Notebookcheck

MSI GS63VR 7RF (7700HQ, 4K UHD, GTX 1060) Laptop Review

Stealth gamer. The first generation GS60 was infamous for its loud fans and hot temperatures. Now that the second generation GS63VR has been made available with more power efficient Kaby Lake and Pascal options, the super-thin MSI series has been a lot easier to recommend.

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The MSI GS series holds some of the thinnest gaming notebooks available and the new Pascal GPUs have turned them into more powerful machines than even most thicker Maxwell alternatives. The original GS60 notebooks were undeniably attractive, but they also suffered from extremely warm surface temperatures and very loud fan noise. The latest refresh tackles these major issues directly both by adding in a third internal fan and incorporating more power-efficient Kaby Lake and Pascal processors compared to the older Haswell and Maxwell incarnations.

The GS63VR 7RF is the Kaby Lake update to the Skylake GS63VR 6RF we reviewed last year. As such, we recommend checking out our original GS63VR page as the two systems are otherwise identical in hardware and features. The 15.6-inch GS Ghost and 17.3-inch Stealth series of notebooks compete directly against the Razer Blade series, most Gigabyte models, and the older Asus G501 series of super-thin gaming notebooks.

MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US (GS63 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) - 6144 MB, Core: 1404 MHz, Memory: 8008 MHz, GDDR5, 376.67, Optimus
Memory
32768 MB 
, DDR4, PC4-19200, SK Hynix, 17-17-17-39
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixel 282 PPI, IPS, ID: SDC434B, Name: Samsung FL156FL02-101, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM175
Storage
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB 
, Secondary: 2 TB Seagate ST2000LM007-1R8174 HDD
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm earphone, 3.5 mm microphone, Card Reader: SD reader
Networking
Killer E2500 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): 18 x 380 x 249 ( = 0.71 x 14.96 x 9.8 in)
Battery
65 Wh, 5700 mAh Lithium-Polymer, 3-cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1080p @ 30 fps
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet by SteelSeries, Keyboard Light: yes, MSI Dragon Center, Elan trackpad, Nahimic audio, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.9 kg ( = 67.02 oz / 4.19 pounds), Power Supply: 585 g ( = 20.64 oz / 1.29 pounds)
Price
2000 USD

 

Case

It's tough to dislike the thin design and brushed aluminum surfaces of the GS series from a visual standpoint. Unfortunately, build quality has not been dramatically improved over the GS60 models and we find that it pales in comparison to the Razer Blade, Blade Pro, XPS 15, and the MacBook Pro series. The base is susceptible to twisting and creaking and it is possible to depress both the palm rests and keyboard surfaces with a moderate push of a finger. The lid flexes more easily than a Razer as well, though not nearly as bad as on the Aorus X5. While we're not expecting the chassis to be as sound as the massive GT72 or GT73VR, it could have still been sturdier and firmer considering what other super-thin notebooks have managed.

The thin material makeup is also not perfect on our test unit. As shown by the two images below, the ventilation grilles near the right corner of the notebook are not sitting flat against the edge and is instead protruding slightly. We've had this same observation on the larger GS73VR as well, so we're hoping that this isn't a widespread issue with the GS family as a whole.

In terms of dimensions and weight, the system is just a millimeter or two thicker than both the XPS 15 and MacBook Pro 15 while being much more powerful than both. It has a larger footprint than either model and is also lighter than the Dell by about 200 g, so the MSI definitely doesn't feel as dense. Nonetheless, the system is surprisingly portable at under 2 kg compared to the significantly heavier Alienware 15 and Asus FX502VM.

The edge ventilation sits flush on one corner...
The edge ventilation sits flush on one corner...
... but protrudes slightly on the other
... but protrudes slightly on the other

Connectivity

Available ports are plentiful and easy to reach since none are on the rear of the unit. In fact, every option from the larger GS73VR has carried over to the GS63VR untouched including the all-important Thunderbolt 3 port. The left edge is unfortunately quite crowded and ports are located closely to the front, so thicker cables like HDMI or RJ-45 can potentially get in the way. It's also somewhat disappointing that there is no HDMI 2.0 port to more easily take advantage of 4K60 external monitors.

Update: MSI has confirmed with us that the GS63VR 7RF is HDMI 2.0-ready and will output up to 4K60. However, the naming of the port is officially HDMI 1.4 due to delays in licensing.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: USB 2.0, Thunderbolt 3 with USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI 1.4, Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, AC adapter
Right: USB 2.0, Thunderbolt 3 with USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI 1.4, Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, AC adapter
Left: Kensington Lock, Ethernet, SD reader, 3x USB 3.0, headphones/SPDIF, microphone
Left: Kensington Lock, Ethernet, SD reader, 3x USB 3.0, headphones/SPDIF, microphone
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity

SD Card Reader

MSI continues to integrate one of the slowest card readers ever on an otherwise high-end gaming machine. The manufacturer has confirmed with us that its card reader is limited by a USB 2.0 controller, so expect transfer rates of just 20 MB/s. Transferring 1 GB worth of photos from our Toshbia UHS-II test card to desktop will take about 43 seconds compared to 6 to 7 seconds on the Eurocom Tornado F5 and MSI GT73VR.

