Gaming Laptop Review, ASUS GL503VS or MSI GE63VR? The ASUS GL503VS Scar Edition and MSI GE63VR 7RF are fairly similarly specced gaming laptops at a similar price point, but which should you buy? Let’s compare the features of the two and run some gaming benchmarks to help you decide which to get.
Let’s kick off with the specs, both laptops have the same Intel 7700HQ quad core CPU, and in this case the ASUS laptop has two 16gb sticks of RAM installed while the MSI laptop has two 8gb sticks, but that’s just what I happen to have, they’re available with different memory configs and both can support up to 32gb.
For storage both laptops support NVMe M.2 SSDs, however the MSI laptop I’ve got here is using a SATA based SSD. Both laptops also have 1TB hard drives, although the one in the MSI laptop is 7,200RPM drive while there’s a 5,400RPM one in the ASUS laptop, again both laptops are available with a number of different hard drive configs, I’m just saying what I’ve got here.
Both laptops also have Nvidia’s 1070 graphics, and we’ll see how this does in the gaming benchmarks. They’ve both also got a 15.6” 1080p panel, however the MSI laptop has TN while the ASUS one is IPS. The ASUS panel is also slightly faster, at 144Hz compared to the 120Hz panel in the MSI.
Both laptops have brushed metallic lids, personally I think the ASUS one looked a bit sleeker. The MSI one also has red accenting at various points while the ASUS one has an all black and grey colour scheme. As for the sizes, the MSI laptop is just 0.2cm smaller in width and depth, however the ASUS laptop is about 0.2cm thinner, and the ASUS laptop weighs just over 100g more than the MSI laptop, so they’re not too different in this regard. As for the IO, on the left both have the ethernet port, HDMI port, and Mini DisplayPort.
The MSI laptop has one USB 3 Type-A port while the ASUS has two, and the MSI also has two separate 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks while the ASUS uses a combo jack. The ASUS also has its power input here, and the MSI has a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port with no thunderbolt support.
On the right both have a full size SD card reader, and two more USB 3 Type-A ports, while the ASUS one has its USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port here, but with thunderbolt support this time. This is an important feature, as it gives you the option of connecting an external graphics card for future expansion.
Although the MSI laptop has the thunderbolt icon near its type-c port, from what I can tell it doesn’t actually have a thunderbolt controller and isn’t advertised with thunderbolt. The screens are somewhat similar. Both are 15.6 inch 1080p screens, however the MSI one has a 120Hz refresh rate while the ASUS’s screen is slightly faster at 144Hz.
The MSI also uses a TN panel, while the ASUS’s is IPS, however the viewing angles and colours on the TN panel are very good, only a little colour shift when you look at it from underneath. The ASUS laptop also has G-Sync while the MSI laptop doesn’t, it’s also worth keeping in mind that this means the ASUS laptop can’t swap to integrated graphics automatically, and we’ll see how this affects battery life soon.
I’ve measured the colour accuracy of both screens, and the panel in the MSI laptop seems to be significantly better in this regard, although I’d happily use either for content creation, to me they both looked great. There was no noticeable backlight bleed in either laptop, to my eyes in a dark room both looked perfect, although on camera the panel in the ASUS laptop shows some noticeable imperfections, however this will of course vary between each laptop. As for screen flex, both were pretty similar, there wasn’t a clear winner.
Keyboard flex was also pretty similar without any major difference, no problems under normal typing conditions in any case. Overall I’d say the build quality of the ASUS laptop was a bit better, it just felt sturdier to me. When it comes to typing I’d rate both keyboards about the same, I had no issues typing with either.
Both have RGB backlighting, however the keyboard on the ASUS laptop can only be customized in 4 separate groups of keys, while the MSI laptop has full individual key customizations, giving it way more effects. I thought the touchpads on both were quite good, again I can’t really determine a winner here. As for the batteries, the ASUS laptop has a 4 cell 62 watt hour battery, while the MSI laptop has a 6 cell 51 watt hour battery.
While just watching YouTube videos, the ASUS laptop only lasts for around 2 hours, while the MSI laptop lasts for just over 3. This goes back to what I was saying before, the ASUS laptop will use more power as the Nvidia 1070 graphics will be in use the whole time, while the MSI laptop can swap over to the Intel integrated graphics and save battery.
I’ve tested gaming on battery using the witcher 3 with both laptops capped at 30 FPS, and in this test the ASUS laptop lasted a little longer this time due to the larger battery, as in this test both laptops will be using their 1070 graphics, so there’s not really that much of a practical difference in battery life while gaming, but the difference is much larger outside of gaming.
