Notebookcheck

MSI GS43VR 7RE (i7-7700HQ, GTX 1060) Laptop Review

Potent performer. The GS43VR is back and pretty much the same it was the year before. Users who can look past the excruciatingly loud fan noise will find one of the most powerful 14-inch gaming notebooks currently available.

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MSI has silently updated last year's Skylake GS43VR 6RE to the newer Kaby Lake GS43VR 7RE without much of a fanfare. Aside from the CPU (i7-6700HQ to i7-7700HQ) and motherboard chipset (HM170 to HM175) changes, the GS43VR 7RE is exactly the same chassis and notebook as last year's model. Users can expect a GTX 1060 GPU (with either 3 GB or 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM), 16 GB to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, matte 1080p IPS display, and dual storage bays without any other major configuration options.

This update review will focus more on the performance side and what benefits, if any, the Kaby Lake update has brought to the table. We recommend checking out our existing review on the GS43VR 6RE for more information on chassis quality, display, keyboard, and other hardware features as they all still apply here. The super-small and high-performance GS43VR series has only a few direct competitors in this size category including the new Razer Blade, Gigabyte Aero 14, Aorus X3 Plus, Alienware 13, and the Clevo P641HK.

MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US (GS43VR Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) - 6144 MB, Core: 1404 MHz, Memory: 8008 MHz, GDDR5, 382.05, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4, PC4-19200, 1300 MHz, Dual-Channel, 17-17-17-39
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 157 PPI, ID: LGD046D, Name: LG Philips LP140WF3-SPD1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM175
Storage
SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A, 128 GB 
, Secondary: 1 TB HGST HTS721010A9E630
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 1x earphones, 1x microphone, Card Reader: SD reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.1 x 345 x 245.1 ( = 0.87 x 13.58 x 9.65 in)
Battery
61 Wh, 8060 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD ([email protected])
Additional features
Speakers: 2 W stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, SteelSeries Engine 3, Elan trackpad, MSI Dragon Center, SCM, Killer Network Manager, Nahimic 2, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.93 kg ( = 68.08 oz / 4.25 pounds), Power Supply: 816 g ( = 28.78 oz / 1.8 pounds)
Price
1500 USD

 

Case

The brushed aluminum alloy chassis mimics the style of the larger GT series with a subdued design that's a comfortable middle-ground between the minimalist Razer Blade and showy Aorus X3. While the system looks great, it's not nearly as rigid or unyielding as the Razer equivalent. There is noticeably more flexing around the lid, keyboard, and palm rests with minor creaking when attempting to twist the base. The hinges, while satisfactory, are not as firm and feel slightly weaker when opened close to the maximum angle. This isn't to say that overall quality is bad, but the manufacturer still has a long way to go before matching the tougher and more solid feel of the Razer or Alienware. To MSI's credit, the lid is at least better than on the very flexible Aorus X3.

Construction quality is excellent from top to bottom with no unintended gaps between materials on our test unit. The GS43VR is far from being a unibody design and so checking for imperfections around the edges and ventilation grilles is a must.

Perhaps coincidentally, all the well-known 14-inch gaming notebooks weigh about the same in the 1.8 to 1.9 kg range including the GS43VR, Razer Blade, Aero 14, and Aorus X3. The MSI is about 2 mm and 4 mm thicker than the Aero 14 and Razer Blade, respectively, and with a slightly larger footprint than both as well for a less denser feel. Even so, there's no denying the extreme portability and performance-per-pound of a 14-inch notebook with GTX 1060 graphics.

It's worth mentioning that the display bezels of the GS43VR are quite thick. For example, the length and width of the MSI are almost identical to the MacBook Pro 15 even though the latter incorporates a larger 15.4-inch screen.

Lid opened to maximum ~140 degree angle
Lid opened to maximum ~140 degree angle
The small size and portability can't be overstated
The small size and portability can't be overstated

Connectivity

Not exactly ideal
Not exactly ideal

No changes have been made to port selection. This isn't necessarily an issue as the GS43VR has always included a healthy number of connectivity options for its size class, but the manufacturer could have at least updated its mDP 1.2 and HDMI 1.4 ports to 1.4 and 2.0, respectively, in the year since the GS43VR 6RE launch.

Port positioning can feel tight if too many cables are connected at once. The three ports on the right edge, for example, are quite close to one another while the angled power adapter plug on the left edge will have to sit over or under the USB or Ethernet cable (as shown in the picture to the right). Still, these are just very minor annoyances.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4, Kensington Lock
Right: USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4, Kensington Lock
Rear: mini-DisplayPort 1.2
Rear: mini-DisplayPort 1.2
Left: Gigabit Ethernet, AC adapter, USB 3.0, SD reader, 3.5 mm microphone and earphones
Left: Gigabit Ethernet, AC adapter, USB 3.0, SD reader, 3.5 mm microphone and earphones

Software

The familiar System Control Manager (SCM), Killer Control Center, Dragon Center, and Nahimic applications come pre-installed onto the system. Dragon Center in particular is easy to use with its large icons, multiple profile settings, individual CPU and GPU fan controls, and the ever useful system monitor. The fan settings aren't as precise as on the EVGA SC15 and there is no system monitor overlay or recording option when gaming. A year of XSplit streaming comes free as with most MSI G series and Aorus notebooks.

