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MSI GL63 9SD Review: Packed for 4K

MSI GL63 9SD 4K Panel Review

Content creation is at its peak right now, and creators need more performance from their devices and content creation machines now more than ever. But, some of these creators run out of creative juices when they are confined in a four-sided room, which is why some of them prefer working at coffee shops, refreshing establishments, and some times - even just at the park. Just like content creators, game streamers also need more performance from the devices and streaming machines that they use, especially when that streamer is always on-the-go.

MSI has shown a lot of new laptops that were meant for gaming, content creation, and professional work a couple of months back. One of its offerings that are geared towards this space is the GL63 9SD, a 15-incher packed with a 4K panel that's driven by an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti and Intel's Core i5 9300H. Its size, however, would be an issue for some, but for those who require sharp details and a capable component set that's readily able to run the latest AAA game titles at 1080p or even at 1440p, the size won't even matter.

If you're still not sold with the GL63 9SD, then you'd need to check out the benchmark charts and game tests below. We took the GL63 9SD for a spin and it did not disappoint.

Design and build quality

MSI GL 63 9SD-1026PH Review

MSI stayed true to its roots with the design of the GL63 9SD. It still has the same black and red theme that's been a staple distinctive design element of an MSI gaming laptop. And some other laptops out there.

And in a segment that's being pummeled with laptops that have minuscule footprint but are packed with near behemoth performance, the GL63 9SD still holds its own in terms of design and performance. Tho, a large chunk of its design revolves around plastic materials, it still exudes a premium vibe and a menacing gaming feel. The same sophistication was also poured into its build quality, every little detail of its assembly is done passionately as if it was hand-crafted.

MSI's design team and assembly line have made the GL63 9SD standout in a sea of slim and sleek laptops. It's a warship in its segment that has its own unique design and a cult of enthusiasts that loves its every detail.

The breakdown

MSI Gaming Laptop Review

Its top lid dons the MSI gaming logo on the center with two red line accents. The logo illuminates when the laptop is open, while the accent lines have a bright red center that fades to black on both ends, making them as though they are illuminated. Posing the lid open will showcase its keyboard by SteelSeries that has a full key layout.

msi gl63 9sd review steelseries keyboard

Tho, it's a nice touch to have a full-key layout on a laptop, the implementation on this, however, presents one problem, especially for those with large hands. Its large trackpad, to hold onto design uniformity, was placed under the spacebar which gave more space to the right palm rest for numpad and directional key navigation, but made the left palm rest narrow which leads to unwanted cursor movement and clicks. This, however, is not a major issue since users can easily adapt to the layout.

msi gl63 9sd rear exhaust
MSI GL63 9SD Review Philippines

Another red line accent is found on the back of the GL63 9SD that extends up to the front. The backside is also where two of the four heat vents are placed. The other two vents are placed at both sides for much faster heat dispersion.

Review MSI GL63 9SD-1026PH

The sides also house the I/O ports of the GL63 95D. There are two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot on its right-hand side, while the left-hand side has a LAN port, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0, USB Type-C, and gold plated audio ports.

MSI GL63 9SD Performance, Benchmarks, Tests

The bottom shell of the GL63 9SD is also designed to improve its thermal handling. The rubber feet and the stands offer a bit height that creates ground clearance for air to pass through its inner components, yielding better air movement to whats under the hood.

Performance, benchmarks, and game tests 

The GL63 9SD we got was packed with an Intel Core i5 9300H and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti. There are several configurations for the GL63 model. There's one with an Intel Core i7 Coffee Lake with an Nvidia RTX 2060 or the same GTX 1660 Ti that our review sample has.

We ran the GL63 9SD through a couple of benchmarking softwares and games with the fan settings on default. Other settings are set to default as well to keep its performance at out-of-the-box level.

PCMark, a benchmarking tool that tests a PC's overall performance on typical home user workloads. On this test the GL63 9SD was able to record a score of 3963 and 5117 on a standard and extended run, respectively.

On the Cinebench R20 run, it was able to score 418 on the single threaded test and 1875 points on the multi-threaded test. While on a more GPU focused test, Firestrike Extreme, the GL63 9SD's GTX 1660 Ti scored 6395; and 5308 on TimeSpy DX12.

While doing all of our runs, the noise coming from its fans were bearable and never went to annoying levels. Tho, during the benchmark runs, the keyboard area became warm yet still tolerable.

