Punching Above Its Weight

MSI GS63VR stealth pro.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

MSI GS63VR stealth pro.

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The end days of large-sized gaming laptops seem to be drawing closer, as MSI have been busy making new designs that offer extreme portability, with performance, and gaming instincts for the gamer on the go. While we have seen impressive thin and light gaming laptops from MSI in the past, the latest MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro takes the cake. Measuring at 17.7mm, and weighing 1.8kg, the GS63VR is unbelievably light with a design that is clean and simple from the outside with no unnecessary chassis add-ons. It’s hard to believe that such a thin model packs in so much power.

On the left side of the notebook, you’ll find an Ethernet port, SD card reader, three USB 3.0 ports and the mic and audio jacks. If there’s one small complain, it is that the USB 3.0 ports and the two audio jacks are too close together. On the opposite side, there’s a USB 2.0 port, a Thunderbolt USB 3.1 Type-C port that’s fast enough to support up to two 4K displays, a fullsized HDMI 2.0, a mini-Display Port and a power connector. The power button is also situated at the left end of this side, adding to the overall aesthetics of the notebook. However, in practical terms, the position is terrible—we've accidentally pressed the power button one too many times, especially when plugging in something to the USB port.

Open up the notebook though, and you’ll notice that the GS63VR comes with an impressive multi-color SteelSeries keyboard which can be custom tuned to your preferences. The keyboard features a brushed metal skin that occupies the entirety of the keyboard palm rest portion.

The power button on the front right looks cool,
but accidental presses tend to happen a lot.
The power button on the front right looks cool, but accidental presses tend to happen a lot.

For the display, our unit came with a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel with antiglare coating. Viewing angles appear to be great as expected with good color reproduction too. The standard webcam on the front supports 30fps Full HD video calls.

Now, the GS63VR packs quite a punch with its innards. What we have here is a mean machine that packs an Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ quadcore processor with a large amount of RAM, to the tune of 16GB DDR4, promising fast and snappy computing performance. The unit that we received has a PCie based 128GB SSD with Windows 10 installed, and a large 1TB HDD for storage.

This setup is quite common, but the HDD used in the GS63VR however, runs at a paltry 5,400rpm and was prone to bottlenecking games that required a lot of file caching and transfers. For nstance, installing Doom took more than an hour to complete.

That said, this laptop is still in a class of its own as a gaming machine because the GS63VR sports a true desktop-class NVIDIA GTX 1060 Pascal GPU, albeit with slightly lowered clock speeds. You get all 1,280 CUDA cores with a base clock of 1,405MHz (1,569MHz boost) and 6GB of GDDR5 RAM clocked at 8,008MHz.

MSI continues to collaboration with SteelSeries
to bring gaming-quality keyboard experience to
their notebooks.
MSI continues to collaboration with SteelSeries to bring gaming-quality keyboard experience to their notebooks.

As far as gaming performance go, the GS63VR performed exceptionally well in just about everything we ran, including Rise of the Tomb Raider, Overwatch, DOTA 2, Total War: Warhammer and Gears of War 4. All games were tuned to their visual’s maximum settings. The machine could only run at 1080p of course, as it’s the native resolution which is perfect for the NVIDIA GTX 1060 and a 15-inch display. The GPU isn’t meant for 4K gaming, nor would that resolution have made practical sense on a 15-inch anyway.

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The desktop replacementreplacement gaming notebook you’ve been waiting for.
Battery-wise, the notebook has a built-in 3-cell Li-Polymer (57Whr) battery, and in our tests, was good to last between 2hrs 30mins and 2hrs 45mins with some light gaming, word processing and design works.
In general, the MSI Stealth Pro GS63VR is a great gaming notebook. Design and build quality are excellent, especially in such a slim package without skimping on performance. This is also a great showcase of how NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 10-series can revolutionize mobile gaming.
The balance of power and portability is really the most outstanding feature for this notebook. Throughout our review, we never frowned on its handling or usability as a productivity machine. And as a gaming notebook, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a laptop as thin and light as the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro that holds a proper GeForce GTX 1060 for the price.