Notebookcheck

MSI GS73VR 6RF Notebook Review

Allen Ngo, 08/26/2016

Thinnest Pascal yet. This complete chassis overhaul provides GTX 980M-level graphics performance in a smaller, lighter, and cooler package. Fan noise is still a stumbling point for a series that delicately balances between a razer-sharp design philosophy and enthusiast-level GTX GPUs.

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MSI is the leader in gaming notebooks worldwide and Nvidia's recent Pascal announcement for notebooks marks the perfect occasion to refresh its lineup of G Series models. While the latest GT73VR will be the more "complete" and full-featured 17.3-inch solution, the GS series has grabbed headlines for its super-thin design that doesn't compromise on performance. The results are models that have become both famous for their thinness and notorious for their high surface temperatures and fan noise as evident by the GS60 and GS70 series.

Despite these drawbacks, MSI is promising that its new GS63/73 series will be even thinner, lighter, cooler, and quieter than its predecessors - extreme claims for a series that is already pushing thermal limits. The manufacturer has nonetheless overhauled the design with Pascal in tow, so we're eager to check out how the new GS73VR stacks up against the current competition and its immediate GS70 Stealth predecessor.

Aside from Pascal, the GS73VR also carries 120 Hz/5 ms display options that are new to the series and shares the same Nahimic 2 and Dragon Center software as its updated G series peers. This super-thin enthusiast category has grown more competitive over the last couple of years with Aorus and Asus both stepping up their game, so it's unsurprising that MSI is going all out with the GS73VR. We recommend checking out our reviews on previous GS70 SKUs as we will be comparing them frequently to this 2016 update.

MSI GS73VR 6RF (GS73VR Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) - 6144 MB, Core: 1404 MHz, Memory: 8008 MHz, GDDR5, 368.79, Optimus
Memory
32768 MB 
, 2400 MHz, dual-channel, 15-15-15-36, 2x SODIMM
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 127 PPI, TN LED, Name: Chi Mei N173HHE-G32, ID: CMN1747, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122, 1024 GB 
, Secondary: 2 TB Seagate ST2000LM007-1R8174
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 1x Mic-in, 1x Headphone-out (HiFi/SPDIF), Card Reader: SD reader
Networking
Qualcomm/Atheros e2400 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.6 x 411.8 x 284.9 ( = 0.77 x 16.21 x 11.22 in)
Battery
65 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD ([email protected])
Additional features
Speakers: 4x 2 W + 1x 3 W subwoofer, Keyboard: SteelSeries Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Cleaning cloth, warranty card, Quick Start guide, Dragon Center, MSI True Color, Nahimic 2, SteelSeries Engine 3, Killer Network Manager, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.429 kg ( = 85.68 oz / 5.36 pounds), Power Supply: 732 g ( = 25.82 oz / 1.61 pounds)
Price
1800 USD

 

Case

Visually, the new chassis is an upgrade over the GS70 in every way. The brushed aluminum outer lid extends to the base and palm rests with new, sharper accents around the edges. Its darker coat of paint works alongside the hints of red around both the touchpad and rear edge while the single-bar hinge on the previous generation is now a more standard dual hinge design. Though a fingerprint magnet, the design is undeniable eye candy from top to bottom without being minimalist or too eccentric.

The actual build quality of the unit is also very good with a few weak spots. Plastic is used for both the inner bezel and in between the dual hinges while the lid is slightly more susceptible to side-to-side twisting and warping down its center than many of its thicker 17-inch peers. The brushed aluminum base itself and the center of the keyboard will visibly depress with moderate applied force likely due to the thin materials necessary for such a design. The base is otherwise resistant to twists with only very slight audible creaking and the hinges are sufficiently rigid to prevent teetering whilst typing or gaming.

Workmanship is again very good, but not perfect on our test unit. As shown in our two pictures below, the thin plate for the right edge of the notebook is protruding a bit from the chassis. Meanwhile, the opposite edge is completely flushed in comparison, so the disadvantages of not having a unibody chassis are apparent.

As for size and weight, the MSI refresh is surprisingly light for a 17.3-inch notebook at just 2.4 kg or about 300 g lighter than the outgoing GS70. Margins and bezels are smaller as well, so its footprint and overall dimensions are noticeably more compact. Combine this with its <20 mm thickness and you have one of the most portable gaming notebooks around in its size category.

Flushed chassis edge on one corner...
Flushed chassis edge on one corner...
... but the opposite edge is protruding slightly from the base
... but the opposite edge is protruding slightly from the base

Connectivity

All core interfaces are available and easy to reach on the side edges including the versatile Thunderbolt 3 port. The placement of these ports is a bit too close to the front due to the ventilation grilles and limited surface area available, so thicker cables are more likely to take up valuable desk space. It's also worth noting that the GS73VR has dropped one mDP port (in favor of a USB Type-C/mDP 1.2 combo) and the line-in port from the GS70 and does not include VGA options as found on competing Gigabyte and Aorus units.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: USB 2.0, USB Type-C w/ Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.2, AC adapter
Right: USB 2.0, USB Type-C w/ Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.2, AC adapter
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: Kensington Lock, SD reader, 3x USB 3.0, 3.5 mm earphones, 3.5 mm microphone
Left: Kensington Lock, SD reader, 3x USB 3.0, 3.5 mm earphones, 3.5 mm microphone

SD Card Reader

The SDXC card reader is extraordinarily slow compared to other gaming and multimedia notebooks. AS SSD records a sequential read rate of just over 27 MB/s compared to nearly 200 MB/s on the GT72VR and XPS 13 9350 with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II test card. Transferring 1 GB of photos from our SD card to desktop takes about 43 seconds.

