Once again we have a Stealth Pro product on our table. This line-up of gaming devices impresses with minimal thickness and weight while maintaining a level of performance on par with bulkier, casually styled gaming notebooks. Last time we reviewed the GS63VR 7RF Stealth Pro configuration, featuring Intel’s proven Core i7-7700HQ and GeForce GTX 1060 and 120 Hz Full HD screen. Today we are looking at the 17.3-inch version of this particular device, which has a model name GS73VR 7RF, and slightly different design.
The larger model features a slightly higher profile and weighs a little more than the 15.6-inch version, which we hope will lead to cooler internals. In this review, you will find out whether the larger size has addressed the weak points of the GS63VR 7RF and if you can rely on it to achieve decent performance, while hopefully keeping down noise levels.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-gs73-stealth-pro/
MSI GS73 STEALTH PRO technical specifications table
What’s in the box?
Expectedly, MSI presents the GS73VR 7RF in a fine manner, shipping it in a nice black box with enormous red MSI logo on top of it. The first thing we see inside is the device itself, thoughtfully placed in a black wrapping. Underneath it are located the charging adapter and the manual + set-up guides combo, accompanied by the mandatory MSI drivers CD. In the other compartment, you can find the power cord.
*This is the standard package, although our unit arrived with some gifts inside.*
Design and construction
MSI GS73VR 7RF has a beautiful (in our opinion) design, build using aluminum and plastic combination. While the materials make the device look like a tank, it feels as if made of glass when you hold it in your hands. That feeling is enhanced by the sub 20mm profile and 2.4 kg (5.3 lbs) weight. The laptop measures at 412 x 285 x 19.6 mm (16.22″ x 11.22″ x 0.79″), and the brushed aluminum used for the top of its lid attracts fingerprints like a geeky teenager is attracted to Fortnite.
Opening the lid happens easily using just one hand, and once again it is fascinating at how thin this thing is. Due to that, it bends a little when forced, despite the good build quality and use of aluminum. Above the screen, there is the usual camera plus mics combo. On the surface area, we can see a ventilation drill as well as some tiny holes, which house some front-facing speakers.
Beneath them, there is the keyboard which is unsurprisingly reminiscent of the one on MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider. It is more gaming oriented – long key travel but soft feedback. The keyboard is backlit by the same eye-pleasing, user-programmable SteelSeries branded RGB LEDs. On the bottom of the surface area – on its usual spot – we find the touchpad, which unlike the one found on its smaller brother is very accurate and has a nice distinctive click, although the keys are embedded under the pad. Here we have nothing to complain about. We like the simple trapezoid-carved touch on this area, which reminds us of the “mustache” of a 2012 Toyota Land Cruiser’s trunk.
If you’ve read our review of the smaller Stealth Pro – GS63VR 7RF you are already familiar with the I/O of this device too, since they share the same ports – RJ-45, SD card slot, three USB 3.0 Type-A and two 3.5 mm jacks on the left. And on the right – charging plug, Mini DisplayPort, and an HDMI port, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 connector and one USB 2.0 Type-A preferably for an external input device. Not only that, but the vents are in the same locations, resulting in side view exactly matching that of the smaller unit.
One thing we don’t like in this model (as well as the smaller one) is the location of the charging plug. It’s not very adequately positioned, given that first – it blocks some of the exhausted air when plugged to a charger, and second – you can easily mistake it for the Mini DisplayPort if you try plugging it without looking.
MSI GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro uses the same 17.3-inch 120Hz TN panel as the GE73VR RF Raider configuration we reviewed earlier. The model name is Innolux N173HHE-G32. It has a pixel density of 127 ppi and a pixel pitch of 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from further than 69 cm.
Due to the TN nature of the panel, the viewing angles of this device are poor.
We measured a maximum brightness of 285 nits in the middle of the screen and 284 nits average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of just 6%. The Correlated Color Temperature on White screen and the highest brightness level is colder than the 6500K standard – 7160K. However, things go even worse along the grey scale as the color temperatures go up to 14000K, which is cold, even bluish light (this can be corrected by using our profiles).
