MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming by Cheapest Laptops: It’s been a long time since I had been given the opportunity to try out a gaming notebook. In fact, it’s been so long since I got to fiddle with a MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming notebook, specifically a mid-to-high range entrant.
- Operating System: Microsoft® Windows 10 (64-bit) Multi-language
- Display: 14″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) eDP IPS Level Non Reflection
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 (VR Ready)
- Processor: 6th Gen Intel® Skylake Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core (2.6GHz-3.5GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W)
- Memory: 16GB DDR4 2400MHz (2x 8GB)
- Hard Drive: 128GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
- Networking: Killer Gaming Network E2400 (LAN), Killer N1535 Combo (2*2 ac) (Wireless LAN) + Bluetooth 4.1
- Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Super Port (USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 via USB type C), HDMI 1.4, Mini DisplayPort v1.2, RJ45, Microphone-in, Headphone Out (ESS Sabre HiFi), SD (XC/HC) Card Reader
- Keyboard: Steel Series Backlit 83 keys [RED]
- Battery: 4 cell (61Whr)
EXcaliberPC provides computers with custom upgraded configurations. If the computer has modifications as listed above, the manufacturer box is opened by our highly skilled technicians to hand assemble & match the specifications as listed. Our meticulous technicians rigorously review and test the system. If no modifications are listed, the item is unopened and untested. Defects & blemishes are significantly reduced by our in depth inspection & testing with an upgraded configuration.
First Impressions of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Living it Up
Obviously, MSI must’ve kept track on my needs for a gaming platform since I had to do a review of the recently updated StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops in-game add-on and try out the Sony 4K panel that came into my personal lab recently.
Going by first glances and initial impressions, the MSI GS43VR 6RE Phantom Pro, henceforth called the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming, is an ultra-compact gaming platform that promises an overpowered gaming experience.
The dark-hued all-metal chassis, with those raised lines on the top-lid, is enough to give me the impression that there is a massive performance beast hidden within.
Design of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Maintained Looks
There is no denying that MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming is not about to change the looks of it gaming notebook range. Since its break-out days, it has always gone with a black or gunmetal with red-accented colour scheme and never considered switching out to any other shades. The only difference that is noticeable, and it can be seen if one knows where to look, is the ‘raised’ lines on the top-lid as well as the ‘diamond cut’ lines on the keyboard panel.
Other minor changes like the power button, now done in a rough stone cut with a silver finish, and the ‘fierce looking’ front-facing speaker grills, and better-spaced keyboard ensure the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming rocks a modern look that isn’t painfully out-of-touch.
It helps that the colours for the chassis used are still the traditional mix that MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming is known for though the red accents are now kept to a minimum as they are only obvious when the keyboard backlight is engaged. Only the touchpad, made larger to offer a better user experience, sported a proper accent done in bright scarlet. Personally, that’s a nice touch if the keyboard is backlit with a deep red shade since that is the default setting MSI uses when it rolls off the manufacturing line.
The back has also been given a slight makeover to improve overall heat dissipation from the high-performance components and give the audio delivery a hand by creating an echo chamber that boosts the bass presence within the soundstage of the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming.
Unboxing 0f MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Subtly Nice
MSI is known for packing in an awesome bundle with its gaming notebooks. The MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming is no different as a proper cloth cover is used, providing a touch of class and some level of dust protection for its ultra-compact gaming notebook entry. A gaming backpack has also been included with this specific notebook too, adding in a premium feel to the package since only top-end MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming entries usually get their own bag packed in.
Performance of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Exceedingly Astounding
This is a MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming notebook. Undoubtedly, it would be on par with other competing made-to-max-out platforms. However, to see it in action is a truly exciting experience. I’m not one to wow over something like fast boot-up, I am using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 after all, but the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming fired up like a dream! From cold start to Windows 10 login page, it only took a total of six seconds! That’s right, it roared through the booting process like a race-car on nitro.
It could be a combination of the Intel 6th Generation Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz CPU and M.2 SSD that is jacked into the NVMe/PCIe slot that made sure this gaming beast got into all-green in quick order.
Just so I can describe it better, it feels exactly like pushing the ignition knob of a turbo-charged supercar as the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming thrummed to life in a split-seconds and prepped for a fiery start from the get-go soon as I hit the power button.
