on March 26, 2014
Ok so here is an in-depth review of the GE60 Apache Pro-003 (hereafter Apache Pro).
The specs: This laptop comes with a 15.6" FHD anti-glare screen, an Intel core i7 4700HQ processor, an Nvidia GTX 860M 2GB discrete graphics card, 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM, and a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive. For those that find no meaning in what I just stated, let me put it in simple English: this laptop has a great beautiful looking screen, an awesome latest generation quad-core processor, plenty of RAM, a sweet graphics card to play the latest games, and a spacey 1TB hard-drive for all your storage needs.
Build: The build on this laptop is amazing. It's a smaller form factor but not quite as thin/light as a Razer Blade or Macbook Pro however it feels light compared to most gaming laptops. The Apache Pro weighs a tad over 5 lbs. For the record I'm used to Asus ROG gaming laptops that weigh about 9+ lbs so the difference is night and day. The Apache Pro has an aluminum lid with the MSI Dragoon logo that lights up, has 4 USB ports, VGI out, DVD drive, Ethernet cable, Killer LAN networking, headphone/microphone jack, an SD card reader, a nice keyboard designed by Steelseries with customized LED background lighting and high quality Dynaudio built-in speakers. All in all everything that you could expect for a laptop of this category. Have to rate the uber-small form factor with tons of features an A++.
Screen: The screen is a 15.6" 1080P screen. Now I don't know the technical terms but I have to say, this screen kicks ass. So far all the games I've played looked alot more vivid and beautiful than on my Asus ROG (which has a 17" 1080P screen). Seriously, the difference is easily on par with a retina screen! Also it's super glare-resistant, I have no trouble using this laptop where there's sunlight. MSI really outdid themselves with the screen!
Keyboard: As I mentioned previously it has a keyboard designed by Steelseries, so you know the keyboard is damn awesome. It has anti-ghosting and you can customize the LED back-lights. I personally prefer the default color scheme but for those that have to be unique the keyboard won't disappoint. Really comfortable to type/play games on. However, be advised that in an effort to make the keyboard more gamer friendly MSI decided to move the Windows key to the RIGHT side of the keyboard (between Alt and Ctrl) instead of it being on the left side where it normally is. Some people will be ok with this, others will hate it. All in all I give the keyboard a solid A.
Audio: The volume sounded plenty loud and rich when I cranked it up. Most of the time I play with headphones though, so I'm by no means an "audiophile" and you probably won't get a "Beats by Dr. Dre" experience with just the speakers on the laptop. For most people they will work just fine and sound awesome, only the most picky "audiophile" would quibble over the speakers.
Software: Comes preinstalled with Norton Internet Security 2014 & Norton Backup w/ a free 60-day trial. I personally like Norton however it's up to personal preference. Also comes with MSI LED Keyboard manager (used to alter the color scheme of the keyboard). Some people will find the Norton programs to be unnecessary bloatware, once again that's up to you.
Battery: don't expect more than 2-3 hours on battery. Most gaming laptops are filled with power-hungry quad-core processors and graphics cards, and unfortunately battery life suffers dramatically. Honestly this isn't too much a point against the Apache Pro because most gaming laptops average the same amount of battery life. Sorry but if you need a computer to get you through your work day so you can play World of Warcraft later you should consider a Macbook Air or something. On a positive note, Nvidia has stated that the 800M series notebook GPUs will have Battery Saver as a standard feature. From what I understand you'll be able to play games at decent settings at 30FPS and still get over 2 hours battery life. That's amazing, considering how on most laptops the moment you unplug the computer it automatically switches over to the CPU (severely slows down games) for graphics processing in order to conserve battery power. I haven't tested out this new feature however, because as of this writing Nvidia hasn't released the software for it (yet).
Graphics: Ok this is what you guys are really interested in, I know. So let me start by saying that the Nvidia GTX 860M has EXACTLY the same specs as the Nvidia GTX 750 TI. Yes, that's right, the Apache Pro has all the processing power of a DESKTOP CLASS GPU (graphics processing unit). So if you've read any reviews about Nvidia's GTX 750 TI you'll have a good idea of what this laptop is capable of. The 750 TI is a budget desktop graphics card that's capable of playing all but the most graphic-intensive games at max settings and 1080P. The GTX 860M is capable of the same. I've played Battlefield 4, Guild Wars 2, Skyrim, Bioshock Infinite, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, Metro: Last Light, Tomb Raider (2013), and Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and this laptop handles them with poise and grace. On the most demanding titles like BF4 and Metro: Last Light I did have to scale the graphics down slightly (by that I mean turning off Phys-X or Post Processing) however when combined with the excellent screen the games looked absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend downloading Nvidia Experience software, it detects and automatically configures your games to optimal settings. Using Nvidia Experience optimizations I pull a consistent 50+ frames per second in most games and everything handles very smoothly. Can't ask for a better experience (pun intended).
