MSI GT62VR 6RD Review (GTX 1060, I7)

++ Main reason to consider:

Robust gaming laptop with good thermals and upgrade horizon (MXM GPU), with overall good extras.

-- Main reason to avoid:

Performance / Price ratio isn’t the best currently.

Availability

I’m pretty sure the price will get down, so it’s better to wait with it a bit (as of 19.9.2016)

For the MSI GT62VR 6RD (which is the GTX 1060 version), the current pricing is around $1500 for basic version without SSD and $1550 with SSD:

MSI GT62VR 6RE (GTX 1070), currently around $1700-$1800:

Pro : + Excellent gaming performance with a GTX 1060 + I7-6700HQ
+ No/minimal throttling even under the highest load
+ Cooling system keeps the CPU and GPU temps at reasonable levels while producing relatively low noise
+ G-Sync supported
+ Very comfortable keyboard, in my opinion, with very good feedback, respond and travel depth and sufficient resistance
+ Good 1080p IPS display (though not great)
+ Fan control software for GPU and CPU
+ HDMI 2.0/2.1
+ MXM 3.0 (3.1?) GPU. Can be upgraded in the future
+ Keyboard leds colors is configurable
+ With the help of the built-in subwoofer, music can sound good and rich, for a laptop
+ Very good WiFi solution with good stability, low pings
+ TPM 2.0
+ M.2 "M" slot, allowing PCIe SSDs
+ 2x8GB 2400MHZ DDR4 RAM, additional 2 free slots
+ 2 years warranty, 1 international
+ Dedicated DAC
Con : - No Thunderbolt 3 port
- Right palm rest gets a little warm, maybe too much for some
- Included SSD is not NVMe like in previous model
- Not a real con, but the two speakers could sound less boxy
- Performance/price isn't as good as other laptops with an I7-HQ and GTX 1060
- Screen's outer led is not firm and can be twisted / bend under relatively light pressure
- No Optimus (and no switch to switch between Optimus and discrete only)
- As with other such laptops, the I7-6700HQ can start be a limiting factor to the GPU
- Only 1xM.2 + 1x2.5" storage bays

Introduction

MSI GT62VR

Hi all! So, the MSI GT62VR is the laptop in review here. The specific model is MSI GT62VR 6QD or MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro-006, which comes with an I7-6700HQ, the new Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB mobile version, 128GB SATA SSD + 1TB HGST 7200RPM HDD as well as 2 x 8GB DDR4 2400MHZ. The MSI GT62VR is part of MSI’s “VR” family that all its members carry the “VR” suffix. This is mostly a marketing thing and doesn’t say nothing. However, the new Nvidia and AMD GPUs are more suitable for the VR (Virtual Reality) age, with better parallelism centric abilities, except generational improvements like smaller manufacturing process, lower power consumption, lower memory throughput for the same performance and more.

The MSI GT62VR in specific includes the G-Sync feature which is important for VR, maybe even crucial, because of the nature of using VR, with a headset and the immersive experience that comes with it. In practice, it means that the Optimus system is not in use and the result is higher power consumption, at least in less stressful system loads, like idling or reading/writing.

Some interesting features of the  GT62VR are the MXM GPU (which means that probably next generation GPU could be installed instead the included GPU) and perhaps better cooling system compared to some other laptop.

Finally, the MSI GT62VR is not a cheap model. There are cheaper laptops with this kind of 3D performance. Let’s check if the MSI GT62VR has some added value that can make this machine interesting and competitive.

ComponentDescription
Model NamesMSI GT62VR 6RD Dominator, MSI GT62VR Dominator-027
PriceBasic version: $1500. Specific Configuration: $1550 (with 128GB SATA SSD)
CPUI7-6700HQ (2.6GHZ-3.5GHZ, 45W)
MotherboardMSI MS-16L2 / Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
4xPCI Express x1, 1xPCI Express x2, 1xPCI Express x16
GPUNvidia Geforce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5, 1280 shadars core@1405-1671MHZ, GDDR5@2GHZ, 192-bit bus
RAMKingston 2x8GB DDR4@2400MHZ MSI24D4S7S8MB-8
4 banks of memory available. Two occupied slots are on the hidden side of the motherboard.
StorageHDD : WD HGST HGST HTS721010A9E630, 1TB, 7200RPM, 32MB cache, 2 slots total
SSD: M.2 TOSHIBA THNSNJ128G8NY 120GB SSD (SATA)
M.2: 2 slots, 1xNVMe PCIe M.2 SSD

