Computer Graphics World

September/October 2014

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s e p t e m b e r . o c t o b e r 2 0 1 4 c g w 4 7 MSI GT60-20KWS aking your work with you has sometimes been problematic for graphics professionals. These individuals need a lot more computing power than the ability to surf the Web and run a few spreadsheets. They need powerful processors, fast graphics, and a good display, all rolled up into a portable pack- age. The MSI GT60-20KWS is one machine that can definitely address these needs. It has all the graphics and processing power needed to create high- end graphics on the go. The form factor of the machine certainly isn't svelte, but its heiness represents the significant amount of power that resides within. The GT60 measures in at about 1.8 inches thick and weighs in at 7.7 pounds, which is on the heavier end of modern laptops. This, however, includes pretty much all that you'd ever need. The workstation has an Intel Core i7 4700M processor at the center of it all. This is a quad-core processor that runs at 2.4 ghz. The review machine came with 16gb of RAM, which can be upgraded to 32gb. Stor- age comes in the way of a 1tb drive for data, with a 128gb SSD for the OS. A Blu-ray disc burner also goes along for the ride. One feature I really liked was that the 9-cell battery is removable, so you can carry spares. This makes the workstation much more useful in the field, where power to recharge may not always be available. Probably the best thing about this mobile workstation is the screen. It's a 15.6-inch display that provides a whopping 2880x1620 resolution. This display is color calibrated to provide excellent color depth and contrast. In addition to the internal screen, the machine can also support up to three external displays via the built-in HDMI and DisplayPort connec- tions. This allows you to use this mobile workstation in the office, as well. All these displays are driven by an Nvidia Quadro K3100M mo- bile graphics card. This card sits toward the top of Nvidia's cards. The graphics engine has 768 cores running on 4 gb of mem- ory. Most importantly, this card allows the GT60 certification to run all sorts of high-end 3D graphics and CAD applications, such as Maya, AutoCAD, Revit, SolidWorks, and many more. The ergonomics of the ma- chine are good. The workstation is a little taller than most current laptops, so you have to get used to the higher keyboard while typing. Keyboard response was excellent, however; the keys had a crisp, tactile feel. One niy little feature is that the backlit keyboard can be programmed to display custom colors. This is typically a gaming feature, but one could find use in video edit- ing or other areas that use a lot of hotkeys. The touch pad is also nicely placed so that you don't accidentally hit it. I didn't have any issues with cursor jumping. On the technical side, the chassis has a very good cooling system dubbed Cooler Boost 2, which keeps the workstation running cool. This is nice for those times when you actually put it on your lap to work. Net- working has also been tweaked for maximum efficiency, hope- fully making file transfers easier. As for performance, the workstation does well in most tests. We found that it performs similar to a midrange worksta- tion, most of this due to the processor and graphics card choices. While it is not as fast as a dedicated dual-processor behemoth, it has the distinct advantage of portability. The workstation should be able to handle most CAD, 3D, and video tasks with ease. Overall, I really liked the MSI GT60-20KWS mobile worksta- tion. It had a good balance of power to portability and offers enough power and features to become a graphics profes- sional's only workstation. For the amount of power, speed, and portability, the price is also pretty good. This is a nice work- station that hits the sweet spot in a lot of areas. ยข T BY GEORGE MAESTRI George Maestri is a contributing editor for CGW and president/CEO of RubberBug animation studio. He also teaches Maya for He can be reached at GT60-20KWS $2,799 MSI Computer Corp. R E V I E W M O B I L E W O R K S T A T I O N

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