Downsides: Ok so you're thinking that this is a great laptop, what's the catch? The laptop does have several downsides, and for some people they are pretty glaring issues (I know it is for me). MSI sacrificed alot of things in order to keep the cost of the laptop down and still have a kickass screen and plenty of graphics power. Being a smaller laptop, the cooling system is barely adequate. The Apache Pro, during a typical gaming session, tends to run between 80-90C (that's 176-194 F). To make matters worse, the fan vent is located on the left side of the computer which has a tendency to cook your left leg if you're playing w/ this on your lap. BUY A COOLING PAD or make sure you've got on some jeans or something. You can actually FEEL the left side of the computer get super toasty yet if you put your hand on the right side (over the numeric keypad) the computer feels nice and cool. For some people this won't bother them but to others (like myself) it drives you absolutely mad. I'm used to my ASUS ROG which has rear-facing vents and a great cooling system so I wouldn't notice when it would get hot. The fan inside the Apache Pro is also somewhat noisy but I don't notice because I typically have my headphones on. To be honest it's the heat I notice more than the fan noise. I believe that the lack of a good cooling system will turn many people off. Another downside is that the laptop doesn't have a solid state drive, it uses a 7200RPM hard drive. Not the end of the world but it would've been nice to have at least a 256GB SSD. Fortunately you can easily ugrade the HD and it doesn't break your warranty either.
TL;DR: Ok sorry for the huge wall of text. If you want a condensed summary here it is:
Pros: Kickass screen, small lightweight build, awesome keyboard, good speakers, super-powered graphics (runs Battlefield 4 or Assassin's Creed Black Flag on almost max settings).
Cons: Okay-ish battery life (lasts 2-3 hrs but honestly most gaming laptops average the same so take that w/ a grain of salt), no SSD, laptop gets super hot and the fan vent is located on left side which will cook your left leg (well not literally but it can get uncomfortable).
All in all it's a great laptop for the price, IF you're willing to overlook its flaws.
on April 3, 2014
ONE MONTH UPDATE (MAY 12, 2014--SCROLL DOWN FOR OLD REVIEW)
I ordered this product over a month ago, and I decided to return the laptop. I really enjoyed it at first. I loved the aesthetics of the laptop, the feel of the keyboard, the beautiful display, and the great speaker quality. Unfortunately, as the days went by, certain issues that I once was able to overlook continued to worsen overtime, leading me to make a direct 180 of my original perspective of the laptop. These issues include the audio, microphone, trackpad, and fan of the laptops, which I will address below:
Audio input/output: The quality of the speakers were great, but the microphone was unusable and of very poor quality. There was random drop-outs of the mic as if it was disabled, and voice recordings were too low to be heard. Increasing the microphone level and dB level helped somewhat with voice recognition, but it also led to increased background and static noise. I tried everything to fix this, including reverting to the Microsoft drivers, reinstalling the Realtek drivers, or updating the drivers. Nothing worked. In the end, I suggested future owners that a external microphone is necessary. With that being said, if you plan on using a microphone, you still have to sacrifice audio output quality and the great Soundblast Cinema because no external microphone worked with the Realtek drivers. I had to uninstall the drivers and revert to the Microsoft drivers for my external mics to work.
Trackpad: As mentioned in my original review, the trackpad is sluggish. Increasing the sensitivity to its maximum capacity did make it more effective, and I found myself not having much of a problem with it for daily web browsing when I am not on my desk. However, more and more often, for what appeared to be absolutely no reason, the trackpad became unusable and unstable. The cursor would jump in all different directions. I made sure there was absolutely no lint, dust, or residue on the trackpad, but the issue still persisted.
