CM02
CM02

July 18, 2017

MSI GE62VR 7RF Apache Pro Gaming Notebook Review

By: Low Chern Lin



In case if you haven't notice, NVIDIA has removed the M moniker for Pascal GPUs in gaming notebooks. NVIDIA recently made a bold claim that its Pascal architecture is so energy efficient and it will perform just as good regardless of the system that it's running on.  
In this review, we will test that out with the MSI GE62VR 7RF Apache Pro gaming notebook here at Tech Critter's lab, special thanks to MSI Malaysia Notebook for the provision of the review unit.

(The MSI GE62VR 7RF Apache Pro gaming notebook is retailed at RM7699)

Overview





While it might appear to be a bulkier choice compared to the thinner and lighter MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro, the bigger chassis allows a more powerful cooling system to be packed into the MSI GE62VR 7RF Apache Pro.


The hinge design on the GE62VR 7RF doesn't allow you to lay it completely flat, but it's more of a personal preference that doesn't really make much difference when it comes to gaming performance.  


Like the rest of MSI gaming notebook lineup, the GE62VR 7RF comes with usual aesthetics i.e brushed metal texture and the glowing MSI Gaming Dragon logo.  


The keyboard is again prepared by SteelSeries, but compared to the previous generation of MSI gaming notebooks, the revised design aka Silver Lining Print gives more light exposure through the translucent side of the key caps for better aesthetics. 


As usual, the Cooler Boost button to ramp up the fan speed for better cooling performance can be found right next to the power switch. 


Front view with the lid closed, notice that there are 3 LED indicators for the system and drive activity. The meshes on each side left and right is where the stereo speakers located at.


On the left, you'll find 2 x USB 3.0 port and 1 x USB 3.1 type-C port for your USB storage needs, audio jacks for headphones and microphones, Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet port for network traffic protection and prevents lag spikes, HDMI port and a mini DisplayPort for external display monitors.


There's nothing much here on the right though, 1 x USB 2.0 port, SD card slot and an optical drive for those who might still need it.


While there are no additional I/O ports at the back of the GE62VR 7RF, you do get the rear exhausts design that directs the heat out from the chassis to the back instead of the sides.


At the bottom of the GE62VR 7RF, you'll find the grill-like design ventilation holes for the middle section that is similar to the previous generation. These are meant to provide ventilation for better cooling performance. 

Upgrading the components such as memory kit, SSD or MXM module is easy with this chassis, but doing it on your own will void the warranty as it requires you to remove the warranty sticker that covers one of the screw holes. It is advised to bring it over to an MSI certified service centre to perform the upgrade if you did not wish to void the 2-year limited warranty covered by MSI Malaysia.

The Display



The viewing angle of the GE62VR 7RF's screen looks decent we'd say, as you can barely notice any odd symptoms from the 4 common different angles such as colour distortion. 

Software: MSI Dragon Center




The pre-installed MSI Dragon Center is something similar to the MSI Dragon Gaming Center software that we've seen on the previous generation MSI gaming notebooks, a handy tool that allows user to monitor the system status, customize the keyboard lighting and LED color, toggle system performance and more - Aside from the new look, the user interface much more organized and intuitive now.

Gaming Test



The GS62VR 7RF packs the latest NVIDIA GTX 10 series graphics, the GTX 1060 6GB with a slightly reduced performance for gaming notebooks. In our controlled test, we've gone through some selected titles in our library separately, with the GTX 1060 on stock clock and overclocked settings ( 125MHz on the GPU Clock and 200MHz on the memory clock).

Do note that the listed average frames per second (FPS) above is the result of the selected titles on its highest settings. We intended to find out just how capable the gaming notebook is when it comes to handling games, so there's no need to hold back with the game settings.

Key Rollover Test


As we have mentioned earlier that the key rollover feature has been greatly improved this time, here's a preview of the keys registered via the Aqua Key Test tool from OTD.kr. Some might find this insignificant, but for a gaming notebook which its keyboard is prepared by a gaming peripherals company, we find this is necessary. 


Starting off with the key matrix, unlike most ordinary, non-gaming notebooks out there, the GE62VR 7RF keyboard is able to register more keys to support games that requires more keys to be registered at the same time.



And of course, the key matrix does support the commonly used rows of keys for rhythm games as well. 



Audio Test


Audio quality wise, the GT62VR 7RF did as expected with its Dynaudio speakers. The speaker alone delivers clear and powerful sound stage, along with a decent amount of bass for not just gaming, but music and movies as well without any audio enhancement from the Nahimic 2 software. 

Of course, the software changes the audio quality significantly when it's activated, this shows that the speakers on the GT62VR 7RF are actually pretty good.


Battery Life


The GS62VR 7RF didn't last long under heavy usage for games with battery alone. It lasted for approximately 1 hour and 8 minutes before shutting down itself due to low power. We managed to squeeze 3 hours while running under power saver mode for lightweight usage i.e document processing, reading, web browsing.

Final Thoughts

For gaming performance, we manage to get some pretty impressive numbers with the GE62VR 7RF running selected AAA titles with the highest settings for each title. Although there is a 10% to 15% reduction in performance, we'd say that it's still within the reasonable range to what the desktop version of the GTX 1060 is capable of. Gaming on the battery alone is definitely not recommended, as it is impossible for the GTX 1060 to perform at its peak even with the new BatteryBoost. Battery life is still lacking, but that's common for every gaming notebook and we haven't seen anyone actually coming up with a permanent solution for that.

Cooling performance is excellent and we have nothing much to complaint about except for the slight increase in noise as the result for both cooling fans operating at maximum speed. If you're worried that having the cooling fans operating at maximum speed will encourage faster dust build up, have no fear as removing the bottom cover to clean up the cooling fans is as easy as pie. 


Price wise, the MSI GE62VR 7RF Apache Pro is retailed at the price of RM7,699, which is rather high for those who is
 limited by budget. Still, it's a choice Gamers on the go who doesn't actually need a powerful GPU like the GTX 1080 but still needs some extra cooling performance. Of course, if the bulkiness doesn't bother you.  

Pros
  • Very decent cooling performance with CoolerBoost
  • Decent graphics performance
  • Good overall audio performance
  • Keyboard with gaming optimized key matrix 
  • Consider to be future proof with USB Type-C MSI SuperPort (Thunderbolt 3) port
Cons
  • Still cost a bomb
  • Limited battery life on high performance mode
  • Bulky, not easy to carry around

ROG01