Hardware Overview and Battery Life
The GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro contains a typical collection of gaming laptop hardware, and certainly nothing we haven’t reviewed before. Like many gaming laptops, there are several configuration options available that vary between regions, most of which simply vary the storage and memory. Below I’ve listed the main options available through Amazon and Newegg:
- 32 GB of RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 1080p display - $1,599
- 16 GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, 1080p display - $1,649
- 16 GB of RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 1080p display - $1,679
- 16 GB of RAM, 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 4K display - $1,899
Admittedly the configuration structure here is strange, particularly the inclusion of 32 GB of RAM in the cheapest model yet just 16 GB in all other models. The best value here is almost certainly the $1,649 model with a pre-installed 512GB SSD but no hard drive, as you can easily slot in a 2.5-inch 1TB hard drive yourself at a cost of around $60. In our eyes, more SSD space is better.
Upgrading to a 4K display will cost you $250 and MSI will throw in a 1TB hard drive for free. As I mentioned earlier, the GTX 1060 isn’t a great GPU for gaming at 4K, so it’s perhaps best to save some cash and stick with the 1080p option.
The model I received to review is slightly different from the base model in that it only includes 16 GB of RAM rather than 32 GB. Aside from that, my review unit came with an M.2 PCIe NVMe solid state drive from Samsung with a capacity of 128 GB, plus a 1TB 5,400RPM hard drive from HGST. The display was the 1080p option as previously discussed.
As you might have noticed, neither the processor or discrete graphics chip are factory upgradeable in the GS43VR. You’re stuck with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5, which is a typical configuration for mid-range gaming laptops. Nothing to complain about there.
The Core i7-6700HQ is a four core, eight thread Skylake part with a base clock of 2.6 GHz and a Turbo boost speed of 3.5 GHz. This 45W CPU has 6MB of cache and is built on a 14nm process. The GTX 1060 for notebooks is very similar to the desktop part, featuring 1280 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1,404 MHz, and a rated boost clock of 1,670 MHz. There’s also 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 8,000 MHz on a 192-bit bus, providing 192 GB/ of bandwidth.
The GS63VR is not the easiest laptop to upgrade, as firstly you’ll have to remove a warranty sticker to unscrew the base plate. From there it’s easy to access the 2.5-inch drive bay, however the M.2 SSD slot and RAM slots are difficult to access as the mainboard is ‘upside down’. This means you’ll need to remove the entire mainboard to upgrade your RAM or M.2 storage. Choosing a good pre-configured amount of RAM and SSD space might be wise.
Inside the GS63VR is a non-removable 65Wh battery, which is small for a typical 15-inch laptop, but understandable considering the hardware and cooling solution you’ll find inside.
We're in the middle of overhauling our battery life benchmarks, but this video playback chart illustrates that the Stealth Pro doesn't fair particularly well from a battery perspective. The laptop lasted around half as long as the HP Spectre, which itself doesn't have particularly amazing battery life. So while the GS63VR may be portable, you'll likely want to keep it tethered in most circumstances.
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