MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro Gaming Laptop Review

Price Analysis And Conclusion

Until recently, gaming laptops made major compromises in either performance, heat, price, or some combination. Nvidia's Pascal lineup addresses at least two of these points, as performance and heat are no longer major issues. Our Stealth Pro comes in a much smaller package than the other GTX 1060-equipped laptops we've tested, yet performs competitively against them in synthetic, productivity and gaming benchmarks. It also exhibits impressive battery life bordering on two hours of play time on a full charge, making it an ideal gaming solution for frequent commuters.

MSI has crafted a thin, light gaming laptop with sleek aesthetics and solid performance. Despite its understated profile, the MSI Stealth Pro's perfectly placed aggressive edges and impressive keyboard backlighting unmistakably make it a gaming machine.

That isn't to say the Stealth Pro is perfect. We found the Stealth Pro's display to be fairly inaccurate out of the box, especially at high brightness settings. The grayscale and average color accuracy aren't particularly great, making color errors easily visible at times. Also, The Stealth Pro's thin design doesn't make it upgrade-friendly. At best, you can upgrade the 2.5mm HDD, but that's it; you cannot upgrade the SSD or memory because these slots are installed beneath the motherboard. If you want more memory and a larger SSD, you'll have to buy a different model with these options pre-configured.

At $1700, the MSI Stealth Pro-034 comes equipped with an i7-6700HQ, a GTX 1060, 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory, a 256GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD. For the same price, the Stealth Pro-041 includes 32GB of memory but downgrades to a 128GB SSD. It will benefit from the extra memory in synthetic workloads and productivity, but storage speed will be diminished. For $150 cheaper, the Stealth Pro-068 configuration trades the 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD for a 512GB SSD. Alternatively, for $2,000, the Stealth Pro 4K-021 includes both a 512GB SSD and 1TB SSD as well as a 4K display.

If screen size and/or high refresh rates are your preference, you can step up to MSI's 17" GS73VR Stealth Pro models. Laptops that come in 15" and 17" variants usually have the same thickness, but also increased width and depth to accommodate for larger screens. However, the GS63VR and GS73VR Stealth Pros vary in thickness, with the 17" variants being slightly thicker. Interestingly, for the same cost as the Stealth Pro-034, the Stealth Pro-025 comes equipped with the same specifications plus a wider 12 0HZ display. Of course, the wider screen and overall thickness of the GS73VR Stealth Pro model makes the system less portable.

And now we must revisit our previous recommendation, the Asus Strix GL502VM. Head-to-head against the Stealth Pro, the GL502VM comes out on top on nearly every performance metric, except battery life (MSI's laptop is six minutes better here). The GL502VM offers a better display and better cooling performance, which likely also helps it outperform the Stealth Pro on nearly every game in our test suite. But not by that much!

At the time of this writing, the Stealth Pro is $1700 on Amazon (the price buttons on each page should reflect up-to-the-minute pricing). The Asus laptop is $1400.

But that $300 difference gets you a few things, and this is where it gets tricky and subjective. The Stealth Pro is almost a pound lighter, and a quarter inch thinner than the GL502VM. Its aesthetic is less Axe body spray, as one of our favorite commenters likes to say, and more understated — and yet, despite the Stealth Pro's more demur presence, it still has what we think is a healthy enough dose of gamer flavor. So is that worth $300 extra? From the comments on previous gaming laptop reviews, it is to some of you.

Finally, the Stealth Pro also includes a 256 GB SSD, whereas the GL502VM only has its HDD. Adding a 256 GB SSD option to the GL502VM bumps it up to $1600. So now the question comes back to you? Would you pay $100 more to shed some girth, at the expense of a little performance (and a little more heat)? We're going to give a slight edge to our original selection, the Asus Strix GL502VM, just based on raw performance per dollar. But we can't also help but give our same Recommended award to the Stealth Pro, which manages to perform almost as well in a more mature, lighter package.

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  • cats_Paw
    When I saw the Price I thought to myself "let me guess, a 1060".
    See, back in the day of the 570M and the 580M, an MSI laptop with a 570M would set you back 1.5k, the 580M would be at 1.7k (the cheapest I could find them).

    Now, with no need to make both desktop and mobile chipsets (so, lower costs), the price has gone up. Now I know everything is going up (even if they say there is no inflation), but electronics used to go DOWN in price, not up.

