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HP Omen 15 vs. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro Comparison


Posted January 8, 2015 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

MSI and HP laptops

These are boundary blurring days in tech. Forget about it's a gaming laptop, it's a multimedia laptop or it's an Ultrabook. It's for work, it's for play... some machines truly are for all these things and it only took technology a decade or two to catch up with our desire for a thin and light laptop that can do most anything a powerful desktop can do. All that goodness still comes at a price though--these 15" Ultrabooks with the brains of an Alienware are pricey (though often not as pricey as some Alienware laptops). The middle configuration HP Omen 15 is $1,599 though you may find a $100 discount here and there online. The MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 2QE model we look at here is $1,899 with fairly maxed out specs.

HP Omen 15

The HP Omen 15 and the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro are two takes on the convergent laptop that's slim and stately enough to take to work but can handle Battlefield 4. Some of you aren't all that into gaming, and you simply want the most horsepower to edit 1080p or 4K video, or crunch huge spreadsheets or compile code at light speed. These will do that job too--no need to buy a 1.5" thick 9 lb. monster.


Both laptops have 1080p IPS (the MSI technically is PLS) 15.6" displays with nearly full sRGB color gamut coverage, good contrast and wide viewing angles. For those who need higher resolution (not particularly recommended for gaming but potentially useful for photo editing and 4K video editing), MSI also offers 3K (IGZO) and 4K display options. The 1080p panel is matte while the higher resolution displays are gloss. The GS60 Ghost Pro is not available with a touch screen, which is fine if you spend your day in the desktop environment but not so fun if you use the Metro Live Tile section of Windows 8.1.

The HP Omen 15 has a gloss touch screen. Really glossy--which can be annoying when it comes to glare. But gloss does import a sense of contrast and it's hard to avoid with a touch panel. It has 309 nits of brightness vs. 344 nits for the Ghost Pro. Both figures are good but you'll notice the MSI's higher brightness even more because it doesn't have to combat glare.

Winner: that depends; if you want a touch screen the HP Omen 15 is the clear winner. If you want non-glare or higher resolution panel options then the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro wins.

HP Omen 15


Both laptops run on the same powerful Intel Core i7-4710HQ quad core CPU clocked at 2.5 GHz with Turbo Boost to 3.5 GHz. Both are available with 8 or 16 gigs of RAM. HP's RAM is soldered on, while the MSI has two RAM slots. They're on equal footing in terms of CPU and max RAM. If you want 16 gigs I suggest you order the machine (either one) that way. You can't upgrade the HP Omen later and the MSI GS60 is a bear to take apart to access the RAM slots.

Winner: tie.


The MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 2QE-064 model we're using for this comparison has the new high end NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 6 GB DDR5 VRAM (some configs have less VRAM and that' s fine because 6 gigs is currently serious overkill). The HP Omen 15 runs on an upper middle class graphics card, the GTX 860M with 2 or 4 GB DDR5 VRAM. They're both using NVIDIA's new Maxwell architecture for lower power consumption and heat plus faster performance. The MSI wipes the floor with the HP Omen in synthetic benchmarks and in games. But wait: both cards are so powerful that they can run the latest, hardest PC games at 1080p and 45 fps with settings sufficient to make the games look stunning. The HP Omen 15 runs most recent demanding games like Battlefield 4, Dragon Age Inquisition, Tomb Raider and Far Cry 4 with a mix of medium and high settings. The MSI GS60 runs them at high and ultra settings. I think most folks would enjoy either PC today with today's games. But in terms of graphics prowess, PC gaming laptops often age badly and falter in two years for those with high expectations who play graphically demanding games on high settings. The MSI GS60 is much more future proof and should still be a very viable gaming rig in two years.

Winner: MSI GS60 Ghost Pro.


Benchmark Comparisons:

  HP Omen 15 MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 2QE
PCMark 7 5843 6006
PCMark 8 Home 3494 3929
3DMark 11 P5081, X1645 P9112, X3224
3DMark FireStrike 1080p 3761 6508


Design and Upgradability

The 4.2 lb. MSI Ghost Pro was a stunner when it came out, as gaming notebooks go. Its slim black brushed aluminum chassis is classy and sleek. It has ports on the side like a normal laptop. But the 4.68 lb. HP Omen 15 is in that rare class of industrial design that just makes you say "wow". It's unique, has exceptional build quality and it's stately enough to take to work. All the Omen's ports are on the back: tidy but inconvenient.

The HP Omen 15 has an M.2 SSD slot, a socketed wireless card... and that's it. Pretty sparse for a gaming rig, but this is also a powerhouse do it all on the road sort of machine, where Ultrabook levels of upgradability are OK. The MSI GS60 has a 2.5" drive bay, two M.2 slots (mSATA protocol), two RAM slots and a socketed wireless card. Sweet!

Winner: HP Omen 15 for design and style, MSI GS60 Ghost Pro for upgradability.

There are quite a few more points to cover, so watch our HP Omen 15 vs. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro Comparison Smackdown video:


Deals and Shopping:


HP Omen 15 vs. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro Comparison Smackdown Video


Price: HP Omen 15 as tested (8 gigs RAM, 256 gig SSD, 2 GB VRAM) $1,599. MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro (GTX 970M, 16 gigs RAM, 128 gig SSD + 1 TB HDD) $1,899


Related Reviews:

HP Omen 15 Review

MSI GS60 Ghost Pro Review






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HP Omen 15 Specs:

Display: 15.6", 1920 x 1080 IPS touch screen display. Switchable Intel HD 4600 integrated graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M 2 GB or 4 GB dedicated graphics. HDMI and mini DisplayPort.

Battery: 4 cell Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside. 120 watt power adapter.

Performance: 2.5 GHz Intel 4th generation Core i7-4710HQ quad core 28 watt processor with Turbo Boost to 3.5 GHz. 8 or 16 gigs DDR3L RAM (soldered on), and M.2 SSD drive (various capacities available).

Size: 15.07 x 9.74 x 0.78 (at thickest section) inches. Weight: 4.68 pounds.

Camera: HP TrueVision full HD 1080p webcam.

Audio: Built-in Beats Audio stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm stereo headphone/mic jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band Intel AC-7260 WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0. Wired 10/100 Ethernet via included USB adapter.

Software: Windows 8.1 64 bit.

Expansion and Ports: 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm combo audio and SD card slot.


MSI GS60 2QE Ghost Pro specs:

Display: 15.6", 1920 x 1080 matte PLS display (2K). 3K and 4K displays also available, all non-touch. Intel HD 4600 integrated graphics swithcable with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 6GB DDR5 (Maxwell) dedicated graphics. HDMI and mini DisplayPort.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable.

Performance: 2.5GHz Intel 4th generation Core i7-4710HQ processor with Turbo Boost to 3.5 GHz. 8, 12 or 16 gigs DDR3L 1600MHz, 1.35v RAM in two RAM slots. 2 SSD M.2 slots (mSATA protocol) with 128 gig SSD (various configs available including RAID0) and one 2.5" SATA drive bay with 1 terabyte 7200 RPM drive.

Size: 15.35 x 10.47 x .78 inches. Weight: 4.2 pounds.

Camera: 1080p Webcam.

Audio: Built-in Dynaudio stereo speakers with SoundBlaster Cinema 2 software, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack/SPDIF and 3.5mm mic jack.

Networking: Wired Killer E2200 gigabit Ethernet, Killer AC N-1525 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8.1 64 bit.

Expansion and Ports: 3 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, 3.5mm stereo out/SPDIF, 3.5mm mic jack, mini DisplayPort and SD card slot.



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