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MSI PS63 Modern 8RC (Core i7-8565U, GTX 1050 Max-Q) Laptop Review

Sebastian Jentsch, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch, T. Hinum (translated by Alex Alderson), 02/05/2019

Spirit of discovery. Slim yet powerful is no longer witchcraft. MSI has developed the PS63 for productive power users who edit images and videos. Its dedicated GPU should meet the high demands of video and photo-editing, design work, 3D animation or music production. We will put the PS63 Modern 8RC through its paces in this detailed review and see how it stands up against its competitors.

MSI PS63 Modern 8RC with an Nvidia GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU and a 15 W Intel quad-core CPU
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC with an Nvidia GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU and a 15 W Intel quad-core CPU

Sleek 15-inch laptops with midrange dedicated GPUs like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q are becoming more common. However, the MSI PS63 Modern stands out from the rest. The 15-incher is a workhorse for creatives who edit images, videos or who do some design work and 3D animation. The PS63 Modern is even suitable for music producers too. Beyond all the paper specifications, the PS63 Modern is a light and mobile 15-inch laptop that will meet the needs of its target audience.

MSI equips the laptop with an Intel Whiskey Lake quad-core processor that has a 15 W thermal design power (TDP). The U-series processors are theoretically weaker than the H-series chips that power many other 15-inch multimedia laptops, so our tests should reveal whether the U-series in the PS63 can keep up with its H-series counterparts. Moreover, we will focus on whether the laptop thermal throttles too, which has happened with many Kaby Lake R and Whiskey Lake U series-powered laptops that we have reviewed.

MSI also equipped the PS63 with its Cooler Boost 3 dual fan cooling system, which should provide efficient heat dissipation without becoming irritating. According to MSI, the PS63 has received a Quiet Mark certification for its quiet yet effective fans.

The PS63 finds itself in a saturated and competitive market. Our Top 10 multimedia laptops list is hotly contested with the Dell XPS 15 9570, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme and the Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 currently holding the top three spots. The MSI P65 Creator is seventh on this list with an overall score of 87%, but all four of these devices either have a more powerful CPU or GPU. We suspect that the PS63 Modern 8RC will perform between these devices and the PS42 8RB Prestige, which MSI equipped with a U series processor and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU that is weaker than the GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q powering the PS63.

We will also compare our test unit against more powerful laptops like the Gigabyte Aero 15X v8, which has a 45 W Core i7-8750H processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU. Please keep in mind that the Aero 15X v8 costs considerably more than the PS63 and has a higher resolution, but smaller, display. The Aero 14-K8 with its GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU is a fairer comparison, albeit it also has a 45 W CPU. The Aero 15X v8 was one of last year’s best thin and light gaming laptops, so we thought it would be good to see how the PS63 stacks up against it.

Another potential thorn in the PS63’s crown is the Microsoft Surface Book 2. Like the PS63, the Surface Book 2 is powered by a 15 W ultra-low voltage (ULV) processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. However, it only has a 13.5-inch display, which could be too small for some people who are in the market for a 15-inch laptop. Microsoft also sells the Surface Book 2 15, that has not only a 15-inch screen as the name implies but also has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, which is considerably more powerful than a GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q. We will not be comparing the PS63 Modern 8RC against the Surface Book 2 15 though as the latter is over $1,000 more expensive.

Our final comparison devices are from Schenker. We will be considering the PS63 Modern against the Key 15 (Clevo P955ER) and the XMG Neo 15. Again, these are both gaming laptops, so it will be interesting to see how the PS63 stands up against laptops that are powered by 45 W processors with GeForce GTX 1060 and GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPUs.

We should point out that we already suspect that the PS63 will not be able to compete against some of our comparison devices, like the Aero 15X v8 and the two Schenker laptops, on CPU and GPU performance. The PS63 could win out in other crucial areas though, like the quality of its input devices, its port selection or how easy it is to repair and maintain among others.

MSI PS63 Modern 8RC (PS63 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q - 4096 MB, Core: 1189 MHz, Memory: 1253 MHz, GDDR5, 417.49, Optimus with UHD 620
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2 x DDR4-2400 SO-DIMM slots. Up to 32 GB, with 1 x 16 GB module preinstalled
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, Chi Mei CMN15E8 N156HCE/EN1, IPS, MSI True Color (~ 100% sRGB), glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G, 512 GB 
, M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe, Free Slot: 1 x M.2 PCIe / SATA Combo, 407 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-LP - cAVS
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: Combined headphone and microphone jack, Card Reader: microSD, 1 Fingerprint Reader, M.2 PCIe / SATA combo
Networking
Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15.9 x 357 x 234 ( = 0.63 x 14.06 x 9.21 in)
Battery
82 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 4 cells, firmly installed
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p at 30 FPS
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, MSI software package including Creator Center for system optimisation, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.661 kg ( = 58.59 oz / 3.66 pounds), Power Supply: 335 g ( = 11.82 oz / 0.74 pounds)
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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Case

MSI has knuckled down to create a sleek and stylish-looking 15-inch case. The plastic that has dominated many MSI devices in recent years is a thing of the past and has been largely replaced with aluminium.

The keyboard deck and display cover are made from aluminium, with MSI still using plastic for the bottom plate, which is screwed into the frame. We can twist our test unit slightly, but it does not bend or bow if we hold it by one corner. The base plate is rather thin too, but this does not seem to affect the structural stability of the device.

The screen opens to 140° and is kept firmly in place by its hinges. The display does not rock back and forth like some laptops that we have tested. In short, MSI has done a great job at applying appropriate tension to the hinges so that the display does not wobble about when you are typing.

By contrast, the display lid and frame are comparatively weak and have more play then we would have liked. We could not get the display to deform by pressing on the lid though, which is a positive.

The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC (15.9 mm thick) next to a Dell XPS 13 9380 (12 mm at its thickest point)
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC (15.9 mm thick) next to a Dell XPS 13 9380 (12 mm at its thickest point)
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC (15.9 mm thick) next to a Dell XPS 13 9380 (12 mm at its thickest point)
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC (15.9 mm thick) next to a Dell XPS 13 9380 (12 mm at its thickest point)
MSI’s take on an Infinity Edge display? The PS63 Modern 8RC next to the XPS 13 9380 as a comparison
MSI’s take on an Infinity Edge display? The PS63 Modern 8RC next to the XPS 13 9380 as a comparison
The PS63 Modern 8RC has a 9 mm thick top bezel and 7 mm side bezels compared to the 6- and 4-mm bezels on the XPS 13 9380
The PS63 Modern 8RC has a 9 mm thick top bezel and 7 mm side bezels compared to the 6- and 4-mm bezels on the XPS 13 9380
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC and its slim case
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC and its slim case
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC weighs only 1.66 kg
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC sports an understated look that is suitable for work
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC is comparatively easy to repair and maintain
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has decent input devices that provide good feedback
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has two fans that, thankfully, do not get irritatingly loud
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC and its ventilation grilles at the top of the keyboard

The PS63 weighs just 1.7 kg, which makes it lighter than most of our comparison devices. Our test unit weighs the same as the ThinkPad X1 Extreme and is lighter than all but the Surface Book 2 and the PS42 8RB Prestige. The PS63 is also a few hundred grams lighter than the XPS 15 9570 with a 97 Wh battery, the IdeaPad 720S-15IKB and the MacBook Pro 15 2018. The XPS 15 9570 and MacBook Pro 15 2018 have all-metal cases though, which makes them structurally sounder than our test device. The PS63 is also approximately 400 g lighter than the Aero 15X v8, which makes the former much easier to carry around.