The card reader itself is spring loaded and a fully inserted SD card will protrude by about one-third of its length.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
 
120.5 MB/s ∼100% +411%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
 
78.8 MB/s ∼65% +234%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
 
23.59 MB/s ∼20%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
 
252.6 MB/s ∼100% +1105%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
 
86.9 MB/s ∼34% +315%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
 
20.96 MB/s ∼8%

Communication

WLAN and Bluetooth are provided by a removable Killer 1535 M.2 module. We experienced no connectivity issues when connected to a Linksys EA8500 802.11ac router. Killer WLAN provides both hardware and software advantages over the more common Intel WLAN solutions as detailed in our review of the Killer 1535.

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%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
648 MBit/s ∼98% -2%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
541 MBit/s ∼82% -18%
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%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
529 MBit/s ∼89% -11%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
513 MBit/s ∼86% -14%

Accessories

Included extras are a Quick Start guide, warranty card, velvet cleaning cloth, and a drivers/utilities DVD. An external optical drive will be needed to make use of the disc. The GUS graphics dock and other generic Thunderbolt 3 add-ons should be compatible with the system as well, at least in theory.

Maintenance

The bottom panel requires only a Philips screwdriver to remove, though users should be careful of the sharp edges and corners when prying the rear latches. Access to the main motherboard components including the heat pipes, M.2 2280 slot, and 2x DDR4 SODIMM slots require further disassembly not unlike on the original GS60 Ghost.

Note that removal of the bottom maintenance panel requires destroying a warranty sticker first. Thus, users may risk voiding the manufacturer warranty if deciding to service any components.

MSI GS63VR
MSI GS63VR
MSI GS60
MSI GS60

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Warranty

MSI offers one-year limited manufacturer warranty on new laptop purchases compared to two years from Gigabyte and Aorus. CUKUSA will cover any components installed by the reseller for three years including RAM and storage drives.

Input Devices

Keyboard

MSI uses the familiar SteelSeries keyboard across its high-end lineup of gaming notebooks and the GS series is no exception. Gamers who have played on a GT72 should feel right at home as the keys are firm in feedback, do not wiggle in place, and clatter relatively quietly. Feedback is just slightly softer than on the GT72, however, since the keyboard base of the GS63VR is not as rigid as on the larger GT series. The NumPad is smaller than the main QWERTY keys and there are no dedicated auxiliary keys for additional functions. The three-zone RGB backlight makes its return, though a small part of us is hoping that future MSI notebooks will incorporate individually-lit RGB keys not unlike the latest Aorus and Razer systems.

Touchpad

The smooth plastic trackpad works as one would expect with no noticeable cursor jitters or unreliable corners. Pushing down on its center will not significantly warp the surface and the thin red chrome lining looks much classier than the printed plastic lining on many Asus ROG units including the G753. Less impressive are the integrated keys of the touchpad as feedback is soft and shallow. A fair amount of force is required to register a click, so clicking repetitively in quick succession can become tiresome.

No major updates made on the already comfortable SteelSeries keyboard
No major updates made on the already comfortable SteelSeries keyboard
RGB backlight with three stages of illumination
RGB backlight with three stages of illumination

Display

Whereas our original GS63VR was equipped with a 1080p panel, our latest unit makes use of a 4K UHD panel. Unfortunately, the display is a mixed bag due in part to its RGBW pixel array. The panel is not a "true 4K" resolution and other manufacturers like Gigabyte and HP have recently dropped RGBW in favor of the more traditional RGB setup. In fact, the Samsung FL156FL02-101 panel on our GS63VR is the same panel as found on the Asus UX501JW and the recently reviewed Eurocom Tornado F5, so these three notebooks share very similar display qualities.

The high black levels lead to a middling contrast ratio of about 600:1 compared to 1000:1 or better on many enthusiast-level gaming notebooks. Backlight brightness is sufficient for indoor ambient lighting, but we were hoping for something much brighter than the recorded 274 nits as the portability of the system encourages outdoor use.

Subjectively, the matte panel is crisp with some slight color graininess that is most noticeable when displaying a white background on the maximum brightness setting. Our test unit also exhibits slight backlight bleeding around the bottom edge that is unnoticeable during day-to-day use.