Nahimic 2 audio software
Nahimic 2 audio software
SteelSeries Engine 3 Macro settings
SteelSeries Engine 3 Macro settings
CPU and GPU fan control settings
CPU and GPU fan control settings
System vitals (idling on High Performance)
System vitals (idling on High Performance)
System vitals (Prime95+FurMark)
System vitals (Prime95+FurMark)
 

SD Card Reader

Card reader performance continues to be very slow on the entire GS series. Transferring 1 GB worth of images from our Toshiba UHS-II SDXC test card to desktop takes about 52 seconds compared to less than 10 seconds on the XPS 15 9560. We find this unacceptable for a gaming notebook retailing for $1500 USD, but we can at least appreciate that a spring-loaded card reader is even included at all unlike on the Razer.

A fully inserted SD card will protrude by just 1 to 2 mm for safe transporting.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
120.5 MB/s ∼100% +517%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
80.63 MB/s ∼67% +313%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
23.59 MB/s ∼20% +21%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
19.54 MB/s ∼16%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
252.6 MB/s ∼100% +1174%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
89.85 MB/s ∼36% +353%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
20.96 MB/s ∼8% +6%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
19.83 MB/s ∼8%

Communication

The familiar Killer 1535 with integrated Bluetooth 4.2 is back as the standard option for the GS43VR. A real-world test standing one meter away from our Linksys EA8500 router returns an average transfer rate of 582 Mbps against its theoretical maximum of 867 Mbps. See our review on the Killer 1535 for more information on its features and performance. We never experienced any connectivity issues during our time with the MSI test unit.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
662 MBit/s ∼100% +19%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
556 MBit/s ∼84%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
513 MBit/s ∼77% -8%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
594 MBit/s ∼100% +2%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
582 MBit/s ∼98%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
561 MBit/s ∼94% -4%

Maintenance

The bottom panel is secured by eight screws and can be easily removed with just a Philips screwdriver. Unlike the upside-down motherboard design of the larger GS63VR and GS73VR, the core components of the GS43VR are immediately accessible including both DDR4 SODIMM slots, both storage bays, both system fans, and the internal battery.The M.2 WLAN module is a bit more difficult to get to since it is underneath the GPU heat pipes.

Annoyingly, simply unscrewing the maintenance panel from the bottom of the notebook will automatically void the manufacturer warranty. We're unsure why MSI insists on advocating this unfavorable practice especially when many other gaming notebooks have no qualms about end-user upgrades.

GS43VR 7RE internals are essentially identical to the GS43VR 6RE
GS43VR 7RE internals are essentially identical to the GS43VR 6RE
GS43VR 6RE for reference
GS43VR 6RE for reference

Warranty

The standard one-year limited warranty applies. New products must be registered through MSI.com in order to take advantage of the warranty services.

Input Devices

Keyboard

It's immediately apparent that the keyboard keys on the GS43VR offer deeper travel than on the Razer Blade simply because of how much more raised the individual keys are on the MSI. In practice, the keys feel spongier than on the Razer since the base of the MSI flexes more easily when the keys are pressed. The typing experience is a tad quieter and with less clatter as a result.

The two-level red backlight returns unchanged. The rest of MSI's GS, GE, and GT families have been refreshed with multi-zone RGB lights while the GS43VR series has yet to receive the same treatment.

Touchpad

The integrated clickpad (10.5 x 7.0 cm) is smaller than the one on the XPS 15 (10.5 x 8.5 cm) but larger than on the Aorus X3 Plus v7 (10.0 x 7.0 cm). Glide is smooth across the texture-less surface with no cursor jitters or other odd behavior. The Elan software has palm detection automatically enabled and can recognize up to three-finger inputs.

The relatively large surface area is made possible by the use of integrated mouse keys. Clicking on the trackpad surface is shallow in travel and slightly soft in feedback for an adequate feel. Perhaps a more unyielding base would have made for a firmer clickpad as applying pressure on the surface will also warp it slightly. We find it easier to gently tap on the trackpad to input a click instead of forcibly pushing down on the surface each and every time.

Standard QWERTY layout
Standard QWERTY layout
Keys are raised higher from the base than on most other Ultrabooks
Keys are raised higher from the base than on most other Ultrabooks

Display

The GS43VR 7RE uses the same matte LG Philips LP140WF3-SPD1 IPS panel as on the Razer Blade 2016 and the older GS43VR 6RE. Colors, contrast, and display quality are all subsequently nearly the same between these three notebooks. Display response times are still different owing to the fact that we have since upgraded our photodiodes and oscilloscope in the past year. Subjectively, the screen is crisp and suffers from no major graininess issues that can sometimes plague matte displays like on the Pavilion 17z or EVGA SC15.

An interesting observation is that the contrast ratio of the GS43VR seems to change significantly before and after a calibration. We reported a contrast ratio of about 800:1 on the GS43VR 6RE and we initially recorded a lower result of 585:1 on the GS43VR 7RE. After calibration, however, contrast ratio jumped to 1095:1 to be very close to the Razer Blade 2016 display. Small contrast ratio changes before and after calibration are common, but a doubling as recorded here very strange. We performed the test twice just to double check and the results were repeatable.