The PS63 has a comparatively small footprint too compared to our comparison devices with 15-inch displays. The PS63 is practically the same size as the XPS 15 9570 and is marginally larger than the MacBook Pro 15 2018. The PS42 8RB Prestige and Surface Book 2 are considerably smaller than the PS63, but they both have smaller screens than the 15.6-inch display in the PS63. Our other comparison devices are much larger than the PS63, but this is primarily because of their thicker display bezels and the greater space needed for their more powerful graphics cards.

Size Comparison

361.8 mm / 14.2 inch 245.7 mm / 9.67 inch 18.4 mm / 0.724 inch 1.7 kg3.75 lbs358.8 mm / 14.1 inch 243.5 mm / 9.59 inch 17.95 mm / 0.707 inch 1.9 kg4.19 lbs356 mm / 14 inch 250 mm / 9.84 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 2.1 kg4.58 lbs357 mm / 14.1 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17 mm / 0.669 inch 1.9 kg4.26 lbs357 mm / 14.1 inch 234 mm / 9.21 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.7 kg3.66 lbs349.3 mm / 13.8 inch 240.7 mm / 9.48 inch 15.5 mm / 0.61 inch 1.8 kg4.03 lbs322 mm / 12.7 inch 222 mm / 8.74 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.2 kg2.62 lbs312 mm / 12.3 inch 232 mm / 9.13 inch 23 mm / 0.906 inch 1.6 kg3.6 lbs

Connectivity

MSI has equipped the PS63 with seven ports, of which two are USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A and one is USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A. There is also a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port that integrates DisplayPort-out, while one of the USB Type-A ports supports Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 and can charge a 2,750 mAh battery from 0% to 80% in just 35 minutes, according to Qualcomm.

We would have liked to have seen at least one Thunderbolt 3 port, which would have facilitated connecting an external GPU for improved graphics performance. Many comparable laptops like the XPS 15 9570 include one, so it feels like a missed opportunity here. There is also an HDMI port that can output at 4K in up to 30 Hz. We would recommend using a Type-C to DisplayPort adaptor instead though as the device can output video in 4K at 60 Hz via DisplayPort.

Right-hand side: power connector, HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, combined 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack
Right-hand side: power connector, HDMI, USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, combined 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack
Left-hand side: microSD card reader, 2x USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1
Left-hand side: microSD card reader, 2x USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1
Front: No connections
Front: No connections
Rear: No connections
Rear: No connections

MicroSD Card Reader

The PS63 achieved disappointing transfer speeds in our microSD card tests. We conducted our tests with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference SD card, which can theoretically achieve over 250 MB/s read and write speeds. Our test unit only averaged around 10% of the Exceria Pro’s potential, which suggests that MSI has equipped the PS63 with a USB 2.0 microSD card reader, which is much slower than the USB 3.0 readers in our comparison devices. By contrast, many of our comparison devices achieve between five and eight times the transfer speeds that the PS63 manages.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
191 MB/s ∼100% +709%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
190 MB/s ∼99% +705%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
166 MB/s ∼87% +603%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
159.2 MB/s ∼83% +575%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
 
123 MB/s ∼64% +421%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
77.1 MB/s ∼40% +227%
Average of class Multimedia
  (11.2 - 190, n=176)
57.8 MB/s ∼30% +145%
Schenker XMG Neo 15
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
25 MB/s ∼13% +6%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
23.6 MB/s ∼12%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
21.33 MB/s ∼11% -10%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
242 MB/s ∼100% +755%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
234.4 MB/s ∼97% +728%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
232 MB/s ∼96% +720%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
208 MB/s ∼86% +635%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
 
199.7 MB/s ∼83% +606%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
85 MB/s ∼35% +200%
Average of class Multimedia
  (10.2 - 253, n=173)
73.9 MB/s ∼31% +161%
Schenker XMG Neo 15
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
32 MB/s ∼13% +13%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
28.3 MB/s ∼12%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
25.34 MB/s ∼10% -10%

Tools

MSI preinstalls its Creator Center and Control Center programs on the PS63, the latter of which allows you to manage or download new drivers and programs. The Creator Center has numerous settings including integration with professional programs like Adobe CC and VEGAS Pro. The software also has options for customising the display’s DPI, and power modes among others. Creator Center can also offer an overview of your system and provides data that you could also view in Task Manager or third-party software like HWiNFO.

Creator Center: Components
Creator Center: Components
Creator Center: Power modes
Creator Center: Power modes
Creator Center: Professional program integration like Adobe Premiere and VEGAS Pro
Creator Center: Professional program integration like Adobe Premiere and VEGAS Pro
MSI Control Center: Program management
MSI Control Center: Program management
MSI Control Center: Driver centre
MSI Control Center: Driver centre

Communication

The MSI PS63 8RC’s Wi-Fi antenna running along the front of the device underneath the palm rest
The MSI PS63 8RC’s Wi-Fi antenna running along the front of the device underneath the palm rest

MSI has equipped our test unit with an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560 M.2 module, which also integrates Bluetooth 5.0. The latter technology should be more power-efficient and be capable of longer ranges than previous versions of Bluetooth.

The PS63 achieved impressive transfer speeds in iperf3 Client, averaging over 600 Mb/s in both tests that we conducted. These results put our test unit second behind the XMG Neo 15 in our comparison table and around 100 Mb/s ahead of the XPS 15 9570.

MSI has not equipped the PS63 with RJ45 LAN, but the port would have been too thick for the device’s thin case. You could use an Ethernet adaptor if you prefer or need a wired connection, but one must be bought separately as MSI does not include one in the box.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Schenker XMG Neo 15
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
694 MBit/s ∼100% +7%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
682 MBit/s ∼98% +5%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
648 (min: 578, max: 676) MBit/s ∼93%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
542 MBit/s ∼78% -16%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
515 MBit/s ∼74% -21%
Average of class Multimedia
  (44 - 949, n=138)
501 MBit/s ∼72% -23%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
336 MBit/s ∼48% -48%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Schenker XMG Neo 15
Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wireless Network Adapter
665 MBit/s ∼100% +5%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
634 (min: 613, max: 649) MBit/s ∼95%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
539 MBit/s ∼81% -15%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
498 MBit/s ∼75% -21%
Average of class Multimedia
  (46.1 - 949, n=137)
481 MBit/s ∼72% -24%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
379 MBit/s ∼57% -40%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168
311 MBit/s ∼47% -51%
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; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø648 (578-676)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø634 (613-649)

Webcam

The PS63 has a 720p webcam that delivers unimpressive image quality. Image noise dominates the pictures that we took with the webcam, while large areas of colour look washed-out, as with the sky in the photo that we included below.

