Amongst the many gaming notebooks in MSI’s line up, it’s easy to forget that the company does have other product lines not concerned with gaming, and are instead meant for office work and more specifically photo/video production. For the most part, these notebooks are based on similar designs and of course similar platforms.
The differences lie in how it’s all presented to the end user. In the case of the PX60-2QD, the display is the focal point. That alone should suggest to you that this is a notebook made not for gaming, but for designers, video editing and various other media related tasks that are primarily visual.
The PX60-2QD features a 15.6” anti-glare FHD panel. This isn’t an IPS or VA panel as you’d imagine, but a professionally-calibrated 100% sRGB compliant display, which is of the utmost importance for those who need reliable, consistent and predictable colour reproduction in their workflow. For instance, those who still work in print media will benefit from designing on such a notebook where their work on the notebook will accurately mimic what is eventually printed.
This holds true for any colour-correction work that is done on video and/or other sensitive media and has to be shared with others who need 100% accurate sRGB material from which to work. It’s a niche or limited-use case scenario, but this is precisely where the PX60-2QD’s power lies. In addition to its precise colour reproduction, preventing colour distortion from extreme viewing angles is also a key feature as it allows one to work at some fairly extreme angles without colour shifting and other such anomalies often associated with less capable displays.
Everything else about the notebook serves to support the display and as such you shouldn’t be looking to use this notebook for gaming, despite it having an NVIDIA GTX 950M GPU with 2GB of DDR memory. This limited 2GB of memory does diminish the usefulness of its “Matrix Display”, which is 4K ready. Twice the display memory may have helped, especially when working with GPU-compute capable image processing where 2GB of memory may quickly fill up and reduce performance. This may also happen when working with multiple raw 12 megapixel or larger images, or uncompressed 4K video alongside image manipulation.
For working with external displays the PX60-2QD features HDMI 1.4 and mDP 1.2, which is a little on the thin side given the target demographic for the notebooks. However, most displays (professional or otherwise) have at least one of these ports. HDMI 1.4, while sufficient, is also slightly disappointing as it will not provide 60Hz output, and given that the GTX 950M is more than capable of displaying 4K at 60Hz, HDMI 2.0a would help extend the life of this notebook as more displays adopt the standard.
The rest of the system is as you’d expect for such a notebook. It features a Core i7 5700HQ with a nominal clock of 2.7GHz. This is more than fast enough for most users and in those single-threaded workloads will reach frequencies as high as 3.5GHz. The CPU of course houses an IGP via the Intel 5300. This is a simple GPU with no L4 eDRAM as found on the Core i7 5775C for example, thus it is a far less capable GPU, but that doesn’t matter as the PX60-2QD has the GTX 950M for the more demanding workloads. Throughout testing the 47W CPU didn’t suffer from any throttling even when placed under some severe loads.
Since this notebook is targeted at a specific market, it is rather difficult to find programs that stress the discrete GPU and CPU at the same time, thus you’re unlikely to ever stress the system to the point where it needs to fully engage 100% fan speeds for extended periods. For the most part you will hear a whir from the chassis, but it is tolerable. We don’t have an exact dB measurement of the noise generated, but it is hardly something that would concern the vast majority of users.
As with all recent notebooks from MSI, the PX60-2QD features a four-speaker system by Dynaudio. This configuration is respectable and offers a better-than-expected audio experience given its slim housing. With the Nahimic software layered on top of the basic audio controller the sound is improved quite drastically. It certainly does a better job than the previously favoured Sound Blaster audio-enhancement software and it definitely lends itself to an enhanced audio experience. It’s surprising, given just how passable most software solutions have been to date that make identical claims. In the case of the Nahimic software, it really does result in a better audio experience.
Add a backlit keyboard to it all, 16GB of DDR3L memory and 128GB of SSD primary storage, and the PX60-2QD is certainly a capable work machine. Again, look not to the specs to find value in the notebook, but in its display and what it offers a designer and content producer. At the listed price, there aren’t many notebooks that will feature such a package. As far as notebooks built for graphic design go, this is one of the better ones on the market.