Most gaming laptops cost more than £1,000 and sport components to rival desktop machines, but most gaming laptops aren’t like the MSI GV62 7RC – a gaming laptop that costs just £829 inc VAT. Inevitably, that price means some compromise, but MSI has been smart about this machine. Instead of aiming the GV62 at high-end games, this system is designed for eSports – one of the biggest growth areas in the tech industry.
The eSports focus and low price mean an understandably muted specification. The key gaming component is the GeForce MX150 – a new GPU from Nvidia that’s designed for games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League. The MX150 retains the Pascal architecture found in the rest of Nvidia’s current GPUs, but it only has 384 stream processors and 2GB of memory – even the modest GTX 1050 has about double those numbers. It has a solid clock speed of 1468MHz, though.
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Of course, this chip’s eSports aspirations have a downside: it won’t play any big, modern games without drastic reductions to quality settings, and its 2GB of memory will prove a roadblock, too.
The rest of the components are similarly modest. The Core i5-7300HQ processor only runs at 2.5GHz and doesn’t have Hyper-Threading, limiting its multi-threading abilities, although it at least has four physical cores. There’s 8GB of memory, but it’s only single-channel, and the Toshiba XG3 SSD only offers 128GB of space – when that’s formatted and Windows is installed, you’re left with barely enough room for a game or two. At least there’s a 1TB hard disk. There’s also an option to buy this laptop without an SSD for the cheaper price of £769 inc VAT, but even a low-capacity SSD will make Windows much more responsive and improve boot times.
Meanwhile, connection options are fine, with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, a card reader and USB 3.1 Type-C support. The whole base panel can also be easily removed to access components, and there’s a free RAM slot inside.
The enclosure itself mixes brushed, gunmetal-grey aluminium with red accents and the familiar MSI Dragon Gaming logo. It looks good, and its 2.2kg weight makes it light for a 15.6in gaming laptop, although its height measures a chunky 35mm when its rubber feet are included. Build quality is a little suspect, too. The plastic panel can be easily pushed to touch the components, and the keyboard base feels weak. The slim screen can be flexed without much effort when pressing the lid, too. None of those issues is surprising at this price, but we recommend using a padded case when travelling with the MSI.
The keyboard, meanwhile, is the usual Scrabble-tile affair, built by SteelSeries with a smart red backlight. The buttons are large and comfortable for typing, with reasonable travel and a consistent action – and they’re quiet, too.
That’s great for typing and fine for low-impact games, but this keyboard doesn’t have the firm action or the strength required for top-tier eSports and frantic gaming sessions. The touchpad suffers similarly: it’s fine for working on your lap, but its flabby buttons mean you’ll want to use a proper mouse for gaming.
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MSI GV62 7RC review: Performance
The MX150 returned great scores in some of today’s most popular eSports titles. It ran Dota 2 at its highest graphics settings at 1,920 x 1,080 with a minimum frame rate of 62fps, and it ran League of Legends with a 91fps minimum. However, this low-end GPU struggled with tougher games.
We could only get Fallout 4 to hit a minimum of 33fps after we’d dialled the graphics settings back to Low (where it looked terrible), and using those same settings in The Witcher 3 saw the minimum and average frame rates stumble to 15fps and 33fps respectively. The MX150 may run eSports titles smoothly, but you’ll need to seriously dial back the quality settings or resolution to play more demanding games.
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The Core i5 processor is a competent chip, though. Its overall benchmark score of 73,823 is fine, and it provided solid results in single- and multi-threaded tasks. We’ve no complaints here, especially for the price. The SSD isn’t bad for the money either, with a read score of 2,095MB/sec and a write pace of 575MB/sec. That former result is great, and while the SATA-level write result is disappointing for NVMe hardware, it’s still much quicker than a hard drive.
Battery life, meanwhile, was middling. The MSI lasted for almost three hours in an application test, but around 75 minutes in a gaming benchmark – not enough to guarantee a good session away from a plug socket.
On the plus side, the modest components mean the GV62 never presented us with thermal issues. The CPU and GPU Delta Ts of 40°C and 57°C aren’t high enough to cause concern, and the fans only produced a quiet and consistent murmur during benchmarks and stress tests. The exterior never became too hot either – the keyboard became warm, but never uncomfortable.
The biggest performance misstep came from the screen. It’s a 1080p TN panel, which means great response times, but its performance is inconsistent. Its colour temperature of 6,967K and average Delta E result of 0.37 are both great, for instance, and the panel only lost around 12% of its brightness at its worst point. It also rendered an impressive 97.8% of the sRGB colour gamut.
However, these results are undermined by poor contrast. The brightness level of 230cd/m2 is modest, but it’s the 0.73cd/m2 black level that really does the damage. It means the contrast ratio is just 315:1, with colours that lack punch and distinction, and black areas that look underwhelming and grey. That poor contrast ratio is disappointing, but it doesn’t render games unplayable – it just means they could look much better.
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MSI GV62 7RC review: Verdict
The MSI GV62 7RC is an affordable laptop designed for eSports titles and other less hardware-intensive games, and it performs well in this regard: it handled key eSports games without breaking a sweat, the processor is solid, and the machine is light and good-looking.
However, the Nvidia MX150 can’t handle many games beyond those eSports titles, the laptop’s battery life is middling and the screen has poor contrast. The keyboard and build quality aren’t great either. Still, it’s a solid bet if you need a laptop for eSports without paying over the odds – just don’t expect much else from it.
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