MSI GL63 8RC-068 Gaming Laptop Review

MSI GL63 8RC-068 Front view and Display

MSI GL63 8RC-068 Review

Pros

  • Simple gamer design and aesthetic
  • 1080p support IPS display
  • Decently priced
  • SSD and large 1TB HDD storage
  • USB Type-C port

Cons

  • The competition offers a powerful GTX 1060 for a lesser price
  • USB Type-C lacks Thunderbolt
  • Lacks support for Nvidia G-Sync

Verdict

The MSI GL63 8RC-068 provides a host of components that give it the muscle to power through modern AAA gaming titles. Also, thanks to an amazing new 8th Generation Intel processor and 16GB of memory, the GL63 can handle multitasking like a charm. Despite its poor battery life, it is certainly a budget choice that should get you through the door for smooth HD gaming and video playback. Versus similarly priced competition, it’s a good performer but other similar specced options offer competitive prices snagging our Editor’s Choice (Lenovo Legion Y530).

MSI GL63 8RC-068 Specs

Screen size15.6 inches IPS Panel
Resolution1920 x 1080 Full HD
Processor2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory16GB DDR4 2400MHz
Storage1TB HDD 5400RPM/ 128GB SATA SSD
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB DDR5
Operating systemWindows 10 Home 64-Bit
ConnectivityBluetooth 5 and an Intel 9462AC wireless card
Battery Life4 Hours
KeyboardSteelSeries

Design and Features

From an aesthetic standpoint, nothing much about the MSI GL63 8RC-068’s chassis is visually distinct from its predecessor MSI GP62. The new design brings in a touch of color (more red colors) among other superficial hints. But the biggest and most noticeable hint is the removal of the optical drive in efforts to make room for vents for a better cooling experience.

Predecessors aside, the black-and-red color scheme still distinguishes it as a gamer’s machine. Admittedly, the MSI GL63 8RC-068 still gives off a good look, certainly admirable, even if it doesn’t stray away from the gamer mold. The hinges are small, strong and stiff. They allow contortions to 150 degrees but you’ll need both of your hands to get the lid open. The case although strong has one major caveat. Grease and fingerprints stick to it and are difficult to clean and easy to see. Brushed aluminum or rubberized surface would maybe have been a nice touch here.

The GL63’s chassis has an all-plastic construction which might not be everybody’s fancy. So if a metallic build is your preference, the GF63 series is a more than a decent option. It also offers the same processor and graphics card.

Related: Best laptops for Finance Majors

Dimensions

Measuring at 15.07 x 10.23 x 1.16 inches and 4.8 pounds, the MSI GL63 8RC-068’s dimensions are exactly the same as its predecessors GL62M and GL62. The one difference is just that the GL63 is just about 200 grams lighter. Meanwhile, compared to other models such as the new Dell G5 15, the GL63 falls short of 700 grams. The former has a more rigid base and heavier material to thank for its weight.

Related article: Check out the MSI GV62 8RD-276 Laptop Review

Display and Brightness

The whole GL series displays are limited to only 1080p resolution. But just in case you need something better, there are other higher-end models offering 4K UHD resolutions. The MSI GL63 8RC-068 display is an IPS panel meaning viewing angles are good. The screen is also anti-glare thus preventing those weirdly annoying light reflections on your screen. As a result, you can carry the laptop and use it under the sun or dimly lit rooms. On other fronts, the panel is also advertised as having 45 percent NTSC gamut.

The screen also emits a decent amount of brightness and contrast which all add up to a vivid watching experience. On the gaming front, this laptop, unfortunately, struggles with a regrettable lack of Nvidia G-Sync technology. Admittedly, while it’s almost normal not to find an Nvidia G-Sync on a budget gaming PC, it would have nonetheless been great for MSI to raise the bar. Playing games would especially be fluid and it would definitely have helped while on 60 fps or less gameplay scenes.