Gaming, on the other hand, requires components, especially the CPU and GPU, to work a bit more and stay at certain speeds for a longer time. As such, in this type of workloads, temperatures tend to climb upwards. Which is why while gaming, its cooling system produces noticeable noise as it tries to quickly dissipate the heat coming from the CPU and GPU.

Moving on to our game tests, the MSI GL63 9SD was able to hold an average 86 FPS on the two year old game, Far Cry 5, on ultra preset at 1080p. Doom, another story driven first-person shooter released in Q2 of 2016, the GL63 9SD was able to push out an average of 65 FPS with the settings cranked up to ultra running at 1080p.

With a GTX 1660 Ti under the hood, the MSI GL63 9SD can and will be able to run most AAA games at 60 FPS on high settings or even ultra at 1080p. However, there are games that break this barrier, like the Witcher III, an RPG game that's set to mark its fifth year on May 2020. This game gave the GL63 9SD a bit of a hard time holding on to 60 FPS on ultra settings at 1080p, it was just able to do so with trimmed down post processing. Final Fantasy XV is another game that gave the MSI GL63 9SD a hard time holding 60 fps on high settings at 1080p, 57 FPS was the average of the MSI GL63 9SD on this one.

On competitive games such as Call of Duty: Warzone and Apex Legends, the MSI GL63 9SD was able to hold averages of 110 FPS and 98 FPS respectively, with graphical settings on high and the resolution at 1080p.

The cooling system of the GL63 9SD during our gaming sessions performed as advertised, didn't need to resort to resort to an aggressive fan profile to achieve the needed power to beat the heat from its innards.

The cooling implementation on this machine has a balanced noise to performance ratio. No need to tap on the cooler boost button as the default profile will aggressively increase fan speed to cool down its innards and will gradually slow down as heat diminishes.

However, switching to the Turbo OC option gives the CPU and GPU ample frequency increase. As such performance and game fps improves a bit. Fan noise is not affected when you opt for the Turbo OC mode, which is a nice touch, translating to a increased performance with little to no fan noise increase.

Conclusion

With a lot of other lightweight laptop options out in the market today, one would be caught contemplating on whether to get a GL63 9SD or not.

It's a capable machine when it comes to gaming and content creation, we loved it and we're pretty sure that anyone would too, that is, if they are looking for a laptop that wont hold back performance when the crunching gets tough. With the MSI GL63 9SD, performance isn't held back as it is equipped with a Cooler Boost 5 system, which provides needed cooling to critical components, enabling them to work as advertised. It also features an OC mode which users can tap into for additional performance increase anytime that translates to better gaming and content creation experience.

Specs-wise, the combination of an Intel Core i5 9300H and Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti is just enough for a budding content creator. An on-the-go game streamer will also find the MSI GL63 9SD as a great all-rounder laptop, as it is also outfitted with a decent camera.

We really liked the implementation of the cooling system on the GL63 9SD, a near accurate fan speed to heat curve. Tho the 4K panel was a bit of an overkill for gaming, this would come handy to those who seeks sharp details and on-point color accuracy.

However, if you seek greater performance than what the GL63 9SD offers, then you might want to opt for its Intel Core i7 variant that's packed with an Nvidia RTX 2060 for that eye-candy ray-tracing capability.

The time we had with the MSI GL63 9SD was great and we'll definitely recommend it to budding content creators and even to budding creative professionals. As such, we give the MSI GL63 9SD our Silver Award.


MSI GL63 9SD Specifications:

Processor : Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.10 GHz)

Graphics : 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti GDDR6

Connectivity : Killer Gb Lan + Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (2*2 a/c) + BT5

Operating System : Windows 10 Home

Display : 15.6-in 4K (3840x2160), IPS, Adobe RGB 100%

Memory : 8GB DDR4 (2666MHz)

Storage : 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD

Camera : HD type (30fps@720p)

Keyboard : Red Backlight steelseries KB

I/O Ports : 1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen2, 2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1,  1x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x SD Card Reader (XC/HC)

Battery : 6 Cells Li-ion, 51WHR

Price and Availability

The MSI GL63 9SD is now available at any MSI authorized resellers, with a price tag of PHP 73,995, while the Intel Core i7 variant available in the Philippines is of the 8th Generation that retails for PHP 89,995.

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1 Comments

  1. A must-have product for work from home that also a gamer after the shift.

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