Slight uneven backlight bleeding along the bottom edge
Slight uneven backlight bleeding along the bottom edge
RGBW pixel array (282 PPI)
RGBW pixel array (282 PPI)
254
cd/m²
272.3
cd/m²
265.2
cd/m²
262
cd/m²
274.2
cd/m²
259.8
cd/m²
253.6
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
253.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 274.2 cd/m² Average: 262.7 cd/m² Minimum: 16.16 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 274.2 cd/m²
Contrast: 623:1 (Black: 0.44 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.4
ΔE Greyscale 9.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
72.1% sRGB (Argyll) 45.7% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.24
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
IGZO IPS, 15.6, 3840x2160
Asus FX502VM-AS73
TN LED, 15.6, 1920x1080
Alienware 15 R3
HPJGK_B156HTN (AUO51ED), TN, 15.6, 1920x1080
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Apple APPA030, IPS, 15.4, 2880x1800
Response Times
-66%
2%
30%
2836%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
28 (15.6, 12.4)
57.2 (27.2, 30)
-104%
28.4 (11.2, 17.2)
-1%
25 (12, 13)
11%
46 (18, 28)
-64%
Response Time Black / White *
23.6 (15.2, 8.4)
39.2 (23.6, 15.6)
-66%
22.4 (6, 16.4)
5%
12 (4, 8)
49%
56 (11, 45)
-137%
PWM Frequency
1351 (39)
961.5
-29%
119000 (80)
8708%
Screen
39%
-11%
15%
56%
Brightness middle
274.2
370.1
35%
209.5
-24%
386
41%
420
53%
Brightness
263
356
35%
205
-22%
382
45%
401
52%
Brightness Distribution
92
87
-5%
92
0%
93
1%
90
-2%
Black Level *
0.44
0.37
16%
0.69
-57%
0.39
11%
0.3
32%
Contrast
623
1000
61%
304
-51%
990
59%
1400
125%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
8
5.3
34%
4.7
41%
10.2
-28%
3.33
58%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
14.6
9.9
32%
19.7
-35%
15.81
-8%
5.11
65%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
9.1
4.6
49%
1.8
80%
11.28
-24%
2.73
70%
Gamma
2.24 107%
2.31 104%
2.23 108%
2.23 108%
2.48 97%
CCT
5020 129%
6284 103%
6975 93%
11383 57%
6457 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
45.7
88.3
93%
36.2
-21%
59
29%
78.09
71%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
72.1
100
39%
56.6
-21%
90
25%
99.97
39%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-14% / 15%
-5% / -9%
23% / 18%
1446% / 698%

* ... smaller is better

Color space covers approximately 72 percent and 46 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively. This pales in comparison to the wider gamuts of the XPS 15 and MacBook Pro 15. The narrower gamut should have little impact on the target gaming audience as extreme color accuracy is typically reserved for digital artists. Nonetheless, certain gaming notebooks offer complete sRGB coverage including the Razer Blade series. It's also worth noting that the base 1080p option for the GS63VR has a wider color gamut than the 4K UHD configuration, so some users may prefer the lower-cost 1080p panel.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. XPS 15 9560 4K UHD
vs. XPS 15 9560 4K UHD

Colors and grayscale are inaccurate out of the box even with the MSI True Color software set to the preset sRGB option. Our own calibration efforts improve grayscale and colors dramatically by increasing color temperature and flattening the RGB balance curve. Colors still become more inaccurate the higher the saturation level due to the panel's imperfect sRGB coverage.

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
23.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.2 ms rise
↘ 8.4 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. » 29 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
28 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 12.4 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. » 10 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.1 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 1351 Hz ≤ 39 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 1351 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 39 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 1351 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9953 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is average under shade and poor under direct sunlight. The display can be opened all the way up to 180 degrees to help reduce glare as much as possible, which is uncommon on most gaming notebooks. The wide IPS viewing angles also make the notebook easier to use outdoors than other gaming systems with TN displays. The backlight is unfortunately the one major attribute preventing the GS63VR from being the de factor outdoor gaming notebook as it is nowhere near as bright as a MacBook Pro 15 or Alienware 15.

Viewing too far off angle will cause slight contrast shifts and lighter colors.

Outdoors on overcast day
Outdoors on overcast day
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

The GS63VR is available with the i7-7700HQ CPU and a full-fledged 6 GB GTX 1060 GPU like the one we have on hand. A separate SKU with a 3 GB GTX 1060 is also an option according to MSI, but we can find no such configuration for the US market at the time or writing. Surprisingly, RAM is not soldered onto the board and can be upgraded despite the thin-and-light build.

Optimus is standard for graphics switching to the integrated HD 630 GPU. There are consequently no G-Sync options as both features continue to be mutually exclusive.

Processor

Raw performance from the i7-7700HQ is only marginally better than the previous Skylake i7-6700HQ in multi-threaded workloads. The boost in single-threaded performance is higher and on par with the desktop i7-6700K. This is particularly notable as the i7-6700K is rated for almost twice the TDP as our mobile i7-7700HQ.

See our dedicated CPU page on the i7-7700HQ 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

Running CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop results in steadily decreasing scores. The initial score of 742 points drops to 658 points by the third run as illustrated by the graph below. This represents a performance drop of about 10 percent just from a few minutes of CineBench stress testing.

