With the launches of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 16-series GPUs and Intel’s 9th Gen Core CPUs for high-performance laptops earlier this season, hardware makers have refreshed their offerings and we’re now seeing a flood of these in the market. Several models are popular at this time, and we’ve seen some very nice prices during all of the recent festive sales. MSI, one of the primary names in the PC hardware and gaming space, has been quite successful in pivoting towards pre-built gaming laptops and the business’s range in India is fairly vast. It’s no real surprise then that people have with us the brand new MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN for review.

This model boasts of all latest hardware and sells at under Rs. 60,000 that ought to make it very interesting. It’s targeted at buyers who want a good gaming notebook but can live without all of the high-end great features. It’s also relatively lightweight which will make it something of an all-rounder for various varieties of work.

Let’s put the MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN through our usual tests and play some games onto it to see whether it really is value for your money.

Almost all of the MSI GL63’s ports are on the left, like the sole USB Type-C port

MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN design
MSI has lately been toning down its “gamer” aesthetic and going more mainstream. The GL63 9SD-1041IN is relatively sober but continues to be unmistakably a gaming notebook and can grab some attention. The lid is an ordinary matte black metal with two diagonal claw-mark creases framing the MSI dragon logo, and red LED strips accenting them. There are small hints of red including the thin border playing around leading and sides of the low half, and the area under the hinge barrels.

The hinge is pretty stiff and it is not possible to open this notebook computer with just one single hand. The lid can be only supported by small hinges at both ends, so there’s quite somewhat of flex to the lid and thereby the screen itself. The borders around the panel are relatively thick by today’s standards which means you don’t get the sort of slick modern look that some companies feature. A webcam is embedded just above the screen.

Much like previous MSI laptops, the keyboard has been designed together with gaming peripherals company Steelseries. The model we’re reviewing has plain red backlighting and you could select from three brightness levels or turn the backlight off entirely. The keyboard layout is rather standard. There is no Windows key on the left, which is in order to avoid accidental presses while gaming. The region around the arrow keys is just a little cramped, but at least the keys themselves are full-sized.

We weren’t totally pleased with the typing experience, though. The keys themselves felt just a little mushy and typing long passages took a lttle bit more effort than we’d have liked. The trackpad has two physical buttons but they’re slightly depressed within the chassis rather than too simple to press. The complete trackpad is centred to the keyboard instead of the laptop’s body, which is good.

You will see chunky vents and exposed heatsinks on the left and right, towards the hinge. Additionally, there are large air intake grilles all around the bottom. All of the ports are also on the sides – the left includes a Kensington lock slot, Ethernet port, full-sized HDMI port, Mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps) Type-A and Type-C ports, and individual 3.5mm headphones and mic sockets. On the proper, you get the charger inlet, two USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gbps) ports, and a full-sized Sdcard slot.

The MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN weighs 2.3kg which is manageable enough for everyday commuting, though not specifically ideal. The 180W charger that is included with it also weighs a lot. The overall construction appears solid, aside from the hinge, as we mentioned earlier. There’s hardly any flex to the keyboard, and the palm rests are satisfactory for comfort.

The keyboard isn’t cramped however the trackpad buttons are sunken and hard to press

MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN specifications and software
We spotted a whole lot of different versions of the MSI GL63 notebook on MSI’s website aswell as on various e-commerce platforms. It’s available with 8th Gen together with 9th Gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, plus some variants feature Nvidia’s older GeForce GTX 10-series and higher-end RTX 20-series GPUs aswell. There are several options with SSDs and also hard disks, and even variants with full per-key RGB LED backlighting rather than the uniform red.

We’re especially reviewing the MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN. This model includes a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H processor that is a a quad-core Hyper-Threaded model with base and boost speeds of 2.4GHz and 4.1GHz respectively. This CPU features 8MB of cache memory and a built-in Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU. There’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM.

Gleam discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of dedicated VRAM. You do not get Nvidia’s flashy RTX ray tracing effects, but that is a cost-effective and up-to-date GPU regarding performance. Our review unit was built with a 512GB SSD no hard drive. That is a comparatively fast NVMe SSD; an undeniable fact that the business strangely will not promote.

The screen is a 15.6-inch full-HD 1920×1080-pixel LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. We’re pleased to see that it includes a non-reflective finish. The battery isn’t removable, and includes a rated capacity of 51Wh.

Other noteworthy specs include Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, a 720p webcam, a Killer Gigabit Ethernet controller, and dual 3W stereo speakers. These devices isn’t made to give users quick access to its internals, however the RAM and SSD are both upgradeable. Based on the official manual, you will find a second unused M.2 slot in addition to a 2.5-inch bay for a SATA hard disk drive or SSD.

MSI’s Dragon Center software enables you to customise fan profiles and manage some system-wide settings such as for example battery health insurance and voice enhancement for in-game VoIP. There are even auto-tuning profiles for a few popular games. Thankfully there isn’t any large amount of other bloatware – if you wish things such as a control panel for the Nahimic Audio enhancements or Killer network controller, you can follow the links in the Driver and App Center utility to them yourself. That is an approach we that can compare with. However we did need to manage frequent, large Norton Security subscription popups.

One very interesting optional download is MSI App Player, an Android emulation environment powered by BlueStacks. After a reasonably alarming installation process warning us that our data could possibly be lost and we have to have backups, we were asked to register to the Google Play Store. Oddly, Google’s security alert told us that people had just signed in from a OnePlus 5 smartphone.

The Android UI wasn’t scaled properly, and we were asked whether to use Wi-Fi or cellular data as though we were by using a phone (our wired Ethernet connection worked fine). We could actually install the Android version of Asphalt 9: Legends, and aside from a few graphics glitches on loading, the overall game ran quite nicely with keyboard input.

MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN performance
So far as everyday performance goes, the MSI GL63 9SD-1041IN does quite nicely. We didn’t much look after the mushy keyboard but it is possible to get accustomed to, and the layout isn’t frustrating, which could have been more of a problem. Very little gaming laptops have numeric keypads, and that may help broaden the selling point of this model.

When we first setup our review unit, we were amazed by how loud the fans were at all times. Some investigation showed that that they had been set to perform constantly in MSI’s Dragon Center software. The UI isn’t very intuitive – there are presets called Performance, Theater, and Meeting, together with fan profiles within each one called Comfort, Sport, and Eco. The fans settled down soon after we chose Comfort mode, the center of the three. They stayed quite silent unless we were gaming or running benchmarks. You may also force the fans to perform at full blast using the physical button that’s just next to the energy button above the keyboard.

The screen runs at 120Hz whether you’re using mains power or running off the battery, and interestingly enough, there is no 60Hz option. This definitely makes the notebook feel snappier even though performing mundane tasks. We were pleased with the screen overall – it is not very sharp but it’s sufficient, and colours appeared to pop nicely despite having the brightness at 50 percent. The thick borders didn’t bother us whenever we were focusing on that which was on screen.

The speakers are surprisingly loud, but sound isn’t balanced perfectly. They’re ideal for the dialogue and background effects in movies or games, however, not that best for music.

Kicking off our round of benchmarking, we focus on the all-rounder, PCMark. We got scores of 3,968 and 5,120 in the typical and Extended runs respectively. Cinebench R20 gave us 420 and 1,881 points in its single-threaded and multi-threaded CPU tests. We also put the SSD through its paces using CrystalDiskMark, and got decent scores of 1603.3MBps and 1022.1MBps respectively for sequential reads and writes.