Colours look natural though, albeit a bit too pale for our liking. The webcam struggles to capture scenes with bright and dark areas, with the resulting photo looking blown out, as demonstrated by the photo of our HDD. In short, the image quality is good enough for the occasional Skype call, but we would suggest investing in an external webcam if you need something that can record in higher resolution.

Photo taken at 1280x720 (HD)
Photo taken at 1280x720 (HD)
How the webcam handles bright spots in scenes
How the webcam handles bright spots in scenes
The webcam’s attempt at capturing complex structures like bushes
The webcam’s attempt at capturing complex structures like bushes
Large areas of homogenous colours look completely washed-out, like the sky in this picture
Large areas of homogenous colours look completely washed-out, like the sky in this picture

Accessories

MSI includes just a 90 W charger in the box and does not sell any PS63-specific accessories. You may be able to find compatible third-party cases though should you need one.

Maintenance

The PS63 is simple to repair and maintain thanks to its uncomplicated design. All internal components are accessible by removing the bottom plate, which is screwed in place by a few crosshead screws. We then pried the bottom plate away from the case with a flat plastic tool to prevent damaging the device.

We found it easy to pry open the bottom case with a flat plastic tool
We found it easy to pry open the bottom case with a flat plastic tool
A look at the MSI PS63 8RC’s internal components with the bottom case removed
A look at the MSI PS63 8RC’s internal components with the bottom case removed
MSI has developed dedicated cooling systems for the CPU and GPU
MSI has developed dedicated cooling systems for the CPU and GPU
A closer look at the GPU cooling system
A closer look at the GPU cooling system
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has two SO-DIMM slots, of which one is occupied on our test unit
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has two SO-DIMM slots, of which one is occupied on our test unit
A look at the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560 M.2 module
A look at the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560 M.2 module
A closer look at the CPU cooling system and the 16 GB RAM module
A closer look at the CPU cooling system and the 16 GB RAM module
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has a free M.2 slot. You could cheaply add additional storage with a SATA SSD
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has a free M.2 slot. You could cheaply add additional storage with a SATA SSD

Warranty

The PS63 comes with a two-year limited warranty. The warranty includes a free pick-up & return service. Please see our Guarantees, Return policies and Warranties article for country-specific information.

Input Devices

Keyboard

MSI laptops have not always had the best input devices. The company seems to have changed that now though because the keyboard on our test device is so good that we can recommend it even to those who are frequent typists. The keyboard deck is sturdy and does not bow while typing, which results in a satisfying stop when the keys are pressed. The keyboard is not too loud either, which is a bonus.

The keystroke should be good enough for most people too, but we would have preferred it to be a bit deeper. The keys have crisp pressure points though, which provides good acoustic and haptic feedback. Most people should not take too long to acclimatise to the keyboard either as its layout is typical for most 15-inch laptops without a dedicated number pad.

The keyboard has a few quirks though that are worth keeping in mind. MSI has decided to place the Function key to the right of the spacebar and three keys to the left of the spacebar, which pushes it further to the left than on the XPS 15 9570 or the MacBook Pro 15 2018. Moreover, MSI has distributed the brightness, keyboard backlight and volume shortcuts across the keyboard rather than assigning them to the function keys. This may throw some people initially, but we found their positioning useful in games because we could move with WASD using our left hand and control volume etc. with our right hand.

The keyboard keys have a precise stop and clear pressure points
The keyboard keys have a precise stop and clear pressure points
The keys are flat...
The keys are flat...
...and there is three-stage backlighting.
...and there is three-stage backlighting.

Trackpad

The PS63 has a 14 cm wide trackpad that is eye-catching not only because of its size but also because of its electric blue edging. The pointer speed is slower than most of our comparison devices upon delivery, but this could be adjusted in Control Panel or Settings to your preferences. The trackpad has a matte finish that is surprisingly slippery and a short stroke that we had to press hard to activate. Fortunately, the trackpad delivers soft acoustic feedback that sounds discreet. The integrated mouse buttons are disappointing though and do not offer an equivalent mechanical feel as the keyboard does.

The trackpad is 14 cm wide, which is around 40% wider than most trackpads.
The trackpad is 14 cm wide, which is around 40% wider than most trackpads.
MSI has also integrated a fingerprint reader into the top left corner of the trackpad.
MSI has also integrated a fingerprint reader into the top left corner of the trackpad.

Display

The PS63 has a 15.6-inch display that operates natively at 1920x1080. MSI has integrated an anti-reflective coating and houses the screen in a frame that has left and right-hand bezels that are around 6 mm thick. Our test device has a Chi Mei panel that carries the model number CMN15E8 N156HCE/EN1, which has a pixel density of 141 DPI. Please note that MSI may use multiple panel suppliers, so your PS63 could have a different display to the one in our test unit.

The PS63 achieved an average maximum brightness of 262 cd/m², according to X-Rite i1Pro 2, which is on par with the PS42 8RB Prestige but is considerably darker than our other comparison devices. Our test unit has a comparatively low black value though, which we measured at 0.26 cd/m² that helps the screen achieve a respectable 1,112:1 contrast ratio. The latter value puts the PS63 in the midfield of our comparison table, but it is around 24% less vibrant than the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, MacBook Pro 15 2018 and XPS 15 9570, while it is a whopping 65% short of the Surface Book 2. Disappointingly, our test device has only a 75% evenly lit display, which is considerably lower than most of our comparison devices; two areas of the screen are noticeably darker than the rest.