MSI has since confirmed with us that the card reader in the GS73VR is limited to USB 2.0 speeds.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
MSI GT72VR 6RE-015US
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
135.3 MB/s ∼100% +468%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
135 MB/s ∼100% +467%
Alienware 17 R3 (A17-9935)
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
78 MB/s ∼58% +228%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
23.8 MB/s ∼18%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
210 MB/s ∼100% +661%
MSI GT72VR 6RE-015US
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
186.3 MB/s ∼89% +575%
Alienware 17 R3 (A17-9935)
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
87 MB/s ∼41% +215%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
(Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
27.6 MB/s ∼13%

Communication

WLAN is provided by a Killer 1535 M.2 module capable of theoretical transfer rates of up to 867 Mbps. Other features include Bluetooth 4.1, MU-MIMO and DoubleShot Pro for utilizing both wireless and Gigabit RJ45 data streams simultaneously. Our Jperf tests with settings as shown below show a real-world transfer rate of about 536 mbps when standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 802.11ac test router.

Also unique to systems with Killer WLAN cards is the Killer Network Manager for easy toggling of settings and application priorities. It's not particularly in-depth, but it's nonetheless a handy and easy-to-use tool for checking on wireless connectivity status.

Jperf (Client)
Jperf (Client)
Jperf (Server)
Jperf (Server)
Killer Network Manager
Killer Network Manager
Manually limit download/upload speeds of active applications
Manually limit download/upload speeds of active applications
Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Dell Wireless 1820A 802.11ac
579 MBit/s ∼100% +13%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
512.058 MBit/s ∼88%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
536.301 MBit/s ∼100%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Dell Wireless 1820A 802.11ac
461 MBit/s ∼86% -14%

Accessories

Included extras are light with a simple cleaning cloth, Quick Start guide, and warranty card. MSI offers G Series branded accessories as well and we recommend taking advantage of the Thunderbolt 3 port for docking stations and extra functionality.

Discussion

Maintenance

The bottom panel can be easily removed with just a single Philips screwdriver. Unfortunately, it's not a fast process since there are a total of 17 screws securing the panel and just removing the panel itself will automatically void the warranty.

Users have direct access to the 2.5-inch SATA III bay, M.2 WLAN module, and internal battery. The primary M.2 SSD, 2x SODIMM slots, and soldered processors are underneath the motherboard and require further disassembly.

Warranty

MSI offers 24-month warranty for its notebooks, 12-month warranty for its batteries, and 6-month warranty for its AC adapters. There is no "zero dead pixel" policy in place by the manufacturer as its support website instead specifies the minimum number of dead pixels allowed before the limited warranty can take effect. CUKUSA covers any aftermarket components installed by the retailer including RAM and SSD/HDD components for up to three years.

Easy accessibility, but upgrades are limited
Easy accessibility, but upgrades are limited

Input Devices

Keyboard

The same SteelSeries keyboard from the GT72VR can be found here on the GS73VR down to its RGB backlight and identical dimensions (34.5 x 10.5 cm). Key feedback is also nearly identical, which is already very good considering that the chassis here is so much thinner. We have to say "nearly identical" because the keyboard surface of the GS73VR is less rigid than on the GT72VR, so each key press feels slightly softer than on the firmer chassis of the GT72VR despite having the same travel depth.

Missing from the GS series continues to be dedicated macro or auxiliary keys. Aorus and Asus, for example, include a column or row of customizable Macro keys that dedicated gamers may appreciate. More manufacturers are incorporating individually backlit RGB keys including the Lenovo Y900 series, Razer Blade Stealth, and the Aorus X5/X7 refresh.

Touchpad

The clickpad is of adequate size (10.5 x 7.0 cm) and its smooth plastic surface is responsive to simple cursor movements without any notable issues. The Elan software can recognize up to three-finger inputs, but we find it to be overly sensitive to multi-touch inputs. For example, attempting to pinch-to-zoom would frequently result in the browser window scrolling up or down instead.

The integrated mouse clicks are slightly spongy as the corners can be visibly depressed without the system registering a click. Quite a bit of force is required to push down on the surface, so fast clicks in succession can be tiresome. The input itself is otherwise shallow with an audible feedback when pressed.

