MSI GS60 2QE – A Near Perfect Notebook

Upgrade Time

So my 2011 duel core MacBook Pro is getting old and a little finicky, speed is beginning to be an issue, time is money and seconds count when compiling large programs and editing videos takes great care let alone lengthy delays in moving the files about, I’ve been putting off the need to edit 4K video for a long time too.

I still need portability as I take my work with me to coffee shops, meetings and other peoples houses regularly so a notebook it has to be. I waited most of the year for Apple to refresh the Macbook Pro with a 4K capable GPU but alas even October went with no mention of that happening soon. So the decision was made, a Windows OS notebook it would be, with the brand new NVidia 970M GPU. I ended up prising open my wallet for the MSI GS60 2QE and I’m loving it!

The specifications and quality are second to none. A quad core i7 processor, 256GB SSD, 1TB second HDD, an amazingly crisp 2880×1620 pixel 3K IPS screen, latest NVidia 970M GPU, a gorgeous tactile backlit “steelseries” keyboard, more ports than a harbour, lightweight for a 15.6 incher and gorgeous looking too.


The Fans! Why are they set so high MSI!?

I’m not talking LOUD fan noise more just noticeable in the background when in the desktop where I would expect the machine to be near silent if all I have running is a browser, which it isn’t. The lowest RPM of the CPU fan is 2891 RPM which is what it will be from 45 degrees and below, I even took the machine outside into the -2 degree winter Vancouver weather and watched the CPU temp drop to 34 degrees, the fan just stayed at 2891 RPM.

gs60-outside-minus2-small 2891 RPM at 36 degrees? Why?!

In my 18c environment the GS60 fans will be at their 2891 RPM if all I am doing it non taxing file editing work. As soon as I do anything from open a few internet tabs, or watch a Youtube or compile some code that fan will kick in pretty quick. The CPU temp just has to reach a low 46 degrees for the RPM to change to 3333 which is not terribly loud but it is noticeable. In the desktop the machine doesn’t go past 3333 RPM with as many apps I can can run; at one point I had Photoshop, Chrome, IE, multiple videos playing via Youtube and the CPU hovered at 51 degrees and I only managed to see 55 for the briefest of seconds (desktop computing).

Do the same on my 2011 MacBook Pro which is a more compact 13″ model (less heat distribution space) with 2.7GHz i7 duel core. The fan and CPU heatsink in this machine is probably not as good as in the GS60. Here you’ll see sitting in the desktop, doing nothing, at a very similar 46 degrees and RPM of 2006RPM

A MBP 2011 models fan speeds for various tempuratures/workloads. Fan speeds are a lot lower, I with the GS60 used similar values.

I would love to see an update to the fan profiles to include lower RPM settings and have us not see the likes of 3333 RPM until 60 degrees. This would make desktop work much more silent.

Update: Fan Control Software!

There is a free utility that can control the GS60’s fan profiles, not an official utility so use at your own risk. “Fan Profile Apllier by Pherein” along with a profile settings file for the GS60 2QE model seems to be a livable solution to the noise problem. With the “quiet” profile set when you first login to Windows, the fans stay at a reasonable 2800RPM until the CPU temp reaches around 50 degrees. So quiet browsing and document editing is possible. Again, this is not an official solution so use at your own risk: See ti20n‘s post here for download links.


Final Thoughts

Looking past the fan noise the machine is quite simply amazing, a fantastic machine for productivity (my main use), it is simply blindingly fast.

The highest quality build, a steelseries keyboard, a 3K IPS screen, blazing fast 256MB SSD along with a fast 1TB HDD, latest NVidia 970M GPU graphics and more ports and features than you can shake a stick at. It makes my work much more effortless, everything happens in an instant, I can’t wait to try editing 4K footage and Far Cry 3 (just to test it, I’m working really…. honest).

Model Specs:

  • MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 2QE (link)
  • Full Specs (link)
  • Screen: 3K 2880 x 1620 IPS, Processor: i7 4710HQ, Memory: 16GB, Storage 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, GPU: GTX970M 3GB + Intel 4600


  • GPU Performance for games
  • GPU Performance for 4K desktop use and even video editing (not really 4K gaming – no notebook can do that yet)
  • Screen: 3K pixels 2880 x 1620 IPS crispy clear
  • SoundBlaster sound (internal speakers are OK with a little setup, the sound comes into its own with external speakers)
  • External Ports (has everything you need, 3 x USB3, SD Card Slot, Mic in, Audio out, Mini DVI, a full HDMI.
  • Portability (15.6″)
  • Keyboard (steelseries brand, selectable colour backlit, lovely to type on, keypad too)
  • Plenty of storage. Depending on the model from 128/256/512GB SSD and 1TB HDD. And the price for each upgrade is normal (not $1 per GB as found with some systems beginning with A).
  • Comes with a quality soft case. There are other things like a really nice box and packaging …. but the case is the useful thing.
  • Everything is solid and tight, having put up with a fiddly SD card port on my MBP that would require re-inserting or slight pressure on the top of the inserted card it is really nice to find the SD card slot on the GS60 a solid click in and press click out version. The USB3 ports are nice and tight. Having a full HDMI port is fantastic as well as the mini display port (I have purchased 5 mini disply port to HDMI cables over the past three years thanks to their bent pins).
  • Price: Well personally I find the price is reasonable, you get what you pay for sometimes and in this case you do.
    You can get a similar spec notebook for $100 to $200 less but you lose out on some of the quality present in the chassis, design and keyboard of this laptop. Plus if you compare this machine to top end Sony/Apple/Dell/Alienware equivalents it really is priced well for a top end 15.6 incher.


