MSI hit the bull’s eye with last year’s MSI GV62 8RD-200. It had it all. A strong processor, Intel’s Optane Memory module, a very thin chassis, a high-resolution Full HD screen, and impressive gaming performance.
MSI has brought that same design up to the same 15.6-inch size with the MSI GV62 8RD-275. Along with the refreshed designs is updated components like a 256GB solid state drive (SSD), over the slower 1TB hard drive in last year’s model.
It starts at a few hundred dollars less than last year’s model and some competitors. That’s not expensive, and now that competing gaming laptops have also thinned out, did MSI manage to deliver a magical gaming machine for less?
MSI uses the same case as most of its predecessors in the MSI GV62-line, only that it gets thinner here. And a few more differences too. Like, the MSI GV62 8RD-034 doesn’t get an optical drive, which is a sacrifice you need to accept in getting a thinner device. The body is mostly matte black plastic, with a thin red accent on the rear, joining the dual fan grilles.
MSI laptops are meant for expandability, and to achieve that you’ll have to remove the underside.
Overall, the design is stylish and has the gaming allure in the right portions. In fact, it’s a system you might be tempted to use in the office –were it not for the red accents and ‘gamer-inspired’ Steel series keyboard.
Portability is something MSI attempted to perfect in this system, and at 1.06 inches thin and just over 4.8 pounds, the MSI GV62 8RD-275 is extremely portable over its 17-inch siblings, like the MSI GL72M 7RDX-800 (1.16 inches; 5.29 pounds). If you need something even more portable, the Asus ROG Strix GL502VM is worth a long look; measuring 0.9 inches thin and weighing 4.9 pounds but packs a better GPU and is VR-ready.
The 15-inch matte display features full HD (1920-by-1080) resolution and uses In-Plane Switching technology that offers wider viewing angles, but the effect isn’t well prominent when the screen doesn’t have a glass coating.
If you factor the new graphics card, 1080p is still ideal for notebooks, which aren’t configured to compete with desktops that run QHD+ OR 4K resolution, but you don’t get meaningful performance drops.
The built-in Steel series keyboard is well designed and comfortable to use. It boasts single backlighting and an anti-ghosting key. The red lighting pattern with a silver lining across the three zones is well-crafted, the keys are comfortable to type on, but too much travel makes them feel somewhat bouncy.
The touchpad is slightly offset towards the left, but its smooth and sturdy; with responsive left-and right-click functions just beneath the touchpad.
Port options on the MSI GV62 8RD-275 are plentiful and varied, considering that you won’t be doing VR gaming –that takes up a few of your ports at once. That feature isn’t supported on GTX 1050Ti cards, but if it’s a must-have, you’ll have to grab a system with a GTX 1060 GPU and above which supports that feature.
On the right flank is a USB 2.0 port, an SD card slot and the power jack. The right side holds one USB 3.0 Type-C, two USB 3.1 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a mini-display port, a HDMI port with 4K support and audio jacks.
An RJ-45 port lets you connect to the Internet, and for wireless you have Intel Wireless-AC 9462 3168 Sandy Peak 1 (1×1 802.11 ac) and Bluetooth 5.0. On the front is a 720p HD Webcam which is decent for an entry-level system.
While not playing, the MSI GV62 8RD-275’s newer 8th-Gen ‘Coffee Lake-H’ Core i5-8300H chip, speedy 256GB NVMe SSD and 8GB of RAM (max 32 GB) are more than sufficient. This is a 6 core CPU that can most certainly handle any productivity tasks, as well as any demanding tasks like video editing.
For that profile, it stacks well as a system that can perform well on specialized media tasks, like converting audio files, editing images in Photoshop, or any other tasks an average PC user may likely perform in a day.
For a gaming laptop, the graphics card is perhaps the most important component. The MSI GV62 8RD-275 packs a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. This is part of Nvidia’s latest line of Pascal architecture, and largely replaces the GTX 965M used in previous midrange gaming laptops.
Unfortunately, even if it’s a newer card, it doesn’t translate to class leading performing. It is an average performer on most AAA games, and when you tone up the settings playability tends to suffer.
It average 44 fps on Valley frame rate tests, 65 fps on Titanfall 2 and 59 fps on GTA V, all played at full HD (1080p) settings. This level of performance would be great for a general-use laptop, but for a system billed as a dedicated gaming laptop, it’s a smidge disappointing. Plus, it doesn’t support VR gaming.
Its closes rival, the Acer Predator Helios 300 uses a GTX 1060 GPU, is VR-ready and manages smooth playability on most AAA games: Titanfall 2 (96 fps) and 60.3 fps on GTA V (90.3 fps).
The GV62 8RD’s battery lasted 3 hours, 52 minutes, on rundown tests, which is expected of a gaming laptop. This is way lower than even a desktop replacement, but we have a few scoring well including the Dell Inspiron 15 – 11 hours 06 minutes; Razer Blade – 10 hours 29 minutes; and, Acer Predator 15 that will last 5 hours 36 minutes.
As always, this ilk of gaming notebooks are just portable enough to allow you move in a pinch to your next destination, but they aren’t designed for use all-the-way.
The MSI GV62 8RD-275 is an excellent budget gaming laptop that pack a strong feature set including a discrete graphics card and a newer Intel Core i5 processor. Its is slightly lower than earlier models, and that’s fine, but it buys you a system with many strengths and few weaknesses. This is all the budget gaming laptop most people need.
Is there a better alternative?
Surprisingly, competition is in-house from MSI’s very own GV62 8RD-034. This gaming laptop sports the same design, but the components have been souped up. It features a beefier hexa-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD + 1TB storage, and a GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics card.
Not everyone will think its improvements, like a better processor and hybrid storage option are worth the extra dollars, but its absolutely worth every extra dollar you paying. On the other hand, if you require something that will let you enjoy VR play, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent choice.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The MSI GV62 8RD-275 remains the gold standard among affordable gaming laptops. If you want a great laptop, and you don’t want to spend thousands, this is for you.
MSI GV62 8RD-275
The MSI GV62 8RD-275 is an excellent budget gaming laptop that pack a strong feature set including a discrete graphics card and a newer Intel Core i5 processor.
- Strong gaming performance
- Newer, powerful CPU
- Thing and lightweight
- Not VR-ready
- Middling battery life