Notebookcheck

MSI GS73VR 7RF (7700HQ, GTX 1060, 4K) Laptop Review

Iterative improvement. The GS73VR walks a delicate line between power and portability by packing NVIDIA's Pascal GPUs into a thin chassis late last summer. Now that a Kaby Lake option is available, are Intel's 7th generation chips worth the cost to upgrade the recent redesign of MSI's 17.3-inch thin-and-light?

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MSI was among the first notebook manufacturers to bring NVIDIA's Pascal-based GPUs to market. We reviewed the GS73VR 6RF, a redesign of MSI's larger thin-and-light notebook line, almost a year ago in August 2016. That model scored well due to its impressive performance despite the slim chassis. Cooling was also adequate, but the fan noise was loud and ever-present in order to keep the powerful components at bay.

Today, we'll take a look at the next iteration of the GS73VR line, the GS73VR 7RF. This model is almost the exact same as its recent predecessor, save for the inclusion of Intel's 7th generation Kaby Lake CPUs. Everything else has been carried over from the GS73VR 6RF, including the SteelSeries RGB keyboard, the case, and maintenance access. As such, we will skip these sections to focus on the differences between devices and examine the improvements the generational jump makes in system performance.

As a quick overview, the GS73VR 7RF is equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. Other components are configurable from retailers selling the device. Our unit includes 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, a 2 TB 5400 RPM HDD, and a 17.3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3840x2160. This configuration retails for about $2,300 USD, depending on the seller. There is a SKU available with a Full HD screen for about $400-500 less. We will compare our unit to the GS73VR 6RF to see the improvements Kaby Lake brings. Due to its components and form factor, we will also compare our model to the Gigabyte Aero 15, the Asus GL702VS, the Acer Aspire V17 Nitro, and the Aorus X7 v6 to get a wide view of what the GS73VR brings to the table.

MSI GS73VR 7RF (GS73VR Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop) - 6144 MB, Core: 1405 MHz, Memory: 2002 MHz, GeForce Game Ready Driver 382.33, NVIDIA Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2400 / PC4-19200
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 3840x2160 pixel 258 PPI, No, AU Optronics AUO109B, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM175
Storage
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, 512 GB 
, 512 PCIe NVMe SSD + 2 TB 5400 RPM HDD, 2275 GB free
Soundcard
Intel A171
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 1x Mic-in, 1x Headphone-out (HiFi/SPDIF), Card Reader: Full-size SD/SDXC/SDHC card reader, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Qualcomm Atheros AR8171/8175 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.6 x 411.8 x 284.9 ( = 0.77 x 16.21 x 11.22 in)
Battery
65 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD (30 fps @ 1080p)
Additional features
Speakers: 4x 2 W + 1x 3 W subwoofer, Keyboard: SteelSeries Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Dragon Center, MSI True Color, Nahimic 2, SteelSeries Engine 3, Killer Network Manager, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.429 kg ( = 85.68 oz / 5.36 pounds), Power Supply: 732 g ( = 25.82 oz / 1.61 pounds)
Price
2300 USD

 

SD Card Reader

Using our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II Reference-Card, we see underwhelming speeds from the SD card slot. At about 26 MB/s, the 7RF has the same disappointing read speeds as its predecessor, falling behind the competition by almost 70%. This is surprising, as both notebooks use the same slow card reader. Professionals that rely on SD cards for image and file transfers will be very disappointed.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Aorus X7 v6
78 MB/s ∼100% +201%
Gigabyte Aero 15
78 MB/s ∼100% +201%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
63.6 MB/s ∼82% +146%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
25.9 MB/s ∼33%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
23.8 MB/s ∼31% -8%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
23.2 MB/s ∼30% -10%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Gigabyte Aero 15
89 MB/s ∼100% +228%
Aorus X7 v6
87 MB/s ∼98% +221%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
86.1 MB/s ∼97% +218%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
27.6 MB/s ∼31% +2%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
27.1 MB/s ∼30%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
24.6 MB/s ∼28% -9%

Communication

Wireless connection speeds are excellent. Transmit and receive speeds are quick at 563 Mbit/s and 640 Mbit/s, respectively. This performance is in line with rivals and the category as a whole.

