Our Rating: 9.0/10
MSI GV63 Review:
Pros & Cons
The MSI GV63 can max out pretty much any game while maintaining at least 60 FPS
The 120Hz refresh rate makes games feel incredibly smooth and gives and edge in esports titles
The 256GB NVME SSD and the secondary 1TB HDD offer more than enough storage
Fans get loud when the CPU/GPU are under load, but the system stays cool enough to where there are no performance issues
Why I Chose the MSI GV63 8SE
After reviewing the Acer Predator Helios 300, I wanted to test out one of the new RTX 2060 laptops to see how the performance compares to the GTX 1060 in the Helios 300. So, I wanted to find the most affordable RTX 2060 laptop that had specs that were as close to the Helios 300’s as possible.
That laptop ended up being the MSI GV63 8SE-014.
*Note that, the MSI GV63 was the most affordable RTX 2060 laptop at the time I purchased it. There are a couple of other options out there with similar specs now that come in at a lower price tag.
Like the Acer Predator Helios 300, the MSI GV63 comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 15.6″ 1080P display. There are some differences, though. Of course, the MSI GV63 comes with the newer RTX 2060 GPU, whereas the Predator Helios 300 sports a GTX 1060 GPU.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 also comes with faster memory (2666Mhz) and a higher refresh rate (144Hz). But the MSI GV63’s RAM speed (2400MHz) and refresh rate (120Hz) aren’t too far off. And, the slightly slower RAM speed shouldn’t hurt it too much in benchmarks.
The price difference is also big, too. The Acer Predator Helios 300 is now down to under $1,000 and the MSI GV63 comes in at ~$1,450. So, the big question I want to ask is, in terms of price-to-performance, is the MSI GV63 worth the cost over a laptop with an older generation GPU?
Let’s find out!
MSI GV63 8SE Tech Specs
|Intel Core i7-8750H
|RTX 2060 6GB
|16GB 2400MHz DDR4
|1920 x 1080
|256GB NVME SSD / 1TB HDD
|USB-C, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD Card Reader
|Windows 10 Home
|10.2″ x 15.1″ x 1.2″
Unboxing the MSI GV63 8SE
Let’s play a game. It’s called, The How-Many-Boxes-Does-It-Take-To-Get-To-The-Laptop Game. Here’s how you play: keep opening the box that supposedly holds your laptop until you, at last, arrive at the actual laptop.
There’s one box.
That’s a box inside of the first box. So, that’s two.
I see a laptop! So, three total boxes to get to the contents of the packaging. I’m not mad. All that cardboard is keeping this bad boy nice and safe.
Well, this isn’t a box, but if we were playing The How-Many-Boxes-And-Sleeves-Does-It-Take-To-Get-To-The-Laptop Game this would be four.
And, there it is. I may have skipped over some promo cards from MSI and a laptop charger, but who cares about those things? We’re here for the laptop.
The MSI GV63’s Design & Keyboard
While I did plan on comparing the MSI GV63’s performance to the Acer Predator Helios 300, I didn’t plan on comparing their designs to one another. However, considering that both laptops have a similar red and black theme, it’s kind of hard not to compare them.
While both the MSI GV63 and the Acer Predator Helios 300 have similar designs, the MSI GV63 is a bit smaller and a bit lighter. The MSI GV63 measures in with dimensions of 10.2″ x 15.1″ x 1.2″. The Helios 300 is 10.5″ x 15.4″ x 1.0″. So, the GV63 is not quite as deep and is a bit narrower as well, but it is also a little bit thicker than the Helios 300.
The GV63 also weighs in at 4.8-pounds, which is nearly a pound less than the Helios 300 (5.5-pounds.) So, if you’re looking for a lightweight gaming laptop, the GV63 is one of the lighter options out there.
The keyboard on the GV63 is designed by SteelSeries. The keys are membrane style and are black with red letters and red trim. The keyboard on the GV63 is also a bit wider than the keyboard on the Helios 300. And, the keys are backlit red.
In terms of keyboard quality, the GV63’s keyboard is probably as good of an option as you’ll find in this price range. There’s really not a whole lot you can do with a laptop keyboard, but the GV63’s keys are nice to press and it’s not too bad typing on them as well.
The track pad on the GV63 is also a bit larger than the track pad on the Helios 300. As far as track pads go, I suppose it’s as good of a track pad as you’ll find. I try not to use the trackpad if possible, though. If you can use a mouse instead of a track pad, why wouldn’t you?
Cooling Performance: The Fans Get Loud, But the Performance Never Drops
Along with the actual benchmark performance (which you’ll see below) the cooling performance is where the MSI GV63 really stands out over the Acer Predator Helios 300. The GV63’s cooling system consists of dual fans, dual exhausts, and six copper heat pipes.
Across the six games that I tested the laptop on, the CPU temperature mostly sat in the low-to-mid 70’s, but got up into the upper 80’s in more taxxing scenarios.
When under load, the GPU fluctuated between the upper-to-lower 70’s but jumped into the mid 80’s on occassion.