Same SteelSeries keyboard as the GT72
Same SteelSeries keyboard as the GT72
Red trimmed touchpad
Red trimmed touchpad
Firm travel from backlit keys
Firm travel from backlit keys

Display

Our test unit is equipped with a 1080p matte panel capable of 120 Hz refresh rates and 5 ms response times. Note that the 120 Hz/5 ms option must be a TN panel, so users will be sacrificing some benefits from an IPS panel. Additional display options include the more standard 1080p IPS screen and a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS screen that promises 100 percent AdobeRGB coverage to satisfy users who want a better balance between gaming and digital graphics work. Our measurements below speak only of our configuration on hand as these separate IPS options would very likely carry different panels, response times, and even brightness and contrast levels.

The GS73VR uses a quality TN panel with a maximum brightness not unlike most enthusiast gaming notebooks at just over 300 nits and a contrast ratio of just over 1000:1. This is significantly better than the TN panel used on the previous GS70, which we found to be poor considering the high asking price. Subjectively, we can notice only minimal graininess when displaying a white background as is common on matte displays. The GS73VR is also the first notebook in our database to carry the Chi Mei N173HHE-G32 panel since MSI is one of the first to offer 120 Hz/5 ms options on notebooks. Certain titles do indeed recognize the 120 Hz panel including Rise of the Tomb Raider and our own measurements confirm black-white and gray-gray response times to be much faster than competing gaming notebooks with the likely exception of the Alienware 13 OLED.

There is almost no uneven backlight bleeding around the edges or corners of the display.

Very minimal uneven backlight bleeding
Very minimal uneven backlight bleeding
RGB subpixel array (127 PPI)
RGB subpixel array (127 PPI)
304.2
cd/m²
330.8
cd/m²
291.6
cd/m²
308.8
cd/m²
337.2
cd/m²
291.3
cd/m²
324.7
cd/m²
331.6
cd/m²
314.7
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 337.2 cd/m² Average: 315 cd/m² Minimum: 6.45 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 337.2 cd/m²
Contrast: 1095:1 (Black: 0.308 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.96 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.57 | - Ø
100% sRGB (Argyll) 74.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.25
MSI GS73VR 6RF
TN LED, 17.3, 1920x1080
Aorus X7 Pro v5
LG Philips LP173WF4-SPD1 (LGD046C), IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
MSI GS70-6QE16H21
Chi Mei N173HGE-E11 (CMN1735), TN LED, 17.3, 1920x1080
Asus G752VS-XB78K
LG Philips LP173WF4-SPF3 (LGD04E8), IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
Alienware 17 R3 (A17-9935)
CV69H_173WF4 (LGD0459), IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
Response Times
-77%
-83%
-79%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
28
35
-25%
38
-36%
33
-18%
Response Time Black / White *
9.6
22
-129%
22
-129%
23
-140%
PWM Frequency
Screen
-15%
-7%
-8%
-25%
Brightness
315
257
-18%
161
-49%
317
1%
336
7%
Brightness Distribution
86
91
6%
85
-1%
88
2%
90
5%
Black Level *
0.308
0.23
25%
0.26
16%
0.3
3%
0.44
-43%
Contrast
1095
1178
8%
662
-40%
1093
0%
818
-25%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.96
4.14
-40%
2.06
30%
3.74
-26%
4.76
-61%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.57
4
-56%
2.42
6%
2.67
-4%
3.69
-44%
Gamma
2.25 107%
2.43 99%
2.45 98%
2.41 100%
2.24 107%
CCT
7114 91%
6558 99%
6855 95%
6861 95%
6091 107%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
74.3
55
-26%
62
-17%
56
-25%
55
-26%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
100
83
-17%
97
-3%
85
-15%
84
-16%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-46% / -27%
-7% / -7%
-46% / -23%
-52% / -36%

* ... smaller is better

MSI advertises 100 percent sRGB coverage on this particular panel and our own measurements can confirm the claim. Subsequently, AdobeRGB coverage is approximately 74 percent and is wider than the displays on most competing gaming notebooks. Only a small handful of gaming notebooks offer complete AdobeRGB coverage including certain Clevo barebones. Color accuracy is not important to the core gaming experience, so the wider gamut is only a bonus.

vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. MSI GS70 (TN SKU)
vs. MSI GS70 (TN SKU)
vs. Asus G752VS
vs. Asus G752VS

Further display measurements with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal good grayscale out-of-the-box, but colors are inaccurate at every tested saturation level even after setting the MSI True Color utility to sRGB mode. A quick calibration flattens RGB Balance and lowers color temperature with much more accurate colors across the board. Colors still become increasingly inaccurate the higher the saturation level despite the panel's complete sRGB coverage, so additional manual calibration may be needed.

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
9.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5.2 ms rise
↘ 4.4 ms fall
The screen shows fast response rates in our tests and should be suited for gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 5 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (27.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13.2 ms rise
↘ 14.8 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 9 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (44.3 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 60 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 962 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 30860) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is average if working under shade and the TN panel doesn't pair well with the maximum hinge angle of about 150 degrees. The matte panel reduces glare, but the screen washes out easily from sunlight or on an overcast day. The viewing angle limitation of TN has little impact on the sole user when gaming under indoor ambient lighting conditions. Note that apparent brightness will also drop noticeably if not viewing directly at the display, so bumping up the brightness setting is recommended when sharing the screen with others nearby.

Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors on overcast day
Outdoors on overcast day
TN viewing angles
TN viewing angles

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz for single-threaded workloads
Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz for single-threaded workloads

While there are multiple display and storage options available, all GS73VR SKUs thus far ship with the same Core i7-6700HQ CPU and GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. Optimus is supported for switching to the integrated HD Graphics 530 when desired, but there are no G-Sync options across the series. DDR4 RAM at 2400 MHz can be configured up to 32 GB across two SODIMM slots not unlike its GS70 predecessor. Thus, the core performance differences between the GS73VR and the GS70 lie almost exclusively on the GPU update.

Processor

The i7-6700HQ is a common find on gaming notebooks and high-end multimedia machines including the XPS 15 9550. Thus, its performance has been well documented in our database and it carries no surprises here on the GS73VR. Users can expect the processor to perform just as fast as the Broadwell i7-5700HQ and only a tad faster than the Haswell i7-4700HQ as the Skylake generation focuses more on performance-per-Watt and integrated GPU power than any significant boosts to CPU performance. The desktop-class Core i7-6700K is about 30 percent faster than the i7-6700HQ according to CineBench benchmarks.

See our dedicated CPU page on the Core i7-6700HQ for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
177 Points ∼91% +32%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
144 Points ∼74% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
141 Points ∼73% +5%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
134 Points ∼69%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
131 Points ∼68% -2%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
878 Points ∼47% +31%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
723 Points ∼39% +8%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
671 Points ∼36%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
566 Points ∼30% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
308 Points ∼17% -54%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
1.97 Points ∼90% +31%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
1.67 Points ∼76% +11%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.5 Points ∼68%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
1.49 Points ∼68% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
1.19 Points ∼54% -21%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
9.7 Points ∼49% +31%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
7.86 Points ∼39% +6%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.41 Points ∼37%
Toshiba Satellite S70-B-106
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
6.02 Points ∼30% -19%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
3.25 Points ∼16% -56%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
6604 Points ∼89% +34%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
5539 Points ∼75% +12%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
5085 Points ∼69% +3%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4926 Points ∼67%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
26040 Points ∼64% +30%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
21568 Points ∼53% +7%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
20090 Points ∼50%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
9140 Points ∼23% -55%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
525.775 s * ∼6% -126%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
233.068 s * ∼3%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
205.796 s * ∼2% +12%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
178.009 s * ∼2% +24%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
657.671 Seconds * ∼3%
Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga 20GQ-000EUS
Intel Core i7-6600U
609.647 Seconds * ∼3% +7%
MSI PX60 QD-034US
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
570.068 Seconds * ∼3% +13%
Eurocom Sky DLX7
Intel Core i7-6700K
463.766 Seconds * ∼2% +29%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8182
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
20090
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4926
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.41 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
53.8 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.5 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
134 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
82.11 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
671 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark 8 ranks our system in the same ballpark as previous generation gaming machines including the GS70 and Aorus X5S. Larger gaming systems like the GT72S, Asus G752VY, and Eurocom DLX7 score noticeably higher than the GS73. System responsiveness is still fast due to the primary SSD and we experienced no abnormal software or hardware issues during our time with the unit.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Asus G752VY-RH71
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB m.2 NVMe
5535 Points ∼85% +16%
MSI GS70-6QE16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
5043 Points ∼77% +6%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
4774 Points ∼73%
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
4448 Points ∼68% -7%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
3937 Points ∼60% -18%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Asus G752VY-RH71
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB m.2 NVMe
7127 Points ∼77% +41%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
5062 Points ∼54%
MSI GS70-6QE16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
4873 Points ∼52% -4%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
4747 Points ∼51% -6%
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
4528 Points ∼49% -11%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Asus G752VY-RH71
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB m.2 NVMe
5026 Points ∼84% +25%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
4012 Points ∼67%
MSI GS70-6QE16H21
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
4002 Points ∼67% 0%
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
3741 Points ∼63% -7%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
3260 Points ∼55% -19%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4012 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5062 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4774 points
Help

Storage Devices

Easy access to the 2.5-inch SATA III bay
Easy access to the 2.5-inch SATA III bay

The GS70 series has jumped from mSATA RAID 0 in the original GS70 2QE to optional NVMe M.2 in the GS70 6QE and the GS73VR. While RAID capabilities have been dropped, its necessity is arguable here considering the form factor and already fast speeds of the NVMe controller. Our test model utilizes a 1 TB SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122 M.2 SSD on a SATA III controller and a secondary 5400 RPM 2 TB Seagate HDD. Only 7 mm HDDs and SSDs will fit in this slot due to the thinness of the chassis.

Transfer rates from the primary M.2 SSD are average at best even for a drive limited by the SATA III interface. The older Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP in our Razer Blade 17, for example, outperforms the SanDisk in our MSI by wide margins according to CrystalDiskMark. Sequential read and write rates both average in the low 300 MB/s range while NVMe-enabled systems reach four digit transfer rates with ease.

See our growing table of HDDs and SSDs for more benchmark comparisons.