Connections as a whole are somewhat spotty. While solid most of the time, intermittent disconnects severely hinder workflow and lead to frustration. The notebooks would routinely drop connection to a WiFi network despite several other devices maintaining strong signal with no interruption. Again, this may be a flaw with our test unit but is annoying nonetheless and should be mentioned.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
678 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
650 MBit/s ∼96% +2%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
640 MBit/s ∼94%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
599 MBit/s ∼88% -6%
Aorus X7 v6
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
496 MBit/s ∼73% -22%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4
664 MBit/s ∼100% +18%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
563 MBit/s ∼85%
Aorus X7 v6
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
554 MBit/s ∼83% -2%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
526 MBit/s ∼79% -7%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
346 MBit/s ∼52% -39%

Software

MSI includes their Dragon Center app package. Through Dragon Center, users can access several other included applications, including SteelSeries Engine 3 to control the keyboard and its backlight, Shift to tune system performance, Nahimic 2 for sound profiles, and an app to set fan profiles. Options are the name of the game here, but the number of included applications is staggering. Some of these tools are redundant with apps and settings that are already baked into the operating system. The SCM app, or System Control Manager, acts as a hub for controls available in the Windows system tray (such as volume and WiFi on/off). Even within Dragon Center itself, there are multiple apps for some of the same tasks. Case in point, SteelSeries Engine 3 and the LED Wizard can both be used to tune the RGB keyboard backlight. 

While the included package offers an high amount of control over the system, the sheer amount of preloaded software is overwhelming. Some of these apps are also frustrating, such as an overlay used for screen snapping that appears anytime a window is moved. These preloaded applications also might bog down the system, and there have recently been complaints about MSI loading their devices with bloatware that eats up system resources.

App Portal
App Portal
System Monitor
System Monitor
LED Wizard
LED Wizard
System Tuner
System Tuner

Display

The 17.3-inch IPS display gets bright, averaging at about 343 nits. The brightness and matte finish make this panel easy to view in most lighting conditions, including outdoors. The screen isn't usable in direct sunlight, but finding some shade resolves this problem. In dark environments, the display backlight is even across the entire panel. There is no discernible backlight bleed.

The display has a resolution of 3840x2160, which can be a blessing and a curse. The display has a very high pixel density; as a result, 4K content looks fantastic and crisp. However, the hardware inside isn't able to adequately push these high resolutions in gaming, and the extra pixels are an added drain on battery life. The panel also creates artifacts in 1080p videos; in dark scenes, blacks take on a boxy appearance. We are not sure if the cause is poor Gamma calibration or the occurrence of scaling issues, but the end result is ugly and distracting. This blockiness is not present if the video resolution is bumped to 4K and isn't noticeable in gaming, despite the resolution.

As a prime example, the image below is a screen capture from the 2016 game Hitman. The graphics are set to High settings at 1920x1080, and gameplay footage was recorded via Open Broadcaster Software and saved as an uncompressed video file. Notice the artifacts in the dark parts of the scene. This blockiness is not present during gameplay and only appears in the recording. Other dark scenes in video playback yield similar results.

Subpixel array
Subpixel array
Even display backlighting
Even display backlighting
Notice the artifacts around Agent 47's head.
Notice the artifacts around Agent 47's head.
331.2
cd/m²
364.9
cd/m²
341.3
cd/m²
346.2
cd/m²
371.1
cd/m²
341.2
cd/m²
317.5
cd/m²
338.4
cd/m²
333.2
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 371.1 cd/m² Average: 342.8 cd/m² Minimum: 19.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 371.1 cd/m²
Contrast: 884:1 (Black: 0.42 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.5 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 3.1 | - Ø
97% sRGB (Argyll) 61% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.17
MSI GS73VR 7RF
AU Optronics AUO109B, IPS, 17.3, 3840x2160
MSI GS73VR 6RF
TN LED, 17.3, 1920x1080
Asus Strix GL702VSK
AU Optronics AUO119D, IPS, 17.3, 1920x1080
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
AUO B173HAN01.0, a-Si TFT-LCD, WLED, 17.3, 1920x1080
Aorus X7 v6
B173QTN01.0 (AUO1096), TN LED, 17.3, 2560x1440
Gigabyte Aero 15
N156HCA-EA1 (CMN15D7), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
45%
22%
3%
40%
-18%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38 (19.6, 18.4)
28 (13.2, 14.8)
26%
21.2 (9.6, 11.6)
44%
36 (20, 16)
5%
31 (11, 20)
18%
42.8 (23.6, 19.2)
-13%
Response Time Black / White *
26 (16, 10)
9.6 (5.2, 4.4)
63%
26 (13.6, 12.4)
-0%
26 (15, 11)
-0%
10 (3, 7)
62%
32 (18.8, 13.2)
-23%
PWM Frequency
26000 (20)
Screen
15%
10%
-2%
-36%
-12%
Brightness
343
315
-8%
306
-11%
307
-10%
312
-9%
316
-8%
Brightness Distribution
86
86
0%
93
8%
84
-2%
80
-7%
90
5%
Black Level *
0.42
0.308
27%
0.21
50%
0.26
38%
0.5
-19%
0.36
14%
Contrast
884
1095
24%
1507
70%
1331
51%
686
-22%
889
1%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.5
2.96
34%
4.2
7%
4.32
4%
7.33
-63%
4.62
-3%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.1
2.57
17%
3.9
-26%
5.76
-86%
7.6
-145%
6
-94%
Gamma
2.17 111%
2.25 107%
2.19 110%
2.35 102%
2.19 110%
2.46 98%
CCT
7120 91%
7114 91%
7242 90%
6447 101%
9024 72%
6761 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
61
74.3
22%
56
-8%
59
-3%
55
-10%
60
-2%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97
100
3%
86
-11%
90
-7%
84
-13%
92
-5%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
30% / 21%
16% / 12%
1% / -1%
2% / -21%
-15% / -13%