Uneven backlight bleeding is unfortunately more prominent on our GS43VR 7RE unit than our GS43VR 6RE. The light is most apparent when playing movies with black borders or games with darkened scenes but is otherwise trivial when web browsing or word processing.

Interesting, the GS43VR 7RE exhibits PWM on all brightness levels up to 99 percent while our GS43VR 6RE unit did not. The frequency is nonetheless very high and so most users are not likely to be bothered by it.

Moderate backlight bleeding around top and bottom edges
Moderate backlight bleeding around top and bottom edges
Matte subpixel array (157 PPI)
Matte subpixel array (157 PPI)
279.4
cd/m²
317.2
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
279.8
cd/m²
306.6
cd/m²
285.1
cd/m²
271.5
cd/m²
297.2
cd/m²
283.8
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 317.2 cd/m² Average: 291.2 cd/m² Minimum: 6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 306.6 cd/m²
Contrast: 1095:1 (Black: 0.28 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.9 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2 | - Ø
86.1% sRGB (Argyll) 56.1% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.14
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
ID: LGD046D, Name: LG Philips LP140WF3-SPD1, IPS, 14, 1920x1080
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Name: LG Philips LP140WF3-SPD1, ID: LGD046D, IPS, 14, 1920x1080
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
LG Philips LP140WF3-SPD1 (LGD046D), IPS, 14, 1920x1080
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Sharp SHP1401, IGZO TFT, 13.9, 3200x1800
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
IPS, 15.4, 2880x1800
Asus Zephyrus GX501
AUO B156HAN04.2 (AUO42ED), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
-14%
-42%
-49%
113%
-27%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
31.6 (15.6, 16)
31.6 (10.4, 21.2)
-0%
47 (14, 33)
-49%
38 (19.6, 18.4)
-20%
47.3 (22.1, 25.2)
-50%
40.4 (23.2, 17.2)
-28%
Response Time Black / White *
19.2 (10, 9.2)
24.4 (5.2, 19.2)
-27%
26 (6, 20)
-35%
24.4 (11.2, 13.2)
-27%
31.2 (16.7, 14.5)
-63%
24 (11.6, 12.4)
-25%
PWM Frequency
21190 (99)
201.6 (50)
-99%
117000 (80, 200)
452%
Screen
2%
-18%
7%
29%
-28%
Brightness
291
282
-3%
277
-5%
359
23%
465
60%
305
5%
Brightness Distribution
86
83
-3%
84
-2%
73
-15%
92
7%
83
-3%
Black Level *
0.28
0.35
-25%
0.26
7%
0.29
-4%
0.33
-18%
0.25
11%
Contrast
1095
824
-25%
1046
-4%
1200
10%
1464
34%
1312
20%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.9
2.61
33%
4.59
-18%
2.4
38%
1.4
64%
6.02
-54%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2
1.18
41%
4.28
-114%
2.3
-15%
1.5
25%
6.32
-216%
Gamma
2.14 112%
2.24 107%
2.23 108%
2.21 109%
2.34 103%
2.28 105%
CCT
6626 98%
6506 100%
6848 95%
6206 105%
6650 98%
8194 79%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56.1
56.4
1%
55
-2%
62
11%
60
7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
86.1
86.4
0%
83
-4%
96
11%
92
7%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-6% / -1%
-30% / -23%
-21% / -8%
71% / 57%
-28% / -28%

* ... smaller is better

MSI advertises "exceptional color fidelity of close to 100% sRGB" and our own independent measurement shows an actual sRGB coverage of around 86 percent. Whether or not this is "close" enough for professional graphics work will depend on the user, but there are plenty of other notebooks available with wider sRGB coverage like the XPS 13, Toshiba P50T, or Aorus X3 with Sharp IGZO panels if color accuracy is truly a concern.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. Aorus X3 Plus v7
vs. Aorus X3 Plus v7

Further measurements with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal generally accurate grayscale and colors out of the box. Though a calibration will only improve DeltaE values just slightly, we recommend it regardless because of the increase in contrast ratio it brings.

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
19.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 10 ms rise
↘ 9.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 13 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
31.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 16 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.5 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 detected 21190 Hz99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 21190 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 21190 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 55 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8506 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is average under shade and poor when under direct sunlight. The backlight is not sufficiently bright to overcome sunlight and onscreen content will look washed out as a result. While glare isn't too big of an issue due to the matte IPS panel, it's still recommended to increase font size because of the small display and pixel size.

Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

The Core i7-7700HQ CPU and GTX 1060 GPU are a common pairing for high-end gaming notebooks. The current GS43VR 7RE series offers no other CPU, GPU, or even display options at this time. A second SKU with a 3 GB GTX 1060 exists instead of our 6 GB GTX 1060 configuration, but nearly all retailers have only the 6 GB version in stock as of this writing. It's very likely that future GS43 revisions will incorporate Max-Q options because of the higher efficiency levels.

Optimus comes standard with no options for G-Sync. Given this uncommonly small screen size for a gaming notebook, the tight supply for 14-inch G-Sync panels was probably enough of an an issue to omit the option completely for buyers.