AS SSD
AS SSD
CDM
CDM
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
MSI GS73VR 6RF
SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
Aorus X5S v5
Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
MSI GT72S-6QEG16SR421BW
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Asus G752VY-RH71
Samsung SSD 950 Pro 512GB m.2 NVMe
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
263%
256%
298%
62%
Write 4k QD32
167.1
370.4
122%
459.5
175%
413.7
148%
266.5
59%
Read 4k QD32
251.6
627.5
149%
682.2
171%
575.8
129%
389
55%
Write 4k
42.51
146.5
245%
162.3
282%
150.2
253%
116
173%
Read 4k
20.3
51.92
156%
44.74
120%
51.62
154%
36.83
81%
Write 512
254.4
1263
396%
1095
330%
1510
494%
265.9
5%
Read 512
242.3
992.8
310%
1110
358%
1022
322%
445.9
84%
Write Seq
319
1272
299%
1062
233%
1536
382%
265.9
-17%
Read Seq
334.3
1748
423%
1602
379%
2007
500%
526.8
58%
SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
Sequential Read: 334.3 MB/s
Sequential Write: 319 MB/s
512K Read: 242.3 MB/s
512K Write: 254.4 MB/s
4K Read: 20.3 MB/s
4K Write: 42.51 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 251.6 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 167.1 MB/s

GPU Performance

The GTX 1060 was designed to compete directly against the AMD RX 480. As a result, it aims to be the perfect solution for 1080p60 gaming and our raw benchmark scores on 3DMark show it to be just as impressive as its faster Pascal siblings. Fire Strike scores are about 20 percent higher than the GTX 980M and about 15 percent slower than the notebook version of the GTX 980. An entry-level GTX GPU outperforming the mobile GTX leader of the previous generation is a noteworthy feat. Jumping to the GTX 1070 will provide a very large raw GPU performance boost of about 50 percent since the 1070 and 1080 series cater to native 4K gaming.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Unlimited
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Graphics
Asus G752VS-XB78K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
4030 Points ∼40% +55%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
3009 Points ∼30% +16%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
2596 Points ∼26%
Aorus X5S v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
2212 Points ∼22% -15%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ
942 Points ∼9% -64%
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics
Asus G752VS-XB78K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
8104 Points ∼60% +51%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
6123 Points ∼45% +14%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
5375 Points ∼40%
Aorus X5S v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
4426 Points ∼33% -18%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ
2004 Points ∼15% -63%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus G752VS-XB78K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
16757 Points ∼43% +46%
Aorus X7 Pro v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI, 6820HK
14231 Points ∼36% +24%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
13018 Points ∼33% +13%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
11506 Points ∼29%
Aorus X5S v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
9441 Points ∼24% -18%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ
4249 Points ∼11% -63%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Asus G752VS-XB78K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
9914 Points ∼62% +23%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
9017 Points ∼56% +12%
Aorus X7 Pro v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI, 6820HK
8622 Points ∼54% +7%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
8083 Points ∼51%
Aorus X5S v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
5960 Points ∼37% -26%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ
5472 Points ∼34% -32%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus G752VS-XB78K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
22282 Points ∼44% +50%
Aorus X7 Pro v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M SLI, 6820HK
19252 Points ∼38% +29%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
16946 Points ∼33% +14%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
14904 Points ∼29%
Aorus X5S v5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
12197 Points ∼24% -18%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ
5452 Points ∼11% -63%
3DMark 11 Performance
12423 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
88271 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
22781 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
9609 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
5062 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Nearly all tested titles play at a steady 1080p60 on maximum settings. There are a couple of exceptions including Batman: Arkham Knight, Fallout 4, and Guild Wars 2 (with Super Sampling enabled), but even these demanding titles average in the 50s. Performance matches or exceeds the GTX 980M and falls right below the notebook version of the GTX 980 as predicted by the 3DMark results above. When compared to the GTX 960M that it replaces, the GTX 1060 offers significantly higher frames by triple-digit percentage points.

See our dedicated GPU page on the GTX 1060 for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