LCD PanelIn review: 1080p 15.6", LG 156WF6 [DELL P/N: 3874Y], IPS, 30-pin eDP
Weight / Dimensions~2.92kg / 6.4 lbs, PSU 0.7-0.8kg
390 x 266 x 39.8 mm
15.35" x 10.47" x 1.57"
(w x d x h)
Keyboardmulticolor backlit, 4 levels including off
Connection Portsright side: 3xUSB 3.0, card reader
Left: Kensington Lock, USB 2.0, 1x Mic-in 1x Headphone-out (SPDIF) 1x Line-in 1x Line-out
Rear: RJ-45, 1xThunderbolt 3 Type-C (including USB 3.1 gen 2 Type-C), HDMI 2.0 (4K@60HZ), mDP v1.2, power-in
Camera1080p@30FPS camera
WiFi / EthernetWiFi: Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter
Ethernet: Qualcomm/Atheros e2400 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller
(Vendor Description: Qualcomm Atheros Ar81xx series PCI-E Ethernet Controller)
Speakers2x2W speakers, above the keyboard surface. 1x3.5W subwoofer bottom right center
Battery8 cell, 75Wh
Bios / EC version (test unit)E16L2IMS.10D /
Extra featuresEmbedded TPM 2.0
more details

Build quality, Case, design and looks

The build quality of the GT62VR’s chassis is mostly positive. The base unit is firm and buttons/keyboard do not feel cheap. The hinges feel strong enough. However, the screen’s outer lid is not as firm as I would expect from a $1500 gaming laptop. It is not as good as the previous generation Broadwell MSI GT72, for example.

 

Looks

The MSI GT62VR has around the usual GT62/GT72 looks, although the GT62VR is a little slimmer in terms of height compared to the previous generation GTR72S (by around 8mm, according to MSI’s information). The GT62VR looks good to me, with solid simple looks, except the usual MSI logo which is aweful.

 

Maintenance and inner parts

Maintenance is rather easy. The backplate is easily removed by removing ~10 screws. Be careful, it seems that the battery is connected only by the battery cable, so make sure it doesn’t fall off.

MSI GT62VR motherboard mxm gtx 1060 and cooling

The CPU is soldered, but the GPU comes in an MXM 3.0 (3.1?) format and can be replaced. It’s a good feature to have in the long run. The GPU has three dedicated heatpipes that are connected directly to the GPU core and two additional shared heatpipes that seem to be connected to the VRAM and the core. One heatpipe is shared between the CPU and GPU. The GTX 1060 VRAM thermal plate and the GPU core thermal plate are connected, so the VRAM heat spreads to the three dedicated pipes too.

The CPU has one dedicated heatpipe, and another one is shared with the MXM card, but it seems to be attached to the VRAM only.

Keyboard and touchpad

Keyboard. The keyboard feels good. The keyboard sirface is firm, feedback, resistance and response are all good, travel depth is high enough and space between keys is also big. Overall, I’m very satisfied with the keyboard. Additional feature of the keyboard is its color leds. You can choose which color you want it to use. Purple and green look great!

Touchpad. The touchpad surface texture feels nice, not too smooth. I had no problem playing freely with the touchpad in any direction. There are two dedicated and separated buttons which are as comfortable as it this kind probably can be (though it’s time to move to a different touchpad structure/arrangement)

Sound & Speakers

The MSI GT62VR has 2x2W speakers plus a 3.5W subwoofer. The 2 speakers sound is a little boxy, probably a combination of their quality and their positioning inside the bulky chassis. The subwoofer adds considerably to the sound experience, but from what I noticed, you’d need to use the bundled Nahimic software to really make use of it and notice the bass. Except being boxy, the sound is mostly pleasant and even relatively rich with good lows and mids.

I’d probably expect more from a $1500 laptop, but what can I say, it’s hard to be surprised after something like 40-50 laptops. Anyway, overall the sound is enjoying, but probably not for audiophiles.

General subjective performance experience

With the SSD, the laptop feels very fast.

Added CPU-Z and GPU-Z screenshots.