Fan: I think this was the deciding factor for me in the end. At first, I did not mind the fan at first, but after a month's use, the fan noise randomly kicked into a higher intensity. As soon as I booted up my system, the fan noise was extremely noticeable, and would often kick in to 100% and back down. Mind you this was all while I did non-intensive work, such as web browsing and Skyping. There was no way to reduce the fan noise, and my CPU temps read to be fine, so I have no idea what happened there. The noise was too much for me to bare. Also, the Cooler Blaster feature did not give me the advertised 5-10% temperature drops. Instead, I saw my temps increase by one to two degrees Celsius with no FPS improvements in games whatsoever.
Furthermore, there is a void warranty sticker right above one of the necessary screws in the back of the case, so if any of you are looking to upgrade to an SSD, higher RAM, or just clean out the back, you may void the warranty. I read on forums that MSI reps told some users it was totally okay to remove the sticker and they would still fulfill their warranty, but to be cautious, I would suggest contacting MSI if it is okay if you decide to upgrade or clean your laptop.
In the end, this was a great laptop at first, but the problems became more and more prevalent each day, and I can no longer recommend it as I would have a month ago.
OLD REVIEW: (APRIL 1, 2014)
During the past couple of years in college, I used Macbooks for their reliability. While they were quick, efficient, and overall great machines, I decided to return to a Windows laptop for the sole purpose of being able to game during my free time.
With it being my first time owning a gaming laptop, I took a hard look at my budget goals and did a lot of research. I ended up narrowing my choices down to between either this or the ASUS ROG G750JM 17.3-inch Gaming Laptop. In the end, I chose this laptop for its appeal and more portable design. I've had this laptop for three days now and would like to voice my thoughts on the product to help those who may still be deciding.
The first thing I noticed when I got this laptop was its appearance. Though others may disagree, I love how this looks. In my personal opinion, it looks much sleeker and more modern than the ASUS, Alienware, or Razer Blade models I have seen. It's not too "flashy" either, which is a plus for me. Being accustomed to my old Macbook Pro, however, I was not a fan of how easily these types of laptops get fingerprint smudges everywhere.
Moving on, I'm sure you are all wondering about the gaming capabilities. There is no need to worry: the NVIDIA 860M graphics cards with the laptop's 1080p screen does not disappoint. Since I've received this laptop, I have tested many games, including Tomb Raider, Skyrim, Bioshock: Infinite, Mass Effect 3, Devil May Cry, Witcher 2, Crysis 3, Metro: Last Light, Saints Row IV, and Battlefield 4. I am not going to go into too much detail on the specific settings I had for each game. Just know that the more demanding games (such as Crysis 3 or Witcher 2) had to be tweaked and scaled down to High rather than Ultra, yet were all still very playable and pleasing to the eyes. I am looking forward to this laptop handling Dragon Age: Inquisition, Watch Dogs, and Witcher 3 later this year.
Lastly, the audio output and keyboard are outstanding. When watching Youtube videos, the sound is crisp. The speakers are overall nice and loud. As for the keyboard, I swear I can type on this thing for hours. It is super comfortable and has a pleasant feeling to each key being pressed. It feels a lot better than my Late 2011 Macbook Pro's keyboard, and I'm sure it will make writing college papers a little less horrible.
For its slimmer design, I knew I was giving up the better cooling system ASUS had. I used the MSI afterburner to monitor GPU temperatures while I gamed. As mentioned by the previous reviewer, the laptop stayed between 80C and 90C even with the built in cooling fan turned on. It has not actually "felt" hot though. I can still comfortably game with my palm and hand on the laptop. Despite that, it does make me worry that it could do some damage to my laptop in the long term. I am considering purchasing a cooling pad and doing a thermal repaste to the laptop since I read that MSI's thermal pasting is usually poor.
Secondly, the touchpad was a big turn off for me. I knew this was a problem before purchasing it because other reviewers discussed their distaste towards it, but I still wanted to give it a chance. Sure enough, it was as sluggish as they say. I understand that probably everyone will use an external mouse for gaming purposes, but using the touchpad even for non-gaming purposes, such as navigating around applications, can get really annoying. I'm positive that in time though, one will get used to the touchpad. I guess I'm just too used to the responsiveness of the mac's touchpad. To compensate for this issue, I bought a cheap wired mouse that has made navigating much smoother.
