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MSI PS63 vs. Dell XPS 15: MSI still has some ways to go

MSI PS63 vs. Dell XPS 15: MSI's first traditional Ultrabook competitor
MSI PS63 vs. Dell XPS 15: MSI's first traditional Ultrabook competitor
The crowded traditional Ultrabook space just got a new contender from a gaming laptop manufacturer. MSI's uncommon combination of an ULV Intel CPU and a Max-Q GPU gives it some interesting advantages over the Dell, but it still falls a bit short on some key areas.

MSI has been sitting comfortably in its gaming laptop space for years. The MSI PS63, however, represents the company's first move into the traditional 15.6-inch Ultrabook space dominated by the likes of the Dell XPS 15, Asus ZenBook UX580, and HP Spectre x360 15. How does MSI's Ultrabook compare to the most popular 15.6-inch Ultrabook available?

Chassis Quality

Consequential or not, the dimensions of the MSI PS63 are nearly identical to the XPS 15 but just over 1 mm thinner. MSI's major advantage lies in weight as the laptop is 300 g lighter than the Dell equivalent.

Dell still has the upper hand in chassis rigidity. Its lid is especially stronger than the more flexible lid of the MSI laptop.

CPU Performance

MSI utilizes a 15 W CPU compared to the 45 W CPUs on the Dell XPS 15 9560/9570. Thus, even the last generation Core i7-7700HQ in the XPS 15 9560 is faster than what the newer i7-8565U in the PS63 is capable of. CineBench R15 Multi-Thread shows a performance boost of 30 percent and 110 percent when moving from the MSI to the i7-7700HQ and i7-8750H in the XPS 15 9560 and 9570, respectively.

GPU Performance

The GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q in the PS63 is the lowest-end Max-Q GPU in Nvidia's GTX lineup. Fire Strike ranks it about 5 to 10 percent slower than the standard GTX 1050 and about 20 percent slower than the GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q in the fastest XPS 15 9570 configuration.

Fan Noise 

Fan noise is significantly quieter on the MSI than on the Dell. This becomes especially apparent when running higher loads like gaming or heavy video editing and encoding.

Display

Both brightness and sRGB color coverage are lower on the MSI laptop when compared to the Dell. If outdoor visibility and color accuracy are top concerns, then the Dell would be a better option.

Battery Life

Runtimes are generally longer than the XPS 15 by an hour or more depending on the battery size of the Dell laptop (56 Wh or 97 Wh). In fact, WLAN battery life can be nearly twice as long as the XPS 15 56 Wh version (11 hours vs. 5.6 hours).

Ports

The biggest difference between the two laptops in terms of ports is the lack of Thunderbolt 3 on the MSI. Additionally, the MSI laptop relies on a MicroSD reader whereas the Dell has a faster full-size SD reader.

Conclusion

MSI's decision to use a U-class ULV CPU compared to the H-class series on the Dell has resulted in some interesting advantages and disadvantages. CPU performance is certainly slower, but the overall package is noticeably lighter, quieter, and longer lasting.

Outside of performance, there are a handful of aspects where MSI still falls short. The lid is weaker and more flexible, the system lacks Thunderbolt 3, SD reader transfer rates are slower, the display is dimmer, and color coverage is narrower. Even so, we're not expecting a first-generation MSI Ultrabook to instantly outperform the venerable XPS 15 series and we're hopeful that a future second-generation model can address all of these pitfalls and more.

We recommend checking out our full reviews on the MSI PS63 and Dell XPS 15 9560/9570 below for more detailed information on each.

