MSI offers several configurations of the PE60 Prestige worldwide, but the configuration we tested came with the quad-core Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor running at 2.60 GHz. This CPU is probably overkill for most people looking for a gaming notebook in this price range. However, this Core i7 chip provides the multitasking power to maintain your productivity even when you’ve got multiple browser tabs open, are streaming a webcast, running a virus scan and editing photos in Photoshop all at the same time.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M GPU isn’t the best dedicated graphics card for a gaming notebook in the $1000-$2,000 price range, but it is more than capable of handling most mainstream games at low-to-medium detail settings. You can push slightly older games like Bioshock Infinite or Call of Duty: Black Ops II at higher detail settings at 1080p and still get playable frame rates of more than 30 frames per second.
The 1TB hard disk drive delivers adequate speed for typical productivity tasks, but the PE60 falls short on delivering the feeling of “prestige” because of that 7200rpm hard drive and an excessive amount of bloatware (namely a full suite of Norton apps and their associated pop-up alert windows) that slow things down. This laptop’s startup time and the speed of switching between apps would have been dramatically improved if MSI used a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a traditional HDD.
MSI PE60 2QD-060US Specifications:
- 15.6-inch eDP display (1920 x 1080 resolution)
- Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
- 4th Generation Quad-core Intel Core i7-4720HQ (2.60 GHz, 6 MB L3 Cache)
- Chipset: Intel HM87
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics (2 GB GDDR3)
- 12GB DDR3L RAM
- 1TB HDD (7200rpm)
- DVD Super Multi drive
- Killer Gaming Network LAN
- Intel 1×1 Wireless-AC 3160 a/c
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 720p webcam
- Backlit keyboard
- 120-watt AC adapter
- 6-cell Lithium-Ion battery
- Dimensions: 15.07″ x 10.23″ x 1.06″ 5.29 lbs.
- Weight: 5.29 lbs.
- MSRP: $1099
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
Heat and Noise
MSI once again uses the Cooler Boost 3 application from its gaming laptops to provide a one-button solution for managing the cooling fans inside the notebook. You can set the dual cooling fans to spin at maximum speed (and the loudest noise; about 50 dB) to provide the best possible airflow and keep the PE60’s hardware running cool. Alternatively, you can shut down one fan and just leave one fan active so that the noise remains at around 30 dB.
While MSI wins points for delivering solid performance at this price point, the battery life falls a bit short. Prior to running our standard battery life test we decided to stream Marvel’s The Avengers via Amazon Prime with the screen near the maximum brightness setting; the PE60’s fully-charged battery died just before we made it to the epic battle that begins at about 1 hour and 50 minutes into the movie. We had to plug in the AC power adapter to watch The Hulk smash.
Granted, this was a worst-case scenario with the screen brightness set rather high and the notebook streaming HD video over Wi-Fi, but this is the type of use isn’t out of the ordinary for many people. Just don’t try to watch a full season marathon of your favorite show on Netflix without your power adapter.