On the image below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. In other words, the light leakage from the light source.
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.
The contrast ratio is very good for a TN panel – 1020:1 (950:1 after profiling).
The next image shows the sRGB coverage of MSI GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro’s display. The color reproduction of the human eye is shown via the “CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram”. In the middle of the dark-grey triangle are located the standard colors used by Internet and digital TV – rec.709/sRGB.
Being used by million people around the world the colors from the sRGB gamut are the most common and their accurate reproduction is of key importance for the quality of the screen.
In addition to the Adobe RGB color space, used in the professional photography, we’ve included the color gamut, used by world-known movie studios – DCI-P3, and UHD-digital television (Rec.2020), which is very hard to achieve by modern display units.
We have drawn the Pointer’s Gamut with a black line. This color space covers all the colors we can see around us.
MSI GS73VR 7RF’s display offers attractive and vibrant colors that fully represent the colors on the Internet and also covers 97% of the DCI-P3 gamut.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 nits 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. Here you can see a noticeable improvement in the profile – a drop form dE 10 to dE 2.2.
The following chart shows us the prerequisites for comfortable gaming experience in terms of the darkest parts of the image.
The left side tells us the default settings results of the screen, and the right one shows us the results with “Gaming and Web design” profile installed. The horizontal gives us the levels of grey, and the vertical one – the screen brightness.
You can check how your device displays the first five levels of grey – 1% – 5% White – via the graphics below the charts. The image you see depends on several factors such as the panel of the display you’re currently reading this article on, its calibration, your eyesight, ambient light, viewing angle and more.
The chart below illustrates the response time of the pixels going from Black to White and around for levels of 10% to 90% and vice versa. We measured Fall Time + Rise Time = 8 ms – as you may already know from the previous time we tested this panel, it’s one of the fastest on the market at the moment of writing of this review.
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. It can be particularly harmful to the eyes and the brain at levels lower than 300 Hz. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
MSI GS73VR 7RF’s display uses PWM for adjustment of the brightness up until 75 nits. However, the frequency is high enough and doesn’t overburden the sight in this aspect.
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.
MSI GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro is equipped with a fascinating 120 Hz display that is going to be adored by gamers. Thanks to the super fast responsiveness of the screen and the high contrast and saturated colors it completely justifies the use of a TN panel in a device of this price. In addition to that, the uniformity of the luminance and almost complete absence of PWM compensate for the only major disadvantage of this screen – its uncomfortable viewing angles.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for MSI GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro configurations with 17.3″ Innolux N173HHE-G32 (Full HD, 1920 x 1080) TN screen: Buy from Amazon.com
*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.
Thanks to the 3W Woofer, the MSI GS73VR 7RF has a relatively good sound in the lows, although the mid and high frequencies have some deviations.
Your device will come either with an operating system already installed or without, you are going to receive a disk with all the necessary drivers and utility programs, like the MSI Dragon Center, which gives you control over the strings of the keyboard backlight and fan curves and profiles. But as every object that is not used around you, there is a high chance of being lost. In that case, you can find what you need on MSI’s official web-page: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/support/GS73VR-7RF-Stealth-Pro.html#!type=download
As always, the battery tests were run with Windows power saving setting and Wi-Fi turned on, and the screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits.
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.
The SSD on our unit was the same as the 256 GB drive, found on the smaller model – Samsung PM871A M.2 SATA SSD, although this part of the configuration is region-dependent, and the chances to receive a unit with a different drive are high. Results here were not bad for a SATA SSD with 550.8 MB/s Read and 495.7 MB/s Write speeds.