* ... smaller is better

Color accuracy is decent out of the box. Deltas of 4.5 and 3.1 for color and grayscale, respectively, are good enough for gaming but are a bit too high for photo and video editing. Professional use typically demands deltas of 3 or less, so users will want to calibrate the screen. Calibration massively improves the situation, bringing the average delta for colors down to 0.9 and for grays to 1.9. This results in a very color accurate display. Color space is also good; 97% of the sRGB gamut is covered, while 61% of the AdobeRGB color space can be reproduced. The color accuracy and good gamut coverage, coupled with the panel's 4K resolution, make for a beautiful panel and an excellent overall viewing experience.

There are several different monitor profiles available through MSI's True Color application. Should users want a more accurate sRGB profile, there is an "sRGB" mode in this software.

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
ColorChecker (calibrated)
ColorChecker (calibrated)
Grayscale
Grayscale
Grayscale (calibrated)
Grayscale (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
vs RGB: 97%
vs RGB: 97%
vs AdobeRGB: 61%
vs AdobeRGB: 61%

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
26 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 10 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 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 42 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19.6 ms rise
↘ 18.4 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. » 33 % 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 not detected

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.

Viewing angles are excellent. The IPS panel can be viewed from extreme angles (greater that 45º) with almost no loss in visual clarity. Colors remain vivid and accurate, and images and text are sharp and crisp.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Viewing angles (outdoor)
Viewing angles (outdoor)

Performance

The internal components of the GS73VR 7RF are almost identical to the GS73VR 6RF. The only change is the CPU, which has been upgraded from Intel's Skylake Core i7-6700HQ to the latest Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ (and, of course, optional changes like storage and RAM). The switch to Kaby Lake brings some marginal changes in performance and power efficiency; while the improvements are noticeable, they are not significant.

Processor

The Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8 GHz base, 3.8 GHz Turbo, 6 MB L3 cache) is an incremental upgrade and brings a slight boost in performance. Built on a similar 14 nm process as the i7-6700HQ, the Kaby Lake CPU outperforms its predecessor by about 16% and 8% in single- and multi-threaded workloads. Our review unit also keeps pace with similarly specced gaming notebooks. The Aorus X7 v6, which sports an unlocked Core i7-6820HK, only beats the 7700HQ by about 10%.

Using Cinebench R15 to measure CPU performance, the 7700HQ is easily able to hit its boost clock of 3.8 GHz, although it averages a bit lower at 3.6 GHz. On battery, the CPU performs almost as well. While it does reach it's maximum boost clock when unplugged, overall performance is about 4-5% lower. This won't be noticeable in everyday use.

Running Cinebench several times in a row, we can get a good idea of CPU performance over a lengthy period of time. Interestingly, the CPU starts out strong, with some small dips here and there. However, after several runs, performance drops off significantly by about 30%. This result is alarming, but we see the same result in repeats of the test. This may be due to thermal throttling, which we will discuss in the Stress Test section below.

For more information about the Intel Core i7-7700HQ, view our dedicated CPU page here.

Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15 (on battery)
Cinebench R15 (on battery)
Cinebench R15 CPU clock speed
Cinebench R15 CPU clock speed
Cinebench R15 CPU clock speed (on battery)
Cinebench R15 CPU clock speed (on battery)
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730Tooltip
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Aorus X7 v6
Intel Core i7-6820HK
170 Points ∼85% +6%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
161 Points ∼81% +1%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
160 Points ∼80%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼80% -1%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
134 Points ∼67% -16%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
133 Points ∼67% -17%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Aorus X7 v6
Intel Core i7-6820HK
807 Points ∼38% +10%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
742 Points ∼35% +1%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
736 Points ∼34% +1%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
732 Points ∼34%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
671 Points ∼31% -8%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
503 Points ∼23% -31%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
Aorus X7 v6
Intel Core i7-6820HK
1.93 Points ∼85% +6%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.84 Points ∼81% +1%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.82 Points ∼80%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.8 Points ∼79% -1%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
1.51 Points ∼67% -17%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
1.5 Points ∼66% -18%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Aorus X7 v6
Intel Core i7-6820HK
8.88 Points ∼4% +9%
Gigabyte Aero 15
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.23 Points ∼3% +1%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.18 Points ∼3%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.1 Points ∼3% -1%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
7.41 Points ∼3% -9%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
5.81 Points ∼2% -29%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5929 Points ∼67%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4926 Points ∼56%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
4920 Points ∼55%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
21997 Points ∼44%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
20090 Points ∼40%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
17618 Points ∼35%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
304.65 s * ∼4%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
233.068 s * ∼3% +23%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
226 s * ∼3% +26%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
757.7 Seconds * ∼3%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
657.671 Seconds * ∼3% +13%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
590 Seconds * ∼3% +22%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
3355 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
29105 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
7789 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
8.18 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.82 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
732 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
160 Points
Help

System Performance

Overall system performance is disappointing. Despite its high-end internals, PCMark 8 pegs our device markedly below the competition in the Work and Home tests. This might be due to the system overhead required of the preinstalled apps, although we could not confirm this during our testing period. Either way, the performance on paper is a letdown.

While PCMark 8 is a reasonably good judge of system performance, it's not always indicative of real-world use. In the case of the GS73VR 7RF, however, the benchmark scores reflect everyday performance. Most apps are smooth, but buggy performance is too commonplace to be written off. Opening the Start menu, for example, is immediate at times and aggravatingly slow at others. Simple tasks, like resizing or moving windows, can induce noticeable lag and be frustrating. Even moving the cursor requires patience as it will freeze or hang every so often. While overall system performance should be quick, it routinely takes a tick too long for things to get going to be comfortable.

PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
5290 Points ∼81% +24%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
4940 Points ∼76% +16%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
4782 Points ∼73% +12%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
4774 Points ∼73% +12%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
4259 Points ∼65%
Creative Score Accelerated v2
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
5225 Points ∼56%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
5062 Points ∼54% -3%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
4777 Points ∼51% -9%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
4787 Points ∼80% +34%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4248 Points ∼71% +19%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
4012 Points ∼67% +12%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
3899 Points ∼65% +9%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
3581 Points ∼60%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3581 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
5225 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4259 points
Help

Storage Devices

Drive performance is excellent. Our review unit is equipped with a fast 512 GB M.2 Samsung PCIe NVMe SSD and a large 2 TB 5400 RPM HDD. This is a great combo, as recently used apps and games can be loaded onto the speedy SSD, while older or less demanding files and applications can be moved to the mass storage drive. 

Using CrystalDiskMark, we see read and write speeds in excess of 2400 MB/s and 1600 MBs, respectively, on the SSD. These are phenomenal speeds and much, much faster than the competition. Load times in games are blazing fast, and we are never left waiting for applications to open or files to load (unless the aforementioned buggy performance occurs). Saving large files also happens at lightning speed, which helps make the system feel responsive in most tasks.

The HDD is slow, but this is to be expected of a 5400 RPM drive. It is best suited for media that doesn't require fast loading times and long-term storage of games and other files. Should users wish to replace it with a faster HDD or SSD, the 2.5-inch drive bay can easily be accessed by removing the bottom panel. Replacing the M.2 SSD, which occupies the only other internal storage slot, requires removing the motherboard.

AS SSD
AS SSD
CrystalDiskMark (SSD)
CrystalDiskMark (SSD)
CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
CrystalDiskMark (HDD)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
MSI GS73VR 6RF
SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
Asus Strix GL702VSK
HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Aorus X7 v6
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Gigabyte Aero 15
Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-63%
-97%
-48%
28%
19%
Write 4k QD32
355.3
167.1
-53%
1.1
-100%
267
-25%
530.8
49%
490.5
38%
Read 4k QD32
454.1
251.6
-45%
1.1
-100%
344.6
-24%
695.7
53%
644.8
42%
Write 4k
131.5
42.51
-68%
1.1
-99%
76.21
-42%
155.5
18%
123.3
-6%
Read 4k
48.5
20.3
-58%
0.5
-99%
28.4
-41%
44.33
-9%
44.7
-8%
Write 512
747.6
254.4
-66%
43.9
-94%
267.8
-64%
1103
48%
1069
43%
Read 512
445.2
242.3
-46%
34
-92%
325.8
-27%
966.3
117%
890.7
100%
Write Seq
1609
319
-80%
75.5
-95%
270.2
-83%
1411
-12%
1133
-30%
Read Seq
2459
334.3
-86%
78.3
-97%
493.1
-80%
1499
-39%
1769
-28%
Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
Sequential Read: 2459 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1609 MB/s
512K Read: 445.2 MB/s
512K Write: 747.6 MB/s
4K Read: 48.5 MB/s
4K Write: 131.5 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 454.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 355.3 MB/s