Ports

MSI GL63 8RC-068 left side ports
The left side holds more ports

Ports are important to ensure connectivity between devices so you need a healthy set. For the MSI GL63, the port system was inherited from the GL62 but with some few rearrangements to keep things fresh. To be particular, the left side ports are now stacked a bit more closely because of the new ventilation grilles. Hosted along the left side is the Kensington lockdown notch, a Qualcomm Atheros-backed Ethernet jack, a single HDMI and single mini-DisplayPort video-out connectors, USB Type-A and Type-C ports (both version 3.1), and headphone-out and microphone-in jacks.

The USB Type-C is nice to have especially on a gaming laptop because you might need to transfer some large files or save some game from a flash drive. That requires fast transfer speeds that USB Type-C ports offer. It would have been even better if MSI made the ports Thunderbolt ready, an aspect Dell understands better. The Dell Inspiron 15 7577 is an entry-level gaming laptop that brings the fight right to MSI’s doorstep(with Thunderbolt ports).

Moving on, for this unit, it’s worth noting that the HDMI port version is 1.4. Unlike the 2.0 version which supports 4K at 60Hz, the 1.4 supports 4K output at just 30Hz. All that means is gaming on 4K won’t be very possible or even playable at half decent frames. Nonetheless, you will be able to connect a 4K TV or external display (monitor) and it should a snappy experience.

MSI GL63 8RC-068 left ports
A good illustration of the right side ports

Further still, the right side houses a full-size SD-card reader, two USB Type-A 3.1 ports and power jack. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 5 and an Intel 9462AC wireless card. Finally, right at the top center of the bezel is the 720p webcam useful for Skype calls. Unfortunately, MSI did not include a built-in biometric feature as is common with business laptops such as Lenovo. That means the webcam is not an IR camera and there is no fingerprint reader available.

Note: The SD card when fully inserted will still protrude by about half a centimeter. So it’s worth paying attention and perhaps ejecting it before transporting to avoid bending or cracking.

Performance

A well-rounded gaming computer is one with a great assembly of components that fit both the price and performance requirements for its user(s). With that in mind, MSI created a litany of configuration options to suit almost every budget and performance needs for gamers. Our reviewed unit came with 128GB SATA SSD + 1TB HDD but you can opt for a few other options:

  • 1TB Samsung NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 1TB WD SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 250GB Samsung NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 256GB SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 2TB WD SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 500GB Samsung NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 500GB WD SATA SSD + 1TB HDD

With that out of the way, we’d love to start with the heart and central nervous system of this PC; the processor. Our MSI GL63 8RC-068 model is a legit mammoth packing an 8th Gen Six-core Intel Coffee lake i7-8750H processor alongside 16GB RAM and HDD/SSD storage (we’ll cover the last two later). The hexa-core processor is a lower-power eight generation processor and predecessor of the Quad-core Intel i7-7700HQ. Its key improvement over the i7-7700HQ is its unique core count making it a very capable system.

The MSI GL63 8RC-068 keypad and trackpad
The MSI GL63 packs a Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU

Compared to the i7-7700HQ, the i7-8750H comes with 9MB L3 Cache and higher single core performance of up to 4.1 GHz up from 3.8GHz (on i7-7700HQ). As if not enough, running on two cores it is capable of 4.1GHz, 4.0GHz on four cores and a steady 3.9GHz on all six cores. To sum things up, while this Coffee Lake processor might not be the top of the line (there is i7-8850H, i9-8950HK) it certainly makes a great option for productivity.

Memory

Like previously mentioned, among the list of components is the 16GB (2x 8GB) DDR4 2400MHz memory, 1TB hard drive 5400RPM and 128GB SATA solid-state drive storage. 16GB memory is more than the bare minimum for productivity sake. It should be enough for modern gaming and multitasking tasks. As a result, one can comfortably play the latest and most intensive gaming titles while simultaneously handle jumping between programs and flipping back and forth between files and tools.

