Gaming notebooks. They’re a double-edged sword when you think about them. On the one hand, you’ve got a device which break your back when it lug around to LANs, as the all-in-one package makes them rather attractive.
On the other hand Darryn, you’ve also got some hardware that you’re stuck with for a couple of years, as the high price tag and design doesn’t leave much room for upgrades, which is kind of the key draw to PC gaming. You’ve got to weigh the pros and cons when you make such a decision.
You want something that lives up to the high price tag, and can keep on rocking for a good couple of years until you move on. The MSI GE62 Apache attempts to address those issues, and then some.
It’s all about the looks
Traditionally, MSI notebooks are like the Ed Hardy brand of gaming laptop design. Garish and ostentatious with needless flair tacked on. The current crop of notebooks however, don’t make me want to punch a spotty teenager wearing a flat-peaked cap at the wrong angle, through a wall.
The design is now simpler, with gentler curves and a more understated steel finish which appeals to my 1985 sensibilities. The keyboard took some getting used to with the current layout, but in a day and age where you can easily plug an Xbox One controller into the USB port, I don’t see this being a problem. There’s also a decent amount of inputs on the GE62. You’ve got three USB ports on one side, HDMI, ethernet, audio and mic interfaces. Another USB port on the right, rounds the package out.
But the key feature here, is that the GE62 is ridiculously light. Weighing in at around 2.7kg, the GE62 made my current work laptop (A Sony Vaio VPCF1) look like a morbidly obese whale in comparison. It’s not bloody fair.
A more elegant notebook, for a more civilised fragfest.
Here’s what it all comes down to. What’s under the hood. Horses with power. The torque of RAM. Various other terms I’m making up in an effort to sound smart. So what does the GE62 pack in?
You’ve also got two hard drives, a solid-state drive for lickety-split quick start-up, a proper regular hard drive to store all your pornography I mean legitimate gaming files on and Windows 8.1. I’m not nearly clever enough to actually know what that all means, but I do know that the actual display of the GE62 was crisp and more gorgeous than sun setting over a Ferrari Enzo.
It’s just a pity that a Blu-Ray drive wasn’t included in the review model, as that would have been the perfect touch. There’s also some concern being thrown around over the fact that upgrading the GE62 will essentially void your warranty. That’s because the one of the removable panels happens to sit under a screw hole that covers the warranty sticker, which when tampered with will kill any future support.
Numbers mean nothing without some good old-fashioned testing. And by that, I mean running 3DMark to get more numbers and probably render my first comment completely invalid.
We got the following scores with 3DMark on the GE62, which I’ll leave linked here as well, in the test titles. Quick note, 3D Mark did not pick up my GeForce drivers, which at the time were updated to version 355.98.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on the kind of games that I was looking for, in time. Because I’m on a 4Mb line, and downloading both Grand Theft Auto V and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would have taken me from now until man finally lands on Mars.
I made do with what I had, which was a combination of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Batman: Arkham Origins. Oh, and one other game, to answer the old age question:
Can it run Crysis?
Yes, yes it can, because I had Crysis 2: Maximum Edition on hand. Every single one of those games ran beautifully on the GE62. Batman Arkham Origins did need some optimisation and a few settings turned down, but it was an otherwise gorgeous and detailed simulation of punch-based justice running at a consistently smooth frame-rate of around 50-60 at any given time.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel was also sublime. At 1080p, Borderlands easily, easily handled everything thrown at it, and even made some staggering gains with the visual effects turned up to the max with Nvidia PhsyX.
Crysis 2 ran to the max. I turned every single setting up to maximum and extreme, threw in some mods and watched a cult classic throw explosions, particles, debris and more back at me.
Sure, the games are a tad bit old in the tooth, but if the GE62 couldn’t handle them, you’d have known that the hardware wasn’t up to the R20K price tag that this notebook demands.
Here’s the thing which I found truly impressive: The audio. Most gaming notebooks consider audio to be an afterthought. But when done properly, audio can really add to a gaming experience. The sound of the GE62, was good. It definitely favoured a headset approach, but the speakers were more than capable if tweaked.
The Dynaudio and Nahimic tag team had specific modes on offer, with each option able be tweaked, depending on your particular audio requirements. Personally, I preferred to keep the bass to a minimum in favour of more background clarity that heightened more subtle audio cues. Other modes, tended to up the bass more as if Dr Dre was in town, which resulted in audio distortion when turned up to 11.
Last Updated: October 6, 2015