The larger Asus GL702VSK with the same i7-7700HQ CPU is able to sustain higher clock rates than our GS63VR. Fire Strike Physics scores, for example, are consistently 10 percent higher on the Asus than on the MSI.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
194 Points ∼33% +20%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
162 Points ∼28%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
160 Points ∼27% -1%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼27% -2%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
152 Points ∼26% -6%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
143 Points ∼24% -12%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
134 Points ∼23% -17%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
125 Points ∼21% -23%
CPU Multi 64Bit
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
984 Points ∼46% +33%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
874 Points ∼41% +18%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼35%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
736 Points ∼34% -1%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
706 Points ∼33% -5%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
682 Points ∼32% -8%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
678 Points ∼32% -9%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
490 Points ∼23% -34%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
2.2 Points ∼97% +24%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.8 Points ∼79% +2%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.77 Points ∼78%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
1.72 Points ∼76% -3%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
1.68 Points ∼74% -5%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
1.66 Points ∼73% -6%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.5 Points ∼66% -15%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
1.46 Points ∼64% -18%
CPU Multi 64Bit
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
10.91 Points ∼46% +33%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
8.55 Points ∼36% +5%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.18 Points ∼34%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.1 Points ∼34% -1%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
7.75 Points ∼32% -5%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
7.53 Points ∼32% -8%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.47 Points ∼31% -9%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
5.29 Points ∼22% -35%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
7387 Points ∼83% +29%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
6434 Points ∼73% +12%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5929 Points ∼67% +3%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5747 Points ∼65%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
5632 Points ∼63% -2%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
5449 Points ∼61% -5%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
5126 Points ∼58% -11%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
4999 Points ∼56% -13%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
29617 Points ∼60% +33%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
23815 Points ∼48% +7%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
22217 Points ∼45%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
21997 Points ∼44% -1%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
21313 Points ∼43% -4%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
20111 Points ∼40% -9%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
18785 Points ∼38% -15%
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% -37%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
236 s * ∼3%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
226 s * ∼3% +4%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
224.726 s * ∼3% +5%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
210.067 s * ∼2% +11%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
205.867 s * ∼2% +13%
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
169.8 s * ∼2% +28%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
590 Seconds * ∼3% -2%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
579.909 Seconds * ∼3%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
572.296 Seconds * ∼3% +1%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
569.349 Seconds * ∼3% +2%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
561.953 Seconds * ∼2% +3%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
484.635 Seconds * ∼2% +16%
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
440 Seconds * ∼2% +24%
3DMark
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Physics
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
12803 Points ∼60% +31%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
10244 Points ∼48% +5%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9757 Points ∼46%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
9454 Points ∼45% -3%
Fire Strike Extreme Physics
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
12790 Points ∼58% +31%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
11387 Points ∼51% +17%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
10665 Points ∼48% +9%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
10290 Points ∼47% +6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9753 Points ∼44%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
9332 Points ∼42% -4%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
6706 Points ∼30% -31%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics
i7-7700K Gigabyte Z270-Gaming K3
Intel Core i7-7700K
14325 Points ∼63% +48%
Eurocom Sky X7E2
Intel Core i7-6700K
12812 Points ∼57% +32%
MSI GP62-2QEi781FD
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
11440 Points ∼51% +18%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
10685 Points ∼47% +10%
EVGA SC17 GTX 1070
Intel Core i7-6820HK
10277 Points ∼45% +6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
9700 Points ∼43%
Asus GL702VM-GC102D
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
9278 Points ∼41% -4%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ
6713 Points ∼30% -31%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6837
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
22217
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5747
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
61.51 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
8.18 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.77 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
98.16 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
742 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
162 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark 8 ranks our GS63VR similarly to other gaming notebooks of its class. Its PCMark Creative score, however, is notably worse than the similarly equipped FX502VM.

Subjectively, we experienced no software or hardware issues during regular use and gaming loads. Unfortunately, extreme benchmark loads with Prime95 and FurMark would consistently crash our test unit after half a minute or so of running. As such, we are unable to provide our usual fan noise, temperature, and power consumption measurements when subjected to both Prime95 and FurMark loads. Otherwise, games appear to run normally and we will provide Witcher 3 measurements instead as a replacement. We recommend that new owners of the GS63VR run benchmark checks and RAM diagnostic tools to make sure that the system behaves as it should when under extreme loads.

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
Gigabyte P55W v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D256
5317 Points ∼82% +1%
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5299 Points ∼81% +1%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5268 Points ∼81%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4422 Points ∼68% -16%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
2722 Points ∼42% -48%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
7678 Points ∼81% +44%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
7220 Points ∼76% +36%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5318 Points ∼56%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
5114 Points ∼54% -4%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
4966 Points ∼83% +20%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
4765 Points ∼80% +15%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4141 Points ∼69%
Gigabyte P55W v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Liteonit CV3-8D256
4013 Points ∼67% -3%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
3588 Points ∼60% -13%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4141 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5318 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5268 points
Help

Storage Devices

Accessible secondary 2.5-inch SATA III bay
Accessible secondary 2.5-inch SATA III bay

Our MSI configuration is equipped with a primary Samsung SM961 M.2 NVMe SSD and a secondary 2 TB Seagate ST2000LM007-1R8174 HDD. Transfer rates from the primary SSD outpace even the Apple SM1024L SSD as found on the new MacBook Pro 15 according to CDM. Sequential read rates are very fast at over 2100 MB/s compared to about 1600 MB/s on the latest XPS 15 9560. Meanwhile, the Seagate HDD returns an average transfer rate of about 104 MB/s according to HD Tune, which is about average for a 7200 RPM drive. A 7 mm HDD or SSD is recommended as the tight space may not accommodate a 9.5 mm drive.