Lastly, the most frustrating issue (and the major flaw for me) I have had so far has been the internal microphone. It seems to work one minute then completely stops working the next. To make matters worse, when it does work, the quality is very poor. My voice can barely be heard when I am right in front of my laptop in a quiet room. Gamers who rely on the internal mic for communication may have to use an external mic. Personally, the internal mic is a big deal for me because I frequently use Skype to chat with friends. Earlier today, I called my girlfriend on Skype and had a lot of issues with my audio input. She addressed how faint my voice was, then after a few seconds, she could not hear anything from my side at all. I looked at the internal mic settings, and there was no feedback being received. After a minute or so, the mic magically started working again with no explanation. Another minute went by and suddenly it stopped once more as if it were disabled. This issue continued to repeat itself. I'm sure you can understand how frustrating that had to be.
I reinstalled drivers and tried tweaking settings but the issue still persisted. It was disconnecting all the time and recordings were too low to hear.
I am not sure if I just received a defective unit or that I simply am having incompatibility issues. With such a great HD audio output, the internal mic can't be this horrible? If anyone else is having this issue (or knows a solution) please let me know. I ordered a small external microphone on Amazon that is on its way as a quick fix, but I would like to permanently fix this problem.
* Appealing, sleek, and modern design (Some may think otherwise)
* Awesome gaming performance and graphics (Great FPS. Settings can range from High to Ultra graphics depending on how demanding the specific game being played is)
* Great sound output (Crisp, clear, and loud audio)
* Amazingly comfortable keyboard with cool backlit personalization
* No Wifi issues thus far
* Surface is a fingerprint magnet
* High temperatures when gaming (80-90C GPU when playing games)
* Horrible sound input (Unreliable: works on and off; poor quality when working--not sure if this issue occurs in all of the units or if I just received a defective one. Would like extra input)
* Sluggish Touchpad
In conclusion, I would recommend this laptop to anyone as long as they can look past the cons listed above. There are many great things about this product, and some of the cons can be fixed/improved by using additional accessories. I would have easily given this product five stars if it were not for the troubling internal microphone issues I have been dealing with. It's a bit sad to see how this laptop could have such an amazing high quality sound output but is only capable of providing ineffective poor quality sound input.
on April 24, 2014
To start off, I want to be honest. I do not know how to compare this laptop to any other seeing how I have only owned two.
That being said, I do have a fairly well put together desktop so I do know what some real horse power can output.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F8WFsC3pqM
I am honestly very satisfied with my purchase, though still only a week in.
The laptop is light, portable and overall powerful for the price.
Though I have not owned nor ever used a gaming laptop in this range I feel like it was a good pick.
The keyboard feels awesome and very responsive. I do have a razer keypad and mouse to game with I only use the mouse seeing how nice the steelseries keyboard actually feels. And well it lights up and can be different colors too haha.
The screen is very vibrant and pops very well while still being bright and has a anti glare finish.
The screen is very colorful and reasonable in size. I have a 24in and 32in dual monitor setup for my desktop and had no problem transitioning over to the laptop. I actually do not have this many colors in my 23'' Viewsonic, still in awe when playing bf4 or league or diablo after using this laptop.
The computers overall speed and responsiveness is overall ok. There are some bumpy times but I blame that on windows 8. I would have loved to have a ssd installed on here but will more than likely add one within the next two months or so. That was the number one thing I noticed when moving from my desktop which has a corsair 128gb ssd, the slower boot and load times.
I really wanted a laptop that would be able to handle this years games and hopefully next years games at least on medium and does this laptop hold up to that.
Older games hold up great and run like butter.
I recommend always running a game and then optimizing the game via Nvidia's software.
--Some quick stats from today--
Battlefield 4: [Settings range from ULTRA to Low but looks amazing] 50 constant frames on 64 TDM Server after 2 matches only at 80 degrees peak avg 70-80
Diablo 3 ROS: [Settings are all High] Infinite frames as long as your ping is appropriate.
****Power options set to High Performance, Web browsers closed or minimal tabs, Nvidia recommended settings, and Low Ping all factor into your final gaming experience. So make sure you dont have a million processes going on, reduce internet usage to lower ping, and have fun.*****
Battery life is ok and hasn't seem to be a problem since I am usually plugged in most of the time.
But is around the 1-3 hr mark depending on use.
So far I have not burnt my crotch nor have I spent enough time gaming to actually burn it since finals and other projects are around the corner. (This review is a form of procrastination)
As seen above, I have yet to pass the 80C threshold just yet but these are only 1-2 hour gaming sessions. If you do play longer or do not have a cool room temp to begin with do invest another 20-60 dollars into a ventilation fan to place you laptop on. You dont want your 1.3k investment dying because you couldn't buy a $50 cooling solution.
