MSI GE63 8RF-089AU

A new six-core CPU helps stim­u­late MSI’s main­stream gam­ing lap­top.

APC Australia - - Contents - Joel Burgess

The GE line has tra­di­tion­ally been MSI’s value gaminglap­top propo­si­tion — of­fer­ing a well-rounded set of pow­er­ful com­po­nents in a pack­age that isn’t cut­ting edge, but which also won’t cost a for­tune. This year’s up­date keeps the tra­di­tion go­ing with a mi­nor price drop, CPU up­grade and some RGB light­ing syn­chro­ni­sa­tion. At 2.8cm thick, this range wedges it­self into a gam­ing-spe­cific size bracket with am­ple in­ter­nal space for the de­vice’s 8th-gen In­tel CPU, ded­i­cated Nvidia GPU and 16GB of mem­ory.

A 1080p 120Hz screen was the big new fea­ture on last year’s GE63, and the speedy screen’s re­turn is def­i­nitely still a high­light. Mind you, that screen doesn’t have an ideal colour gamut for edit­ing pho­tos or work­ing on de­sign projects, at just 94% NTSC cov­er­age, but its re­spon­sive na­ture is per­fectly tai­lored to per­for­mance gam­ing. On less de­mand­ing games, the GE63 8RF-089AU — MSI’s higher-end GE63, with a GTX 1070 GPU — is eas­ily ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing frame rates that utilise the faster screen, and it can even ex­tend past 60fps on some of the lat­est ti­tles (even on Ul­tra set­tings at times). You’ll want to opt for the more pow­er­ful GTX 1070 GPU con­fig­u­ra­tion.

The big­gest change to this 2018 model is a new six-core In­tel Core i7-8750H CPU, which adds two ex­tra cores to the quad-core setup that’s been the max we’ve seen on In­tel lap­tops for over half a decade now. That means there’s the po­ten­tial for 50% per­for­mance boosts — and that’s along­side any 8th-gen en­hance­ments. Com­par­ing this new GE63 8RF model against 2017’s sim­i­lar GE73 7RF on CineBench’s sin­gle-core CPU test, we noted a de­cent 9% boost in per­for­mance, while the multi-threaded per­for­mance showed a far more im­pres­sive 49.7% in­crease. In gen­eral use tasks, this raw pro­cess­ing power trans­lates to PCMark 10 scores at 20% bet­ter than the 2017 GE range.

Per-key RGB key­board back­light­ing has re­turned, cour­tesy of MSI’s on­go­ing SteelSeries part­ner­ship, but MSI has ac­tu­ally ex­tended that func­tion­al­ity with its new ‘GameSense’ soft­ware. This al­lows you to match light­ing schemes to spe­cific in-game data points, like health lev­els or re­main­ing am­mu­ni­tion, let­ting you turn your key­board into an ad­di­tional HUD. These neat perks are backed up by solid gam­ing per­for­mance, with the 3DMark Time Spy bench­mark show­ing a re­spectable 10% boost over last year’s GE73 7RF (which also sported a GTX 1070).

While the $2,999 price tag is quite com­pet­i­tive for a 15.6-inch lap­top packing an 8th-gen Core i7 CPU and a GTX 1070 GPU, if that’s too pricey, there’s a GTX 1060 model (the 8RE) that’s $300 less. The model we tested sported a 128GB SATA SSD and 1TB HDD stor­age com­bi­na­tion, but both mod­els sold in Aus­tralia will come with a big­ger and faster 256GB NVMe SSD along­side that 1TB HDD.

If there’s a weak spot in this unit, it’s bat­tery life, which left a lot to be de­sired. Last­ing just 1 hour and 45 min­utes for movie play­back, you def­i­nitely won’t want to leave home with­out the power brick. The chas­sis is also a lit­tle bulkier than we’d like, but that’s par for the course with gam­ing lap­tops. Oth­er­wise, though, the more pow­er­ful CPU and faster SSD help add a lot to what was al­ready a well­bal­anced and rea­son­ablypriced op­tion.

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