There's no doubting the MSI GX60 makes for a compelling package on paper. Graphics grunt is typically what defines games performance. So why not wind back a little on the CPU in return for lower pricing and better battery life.

That's exactly what MSI did, dropping in an AMD A10 4600M chip. It's essentially a budget processor and sports two of AMD's Piledriver modules and four AMD-style cores.

MSI GX60

We liked

The screen is excellent and delivers just what you want from a gaming portable: rich and vivid colours, great contrast and huge detail thanks to a 1,920 by 1,080 pixel grid.

The battery life is excellent for this class of notebook. Depending on how you use the GX60, you can get as much as five hours or more away from a wall socket. For that you can thank both the big battery and the integrated AMD Radeon HD 7660G graphics core, which kicks in when the system is running on batteries.

The integrated speakers aren't half bad, either. OK, the absolute volume levels aren't exactly kidney pummelling. But the quality and clarity are great. And you do get just a hint of lower bass frequencies.

We disliked

Make no mistake. AMD cores are not like Intel cores. And Intel Core i7 quad-core chip typically delivers at least twice the performance of the AMD A10 processor.

Unfortunately, that makes a difference in games, where the A10 processor prevents the excellent AMD Radeon HD 7970M mobile graphics chip from delivering its best. It ends up twiddling its silicon thumbs waiting for the A10 to catch up.

Similarly unedifying is the performance of the two 64GB mSATA SSDs in RAID0 configuration. You'd be better off with a single conventional SSD.

We're also a little disappointed by the sheer heft of the GX60. Given the low power CPU and even taking into account the powerful graphics chip, 3.5kgs and 55mm thick is not what we were expecting.

Final verdict

That said, it all makes for a very sturdy and robust feeling system. Likewise, the keyboard feels great, too. Engineered by keyboard specialist Steelseries, it's very stable with little to no deflection of the keyboard bed.

MSI GX60

But it's the AMD A10 CPU that's the real sticking point. It's just about tolerable for most current games. But there's absolutely no performance in hand for future games. And it makes the AMD Radeon HD 7970M dedicated graphics chip seem a little futile and the GX60 ultimately a bit off-target.