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

HD Tune (Secondary HDD)
HD Tune (Secondary HDD)
CDM (Primary SSD)
CDM (Primary SSD)
CDM (Secondary HDD)
CDM (Secondary HDD)
AS SSD
AS SSD
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
 
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Asus FX502VM-AS73
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Alienware 15 R3
 
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Apple SSD SM1024L
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-7%
-64%
-26%
-19%
Write 4k QD32
526.9
398.1
-24%
99.74
-81%
429.8
-18%
562.1
7%
Read 4k QD32
631.7
509.1
-19%
369.9
-41%
541.7
-14%
679.3
8%
Write 4k
158.2
134.1
-15%
70.91
-55%
122.9
-22%
10.9
-93%
Read 4k
54.2
45.14
-17%
29.36
-46%
37.8
-30%
9.786
-82%
Write 512
1531
1119
-27%
137.8
-91%
428.1
-72%
1058
-31%
Read 512
499.7
977.4
96%
343.5
-31%
833.2
67%
913.7
83%
Write Seq
1621
1106
-32%
138.2
-91%
429.2
-74%
1440
-11%
Read Seq
2141
1684
-21%
502.5
-77%
1123
-48%
1458
-32%
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Transfer Rate Minimum: 59.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 136.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 104.2 MB/s
Access Time: 14.5 ms
Burst Rate: 118 MB/s
CPU Usage: 2.6 %

GPU Performance

When testing high-performance thin gaming notebooks like the GS63VR, we're always on the lookout for potential GPU throttling or small cut corners that could negatively impact gaming performance. Fortunately, we can find no such drawbacks on the MSI notebook as GPU performance is essentially on par with the similarly equipped Asus FX502VM according to 3DMark benchmarks. Our desktop GeForce GTX 1060 reference card, however, is about 15 percent faster than the mobile GTX 1060 found on the MSI. Even so, raw graphics performance from the GS63VR is still about 10 to 15 percent faster than the GTX 980M.

See our review on the GTX 1060 for more technical information on the Pascal 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
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
3918 Points ∼39% +54%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
2893 Points ∼29% +13%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
2565 Points ∼25% +1%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
2549 Points ∼25%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
2488 Points ∼25% -2%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
2299 Points ∼23% -10%
Schenker XMG P407
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
1901 Points ∼19% -25%
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8223 Points ∼41% +54%
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
7817 Points ∼39% +46%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5463 Points ∼27% +2%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
5348 Points ∼27%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
5145 Points ∼26% -4%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
4623 Points ∼23% -14%
Schenker XMG P407
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
3945 Points ∼20% -26%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
17131 Points ∼42% +52%
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
16961 Points ∼42% +51%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
12984 Points ∼32% +15%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11633 Points ∼29% +3%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11261 Points ∼28%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
10791 Points ∼27% -4%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
9608 Points ∼24% -15%
Schenker XMG P407
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
8376 Points ∼21% -26%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
11511 Points ∼65% +30%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
11160 Points ∼63% +26%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8967 Points ∼51% +1%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8873 Points ∼50%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
8343 Points ∼47% -6%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
7940 Points ∼45% -11%
Schenker XMG P407
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
7792 Points ∼44% -12%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
7516 Points ∼43% -15%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus Strix GTX 980 Ti Desktop PC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 4790K
23057 Points ∼45% +60%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
22825 Points ∼45% +58%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
17401 Points ∼34% +20%
Asus FX502VM-AS73
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
14732 Points ∼29% +2%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
14450 Points ∼28%
Razer Blade (2016) FHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
13534 Points ∼27% -6%
Asus Strix GL502VY-DS71
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, 6700HQ
12472 Points ∼24% -14%
Schenker XMG P407
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ
10402 Points ∼20% -28%
3DMark 11 Performance
12530 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
17664 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
9485 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
5047 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Nvidia designed the GTX 1060 for 1080p gaming and the proof is in the benchmarks. The MSI struggles to run most games at the native 4K UHD resolution with many titles averaging below 30 FPS. Turning settings down to the low-medium range should do the trick if players desire sharpness over graphical features. Even so, G-Sync would have been a good addition to the system as it works best when frame rates are between the 30 and 60 FPS range. Most titles will otherwise run at 60 FPS or higher when gaming at 1080p with all settings set to High or Maximum. The desktop GTX 1060 edges out the mobile GTX 1060 by 10 to 15 percent in most games with Fallout 4 being a notable exception at almost 25 percent over the MSI notebook.

