MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review

Manufacturer: MSI
UK price (as reviewed): MSRP £1,099 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): TBC

Whether it's lack of space or just no need for a hulking PC, gaming laptops do offer a compact and easy way to play PC games. Yes, in performance terms they offer far less bang per buck than a gaming PC but that's the downside of miniaturisation. The plus side is that you get a 1080p-capable portable gaming system that's smaller than a shoebox. 2015 looks set to be an interesting year for gaming laptops too and one of the first off the mark is MSI with its new mid-range gaming laptop, the GE62 2QE Apache.

MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review
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Intel's Broadwell CPUs are gradually starting to trickle into the latest laptops but plenty of manufacturers are launching their new models with Haswell-based chips and MSI is no exception. Under the hood of the Apache is a Core i7-4720HQ; unlike some of its lower power Core i7 siblings, it offers four physical cores and, with hyper-threading thrown in too, there are an additional four logical cores. The 47 watt TDP here is considerably higher than, say, a Core i7-4500U, which sits at just 15W, so battery life will unlikely be a strong point but on the plus side, this is going to offer considerably more performance and not just for games.

MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review
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Coupled with the CPU is a single 8GB module of DDR3 1,600MHz memory (upgradable to 16GB) and for storage the Apache uses a single Toshiba THNSNJ128G8NU M.2 SSD alongside a 7,200rpm 1TB hard disk, although with three M.2 ports in total, there are options for what MSI calls Super RAID 2 with arrays up to 768GB available. Given the price, we'd argue a 500GB SSD might be a better option although the 1TB of storage will likely appeal to those looking for a desktop replacement rather than just a casual, portable gaming system.

As this is first and foremost a gaming laptop, you'd expect to see a half-decent GPU and MSI has opted for an Nvidia GeForce GTX965M, which uses the second generation Maxwell architecture, specifically the GM204 core, which is used in various configurations in the GTX 980, and GTX 970, as well as their mobile counterparts. Its specs are actually most similar to the dekstop GTX 960, which uses the GM206 core, because for the GTX 965M the GM204 GPU has been cut down to a 128-bit interface and 1,024 stream processors. This doesn't seem like a lot, especially compared to some previous Kepler-based GPUs, but if you've been following the desktop graphics scene, you'll know that the Maxwell architecture is also very efficient, even if it means there hasn't always been a huge leap forwards in performance. The GTX 965M also offers the same 2GB of GDDR5 as the GTX 960, has a default GPU clock speed of 924MHz and a memory speed of 1.25GHz (5GHz effective), giving it a total memory bandwidth of 80GB/sec.

MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review
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Despite its relatively light weight of 2.4kg and short height of 27mm for a 15.6in gaming laptop, MSI has managed to squeeze in an optical drive in the form of a Hitachi GU90N DVD Writer. Networking is catered for using a Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet port in much the same manner to MSI's desktop motherboards, although rather than opting for a similar effort for the WiFi, it's chosen Intel's Wireless-AC 3160 WiFi module.

MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review MSI GE62 2QE Apache Review
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The screen is your standard 15.6in affair, using a Samsung PLS offering, with the technology claiming to offer advantages over IPS technology such as enhanced viewing angles and brightness as well as better image quality. We can certainly agree on the viewing angles, not that IPS screens are poor here but what the Apache offers is impressive. The colours were particularly balanced and punchy out of the box with little need for fine tuning and the anti-glare coating means that the laptop is usable outside or near windows too, with reflections kept to a minimum.
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