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array
Another look at the MSI PS63 Modern 8RC’s thin display frame compared to the one on the Dell XPS 13 9380
Another look at the MSI PS63 Modern 8RC’s thin display frame compared to the one on the Dell XPS 13 9380
Our test device suffers from considerable backlight bleeding
Our test device suffers from considerable backlight bleeding
267
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
293
cd/m²
234
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
270
cd/m²
219
cd/m²
259
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Chi Mei CMN15E8 N156HCE/EN1
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 293 cd/m² Average: 262.3 cd/m² Minimum: 15.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 75 %
Center on Battery: 289 cd/m²
Contrast: 1112:1 (Black: 0.26 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.9 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 2.88
ΔE Greyscale 1.42 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
87% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 57% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.39
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Chi Mei CMN15E8 N156HCE/EN1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
CMN N140HCE-EN2, , 1920x1080, 14
Schenker XMG Neo 15
LGD05C0, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
LGD05C0, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
LGD05C0, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Panasonic MEI96A2 , , 3000x2000, 13.5
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Sharp SHP149A LQ156M1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
NV156FHM-N61, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
APPA040, , 2880x1800, 15.4
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
Chi Mei CMN15E8 / N156HCE-EN1 CMN, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Response Times
13%
66%
63%
65%
-10%
-36%
-18%
122%
14%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42 (23, 19)
34.4 (18, 16.4)
18%
16 (8.4, 7.6)
62%
16.8 (8.4, 8.4)
60%
15.2 (7.6, 7.6)
64%
52.8 (25.2, 27.6)
-26%
49 (25, 40)
-17%
52.8 (27.6, 25.2)
-26%
43.2 (20.4, 22.8)
-3%
34 (15, 19)
19%
Response Time Black / White *
32 (20, 12)
24.8 (14.8, 10)
22%
9.6 (5.2, 4.4)
70%
11.2 (6, 5.2)
65%
11.2 (6, 5.2)
65%
30 (16.4, 13.6)
6%
30 (16, 14)
6%
36 (19.6, 16.4)
-13%
31.2 (16.4, 14.8)
2%
25 (14, 11)
22%
PWM Frequency
25000 (20)
25000 (22)
0%
961 (10)
-96%
21370 (99)
-15%
117000 (75, 150)
368%
25000 (40)
0%
Screen
16%
3%
17%
-2%
26%
10%
-40%
35%
-14%
Brightness middle
289
285.4
-1%
325
12%
313
8%
309
7%
385
33%
413
43%
331
15%
520
80%
332
15%
Brightness
262
269
3%
303
16%
300
15%
291
11%
372
42%
378
44%
305
16%
492
88%
301
15%
Brightness Distribution
75
86
15%
90
20%
78
4%
91
21%
89
19%
86
15%
84
12%
88
17%
83
11%
Black Level *
0.26
0.31
-19%
0.33
-27%
0.33
-27%
0.31
-19%
0.21
19%
0.29
-12%
0.24
8%
0.39
-50%
0.29
-12%
Contrast
1112
921
-17%
985
-11%
948
-15%
997
-10%
1833
65%
1424
28%
1379
24%
1333
20%
1145
3%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.9
1
66%
2.69
7%
1.29
56%
2.96
-2%
1.6
45%
2.44
16%
5.6
-93%
1.2
59%
3.73
-29%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.71
3.65
36%
4.91
14%
2.04
64%
5.14
10%
4.5
21%
4.46
22%
9.9
-73%
2.3
60%
6.6
-16%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.88
0.98
66%
1.27
56%
1.41
51%
2.48
14%
3
-4%
2
31%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.42
1.4
1%
2.34
-65%
0.69
51%
2.88
-103%
1.5
-6%
2.48
-75%
6.3
-344%
1.3
8%
3.96
-179%
Gamma
2.39 92%
2.25 98%
2.38 92%
2.43 91%
2.33 94%
2.22 99%
2.43 91%
2.33 94%
2.18 101%
2.4 92%
CCT
6705 97%
6699 97%
6872 95%
6550 99%
6725 97%
6502 100%
7006 93%
7152 91%
6738 96%
6921 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
57
63.82
12%
60
5%
60
5%
60
5%
64
12%
62
9%
58
2%
58
2%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
87
98.91
14%
94
8%
94
8%
93
7%
95.9
10%
96
10%
88.6
2%
89
2%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
15% / 15%
35% / 13%
40% / 25%
32% / 8%
8% / 20%
-13% / 1%
-29% / -35%
79% / 59%
0% / -8%

* ... smaller is better

57% AdobeRGB colour-space coverage
57% AdobeRGB colour-space coverage
88% sRGB colour-space coverage
88% sRGB colour-space coverage
MSI True Color Tool: Designer mode
MSI True Color Tool: Designer mode

MSI markets the PS63 as having a True Color display, which should have almost 100% sRGB colour space coverage. Unfortunately, CalMAN reports that our test device achieves only 88% sRGB coverage, despite repeated attempts to better calibrate the display. By contrast, all but the ThinkPad X1 Extreme and the IdeaPad 720s-15IKB of our comparison devices achieved above 93% sRGB coverage.

The display is otherwise colour accurate though and had almost ideal DeltaE values upon delivery. Many of our comparison devices achieved lower DeltaE divergences, but any value below 3 is imperceptible to the human eye, so the PS63 is colour accurate enough in that respect. We managed to reduce DeltaE deviations by calibrating the display, which caused DeltaE Grayscale to drop from 1.42 to 0.9, although DeltaE ColorChecker remained at 2.88. We have included our calibrated ICC profile in the box above our comparison table should you wish to use it. Please only apply this to your PS63 if it has the same Chi Mei display as our test unit does. Otherwise, the profile may worsen colour accuracy rather than improving it.

MSI preinstalls its True Color tool too, which allows you to fine-tune colour reproduction to your preferences. The company also includes presets for designers, cinema, gamers, office, and web image-processing (sRGB) should you rather not spend time tinkering with the various sliders and settings.

The colour modes made no difference to the results of our colour accuracy tests though as CalMAN measures the screen at native settings and disables any third-party software colour tweaks. In short, your experience using the MSI True Color may differ to what our results suggest.

CalMAN: Grayscale - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - uncalibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - uncalibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated

The PS63 is easy to use outdoors thanks to the display’s anti-reflective coating. The screen diffuses reflections in most conditions, but it will struggle in direct sunlight on a bright day. Our test unit maintains peak luminosity when running on battery power too, which is a bonus, even if it is comparatively low.

Using the MSI PS64 Modern 8RC outside on a cloudy day
Using the MSI PS64 Modern 8RC outside on a cloudy day
Using the MSI PS64 Modern 8RC outside on a cloudy day
Using the MSI PS64 Modern 8RC outside on a cloudy day

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
32 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 82 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23 ms rise
↘ 19 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. » 55 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.7 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 25000 Hz ≤ 20 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 25000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 20 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 25000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9370 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The PS63 has wide viewing angles that remained stable throughout our tests. We did not notice any brightness, colour, or image distortions even at acute viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel.

Viewing angles - Chi Mei CMN15E8 display
Viewing angles - Chi Mei CMN15E8 display

Performance

The Intel Core i7-8565U processor powers our test unit
The Intel Core i7-8565U processor powers our test unit

MSI has equipped our test unit with an Intel Core i7-8565U processor that is from the company’s Whiskey Lake U series. The CPU has a 1.8 GHz base clock that can utilise Intel Turbo Boost to achieve up to 4.60 GHz when required. We have also seen the Core i7-8565U in smaller laptops like the ASUS ZenBook UX433, so the PS63’s larger case should provide the CPU with better cooling.

The processor is designed for creatives and demanding users who do not need the power that a 45 W CPU like the Core i7-8750H provides. Many of our comparison devices are equipped with a Core i7-8750H but have more-powerful Core i9-8950HK configurations too. 

MSI pairs the Core i7-8565U with a single stick of 16 GB DDR4 RAM, which means that the system operates in single-channel mode. Hence, the company provides an easy upgrade path to more RAM should you need it. Our test unit also comes with a 512 GB Western Digital SSD and has a spare M.2 drive bay too. By contrast, many of our comparison devices like the XPS 15 9570 and the MacBook Pro 15 2018 do not have two M.2 drive bays, although the former has a 2.5-inch drive bay depending on the configuration.

The manufacturer sells the PS63 without an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q GPU too, which it markets as the MSI PS63 Modern 8M. The device is otherwise identical to the Modern 8RC, except it comes with a 65 W charger rather than the 90 W adaptor that came with our test unit.

CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Cache
CPU-Z Cache
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z SPD
CPU-Z SPD
CPU-Z GPU
CPU-Z GPU
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
CPU-Z Limits
CPU-Z Limits
HWinfo Summary
HWinfo Summary
Latency Checker
Latency Checker

Processor

The CPU in our test device performs slightly below the average of Core i7-8565U-powered device that we currently tested, but only in multithreaded synthetic benchmarks. In short, the Core i7-8565U is not a workstation CPU and is efficient enough to function well in slim cases, in which more-powerful CPUs would struggle and potentially thermal throttle. Laptops like the Aero 15X v8 may only be 2 mm thicker than the PS63, but they also have larger overall footprints, so they have more surface area within which to dissipate heat.

The Core i7-8565U performs on par with the Core i5-8300H in single-core benchmarks like Cinebench R15 Single 64-bit, but it finished well short of our comparison devices in multithreaded benchmarks, especially those equipped with Core i7-8750H processors. The Core i7-8565U also scored 15% less than the Core i7-8650U in CB R15 Multi 64-bit, which is underwhelming.

We subjected our test unit to a looped CB R15 Multi 64-bit benchmark to determine how it managed its CPU performance under sustained load. The PS63 initially scored 572 points, but the score dropped to 528 points by the second benchmark run through, a level that it maintained for the rest of the loop. This represents a performance drop of 8% and corresponds to the length of time for which the system can maintain the CPU’s Turbo Boost. By contrast, the Surface Book 2 started the benchmark loop by scoring almost 676 points but throttled down to 503 points by the fourth pass through. Its benchmark scores then fluctuated between around 500 and 540, the average of which puts it on par with the PS63.

Please see our CPU benchmarks page for more information on the Core i7-8565U and how it compares against other processors.

A look at CPU clock speeds, core temperatures and CPU wattage during a loop of a Cinebench R15 multithreaded benchmark
A look at CPU clock speeds, core temperatures and CPU wattage during a loop of a Cinebench R15 multithreaded benchmark
A look at CPU clock speeds, core temperatures, CPU wattage and GPU clock speeds while playing Battlefield V
A look at CPU clock speeds, core temperatures, CPU wattage and GPU clock speeds while playing Battlefield V
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630640650660670680690700710720730740750760770780790800810820830840850860870880890900910920930940950960970980990100010101020103010401050106010701080109011001110112011301140Tooltip
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø529 (524.25-571.63)
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US Intel Core i7-8750H, Intel Core i7-8750H: Ø991 (974.33-1083.86)
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator Intel Core i7-8750H, Intel Core i7-8750H: Ø993 (983.33-1046.24)
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 Intel Core i7-8750H, Intel Core i7-8750H: Ø1110 (1041.91-1133.72)
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake Intel Core i7-8750H, Intel Core i7-8750H: Ø992 (983.91-1103.24)
Microsoft Surface Book 2 Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel Core i7-8650U: Ø526 (489.6-675.96)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh Intel Core i5-8300H, Intel Core i5-8300H: Ø812 (765.87-840.02)
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE Intel Core i5-8300H, Intel Core i5-8300H: Ø816 (811-848)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Intel Core i7-8650U
177 Points ∼100% +2%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼99% +1%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼99% +1%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼99% +1%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼99% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
Intel Core i5-8300H
174 Points ∼98% +1%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U
173 Points ∼98%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U
  (73.1 - 193, n=48)
171 Points ∼97% -1%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
167 Points ∼94% -3%
Average of class Multimedia
  (36 - 201, n=366)
128 Points ∼72% -26%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Intel Core i7-8750H
1133 Points ∼100% +98%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Intel Core i7-8750H
1103 Points ∼97% +93%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
Intel Core i7-8750H
1100 Points ∼97% +92%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
Intel Core i7-8750H
1011 Points ∼89% +77%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
Intel Core i5-8300H
850 Points ∼75% +49%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
840 Points ∼74% +47%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Intel Core i7-8650U
673 Points ∼59% +18%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U
  (361 - 815, n=49)
585 Points ∼52% +2%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U
572 Points ∼50%
Average of class Multimedia
  (73 - 1550, n=382)
486 Points ∼43% -15%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
173 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
572 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
64.5 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

PCMark 10
PCMark 10

The PS63 also occupies the bottom of our PCMark comparison tables and is around 5% short of the average of Core i7-8565U and GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q-powered devices that we have currently tested. 

The PS63 is no lame duck, but it cannot compete with the faster CPUs, GPUs and SSDs in our comparison devices. The laptop trades blows with the Surface Book 2 in PCMark, demonstrating that it can keep pace with laptops that are also equipped with 15 W CPUs.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
6911 Points ∼100% +77%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
6314 Points ∼91% +62%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
5793 Points ∼84% +48%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
5452 Points ∼79% +40%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4672 Points ∼68% +20%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H, Apple SSD AP0512
4473 Points ∼65% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8300H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4415 Points ∼64% +13%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4342 (min: 4211, max: 4356) Points ∼63% +11%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (3905 - 4204, n=2)
4055 Points ∼59% +4%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3905 Points ∼57%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1001 - 7161, n=97)
3727 Points ∼54% -5%
Productivity
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H, Apple SSD AP0512
7569 Points ∼100% +24%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
7150 Points ∼94% +17%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
7065 Points ∼93% +15%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
7032 Points ∼93% +15%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
6938 Points ∼92% +13%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8300H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
6775 Points ∼90% +11%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
6592 Points ∼87% +8%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (6120 - 6879, n=2)
6500 Points ∼86% +6%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1407 - 8020, n=98)
6167 Points ∼81% +1%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
6120 Points ∼81%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
5819 (min: 5653, max: 5995) Points ∼77% -5%
Essentials
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H, Apple SSD AP0512
8894 Points ∼100% +21%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8300H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
8090 Points ∼91% +10%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
7922 Points ∼89% +7%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
7913 Points ∼89% +7%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
7853 Points ∼88% +6%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (7378 - 8233, n=2)
7806 Points ∼88% +6%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
7785 Points ∼88% +6%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7659 (min: 7643, max: 7746) Points ∼86% +4%
Average of class Multimedia
  (2891 - 9829, n=98)
7508 Points ∼84% +2%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
7378 Points ∼83%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
7200 Points ∼81% -2%
Score
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
5213 Points ∼100% +30%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
5059 Points ∼97% +26%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
4910 Points ∼94% +22%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H, Apple SSD AP0512
4805 Points ∼92% +20%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4646 Points ∼89% +16%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4479 Points ∼86% +11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8300H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4467 Points ∼86% +11%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (4020 - 4443, n=2)
4232 Points ∼81% +5%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4119 (min: 4106, max: 4190) Points ∼79% +2%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4020 Points ∼77%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1144 - 5469, n=98)
3953 Points ∼76% -2%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
5731 Points ∼100% +17%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
5687 Points ∼99% +16%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
5676 Points ∼99% +16%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
5651 Points ∼99% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8300H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
5357 Points ∼93% +9%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
5271 Points ∼92% +7%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (4905 - 5381, n=2)
5143 Points ∼90% +5%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4905 Points ∼86%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H, Apple SSD AP0512
4575 Points ∼80% -7%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4522 (min: 4500, max: 4528) Points ∼79% -8%
Average of class Multimedia
  (2213 - 5651, n=280)
4300 Points ∼75% -12%
Home Score Accelerated v2
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4676 Points ∼100% +23%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
4510 Points ∼96% +19%
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4504 Points ∼96% +18%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
4446 Points ∼95% +17%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8300H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
4150 Points ∼89% +9%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4030 Points ∼86% +6%
Average Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (3801 - 4052, n=2)
3927 Points ∼84% +3%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3801 Points ∼81%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Radeon Pro 560X, 8850H, Apple SSD AP0512
3735 Points ∼80% -2%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8650U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3694 (min: 3691, max: 3696) Points ∼79% -3%
Average of class Multimedia
  (1371 - 4693, n=301)
3383 Points ∼72% -11%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3801 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4844 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4905 points
Help