Processor

The i7-7700HQ in the MSI performs similarly to other notebooks sporting the same CPU and is even a step up from the i7-6700HQ in last year's GS43VR. A looping CineBench Multi-Thread test, however, shows it to be unable to sustain maximum Turbo Boost clock rates for very long as our graph below shows CineBench scores dropping by about 9 percent after the sixth or seventh loop. This is definitely not as bad as on the MSI GS63VR and gamers are unlikely to notice the dip during use. Overall CPU power is only marginally better than the outgoing Skylake i7-6700HQ and older Broadwell i7-5700HQ in multi-thread workloads.

See our CPU page on the Core i7-7700HQ for more technical information and benchmarks.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
190 Points ∼95% +23%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
160 Points ∼80% +4%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼80% +4%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
154 Points ∼77%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
143 Points ∼72% -7%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
141 Points ∼71% -8%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
136 Points ∼68% -12%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
130 Points ∼65% -16%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
125 Points ∼63% -19%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
897 Points ∼42% +23%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
736 Points ∼34% +1%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
736 Points ∼34% +1%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
732 Points ∼34%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
682 Points ∼32% -7%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
675 Points ∼31% -8%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
666 Points ∼31% -9%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
596 Points ∼28% -19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
490 Points ∼23% -33%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
2.19 Points ∼96% +23%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
1.79 Points ∼79% +1%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.78 Points ∼78%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.73 Points ∼76% -3%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
1.66 Points ∼73% -7%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.59 Points ∼70% -11%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.53 Points ∼67% -14%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.48 Points ∼65% -17%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
1.46 Points ∼64% -18%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
9.78 Points ∼4% +20%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.18 Points ∼3% 0%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.15 Points ∼3%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
7.96 Points ∼3% -2%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
7.53 Points ∼3% -8%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.45 Points ∼3% -9%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.23 Points ∼3% -11%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
6.45 Points ∼3% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
5.29 Points ∼2% -35%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
7222 Points ∼81% +22%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
6051 Points ∼68% +3%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5899 Points ∼66%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
5776 Points ∼65% -2%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
5449 Points ∼61% -8%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
5224 Points ∼59% -11%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
4999 Points ∼56% -15%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4937 Points ∼56% -16%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
28189 Points ∼57% +27%
Dell Precision 3520
Intel Core i7-7820HQ
22369 Points ∼45% 0%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22271 Points ∼45%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22041 Points ∼44% -1%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
20111 Points ∼40% -10%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
18785 Points ∼38% -16%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
18041 Points ∼36% -19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
14329 Points ∼29% -36%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
323 s * ∼4% -49%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
246.964 s * ∼3% -14%
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
234.01 s * ∼3% -8%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
216.671 s * ∼3%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
212.46 s * ∼3% +2%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
210.067 s * ∼2% +3%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
176.329 s * ∼2% +19%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
MSI GS43VR 6RE-006US
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
651.859 Seconds * ∼3% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
569.349 Seconds * ∼3% -5%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
561.953 Seconds * ∼2% -4%
Eurocom Shark 4
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
545.423 Seconds * ∼2% -1%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
540.708 Seconds * ∼2%
EVGA SC15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
540.619 Seconds * ∼2% -0%
Eurocom Tornado F5
Intel Core i7-7700K
440.036 Seconds * ∼2% +19%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6839
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
22271
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5899
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
8.15 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
66.97 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.78 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
154 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
113.07 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
732 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark scores are below other notebooks that are equipped with both a GTX 1060 and primary NVMe SSD. Otherwise, the MSI is subjectively snappy and speedy as one would expect from a high-power gaming notebook. We never experienced any crashes, but the mouse cursor would very infrequently stop and become unresponsive for up to a couple of seconds possibly due to background activity. The Dragon Center software, for example, is automatically set to download updates without user consent.

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 10 Standard
PCMark 10 Standard
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
6515 Points ∼100% +39%
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
5400 Points ∼83% +16%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
4672 Points ∼72%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
4202 Points ∼64% -10%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
8593 Points ∼92% +64%
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
7505 Points ∼81% +43%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
5250 Points ∼56%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
3384 Points ∼36% -36%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Eurocom Tornado F5
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700K, Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512 GB m.2
5476 Points ∼92% +40%
EVGA SC15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
5085 Points ∼85% +30%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
3918 Points ∼66%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
3112 Points ∼52% -21%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3918 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5250 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4672 points
Help

Storage Devices

Both storage bays are underneath the right palm rest
Both storage bays are underneath the right palm rest

Our test unit houses a primary 128 GB SK Hynix M.2 SSD and secondary 1 TB Hitachi HGST 7200 RPM HDD. NVMe M.2 drives are supported here even if our configuration is not equipped with one. Transfer rates for both the SSD and HDD are excellent considering that they are limited by the SATA III standard. Upgrading to NVMe will bring massive gains across the board in terms of read and write rates as shown by the comparison table below.