    And older gen hardware used to go down when new came up, not stay the same...
  • Niva
    Ok, bottom of page 1:

    "Removing the bottom panel reveals just how tightly packed the system is packed. The CPU has one fan on the bottom right, whereas the GPU has two on the bottom left. The 2.5mm hard drive is located on the top right, next to the battery. The memory and SSD slots are beneath the motherboard, making them inaccessible."

    You can remove the first "packed" from the opening sentence and it will read better.

    The memory and SSD slots? You mean the M.2 slot is my guess, since the 2.5" drive can also be an SSD. So when you say "inaccessible", does that mean that memory cannot be upgraded and the boot drive cannot be replaced at all? I'm guessing you're trying to say that accessing those components requires to remove the motherboard from the chasis... or perhaps removing the keyboard, which in some cases is just as easy as opening up the back of the laptop.

    Bottom line, that's a very poor paragraph. You're welcome editor!
  • FritzEiv
    71481 said:
    Ok, bottom of page 1: "Removing the bottom panel reveals just how tightly packed the system is packed. The CPU has one fan on the bottom right, whereas the GPU has two on the bottom left. The 2.5mm hard drive is located on the top right, next to the battery. The memory and SSD slots are beneath the motherboard, making them inaccessible." You can remove the first "packed" from the opening sentence and it will read better. The memory and SSD slots? You mean the M.2 slot is my guess, since the 2.5" drive can also be an SSD. So when you say "inaccessible", does that mean that memory cannot be upgraded and the boot drive cannot be replaced at all? I'm guessing you're trying to say that accessing those components requires to remove the motherboard from the chasis... or perhaps removing the keyboard, which in some cases is just as easy as opening up the back of the laptop. Bottom line, that's a very poor paragraph. You're welcome editor!


    You're right. I edited this piece, and I remember making a note about the accessibility issue. Bad job on my part. Thanks for pointing this out. I'll clarify it and update this shortly.
  • Rookie_MIB
    Also, I didn't realize that they made a spinning HDD that was only '2.5mm' - might want to touch that up as well...
  • brucek2
    I was close to buying a MSI Titan the other day when I saw a post claiming there is no service option available that will get a defective laptop (in warranty) repaired in less than several weeks, during which time the customer is dead in the water. (it was something like 25 business days for repairs, then 5-10 days more for processing/shipping.) That nixxed the purchase for me. I don't know what the ASUS situation is but it may not be any better?

    My point is that I think these details should be included in these reviews. They may not be technical but they could be important factors in a purchase decision. (And shedding more light on them might help motivate saner policies in a competitive marketplace or at the very least make sure more consumers went into their decision knowing the risks they are taking.)
  • Clamyboy74
    Please do a review of the Sager NP8152-S/ clevo P650RP6-G make sure its the -s version or the -G version for g-sync(toggleable between that and optimus)
  • Clamyboy74
    Could you do a review of the Sager NP8152-S (Clevo P650RP6)? The verison with g-sync
  • hst101rox
    I really like how the MSI has 3 fans! Though 1 of the three are smaller than the other 2, which causes beat waves. Do any of the other laptops tested in this article have 3 fans, or just the normal 2 count? I think the Clevo P650RP6 has 3 fans as well but not sure if identical thermal design.
    I am very impressed with the thermal engineering effort put into this laptop. Will probably get the 17" 120HZ version fully specced out when the Kaby Lake version comes out, hopefully with a good 300MHZ CPU boost or so.
  • realpetrolium
    Late 2014 I bought a MSI GS30.
    CPU fan failure in 2015 and they had no replacement parts on hand. Replaced from ebay after months of monitoring.
    2016 the screen cracked and they have no replacement parts either.

    MSI does not stand by their products support wise. Purchase if you'd be ok with owning a paperweight after 2 years.
  • hst101rox
    Could probably have found a replacement panel online easily?
  • realpetrolium
    1748327 said:
    Could probably have found a replacement panel online easily?


    Tell you what, if you find one I'll send you a 100 finders fee
  • hst101rox
    You'd need to look at the back of the panel in the lid of your laptop to see the model of the panel. Or maybe find it with some Googling.
  • hst101rox
    Limited upgradeability. Yea it sucks you can't get a bigger SSD down the line when say, 8TB m.2 SSDs exist, but that's OK. Get a 512GB SSD and 32GB of RAM and then put in a huge 2.5" SSD down the line.

    You can use a high end desktop video card with this laptop via the thunderbolt connection.
  • hst101rox
    You tested the thermals of the GPU with Furmark, but what about the CPU?
  • Robert_402
    At this level, I'd look at some of the boutique makers. @Xi has one that has a better price/performance ratio than any of these. Build quality and support are top notch on many of the smaller companies.