For the most part, the fans aren’t too loud. However, when the Cool Boost feature bumps them up to maximum fan speed, you’ll definitely hear them. So, if you’re planning on using this laptop in a public setting, just be warned that the people around you will be able to hear the fans.
MSI’s included Dragon Center software also gives you quite a bit of options to change fan settings and game configurations as well. I played with the settings a bit, but the stock settings seemed to work just fine.
Benchmarks: The MSI GV63 8SE Can Max Out Anything
The real question with the MSI GV63 8SE was how well the new RTX 2060 laptop GPU would handle games, especially in comparison to a previous generation GTX 1060. In my testing, the RTX 2060 in the MSI GV63 8SE offered a significant jump over the GTX 1060 in the Acer Predator Helios 300.
Again, the Helios 300 was a bit more erratic in the cooling department and that may have impacted the average framerate a bit. So, a higher-end GTX 1060 laptop may perform closer to the results I got from the MSI GV63.
But, in every game that I tested on both the GV63 and the Helios 300, the GV63 offered at minimum an 8% performance increase.
I tested the GV63 in the following games:
- Apex Legends
- Rocket League
- Dirt 4
- The Witcher 3
Here are the benchmark results for the GV63:
And, here are the results from the Helios 300:
Across the four overlapping games, there’s about a ~10% performance difference for the GV63 over the Helios 300. In Dirt 4, the GV63 offered a nearly 40% higher framerate. That does seem a bit high. And, perhaps I made a mistake in the settings from one laptop to the other. So, if you want to throw that one out and just call it a 10% increase, you’re justified in doing so.
But, still, a 10% performance increase is a nice step up in performance. That’s the difference between running the Witcher 3 at just below 60 FPS, and running it easily above 60 FPS.
So, despite the Helios 300 coming with faster RAM, the RTX 2060 in the GV63 gives it a noticeable edge in performance over the Helios 300’s GTX 1060. The GV63 does cost ~$500 more than the Helios 300, though, so you’ll have to decide on whether or not that performance bump is worth the price difference. Of course, as outline above, the GV63 also comes with a more reliable cooling system than the Helios 300 and, as you’ll see below, also comes with a lot more storage.
Storage & Battery Life
The MSI GV63 8SE comes with a 256GB NVME SSD and a 1TB HDD (7200RPM). In comparison, the Acer Predator Helios 300 only came with a single 256GB NVME SSD. That’s really not a lot of storage for the Helios 300 and you’ll likely have to add additional storage to it if you went that route (which would bump it up to over $1,000).
So, the MSI GV63 clearly wins in the storage department. The one downside, though, is that if you do want to add more storage or memory to the GV63, you have to take off the entire back panel of the laptop. With the Helios 300, there are a couple of quick access spots that will allow you to easily add a new 2.5-inch drive or more memory.
If you’ve taken the back panel off of a laptop you know that it can be a finicky process. And, since I’m going to give the GV63 away after I’m done reviewing it, I didn’t want to take the panel off and risk damaging it (which isn’t covered under warranty.)
The good news, though, is that with 16GB of RAM, a 256GB NVME SSD, and a secondary 1TB HDD, you shouldn’t need to remove the back panel to upgrade or add to those anytime soon.
As for the battery life, it’s not ideal. I really don’t think you can find a gaming laptop with good battery life in this price range—or any price range for that matter. And, if you’re getting this laptop, you shouldn’t be planning on gaming without the laptop plugged into the charger.
There’s built-in settings that limit the laptop’s GPU when gaming. I ran into the same issue on the Helios 300. The Helios 300 was capped at 30 FPS when unplugged through a setting in NVIDIA GeForce experience. However, even turning that setting off, the laptop seemed to have a cap at 60 FPS and the GPU didn’t seem to be running at full power.
The same is true for the GV63.
So, if you need an option that can run while being unplugged, you’ll want to look elsewhere (probably at a higher-end model.) But, for me, I’m fine with leaving the laptop plugged in while I game.
Final Verdict: The MSI GV63 8SE Offers an Ideal 1080P Gaming Experience
When all things are considered, both the GV63 and the Helios 300 perform very well. The GV63 will give you a ~10% performance increase over the Helios 300, but the Helios 300 comes in at nearly ~$500 cheaper. The Helios 300 also comes with slightly faster RAM (2666MHz vs 2400MHz) and a slightly higher refresh rate (144Hz vs 120Hz), but as you can see in the benchmarks above, the faster RAM doesn’t seem to make a difference and the Helios 300 is only hitting a high enough framerate to fully utilize the 144Hz refresh rate in non-demanding esports titles.
The GV63 also offers more storage out-of-the-box and has noticeably better cooling performance. So, for me, despite the $500 price difference, I think the MSI GV63 offers a better value than the Helios 300. It’s close, though, and if you have a more limited budget, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is definitely a worthy option to consider.
Both laptops can run pretty much any game on at least medium-to-higher settings with a framerate of at least 50-60 FPS.
So, what it all boils down to is how much you have to spend. If you can stretch your budget to ~$1,500, go with the MSI GV63. If not, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a nice alternative.
If you want to check out the MSI GV63 8SE on Amazon, click on the link below.