GPU Performance

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060 has proven time and time again to be a capable graphics card for moderate workloads. That is evident here; our review unit falls in line with its competition in Fire Strike with an overall score of 9675 and a graphics score of 11384. This translates to very capable rendering performance at 1080p and even 1440p, although 4K is still out of reach. Overall, the GTX 1060 is a steady card and a great balance between price and performance. Users wanting more power should opt for the GTX 1070, which is about 40-50% more powerful than the GTX 1060 (although much more expensive).

On battery, our review unit consistently switched to the internal GPU, even when running Fire Strike. This did not happen during games, however. Gaming while unplugged will fully utilize the GTX 1060. For more details on the GeForce GTX 1060, please visit our dedicated GPU page here.

3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike (battery)
3DMark Fire Strike (battery)
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
Aorus X7 v6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
10344 Points ∼59% +19%
Gigabyte Aero 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8966 Points ∼51% +3%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
8687 Points ∼49%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
8083 Points ∼46% -7%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
7516 Points ∼43% -13%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ
5655 Points ∼32% -35%
1280x720 Performance GPU
Aorus X7 v6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
23591 Points ∼46% +61%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
22825 Points ∼45% +56%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
14904 Points ∼29% +2%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ
14785 Points ∼29% +1%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
14666 Points ∼29%
Gigabyte Aero 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
14265 Points ∼28% -3%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
17131 Points ∼42% +50%
Aorus X7 v6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
17068 Points ∼42% +50%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
11506 Points ∼28% +1%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11384 Points ∼28%
Gigabyte Aero 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
11173 Points ∼27% -2%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ
10984 Points ∼27% -4%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Aorus X7 v6
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK
101012 Points ∼62% +118%
Gigabyte Aero 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
77755 Points ∼48% +68%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
73454 Points ∼45% +59%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
67791 Points ∼41% +47%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ
59879 Points ∼37% +29%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
46269 Points ∼28%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Asus Strix GL702VSK
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ
141599 Points ∼19% +298%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ
121599 Points ∼17% +242%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ
66513 Points ∼9% +87%
MSI GS73VR 7RF
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ
35571 Points ∼5%
3DMark 11 Performance
12579 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
28688 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
20795 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
9675 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
5100 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The GTX 1060 is a capable choice for gaming at 1080p. The card chews through most titles at Ultra settings, routinely hitting between 50-60 frames per second or higher. Poorly optimized titles, such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided or Mafia 3, are still playable at maximum settings. Even highly demanding games, like The Witcher 3, are fairly smooth with everything turned up. Some settings will need to be set lower to hit 60 fps, but overall game performance on Full HD is smooth and enjoyable.

Despite its 4K screen, the GS73VR 7RF cannot play most games at Ultra HD. Lighter titles like Civilization VI and more casual games run well at 4K, but for the most part, gaming at 3840x2160 is unattainable. 

Running The Witcher 3 for an hour shows how stable the GTX 1060 can be. Frame rates stay between 38 and 42 for the entire gameplay session. However, it should be noted that we do experience strange performance during extended gameplay. Games are often randomly minimized in the middle of active play, although the reason is not clear. This completely interrupts the experience and can be incredibly frustrating. 

0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142Tooltip
The Witcher 3 ultra
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF) (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
134 fps ∼62%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
100 fps ∼47% -25%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
121 fps ∼56% -10%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
92.5 fps ∼43% -31%
Metro: Last Light - 1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
76 fps ∼51%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
77.4 fps ∼52% +2%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
89 fps ∼60% +17%
Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
60 fps ∼48%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
65.7 fps ∼52% +10%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
80 fps ∼64% +33%
The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+) (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
41 fps ∼36%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
58 fps ∼50% +41%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
37.5 fps ∼33% -9%
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
37.7 fps ∼33% -8%
Fallout 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
71 fps ∼48%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
57.1 fps ∼38% -20%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
105 fps ∼70% +48%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
3840x2160 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
16 fps ∼20%
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
51 fps ∼32%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
61.4 fps ∼38% +20%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
92 fps ∼57% +80%
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
58.4 fps ∼36% +15%
Aorus X7 v6
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
97 fps ∼60% +90%
Hitman 2016 - 1920x1080 Ultra / On AA:SM AF:16x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
57 fps ∼54%
Ashes of the Singularity
1920x1080 high (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
54 fps ∼62%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
49 fps ∼56% -9%
3840x2160 crazy (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
24 fps ∼41%
Doom
3840x2160 High Preset AA:FX (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
30 fps ∼30%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:SM (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
89 fps ∼45%
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
76.3 fps ∼38% -14%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
110 fps ∼55% +24%
Aorus X7 v6
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
128 fps ∼64% +44%
Deus Ex Mankind Divided - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:2xMS AF:8x (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
30 fps ∼40%
Aorus X7 v6
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
41.1 fps ∼55% +37%
Mafia 3 - 1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
47 fps ∼49%
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
58 fps ∼61% +23%
Civilization VI
3840x2160 High Preset (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
37 fps ∼41%
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4xMS (sort by value)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
43 fps ∼40%
low med. high ultra4K
BioShock Infinite (2013) 134fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 76fps
Thief (2014) 60fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 41fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 71fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 5116fps
Hitman 2016 (2016) 57fps
Ashes of the Singularity (2016) 5424fps
Doom (2016) 8930fps
Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016) 30fps
Mafia 3 (2016) 47fps
Civilization VI (2016) 4337fps

