The problem gamers often face is money. And to be more precise, the high price of gaming notebooks, the tools they need to run their beloved games. Often those high-end notebooks cost much more than thousand bucks, some even two grands. Understandably, not everybody can afford that much. But there might be a solution now: MSI GP60 Leopard-1053, a gaming laptop with very affordable price tag. It has a dedicated GeForce GTX 950M graphics unit that differentiates the MSI from other laptops with similar price yet integrated (a.k.a poorer) graphics. But is there enough power in this cheap unit to run your favorite games? Let’s find that out…
MSI GP60 Leopard-1053 has a powerful processor. It’s the Intel Core i5-4210H, a Haswell-based dual-core chip offering a high 2.9GHz clock speed and 3.5GHz turbo. The model is not a low voltage one so performance is not restricted. The i5-4210H receives ~4700 CPU Mark points while it’s power efficient brother, the i5-4210U, gets only ~3400. So the suffix matters, H meaning high-performance and U meaning low voltage model. As such, i5-4210H is definitely enough for notebook gaming.
The MSI has 8GB DDR3L 1600MHz RAM installed. As far as I can tell it’s just one stick. As there are two slots on the system, the other one is free, so upping the memory to 16GB is possible. That might make sense with some extremely demanding use, but 8GB is a good starting point – even for games.
The storage drive doesn’t get any extra points. It’s 750GB large SATA hard drive running at 5400RPM rate. Although it’s uncertain if SSD will bring better in-game performance, many people still feel the urge to install one to decrease loading times and such. Luckily, the laptop has one mSATA slot free to accommodate a solid-state drive.
Display and graphics
MSI GP60 Leopard-1053 features a 15.6″ anti-glare LED panel with 1920×1080 resolution. It is not a touch screen or a multifunction display: the hinge doesn’t rotate for more than ~140 degrees.
It’s the graphics card that makes a gaming laptop. And in MSI GP60 Leopard-1053, it’s called GeForce GTX 950M (2GB GDDR3). I’d describe it as low to mid range gaming card, not nearly as fast as fancy GTX 980M models but a lot better than integrated engines (like HD 4400 or 5500). This card allows for some heavy gaming, including types like Far Cry 4 and GTA V that would get closer to 40 FPS on high details and 1920×1080. All the lesser titles would easily run on maximum settings.
MSI GP60 Leopard-1053 has 4 USB ports available – often 15.6″ laptops come with three. Two of the ports are USB 3.0, plug in your bandwidth hungry peripherals to those. There are also HDMI and VGA outputs which mean playing through a desktop display or HDTV works.
Networking options are nice, the laptop contains a fancily named Killer GB LAN (RJ-45) and 802.11 A/C Wireless + Bluetooth v4.0 card.
There seems to be a DVD (no BluRay) burner installed on the right side. SD/MMC card slot is available on the unit as well.
Of course, the laptop sports a webcam, featuring a 720p resolution at 30FPS for video.
Other relevant things
MSI GP60 Leopard-1053 weighs 5.3 pounds, similar to other 15″ laptop models. It has a 6-cell Li-ion battery that will last the usual hour or two for gaming. So the best thing is to keep the notebook plugged in when playing.
According to the manual, the keyboard is not backlit. However, a 10-key pad is available on the right. Also the Windows key is moved from the vicinity of WASD keys to right, to prevent you from accidentally hitting it.
MSI GP60 Leopard-1053 is a wonderful laptop for people who want to play any game but don’t mind less than maximum details and resolution. The GeForce GTX 950M can indeed tackle all the games (as of 2015), but will require to reduce details on heavier titles such as GTA 5 (to medium-high) and The Witcher 3 (to medium). But the older your game is – essentially meaning those before 2014 – the higher the chances it will work fine on maxed out settings and 1920×1080.
Other aspects of this laptop include Core i5 processor with 8GB RAM that are sufficient for games and most software, even demanding ones. The display is Full HD which is a must for avid players, also digital artists and image editing professionals would appreciate such a quality screen. All in all, the product looks like a good choice if you love gaming but don’t want to spend tons for your hobby.