All in all I did a fair amount of research and I am proud of my choice so far. Will more than likely update if anything bad or extraordinary happens with the laptop.
on May 18, 2014
I bought the MSI GE60 Apache Pro-003 from ComputerUpgradeKing. Their persistent and valiant responses to a thread started on notebookreview's forum gave me the confidence to purchase from them. Part of this review goes to their wonderful customer support. The package came in great condition. Buying this laptop, I knew that they were re-sellers so I was expecting plastic missing here and there, but they kept everything in good condition and left everything the way it should have been. I felt like I was unboxing a brand new laptop.
For $30 more than other sellers, I got 16gb ram vs 8gb.
Display:The display is phenomenal. I can tilt the screen all the way back and it'll look like I'm looking at it straight on. There's barely any distortions in color, and I am absolutely in love with it. Viewing angles horizontally are also very good, great for watching a movie with 3-5 people.
Games: I'm able to play games like Titanfall on ultra settings, getting around ~40fps. I also loaded Assassin's Creed IV and get about ~30fps on ultra.
Keyboard: The backlit keyboard is super fun. There's a bunch of modes like audio, gaming, dual-color, and more. You can set your own colors, but audio mode is the greatest. As you play music, the lights go to the beat of the song. It's surprisingly pretty good at determining where the downbeats are, so I'm really happy with it. It doesn't seem to take up that much more battery, but eh, the color show is awesome.
Noise/Fan: It's pretty average. It isn't quiet, but it doesn't bother me at all, so that's good. While playing games it gets fairly loud, but I expect that for a gaming laptop.
Keyboard: Great feeling keyboard, steelseries is becoming one of my favorite kinds. It's quiet, but offers enough bounce back to keep me going steadily at a good pace.
Aesthetics: It looks cool, the keyboard makes it look even cooler. It's aluminum brushed and will keep your laptop a bit cooler. The bezels on the side don't get fingerprints as far as I can tell, the display is in a nice matte finish. There's just a lot to like about it, really. The red badge logo on the back lights up, but not the MSI logo. So that's cool too.
Sound: I like it. There are speakers that actually come from the bottom as well as the top. But the sound is good. I've had it on my lap and on the desk and it didn't seem to distort when on my lap. Initially the sound may be bass intensive, so play with the sound blaster cinema program they have. It doesn't get over-the-top loud like some laptops with harmon/kardon speakers, but it does a good job.
Wireless card: FINALLY. I went through 3 laptops before finding a laptop with an actual working wifi card. I finally get the 65mbps I pay for in my room. With other laptops I was getting 40mbps or 30mbps. I did everything I could with those other laptops too, but this one got 65 right off the bat.
Touchpad: If only they added a left and right click button, this would have been so much better. It feels cheap, and when using two fingers to scroll, it'll sometimes bounce up and down. It's just weird. But others are reporting issues with using it in general, and I don't find many problems with it once adjusting the sensitivity. Play with the settings a little, and I'm sure you'll find a place that you like. I personally prefer the 4th level from the left.
Fingerprints: God.... seriously. It's no exaggeration, this computer is a FINGERPRINT MAGNET. I gave doubts about it too, but jeez it's bad. I have to wipe it so often to make it look clean. I may just start wearing gloves!
Screen: It's kinda flimsy, honestly. It's very thin compared to the body, and if I use one hand to push the screen up it gives in a tiny bit, so it's a little wobbly. I don't see the possibility of it breaking, but it's just one of those things that I wanted to touch on.
On ComputerUpgradeKing's part: I opened the laptop and immediately found what looked like a 3" scratch on my screen. I assumed it was a scratch because the microfiber cloth I was using couldn't get it off. But I used a screen cleaning product with the cloth and voila, it came out. It looks like it might have just been some kind of substance that got on there in a discrete, small line to look like a scratch. Before I removed the scratch, I e-mailed Tyler back and forth and almost sent it in for a refund. He was very understanding, and I appreciated his patience and willingness to offer me a refund or exchange for the laptop. Props to computerupgradeking for the quick responses! I love me some good customer support.
