Gaming notebooks are great companions for gamers on the go who can’t stand a day without gaming. There are a lot of brands of gaming notebooks to go for and MSI is one of the very few that delivers very high-end gaming notebooks with 2 x NVIDIA GTX980M on SLI such as the MSI Gaming GT80 Titan SLI. Yet, not everyone wants to carry a bulky gaming notebook let alone can afford the high-end models.
Today we’ll be examining the MSI Gaming GL62-6QF gaming notebook, courtesy of MSI Malaysia. A new and less bulky model from MSI that comes with fairly decent specification that is supposed to be able to fulfill the needs of most gamers on the go. Let’s keep things short and let us proceed with the review!
(The MSI Gaming GL62-6QF retails at RM3999)
The GL62-6QF comes in a rather normal looking packaging, very much different to the higher-end models that come in a more artistic dragon printing packaging.
Features can be found highlighted at the back, such as the proprietary Cooler Boost to ramp up the fan speed for that extra cooling performance, Nahimic audio enhancer software, high-speed data transfer with USB 3.0, M.2 SSD, DDR4 and much more.
The accessories you’ll find in the box are, the power cord, power adapter, user’s guide, warranty service book.
The GL62-6QF has a very clean appearance overall, smooth matte surface with an MSI Gaming G Series Dragon Shield.
At the back, you’ll find dual exhaust vents, the dual fan cooling design that is behind MSI laptop’s excellent cooling solution which is clearly different from the rest.
The left of the GL62-6QF consists of 1 x Killer Networking – Killer™ Ethernet E2400, 2 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C port, Audio Jacks for Speaker and Microphone, HDMI port and a mini DisplayPort.
As for the right side, you’ll find a DVD Super Multi optical drive, 1 x USB 2.0 port, built-in card reader and the charging port.
Unlike the higher-end models like the GT72 and GE72, the GL62-6QE hinge design doesn’t allow it to lay completely 180° flat.
The keyboard on the GL62-6QF isn’t illuminated as we’d hoped, but it is merely an added aesthetics and it doesn’t actually affect the overall performance.
The keyboard by SteelSeries has been on MSI gaming notebooks since forever.
The basic function keys that we normally see on MSI gaming notebook is still there, such as the following:
- F3: Enable /Disable the touchpad
- F4: P1 shortcut key for Instant Play feature that launches a designated application when pressed
- F5: Eco mode (power saving mode) for lower power consumption
- F6: Enable / Disable the webcam.
- F7: The SHIFT function to toggle system performance according to your needs
The arrow keys as well have it’s very own function for increasing/ decreasing the brightness of the screen, mute volume, increasing/ decreasing the volume of the built-in speaker.
On the right side of the palm rest, you’ll find these label that indicates what’s inside this very gaming notebook – we can see that there’s an Intel i7 CPU and NVIDIA GTX960M GPU powering this GL62-6QF, something that we have more interest in.
The touchpad has a granulated texture that allows your fingers to glide smoothly on its surface and doesn’t leave much traces of fingerprints, but we’d still prefer a smooth surface compared to this.
The shortcut key for Cooler Boost to ramp up the fan speed to maximum and MSI Dragon Gaming Center software for system monitoring, utility, etc is located at the top right of the chassis of the GL62-6QF.
The bottom of the GL62-6QF has a wide area of vents for more air flow for effective cooling, maximizing the twin cooler performance for a lower operating temperature that leaves single-fan cooling design gaming notebook of the same tier biting dust.
The Dynaudio subwoofer got you covered with extra bass while you’re gaming, watching movies or listening to music.
While upgrading can easily be done on your own, you’ll be taking your own risk to perform just that as you’ll void the warranty if you tamper with the sticker located right above one of the screws. Upgrades should be done only by MSI-authorized reseller or service centers as voiding the 2 years warranty is the last thing you want to do to a brand new laptop.
Software: MSI Dragoon Gaming Center
System Monitor is a pretty useful tool for one to monitor the system performance, shift mode, temperature and network speed. All the details are presented in the simplest form which can be easily understandable.
The Utility allows you to compile all frequently used applications into the list for the ease of access.
The instant play tab allows you to add your most frequent played games to the list and launch it via the P1 function key located at the F4 key.
Display & audio tab allows you to adjust the volume for speakers/microphone and display brightness/gamma.
The mouse tab, allows you to control the mouse pointer speed, double click speed and scrolling line number easily without having to access the mouse properties in Control Panel.
The resource release tab lists out all the active programs and you can select the programs to be killed to release resources for the designated games when instant play is activated.
