Today in our labs we have the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD which is one of the brand’s more budget oriented gaming notebooks from this year’s lineup. This notebook is the natural successor to last year’s MSI GP62 Leopard. In terms of design and construction, the new updated GP63 hasn’t really changed much but it now updated with the 8th generation Intel six-core processors.
Configurable only up to the GTX 1050 Ti, the GP63 Leopard 8RD is not meant for hardcore gamers but like any other MSI notebook, it brings some exclusive features to the user. Most notable is the SteelSeries RGB keyboard. The optional 120Hz panel with 3ms response time is also something you don’t see every day.
These exclusive and premium features tend to keep the price of MSI’s notebooks a bit higher than many competitors that provide similar hardware but sometimes paying more is worth it. Stick around and see if the GP63 Leopard 8RD is one of these cases.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-gp63-leopard-8rd/
MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD technical specifications table
What’s in the box?
Inside the box, excluding the notebook itself, you can find a few brochures to read and the 150W wall charger.
Design and construction
The MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD construction is a mix of plastic and metal. The back cover of the notebook is made out of plastic which feels cheap and experiences flex when pressured. On the other hand, the lid, screen frame, and palm rest areas are all metal with a brush finished. They give the notebook a certain amount of sturdiness and are a lot more appealing than the plastic back.
The back cover has a few vents for the cooling system. The four rubber feet keep the notebook above the surface it’s placed on so airflow through the vents should be sufficient. There are also two big vents at the back of the device and two on the sides.
The lid flexes a lot when pressured and can’t be opened with one hand. When you open it, you see the beautiful RGB SteelSeries keyboard which is probably one of the best features of the MSI notebooks. Typing on it is comfortable. The keys are well spaced and have a sufficient travel distance as well as feedback. The arrow keys are full-sized which is welcomed in gaming laptops. The customizable RGB light has three brightness levels. There aren’t additional macro keys with the exception of two buttons above the Num Pad which launch the fan boost and the Dragon Center. On the other hand, the touchpad is nothing special – it gets the job done.
Apart from the ports on both sides of the notebook, there are three indicator LEDs on the front which give information about the Wi-Fi, battery, and disk usage.
Most of the ports on the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD are located on the left-hand side. There you can find the lock slot, Gigabit Ethernet port, an HDMI, a Mini DisplayPort, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, a USB Type-C port, and two 3.5 mm jacks for a microphone and headphones.
The right-hand side is populated by the DC jack, another two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, and the SD card reader.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
To remove the back cover, you need to unscrew 11 Philips screws. Be aware, one of them is hidden under the factory seal label. Be careful when prying the lid as the plastic teeth holding it can be easily damaged.
Inside you can find the usual components. Two DDR4 RAM slots, one of which is empty in our configuration, an M.2 2242 slot for the Wi-Fi card, an M.2 2280 slot for SSDs that supports NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD, and a 2.5-inch SATA slot populated by a 1TB SSD in our case.
There are a couple of unusual things too. For instance, you rarely see such large speakers in a notebook. Another thing is the fact that there are quite a few copper heat pipes. We will test the capabilities of the cooling system further down in the review.
For some reason, there is a blank space below the RAM slots. It could have been utilized to add another M.2 slot instead.
The MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD has a Full HD TN panel with a model number N156HGA-EAL. Its size is 15.6 inches (39.62 cm) and its resolution – 1920 x 1080 which translates into a pixel density of 142 ppi. The screen ratio is 16:9 and the pixel pitch is 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen becomes Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance the human eye can’t see the individual pixels).
The MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD does not offer comfortable viewing angles due to the nature of the TN panel. We offer images at 45° to evaluate the quality.
The maximum measured brightness is 214 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 195 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 13%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 7940K (average) – colder than the optimal 6504K temperature for sRGB. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 14000K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. In other words the leakage of light from the light source. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 64% Brightness (White level = 141 cd/m2, Black level = 0.4 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is – 350:1 (305:1 after profiling).
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD’s color gamut coverage.
Its display completely covers the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) gamut. Its range spreads to 95% DCI-P3 in CIE1976. This results in really rich and vibrant colors.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 12 ms. It’s a fast panel.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD’s screen utilizes PWM only below 55 nits and even so the frequency is very high which makes the panel virtually harmless in that manner and suitable for long work hours.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
The display of the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD is a typical gaming screen. It has a wide color range and fast response time. It’s not PW-modulated for most brightness levels. It’s a TN panel so the viewing angles aren’t comfortable.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD configurations with 15.6″ N156HGA-EAL (FHD, 1920 × 1080) TN.
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD has a very good sound quality. The sound is clear and crisp across the whole range.
You can find all the necessary drivers at MSI’s support page: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/support/GP63-Leopard-8RD#down-driver
The GP63 Leopard 8RD power supply is a 51Wh 6-cell battery. Battery life is subpar. You can get 4 to 5 hours of browsing and light tasks but no more.
Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Our model came equipped with a 128GB SSD by Kingston with a model number RBUSNS8180S3128GJ. The M.2 slot supports NVMe drives too.
|SSD model (120-128GB variants)||Max.Seq.Read (GB/s)||Max.Seq.Write (GB/s)||IOPS 4K Read||IOPS 4K Write||Latency Read (ms)||Latency Write (ms)|
|LiteOn CV1-8B128 (128GB)||0.56||0.18||–||–||0.086||–|
|Samsung CM871 (128GB)||0.51||0.13||4375||7724||0.096||0.129|
|Intel SSD Pro 5450s / SSDSCKKF128G8 (SATA III)||0.55||0.15||7872||17239||0.088||0.061|
CrystalDiskMark – Max.Seq.Read/Write; AS SSD – IOPS 4K Read/Write, Latency Read/Write
The MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD features the latest 8th gen Intel processors. It can be configured with either the Core i5-8300H or the Core i7-8750H. Our model boasts the latter.
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
The GPU inside the GP63 Leopard 8RD is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5).
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
The GTX 1050 Ti inside the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD handles games just as expected.
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||128 fps||76 fps||40 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||60 fps||54 fps||44 fps|
|Far Cry 5||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||48 fps||45 fps||41 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||95 fps||65 fps||31 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||47 fps||43 fps||31 fps|
Temperatures and comfort
We have a new way of torturing laptops, and for gaming machines, it comprises of 100% CPU load plus real gameplay test (Rise of the Tomb Raider).
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|Core i7-8750H (45W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD||2.30 GHz (B+5%)@ 53°C||2.42 GHz (B+10%)@ 62°C||2.46 GHz (B+12%)@ 76°C|
|Dell XPS 15 9570||3.16 GHz (B+44%)@ 89°C||3.07 GHz (B+39%)@ 97°C||2.62 GHz (B+19%)@ 87°C|
|Dell G3 15 3579||2.88 GHz (B+31%)@ 86°C||2.81 GHz (B+28%)@ 87°C||2.53 GHz (B+15%)@ 76°C|
The results of our CPU stress test are actually impressive. The CPU couldn’t reach high frequencies, in fact, it was just a bit over the base clock even in the first 10 seconds but the temperatures inside were impressively low. A temperature of 53°C is one of the lowest we have recorded and even after 15 minutes of 100% load it rose to just 76°C. It seems that the few copper pipes inside do a good job.
The Dell XPS 15 9570 could reach very high clock speeds above 3.00 GHz but at a much higher temperature. Lower temperatures are always preferable and as we saw in the benchmarks, the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD scores just about right for its hardware.
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)|
|MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD||1696 MHz @ 67°C||1696 MHz @ 66°C|
After the 30-minute gaming stress test, the results are similar to the CPU stress test. We see low temperatures during the whole period but this time the clock is also high. In fact, it’s higher than the original boost clock of the GTX 1050 Ti.
When inside temperatures are low, outside temperatures can’t be high. The hottest areas of the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD reach around 45-50°C after 30 minutes of continuous gaming. The palm rest area and WASD keys are way cooler.
When it comes to performance, the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD is excellent without any issues. However, we are left with mixed feelings after spending some time with the notebook.
To start our summary with something positive, the GP63 Leopard 8RD has shown us one quite impressive cooling system. Such low internal and external temperatures are unspeakable for many other notebooks. The keyboard is another thing we are really happy about. The SteelSeries branded keyboard is a pleasure to type on and the customizable RGB colors are beautiful.
Another rare thing is the extremely broad color range that covers 100% of the sRGB gamut and 95% of DCI-P3. This could have potentially made the notebook suitable for color accurate work but the uncomfortable viewing angles, cold tint, and high dE values of the TN panel rule it out. Our custom-tailored profiles can fix some of these issues. Nonetheless, the screen is good for gamers with its fast response time and it doesn’t use PWM above 55 nits. However, our recommendation is to choose an IPS panel.
We aren’t particularly pleased with the battery life. It’s fairly common for gaming notebooks to manage to squeeze about 4-5 hours at most but we’ve seen better performance more than once. The build quality of the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD is not the best either. We are glad that the lid and palm rest is aluminum because it adds sturdiness to the construction but the bottom piece is made of cheap plastic that doesn’t feel right.
Overall, the MSI GP63 Leopard 8RD is not a bad notebook. It offers some premium features and good performance but it’s not for everybody. You have to choose wisely what you want to compromise. A good alternative may be the Dell G3 15 3579.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-gp63-leopard-8rd/
- Very good cooling system
- Great keyboard
- Broad color range – 100% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3 in CIE1976 (N156HGA-EAL)
- High dE values (N156HGA-EAL, fixed by our profiles)
- Subpar battery life
- Not the best build quality