Batman: Arkham Knight - 1920x1080 High / On AA:SM AF:16x
Asus G752VS-XB78K
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
117 fps ∼100% +105%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
63 fps ∼54% +11%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
57 fps ∼49%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
48 fps ∼41% -16%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
22 fps ∼19% -61%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Asus G752VS-XB78K
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
137.1 (min: 34.5) fps ∼100% +37%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
106.2 fps ∼77% +6%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
100 fps ∼73%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
87 fps ∼63% -13%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
71.8 fps ∼52% -28%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
45.8 fps ∼33% -54%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
88.3 fps ∼100% +14%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
77.4 fps ∼88%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
66.5 fps ∼75% -14%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
53.6 fps ∼61% -31%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
31.4 fps ∼36% -59%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x
Asus G752VS-XB78K
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
101.6 (min: 73.9) fps ∼100% +55%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
67.9 fps ∼67% +3%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
65.7 fps ∼65%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
62.1 fps ∼61% -5%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
46.5 fps ∼46% -29%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
28.2 fps ∼28% -57%
Metal Gear Solid V - 1920x1080 Extra High / On
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
60 fps ∼100% 0%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
60 fps ∼100% 0%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
60 fps ∼100%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
59.1 fps ∼99% -1%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
32.1 fps ∼54% -46%
Fallout 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
79.3 fps ∼100% +39%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
57.1 fps ∼72%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
55.3 fps ∼70% -3%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
42.4 fps ∼53% -26%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
24.1 fps ∼30% -58%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
Asus G752VS-XB78K
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
92.8 (min: 80) fps ∼100% +51%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
61.4 fps ∼66%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
60.4 fps ∼65% -2%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
47.1 fps ∼51% -23%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
23.5 fps ∼25% -62%
Doom - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:SM
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
84.3 fps ∼100% +10%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
76.3 fps ∼91%
Overwatch - 1920x1080 Epic (Render Scale 100 %) AA:SM AF:16x
Asus G701VO-CS74K
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0)
118.2 fps ∼100% +16%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
102.1 fps ∼86%
HP Pavilion 15 UHD T9Y85AV
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, SanDisk Z400s SD8SNAT-128G
40.2 fps ∼34% -61%
low med. high ultra
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 51.4fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 156.9100fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 11677.4fps
Thief (2014) 77.565.7fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 7857fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 60fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 57.1fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 72.461.4fps
Doom (2016) 84.176.3fps
Overwatch (2016) 102.1fps

Stress Test

We stress the notebook with benchmarks to identify for any potential throttling or stability issues. Maximum CPU load with Prime95 results in a stable core clock of 2.9 GHz and core temperature of 77 C. Interestingly, core clock is bumped up slightly to its advertised multi-thread maximum of 3.1 GHz when running both Prime95 and FurMark. CPU and GPU temperatures reach very warm levels when subjected to maximum load at up to a recorded 95 C and 86 C, respectively. While there may be no throttling, this permanent Turbo Boost performance takes its toll on very high core temperatures.

Running Unigine Valley is more representative of gaming loads compared to Prime95 and FurMark. Both the CPU and GPU plateau at higher core clock rates each and at lower temperatures in the 70 C and 80 C range, respectively. We would have liked the GPU to run a little cooler, but the high temperature is the expected compromise for such a thin design.

Running on battery power will throttle the GPU while the CPU is unaffected. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns Physics and Graphics scores of 8456 points and 5625 points, respectively, compared to 8428 points and 14904 points when on mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Unigine Valley stress
Unigine Valley stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 2.9 -- 77 53
FurMark Stress -- 1278 65 80
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 3.1 1266 95 86
Unigine Valley Stress 3.1+ 1569 71 83

Emissions

System Noise

Fan noise is one of the more interesting characteristics to test especially on super-thin gaming notebooks. MSI, of course, is well aware of the challenges of cramming high-end hardware onto thin form factors and has outfitted the GS73 with a third fan in an attempt to curb operating temperatures. Called Cooler Boost Trinity, this revised cooling solution utilizes twin fans just under 50 mm each and a smaller 40 mm fan with five heat pipes total spread across both processors and VRAM modules.

So, is fan noise any quieter than on the GS70? The answer is yes, but not by significant margins. The GS73VR stabilizes in the 46 to 47 dB(A) range when under gaming loads compared to just over 50 dB(A) on the GS70. While an improvement, we should note that thicker gaming notebooks like the GT72 are still much quieter and will typically stabilize in the lower 40 dB(A) range when gaming. The mid 40 dB(A) range is loud enough to be distracting when gaming without headphones.

The triple fans are always active no matter the workload and we recommend setting the system to Power Saver mode to prevent the fans from pulsing between 32 and 34 dB(A) during low workloads. In other words, the system is relatively quiet when browsing, but definitely not silent. Fan controls are identical to the GT72VR as they use the same Dragon Center software, but its default and preset minimums are as low as the utility will allow the user to go.

The addition of a third and smaller fan has another consequence to system noise worth mentioning as its small size means higher audio frequencies when active. Thus, fan noise is unfortunately higher-pitched on the GS73. As shown by our microphone measurements below, the fan noise peak is sharper at just under 4000 Hz compared to the broader peak of the thicker Asus G752VS at under 2000 Hz.

Lastly, our test unit exhibited a bit of coil whine that is noticeable during low loads. While we can't speak for all units out there, we recommend checking immediately after or before purchasing as the sound can be annoying to some.