 

Gaming Performance

Test Methods & Drivers

OS : Windows 10, fully updated

Drivers: Nvidia Geforce 372.70

Synthetic 3D benchmarks

3DMark, Time Spy 1.0, CompuBench:

MSI GT62VR 6RD Review : 3DMark

MSI GT62VR 6RD Review : compubenchcl MSI GT62VR 6RD Review : TimeSpy 1.0

LuxMark 3.1 Hotel:

MSI GT62VR 6RD GTX 1060 Luxmark 3.1 Hotel

Summarized gaming performance

With the GTX 1060 6GB in place, there isn’t any really game currently that won’t run well on some very high graphics settings@1080p. The GTX 1060 indeed is ready to the beginning of the VR age.

MSI GT62VR 6RD Review : gtx 1060 i7-6700hq 1080p gaming benchmarks

Crysis 3

msi gt62vr 6QD review : crysis 3 gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Thief

Thief sees some advantage using Mantle API over the DX11. Heavily Vulkan/DX12 optimized games/game engines should see much higher improvements.

msi gt62vr 6QD review : thief gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Bioshock Infinite

msi gt62vr 6QD review : bioshock infinite gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Civilization : Beyond Earth

Seems like the performance is a little bottlenecked. The numbers aren’t considerably higher than the GTX 970M numbers

msi gt62vr 6QD review : civilization beyond earth gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Total War : Warhammer

The new Total War stuff. The 3D engine has been vastly improved and performance is much better than in the case of Total War : Attila

msi gt62vr 6QD review : total war warhammer directx 12 gtx 1060 1080p benchmarksmsi gt62vr 6QD review : total war warhammer directx 11 gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Metro : Last Light

msi gt62vr 6QD review : metro last light gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Battlefield 4 Campaign

BF4 campaign benchmark

msi gt62vr 6QD review : battlefield 4 gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Shadow Of Mordor

msi gt62vr 6QD review : shadow of mordor gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Ashes Of Singularity

msi gt62vr 6QD review : ashes of singularity gtx 1060 1080p dx11 benchmarksMSI GT62VR 6RD Review - Ashes Of Singularity CPU and GPU usage

Pascal GPUs finally see some performance improvements from DX12 utilization.

Utilization seems to be hitting the maximal capacity of the I7-6700HQ in this machine. I suspect that the GTX 1060 doesn’t show it all here, nor in other laptops with an I7-6700HQ probably

Fallout 4

The new Fallout 4 is rather demanding, but the benefits of the high graphics presets are not clear to me.

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : fallout 4 gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

ARK: Survival Evolved

The new ARK: Survival Evolved is not completely cooked yet, so don’t take these results too hard. The game obviously need some real optimisations, FPSs are really low and it seems that for nothing, more or less.

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : ark survival gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

The Talos Principle

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : the talos principle gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Rise of the Tomb Raider

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : shadow of mordor gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Doom (2016)

The new Doom game. Based on OpenGL 4.5. Not that demanding. The Doom Vulkan

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : gtx 1060 vulkan and opengl benchmark

No Man's Sky

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : no mans sky gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Star Wars : Battlefront

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : sw battlefront gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Hitman 2016

MSI GT62VR 6QD review : hitman directx 11 gtx 1060 1080p benchmarks

Thermals, Throttling & Noise handling

As described before, the GPU has three dedicated heatpipes and the CPU one. Two heatpipes are shared, one of them is mostly on the CPU part. Cool air sucked from the bottom of the machine (hence, it’s important to keep its bottom above the sitting surface) and is thrown from the rear ventilation hole.

Four tests:

1. Idle, power saver mode

2. Gaming : Ashes Of Singularity benchmark. “Crazy” settings, “High performance” power mode.

3. Prime95 torture test. “High performance” power mode.

4. Prime95 + Furmark on 1080p test, AAx2. “High performance” power mode.

msi gt62vr review cpu and gpu temperatures

Generally, the GT62VR can keep the temperatures in the reasonable range. It does so without a lot of noise to, nor throttling, as you’ll see below.

Heat

The MSI GT62VR 6RD does relatively well in the heat department. Except from keeping the CPU and GPU relatively cool, the chassis temps also remain ok for the most part. The exceptions are the speakers grill area, the keyboard’s right side/numpad surface and the right palm rest. The right palm rest strangely gets warm and it was a little annoying to me – I guess there is some component underneat (or, the other, hidden part of the motherboard), maybe the RAM slots.

MSI could do better in this department, especially with a laptop that is not the cheapest for the performance. However, it’s mostly good. The bottom temps remain rather low and so is most of the keyboard. The right palm rest is the party pooper.