I know fingerprints and a bad touchpad are huge. Trust me, I don't use a mouse with my laptop, but I can get used to this. I would have liked it to be perfect since I'm spending $1200+ on a laptop, but I get it in performance. It holds up well so far, and I'll be making updates on how this product is.
Give Computer Upgrade King a shot. They have good customer support, and they give you double the ram for a mere $30 more.
I like this laptop, the display alone probably would have enticed me to keep it. It's viewing angles are ridiculously good. I'm a photographer and photoshop hobbyist and can definitely stand by my words. Great color, great resolution. Good job, MSI.
Update #1: Yeah this laptop gets quite hot... I would absolutely suggest buying a cooling pad just so you don't risk overheating your $1300 laptop. The fingerprints are still annoying, but I've been able to get used to it. The battery life gets me around 3-4 hours for school, with the power mode on "Power Saver" and the brightness one notch up from all the way down. I was able to watch a 2 hour movie and still have an hour left, so that was good. The fans get loud when the laptop is being pushed during gaming, but during a movie it's pretty quiet. You also have eco modes for movies which I use, I assume it preserves more battery life.
I can't get over the fact that the keyboard is backlit. I love it and it's my favorite feature, truthfully. The keyboard is nice, soft, and quiet too and it took a lot of convincing since I came from Lenovo's accutype keyboard. I still love the screen. It's a beautiful, beautiful display. No major problems though.
Update #2: I've had this laptop for nearly a month now, the laptop gets hot in the middle, specifically above the touchpad, and where the fan is on the left. Everywhere else the computer gets warm but not hot when gaming. I still play Titanfall and it holds up well. The fingerprints are bothersome, but it gives me a good reason to clean my laptop after every other use, so I feel like I'm taking any lint/dust off as I do so.
I bumped it down from 5 stars to 4 because of the fan. The quietness I heard when I first received the laptop isn't there anymore. It isn't bothersome, like really it isn't, but I think it's worth mentioning. It will pick up fan speed randomly, like right now I only have 3 websites open, microsoft word open, and I'm typing this review. I suppose that's enough to get the RPMs spinning on the fan a little bit more.
Backlit keyboards are still badass, I get so many compliments for it.
on March 24, 2014
First of this laptop is awesome. The keyboard is exceptional. The option to display three different colors is awesome. It works very well. The 8gb of memory works very well. Everything is exceptionally fast. Skyrim Plays on ultra. The laptops weight is what you would expect, it is not super light, and it is not too heavy. The keyboard and screen doesn't flex. I would recommend this Laptop to anyone.
on May 21, 2014
I am a computer professional and I wanted something with some horsepower. This usually means I end up buying a gaming laptop. So I really can't speak to the gaming experience but I am willing to assume it is just fine. In the past I have owned and ASUS N-series and it was pretty powerful, it was built like crap but powerful. This laptop has a nice build quality. I do online DJing with Serato. For this I require 4 USB ports. I run two cameras, my serato interface, and another device called dicers. It doesn't seem to have a problem keeping up with all this. In addition I use ManyCam, Adobe FMLE to put on the show, and browse the show at the same time. All this is pretty taxing and the laptop functions well.
What I want to say is the horror stories of the touchpad are overrated. As with most touchpads in my experience- you just have to play with the settings and then it can be pretty good based on your taste. I will admit it is not the best touchpad... on the other hand I have lots of laptops, I use the touchpad a lot and they never seem perfect. Don't let the touchpad stop you.
The built-in camera is kind of fussy. I don't really care about this, but if you do... one of the first things you want to do is make sure it works with your software. I noticed it doesn't come up properly in some software. This probably requires some tweaking which I don't care to waste my time on, as I am not concerned with the built-in camera. It works in the windows camera app, and for me that is a baseline. I imagine there must be ways to make it work with other apps.
FINALLY... the keyboard. The keyboard is pretty awesome. But out of the box you may think it is busted. There is a button to control the lighting modes. It basically switches between three modes- off, standard multi-color- and gaming. The gaming mode only illuminates the left side... this is by design. The multi-color mode, out of the box could do anything... including being a single color. I was worried about the keyboard when I first got mine. I actually ordered another one and its configuration was different than my first one. I thought--- well they must just not care about the keyboard. HERE IS THE TRICK... the is a not-so-obvious utility installed called KLM. I believe it stands for keyboard led manager. This is where you can set up all kinds of different colors and but the keyboard in various modes. This is also another utility available on the MSI website... I believe that is called SSE... stands for steelseries something. That will let you set up multiple keyboard profiles. Point is... don't sweat the keyboard.