41-blade fan accompanied by a smaller 37-blade fan next to the GPU
41-blade fan accompanied by a smaller 37-blade fan next to the GPU
Single 41-blade fan closest to the CPU
Single 41-blade fan closest to the CPU

Noise Level

Idle
31.9 / 32 / 34 dB(A)
Load
47 / 49.4 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.4 dB(A)
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
Aorus X7 Pro v5
GeForce GTX 970M SLI, 6820HK, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512 m.2 PCI-e
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
MSI GS70 6QE-036XPL
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
Noise
-5%
-1%
-6%
7%
Idle Minimum *
31.9
34
-7%
33.1
-4%
32.5
-2%
30.6
4%
Idle Average *
32
35
-9%
33.3
-4%
34.2
-7%
30.7
4%
Idle Maximum *
34
39
-15%
37
-9%
36.1
-6%
32.6
4%
Load Average *
47
39
17%
39
17%
50.3
-7%
38.8
17%
Load Maximum *
49.4
54
-9%
52.2
-6%
54.5
-10%
46.2
6%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

There's no denying that surface temperatures on the GS70 were some of the highest even when considering its super-thin design. Fortunately, the GS73VR is indeed comparatively cooler on average than its predecessor when under load as the system includes more ventilation grilles both on the rear edge and immediately above the top row of keyboard keys for improved airflow. Surface temperatures here are now more in line with other super-thin gaming notebooks like the Aorus X7 or Gigabyte P57, so the MSI is not significantly warmer or cooler than its immediate competitors regardless of what they may advertise. We were able to record a maximum of 60 C on the rear quadrant when running Prime95 and FurMark whereas the front quadrants and WASD keys are much cooler. Thicker gaming notebooks are predictably cooler under the same conditions.

Surface temperatures when idling are flat across the board with no obvious hot spots. Still, it doesn't take much for temperatures to go up as low loads like browsing, email, or even idling on High Performance will be enough to warm up the notebook. The temperature rise is acceptable during day-to-day workloads for comfortable use on the lap.

Maximum load (Top)
Maximum load (Top)
Maximum load (Bottom)
Maximum load (Bottom)
Max. Load
 37.6 °C50.6 °C50.8 °C 
 31.8 °C44.2 °C40.6 °C 
 28 °C29.2 °C34.4 °C 
Maximum: 50.8 °C
Average: 38.6 °C
48.4 °C60 °C37.2 °C
47.2 °C44.4 °C34.6 °C
39.6 °C36.2 °C30.4 °C
Maximum: 60 °C
Average: 42 °C
Power Supply (max.)  48.8 °C | Room Temperature 20 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

The internal speakers have been revised to a 4.1 setup (4x 2 W speakers + 3 W subwoofer). Sound quality is actually poor on its default settings, but tinkering with the Nahimic 2 software will boost bass and sample rate playback for a noticeably better experience. Microphone measurements show a more gradual decline at the 500 Hz range whereas most notebooks with poorer speakers and bass reproduction tend to drop off sharply in this range. Maximum volume is sufficiently loud with slight chassis vibrations from the reverberation.

Both the MSI GS and GT series come standard with dedicated ESS Sabre HiFi DAC components to support 600 ohm studio-grade headphones - an uncommon feature on notebooks.

Quad speakers and subwoofer located on front of device
Quad speakers and subwoofer located on front of device
(Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
(Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.832.42535.233.43131.635.94031.932.55030.931.86332.333.58030.130.310030.129.712529.530.616028.64120026.553.525026.457.431525.557.640025.560.950025.265.563024.366.980024.760100025.362.7125023.865.4160023.670.4200023.569.925002366.6315022.867.2400022.672.1500022.471.4630022.472.3800022.670.21000022.465.61250022.461.61600022.556.5SPL35.780.9N2.549.6median 23.8MSI GS73VR 6RFmedian 65.4Delta25.935.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.445.635.736.945.643.135.635.343.143.441.140.543.442.141.139.142.138.236.435.638.232.93230.432.92827.328.42827.827.927.427.828.428.330.828.427.63135.227.629.134.43829.140.946.150.340.944.550.554.644.547.453.557.647.448.454.558.648.454.260.864.554.26267.871.76258.563.968.258.550.256.160.250.252.858.562.552.855.761.565.555.752.258.16252.255.761.565.255.755.961.865.555.947.453.25747.452.258.462.952.254.760.66554.755.962.166.255.955.661.665.155.652.558.36152.567.373.177.167.321.831.440.121.8median 52.2Schenker F516 Flexmedian 58.3median 62median 52.27.17.887.1hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
MSI GS73VR 6RF audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (68.51 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 20.4% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.5% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 64% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 29% worse
» The best had a delta of 10%, average was 17%, worst was 29%
Compared to all devices tested
» 37% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 58% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 48%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 95% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 48%

Schenker F516 Flex audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (69 dB)
Analysis not possible as minimum curve is missing or too high

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox select/deselectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Pascal series shines when it comes to performance-per-Watt. When idling, the MSI system isn't any more or less power efficient than competing 17-inch gaming notebooks. This changes when subjected to gaming loads as the GS73 draws about 115 W compared to 143 W on the Maxwell GS70. It also demands less power than the Asus GL502VY and its GTX 980M while simultaneously outperforming it in benchmarks and games as shown in our benchmarks above.