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

AS SSD
AS SSD
CDM 5 (Primary SSD)
CDM 5 (Primary SSD)
CDM 5 (Secondary HDD)
CDM 5 (Secondary HDD)
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
HD Tune (Secondary HDD)
HD Tune (Secondary HDD)
 
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
Gigabyte Aero 14 GA-K106Q416-PL-B02
Liteonit CV3-8D256
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
AS SSD
204%
209%
-11%
118%
Copy Game MB/s
332.06
1081.99
226%
1013.85
205%
Copy Program MB/s
225.38
401.94
78%
399.43
77%
Copy ISO MB/s
382.1
1666.02
336%
1459
282%
Score Total
1126
3756
234%
4067
261%
917
-19%
2570
128%
Score Write
435
1468
237%
1522
250%
298
-31%
933
114%
Score Read
455
1549
240%
1710
276%
411
-10%
1112
144%
Access Time Write *
0.115
0.029
75%
0.032
72%
0.074
36%
0.05
57%
Access Time Read *
0.106
0.041
61%
0.036
66%
0.089
16%
0.11
-4%
4K-64 Write
312.5
1185.25
279%
1234.06
295%
218.9
-30%
692.4
122%
4K-64 Read
373.87
1228.73
229%
1402.6
275%
333.03
-11%
857.1
129%
4K Write
86.24
127.63
48%
116.63
35%
50.04
-42%
128.6
49%
4K Read
30.35
48.01
58%
47.65
57%
26.32
-13%
41.4
36%
Seq Write
366.57
1550.23
323%
1714.8
368%
291.39
-21%
1117.4
205%
Seq Read
509.04
2719.21
434%
2594.01
410%
517.22
2%
2131.2
319%

* ... smaller is better

SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
CDM 5 Read Seq Q32T1: 557.5 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq Q32T1: 377.6 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K Q32T1: 326.5 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K Q32T1: 311.5 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 527.9 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 382.5 MB/s
CDM 5 Read 4K: 33.73 MB/s
CDM 5 Write 4K: 106.5 MB/s

GPU Performance

The mobile GTX 1060 in the GS43VR is within just single-digit percentages from our reference desktop GTX 1060 Founder's Edition according to 3DMark benchmarks. Users are quite literally getting the power of a desktop GTX 1060 at stock speeds in a laptop that is nearly the size of an Ultrabook. Its raw graphical capabilities are about 15 to 20 percent higher than both the GTX 980M and new GTX 1060 Max-Q.

See our reviews on the GTX 1060 and Pascal architecture for more technical information on the series.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
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
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK
4206 Points ∼42% +57%
Asus Zephyrus GX501
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
4048 Points ∼40% +51%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
3009 Points ∼30% +12%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
2893 Points ∼29% +8%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
2680 Points ∼27%
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
2571 Points ∼25% -4%
EVGA SC17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
2326 Points ∼23% -13%
MSI GP62 7REX-1045US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
1810 Points ∼18% -32%
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK
8626 Points ∼53% +54%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
6123 Points ∼37% +10%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5590 Points ∼34%
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5441 Points ∼33% -3%
EVGA SC17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
4663 Points ∼28% -17%
MSI GP62 7REX-1045US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
3740 Points ∼23% -33%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
3517 Points ∼21% -37%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK
18373 Points ∼45% +53%
Asus Zephyrus GX501
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
18219 Points ∼45% +52%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
13018 Points ∼32% +9%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
12984 Points ∼32% +8%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11979 Points ∼29%
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11453 Points ∼28% -4%
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
10349 Points ∼25% -14%
EVGA SC17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
9820 Points ∼24% -18%
MSI GP62 7REX-1045US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7866 Points ∼19% -34%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
7321 Points ∼18% -39%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
11160 Points ∼63% +26%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK
10081 Points ∼57% +14%
EVGA SC17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
9256 Points ∼53% +4%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
9017 Points ∼51% +2%
Asus Zephyrus GX501
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
8935 Points ∼51% +1%
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8876 Points ∼51% 0%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8861 Points ∼50%
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
8762 Points ∼50% -1%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
7952 Points ∼45% -10%
MSI GP62 7REX-1045US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7163 Points ∼41% -19%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus Zephyrus GX501
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ
23540 Points ∼46% +56%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK
23170 Points ∼45% +54%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
17401 Points ∼34% +15%
Asus G701VO-CS74K
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK
16946 Points ∼33% +12%
EVGA SC15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
15453 Points ∼30% +3%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
15074 Points ∼30%
HP Omen 15-ce002ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q, 7700HQ
13279 Points ∼26% -12%
EVGA SC17
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6820HK
12890 Points ∼25% -14%
Asus Strix GL502VT-DS74
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ
9824 Points ∼19% -35%
MSI GP62 7REX-1045US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
9394 Points ∼18% -38%
3DMark 11 Performance
12917 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
85006 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
24792 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
10096 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
5293 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The GTX 1060 in the MSI performs as fast as the same GTX 1060 in the much larger GT72VR when gaming. Users will be able to play most if not all of today's titles at native 1080p on High to Extreme settings. Moving up to the GTX 1080 Max-Q or GTX 1070 will bring a 40 to 60 percent boost in frame rate depending on the title.

See our dedicated page on the GTX 1060 GPU for more gaming benchmark comparisons.

Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
118.3 fps ∼100% +72%
Asus Zephyrus GX501
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
105 fps ∼89% +53%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
100.5 fps ∼85% +46%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
68.8 fps ∼58%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
66.9 fps ∼57% -3%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
66.5 fps ∼56% -3%
MSI GT72VR 6RD-063US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
63.5 fps ∼54% -8%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
47.1 fps ∼40% -32%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
38 fps ∼32% -45%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
78.1 fps ∼100% +90%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
66.3 fps ∼85% +62%
Asus Zephyrus GX501
GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q, 7700HQ, Samsung SSD SM961 1TB M.2 MZVKW1T0HMLH
61.9 fps ∼79% +51%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
44.4 fps ∼57% +8%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
41 fps ∼52%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
38 fps ∼49% -7%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Alienware 17 R4
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK, SK Hynix PC300 NVMe 512 GB
162.9 fps ∼100% +54%
Eurocom Sky MX5 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7820HK, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 500GB m.2 NVMe
141 fps ∼87% +34%
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
105.6 fps ∼65%
MSI GT72VR 6RD-063US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
105.5 fps ∼65% 0%
Aorus X5S v5
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 m.2
87 fps ∼53% -18%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN-80WK001KUS
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
74 fps ∼45% -30%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 105.6fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 80.2fps
Thief (2014) 77.1fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 7941fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 8860fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 60fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 71.5fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 68.8fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 58.1fps
Overwatch (2016) 106fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 42fps
Prey (2017) 106.7fps

Stress Test

We subject the notebook to extremely stressful processing conditions to identify for any potential throttling or stability issues. When under Prime95 load, the CPU can be observed maintaining a core clock rate in the 3.0 to 3.2 GHz range or about 200 MHz to 400 MHz above the base clock rate of the i7-7700HQ. The CPU can indeed attain higher clock rates in the 3.4 to 3.8 GHz range until core temperatures hit an imposed 95 C ceiling where Turbo Boost will then throttle for safer operating temperatures. Even so, the stable core temperature of about 80 to 84 C is still very warm for any processor.

Running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously will strip the CPU from any Turbo Boost benefits and will even throttle it slightly to as low as 2.4 GHz with a steady core temperature of 95 C. The alarmingly hot >90 C range is unfortunately a common sight on super-thin or small gaming notebooks like those from Razer or Aorus.

Witcher 3 stress is more representative of real-world gaming load. CPU and GPU performances remain steady at 3.6 GHz and 1658 MHz, respectively, with core temperatures hovering in the low 70 C range each. These thermals would be considered very warm for a desktop build but are just about average for a gaming notebook. The real drawback, of course, will be the fan noise as our next section will detail.

Running on batteries will throttle GPU performance more heavily than the CPU. A Fire Strike run on battery power returns Physics and Graphics scores of 9454 and 3903 points, respectively, compared to 10763 and 11979 points when on mains. Setting the Nvidia Power Management mode to "Prefer maximum performance" did not improve our benchmark scores.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Witcher 3 stress
Witcher 3 stress
01234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272829303132333435363738394041424344Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 3.0 - 3.2 -- 80 - 84 43
FurMark Stress -- 1291 61 70
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.4 - 2.6 1152 95 87
Witcher 3 Stress 3.6 1658 71 70

Emissions

System Noise

Unsurprisingly, cramming a 45 W HQ-class CPU and an ~80 W GTX 1060 in a 14-inch form factor has resulted in some extreme fan noise readings. The fans are always active at around 33 dB(A) at their quietest when idling on the Power Saver Profile and with integrated graphics active. A few minutes of browsing or regular use is already enough to cause the fans to pulsate between 33 and 35 dB(A) whereas the latest U-class Ultrabooks are essentially silent under similar loads.

Fan noise only gets worse from here. Idling on the High Performance profile with the Nvidia GPU active will bump fan noise to the low 40 dB(A) range without even needing to run any applications. In other words, an idling GS43VR has the potential to be as loud as an Ultrabook under extreme processing loads. This pulsing and high idling fan noise can fortunately be mitigated by playing around with the Dragon Center fan controls, but we find it faster to simply turn on Power Saver mode with the iGPU instead. Running Witcher 3 will cause the fans to run as loudly as 56.7 dB(A) to be one of the loudest gaming notebooks we've recorded alongside the Razer Blade 14 and Alienware 13. The System Monitor window shows both fans running in the 5100 to 5400 RPM range each when at their maximum.

Very slight electronic noise or coil whine is audible on our test unit seemingly at random intervals.