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357 mm / 14.1 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17 mm / 0.669 inch 2 kg4.44 lbs357 mm / 14.1 inch 234 mm / 9.21 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.7 kg3.66 lbs354 mm / 13.9 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 16 mm / 0.63 inch 2 kg4.41 lbs
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MSI PS63 Modern 8RC Intel Core i7-8565U, Intel Core i7-8565U: Ø529 (524.25-571.63)
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh Intel Core i5-8300H, Intel Core i5-8300H: Ø812 (765.87-840.02)
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G Intel Core i7-8705G, Intel Core i7-8705G: Ø677 (641.53-746.06)
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD) Intel Core i7-7700HQ, Intel Core i7-7700HQ: Ø680 (662.88-735)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Intel Core i7-8705G
174 Points ∼99%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U
173 Points ∼99%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
167 Points ∼95%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
157 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Intel Core i5-8305G
157 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
146 Points ∼83%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H
1251 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
Intel Core i7-8750H
1215 Points ∼97%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Intel Core i5-8300H
840 Points ∼67%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
735 Points ∼59%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Intel Core i7-8705G
699 Points ∼56%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Intel Core i5-8305G
681 Points ∼54%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Intel Core i7-8565U
572 Points ∼46%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
508 Points ∼41%
3DMark - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
7428 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870, Intel Core i5-8305G
7355 Points ∼99%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870, Intel Core i7-8705G
7348 Points ∼99%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
6393 Points ∼86%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
6216 Points ∼84%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
6074 Points ∼82%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
5792 Points ∼78%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870, Intel Core i7-8705G
10118 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL / 870, Intel Core i5-8305G
9862 Points ∼97%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8750H
9079 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
8201 Points ∼81%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Intel Core i5-8300H
7790 Points ∼77%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Intel Core i7-8565U
7385 Points ∼73%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5605 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
5346 Points ∼95%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Vega M GL / 870, 8305G, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5063 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4672 Points ∼83%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3905 Points ∼70%
Productivity
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Vega M GL / 870, 8305G, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7256 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7037 Points ∼97%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
6786 Points ∼94%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
6592 Points ∼91%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
6120 Points ∼84%
Essentials
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
9360 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
8429 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
7922 Points ∼85%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Vega M GL / 870, 8305G, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
7681 Points ∼82%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
7378 Points ∼79%
Score
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
5001 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4966 Points ∼99%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Vega M GL / 870, 8305G, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4702 Points ∼94%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4479 Points ∼90%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4020 Points ∼80%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
5271 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Vega M GL / 870, 8305G, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
5134 Points ∼97%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4905 Points ∼93%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
4884 Points ∼93%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
4469 Points ∼85%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
4422 Points ∼84%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4418 Points ∼84%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell XPS 15 9575 i5-8305G
Vega M GL / 870, 8305G, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV256G
4693 Points ∼100%
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
4235 Points ∼90%
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
4030 Points ∼86%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3801 Points ∼81%
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
3659 Points ∼78%
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
3631 Points ∼77%
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
3588 Points ∼76%
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
8565U, GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
8300H, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11, LED IGZO IPS InfinityEdge, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
8705G, Vega M GL / 870, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD, IGZO IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache, LED IGZO IPS InfinityEdge, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
8750H, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G, IPS, 3840x2160, 15.6
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
6.8
2.9
6.2
11.9
6.6
9.48
Idle Average *
9.8
5.8
12.9
17.1
9
16.1
Idle Maximum *
11.4
7.5
13.6
17.3
10.7
16.9
Load Average *
76
77.5
76.1
94.7
77.5
90.8
Load Maximum *
93
107
99.4
122
130
134.4
Witcher 3 ultra *
84
84.3
104.8

* ... smaller is better

MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
8565U, GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 82 Wh
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
8300H, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 97 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
8705G, Vega M GL / 870, 75 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 97 Wh
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 56 Wh
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
8750H, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 97 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
838
673
831
565
WiFi v1.3
683
942
420
434
334
576
Load
168
114
63
103
84
76
Witcher 3 ultra
62
62
H.264
738
MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
Chi Mei CMN15E8 N156HCE/EN1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
Sharp SHP149A LQ156M1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Sharp SHP148D, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
3840x2160, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
Sharp SHP1453 LQ156M1, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
LQ156D1, , 3840x2160, 15.6
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42 (23, 19)
49 (25, 40)
48.4 (23.2, 25.2)
57.2 (27.2, 30)
54 (33.2, 20)
46.4 (22.8, 23.6)
Response Time Black / White *
32 (20, 12)
30 (16, 14)
34.8 (19.2, 15.6)
39.2 (23.6, 15.6)
52.4 (33.2, 19.2)
32 (18, 14)
PWM Frequency
25000 (20)
961 (10)
1000 (25)
961.5
980.4 (25)
Screen
Brightness middle
289
413
488
370.1
400
494
Brightness
262
378
440
356
392
457
Brightness Distribution
75
86
81
87
89
88
Black Level *
0.26
0.29
0.3
0.37
0.26
0.34
Contrast
1112
1424
1627
1000
1538
1453
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.9
2.44
3.16
5.3
4.9
5.2
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.71
4.46
8.8
9.9
11
17.5
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.88
2.48
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.42
2.48
3.3
4.6
7.2
2.7
Gamma
2.39 92%
2.43 91%
2.178 101%
2.31 95%
2.11 104%
2.1 105%
CCT
6705 97%
7006 93%
6811 95%
6284 103%
6911 94%
7038 92%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
57
62
71.7
88.3
64.2
71.2
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
87
96
97.9
100
98.9
98.8
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

MSI PS63 Modern 8RC
GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, 8565U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Dell XPS 15 2018 i5 FHD 97Wh
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 8300H, Lite-On CA3-8D256-Q11
Dell XPS 15 9575 i7-8705G
Vega M GL / 870, 8705G, SK hynix PC401 NVMe 500 GB
Dell XPS 15 9560 (i7-7700HQ, UHD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Lite-on CX2-8B512-Q11 NVMe SSD
Dell XPS 15 2017 9560 (7300HQ, Full-HD)
GeForce GTX 1050 (Laptop), 7300HQ, WDC WD10SPCX-75KHST0 + SanDisk Z400s M.2 2242 32 GB Cache
Dell XPS 15 9570 i7 UHD
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
Noise
off / environment *
30.4
30.3
28.2
28.4
30.3
29.9
Idle Minimum *
30.7
30.3
28.2
29
31.6
29.9
Idle Average *
30.7
30.3
28.2
29
31.6
29.9
Idle Maximum *
30.7
30.3
28.2
32.2
33.4
30.3
Load Average *
34
37.1
29
47.1
47.8
36.5
Load Maximum *
33.7
43
47.4
47.1
47.8
40.4
Witcher 3 ultra *
43.3
44.7
52
40.4

* ... smaller is better

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 02 > MSI PS63 vs. Dell XPS 15: MSI still has some ways to go
Allen Ngo, 2019-02- 7 (Update: 2019-02- 7)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.