You can easily run Photoshop while ratcheting up to 10 tabs open on your web browser. All that without noticing much drag. For the most part, 16GB is recommended for enthusiasts, hardcore gamers and the average workstation user. So as far a high-performance component goes, the memory is well covered. The GL63 supports up to 32GB just in case you want to upgrade. There are two SO-DIMM slots available on the motherboard for that.

Check out this video on how much RAM you need for gaming by Hardware Unboxed

Storage

Also worth complimenting is the available mix of 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD is more than enough for daily storage needs. The hard drive can be used for storing data files, games, multimedia and software. 128GB SSD acts as a backup for storage and contributes much in helping the bootup time to be faster and loading of software. Considering that you can now save files online through drives such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive you don’t need that much space anymore. Nevertheless, if you’re a data hog who prefers large chunks of storage, better yet, just require a different configuration of storage, MSI offers a variety of options here.

  • 128GB SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 1TB Samsung NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 1TB WD SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 250GB Samsung NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 256GB SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 2TB WD SATA SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 500GB Samsung NVMe SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 500GB WD SATA SSD + 1TB HDD

Gaming Prowess

The GeForce GTX 1050 provides just enough muscle to power through the latest AAA titles. Like its competition( Dell Inspiron 15 7577, Dell G7 15 and Lenovo Legion Y530), it packs a 4GB video memory which is perfect for handling intensive graphics in tasks and games. In terms of performance, the GTX 1050 GPU is both this laptop’s boon and limiting factor. While it gets you through the door for smooth HD gaming, it is a budget-friendly system when it comes to raw graphics performance and as a result, has muscle-power limitations.

Dell reinvented its gaming laptop lineup to include the GL series with a completely fresh design and components. The Dell G7 15 is one of the newcomers configured well with similar specs to our unit but brandishing a premium Nvidia Max-Q GeForce GTX 1060 GPU.

With that, it beats out MSI GL63 8RC-068 laptop by providing enough power for 60fps HD gaming. A second example is the Lenovo Legion Y530 laptop priced lower than our unit and with a Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti GPU capable of cranking 60 fps on modern demanding titles and a long-lasting battery.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Like many gaming laptops with backlit keyboards, the GL63 has an attractive backlit keyboard. It’s both well lit not to be too taxing on the eyes and bright enough to illuminate while typing in dimly (34.5 x 10.5 cm) lit rooms. You only get a single color; red and the backlighting can’t be changed. However, on the bright side, the keys offer shallow travel and the rubbery keystrokes give off an easy typing experience. Not so easy for long typing hours though. I’m talking about being good enough for writing a novel. You’d probably be safer using it for short bursts typing.

Still, on the keyboard, the right section has a number pad which is great for productivity. The keyboard is SteelSeries but not programmable. You will have to get one of MSI’s GS or GT notebooks to get a fully programmable SteelSeries keyboard and changeable keys backlighting. Moving on, the trackpad (~11.0 x 6.3 cm) has plenty of field space to work with too. Its surface is smooth and clickable and it feels identical to the GL62 and GL62M. The trackpad offers a uniform glide and reliable cursor control capable of multi-gesture control. On the flip side, the buttons are a bit stiff.

Battery life

You can expect 4 hours to 4.5 hours of use for the battery on the GL63’s 41Wh capacity battery. If battery life is an issue, lenovo’s Legion Y530 is a more reliable option lasting as long as 7 hours 59 minutes. That’s double the time for our GL63 unit.

Conclusion

There are more than enough good traits on the MSI GL63 8RC-068 laptop to warrant anyone to buy it. A simple mix of modern gamer design, quiet cooling fans and plenty of storage (both HDD & SSD) are all impressive qualities. However, there’s isn’t much to define it as a leader among other laptops in its bracket. Lenovo and Dell options lead the pack and MSI follows. Still, if you are loyal to brands, or don’t mind its shortcomings compared to the competition, the MSI GL63 8RC-068 will serve you well too.

Check it out at Newegg

About Liam Weisman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets

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