In general the MSI laptop seemed to run cooler, it was always cooler when it came to the CPU, and in the GPU results the ASUS laptop was only cooler with the fans fully maxed out. Both laptops experienced thermal throttling with both the CPU and GPU maxed out under full synthetic load, however with the fans maxed out the MSI one stopped throttling while the throttling remained in the ASUS laptop.
This could change between units, after watching other reviews of the GL503VS many other people had slightly better cooling than me, so your mileage may vary here, and just for reference the room temp was about 25c here.
Although the ASUS laptop runs hotter, interestingly on the external keyboard area where you’ll actually be putting your hands it was cooler, so it does at least seem to better contain the heat rather than heat the body of the laptop up. When it comes to overall system noise I found the ASUS laptop to be just slightly louder, which I suppose is to be expected as it’s slightly thinner and has less overall volume, which could mean less cooling. In any case I’ll let you hear both for yourself.
They’re both fairly loud under load due to the powerful hardware, so I’d recommend using closed back headphones with either. Now let’s check out some benchmarks! All tests were run at 1080p as this is the resolution of the screens. It’s worth keeping in mind that the ASUS laptop does have 32gb of memory in this test, however both laptops are running in dual channel configurations with the same CPU and GPU.
PUBG was tested using the same replay on both laptops, and we can see the results were quite close, with the ASUS laptop winning in all but the highest settings, although neither are getting close to reaching the refresh rate of the panel. Overwatch is again pretty close together, at least at high settings and above, with the ASUS laptop again ahead in most cases.
Ultra settings will let you max out the 120Hz panel on the MSI laptop, while high settings are needed on the ASUS laptop to utilize the 144Hz panel. It’s a similar story in Battlefield 1, the results are close with the ASUS laptop slightly ahead, with the difference being more pronounced at the lower setting levels.
High settings are a good match for the 120Hz panel on the MSI laptop, while medium should max out the 144Hz one on the ASUS laptop. Ghost recon is a fairly resource intensive game, and once again the results are close together, with minimum settings needed if you want to try and take advantage of the high refresh rate panels. Shadow of war was tested with the built in benchmark tool, not really too much to say here, other than again the ASUS laptop is slightly ahead.
Rise of the tomb raider was also tested with the built in benchmark tool, although the ASUS laptop seems to be a bit further ahead this time. The witcher 3 doesn’t really need a high frame rate to enjoy, I think it ran well on both laptops even at max settings, although it was a bit better on the ASUS laptop. In the synthetic tests both laptops trade blows depending on the setting levels, just pause the video if you want to look at any of these in more detail. In theory both laptops should give us about the same results as the CPU and GPU are the same, however in general the ASUS laptop came out ahead.
I’m not really sure if that’s because of the extra RAM, I have my doubts as I’ve previously tested gaming with more memory in another video and after 16gb it doesn’t make much difference. In any case the results were fairly close, and the difference could simply be down to the silicon lottery. We’ll just quickly look at the hard drive speeds, as we can see the NVMe SSD in the ASUS laptop gives it much faster speeds than the SATA SSD in the MSI laptop, but as mentioned before both support NVMe drives.
The 1TB hard drives in both perform roughly close together, but again this will differ as they’re available with a few different drive options. Now perhaps the most important difference, the price. I couldn’t actually find this exact MSI model with the SATA SSD, just one with an NVMe SSD, so technically that puts them closer together in terms of specs.
With that in mind the ASUS laptop comes in at around $1900 USD while the MSI laptop comes in at around $1800 USD, so just a $100 USD difference. Considering the ASUS laptop performed slightly better than the MSI laptop you may be inclined to select it, just keep in mind both have the same hardware so realistically the gaming experience shouldn’t differ too much, as I had these laptops a couple of weeks apart I couldn’t do any further tests.
You’re also paying extra to get that 144Hz screen, it’s not that much faster than the 120Hz screen and I think I could only just tell the difference, but I’m sure people that play games like CSGO will notice it way more than me, so you’ll have to decide if you think you need the extra speed there, and it will depend on the games that you play. If you’ll be using the laptop for tasks other than gaming on battery though you might want to consider the MSI laptop for its superior battery life, as it can swap over to the integrated Intel graphics while the ASUS one cant, as the ASUS panel also has G-Sync while the MSI laptop does not, although I’d argue G-Sync is less important at higher refresh rates anyway.
Personally at this price point I’d probably just spend the extra hundred dollars and get the ASUS laptop, as I think it’s a nicer looking machine with slightly better build quality, and I always use my laptops while plugged into the power anyway so the lower battery life wouldn’t be too much of a problem for me.
So which of these two gaming laptops would you guys pick? The ASUS GL503VS or MSI GE63VR Raider? Let me know what you guys thought down in the comments, and let me know what other laptops you want to see compared, as this review was made due to a high number of requests.