In one of the most "interesting" moves I've seen in the mobile market, MSI has equipped their GX60 gaming notebook with an HD 7970M...paired with an AMD A10-4600M APU. Curious to see how the combination would stack up against the Intel i7-3720QM + HD 7970M combination used in AVADirect's Clevo P170EM, I ran some quick benchmarks and put together a video of Batman: Arkham City showing the systems running side by side. First, here's the video link:

Not surprisingly, the Ivy Bridge solution walks away from the Trinity laptop when we turn down the details a bit, but at maximum quality the two solutions appear relatively close. The issue is that while average frame rates may be close in some cases, minimum frame rates often tell the real story. There are points in the above video where Trinity falls to sub-30 FPS for a second or two at a time, which can be very noticeable in gameplay.

Anyway, I'm curious: are you interested in more videos like this? It takes a lot more time than a simple reporting of a benchmark number, but if there's enough demand for it I'll be happy to oblige. I should also note that there are some titles where the Trinity and Ivy Bridge notebooks are fairly close in performance (at maximum detail at least), while other titles are even more in favor of a faster CPU (e.g. Skyrim). Regardless, the full review of the MSI GX60 will be forthcoming.

Pricing for the GX60 is the one area where MSI looks to beat Intel HD 7970M offerings. The base model comes with a 750GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, A10-4600M, and of course the HD 7970M. Right now (if it's in stock), you can get that configuration for around $1200. Our particular unit takes yet another odd approach by including a 128GB RAID 0 SSD set for the OS and apps, which might sound appealing until you realize they're using SanDisk U100 drives (not exactly the fastest SSDs around); we're not sure what pricing is for this particular configuration. AVADirect's P170EM by contrast is priced at $1519, with a $100 off coupon available at the time of writing. That will get you an i7-3630QM and the 7970M, so for about $150 to $200 extra, for gaming purposes we recommend most users go that route.

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  • karasaj - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    I think more comparisons like this would be interesting. They can tell more than a simple benchmark sometimes.
  • Googer - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    i second that
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    I agree, it's an upgrade to the site just like the webcasts are, which are very enjoyable and interesting.
  • EvilGeniusNate - Sunday, January 6, 2013 - link

    I actually think that this article makes no sense.

    1) Ivy bridge is a CPU.
    2) Trinity, specifically A10, is an APU.
    3) This article would make more sense if you compared Ivy Bridge+7970 to Bulldozer(dedi. CPU)+7970(dedi. GPU).

    It takes time for texture data to be retrieved from the RAM (Which is, actually, the bottleneck with APUs). The CPU and GPU use the same memory bus.

    Of course, dedicated solutions are far faster than integrated solutions. The APU, however, is a bit of a miracle for us portable gamers, allowing something that's far better than integrated, sans the cost of dedicated chipsets.

    The AMD solution is far cheaper.
  • lmcd - Sunday, April 14, 2013 - link

    What? They're both using the discrete GPU, and they both have an integrated GPU.
  • Tator Tot - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    First of all, I'd like to say that you did a good job and these type of video comparisons are nice to show off any detail differences as well as frame-rate differences.

    On the other hand, it could use some work.

    First of all, youtube limits your framerate to 30 FPS. So in a video like this, the difference in frame-rate cannot be seen unless there is a significant (5-8FPS dip) below 30 in which.

    Second, your microphone sounds awful. It's muddy and makes your analysis sound poor by comparison. You also have a lot of popping going on which is stressful to listen to if someone is using headphones.

    Third, and more of a suggesting than a real issue; you should do some full screen transitions to compare the smoothness of gameplay.
    Like wise, keep constant tickers in the black area when doing side by side; so we can tell what the FPS is at, during that moment.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, December 14, 2012 - link

    My camera is limited to 24FPS at 1080p, so the use of YouTube isn't a problem there. Using FRAPS doesn't help either, as when you record video it changes the framerate of the game being recorded. I also need to mention that getting a clear, good image of a display with most cameras can be difficult at best -- I've got the Nikon D3100, and it has a tendency to overexpose LCDs when doing video. I shot this video sequence probably a dozen times before I got something I felt looked reasonable. But then, I'm not a videographer.

    As for the audio/microphone, it's probably more positioning than anything, plus I have a bit of a cold right now. (My voice normally isn't that low -- I sing high tenor parts in our church choir! LOL) I ran the audio through some cleaning and equalizing of volumes, which probably didn't help either. I'll see about recording some other games when I get a chance, though I'm in the process of moving right now so it might take until post-Christmas.

    I can give some frame rates of other games, though I was planning on keeping those for the full review. Basically, Batman is neither the best nor the worst result, particularly at Extreme detail. Civ5 and Skyrim are really bad in Trinity (about half the frame rate!), while Sleeping Dogs oddly enough runs faster at Extreme settings on Trinity than on IVB (but quite a bit slower at Medium) -- I'm not sure why that is. I've still got more games to benchmark, though, so I'll hold off on more commentary for now and maybe post a followup video over the weekend if I have time.
  • CaedenV - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    how much would mirroring the video output hurt frame rate, or running the screens native resolution on the output display? If either option does not hurt you too much then you can output to a recording device, and then out to a monitor running at whatever the laptops' native resolution would be to begin with. Cleaner video, higher frame rate, and a generally better end result.

    For audio I always like to run things through Audition. The built in audio cleanup tools are pretty good (good enough for something like this anyways), and you can automate some leveling through a compressor. There is a little learning curve to the video, but once you get a system down it only adds ~10min to the editing process. Can't always fix a cold in post though lol.

    As a final note, I found it hard to tell which screen went with which text. Perhaps color the back ground of the right and left side and have a colored boarder around each to more easily differentiate between them? Also, lots of dead space.... something could be crammed in there.
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I know why !
    " while Sleeping Dogs oddly enough runs faster at Extreme settings on Trinity than on IVB (but quite a bit slower at Medium) -- I'm not sure why that is. "

    Sleeping Dogs is an AMD manifesto BUSTED Gaming Evolved game.

    It's nice to see a blank mind when amd pulls their crap, but everyone instantly knew when nVidia had a TWIMTBP game.

    LOL- I love bliss.

    ( if you come back with why only on high, and not medium, think "paying the hackers to cripple a game" wintime check$ and expense, poor AMD only spent money to hack the high end.
    LOL - so sad.
  • mr_tawan - Monday, December 31, 2012 - link

    IMO it might be better to use a HDMI capture card than using a DSLR to shoot the screen. Haven't had any experince caputuring one so I can't be so sure anyway.

    Thanks for the afford.

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