Throttling

As you can see, under Ashes Of Singularity load level, the I7-6700HQ core clock stays around 3.0-3.1GHZ, which is very good, and the GPU stays around 1550-1650MHZ, which is nice, but could be probably higher.

It is interesting to note that according to HWInfo, the GPU power consumption is around 70-80W on average and seems like it is limited to around 75W, considerably less than the GTX 1060 usual 110-130W for the desktop part. I’m not sure that these numbers include the VRAM.

CPU clocks / throttle CPU average stable CPU MAX GPU
35 38 39 Idle
2.7-2.8 75 88 55 Prime95
2.9-3.0 85 89 76 Prime95 + Furmark
3.1 77 77 77 Ashes Of Singularity

Noise

The MSI GT62VR noise levels are pretty low. Under light load / general work load, the GT62VR is quite quiet with fans spinning pretty slow or even shut down. Even under high load, the GT62VR noise isn’t too annoying or high and fans never really get to their highest speed.

Screen & Screen quality

The MSI GT62VR comes with the same LG LP156WF, which is a partial name. The additional naming is Dell 3874Y, which is found in other systems too. Overall, good stats. Could be better in terms of color accuracy and maybe color pallete coverage, but generally a good display. PWM could not be detected (confirmed) and response time is ok, but not great, according to other reviews. Overall, the display is the usual IPS 1080p panel with the usual IPS quality. It’s not the best, but it’s pretty good and most would be satisfied with it. It’s the common quality in laptops today.

 

The XRite i1Display reading (different from the Spyder5Elite):

Contrast White Luminence Black Luminence Screen Brightness
805 313 0.389 100.00%
809 127 0.157 50.00%
818 63 0.077 30.00%
47.7 0.01 20.00%
ContrastBrightnessBlack levels
640 300 0.47
sRGBadobeRGBNTSC
92 71 68

Battery Performance

The GT62VR comes with a 75-80Whr battery (officially, 75Whr. HWInfo shows around 79Whr at 95% charge level). As there is no Optimus system in this machine, the Nvidia GPU is the only GPU in use, even for non-3D jobs. So battery running times for light loads isn’t the best, even with such a big battery. Still, 4-5 hours for the usual work load can be achieved.

msi gt62vr review battery performance

GPU Overlocking

Overclocking the GTX 1060 in this machine wasn’t a big success.

  • +200MHZ for the GPU core (~11-12% to top clocks), it wasn’t stable and maximal clocks in practice were around 100-120MHZ higher tops.
  • +400MHZ to GDDR5 (8->8.4GHZ effective)

In both cases there wasn’t big difference in Ashes Of Singularity. The game run around 5-6% faster on Crazy@1080p with the CPU core clock overclocking. It’s a nice improvement, but that’s the top and even that wasn’t stable.

 

Issues

Competing gaming laptops / Alternatives

  • There are some models with GTX 1060 and even 1070 for the same price and more will come. Let’s check some:

    • Asus GL502VM (Amazon, Newegg, eBay), $1300-$1400 without an SSD. Has G-Sync (no Optimus), 1080p IPS display, 16GB 2133MHZ RAM, no MXM, no TB3.
    • Clevo P650RP6 / Sager NP8152 (Amazon) – relatively cheap. Can be bought customized from Avadirect, XoticPC, Eurocom, and many others. Good cooling system, good storage options. No MXM
    • 17.3″ version of both
    • Soon: the new Alienware 15 and probably cheaper Gigabyte P55W v6

    GTX 1070 options:

    • Clevo P650RS for around $1500-$1600 for basic configuration
    • Asus GL502VS for around $1550-$1700 (there are deals from time to time)
    • Soon, Alienware 15 and some more

    Generally, at this point I’d recommend waiting with the purchases.

Conclusion

Well, the MSI GT62VR 6RD is a good machine overall. It has the usual I7-HQ + GTX 1060 6GB gaming performance. Thermals are generally good (with an exception). It also has all the basic components on the right point – quality keyboard, touchpad,and speakers (sort of), mDP and HDMI 2.0 ports. Moreover, though it has no Thunderbolt 3 port, it does have an MXM GPU, so an upgrade in the future is an option, which is important in an $1500 laptop. The keyboard, except from being relatively comfortable, can also have its LEDs be configured to light in different colors, which I like very much.