Stress Test

Stress testing our system checks for any potential thermal throttling that could limit CPU or GPU performance. Prime95, which synthetically stresses the processor, shows that the 7700HQ cannot maintain its boost clock for extended periods; the CPU averages 2.8 GHz and 89º C over the hour long test. FurMark is intended to push the GTX 1060 to its limits, and the GPU averages a core clock of about 1,140 MHz while hitting temperatures of 82º C. This is interesting; MSI may be aggressively controlling temperatures on the graphics card. There is some thermal headroom that could allow for higher GPU performance, but the system may be trying to keep temperatures under control at the cost of lowered performance. Running Prime95 and Furmark concurrently taxes the system past its limits. The CPU is pulled back to 2.5 GHz after hitting temperatures in the high 90's when boosting. The GPU also maintains similar clock speeds as before.

A more applicable measure of stress is our hour-long Witcher 3 gameplay test. Here, we see a real-world example of how well the system works together. The CPU maintains a high clock speed of 3.6 GHz, albeit while averaging at a toasty 92º C. The GPU really shines here, reaching over 1,600 MHz on its core clock and managing a reasonable 79º C. Apart from the buggy behavior we have discussed previously, the GS73VR can maintain excellent performance under long periods of realistic stress.

Stress Test: Prime95
Stress Test: Prime95
Stress Test: FurMark
Stress Test: FurMark
Stress Test: Prime95 + FurMark
Stress Test: Prime95 + FurMark
Stress Test: The Witcher 3
Stress Test: The Witcher 3
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (°C) Average GPU Temperature (°C)
Prime95 Stress 2.8 - 89 56
FurMark Stress 3.6 1140 79 82
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 2.5 1140 95 84
Witcher 3 Stress 3.6 1633 92 79

Emissions

System Noise

Fan Noise profile
Fan Noise profile

Our test unit uses the same cooling system as the previous model, as well as the same high-pitched fan noise that plagued the earlier model. While system noise on paper isn't terrible, considering the thin chassis and powerful components, the shrill whine of the fans (particularly the smaller 40 mm fan) easily cuts through ambient sounds. The result is ever-present fan noise that can quickly become distracting. The fans always spin, even when the system is idle; thankfully, the noise is much easier on the ears under low load. We understand the difficulty in cooling thin-and-light gaming notebooks, but the noise tradeoff will push users to wear headphones, especially while gaming. 

The coil whine we experienced with the 6RF is also present in our 7RF review unit. While not loud, the high-pitched noise is always present and noticeable, especially under light workloads. As we recommended with the previous model, users should check their device at the time of purchase to hear if coil whine is present, as it may detract from the overall experience.

Noise Level

Idle
30.8 / 30.8 / 30.9 dB(A)
Load
42.2 / 48.6 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: 28.1 dB(A)
MSI GS73VR 7RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e
MSI GS73VR 6RF
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 6700HQ, SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122
Asus Strix GL702VSK
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 7700HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7300HQ, SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A
Aorus X7 v6
GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 6820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Gigabyte Aero 15
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Noise
-5%
1%
4%
-12%
-3%
off / environment *
28.1
28.4
-1%
28.6
-2%
30.7
-9%
30
-7%
31
-10%
Idle Minimum *
30.8
31.9
-4%
30.6
1%
30.7
-0%
33
-7%
32
-4%
Idle Average *
30.8
32
-4%
30.6
1%
30.7
-0%
35
-14%
33
-7%
Idle Maximum *
30.9
34
-10%
30.6
1%
31.4
-2%
40
-29%
34
-10%
Load Average *
42.2
47
-11%
39.8
6%
32.1
24%
43
-2%
39
8%
Witcher 3 ultra *
44.4
42.8
4%
43
3%
Load Maximum *
48.6
49.4
-2%
48
1%
42.8
12%
54
-11%
50
-3%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