We were able to record a maximum power demand of about 168 W when subjected to both Prime95 and FurMark stress against a power adapter (15.5 x 7.5 x 3.0 cm) rated for up to 180 W. The margin here is extremely small and we would have preferred a slightly more capable adapter.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.98 / 1.83 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 22.6 / 32.7 / 32.8 Watt
Load midlight 114.7 / 167.9 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
MSI GS73VR 6RF
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122, TN LED, 1920x1080, 17.3
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 980M, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Asus G701VO-CS74K
6820HK, GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 2x Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL (RAID 0), IPS, 1920x1080, 17.3
MSI GS70 6QE-036XPL
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 970M, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU, , 1920x1080, 17.3
MSI GT72VR 6RE-015US
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), SanDisk SD8SNAT256G1122, IPS, 1920x1080, 17.3
Power Consumption
10%
-13%
12%
-6%
Idle Minimum *
22.6
20.6
9%
28.2
-25%
14.1
38%
22.3
1%
Idle Average *
32.7
22.1
32%
32
2%
22.6
31%
27.3
17%
Idle Maximum *
32.8
22.5
31%
32.6
1%
30.5
7%
30
9%
Load Average *
114.7
130.6
-14%
162.2
-41%
143.1
-25%
152.2
-33%
Load Maximum *
167.9
177.2
-6%
173.5
-3%
150
11%
204.2
-22%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

MSI has upped the battery capacity from 56 Wh on the outgoing GS70 to 65 Wh on the GS73 redesign. Runtimes are subsequently longer in comparison, though not by significant margins as battery life is still average overall at about 3.5 hours. We were able to clock in about 30 minutes of longer battery life on the GS73 compared to its immediate predecessor under similar WLAN conditions. Runtimes when idling are much longer on this latest model, however, so users who are more conservative on power settings will be able to squeeze out more from the GS73.

Charging from near empty to full capacity will take between 2.5 to 3 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 53min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
3h 33min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 06min
MSI GS73VR 6RF
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 980M, 64 Wh
Asus G701VO-CS74K
6820HK, GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 93 Wh
MSI GS70-6QE16H21
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 970M, 56 Wh
MSI GT72VR 6RE-015US
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 83 Wh
Battery Runtime
-7%
-0%
-17%
9%
Reader / Idle
353
273
-23%
242
-31%
238
-33%
322
-9%
Load
66
76
15%
89
35%
64
-3%
86
30%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
213
187
-12%
202
-5%
180
-15%
224
5%

Pro

+ Complete sRGB or AdobeRGB coverage (optional)
+ fast display response times; 120 Hz (optional)
+ accessible WLAN module and secondary HDD
+ almost no uneven backlight bleeding
+ comfortable RGB backlight keyboard
+ accurate grayscale out-of-the-box
+ strong CPU and GPU performance
+ lightweight and thin; portable
+ USB Type-C w/ Thunderbolt 3
+ NVMe support (optional)
+ good build quality
+ no PWM

Cons

- M.2 SSD and SODIMM access requires additional disassembly
- no individually backlit keys; no Macro or auxiliary keys
- fans are always active; loud fan noise under load
- removing bottom panel will void warranty
- center of outer lid could be more rigid
- high-pitched fan noise when gaming
- spongey feedback on clickpad
- no RAID or G-Sync options
- coil whine on our test unit
- tight port placement
- slow SDXC reader

Verdict

In review: MSI GS73VR (6RF) Stealth Pro-025. Test model provided by CUKUSA.com
In review: MSI GS73VR (6RF) Stealth Pro-025. Test model provided by CUKUSA.com

The GS73VR is the big refresh the GS Stealth series needed. The GS70 had been largely the same since its inception in 2013 and its minor updates ever since have done very little in alleviating its biggest problems. The GS73VR is finally thinner, better built, quieter, cooler, and much more powerful with more localized temperature development. Pascal continues to impress on all fronts as the GTX 1060 offers slightly better performance than the GTX 980M in a chassis that is a fraction of the size compared to Maxwell flagships like the MSI GT72S, Asus G752VY, Alienware 17, and Acer Predator 17.

Performance is clearly not an issue for the series, but its main drawbacks continue to be high-pitched fan noise and short battery life. It's quieter, yes, but just slightly from the already extreme GS70 and battery life is not a significant improvement. Smaller complaints include ports that are a bit too close upfront and some inaccessible internal components including the primary M.2 SSD and SODIMM slots. It's also a shame that removing the bottom panel automatically voids the warranty as owners may want to swap out the secondary drive at will. The slow SDXC card reader is another scratch on the head with read rates that are several times slower than on the GT72VR. Some dedicated Macro keys or 4K with G-Sync would have made the system a more "complete" gaming experience.

The system is a significant leap forward for the series as a whole with Pascal and 120 Hz/5 ms display options being the two game-changers in the category. Users in the market for thicker Maxwell notebooks should seriously consider the GS73 series as it doesn't sacrifice performance despite what its very slim design and low weight may otherwise suggest. Fan noise and more limited expandability and serviceability options are still the two biggest reasons for considering larger and heavier notebooks.

MSI GS73VR 6RF - 09/13/2016 v5.1
Allen Ngo

Chassis
80 / 98 → 81%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
61 / 81 → 75%
Weight
60 / 66 → 89%
Battery
72%
Display
89%
Games Performance
94%
Application Performance
88%
Temperature
84 / 95 → 88%
Noise
70 / 90 → 78%
Audio
74%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Average
75%
84%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI GS73VR 6RF Notebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2016-08-26 (Update: 2016-10-18)