Twin ~45 mm fans with asymmetric heat pipe arrangement
Twin ~45 mm fans with asymmetric heat pipe arrangement
As usual, the cooling is heavier on the GPU side compared to the CPU
As usual, the cooling is heavier on the GPU side compared to the CPU
GS43VR (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: 3DMark06, Orange: Witcher 3, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
GS43VR (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: 3DMark06, Orange: Witcher 3, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
GS73VR 6RF. The sharper peaks signify higher-pitched fan noise than the GS43VR
GS73VR 6RF. The sharper peaks signify higher-pitched fan noise than the GS43VR
GT72VR 6RE. The broader peaks signify lower-pitched fan noise than the GS43VR
GT72VR 6RE. The broader peaks signify lower-pitched fan noise than the GS43VR

Noise Level

Idle
33 / 34.5 / 35 dB(A)
Load
54.2 / 54.2 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 dB(A)
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
Gigabyte Aero 14 GA-K106Q416-PL-B02
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D256
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
Radeon Pro 450, 6700HQ, Apple SSD SM0256L
Noise
10%
-2%
7%
-1%
12%
off / environment *
28
28.8
-3%
31
-11%
29.1
-4%
30.4
-9%
Idle Minimum *
33
33.1
-0%
35
-6%
31.3
5%
31.4
5%
30.6
7%
Idle Average *
34.5
33.1
4%
36
-4%
31.3
9%
37
-7%
30.6
11%
Idle Maximum *
35
34
3%
37
-6%
31.3
11%
40.8
-17%
30.6
13%
Load Average *
54.2
37.2
31%
43
21%
50.3
7%
50
8%
34.7
36%
Witcher 3 ultra *
56.7
46.1
19%
53.6
5%
Load Maximum *
54.2
47.1
13%
57
-5%
53.4
1%
53.6
1%
46.3
15%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Warmer areas can always be felt on the right palm rest and above the first row of keyboard keys where the processors and HDD are located, respectively. Surfaces near the processors can be as warm as 63 C during extreme loads compared to just 54 C on the larger but similarly equipped GT72VR. If gaming, this same hot spot on the GS43VR will only be slightly cooler at 54 C. It's interesting to note that the fans are running so loudly under load and drawing air from the speaker grilles that the palm rests become noticeably cooler than if the system were idling at lower fan RPMs. Fortunately, the WASD keys never become uncomfortably warm no matter the load which is quite surprising for a 14-inch gaming notebook.

Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (top)
Maximum load (bottom)
Maximum load (bottom)
Witcher 3 load (top)
Witcher 3 load (top)
Witcher 3 load (bottom)
Witcher 3 load (bottom)
Max. Load
 30 °C47.8 °C42 °C 
 28.8 °C41.8 °C33 °C 
 21.2 °C20.4 °C24.2 °C 
Maximum: 47.8 °C
Average: 32.1 °C
48.4 °C63.2 °C39.2 °C
32.6 °C47.4 °C43.2 °C
31.4 °C27.4 °C27 °C
Maximum: 63.2 °C
Average: 40 °C
Power Supply (max.)  45.6 °C | Room Temperature 21.6 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

The integrated 2 W stereo speakers are average at best. Our microphone measurements below show poor bass reproduction and an overemphasis on treble frequencies that we find unsatisfactory for music and video playback. A flatter curve like the one for the Eurocom X7E2 is preferable for a balanced sound experience as opposed to the bell curve of the MSI. Adjusting the sound settings through Nahimic do not appear to improve quality by any noticeable margin. Earphones are definitely recommended whenever possible especially for gaming.

The GS43VR utilizes the same ESS Sabre DAC as the larger GS63/GS73 and GT72/GT73 series for supporting hi-res audio output (24 bit/192 kHz) and professional headphones. While most users are not likely to take full advantage of this, it's still a unique feature in the small 14-inch gaming space.

GS43VR (Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
GS43VR (Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Gigabyte Sabre 15
Gigabyte Sabre 15
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2037.937.82535.436.33135.836.24033.736.75032.834.76333.1358033.432.110032.333.412531.535.916030.34020030.342.325028.946.931527.548.140027.150.95002760.463027.163.28002762.3100026.163125025.564.416002668.2200024.968.7250025.270.6315024.667.4400024.770.6500024.464.5630024.372800024.570.41000024.265.51250024.161.51600026.344.3SPL37.680N3.145.4median 26.1MSI GS43VR 7RE-069USmedian 63Delta2.110.235.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (72.03 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 21.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.5% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (11% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (25.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 85% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 11% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 72% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 21% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

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
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 0% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

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

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The system will draw anywhere between 9 W and 12 W when idling on desktop depending on the power profile setting and screen brightness level compared to 19 W on our Skylake GS43VR likely due to differences in background activity. Average load with 3DMark06 will draw about 77 W while the Skylake GS43VR will draw as much as 107 W when running 3DMark 11.

Maximum load with Prime95 and FurMark running simultaneously will demand 153 W from a power adapter (~16 x 7.5 x 3 cm) rated for up to 180 W.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.67 / 0.94 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 9.1 / 11.9 / 12.2 Watt
Load midlight 77 / 153 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), SK Hynix HFS128G39MNC-3510A, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Alienware 13 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK, OLED, 2560x1440, 13.3
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), , IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Gigabyte Aero 14 GA-K106Q416-PL-B02
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Liteonit CV3-8D256, , 2560x1440, 14
Aorus x3 Plus v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7, IGZO TFT, 3200x1800, 13.9
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450, Apple SSD SM0256L, IPS, 2880x1800, 15.4
Power Consumption
-6%
-33%
-44%
-33%
32%
Idle Minimum *
9.1
7
23%
14
-54%
12
-32%
15.1
-66%
2.9
68%
Idle Average *
11.9
12
-1%
18
-51%
18.1
-52%
15.8
-33%
9.7
18%
Idle Maximum *
12.2
18
-48%
21
-72%
21.3
-75%
16.7
-37%
10.1
17%
Load Average *
77
76
1%
70
9%
127.2
-65%
110.9
-44%
65
16%
Load Maximum *
153
161
-5%
146
5%
149.4
2%
170.4
-11%
89.5
42%
Witcher 3 ultra *
126.4
135
-7%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Front-facing speaker adjacent to the battery
Front-facing speaker adjacent to the battery

