Gaming notebooks are often large, clunky machines that have to house enough cooling to keep the components from throttling performance when temperatures get higher.
Despite housing an NVIDIA GTX 1070 along with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ I looked at the claims that the MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth was VR ready with doubt.
My doubt was largely present because of how thin the GS63VR is. At 1.77cm high, this notebook is just 0.22cm taller than the latest Macbook Pro.
So it’s small but does MSI sacrifice performance in favour of size? Let’s find out.
MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro review – Get to gaming
As we mentioned the GS63VR contains an NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU which has been squeezed in their thanks to NVIDIA’s Max-Q design. The crux of this design is a small form factor and lower power draw while not throttling performance.
Benchmarks of GTA V (Very high presets, 1920 x 1080p) yielded an average frame rate of 105.58. On battery power you can expect 30 fps.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider the high frame rates continue with an average of 73.9 fps. On battery power we recorded a solid 30fps frame rate. Impressive.
As for thermal temperatures the CPU clocked in at 89 degrees Celsius under load while the GPU clocked in an average temperature of 74 degrees Celsius with an ambient temperature of around 25 degrees.
Despite these temperatures the notebook never gets uncomfortably hot and I never witnessed any throttling due to temperatures.
So while the GPU is capable of running games what if you want to record your games or edit video on the GS63VR?
The Intel Core i7-7700HQ performs well in Cinebench R15 netting an average score of 653cb when pushing the upper limits of its 3.5GHz clock. While not mind boggling, this CPU is decent whether you want to play games or create content.
Storage is handled by a 256GB Samsung M.2 SSD as well as a 5400RPM 2TB HDD. The SSD performs as well as you would expect and MSI gets a thumbs up for at least cramming a 2TB HDD inside this tiny notebook, despite it’s slow read/write speeds.
MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro review – Hertz, doesn’t it
At 15.6inches the display in the GS63VR isn’t exactly huge but it does have a wonderful 120Hz refresh rate.
While I wasn’t able to get many of the games I played to reach that framerate on very high/ultra settings I was able to get a refresh rate of 120Hz in Dota 2. For esports titles then, this notebook is the fighting to be in the top tier.
The colour coverage is also quite something to behold. MSI states that the notebook has 94% NTSC Colour Gamut coverage and “close to 100% sRGB coverage. The translation of that is some truly spectacular colours for both gaming and content creation.
MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro review – A look around
The GS63VR is tiny and light. MSI employs the use of three 41-blade fans to keep temperatures down and even when you’re pushing the limits in GTA V you will struggle to hear the fans on this notebook.
The keyboard is sturdy and I never saw it flex while typing or gaming. The same goes for the display shell. Usually this is where notebook manufacturers fall short but MSI has done a sterling job at making the GS63VR a sturdy notebook.
My only gripe with this notebook is the finish. The paint job looks like brushed aluminium but will attract fingerprints and dust from a kilometre away. It’s nothing that a few wet wipes can’t fix but it is annoying to see such a beautiful machine caked in fingerprints.
The notebook houses a bevy of ports including HDMI, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3 and mini DisplayPort.
MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro review – Battery life
This battery test came in two parts. Part the first was streaming Tropic Thunder on loop over Wifi with screen brightness set to 100%. This test saw me watching Tropic Thunder for just under five hours which is not bad when you consider you’re streaming at Full HD. That said I would have liked to see a beefier battery in this notebook.
The second test involved gaming and once you start demanding more from the GS63VR’s internals the battery life suffers. Aside from the 30FPS frame rate limitation you can also expect to see Lara Croft falling down constantly for just under 90 minutes. It’s not bad but rather stick to watching movies on long haul flights.
MSI GS63VR 7RG Stealth Pro review – Is it worth the money?
At R36 999 the GS63VR is rather dear but I actually understand why it costs so much.
For one this notebook is thin, like bordering on Ultrabook levels of thin. Secondly it has performance coming out of the wazoo, in all honesty I am questioning my ownership of a desktop at this point if a notebook can be more powerful than it.
Yes, it’s not as cheap as an equivalent desktop and there are cheaper notebooks out there that will give you similar performance but I ask you, do they have a 120Hz display attached to them?
The GS63VR is also not aimed at somebody who just wants a notebook to game on, its aimed at a more premium market that is willing to drop a bit more dough on a gaming notebook than the average consumer.
So is it worth the money? Yes. If you’re looking for a high-end notebook that can play games, edit video and even double as a work notebook I would wholeheartedly recommend the GS63VR.