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

low med. high ultra4K
BioShock Infinite (2013) 100.6fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 78.1fps
Thief (2014) 74.9fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 7639.426.3fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 5829fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 6040.8fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 6426.2fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 64.125.5fps
Doom (2016) 92.330.5fps
Overwatch (2016) 104.654.5fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 43.613.1fps
Fallout 4 - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:T AF:16x
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
52.6 fps ∼100% +101%
Gigabyte P57X v7
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Transcend MTS800 256GB M.2 (TS256GMTS800)
42 fps ∼80% +60%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
32.2 fps ∼61% +23%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
26.2 fps ∼50%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
18.5 fps ∼35% -29%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
14 fps ∼27% -47%
The Witcher 3 - 3840x2160 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
55.8 fps ∼100% +112%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
29 fps ∼52% +10%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
26.3 fps ∼47%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
17.6 fps ∼32% -33%
Batman: Arkham Knight - 3840x2160 High / On (Interactive Smoke & Paper Debris Off) AA:SM AF:8x
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
56 fps ∼100% +93%
Gigabyte P57X v7
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Transcend MTS800 256GB M.2 (TS256GMTS800)
47 fps ∼84% +62%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
32 fps ∼57% +10%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
29 fps ∼52%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
19 fps ∼34% -34%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
15 fps ∼27% -48%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
50.2 fps ∼100% +97%
Gigabyte P57X v7
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Transcend MTS800 256GB M.2 (TS256GMTS800)
43 fps ∼86% +69%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
29.3 fps ∼58% +15%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
27 fps ∼54% +6%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
25.5 fps ∼51%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
17.6 fps ∼35% -31%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
13.1 fps ∼26% -49%
Doom - 3840x2160 High Preset AA:FX
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
66.9 fps ∼100% +119%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
34.2 fps ∼51% +12%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
30.5 fps ∼46%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
21.2 fps ∼32% -30%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
17.5 fps ∼26% -43%
Overwatch - 3840x2160 High (Render Scale 100 %) AA:SM AF:4x
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
104.9 fps ∼100% +92%
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition 6 GB
GeForce GTX 1060 (Desktop), 6700K
61.1 fps ∼58% +12%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
54.5 fps ∼52%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
38.3 fps ∼37% -30%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
30.2 fps ∼29% -45%
Mafia 3 - 3840x2160 High Preset
Eurocom Tornado F5 Killer Edition
GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7600K, Samsung SSD 960 Evo 250GB m.2 NVMe
29.1 fps ∼100% +122%
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
13.1 fps ∼45%
MSI GE72 7RE-046
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Notebook), 7700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NY
9.8 fps ∼34% -25%

Stress Test

Our usual stress tests involve running Prime95 and FurMark and then recording the core temperatures that the system will stabilize at. Since our specific test unit appears to crash when running Prime95 or when being heavily taxed to an unrealistic 100 percent load, we decided to run CineBench R15 Multi-Thread in a loop and have recorded the results below. The CPU stabilizes at an acceptable 76 C with consistent 3.1 to 3.3 GHz Turbo Boost clock rates compared to its base clock rate of 2.8 GHz and a maximum Turbo Boost clock rate of 3.8 GHz. Meanwhile, the GPU is able to maintain Boost clock rates in the 1600 MHz range when running Witcher 3 compared to its base clock rate of 1404 MHz. The fact that such a thin system can maintain clock rates above their advertised base rates is impressive on its own right. The drawback is a high GPU temperature of 83 C compared to larger systems like the GT72 or GT73VR where core temperatures are usually in the cooler 70 C ranged.

Running Witcher 3 for over an hour results in no steadily declining frame rates or throttling issues. Average frame rates are stable at about 39 FPS throughout our entire test run as recorded below. Running on batteries will automatically limit frame rates to 30 FPS to save power.

Idling on desktop on High Performance
Idling on desktop on High Performance
CineBench loop stress
CineBench loop stress
Witcher 3 stress
Witcher 3 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
CineBench Loop Stress 3.1 - 3.3 -- 76 51
FurMark Stress -- 1190 75 79
Witcher 3 Stress 3.4 - 3.7 1633 68 83

Emissions

System Noise

Do more fans really make for a quieter experience? System noise is indeed measurably quieter than the outgoing GS60, but not by as much as one would hope. The fans are still always active on the GS63VR even when on Power Saver mode with fan speed set to Basic. Idling on desktop is already louder than most gaming or multimedia notebooks including the Asus FX502VM and XPS 15. Keep in mind that the fans are much more sensitive to RPM changes when the notebook is set to Balanced or High Performance modes, so Power Saver mode is recommended when working in classrooms or libraries.

Running 3DMark 06 and 3DMark 11 will bump fan noise slightly to 37.2 dB(A) and 45.5 dB(A), respectively. In comparison, the FX502VM and XPS 15 9560 will be at 46.2 dB(A) and 47.1 dB(A), respectively, when running 3DMark 11. While the GS63VR is a bit quieter, it also suffers from higher-pitched fans not unlike what we recorded on the larger GS73VR. For example, our microphone measurements below show a narrower peak at a higher frequency range compared to the broader peak of the Asus FX502VM. This is likely due to the addition of the smaller ~40 mm fan, so quieter fan noise comes at the cost of a slightly higher-pitched system. Earphones are recommend when gaming as we can record a fan noise of 47 dB(A) when playing Witcher 3.

