MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Review – Gaming Laptop

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MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Review – a Gaming Laptop. The GE63VR 7RF Raider is a gaming laptop from MSI, featuring Nvidia’s 1070 graphics with a 120Hz screen, so let’s see how it performs in some gaming benchmarks and help you decide if it’s worth buying. Let’s start by checking out the hardware specs, it’s got an Intel 7700HQ quad core CPU running at 2.8GHz which can turbo upto 3.8GHz.

There’s 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,400MHz, but the two slots support up to 32GB. For storage there’s a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD, although there’s support for 2 M.2 drives with NVMe and there’s also a 1TB 7,200 RPM hard drive installed. For the graphics we’ve got Nvidia’s 1070 with 8GB of memory in combination with a 15.6 inch 1080p 120Hz TN panel, and we’ll see how this performs later in the benchmarks. For the network connectivity there’s a gigabit ethernet port, support for 802.11ac WiFi, as well as Bluetooth 4.1.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider

The lid and interior are a black brushed metal and the overall the build quality seems pretty decent. The physical dimensions of the laptop are 38.3cm in width, 26cm in depth, and 2.75cm in height, so it’s not too thick for laptop with a 1070. The total weight of the laptop is advertised at 2.39kg with the battery, and I found mine to weigh just a little more than this, and this increases to just under 3.4kg when you include the power brick and cable for charging. As mentioned the screen here is a 15.6 inch 120Hz 1080p TN matte panel, no G-Sync available here unfortunately and we’ll see how games utilize the high refresh rate display in the benchmarks.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider overview
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider overview

The viewing angles are really good, the colours are still clear even on sharp angles and it’s got a 3ms response time. I’ve also measured the colours produced by the screen using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 100% of sRGB, 84% of NTSC and 88% of AdobeRGB, so it’s giving really good results, definitely one of the best laptop displays I’ve tested. I’ve performed my usual backlight bleed test on the display, which involves having the laptop show a black screen in a dark room to help emphasize any bleeding.

I then take a long exposure photo to display any bleed, so this is a worst case scenario test. As you can see there’s basically no bleed at all, even in a dark room it looks perfect to my eyes. While moving the display there was only a little bit of flex, it was fairly solid due to the hinges in left and right corners, and you can’t easily open the laptop with one finger, showing that more of the weight seems to be distributed towards the back Above the display is a HD camera capable of 720p video.

The camera looks pretty terrible even with some decent lighting, while the microphone sounds alright, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself. There’s an RGB steelseries keyboard which was great to type with. I only found minimal flex while pushing down quite hard on the keyboard, it’s fairly sturdy and this wasn’t an issue while typing normally.

The lighting can be adjusted through the included Steelseries software and there are a number of effects available, it’s very customizable. There’s individual key customization here, so you can control the colours of every single key, which also means there are a lot more effects than most of the other RGB laptop keyboards I’ve tested that work based on groups of keys. Towards the right under the power button is a button that allows you to easily cycle through the lighting effects, and the button under that can be used to quickly change the fan speed of the laptop.

The touchpad worked well, it’s got a very smooth surface with two physical left and right mouse buttons which were quite clicky. Moving onto the I/O on the left there’s a kensington lock, ethernet port, HDMI port, mini displayport, USB 3.0 Type-A port, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. Over on the right there’s an SD card reader, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and the power input. All three USB type-A ports light up red while the laptop is powered on, however you can disable this in the software.

There’s nothing on the front other than some status LEDs, and nothing on the back other than a couple of air exhaust vents towards the corners. Up on the lid there’s the MSI logo which lights up white while the laptop is powered on along with some red accents, and subtle Raider branding down the bottom.

The metallic lid and interior are fingerprint magnets, but nothing a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth couldn’t fix. Underneath there’s some air intakes to keep everything cool, as well as some rubber feet which would prevent the laptop from easily moving if it wasn’t for these other hard plastic feet around the base of the laptop. As a result it does move a bit while pushing lightly which may become annoying while using it.

There’s also 2 2W speakers and 2 3W subwoofers on the bottom of the laptop towards the front, and they actually sound really good for laptop speakers, I was impressed. There’s a fair amount of bass and they still sound quite clear even at high volumes.

Powering the laptop is a 51 Watt hour 6 cell battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness, keyboard lighting off and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 3 hours and 10 minutes. While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidia’s battery boost set to 30 FPS the battery lasted for 47 minutes.

Overall I thought the battery life was fair in gaming considering the 1070, in normal tasks it’s not the best, but still better than many other 15 inch laptops I’ve tested. During normal use with an ambient room temperature of 23 degrees celsius, the CPU and GPU both idled in the low 40s, and here are the external temperatures of the laptop where you’ll actually be putting your hands, getting to around 32 degrees in the center. I’ve tested gaming by playing PUBG at high settings for half an hour and the temps for that are shown in green, no throttling was observed in this test. While gaming the keyboard area got into the 50s in between the gaps of the keys, it wasn’t that noticeable as the wrist rests are still fairly cool.

