MSI WS63 – The Slimmest Workstation Laptop with Best Performance
Posted on November 01 2018
MSI has long been known for their gaming laptops, but MSI wants to step into workstation-grade laptops market. Equipped with NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards and plenty of RAM and storage, these MSI workstation laptops are going to help professionals who handle video editing, CAD, 3D modeling and other GPU-intensive applications.
Designers often work without a fixed place, and that's why a laptop with workstation-grade performance is a perfect choice for them.
The MSI workstation model lineup isn’t available in stores, because it's highly customizable. If you want to buy one, you’ll have to contact MSI directly to arrange for your configuration which will be priced accordingly.
It's surprisingly light, weighing in at 1.89kg and measuring just 17.7mm thick. It's like an Ultrabook with two drives and a Quadro graphics processor.
A pleasant design feature is the use of felt on the bottom of the laptop. This makes the WS63 very comfortable to use on your lap, and also makes sure it doesn't slip off easily. Obviously, MSI knew that a machine like this could get a bit warmer than usual, and made it as comfortable as possible to use.
Heat shouldn’t be a big issue however, since the WS63 packs MSI’s Cooler Booster Trinity technology. Three 47-blade fans and five heat pipes keep the unit cool when it's under pressure, and even under the most demanding tasks, the laptop doesn't get alarmingly warm.
There are many ports on the WS63 – the left side sports audio connections, three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, and internet. On the opposite side, you’ll find a USB 2.0 port, USB Type-C 3.1 port, full-sized HDMI, mini DisplayPort, and the power port. That's more than enough connectivity for a productive setup, and the WS63 is capable of handling up to three external monitors, which makes it handy for multitasking.
And on the A-side you can see the metallic hair-brushed surface, This is just so beautiful and elegant.
Open up the WS63 and you’ll be greeted by a fairly straightforward 15.6" display. Our model came with a Full HD screen, but MSI says that a UHD option is also available for those who need the extra pixels.
The keyboard brings fantastic typing experience and is backlit in white only. Just below is a spacious trackpad, with a small fingerprint sensor embedded in the top left corner. This lets you easily boot up the laptop using Windows Hello fast with the fingerprint reader being very responsive.
- NVIDIA Quadro discrete graphics
- Supports Intel vPro
The MSI WS63 series is highly configurable. And our model today was equipped with an Intel Coffee Lake i7-8750H processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD with an additional 1TB 7200rpm HDD, Quadro P2000 5GB graphics, and Windows 10 Professional.
There are two huge benefits with the WS63 that also make it a great choice for professionals. From a security point of view, the laptop supports Intel vPro, which allows great processing efficiency as well as hardware-enhanced security to help protect users when they're out and about.
The laptop is also ISV-certified, which means that it's been optimized to run a whole gamut of applications from the likes of AutoDesk, Siemens, and Adobe. The WS63 is also VR-ready, which means it can be used to both experience and design VR applications.
With non-intensive applications running, you can get a little close to 3.5 hours of battery life from the WS63. When you start loading applications that utilize the Quadro graphics card, things tend to eat up battery life rather quickly, so the time will be just over an hour instead.
It's highly recommended that you keep the laptop plugged in when the Quadro chip is in use. And you are able to do some quick edits or show off some 3D models on battery power, but for anything else you're going to need to find a power socket.
This isn’t any fault of the WS63 of course, but just down to the amount of power required by the Quadro chip in order to display smooth framerates.
Heat and Noise levels
- Acceptable noise levels
- Good heat dissipation
For normal use, the WS63 doesn't make much noise at all. Once you start firing up several applications you’ll notice that the fans kick in with a slight murmur, and should you start doing any rendering work, things really kick into overdrive.
There were moments when we were scrubbing through the timeline of a 4k video that the fans got really, really loud, but they slowed down to a normal speed after a few seconds. It's something you'll have to live with reality and is to be expected from a laptop that's packing this much power under the hood.
Heat levels are tolerable, with the area near the bottom of the display registering as the warmest during heavy use. The felt bottom helps immensely for when you’re using the WS63 on your lap, so even if it did get slightly warm, you'd hardly feel any discomfort.
Screen & Keyboard
- Full HD or UHD options available
- Support for multiple displays
- Responsive keyboard and fingerprint sensor
The WS63 can either be configured with a Full HD or UHD screen. We tested the Full HD model which has good viewing angles. The ability to easily extend your desktop to three external displays is another huge benefit. The keyboard is suitably responsive, but the trackpad needs a lot more pressure to register clicks properly. While the MSI WS63 Workstation laptop could easily be mistaken for one of the company's regular gaming laptops, there’s a lot more hidden power that can be unleashed. You’d expect a device with this much power to be bulky, which is where the WS63 really shines. Its slim build and light frame further hide its powerful capabilities, making it a perfect device for professionals who need sufficient processing and graphical power wherever they are.
- System monitoring
- System turner
- Mobile Center
Not only the gaming laptops need a monitor system when we’re playing games, but also the workstation laptops need such a system while we're editing 3D modeling or other tedious work.
So we're going to introduce Dragon Center which is a preset system in every latest MSI laptop, and see what benefits will this bring to us.
Monitor system status, temperature, usage rate of CPU and GPU, etc. Intuitive UI can make it easy to have all information at a glance.
This function allows us to customize our laptop according to our preferences. For example, we can personalize the computer environment. And one-click overclocking is really helpful when we're doing some pretty heavy workloads. And multiple profiles can be customized to match different usage scenarios. Of course in this interface, we can adjust the cooling system, in order to keep the temperature low.
The Mobile Center allows us to control our computer on mobile devices. We need to install "MSI Dragon Center" on our computer and install "MSI Dragon Dashboard" on our mobile device.
Quadro v.s. GeForce
High-performance notebooks have been divided by two main types of products. On one hand is the well-known gaming laptops with GeForce GTX graphics card that are built for the latest AAA game titles. On the other hand, we have the workstation-grade laptop with Quadro graphics card that is built for professional work, rendering, 3D modeling, etc.
While it's a no-brainer that games are better off with GeForce graphics card, there are many people who also use their “gaming rig” for professional work like content creation or CAD/CAM.
Due to the complexity of the 3D models, rotating or rendering these images can require high computing power, sometimes this requirement is even higher than gaming.
Most games run on DirectX APIs, which is GeForce graphics excel at.
This naturally brings better gaming performance and other related features to make the experience more immersive.
In contrast to gaming, most of the professional software utilizes OpenGL APIs. That’s where Quadro strikes with speed and accuracy, while GeForce runs handicapped.
And just like how GeForce have game-optimized drivers, ISVs like Adobe and Autodesk also have Quadro workstation certification programs for ensuring the optimal experience for the professionals.
We tested this WS63, and the result is as below.
So, we can notice that Intel 8th Gen. CPU is quite powerful. Even we’re using a workstation-grade laptop rather than a gaming laptop, and that means MSI not only cares about gamers but also designers.
We can see the performance of i7-8750H, compared to i7-7700, i7-8750H is a lot more powerful than the previous Intel CPU. And that would definitely be a great help for multitasking.
MSI workstation series is really a great tool for the professionals. Like 3D modeling, content creation, CAD/CAM, etc. An ISV-certified laptop means a reliable machine that can always reach our requirements. And in this article, the cooling system we didn't mention too much, but actually, that’s why MSI gaming laptops are highly praised by many gamers. We are supposed to spend money on a great tool, instead of being fussy about the price, and buy an unreliable laptop. This is my review for WS63, thank you!