CPU – Intel Core i7-7700HQ
The Core i7-7700HQ is Kaby Lake’s top-shelf direct successor of the Skylake Core i7-6700HQ offering slightly higher clock speeds on the almost identical architecture and TDP. While Intel markets Kaby Lake’s architecture as “14nm+”, the Core i7-7700HQ is still on the same 14nm node with the only significant update being in the iGPU department. That’s why the slightly altered clock speeds (2.8 – 3.8 GHz vs 2.6 – 3.5 GHz) bring not more than 10% increase in performance compared to the Core i7-6700HQ. We still have the supported Hyper-Threading technology with 4/8 – core/thread design, the same 45W TDP, and 6MB cache.
However, the Kaby Lake generation boasts an updated video engine for the iGPU, although, its performance is just about the same. Branded as Intel HD Graphics 630, the GPU offers slightly higher clock speeds (350 – 1100 MHz vs 350 – 1050 MHz) compared to the Intel HD Graphics 530 and support for H265/HEVC Main10 profile at 10-bit color depth and the VP9 codec for full hardware acceleration. In addition, the HDCP 2.2 is also supported allowing Netflix’s 4K video streaming.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
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)
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5)
NIVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060 GPU aims to be the mid-tier graphics card from the Pascal generation offering similar or even better performance than last year’s flagship models like the GTX 970M and 980M. However, the GPU will be used in high-end laptop configurations.
The graphics card is based on the GP106 chip built on the 16nm FinFET manufacturing process from TSMC paired with up to 6GB GDDR5 VRAM clocked at 8000 MHz effective on a 192-bit interface. The GPU also features the same amount of CUDA cores as its desktop counterpart (1280) and it’s clocked at slightly lower frequencies – 1404 – 1670 MHz.
Depending on the cooling solution, the GPU can be found in large 17 and 15-inch notebooks but some slimmed-down 14-inch notebooks are also an option. The TDP of the GPU is somewhat lower than the last generation GTX 970M.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
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)
Despite the thin profile and lightweight design, this device performed on point during gaming and scored some competitive results. However, in our benchmarks we noticed that the longer we keep the game running, the lower result we get. This means that the GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro’s cooling, as expected, strips you of the opportunity to utilize the full potential of the GeForce GTX 1060. Don’t get us wrong though, even in long sessions at 1080p all the games ran at a decent frame rate, and when you insert the 120 Hz screen, the soup gets a little spicy.
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||150 fps||107 fps||59 fps|
|Min FPS||62 fps||57 fps||26 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, Normal (Check settings)||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||87 fps||77 fps||65 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Low (Check settings)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||133 fps||93 fps||47 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||71 fps||64 fps||56 fps|
|Min FPS||59 fps||53 fps||45 fps|
The temperature tests go this way. We use Prime95 and FurMark to torture the CPU and the GPU respectively. This won’t give real-life representation but with our methodology, we try to give you the most optimal results.
The first values from the test are from the 30th second of running the Prime95 stress test, which simulates a heavy task run on your computer (usually lighter tasks take from a part of the second up to a couple of seconds). Next, we take the ones from the 2nd-minute mark, which imitates a very heavy task, run on the CPU. The last values we give you are the ones at the end of the test, which is 15 minutes, simulating the CPU load when rendering a video, for example.
0-15 min. CPU torture test
Before we started the usual torture test we measured a relatively high idle temperature of 43°C on the cores. With a base frequency of 2.8 GHz and a Turbo one of 3.8 GHz, we found our selves right in the middle of the range – 3.4 GHz, with core Two being most stable of them all. In the first 20 seconds of this test, everything seemed fine until the temperatures hit 91°C and the frequencies dropped.
Still not in the throttling zone, we had 3.05 GHz average for the second time period with the clock speeds stabilizing at 3.0 GHz. We were about to order meat and vegetables for the grill since the temperatures went no lower than 86°C.
After 15 minutes of extreme load, which by no any means represents real-life load, and moreover gaming (when CPUs never exceed 50-60%) we finally got thermal throttling – 2.6 – 2.7 GHz. We should also note that the fans went super loud in order to cool down the poor CPU but didn’t succeed. As a result of the throttle the temperatures dropped by around 7°C, so we decided to scrap the idea for a barbeque.