Note that our Load Average measurements below for the XPS 15 and FX502VM were recorded while running 3DMark 11 while our Load Average measurement for the GS63VR was recorded while running 3DMark 06, so these values are not directly comparable with the MSI.

Outside of the fans, we can notice no coil whine on our test unit.

Smaller ~40 mm fan adjacent to larger ~45 mm fan
Smaller ~40 mm fan adjacent to larger ~45 mm fan
Cooling solution is not unlike the larger GS73VR variant
Cooling solution is not unlike the larger GS73VR variant
MSI GS63VR (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: FurMark, Orange: Witcher 3)
MSI GS63VR (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: FurMark, Orange: Witcher 3)
Asus FX502VM (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Valley, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
Asus FX502VM (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Valley, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
MSI GS73VR (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Valley, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
MSI GS73VR (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Valley, Green: Prime95+FurMark)

Noise Level

Idle
33.1 / 33.1 / 34 dB(A)
Load
37.2 / 47.1 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: 28.8 dB(A)
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Asus FX502VM-AS73
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Alienware 15 R3
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
Radeon Pro 460, 6920HQ, Apple SSD SM1024L
MSI GS60 6QE-002US
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZHPV128 m.2 PCI-e
Noise
-1%
-2%
-10%
6%
-5%
off / environment *
28.8
28.4
1%
28.7
-0%
30
-4%
29
-1%
Idle Minimum *
33.1
29
12%
30.6
8%
31
6%
30.3
8%
35.2
-6%
Idle Average *
33.1
29
12%
30.6
8%
32
3%
30.3
8%
35.3
-7%
Idle Maximum *
34
32.2
5%
31
9%
42
-24%
30.3
11%
35.5
-4%
Load Average *
37.2
47.1
-27%
46.2
-24%
49
-32%
35.1
6%
40.4
-9%
Witcher 3 ultra *
46.1
52
-13%
Load Maximum *
47.1
47.1
-0%
52.3
-11%
50
-6%
46
2%
47.2
-0%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Surface temperatures are rather warm at almost 30 C even when idling on desktop and on the Power Saver mode. Running Witcher 3 for one hour will result in a warm keyboard and an even warmer underside as shown by our temperature maps below. While the palm rests and WASD keys remain relatively cool, we wouldn't recommend using the notebook on one's lap if running demanding applications. Similar hot spots can be observed on the Razer Blade and the XPS 15 9560, both of which are also very thin notebooks with dedicated Pascal GPUs.

Heat it expelled through the ventilation grilles on the left and right edges of the notebook. Thus, expect warm hands when gaming with an external mouse.

Witcher 3 stress (top)
Witcher 3 stress (top)
Witcher 3 stress (bottom)
Witcher 3 stress (bottom)
 28.4 °C28.4 °C26.8 °C 
 27.8 °C28.4 °C28.4 °C 
 25.8 °C26 °C26 °C 
Maximum: 28.4 °C
Average: 27.3 °C
28.6 °C29.6 °C28.8 °C
28.4 °C28.6 °C29.2 °C
27 °C27.6 °C27 °C
Maximum: 29.6 °C
Average: 28.3 °C
Room Temperature 20 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Sound quality is average due to poor bass. We set Bass Boost to its maximum through the included Nahimic software and music playback is still lacking in oomph. Larger gaming notebooks like the GT73VR or even multimedia notebooks like the Asus N55x series include dedicated subwoofers for a wider range of reproducible frequencies. Nonetheless, maximum volume is sufficiently loud with no static or major reverberations. Users with high-end headphones can take advantage of the gold-plated Hi-Fi audio jack and dedicated Sabre DAC for a better sound experience.

MSI GS63VR (Pink noise)
MSI GS63VR (Pink noise)
Asus FX502VM
Asus FX502VM
MSI GS73VR
MSI GS73VR
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2037.839.42534.837.43133.634.54033.832.4503331.66334.436.28032.732.110030.53112530.43216028.530.22002834.425027.345.831526.255.140025.858.150024.959.363024.963.280027.262.3100025.263.4125024.969.6160023.770.4200023.866.1250023.774.1315023.374.6400023.175500023.170.963002372.480002369.61000023.163.71250022.963.71600023.256.1SPL36.383N2.751.8median 24.9MSI GS63VR 7RF-228USmedian 63.4Delta1.910.635.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (74.98 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (12.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.3% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 8.1% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (27.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 90% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 6% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 80% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 15% 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, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
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

Idling on desktop will draw about 14 W to 17 W compared to 19 W to 29 W on the Alienware 15. Running 3DMark 06 and 3DMark 11 will demand about 93 W and 110 W, respectively, which is higher than many competitors with the same GTX 1060 GPU. Running Witcher 3 will demand even more out of the system at a recorded 128.8 W.

