MSI GT60 Dominator Pro Gaming Laptop Review

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Conclusion

Performance Summary: The GT60's performance situation is complex. First, the good news -- this laptop has the best overall performance of any mobile solution we've ever tested. Even with the throttling issues, the MSI GT60 Dominator Pro is well ahead of its AMD counterpart, but even that performance isn't high enough to deliver playable frame rates at high detail when running 2880x1620.

This, I think, explains a lot of why MSI opted to put a high-end GPU with an 8GB frame buffer in a 15-inch system that can't really dissipate the heat effectively: they needed the best solution possible for that 3K display. Unfortunately, GPU hardware simply isn't ready for 3K gaming in a mobile form factor; you're not going to be pushing high frame rates on that display with anything less than pair of GTX 880M's in SLI, at least not on the latest titles.

It's an understandable move, but an unfortunate one. While Metro Last Light is the only game to show major slowdowns, other titles do take a hit. The system is quite loud when running full tilt, and as much as we love the 3K display, this laptop may have bit off more than it could chew when it comes to pushing that many pixels in a 15-inch form factor.

Our advice to readers considering this system is to plan to invest in an aftermarket cooling pad or use V-Sync to keep frame rates down (and control heat). Those of you without air conditioning in summer months may want to consider another system if you game. 

The MSI GT60 Dominator Pro isn't a system we can unilaterally recommend. Its beautiful screen and great GPU performance are offset by a great deal of fan noise and GPU throttling. The 128GB SSD is a bit small now that prices on consumer drives have dropped below 50 cents per GB in some cases, and MSI needs to revisit its co-branding initiatives. A $2400 laptop is nearly 5x more expensive than a typical PC laptop; the user experience should reflect that. At the very least, the company's product photos and software disclosures should accurately represent the final product.

NVIDIA's Battery Boost technology is clearly in early days, but it offers an intriguing option for improving battery life, and we like the port loadouts and other capabilities of the platform. If you're comfortable using software to optimize frame rates and limit overall heat production, you may find a lot to love with the MSI GT60 Dominator Pro. Hopefully the next-generation of GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD will offer MSI some additional headroom to keep pushing the ceiling on visual experiences while reducing TDPs and overall power consumption. With some relatively modest adjustments, MSI could evolve this product family into a brand champion -- but it's not quite there yet.

   
  • Best display we've ever seen on a PC
  • Excellent port configuration
  • High overall performance
  • Battery Boost does boost battery life
  • Bloatware
  • Can't handle its own heat output
  • No mobile GPU can push 3K gaming at high detail levels

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