The thing about an MSI gaming notebook (they make other types, believe it or not) is that you know what you’re going to be getting out of them. The design may not alter a lot between models or even generations but the insides… oh, the insides are what count and MSI’s kit rarely fails to deliver.
Take the MSI GE62, for example. The version we had to play with was the 7RE variant, which also carries the Apache Pro suffix. From the outside this 15.6in gaming notebook doesn’t do much to stand out from the rest of the pack. You might have bought it in 2016. Heck, even 2015. But the MSI GE62 7RE is from 2017 — of that you can be very assured.
As we’ve mentioned, the MSI GE62 for 2017 looks an awful lot like its predecessor. And, unfortunately, everything else on the market bearing the same brand name. If you’re out to make a statement about yourself by buying one of these then you’re saying ‘I look the same as everyone else in my family’. Any customisation is going to have to come via software changes, we’re afraid.
That said, why mess with a solid chassis design? MSI have opted, as usual, for a mix of plastic and steel with SteelSeries interfaces, with the backlit keyboard being the standout. Even this isn’t anything new, the keyboards are always good. The trackpad in this instance is less so. The textured feel doesn’t lend itself to simple navigation and we feel more like we were attempting to navigate using an unsanded piece of wood. Forgiveness is in order, though, as you’re not supposed to be using the trackpad. This is a gaming notebook, after all. If you’re using the trackpad, you’re doing it wrong.
Kaby Lake Starter
Joking aside, the GE62 packs in a decent crop of hardware to get you started on this whole portable gaming rig thing. The 15.6in IPS display has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, there’s an Nvidia GeFore GTX 1050 Ti in place and then one of Intel’s lovely new Core i7 7700HQ Kaby Lake processors to play with. Dual 8GB DDR4 2133 RAM modules, for a total of 16GB of RAM, as well as a 256GB/1TB SSD/HDD combo round out the rest of the hardware.
Save for all of those wireless and LAN bits with the word Killer in the title, obviously. Iterations of these are included but the features list for this mid-range gaming notebook is a lot shorter than something from, say, the GT-series might feature. It’s still impressive enough to widen eyes wherever you whip this one out and settle down to start gaming (though the guys at McDonald’s don’t appreciate it).
Show Me What You Got
The component roster is more than enough to get you gaming. Rather than just tell you that Game X was able to run on PC Y without turning into a slideshow, we’ve gone with a few benchmarking programs to give you an overview of the performance offered by the GE62.
The programs used were our old favourite Heaven as well as 3DMark’s Fire Strike and Time Spy tests.
Heaven was run with everything maxed. Textures were set to Ultra, tessellation to Extreme and anti-aliasing set to 8x. A final score of 921 was secured, with an average frame rate of 36.6. It was only after the test concluded that we realised that the notebook was running in low-performance mode. In other words the fans were off and the GPU was sleeping. Enabling high-performance graphics, oddly, didn’t much much difference. It did bring up the minimum frame rate from 7.6 to 14.3, which is something.
Fire Strike was in line with this, averaging 37 and 32 frames-per-second for the first and second GPU tests respectively, for a final score of 6,931. Time Spy, which tests the GPU’s DirectX 12 capability, was a tad lower than we’d like. GPU Test 1 and 2 scored 15 and 13fps, for a score of 2,507 at the end of the day. Not bad, not amazing either. The long and short of it is that DirectX 12 will be playable but if that’s what you’re after, you should be looking at a GTX 1080 instead.
We could talk about all the things that you’ll want to use the MSI GE62 for but we all know that there’s only one reason to get an MSI and that’s for gaming. If you’re looking at entering the mid-section of gaming hardware and getting your hands on Intel’s newest generation processors to boot, then the GE62 will be right up your alleyway. The familiar design works, though it’s feeling a touch stale at the years wear on, but you’re getting Kaby Lake and gaming chops for around R26,000, give or take. You could go for something bigger and badder from the GS and GT series of notebooks from MSI but you start, at least in the case of GT-branded hardware, by doubling the price. Get this one in the meantime.