One of the positive results of the aggressive fans is well-managed temperatures. While the device can still get very warm, hitting 55º C on the underside at its hottest, this is a noticeable improvement over the GS73VR 6RF and far cry better than MSI's thin gaming notebooks of old. Under more real-world loads, such as the Witcher 3, temperatures are fantastic in view of how thin this notebook is. The keyboard deck stays very comfortable, especially along the palm rest and WASD keys (where hands will naturally rest during gameplay). Users' palms should stay cool and sweat-free while gaming.

Heat map (keyboard, load)
Heat map (keyboard, load)
Heat map (underside, load)
Heat map (underside, load)
Heat map (keyboard, Witcher 3)
Heat map (keyboard, Witcher 3)
Heat map (underside, Witcher 3)
Heat map (underside, Witcher 3)
Max. Load
 40 °C50.2 °C46.8 °C 
 32.4 °C43.2 °C42.4 °C 
 26.2 °C27 °C30.8 °C 
Maximum: 50.2 °C
Average: 37.7 °C
50 °C55.6 °C43.4 °C
44.8 °C46.8 °C36.2 °C
34.6 °C36 °C31.2 °C
Maximum: 55.6 °C
Average: 42.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  44.4 °C | Room Temperature 20 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Speaker sound profile
Speaker sound profile

The speakers are a low point. The down-firing drivers emit a thin, tinny sound, and despite the inclusion of a subwoofer, the noise profile lacks presence. While highs are clear, the sound as a whole is flat and thin. The included Nahimic software greatly improves sound quality over the stock settings but is not a cure-all. Even when tuning the sound profile in the software, bass remains almost non-existent. On the plus side, the speakers can get loud, and the chassis does not rattle at higher volume levels.

The GS73VR includes a dedicated ESS Sabre HiFi DAC that can drive high-quality headphones, which is a very nice addition. Using studio-grade headphones, we can say that sound output via the dedicated HiFi audio jack is superb. High-end headphones are practically a must-have for this notebook.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2039.338.62535.637.13135.434.34034.334.1503232.16331.931.58031.231.310030.531.112529.529.61602938.220028.449.62502856.931527.756.940026.356.650025.856.56302561.680025.859.2100025.161.8125024.972.3160024.670.1200024.371.3250023.968.2315023.666.8400023.775.4500023.771.7630023.569.9800023.470.11000023.3661250023.464.81600023.560.6SPL36.682N2.849.5median 24.9MSI GS73VR 7RFmedian 61.8Delta2.38.235.535.43333.533.636.33535.532.83330.633.631.532.730.73429.441.428.658.827.562.326.4622662.725.960.725.359.325.462.925.259.624.358.524.660.624.762.123.764.123.566.523.56923.373.823.370.623.262.323.254.923.347.623.343.723.336.636.278.92.741.3median 24.6Asus Strix GL702VSKmedian 60.71.64.7hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
MSI GS73VR 7RF audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 7.9% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (24.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 82% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 15% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 66% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 27% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Asus Strix GL702VSK audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 8.8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 1.5% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 8.2% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 61% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 32% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 40% of all tested devices were better, 5% similar, 54% 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 upgrade to Kaby Lake brings with it much better power efficiency. The 7RF consumes about 40% less power at idle and about 25% less under load than the 6RF. Despite this, the 7RF consumes quite a bit more power than either the Acer V17 Nitro or Gigabyte Aero 15 which have similar components; our unit measures 91 W on average under load compared to 73 W for the Nitro and 82 W for the Aero 15. The 4K screen in the 7RF likely contributes to the higher power draw. Maximum consumption approaches the limit of the 180 W power supply and leaves little room to breathe.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 1 / 1.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 14.2 / 23.5 / 23.8 Watt
Load midlight 90.9 / 171.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
MSI GS73VR 7RF
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung SM961 MZVKW512HMJP m.2 PCI-e, IPS, 3840x2160, 17.3
MSI GS73VR 6RF
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), SanDisk SD8SN8U1T001122, TN LED, 1920x1080, 17.3
Asus Strix GL702VSK
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721010A9E630, IPS, 1920x1080, 17.3
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), SK Hynix HFS256G39TND-N210A, a-Si TFT-LCD, WLED, 1920x1080, 17.3
Aorus X7 v6
6820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7, TN LED, 2560x1440, 17.3
Gigabyte Aero 15
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
-32%
-23%
26%
-53%
15%
Idle Minimum *
14.2
22.6
-59%
20.9
-47%
7.8
45%
29
-104%
12
15%
Idle Average *
23.5
32.7
-39%
22.9
3%
13.3
43%
31
-32%
15
36%
Idle Maximum *
23.8
32.8
-38%
23.1
3%
16.6
30%
38
-60%
20
16%
Load Average *
90.9
114.7
-26%
147.2
-62%
73
20%
111
-22%
82
10%
Load Maximum *
171.6
167.9
2%
188.1
-10%
140
18%
253
-47%
161
6%
Witcher 3 ultra *
116
118
-2%
111
4%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The 65 Wh battery offers anemic runtimes. While under load, users can expect less than an hour of use, which limits gaming away from an outlet. Using our WiFi v1.3 test to simulate everyday use, the GS73VR 7RF offers about 2 hours 45 minutes. This will barely be enough for a school lecture or brief afternoon meeting. WiFi runtimes are about 45 minutes less than the 6RF and fall well below the competition. Users in need of longer runtimes should look at the offerings from Gigabyte; the Aero 15 lasts about 4.5 hours longer in everyday use.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 01min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
2h 43min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 55min
MSI GS73VR 7RF
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
MSI GS73VR 6RF
6700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 65 Wh
Asus Strix GL702VSK
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 76 Wh
Acer Aspire V17 Nitro BE VN7-793G-52XN
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 69 Wh
Aorus X7 v6
6820HK, GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 94 Wh
Gigabyte Aero 15
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 94.24 Wh
Battery Runtime
23%
25%
123%
12%
125%
Reader / Idle
301
353
17%
306
2%
618
105%
638
112%
WiFi v1.3
163
213
31%
203
25%
374
129%
182
12%
422
159%
Load
55
66
20%
81
47%
130
136%
112
104%

