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

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Final Thoughts on the MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro

Performance Summary: After seeing what NVIDIA's Pascal architecture could do on the desktop, we were anxious to see its mobile offerings, and the MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro provides our first look. It's armed with a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU that's virtually the same as the desktop equivalent (only clocked a little slower) and that made all the difference in the world. Instead of there being a big performance disparity from its desktop equivalent, the only real disparity here was how the GTX 1060 compared to last generation's Maxwell-based GPUs. In 3DMark's Fire Strike Extreme benchmark, the Apache Pro outpaced similarly equipped laptops with a GTX 970M by around 40 percent. The beat down continued as we looked at actual gaming titles, with the Apache Pro even able to distance itself from the GTX 980M.

MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro Open Wide
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We've been waiting a long time for a gaming laptop like MSI's GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro. Up until now, there's been a gulf between gaming laptops and desktops PCs in terms of graphics performance, but NVIDIA changed the game when it released Pascal. And for the first time, there's very little difference between a mobile GPU and the same model number in the desktop world. In this case, the Apache Pro's GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of GDDR5 memory is virtually the same as the desktop version, just with slightly slower clock speeds to keep thermals in check.

MSI went and built a compelling laptop around the GTX 1060, pairing it with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB M.2 solid state drive (albeit SATA 6Gbps) flanked by a 1TB hard drive. That's a sexy combination of hardware and MSI brought it all together for $1,599. Several other features kick up the value proposition, such as a Killer Networking E2400 LAN port, multi-color backlit keyboard, and for those who care, an optical drive. We'd prefer to ditch the DVD burner for a slimmer profile, but at just over 1.06 inches thick, the Apache Pro isn't a porker (not in and of itself, anyway).

MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro Keyboard

The rad thing about the Apache Pro is that you're getting awesome gaming performance at a price point that used to be reserved for only serviceable gaming performance. Nobody ever went out and bought a $1,599 gaming laptop because it had precisely the GPU they truly craved, instead compromising some level of graphics performance for a cheaper price tag. Typically if you wanted a laptop with a GTX 980M inside, you had to spend several hundred dollars more.

Everything's changed now. Yes, there will be faster Pascal parts that cost more and they'll perform better than the GTX 1060, but you're still getting a laptop that's faster than even the most recent notebooks wielding a GTX 980M. It no longer feels like a compromise, and instead it feels like a sound buying decision.

Whether you should pounce on the Apache Pro depends on how anxious you are to buy a gaming laptop. As much as we like what MSI's done here, there's room for improvement. Our biggest complaints are the plastic construction, SATA 6Gbps interface for the SSD, and short battery life. The price point and the fact that this is a gaming laptop, give MSI a bit of an excuse for these shortcomings, but they're not total justifications.

Our few gripes aside, the MSI GE62VR 6RF Apache Pro is a solid buy that feels like someone made a pricing error in the consumers' favor.

HotHardware Recommended

  • Pascal in mobile form offers awesome gaming performance
  • High-end specs for the money
  • Runs quiet in most situations
  • Multi-color backlit keyboard
  • Relatively cheap for the level of hardware inside
  • Plastic chassis feels out of place and is a fingerprint magent
  • Uninspiring battery life
  • No PCIe-based SSD at this price point (it's a SATA 6Gbps SSD)

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