Price Analysis And Conclusion
The MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro is the prototypical entry-level, VR-ready gaming laptop, offering enough horsepower to get in the door without breaking the bank at around $1350. That nets you an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16GB of RAM, and a GTX 1060. These components add to the significant value of the Leopard Pro, but the price tag doesn't come without a few caveats.
Storage is a feature that suffers under the $1,350 price cap, but at least there's plenty of it. The 1TB hard drive has enough space to store a modest mobile gaming library, and a 7,200RPM HDD is decidedly better than a 5,400RPM HDD that other brands sometimes offer in budget models. The 15.6" display is similarly simplistic; it's a standard 1920 x 1080 60Hz IPS panel. However, it's adequate for the GPU under the hood, and features such as G-Sync or a 120Hz panel would also add to the cost. The chassis is decidedly plain, made with materials par for the price point.
The GTX 1060 3GB graphics module was the other way MSI was able to get a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM paired with the next-gen GPU at this price point. More often than not, the Leopard Pro achieved framerates comparable to the GTX 1060 6GB-equipped competition. The Leopard never catches the Strix 15 (which sports the same processor and memory configuration) in any of the game benchmarks, and it falls short of the Alienware 15 in games that rely on copious amounts of VRAM at the highest settings, despite the Leopard's superior CPU and memory capacity. Benchmarks that rely on overall system performance (DiRT Rally in particular) put these identically-priced laptops in a nearly-identical performance spectrum.
The MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro and the Alienware 15 are perhaps the yin and the yang of this group of VR-ready gaming laptops: the Alienware sacrifices CPU power and memory capacity for a better GPU and increased (objectively) aesthetic value, whereas the Leopard retracts the GPU horsepower and eye candy for more RAM and a better CPU. Both illustrate each other's strengths and weaknesses, and picking between the two (if your budget is maxed out at $1,350) may boil down to the games you play and which component they favor.
However, the VRAM limits can be easily circumvented by scaling back the game settings that push the frame buffer past its 3GB ceiling. You'll only have to worry about this for a handful of graphically-intensive blockbusters. The Leopard achieved wicked-high framerate averages with most games at 1080p at the highest settings, and you can expect an enjoyable gaming experience from MSI's budget-friendly powerhouse.
Perhaps most importantly, laptops such as the MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro (and the other sub-$1500 VR-ready gaming laptops in our charts) bring mobile VR-ready gaming to a price point previously unfathomable. The only option prior to this was a GTX 980-equipped powerhouse, usually starting upwards of $2,300. Nvidia has made it possible to get in the VR game in multiple price brackets with its three new 10-series mobile GPUs, the entry level of which performs admirably and can game at 1080p with the settings cranked fairly high. MSI's Leopard Pro is a testament to the idea that mobile enthusiast-level gaming performance doesn't have to cost a fortune.
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