  • Fan noise (RPM does seem unnecessarily high).
  • Battery life (Desktop productivity moderate use and I’m down 30 minutes of battery after only 1h. Gaming: not a lot depending in the game). This really is a plug in notebook. Just for your info: Battery charges from 5% to 50% in 31 minutes, 5% to 100% in 1 hour 56 minutes (battery charge test done whilst using the machine too).
  • Not user upgradeable without voiding warranty (you can upgrade it, but will void the warranty so wait until that’s over. Not comparitively expensive to get a specc’ed up machine to begin with though).
  • No touchscreen. Maybe this is or isn’t a con for you; touchscreen can be nice but really not needed if you are doing work or playing the latest FPS game. On one hand I would have liked it present but then I would never have actually used it as I can’t stand finger prints on a screen I am using to write, read or draw on. I do happen to own a Windows Surface Pro (version 1) which is great with touch but then in my house we tend to use that device mostly for browsing the internet and in the kitchen showing recipes and Skype where touch really is useful.

Very Minor Cons and dislikes:

  • Would be nice to see the Intel I7-4870HQ in the GS60, but can’t really complain. CPU is still plenty fast enough, GPU performance is where it is at for media related productivity and gaming.
  • Internal speakers are OK, good for a notebook (set them up in the Sound Blaster Cinema 2 app). You can’t really expect much more, plus if you are gaming on the move or sat in a coffee shop working, you really should be using headphones. If you’re at your desk you can’t beat powered speakers.
  • No Windows key on the left which is an utterly baffling omission on an otherwise perfect keyboard. I never thought I’d complain about a missing Windows key! I used to remove it from my keyboards ten years ago when it got introduced, but using Windows 8 the keyboard shortcuts like Windows+S to search of apps is invaluable. Right hand side Windows key it is then!
  • The blue LED indicators on the front edge are… well old hat, too big, ugly and really not needed. It’s been a long time since I wanted to know my hard disk was been accessed. Please remove MSI!
  • Something I’d like to see included in notebooks (none have this as far as I know) is an integrated Logitech 1000Hz receiver; you know, those USB things you have to plug in if you buy one of the many wireless keyboards or mice like my favorite Logitech G700S mouse and . I know I could have bought a Bluetooth mouse but there aren’t many good ones, most use these USB dongles, why isn’t this tech built in too so I can throw the damn thing away?

Buying Tips

  • Be careful not to buy the old model with 870M graphics in. 970M is the latest NVIDA GPU in this model.
  • I really recommend the “3K” 2880×1680 pixel IPS screen over the 1080p if you intend to do desktop work, go for the 1080p if you just want to play games.
  • There is a 4K screen version but two things spring to mind, 3K is already ultra high for a 15.6″ screen (higher than “retina” notebooks). I hear the 4K screen only has a refresh rate of 48Hz. Sure plug the notebook into a nice 4K monitor of a 27+ inch size but for the notebook screen 3K is already overkill.
  • There are 12GB system memory versions, but 16GB is not a lot more and you can’t really replace it cheaply or easily so get it with your purchase.
  • The machine comes with 1TB 7200 RPM HDD and your choice of SSD size. Plenty of space and fast with the SSD of any size, you can’t go wrong, get what you can afford.
  • The machine has a warranty of 2 year parts and 1 year accidental with MSI. You can’t open the machine without voiding the warranty (sticker over a screw), so get the SSD/RAM spec you need for the next two years.
  • 16GB is plenty, you can’t get more in this machine and quite honestly whatever you are doing you don’t need it. OK, maybe if you are editing 4K video it would be beneficial but not 100% necessary even for that. I have Photoshop, 11 website tabs, Unity 3D, Visual Studio, and a tray of of 26 other apps open and I have 8.3GB physical memory free, 16GB is great 12GB is good, 8GB isn’t enough but will work thanks to fast disks (in my opinion).


Update 1st February 2016

MSI GS60 2QE model supports 4K at 60Hz on a Philips BDM4065UC 40″ 4K Monitor

Someone asked me if the MSI GS60 2QE model supports 4K at 60Hz, yeah sure it does! Be sure to use the correct cable, here I havit it plugged into a 40″ (yes 40 inch!) Philips BDM4065UC monitor via a Displayport 1.2 cable (note you need a Displayport 1.2 cable in order to get 60Hz).

Also note: my MSI GS60 is the 5th generation Intel CPU model, the new/current model is 6th Gen (faster and cooler running though I presume still has fan noise when under slight load).

P.S. Yes a 40″ monitor is MASSIVE! But I can get all my windows on one screen! I’m running in Windows at 150% scaling so the screen is 4K resolution but I am using it like a 3K desktop size which is perfect (same as say a 27″ monitor at 1080p – just more real estate for more windows). Only one thing would beat this and that is a curved 40″ display, working this close to a monitor this big means you would benefit from the corners pointing toward you in a curved display. And some people would prefer two 27″ monitors side by side instead of one 40″ but that is personal preference.

GS60_2QE_4K_60HZ_1of2 GS60_2QE_4K_60HZ_2of2