’t enough, MSI teamed up with game peripheral-maker SteelSeries to bring the most customizable keyboard on a laptop ever. Thanks to some nifty software, every single key can be programmed to do whatever you want, in general and per application. Setting up shortcuts for Chrome or Office? Just a few taps and done.SteelSeries even built the keyboard with customizable LED backlighting so you can color the light any way you like. Pick one of some 16 million colors, have the colors change like a wave, or turn on strobe-lighting that responds to ambient noise. And that’s all on top of being one of the best laptop keyboards I’ve ever tested: It has perfectly spaced, low-profile keys that feel very comfortable.Then there’s the bucket of extras: a huge Dynaudio speaker that blasts crisp sound loud enough for the whole room to hear; high-speed Wi-Fi with 802.11ac support; a ton of specialized software, like battery presets — with settings like Movie, Game and Office — that can be changed through a dedicated keypress; the Dragon Gaming Center, a second-by-second account of where computer resources are going; and XSplit Gamecaster streams your gameplay straight to the web for free.There’s very little the Ghost can’t do. Every single component is ridiculously powerful. And the whole thing is less than five pounds.
Desktop gaming, mobilizedThanks to all this great tech, mobile gaming doesn’t have to mean Threes on your iPhone. It can mean blockbuster games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Bioshock: Infinite, anywhere you go.
With the GS60, you can play any of today’s biggest games and it’ll look at least five times better than on a console.With the GS60, you can play any of today’s biggest games and it’ll look at least five times better than on a console. I guarantee it.
I tested a number of newer games — like Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag — and they were almost pitch-perfect. The graphics looked incredible, and if you’re content with the standard frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps), gaming on the Ghost will be a dream come true. For higher frame rates you’ll have to turn down the cool effects a tad.Batman did run a bit slow with everything turned on, dipping below 30 fps with plenty of onscreen enemies or heavy physics effects. Black Flag runs at a buttery-smooth 45fps. Popular free-to-play game Warframe hits a very crisp 80fps, though on heavily populated maps with lots of gunplay can drop down between 35-40fps. And the benchmark whopperCrysis 3 averages out at 22 fps with everything on. Thankfully this is PC gaming; if you want it to run faster, there are plenty of ways to make it happen.MSI went even further and said that the Ghost is capable of working on a 4K screen. So we got one, courtesy of Samsung, the all-new U28D590D, which is one of the first made to support proper gaming. Jumping from 1080p to 4K (that’s a pixel resolution of 3,820 x 2,160) is massive, almost four times the number of pixels to render. Even then, bothBatman and Crysis 3 managed a solid 30 fps at half-power. So while today’s consoles play games at 1080p, this laptop can manage to do it at 4K and still have better picture quality.
The catchSo it plays today’s toughest games, has the finest components on the market, and boasts a starting price of $1,699? It’s too good to be true. To hit that price, the laptop exterior feels a bit on the cheap side. The frame is completely plastic, even flimsy. Open the lid and the bezel snaps and bends like the cheap plastic it is. In fact, the whole laptop feels awfully light for its size, like someone forgot to put something in it.The Ghost comes with a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) and a 1TB hard drive (HDD). Sure, 1TB is great for storing all of Game of Thrones in HD, but not everyone needs or wants to have the slower HDD. And 128GB (which is really 100GB because Windows is installed on the drive) is just not enough for the much faster SSD. After installing four games, the SSD was completely filled up. Games these days are big, and even the ultra-slim MacBook Air can come with 512GB.
When gaming, the Ghost will play for as long as an hour and a half.When gaming, the Ghost will play for as long as an hour and a half. For everything else, you’ll be lucky with a paltry four hours. With nearly everything set to save as much power as possible, I could barely squeeze out four consecutive hours of real-world use, meaning light web browsing and word processing. It wouldn’t be such a problem if the power brick wasn’t as big as eight iPhones put together.
Then there’s the trackpad, perhaps the worst I’ve ever used. It’s slightly abrasive, gets warm very quickly, it’s small... and it somehow manages to not work 20% of the time! It’s like the laptop got tired of being used and decided to take a smoke break. You’ll need a mouse for gaming anyways with the Ghost — just make sure you keep it with you for when you’re pretending to work.
The way it’s meant to be playedAs much as gaming is for the home, so was TV, Movies, and all other entertainment. Now we take all of that with us... and serious gaming is making the leap too. Gaming laptops have been around for over a decade, but this is the first time I’ve wanted to play a game on one. And you will, too.That’s because we all play games, at some point or other. Sometimes it’s World of Warcraft with your clan. Sometimes it’s to thrash metal in Hawken. And sometimes it’s just to trade hats in Team Fortress 2. But the worse anything looks, the less we want to do it. That’s how we’re wired today.MSI’s GS60 Ghost is the best way to game on the go today. It’s got enough power to run any game and make it look good, and it’ll do it in style. And for only $1,699, maybe you can put off that trip to Cabo.
MSI GS60 Ghost
The GoodThe power to play any game • Excellent customizable keyboard • Reasonably priced
The BadTerrible trackpad • Flimsy plastic case • Limited hardware customization
The Bottom LineIf you like PC gaming, you will love the MSI GS60 Ghost.