Storage Devices

MSI has equipped our test unit with a fast Western Digital SSD that carries the model number WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G. The drive operates at PCIe NVMe speeds and fares well against the drives in our comparison devices. The WDC PC SN520 consistently achieves slower transfer speeds than the Samsung 970 EVO and PM981 in CrystalDiskMark 5.2/6 and AS SSD. However, it has solid 4K read speeds, which indicate that the system can read small blocks of data quickly that is useful for opening programs. The WDC PC SN520 has considerably slower sequential read Q32T1 speeds than the drives in our comparison devices, but this is not overly concerning.

The Western Digital WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G M.2 2280 SSD in our test device.
The Western Digital WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G M.2 2280 SSD in our test device.
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
Samsung SSD 970 EVO 500GB
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Apple SSD AP0512
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Average WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
7%
29%
4%
4%
20%
3%
46%
14%
Write 4K
121.3
94.43
-22%
113.5
-6%
140.57
16%
89.39
-26%
109.4
-10%
43.59
-64%

35.92
-70%

139.3
15%
135 (98.2 - 191, n=19)
11%
Read 4K
44.07
37.65
-15%
43.49
-1%
43.62
-1%
44.64
1%
41.5
-6%
12.68
-71%

11.67
-74%

46.78
6%
43.3 (27.6 - 53.1, n=19)
-2%
Write Seq
1176
1335
14%
1466
25%
343.33
-71%
829.9
-29%
1460
24%
1605.16
36%

1522
29%

2125
81%
1258 (750 - 1768, n=18)
7%
Read Seq
1139
1404
23%
1200
5%
1451.81
27%
1774
56%
1561
37%
1595.08
40%

1528
34%

2354
107%
1225 (423 - 1710, n=18)
8%
Write 4K Q32T1
257.8
268.6
4%
295.4
15%
344.37
34%
310.6
20%
278.4
8%
232.67
-10%

204.5
-21%

298.4
16%
410 (258 - 749, n=19)
59%
Read 4K Q32T1
325.9
332.8
2%
376.8
16%
457.23
40%
266.4
-18%
354.9
9%
404
24%

393.32
21%

355.8
9%
422 (229 - 654, n=19)
29%
Write Seq Q32T1
1455
1375
-5%
2498
72%
344.3
-76%
830.6
-43%
1461
0%
1770
22%

1755.8
21%

2128
46%
1505 (1319 - 2544, n=19)
3%
Read Seq Q32T1
1741
2627
51%
3549
104%
2885.4
66%
2962
70%
3452
98%
2993
72%

2805.4
61%

3324
91%
1749 (473 - 3433, n=19)
0%
Write 4K Q8T8
1415.2
805 (437 - 1211, n=3)
Read 4K Q8T8
571.9
1061 (988 - 1104, n=3)
AS SSD
-32%
38%
-385%
4%
-56%
29%
26%
Copy Game MB/s
465.85
959.97
822 (528 - 1218, n=10)
Copy Program MB/s
117.21
466.75
427 (236 - 889, n=10)
Copy ISO MB/s
632.4
1636.61
1148 (765 - 1404, n=10)
Score Total
3249
2536
-22%
4701
45%
750
-77%
3111
-4%
2119
-35%
4771
47%
3202 (2279 - 4334, n=19)
-1%
Score Write
1398
939
-33%
2200
57%
58
-96%
1528
9%
347
-75%
1581
13%
1416 (976 - 1879, n=19)
1%
Score Read
1224
1092
-11%
1661
36%
492
-60%
1078
-12%
1199
-2%
2125
74%
1182 (721 - 1638, n=19)
-3%
Access Time Write *
0.024
0.046
-92%
0.029
-21%
0.889
-3604%
0.031
-29%
0.039
-63%
0.0332 (0.021 - 0.091, n=19)
-38%
Access Time Read *
0.058
0.119
-105%
0.045
22%
0.086
-48%
0.062
-7%
0.225
-288%
0.042
28%
0.0801 (0.046 - 0.129, n=17)
-38%
4K-64 Write
1111.39
742.09
-33%
1835.88
65%
19.19
-98%
1270.3
14%
163.46
-85%
1281.75
15%
1161 (720 - 1459, n=19)
4%
4K-64 Read
1043.53
847.34
-19%
1338.91
28%
301.79
-71%
763.9
-27%
965.14
-8%
1823.43
75%
1002 (647 - 1296, n=19)
-4%
4K Write
162.17
80.44
-50%
131.9
-19%
5.12
-97%
119.36
-26%
18.78
-88%
99.81
-38%
750 (82.1 - 11894, n=19)
362%
4K Read
43.34
23.36
-46%
53.59
24%
32.5
-25%
53.02
22%
9.46
-78%
54.26
25%
41.4 (25.3 - 48.3, n=19)
-4%
Seq Write
1243.73
1163.11
-6%
2325.46
87%
340.31
-73%
1385.88
11%
1643.8
32%
1990.72
60%
1252 (412 - 2407, n=19)
1%
Seq Read
1371.56
2212.97
61%
2685.36
96%
1573.62
15%
2612.02
90%
2239.35
63%
2468.59
80%
1384 (399 - 2934, n=19)
1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-13% / -16%
34% / 34%
4% / 4%
-191% / -221%
12% / 11%
-27% / -20%
38% / 36%
20% / 21%

* ... smaller is better

WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Sequential Read: 1139 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1172 MB/s
512K Read: 617.6 MB/s
512K Write: 775.1 MB/s
4K Read: 39.94 MB/s
4K Write: 126.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 333.2 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 257.6 MB/s

Graphics Card

The GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q is a midrange GPU that we have seen OEMs using in many multimedia laptops like the XPS 15 9570. The Max-Q is a more power-efficient and less-powerful version of the GeForce GTX 1050 and the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Hence, the GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q is ideal for thin and light laptops that cannot accommodate large cooling solutions that are needed to prevent more-powerful GPUs from overheating.