0-30 min. GPU torture test
On the GPU side, we also noticed a slightly higher than the usual temperature of the die – 46°C. And yet, again the same looking graph as the one on GS63VR, although without any thermal throttling here and a slightly lower temperature. The GeForce GTX 1060 on this unit topped at 79°C, thus giving an average of 76.7°C and an averge Core frequency of 1479 MHz.
Although we are looking at a strictly gaming device here, the surface temperatures remained adequate, except the top middle part, which is a location crowded with heat pipes. You can easily fry some eggs there. Anyhow, your palms are safe since the large area of the GS73VR 7RF provides a lot of surface for the heat to dissipate. However there is a little detail for those who play on their laptop in their bed – well, forget it. This laptop gets so hot on the bottom, it’s hard to touch.
After we were blown away by the capabilities of a super low-profile gaming device in the face of the MSI GS63VR 7RF Stealth Pro, today we had practically the same hardware in a larger body, although with the same cooling limitations. The GS73VR 7RF offers a better keyboard and its touchpad beats that on the smaller device by a mile. We were also impressed by the build quality, as the body lacked the annoying bending and awkward squeaking sounds reminding of a bath duck, being stepped on.
Some more advantages to the larger model come from the temperatures department. The GS73VR 7RF’s larger surface area contributed to around 5°C cooler CPU and GPU. Sadly, this didn’t mean that the device is going to remain silent during low loads. On the contrary, the situation is quite the opposite – the fans kick in at a reasonably high speed, even when just browsing the web, or especially during updates, which can be a little annoying.
Screen-wise, however, MSI didn’t fail to impress, equipping the GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro with the same 120 Hz Full HD Innolux panel, as the one found on the GE73VR 7RF Raider, thus enabling its owners to experience super saturated – almost unnatural colors, with 100% coverage of sRGB and 97% of DCI-P3. Our Gaming and Web design profile is capable of making the display color accurate, lowering the dE from 10.0 to just 2.2. Its brightness adjustment lacks aggressive PWM, meaning the display is comfortable for long periods of use. Here we want to note that you can reduce the PWM to zero if using our Health-Guard profile, while also reducing the harmful blue light and maintain colors perceptually accurate at the same time. Lastly, the 120 Hz and super fast 8 ms response time of the panel, makes gaming on this device a very pleasant experience.
The battery of this 17.3-inch device is significantly larger than the one found on the Raider configuration, despite featuring less demanding hardware. It is the same that we found in the 15.6-inch GS63VR 7RF Stealth Pro, but due to the larger display size we got a noticeably lower screen time on battery – 4 hours of web browsing, 3 hours and 24 minutes of video playback and just under 1 hour of gaming, not astonishing, but understandable result for a 17.3-inch 120 Hz monitor.
In the gaming aspect, which is most important here given the nature of the device, GS73VR 7RF performed on par with larger bulkier devices with the same hardware like the ASUS ROG STRIX GL703VM, for instance. While it achieved slightly lower scores in the raw benchmarks than both the GL703VM and the little Stealth Pro brother – MSI GS63VR 7RF, the 17.3-inch Stealth Pro got better results in gaming. However, there is one unpleasant formality – in long gaming sessions, performance seems to drop, due to some throttling, and the notebook gets smoking hot (well, not literally).
Actually, apart from the heat and loudness of this super thin gaming laptop, we didn’t find any major drawbacks that would outweigh (pun intended) the slim design and super light body for this size of a notebook. Tell us what you think of the MSI GS73VR 7RF Stealth Pro in the comments. Would you sacrifice performance for portability?
- One of the slimmest and lightest gaming devices of this size
- Responsive 120 Hz screen with vibrant colors
- RGB backlit tactile keyboard
- No aggressive PWM-adjustment
- Color accuracy is on point with our Gaming and Web design profile
- Loud even at low levels of load
- Tends to get really hot on the outside, especially on the bottom
- Poor viewing angles
- Super hard for a non-pro to upgrade and disassemble