MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro Review: A Pascal-Powered Gaming Laptop

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MSI GE62VR 6RF Intro and Specifications

A good rule of thumb when purchasing a gaming laptop is to buy one with the fastest GPU you can afford. Unlike desktop PCs, you usually can't rip out the graphics adapter and upgrade to something faster (not in most cases, anyway), so when that once shiny and fast laptop starts feeling a little sluggish, you're looking at dialing down in-game settings until you've saved enough scratch to buy a new laptop. That's an expensive proposition (it's called throwing the baby out with the bath water), but if gaming on the go is what you're after, you don't have much choice in the matter.

That's still the situation today, though one thing working to your advantage is NVIDIA's Pascal architecture. Pascal didn't just introduce a generational leap in graphics performance, it made a mockery of the previous generation Maxwell architecture by both performing significantly faster and costing less for the same (or a better) level of performance. Take the GeForce GTX 1080. It consistently beats out the previous generation Titan X by 20-25 percent, and it costs several hundred dollars less.

MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro Open

Well, that mighty Pascal architecture is now available in mobile form, but that's not the only thing to be stoked about. The migration down from a 28-nanometer manufacturing process to a 16nm FinFET process has been good for NVIDIA, not just for Pascal's ability to push more pixels, but also in terms of power efficiency and performance-per-watt. NVIDIA says it achieved a "quantum leap" in both regards and nothing we've seen suggests they're wrong.

What that ultimately means for end users is that NVIDA's latest mobile GPUs are now more aligned with their desktop equivalents. NVIDIA even went and dropped the "M" designation from its GeForce 10 Series mobile parts, including the GeForce GTX 1060, which is featured in MSI's GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro (just Apache Pro from here on out).

There's little that separates the mobile GeForce GTX 1060 from its desktop counterpart. MSI opted for fancier 6GB (GDDR5) model, and like the desktop version, both have 1,280 CUDA cores and a 192-bit memory bus. The only notable difference is that the mobile version is clocked slightly slower with base/boost clockspeeds of 1,400MHz/1,670MHz versus 1,506MHz/1,708MHz. That's a small trade off to squeeze a desktop-class GPU into a laptop measuring barely more than an inch thick (with an optical drive, no less).

If you read our performance preview, you already know the Apache Pro delivers strong gaming performance, perhaps much to the dismay of anyone who recently purchased a Maxwell-based laptop. Tough cookies for them. The question is, what else does the Apache Pro bring to the mobile party? Keep reading to find the answer, but first, a look at the overall spec sheet.

MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro
Specifications & Features
Processor 
6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ (6MB Cache, 2.6GHz - 3.5GHz)
Display 15.6-inch Full HD (1920x1080) eDP IPS-Level
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 w/6GB GDDR5
Memory 16GB DDR4-2133 (8GB x2)
Storage 256GB M.2 (SATA) Solid State Drive + 1TB Hard Drive (7,200 RPM)
Optical DVD Super Multi
Ethernet Killer Gaming Network E2400
Connectivity Intel 3165 Stone Peak (1x1) 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
Interface (Left)
USB 3.0 (x2), USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI 1.4, Mini DisplayPort, GbE LAN, Headphone + Mic
Interface (Right)
SD Card Reader (XC/HC), USB 2.0
Interface (Back)
N/A
Webcam Full HD (30fps@1080p)
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Dimensions 15.07 x 10.23 x 1.06 inches (W x D x H)
Weight 5.29 Pounds
Extras N/A
Manufacturer Warranty
2-Year Limited
Pricing $1,599 - Find It At Amazon

MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro Closed

That's quite a bit of laptop for $1,599. In addition to one of the fastest mobile GPUs on the planet, MSI packs in an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, a healthy serving of 16GB of DDR4-2133 RAM, and a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD for the OS paired to a 1TB HDD for bulk storage duties. There's even an optical drive in case you're still kicking it old school with physical media, and a Killer Gaming LAN adapter to prioritize gaming traffic and keeps those pings to a minimum.

On paper, the Apache Pro looks like a delightfully lethal option for gamers. The only sour point we can spot in the spec sheet is the SATA status of the SSD. Even on the retail box that the Apache Pro ships in, MSI touts the speed benefits of a PCIe-based SSD. So, even though the laptop's sitting pretty with an M.2 SSD, it's still saddled by the SATA bus. If you want the speed gains of PCIe, you'll have to spend more on a higher-end configuration (which MSI offers).

Beyond the storage, it's hard to nitpick the Apache Pro's specs. Let's see how it fares once we unbox the thing...

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