So for the money I recommend this machine. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. Cheers
on September 29, 2014
If you are looking to buy a very powerful gaming laptop for a good price than you definitely have to take this offer seriously.
-The GPU is more than powerful and can run the latest games with good FPS.
-The display is heavenly compared to other laptops and viewing angles don't affect your viewing experience!
-The keyboard is simply awesome
-Start-up is lighting fast.
-The touch-pad is OK but don't plan on using it often for games
-The speaker sound seems good although I always use good quality earphones (I recommend it, any earphones or headphones)
-Battery is good nothing special
-It packs a lot of stains so it may annoy you after some time
-Can get very hot sometimes in some areas of the keyboard but it won't affect your gaming experience
-The fan is good but it makes a lot of noise when playing heavy duty games and sometimes the noise stays even after closing the game until you put the laptop to sleep.(Not very annoying noise but noise nonetheless)
-A lot of bloatware that slows the performance after start-up (Its OK its just a matter of 20 seconds before everything becomes very fast). This is caused by the absence of an SSD.
-I think there's a problem with the camera and Skype although I didn't try to troubleshoot the problem
As you can see the cons are very insignificant compared to the pros and if you are looking to buy laptops from other brands let me help you with that:
- The Lenovo Y50 DO NOT BUY IT the screen sucks, the colors are very washed out and inaccurate( my friend bought it and we compared). Although you can buy the UHD Y50 but I don't know how much that fixed the inaccurate colors.
-Alienware=A lot of $$$
-HP I tried to find some good laptops but their website is confusing and they are not well into gaming laptops
-ASUS is also very good I heard but you have to research that
If you do not have time to research, I highly recommend this laptop as it will not disappoint you trust me on this.
on April 25, 2014
I wanted a workhorse laptop with a Quad core i7 and able to upgrade to 16 gb of RAM and this fit the bill.
Nice thing with this unit has a Single 8 GB SODIMM so you can just purchase another 8 GB stick and get it up to 16 GB.
It ships with a nice 7200 RPM 1 TB hard drive but you do have 2 MSATA slots inside. Amazon has 240 GB MSATA Solid State Drive (SSD) units for a great price.
Just note no Windows 8.1 install media is included so you have to make recovery/restore media (USB/DVD) after booting up the unit.
I had an issue due to the MSI restore image would not restore to my 240 GB MSATA drive to make Windows boot off the faster SSD so I had to use disk clone software to move Windows 8.1 from the 1 TB Hard drive to the 240 GB SSD.
Screen on this unit is Anti-Glare and very sharp.
Keyboard feel is great - just note the space-bar is a bit narrower due to FN and Directional Arrow keys on bottom row. BTW all the pictures for this unit show the three color zones on the backlit keys - you can change them to all white if you want.
Touch-pad as a bit to be desired but as soon as you plug in or Pair a mouse it gets disabled so not much of an issue to me. The feel on the touch-pad just is a bit off (Note: It seems that the default acceleration for the Touch-pad driver is set low - turned up the tracking and seems much better)
Not a gamer but I did load some NVida Demos and they looked great.
Normal operation of the unit I do not hear excessive fan noise - it seems to be a very quiet unit.
If you want a powerhouse laptop with the latest mobile video card (as of 4/2014) check out the MSI GE60 Apache Pro.
on May 10, 2014
I'm not a computer person, so this is a review from a non-computer savvy plain Jane reviewer. Hopefully helpful to the other non-computer savvy customers...
Cosmetic: I LOVE the rainbow keyboard! It is such a pretty computer, I receive compliments on it all the time! I showed my photography portfolio the other day and even before my pictures were up, the clients were all remarking on what a "neat" and "pretty" computer it is!
Big beautiful screen! Whatever I edit on this screen looks exactly like it when I print it out! The coloring is true to life for photo editing and that creates a lot less of a headache when printing!
Super fast, awesome computer! I purchased a gaming computer for the speed- for photo editing. I cannot believe how fast this loads and saves my photos in photoshop and lightroom! I've never had a computer with better performance. I usually had a lengthy wait time for uploading pictures- like 45 minutes to over an hour- this had an entire wedding downloaded in 7 minutes!