The GPU in our test device performs on par with other GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q-powered devices that we have tested in 3DMark. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme scores around 23% more in 3DMark than the PS63 thanks to its more-powerful GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. The XPS 15 9570 finishes slightly ahead with the same GPU thanks too because of its higher-wattage CPU.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
19162 Points ∼100% +159%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
18234 Points ∼95% +147%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
17680 Points ∼92% +139%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
14879 Points ∼78% +101%
Schenker XMG Neo 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
14367 Points ∼75% +95%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i5-8300H
8752 Points ∼46% +19%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8317 Points ∼43% +13%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
7790 Points ∼41% +5%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
7590 Points ∼40% +3%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8650U
7483 (min: 7472, max: 7485) Points ∼39% +1%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
7385 Points ∼39%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (6874 - 7385, n=3)
7092 Points ∼37% -4%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
4686 Points ∼24% -37%
Average of class Multimedia
  (352 - 20837, n=634)
2963 Points ∼15% -60%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
4734 Points ∼100%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8650U
1682 Points ∼36%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
1614 Points ∼34%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
 
1596 Points ∼34%
Average of class Multimedia
  (142 - 4734, n=60)
1564 Points ∼33%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
15156 Points ∼100% +162%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
14463 Points ∼95% +150%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
14146 Points ∼93% +144%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
11814 Points ∼78% +104%
Schenker XMG Neo 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
11558 Points ∼76% +100%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i5-8300H
7289 Points ∼48% +26%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
6957 Points ∼46% +20%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
6216 Points ∼41% +7%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
5792 Points ∼38%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8650U
5787 Points ∼38% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
5699 Points ∼38% -2%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (5622 - 5792, n=3)
5697 Points ∼38% -2%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3712 Points ∼24% -36%
Average of class Multimedia
  (337 - 16100, n=408)
2855 Points ∼19% -51%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
104942 Points ∼100% +186%
Schenker Key 15 Coffee Lake
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
94589 Points ∼90% +158%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
83747 Points ∼80% +129%
Schenker XMG Neo 15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8750H
81178 Points ∼77% +122%
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
73739 Points ∼70% +101%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i5-8300H
48258 Points ∼46% +32%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-7700HQ
46952 Points ∼45% +28%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
39896 Points ∼38% +9%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
36630 Points ∼35%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (34926 - 36630, n=3)
35805 Points ∼34% -2%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
AMD Radeon Pro 560X, Intel Core i7-8850H
32449 Points ∼31% -11%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-8650U
29376 Points ∼28% -20%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
21586 Points ∼21% -41%
Average of class Multimedia
  (2468 - 77755, n=413)
16879 Points ∼16% -54%
3DMark 11 Performance
7299 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
18526 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
5292 points
Help

Gaming Performance

We subjected our test unit to a Battlefield V run through and recorded any changes in both clock speeds and core temperatures. The CPU averaged 2.9 GHz throughout our gaming tests, which is well above its 1.8 GHz core clock speed. Likewise, the GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q operated between 1.05 GHz and 1.45 GHz and averaged around 1.18 GHz, which is several MHz above its base clock.

The Core i7-8565U rarely reached 90 °C during our gaming tests, but it averaged 83 °C, which is within safe limits.

In short, the GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q is powerful enough to handle triple-A games but not always at high or even medium graphics settings. The GPU provided a smooth gaming experience with modern titles at 1080p when set to medium or low graphics. 4K gaming is out of the question though, as the GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q reaches its limits in games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Darksiders III even at 1080p.

Thief - 1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
38.8 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (38 - 38.8, n=2)
38.4 fps ∼99% -1%
Average of class Multimedia
  (3.2 - 99, n=86)
18.6 fps ∼48% -52%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
85.7 (min: 75, max: 102) fps ∼100% +148%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
73 fps ∼85% +111%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop)
40.6 fps ∼47% +17%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-15IKB 81AC001AGE
Intel Core i7-7700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
38.8 fps ∼45% +12%
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Intel Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop)
37.8 fps ∼44% +9%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
  (33.9 - 36, n=3)
34.8 fps ∼41% +1%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
34.6 fps ∼40%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H, AMD Radeon Pro 560X
30.5 (min: 28, max: 33) fps ∼36% -12%
Average of class Multimedia
  (2.5 - 87.3, n=100)
26.2 fps ∼31% -24%
MSI Prestige PS42 8RB-059
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150
22.1 fps ∼26% -36%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Medium Preset
MSI P65 8RF-451 - Creator
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
65 fps ∼100% +97%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
33 fps ∼51%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
 
33 fps ∼51% 0%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H, AMD Radeon Pro 560X
31 (min: 24, max: 52) fps ∼48% -6%
Average of class Multimedia
  (6 - 65, n=21)
28.2 fps ∼43% -15%
Battlefield V - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
36.5 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
 
36.5 fps ∼100% 0%
Average of class Multimedia
  (11.3 - 59.6, n=10)
34.2 fps ∼94% -6%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H, AMD Radeon Pro 560X
32.5 (min: 24, max: 43) fps ∼89% -11%
Darksiders III - 1920x1080 High
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
37.2 fps ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q
 
37.2 fps ∼100% 0%
Average of class Multimedia
  (12.2 - 73.7, n=10)
36.7 fps ∼99% -1%
Apple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)
Intel Core i7-8850H, AMD Radeon Pro 560X
29.8 (min: 24, max: 34) fps ∼80% -20%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 147.762.1fps
Thief (2014) 56.557.238.8fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 41.434.628.7fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) 57332622fps
FIFA 19 (2018) 96.5100.8fps
Battlefield V (2018) 46.139.736.5fps
Darksiders III (2018) 33.637.231.5fps

Emissions

Fan Noise

Amazingly, the fans can run quietly even when gaming
Amazingly, the fans can run quietly even when gaming

The PS63 is an impressively quiet laptop. MSI has equipped the CPU and GPU with dedicated cooling solutions that have their own heatpipes and fan, but out test unit reaches 30.7 dB(A) at idle, which is almost whisper quiet. We doubt that you could hear the PS63 if you were using it in an office with background noise from people talking or traffic. The two fans also reach just 34 dB(A) under sustained load, which is much quieter than some of our comparison devices.