We are unable to reliably provide power consumption measurements when running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously due to the aforementioned crashing issues. Based on our our previous GS63VR test unit, however, we can expect the system to draw about 165 W from the small (~15.5 x 7.5 x 3 cm) 180 W AC adapter.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.83 / 1.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 14.5 / 17.3 / 17.4 Watt
Load midlight 93 / Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IGZO IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Asus FX502VM-AS73
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, TN LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), , TN, 1920x1080, 15.6
Gigabyte P55W v7
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Liteonit CV3-8D256, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
MSI GS63VR-6RF16H22 Stealth Pro
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
7%
2%
-31%
21%
-27%
Idle Minimum *
14.5
11.9
18%
14.9
-3%
19
-31%
8
45%
18
-24%
Idle Average *
17.3
17.1
1%
15.1
13%
23
-33%
13
25%
22
-27%
Idle Maximum *
17.4
17.3
1%
15.2
13%
29
-67%
18
-3%
30
-72%
Load Average *
93
94.7
-2%
105.8
-14%
85
9%
76
18%
77
17%
Load Maximum *
122
148.8
192
143
165
Witcher 3 ultra *
128.8
104.8
19%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The internal battery is average in capacity at 65 Wh compared to 97 Wh and 99 Wh in in the XPS 15 9560 and Alienware 15 R3, respectively. It is, however, an upgrade from the 47 Wh battery in the older GS60. Runtimes are average at just under 4 hours of real-world WLAN use. At best, users can expect 6.5 hours of runtime when idling on Power Saver mode and on the lowest brightness setting.

Charging from near empty to full capacity will take about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 26min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
3h 52min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 15min
MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Notebook), 97 Wh
Asus FX502VM-AS73
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 64 Wh
Alienware 15 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 99 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2016 (2.9 GHz, 460)
6920HQ, Radeon Pro 460, 76 Wh
Battery Runtime
80%
-1%
16%
68%
Reader / Idle
386
831
115%
363
-6%
382
-1%
WiFi v1.3
232
434
87%
277
19%
264
14%
619
167%
Load
75
103
37%
64
-15%
102
36%
52
-31%

Pros

+ surprisingly lightweight considering the performance
+ Comfortable RGB backlit SteelSeries keyboard
+ no major CPU or GPU throttling issues
+ 2x storage bays; upgradeable RAM
+ accessible ports; Thunderbolt 3
+ 1080p and 4K UHS options

Cons

- RAM and M.2 slots require additional disassembly; servicing will void manufacturer warranty
- RGBW pixel array; average contrast ratio, color space, and backlight brightness
- chassis not as strong as a Razer Blade Pro
- unable to maintain high CPU Turbo Boost
- loud fans no matter the processing load
- no 120 Hz/5 ms display options
- extremely slow SD card reader
- warm surface temperatures
- average battery life

Verdict

In review: MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro 4K-228. Test model provided by Computer Upgrade King
In review: MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro 4K-228. Test model provided by Computer Upgrade King

The original GS60 was ahead of its time. The super-thin chassis design and 4K UHD options paired very poorly with Broadwell and Maxwell processors even if said chassis was visually appealing. Fortunately, Intel and Nvidia hardware are finally catching up to MSI's original vision of providing enthusiast-level gaming performance in a super-thin MacBook Pro-size notebook. Kaby Lake and Pascal perform admirably with no major throttling issues during our time with the unit. Combine this with the surprising portability of the system and you have a notebook that is seemingly perfect for both schoolwork and serious play.

Drawbacks are noticeable and varied. Yes, the GS63VR can replace and outperform the XPS 15, MacBook Pro 15, and even that large ROG G752 laying around, but expect a more flexible chassis with higher-pitched fan noise during use. Battery life, sound quality, and backlight brightness could have been better and a true "silent mode" for low-power word processing use would have been a neat addition. Furthermore, diving deeper into its performance will show that the CPU is unable to maintain maximum Turbo Boost clock rates and that core GPU temperature will be warmer than on larger gaming notebooks.

The base 1080p SKU is an easier recommendation over the 4K UHD option. Unless if gaming at native 4K UHD on low-medium settings with no G-Sync sounds appealing, the GTX 1060 still pairs best with a 1080p display. Furthermore, the 1080p panel offers higher contrast and wider colors than the 4K UHD panel for a cheaper price, so 4K UHD users are essentially giving up display quality for those denser pixels.

The GS63VR runs a bit quieter than the GS60 while offering massive boosts in performance. Though its gaming prowess shouldn't be underestimated, its display, battery life, and chassis rigidity haven't improved as much as the hardware inside.

MSI GS63VR 7RF-228US - 03/24/2017 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
79%
Connectivity
64 / 81 → 79%
Weight
64 / 10-66 → 97%
Battery
74%
Display
82%
Games Performance
92%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
80 / 95 → 84%
Noise
79 / 90 → 87%
Audio
66%
Camera
55 / 85 → 65%
Average
76%
84%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI GS63VR 7RF (7700HQ, 4K UHD, GTX 1060) Laptop Review
Allen Ngo, 2017-03-26 (Update: 2017-04- 2)
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.