Once everything on Windows 10 loaded out, including all the bloatware from both Microsoft and MSI, the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming felt like its primed to jump into action. Every action, executable, and multi-tasking demand I threw at it had been processed with practiced ease. Even with multiple tabs open the resource-hogging Google Chrome, somewhere in the 60 to 70 count on more than 10 windowed instances, there is no slowing down this overpowered gaming system.
Before we get to the gaming proper, let’s give some due recognition to the other processes that the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming manages to crunch with its beefy hardware specs.
First, the stuff that the Intel Skylake CPU is paired with includes xxGB DDR4-2400 RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 GPU, a 2.5in SATA HDD wired in a hybrid configuration with the M.2 SSD, and a 14in Full HD display that rocks MSI True Color Technology and can pump out 30fps at 1080p.
Also included are the Killer LAN, Killer ac and Killer DoubleShot Pro networking functions, SteelSeries keyboard with SteelSerie Engine 3 optimisation, and the usual assortment of proprietary MSI features that allow MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming to ramp up its performance as and when required.
When it comes to putting this gaming notebook through its paces with non-gaming stuff, I did most of my multi-tab browsing throughout the review run, worked on some 20MP RAW images simultaneously on Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, crunched two videos with Adobe Premiere Pro, and did bucket-loads of stories on it as well.
For graphical work, which includes the video rendering, everything I threw at it had been processed in quick order. Also, I did not encounter any slowdown or major lagging sessions throughout the review. Instead, everything is super smooth and literally defined the meaning of this age-old catch-phrase: it’s like a hot knife through the butter as it made short of any task the MSI GS43VR takes on.
Let me reiterate, nothing could dent the performance capability of the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming.
Gaming Support of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Hyper-Immersive
Now the gaming bit. I had the pleasure of putting this new MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming entry through its paces with a couple of games in my Steam library and Battle.net, namely Company of Heroes 2, Cities Skylines, Project CARS, and StarCraft 2: Nova Covert Ops.
Each game had been push to max settings and then some and while I lost myself in the immersive and interactive environs, admittedly I did not want to leave, it is still easy to discern that the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming had no issue being put through its paces. Switching between the Windows 10 desktop and whatever I loaded up did not bring up any chances of a crash or Blue Screen error.
The best part, the dreaded long loading screen did not appear when I played through all these games.
There are other ultra-mode games that ran on the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming as well like the VR demos that Steam offers and a handful of videogames, like Tomb Raider and Doom 3, that had a demo auto-loader that is made specifically to test out the max-out specs of this gaming beasts.
4K Video of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Beyond Native Support
For what it is worth, the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming is bestowed with such a name for one very specific reason: virtual reality (VR) content. While I did not have any immersive games or the headset even to try out this aspect, I did run some virtual movies on YouTube to see how it is like. Of course, it had been set to 4K at 60fps.
Again, there is no streaming delay or processing errors thanks to the latent processing capabilities this MSI entry had to offer.
Now, what got me really anxious and excited is the 4K playback capabilities of the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming.
Thanks to the high-powered specs this overpowered gaming beast uses, raw 4K videos and the very best YouTube had to offer did nothing to slow it down. Even when I paired it with a 55in Sony 4K HDR-ready TV, the demands needed to even scale to such a massive display had been piecemeal for the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming.
Indeed, I couldn’t leave my gaming sessions because I had this plugged into the 4K panel and it is awesome!
Audio of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Perfect Fidelity
How does the sound stage of the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming stand out against all the powerful visual and processing capabilities it offers? Having run 4K content and trying out multiple videogames on it, the audio processing is on par, if not equal, with everything else.
Each audio nuances in the high, mid, and bass levels can be heard distinctively thanks to the DYNAUDIO speakers used. The Nahimic Audio processing helped as well but, truly, it is more of the optimisations that MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming has included on the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming that made sure the entire sound staging is flawless in its delivery.
It’s nice that the speakers are placed in a front-firing position, parked right below the keyboard, to ensure the user gets the best sound immersion. While it is very rare to see the audio outputs being given such a configuration, it is a wise choice.
Similarly, there are grills at the rear too and they work more as heat output exits than rear-firing speakers. If anything, it’s more of a balance in design to keep the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming streamlined.
Conclusion of MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming: Perfect in Every Way
I didn’t really spend as much time as I’d like with the MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming as there is just so much to try out still. Even so, it is one of the few gaming notebooks, it not the only one, I believe is worth every penny. The 4K performance and seamless delivery of gaming content is impressive enough and, I daresay, are the winning hallmarks for MSI GS43VR Phantom Pro Gaming.