Review: MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-614 15.6" Gaming Laptop with Intel Core i5-9300H & Nvidia GTX 1650 (2020)

MSI GF63 is a popular budget gaming laptop selling at a very competitive price on Amazon. It competes with Asus TUF, HP Pavilion Gaming 15 and Lenovo Ideapad L340 gaming laptops for the budget crown. Lets put MSI GF63 through 10 rounds of grueling test and find out if this laptop is worth its price

Round 1: Specs

If you are not familiar with MSI brand, it's a company heavily involved in making PC components like motherboard, GPUs and other add-on cards. For a while now, MSI has also been making splashes in the gaming laptop market. MSI GF63 is designed for gamers who don't want to spend a fortune on their laptop. So what exactly are you getting for your dollars? You are getting a 15.6 inch 1080p display, 9th generation Intel core-i5 processor, NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU, 8 GIG system RAM and 512 GIG of SSD. I think these are pretty good specs for the price point.

Round 2: Build Quality 

MSI GF63 is one sleek looking laptop. It looks more like a premium laptop than a traditional gaming laptop. The top lid is made of brushed aluminum & the rest of the body is made of hard polycarbonate. Thanks to its aluminium top, the laptop body feels very sturdy and solid in hands. The bottom of the laptop has intricately designed angles, bumps, and slants which not only look cool, but also help with thermals. The uneven bottom raises the laptop base and helps with airflow.

There are 2 hinges holding the screen and since they are located at the corners, they are able to provide good support with minimal flex. The top of the lid has this bright red MSI dragon logo against a stealthy black brushed-aluminum finish. And it looks really cool. The same aesthetics carries over to the keyboard which has black keys with red edges. The keyboard is backlit enabled but only supports red color, so RGB fans will be disappointed. I honestly don't care about RGB lighting. I think the red backlighting on the keyboard nicely compliments the overall aesthetics of this laptop. Unfortunately the brushed aluminium finish is a fingerprint magnet, so keep a microfiber cloth handy. Overall I think the build quality is pretty good, with no unintended gaps or crevices between the materials.

Round 3: Display Quality

The screen is full HD coming in at 1920 by 1080 resolution. It's an IPS panel and supports 60 Hertz refresh rate. The screen is fairly bright measuring 250 nits of brightness and supports wide viewing angles. The color reproduction is vivid and consistent, even at extreme angles. The side bezels are minimal measuring only 4.5mm. The top bezel is just wide enough to house a 720p webcam. It's impressive how MSI has managed to put a 15.6 inch screen in a traditional 14 inch laptop chassis. The only complaint I have is that this laptop lacks a high refresh rate screen. Asus Tuf laptop which also sells for roughly the same price as MSI, does provide a 120Hz display screen. High refresh rate screens are great for gaming and I wish MSI had used one in this laptop

Round 4: CPU

MSI GF63 comes with an Intel Core i5 processor from the Coffee Lake family. Specifically this is the 9th generation core-i5-9300H, where H denotes “High Performance” CPU. This is a 4 core 8 thread processor operating at 45 Watt TDP. It is able to automatically overclock from 2.4 Ghz to 4.1 GHz while still maintaining the same 45 Watt thermal envelope. As a result, this laptop can deliver snappy performance while remaining relatively cool.

In passmark CPU benchmark this CPU scores 9852 points. Compared to top 10 common laptop CPUs, this CPU occupies 2nd spot right behind the more expensive core-i7 processor. For a budget gaming laptop, I think this is a good CPU choice. You will have no trouble running any modern game at optimal settings. It will also handle day to day tasks like surfing, running office suites and other productivity software without any issues.

Round 5: Graphics Performance

In a gaming laptop, GPU is as important if not more important than the CPU. This laptop ships with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics card. This GPU is over 50% faster than GTX 1050. It has whopping 896 CUDA cores which is amazing for a laptop GPU. It has 4GIG of dedicated GDDR5 Video RAM and it supports 128 Gigabits per second bandwidth. So that translates to excellent gaming performance. You will be able to run almost all modern games at 1080p resolution without any issues.

At full HD resolution, I was able to play GTA5 at 88 frames per second at normal settings and 61 frames per second at high settings. Far Cry 5 ran at respectable 45 and 41 frames per second under similar setup. Rise of Tomb Raider ran smoothly at 82 and 58 frames per second while Ghost Recon ran at respectable 42 and 38 frames per second.

BTW, in addition to gaming, this laptop is also an excellent content creation workstation. The 4-core 8 thread core-i5 paired with this powerful GPU provides a perfect machine for running Photoshop and various video editing software like Adobe suite or Davinci Resolve. If you are looking for a powerful budget laptop to edit your YouTube videos, this should be on your short list. Also the GTX 1650 supports hardware acceleration on all popular codecs like h264, AVC and vp9. This means smooth 4K video playback on YouTube and Netflix with no dropped frames.