The GT62VR has some caveats, ofcourse. The right palm rest heat levels may be annoying for some, but that’s the only real exception for the good GT62VR thermal performance (at least for the GTX 1060 version). Its weight is higher compared to some others like the Asus GL502VM (though it costs in cooling performance). Thunderbolt 3 port is not available. The outer lid build quality isn’t great and finally, it’s performance/price ratio isn’t as high as others.

On its own, the GT62VR is a good laptop in my opinion. Compared to others with the same feature level (mostly, an MXM and better thermals), the price is around the same as the competitors. Some laptops like the Clevo pP650RP6 and Asus GL502VM/VS have better performance.price ratio, but not as good cooling solution and also, no MXM GPU. So, there is some features and qualities balancing matter here and as always, one should consider what shes’ really after with a laptop.

A small note that is not related to the GT62VR in specific, but it seems that the I7-6700HQ starts to limit the 3D performance of systems with GPUs like the GTX 1060.

I’d probably recommend a MXM/Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptops, for a person who wants to a gaming laptop that remains relevant longer, but that also leads to considering laptops with TB3 and no/weak discrete GPU. At this point in time, I’d give it another 3-4 months to see what else coming up in the eGPU front.

.

  • Kelvin Chien

    Hey sir, great review! I had a question

    The SSD that comes with the laptop is a 128 GB M.2 Sata but since the slot is for
    M.2 NVMe. Does that mean I HAVE to use a M.2 NVMe ssd for it, or can I use a
    different size M.2 sata?

    • Hi and thanks!

      Well, i it comes with a SATA SSD, it means you can use an SSD SATA, no? otherwise it wouldn’t work
      Prices of SSDs are currently pretty high, maybe it’s better to wait for some deal

      • Kelvin Chien

        Yeah that’s what I figured too. I was confused on why they gave us a M.2 SATA 128 Toshiba SSD when the slot is meant for M.2 NVMe. I just wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any reason I couldn’t use another M.2 SATA.

        Yeah SSDs are kind of high 🙁 I definitely will wait a bit.

        Thanks for your quick response!

        • A good price, even for a SATA SSD would be around $100 for 500GB. And, not all SSDs are equal, check before you buy!

  • Brandon Less

    I picked this laptop up for 1200 (including a Mail in rebate). Was that a good deal?

    • Probably is! what is the exact model, do you know?

      • Brandon Less

        GT62VR Dominator-027 one difference is that mine has g-sync

        • not bad! You could find some models for a little less, but this is a favorite of mine (at least compared to the others) and I think this is a good deal!

          • Brandon Less

            Oh dang, really? do you happen to know where? All the cheaper models tend to have the 3gb version of the 1060 which is about 15% weaker (even ignoring the video ram), or have 8gb of ram, or don’t has an ssd(i will be replacing this one anyway since it is so small).

            • 1. The mobile version is the same as the 6GB GPU!
              2. You found a very good deal. At times I saw some discounts that will get you this machine for like $1100-$1150. I don’t think it’s worth your effort to send it back and spend your time on it. Better enjoy!

              • Brandon Less

                Thanks man i can’t wait for it to get here on thursday and i agree that the 100 dollars isn’t worth the time to sit without a laptop!!! Also there are 2 versions of the 1060 and the mobile versions are underclocked versions of each. 1 with 6 gb has 1280 cuda cores and the one with 3gb has 1152 cuda cores. so the 3gb version, not only has less video memory but is a weaker card in total. source: http://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/2604-gtx-1060-3gb-vs-6gb-benchmark-review?showall=1

                • It’s different in the mobile versions, but nevermind – this is a good machine. If you can, tell me how it is for you when you’ll get it!

  • WuXeS

    Can you elaborate on the issue of the 6700HQ limiting the performance of GTX 1060+ systems? Have there been any specific tests?

    That said, are you going to review the barebones version of this laptop (with desktop CPUs)? A comparison would be very interesting.

    • Hi WuXeS!

      1. I have to do more thorough tests, but if I remember correctly, the numbers for such clocks are not optimal in games like Ashes Of Singularity and GPU like the 1060. Also 1, comparing 2.8GHZ I7-6700HQ to 3.1GHZ, I saw lower FPSs (around 10% indeed). Also 2, I saw spikes of 100% thread usage in some games.

      2. Can you refer me to the one you are talking about? not sure I saw it