Full CPU and GPU load was tested with both Aida64 and the Heaven benchmark running at the same time. With the default fan profile in use we reach our highest temperatures, and the CPU was throttling by about 15% or so with the combined load, but keep in mind most real world applications won’t actually act this way.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Keyboard

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Keyboard
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Keyboard

The keyboard area is a bit warmer than the gaming test, again into the 50s in the center. By manually maxing out the fans the temperatures drop back just a little bit, however there’s no longer any throttling happening. This also appears to drop the temperature of the keyboard area into the high 40s. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to each of these tests. As you’ve probably noticed, under full load and even gaming it’s fairly loud, a bit louder than most other 15 inch laptops that I’ve tested, however most of those only run with 1060 graphics or lower, so there’s more power here.

You might need to max the fans out under full load to avoid throttling as shown, but I couldn’t hear it at all with headphones on even at max speed. I’ll also note that there was no noticeable coil whine while testing in my unit.

Finally let’s take a look at some benchmarks, we’ll first cover some real world gaming benchmarks followed by tests with various benchmarking tools. All tests were run at 1080p with all Windows and Nvidia updates to date installed.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Overwatch

Overwatch played great, with ultra settings or lower needed if you want to fully take advantage of that 120Hz panel, but it still felt nice and smooth even maxed out. As usual CS:GO averaged well above what the display is capable of, and we could slightly improve the 1% low frame rates by dropping the settings down. Dota2 isn’t too demanding but I’m testing with a fairly intensive replay to try and represent a worst case scenario, and we’re getting around the 60 FPS mark at most settings with this test, which I should note is typically lower than what you’ll actually see in normal game play.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider PUBG

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was tested using the replay feature, but as usual take these results with a huge grain of salt, as they’re constantly releasing updates that change performance, and of course the frame rate greatly depends on what you’re doing in game.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Shadow

Shadow of war with the built in benchmark ran pretty well, at minimum settings we almost reached the refresh rate of the display but not quite, though I don’t think you really need a super high frame rate in this one. Battlefield 1 isn’t too demanding, and even at ultra settings we’re gettin really good results, although high or lower seem to be needed to surpass 120 FPS, but again it will depend on what’s going on in game. The Witcher 3 ran well at all settings, I don’t think this game needs a high frame rate to enjoy and even at ultra settings it was smooth as the 1% lows aren’t too low.

Watchdogs 2 is a fairly resource intensive game, and another I don’t think really needs a high frame rate to enjoy, we’re seeing very similar results on the highest three setting levels and it was definitely playable even on max settings. Rise of the Tomb raider was tested with the built in benchmark tool, and again we’re getting pretty nice results, with about low settings needed to make full use of the 120Hz panel.

Ghost recon is another fairly resource intensive game and was also tested with the built in benchmark tool, I wouldn’t really want to play on max settings here, but the frame rate was fairly good at very high or lower.

Overall many of these games are able to take advantage of the 120Hz refresh rate of the display thanks to the Nvidia 1070 inside, allowing for nice and smooth gameplay, although depending on the game you may need to drop the settings down a bit. As I’ve mentioned in the past I think the 1070 is a good match for a 120Hz or higher panel, and as we’ve seen here this remains true.

MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Main
MSI GE63VR 7RF Raider Main

Now onto the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike, Timespy, and VRMark from 3DMark, just pause the video if you want to look further. In Crystal Disk Mark the 256GB SATA M.2 SSD performed around 540MB/s in sequential reads and 480MB/s in sequential writes, so pretty decent.

The 1TB hard drive gets over 120 MB/s in both sequential reads and writes, so quite good for a 7,200RPM hard drive, and here are the results for the SD card reader, basically maxing out my card. As for the price this laptop comes in at just around $3000 AUD here in Australia, or about $1800 USD in the US but that’s with NVMe SSD, I couldn’t find exactly what I’ve got here, but this is pretty much the same but with a faster drive. You’re definitely paying for all of the features such as the 1070 graphics, 120Hz display, and colour accurate screen, but as you’ve seen it does provide a great experience.

So what did you guys think of the GE63VR 7RF gaming laptop from MSI? Overall I thought it was a nice laptop, it’s fairly solid and built well. The Nvidia 1070 graphics and 120Hz screen make it a great combo for gaming, and even the colour accurate screen makes it a good choice for content creators too. It does get a little loud under full load, but with the fans maxed out there’s not throttling, so just chuck on some headphones and it’s not a problem.

Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and leave a share if you found the review useful!

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