Noise Level

Idle
30.7 / 30.7 / 30.7 dB(A)
Load
34 / 33.7 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.4 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2033.731.431.335.433.72533.632.731.131.233.63132.132.831.933.232.14030.73129.330.630.75030.72930.227.830.76330.327.827.828.130.38026.927.326.426.826.910026.326.426.224.826.312525.225.926.725.925.216023.823.924.123.923.820028.328.42322.828.325024.625.122.521.924.631521.721.621.621.121.740021.522.121.320.321.550021.82120.119.421.8630212118.918.62180021.921.81918.121.9100022.322.418.117.722.3125022.322.617.817.822.316002323.617.817.523200023.223.317.817.523.2250023.623.317.617.523.6315020.620.617.917.920.6400019.519.518.117.819.5500019.21918.318.319.2630020.41918.518.520.4800022.21918.718.622.21000020.618.818.818.620.61250023.519.118.718.623.51600026.120.11918.926.1SPL34.133.730.730.434.1N1.81.81.31.31.8median 22.3median 21.8median 18.8median 18.6median 22.3Delta1.51.91.91.91.532.731.83534.728.633.524.622.723.527.125.625.325.525.427.328.624.727.227.827.427.728.325.826.941.441.341.441.839.641.724.724.828.636.223.728.123.922.422.727.320.823.324.722.823.42923.424.822.520.621.124.919.621.622.820.720.72120.321.123.121.120.72320.721.723.421.220.823.620.422.922.52120.822.420.221.824.220.320.422.71922.326.120.420.12419.324.225.420.519.822.919.223.523.919.819.622.418.322.425.619.819.223.917.922.926.121.119.125.117.524.526.920.61925.71725.530.220.919.726.916.32628.321.620.825.11624.827.119.517.625.915.425.731.518.316.526.615.32628.317.316.423.615.123.226.917.116.123.415.122.724.216.516.3211520.221.116.21618.814.818.418.11615.817.414.616.115.616.115.916.714.414.939.531.830.836.728.936.23.21.61.42.51.22.4median 24.7median 20.4median 19.6median 23.6median 17.5median 22.91.91.11.822.31.840.442.13838.63943.145.744.631.829.831.230.230.732.129.530.33128.630.131.628.73030.43029.228.931.33029.630.630.128.128.830.228.730.929.930.828.328.628.428282828.828.226.828.626.627.328.425.927.227.926.227.125.926.226.725.226.926.625.726.125.42525.825.12625.123.62723.823.425.223.925.124.12324.723.32324.42428.722.722.824.224.223.225.724.328.921.421.424.525.723.728.725.529.821.320.126.125.722.629.727.63220.420.225.424.52230.226.332.720.419.625.623.421.129.624.932.719.118.624.325.422.529.926.633.418.918.125.724.322.229.325.231.718.217.824.427.423.53229.435.31817.327.328.925.135.430.837.517.617.328.829.725.435.730.938.817.517.129.528.122.935.431.239.117.216.928.721.118.329.723.134.716.816.921.120.417.827.621.633.617.316.920.219.517.326.821.232.816.91719.517.817.323.318.42917.11717.617.517.319.317.524.317.217.217.217.517.318.417.22217.217.117.317.217.217.517.119.117.117.117.117.217.317.317.217.917.217.217.237.433.943.539.24730.129.737.52.51.942.85.41.41.32.5median 24.2median 22.5median 27.6median 24.9median 31.7median 18median 17.3median 24.52.72.72.72.63.61.81.93.1hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseMSI PS63 Modern 8RCLenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme-20MF000RGEApple MacBook Pro 15 2018 (2.6 GHz, 560X)

Temperature

Our surface temperature tests reveal how MSI keeps the PS63 so quiet. The company has favoured low fan noise over high case temperatures, with the surfaces around the CPU and GPU reaching up to 60 °C under sustained load. The palm rest remains comparatively cool, but we would not recommend having the PS63 on your lap if you are pushing it hard. Conversely, our test device averages 25.6 °C at idle, which should feel cool to the touch.

A look at the CPU clock speeds, core temperatures, CPU wattage and GPU clock speeds during a stress test. We ran Prime95 for three minutes, then ran FurMark and Prime95 thereafter
A look at the CPU clock speeds, core temperatures, CPU wattage and GPU clock speeds during a stress test. We ran Prime95 for three minutes, then ran FurMark and Prime95 thereafter

We also performed a stress test to determine the effectiveness of the PS63’s cooling solutions under continuous load. We conduct our stress tests by running FurMark and Prime95, but we only start FurMark after the first three minutes, as demonstrated by the screenshots above.

The CPU initially operated at around 4 GHz but then the clock speed dropped first to 3 GHz and then to 2.2 GHz, which is only 400 MHz above its base clock speed. We only had Prime95 active at this point, but the CPU already reached 75 °C, at which point it throttled to cool itself to 73 °C, a core temperature that it maintained until we started FurMark.

The CPU then shot back up to 87 °C, which caused it to further throttle to between 1.9 GHz and 2 GHz. By contrast, the GPU manages to maintain its turbo speeds of between 1.35 GHz and 1.45 GHz.

In short, the PS63 deserves its Quiet Mark certification, but it comes at the cost of thermal throttling, about which we are disappointed. The CPU does not thermal throttle below its base clock like some laptops do, but we suspect that the PS63 could have better maintained its CPU performance if MSI allowed its fans to get louder, although probably at a cost to its Quiet Mark certification.

Max. Load
 49.2 °C
121 F
58.6 °C
137 F
57.3 °C
135 F
 
 39.7 °C
103 F
49 °C
120 F
44 °C
111 F
 
 31 °C
88 F
29.4 °C
85 F
33 °C
91 F
 
Maximum: 58.6 °C = 137 F
Average: 43.4 °C = 110 F
60 °C
140 F
58.8 °C
138 F
45.5 °C
114 F
37.7 °C
100 F
41.5 °C
107 F
36.1 °C
97 F
31.1 °C
88 F
32.3 °C
90 F
31.3 °C
88 F
Maximum: 60 °C = 140 F
Average: 41.6 °C = 107 F
Power Supply (max.)  56.2 °C = 133 F | Room Temperature 22.4 °C = 72 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 43.4 °C / 110 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 58.6 °C / 137 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 60 °C / 140 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.3 °C / 76 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (33 °C / 91.4 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-3.9 °C / -7 F).
Heat map of the top of the device at idle
Heat map of the top of the device at idle
Heat map of the bottom of the device at idle
Heat map of the bottom of the device at idle
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the top of the device under load

Speakers

The PS63 has downward-firing stereo speakers that are located underneath the palm rest. Their positioning means that audio deflects off surfaces to reach your ears rather than directly at you. The downside of this is that the audio sounds muffled when the PS63 is placed on soft surfaces like a bed. This is a problem with all laptops that have downward-firing speakers though.

The small drivers overrepresent mid tones but cannot reproduce bass. The included Nahimic audio tool cannot correct this, but a lack of bass is a problem for most laptops. High-pitched tones sound more balanced by comparison, which is why voices are clearly reproduced while listening to music, for example. The speakers get loud enough to fill a medium-sized room too, but they are especially loud by laptop standards.

We liked the Nahimic audio tool, which allows audio to be adjusted easily. Any changes made are audible too, which is encouraging.

The dual-array microphones reproduce audio cleanly too. Our test unit can capture our voice clearly regardless of whether we sat several feet away or right next to the device. The audio is free of background noise too, which should help during video calls.

However, audio recordings sound tinny to our ears, but thankfully you can use Nahimic to make adjustments. The program has microphone settings specifically for chat and video conferences that can compensate for volume fluctuations and filter out other sounds.

The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has downward-firing stereo speakers that are located beneath the palm rest.
The MSI PS63 Modern 8RC has downward-firing stereo speakers that are located beneath the palm rest.
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.935.431.92531.131.231.13131.433.231.44030.630.630.65031.727.831.76328.628.128.68027.826.827.810026.424.826.412528.725.928.716029.523.929.52002922.82925041.521.941.531548.5