Pros

+ excellent CPU/GPU performance
+ best-in-class keyboard
+ thin, light chassis
+ improved thermal performance
+ color accurate display (with calibration)
+ plethora of ports
+ sharp 4K display (optional)...

Cons

- ...that results in some scaling issues
- lots of bloatware
- buggy behavior
- slow SD card speeds
- lackluster touchpad
- annoying fans
- coil whine
- poor port placement

Verdict

In review: MSI GS73VR 7RF (4K option). Test model provided by MSI.
In review: MSI GS73VR 7RF (4K option). Test model provided by MSI.

The MSI GS73VR 7RF is less an upgrade and more a refinement. Where the 6RF was an overhaul of MSI's 17.3-inch thin-and-light line, the 7RF is the completion of that idea. As such, it improves upon the positives of its predecessor but keeps the cons as well. We still celebrate the excellent keyboard, the premium chassis, and the excellent gaming performance. However, the difficult upgradeability, annoyingly loud fans, and tight port placement continue to be downsides. Add to that consistently buggy behavior during our review time, and we're left feeling mixed about the 7RF.

The screen is a mixed bag. Colors and image quality are great, but the 4K resolution isn't necessary. While it is a nice option, it largely amounts to a party trick. The internal components are more suited to gameplay at Full HD, and the high resolution creates more problems than it solves. Content creators and movie buffs will likely find great use out of the UHD panel, but most other users will likely never notice the difference. The Full HD panel option is the choice we recommend for gamers, as it is less demanding of the system, increases battery life, and reduces cost.

The GS73VR 7RF is a competent notebook that does a lot of things very well. It offers excellent performance in a very thin package. However, the market for thin-and-light gaming notebooks has exploded in recent years. Other companies also offer powerful and portable notebooks, namely Razer, Gigabyte, and Asus. While there isn't yet a perfect compact gaming notebook, there is no shortage of fantastic options from which to choose. 

While the GS73VR 7RF offers some tangible improvements over its predecessor, they are marginal at best. The GS73VR 6RF is almost as good and could be found new or used for a much cheaper price. Other options, such as Gigabyte's Aero 15, offer similar performance for the same or less money while improving on aspects that might matter more to gamers.

The MSI GS73VR 7RF is a good machine but is held back by many minor and some major hindrances. While this is a good notebook overall, there are better options avilable.

MSI GS73VR 7RF - 06/13/2017 v6
Sam Medley

Chassis
80 / 98 → 81%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
61 / 81 → 75%
Weight
60 / 66 → 90%
Battery
67%
Display
88%
Games Performance
92%
Application Performance
89%
Temperature
87 / 95 → 91%
Noise
75 / 90 → 83%
Audio
74%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Average
75%
84%
Gaming - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI GS73VR 7RF (7700HQ, GTX 1060, 4K) Laptop Review
Sam Medley, 2017-06-14 (Update: 2017-06-14)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.