I don't usually like touch pads, but the one on this computer is actually usable and awesome. I use a mouse with it for photo-editing, but for internet browsing and things, this touch pad works great. I am impressed with it.
It has good speakers for a laptop. I was playing Pandora Radio while editing the other day, i didn't have it cranked up terribly loud, but it sounded great.;
I HATE the apps thing for Windows 8- this has nothing to do with the computer but with the operating system. It took me forever to figure out how to do anything... then someone pointed out it has a computer "desktop," like in the olden days... so now I still run everything from there. I added "my computer" and things to the desktop so that I could get to them easier- there is no start button on Windows 8!
It came with a ridiculous amount of pre-loaded software...(they all do) but I had to spend some time deleting silly programs I didn't need. ugh.. bloatware...
Battery: I get 3-4 hours at tops, which it the only real issue I have with the computer. But it works so fast!
Also, you'll need a cooling pad, or just place it on a table or something, not your lap during use, it heats up easy when you're running a lot of programs.
Overall- a GREAT computer. This was my first MSI, I would buy one again!
on April 14, 2014
So I've been in the gaming laptop market since last year but have continuously postponed my purchase plan because I couldn't find that one laptop that is at the optimal point of price and performance. Then I saw the new gaming laptop series from MSI released earlier this year and couldn't resist the offer.
The hardware spec is probably going to be one of the best you can purchase at this price range. To me, the GPU or the graphics card is obviously the most important factor when considering a gaming laptop because most recent Intel (even down to second generation i7) CPUs are honestly powerful enough and will probably be for next few years for most daily uses and gaming. Also, while the hard drive and memory can be easily upgraded, for most laptops, you are stuck with the initial GPU that comes with the laptop. When I saw that MSI was selling this laptop with the new 8th gen Nvidia GTX spec graphics card at this price (I honestly expected the price to be in the upper 1300s ), I thought to myself this is it. And the hardware lives up to what you expect. One strong recommendation of course is to swap out the hard drive for a SSD since it will exponentially increase the speed. 8GB of RAM is good enough; could've been 12 GB, but I think MSI tried their best to cut corners in a way that's acceptable considering the price tag.
Also, with that price, I expected MSI to make some sketch turns with the display and how sturdy the laptop is built. NOPE. The display is beautiful(1920 x 1080) and, while it may not be a giant monster build like RoG from ASUS, the laptop is built fairly sturdy and is portable size and weight. Additionally, I like the simplistic design approach MSI took. Mad props to MSI for these factors. And do I even need to mention the keyboard? It's done by SteelSeries. I've been spoiled by my mechanical keyboard for past year or so, but, even then, the keyboard felt really nice to type with.
Lastly, I think the heating is passable for all intents and purposes. If you are a little paranoid about your laptop getting warm, you should just consider purchasing laptops with better cooling systems like RoG. But I have to say, if you plan on purchasing a gaming laptop, also plan to purchase a decent cooling pad. Most good quality cooling pad only costs somewhere around 40 dollars and I think they are good investments to have for your 1200 dollar laptop to run at a cooler temperature. The laptop has a built in cooling boost which you can manually turn on, and this brings the temperature of the GPU down by around 3~5 degrees Celsius from the games I've tested (League of Legends and Diablo 3).
There are some minor flaws which I'm personally willing to look over. So other reviews were spot on about the mousepad... the sensitivity and flow of the mouse pad is just weird and I had a hard time navigating through windows 8.1 for the first time with it. But this might have been a smart way for MSI to cut some price down since most people purchasing this laptop will have a dedicated mouse for gaming (if that's the case MSI knows their audience well). Windows 8.1 is also arguably a flaw, though I don't think MSI has too much control on that. It was my first time playing around with it and yea it was kinda annoying and lived up to the numerous complaints on the internet. But I fixed this by downloading Classic Shell application which basically turned the start menu into Windows 7 style. So no big issues there. (I haven't really ran into any program compatibility issues other than there seem to be no desktop gadgets for Windows 8.1).
One major issue I had though is that when I connected my cooling pad on any of the 3 USB ports on the left side of the laptop and had my speakers connected, the speakers generated static noise which didn't go away until I plugged the USB for the cooling pad on the USB port on the right side. I found another forum discussion where someone else had this issue although I'm unable to locate it at the moment. But this is a bit of let down from a 1200 dollar gaming laptop. But I think I'll keep mine since I appreciate the overall performance of the laptop