The non-removable 61 Wh battery is of adequate capacity considering the small size of the system. Nonetheless, real-world runtimes are rather poor at just under 3 hours during our WLAN stress test (Balanced profile, Auto-Select graphics). Perhaps notably, the system can last for almost 9 full hours when idling on desktop at the lowest possible brightness setting with the Power Saver profile and iGPU active. Battery life appears to be very dependent on system settings and we absolutely recommend enabling all power-saving features to extend battery life if using the notebook for word processing, browsing, or streaming purposes. Our Skylake GS43VR unit, for example, was able to last for almost 4.5 ours when under similar WLAN loads.

Charging from near empty to full capacity will take longer than on most other notebooks at around 2.5 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 57min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
2h 53min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 19min
MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 61 Wh
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 70 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 14 GA-K106Q416-PL-B02
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 94.24 Wh
Aorus x3 Plus v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 74 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.6 GHz, 450)
6700HQ, Radeon Pro 450, 76 Wh
Battery Runtime
0%
55%
-12%
28%
109%
Reader / Idle
537
386
-28%
760
42%
470
-12%
477
-11%
WiFi v1.3
173
232
34%
427
147%
293
69%
602
248%
Load
79
75
-5%
59
-25%
100
27%
55
-30%
WiFi
311

Pros

+ relatively cool palm rests and WASD keys when gaming
+ mDP 1.2, HDMI 1.4, and Thunderbolt 3
+ excellent display quality and colors
+ extreme performance for the size
+ consistent gaming performance
+ Dragon Center fan controls
+ Killer 1535 WLAN standard
+ very small and lightweight
+ ESS Sabre DAC support
+ easy serviceability

Cons

- very high CPU and GPU temperatures when under extreme loads
- no other updates other than the move to Kaby Lake
- only one display option; no 120 Hz, 5 ms, or G-Sync
- end-user servicing will automatically void warranty
- cannot maintain maximum CPU Turbo Boost
- extremely loud fan noise when gaming
- moderate uneven backlight bleeding
- tactile key feedback could be firmer
- below average WLAN battery life
- slow SD reader performance
- chassis could be more rigid
- poor speaker quality
- bloatware

Verdict

In review: MSI GS43VR 7RE. Test model provided by Intel
In review: MSI GS43VR 7RE. Test model provided by Intel

The GS43VR 7RE can barely be considered an update over the GS43VR 6RE. CPU performance is a little better, but Turbo Boost potential still throttles and so users can't even take full advantage of the Kaby Lake upgrade. Since the core experience remains the same, the most important part of this Kaby Lake GS43VR launch is that the older Skylake GS43VR will be cheaper to find.

MSI could have made a few more changes to better justify purchasing the Kaby Lake GS43VR over last year's model. Multi-zone RGB keys, HDMI 2.0, faster SD card reader, more display options (G-Sync, 3 or 5 ms response times), and perhaps even less bloatware could have all gone a long way. It's clear that the current GS43 iteration could benefit from a full design refresh to catch up with the new looks of the more well-known GE63VR and GT series. The large step up should make all the aforementioned missing features possible and hopefully improve chassis rigidity and fan noise along the way. In this case, the Alienware 13 and Razer Blade feel stronger and sturdier than what MSI has to offer in this size category as of today.

At a screen size of just 14-inches, the GS43VR is only recommended for gamers who are constantly on-the-go and want the performance of a gaming PC in as portable of a package as possible. Otherwise, the GT72 or GT73 make significantly better gaming machines in terms of fan noise, chassis quality, connectivity, and the sheer number of options for the price. We suggest that new GS43VR owners become familiar with the fan controls and uninstall the bloatware that seem to be hindering battery life.

The GS43VR doesn't quite match the feel or quality of a 13-inch Alienware 13 or 14-inch Razer Blade and is overdue for a design overhaul. At $1500 USD, the MSI costs about the same as the $1550 USD Dell and is cheaper than the $1900 USD Razer. If the MSI is a must, then investing in the older Skylake GS43VR will save a few hundred Dollars without sacrificing gaming performance.

MSI GS43VR 7RE-069US - 07/27/2017 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
74 / 98 → 75%
Keyboard
71%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
65 / 81 → 80%
Weight
64 / 66 → 96%
Battery
68%
Display
88%
Games Performance
93%
Application Performance
92%
Temperature
84 / 95 → 88%
Noise
58 / 90 → 64%
Audio
43%
Camera
63 / 85 → 74%
Average
73%
81%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI GS43VR 7RE (i7-7700HQ, GTX 1060) Laptop Review
Allen Ngo, 2017-07-28 (Update: 2017-08-22)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.