Round 6: Battery Life

Gaming laptops tend to have horrible battery life, but this laptop has a decent battery life. It's powered by 3-cell battery which has 51 Watt Hour capacity. I was able to get more than 4 and a half hours of battery life during continuous video playback at fullscreen. With wifi turned off and screen brightness set to 25%, the battery lasted over 5 and half hours. The laptop comes with a 150W power brick which is able to charge the battery from 0 to full in under 2 hours. My suggestion if you plan to do a lot of gaming, is to keep the power brick in your backpack.

When it comes to thermal heat dissipation, MSI has put three heat pipes and a single fan to cool both the CPU and GPU. I was a little worried about thermal throttling but did not see any throttling or stability issues during long gaming sessions. In my CPU stress test involving prime numbers, the CPU ran at 3.5 GHz for the first few seconds before dropping to a steady 2.3 GHz. So that means the CPU was operating at its base clock frequency while the temperature remained at a steady 65 degree celcius. So I think MSI has done a good job with cooling. The fans do get loud at peak load, but I expect most gamers will be using a headphone, so it shouldn't be an issue

Round 7: System RAM

MSI GF63 comes with 8 GIG of system RAM. 8 GIG is adequate but I would recommend upgrading the RAM. Luckily MSI has made it very easy to upgrade the RAM. There are 2 DIMM slots available for memory upgrade. The 8GIG RAM occupies the first DIMM slot while the 2nd slot is empty. You can add another 8 GIG RAM in the 2nd slot, thereby doubling the system RAM to 16GIG. This will also enable the dual channel configuration which is about 10-15% faster than single channel. I will throw a link in the description of compatible memory modules that you can buy from Amazon. If you want to go crazy, you can add up to 32 GIG of RAM. More RAM not only helps with gaming, but also with Photoshop, video editing and productivity softwares.

👉 Buy 32GB Kit (16GBx2) RAM
👉 Buy 8GB RAM

Round 8: SSD storage

MSI GF63 comes with 512 GIG of PCIe NVMe SSD. The SSD has fast read/write speed, which is great for snappy performance and reduced windows 10 boot times. If you want to upgrade the storage, MSI gives a 2nd SATA3 slot. All the cables and adapter needed to add a 2nd SSD drive are already present in the motherboard. This makes it super easy to add another SSD drive to expand storage. If you plan to use this laptop for other things besides gaming, I would encourage adding another SSD. I will throw a link in the description of compatible SATA3 SSD that will work with this laptop.

👉 Buy 500GB SATA SSD
👉 Buy 2TB M.2 SSD
👉 Buy 1TB M.2 SSD
👉 Buy 500GB M.2 SSD

Round 9: Keyboard & Trackpad

MSI GF63 comes with an island-style keyboard which is backlit enabled. As I mentioned before, there is no RGB lighting. You only get monochromatic red color. The keys have 1.4 millimeter travel distance and offer 71 grams of actuation force. This results in uniform feedback across all the main keys including the Backspace, Delete, and Space keys. The keyboard lacks the numeric keys but it doesn't bother me personally because I never use them. It may be an issue for folks who enter lots of data in applications like excel.

On the plus side, arrow keys come in full-size which is great for gaming. I found this keyboard to be pretty good not just for gaming, but also for typing long documents. Now let's talk about the trackpad. I think it's just the right size measuring at 4.1 by 2.6 inches. It feels very responsive and supports multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger swipes. The embedded left and right click buttons are pretty snappy. They feel neither too mushy or too stiff. Good job MSI!

Round 10: Ports

MSI GF63 has plenty of USB ports for you to connect all of your peripheral devices. There are 2 USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a USB Type-C port. Sadly there is no Thunderbolt 3 port. There is an ethernet port available for establishing a stable internet connection during your LAN parties. The laptop also offers a separate mic and headphone jacks if you want to connect a professional microphone. There is an HDMI port available on the back of the laptop for connecting to an external monitor.

Conclusion: The Bottom Line

Overall I am very impressed with MSI GF63 gaming laptop. It's a solid choice for a gaming laptop that offers excellent performance at a reasonable price. However this is not the only gaming laptop in the market. There is Lenovo Ideapad L340 which has the same exact CPU, GPU, RAM and SSD configuration and sells for around same proce. There is also Asus TUF Gaming Laptop which uses AMD Ryzen 5 processor with GTX 1650 GPU and it is little cheaper.

Purchase links:

👉 Buy MSI GF63 with Core i5-9300H
👉 Buy MSI GF63 with Core i5-9300H
👉 Buy MSI GF63 with Core i7-9750H
👉 Buy MSI GF63 with Core i7-8750H
👉 Buy MSI GF63 with Core i7-8750H
👉 Buy MSI GF63 with Core i5-8300H
👉 Buy HP Pavilion Gaming 15
👉 Buy Lenovo Ideapad L340
👉 Buy Asus TUF FX505DT
👉 Buy Acer Helios 300
👉 Buy Acer Predator Triton 500

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