Device Setting allows you to toggle for enabling/disable of Windows key on the keyboard, enabling/disabling the high-performance profile and toggle the system performance with the shift mode’s green (low power consumption), comfort (balanced) and sports mode (high-performance mode).
To test the capability of the GL62-6QF, we have opted for ultra and high settings on all the games and synthetic benchmark which will be tested in this review. We’ve set 30 FPS as the bottom line, a standard which some claims as a playable frame rate that is commonly seen on game consoles like PS4 and Xbox One.
Games like Crysis, Watch Dog and Tom Clancy’s The Division is deemed to be unplayable on Green mode and Comfort mode, and the only way to make these games playable is none other than shifting to Sports mode for the maximum performance.
We’ve run a series of system stress test with Prime95, Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, FurMark that has been widely used by enthusiasts around the globe for system stability test. Since the stress test generates heat, we’ve recorded the temperature reading for both situations where the cooling fans operate normally or with Cooler Boost enabled under sports mode for maximum heat.
In order to demonstrate the difference between single fan cooling solutions and twin fan cooling solutions, we’ve run the same series of stress test that we’ve conducted on the GL62-6QF with the AUS ROG GL552V-WDM527T from our office which shares similar specs.
We’re not entirely surprised with the GL62-6QF beating our ROG GL552V-WDM527T that uses a single fan design for their cooling solution. While the ROG GL522V-WDM527T relies on a single fan to dissipate heat generated by both CPU and GPU, the GL62-6QF twin fan design has a series of heat pipes that transfer the heat generated from both CPU and GPU separately to the designated cooling fan of its own to dissipate the heat in a more effective manner.
The battery life for the GL62-6QF isn’t very good under heavy usage as it only manage to last about 2 hours 24 minutes after a heavy gaming session in high-performance mode. To game longer on the GL62-6QF, you could opt for comfort mode or green mode that somehow sacrifices some of the performance by reducing the system performance so it is less taxing on the battery.
Audio wise, the Nahimic software didn’t turn out really well on the GL62-6QF. The Dynaudio speakers by itself are able to deliver clear and powerful sound stage for gaming and movie session without the assistance of the software. Enabling the software somehow contained the sound, reducing the overall clarify for music and movies.
When it comes to gaming keyboards, we expect the design and feature to be beneficial to gamers. Designed by the renowned gaming peripherals manufacturer SteelSeries, the keyboard on the QL62-6QF comes with key mapping that appears to be helpful for the gamers, but we find that the keyboard itself is lacking N-key rollover feature that has been widely used on higher-end gaming keyboards on the market.
We’ve tried the commonly used key combination for FPS games and everything seems well for now.
The commonly used key combination for racing games seems okay as well.
When we tried playing rhythm games that require simultaneous keys to be pressed at the same time, signal blocking arises and the maximum amount of keys that can be registered simultaneously is limited to 6 keys (excluding modifier keys). We’ve tried configuring the keys onto another area of the keyboard but to no avail.
Performance wise, the result of the games benchmark hovers around the ‘playable’ 30 fps for taxing games like Tom Clancy’s The Division, Watch Dogs and Crysis 3 with some settings disabled. Going for full details heavily taxes the GTX 960M so to get higher FPS, you’d have to tune down the graphics settings until it’s comfortable to game on – not to mention that it’ll save you some battery life for longer operation.
Temperature wise, the GL62-6QF’ Cooler Boost and twin fan design is very good with a very significant drop in temperatures compared to normal fan operation (up to 8°C difference in our case). Though, you’ll be sacrificing the acoustic performance as enabling Cooler Boost will turn the GL62-6QF into a mini jet engine.
Last but not least, a subjective issue that we’ve been highlighting since our first review on MSI Gaming Notebooks – The keyboard roll-over feature. While not everyone is going to press all of the keys on the keyboard at the same time, the N-key rollover is still an important feature that should cater for if its targeted audience which are gamers from all kinds of game genres.
Judging from what the MSI Gaming GL62-6QF can deliver, RM3999 is a fair price for a decent gaming notebook compared to most products of the same tier. However, things could be even better if MSI would consider giving the GL62-6QF an illuminated keyboard, a simple non-RGB one will do.
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Decent audio from the speaker alone
- Decent graphics performance
- Decent cooling performance from the twin fan cooling design and Cooler Boost
- Adjustable system performance for extended battery life and lower temperature
- Short battery life
- Nahimic audio software didn’t work as well as how it is on the higher-end models
- Keyboard isn’t illuminated
- Keyboard doesn’t come with N-key rollover feature