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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  • ET - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    I read the comments and that was enough for me. So I think it's worthwhile but except for games I tend to view video reviews as a waste of time.
  • ionis - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    The video is great. It lets the reader really see what they will be getting. Stuff like "Intel frame rate = X, AMD frame rate = Y, THAT'S N% FASTER!!!!" is unnecessary. Believe it or not, I can tell when one number is larger than another. No matter who's faster, it makes the video look like an ad for that company.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Mostly I put the numbers in the video because the FRAPS result and other text is a bit hard to read -- especially if you're not at 1080p. Taking a video of a display is not exactly easy, sadly; I tried about ten times to get what I felt was a reasonable exposure, and even then I'm not happy with it.
  • ionis - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    I think it was just the way it was presented. Having the raw FPS numbers is ok. (I personally don't think it necessary, because we could still see the stuttering that happened and that tells the watcher all that's really needed to know.)

    It was the "Intel is 45% faster!" part that made the video look like an ad to me.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - link

    It's not so much an ad as a fact. If you were looking to buy a laptop with 7970M, the fact that there are games and settings where the Intel CPU drives the AMD GPU 45% faster (or 100+% faster in a couple, like Skyrim) is pretty darn important, hence the exclamation point. 45% because of CPU bottlenecks is huge, and we're not even breaking into the "frame rates are so high it doesn't really matter" range, since the Trinity system is averaging well below 60 FPS.
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    No, keep the fraps in there. I helps a lot to see what is actually going on.
    I enjoyed the video and yes you should continue to do such things, they definitely add to this site and make the "contact" with benchmarking feel real.
    I seriously enjoyed this and think you used a golden opportunity well and wisely.
    If there are lower cpu and gpu combos, the ball may bounce in another direction, so by all means show amd advantages if that what comes up with some of their combos.
    Can't win em' all the time - but sometimes amd has a good thing going, like their mobile 5660 gaming chip was very tempting and came in really nice packages with many choices at excellent pricing.

    So your innovation is a winner and is praiseworthy.
  • npoe1 - Friday, December 21, 2012 - link

    I prefer the old fashion reviews. Although some changes are good; I prefer text over video anyday and youtube is blocked at work.

    Also in text I can go at my own pacre instead of the video pace and non English native visitors might have a hard time.
  • tbone8ty - Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - link

    if yur gonna run these video can''t do intel vs amd with just a small video and test.

    its just gonna cause an uproar in yur comment section.

    i feel this article/video is inconclusive and frankly 1 sided.

    battery life, other features of laptop, more games?

    also comparing a MSI gx60 to a custom laptop maker AVADirect P170EM? please choose the same manufacture and or a non custom laptop maker.
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, December 30, 2012 - link

    They are gaming laptops, and it's top of the line AMD, it doesn't get any better, so if the test is unfair, amd just plain sucks for driving games.
    Oh, by the way, AMD DOES JUST PLAIN SUCK compared to intel for driving games at the high end - PERIOD.
    Now, step a couple tiers down and that changes - or at least can be said to be much more competitive for AMD for anyone who already has their AM2+ am3 am3+ platform, which is pretty much all the amd fanboys.
    So upgrading the cpu to give that game boost is a WINNER for amd board owners...

    So you have to temper your amd fanboyism with reality - NO WEBSITE uses amd cpu's to do their benchmark testing - there are LITERALLY HUNDREDS that I go to and they all use INTEL.
    They are not all incorrect.
  • MrMonkeyshines - Saturday, December 29, 2012 - link

    I was curious how heavily FRAPS utilizes the CPU. Obviously, in the APU machine the CPU is the weakest link, and it seems that taxing it with an additional load could artificially make the AMD machine look even weaker than the Intel machine. I mean, if the AMD machine is at 95% CPU during intensive gaming and the Intel machine is at 60%, and FRAPS eats up 10% of the CPU cycles, well...

    To me, the video didn't add a lot of additional value if it took a while to put together, although it would be of more use to me in cases where there might be a qualitative difference between machines rather than just framerates. Say, a GTX660m machine with a QM Intel processor (e.g. Y580, or G55VW) and the AMD machine with the 7970m).

    Also, which version of the Catalyst drivers you were using? Apparently, the newer drivers (Dec) noticeably impact performance, or so it seemed from the notebookcheck forums. I was looking at the GX60 to play GWII, but saw a rather bad review from Notebookcheck itself and got concerned. The users in the forums are saying that they're seeing much different (better, playable) framerates on GWII.

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