MSI GS63VR

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Introduction

The GS series of MSI laptops is considered to be a thin gaming laptop. Although it is not thin as ultrabooks, it is still very thin for a gaming laptop. As of October 5th 2017, the 2016 model works fine with the latest kernel. The 2017 model has a bug concerning the eDP LCD display. There is a fix from intel here: https://github.com/freedesktop/drm-tip/commit/0501a3b0eb01ac2209ef6fce76153e5d6b07034e.patch

This issue was discussed in this thread: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=230541

As of 2018, the patch is now part of the mainstream kernel. Intel driver (i915) works, but without power management. It is only possible to run a graphical environment with the nvidia card ON. In order to get the maximum performance out of this notebook, it is recommended to use nvidia-xrun. Bumblebee is not working on the 2017 model.

Device GS63 (2016) GS63 (2017) GS63-8RE (2018)
CPU Yes i7-6700HQ Yes i7-7700HQ Yes i7-8750H
Display -- Full HD 120Hz/3ms Full HD 120Hz/3ms
Intel IGU Yes Intel HD Graphics 530 Yes HD Graphics 630 (i915) Yes Intel HD Graphics 630
Nvidia GPU Yes GTX 1060 Yes GTX 1070 Yes GTX 1060
Network Yes Yes Yes
Atheros Wireless Yes Yes Yes
ALSA Yes Yes Yes
Touchpad Manual Yes Yes
Webcam Yes Yes Yes
Card Reader Yes mmc warning Yes
Power management Yes No Yes

Installation

Standard installation works flawlessly per the Installation guide.


Drivers

Nvidia/Optimus

It is possible to use Bumblebee to make the Nvidia GPU in this laptop usable. In order to avoid issues caused by the BIOS in the GS63VR when using bbswitch, add acpi_osi=! acpi_osi="Windows 2009" to the kernel options at boot (per NVIDIA Optimus#Lockup issue (lspci hangs)).

For HDMI/DP ouput: Bumblebee#Output wired to the NVIDIA chip.

As alternative, you can use Optimus Manager. You can change between Intel and Nvidia restarting the X server and use external screen use nouveau driver.

Touchpad

This laptop uses an Elantech touchpad, and as such libinput works well.

Note* As of 2017.04.18, some multitouch aspects of the touchpad do not seem to be working (two finger scroll, for instance). This bug has been reported in 100696.

GS63-8RE

Two finger scrolling worked out of the box. Tested on 2018.09.23. Install libinput-gesturesAUR for more multitouch actions.

Networking

Wireless

NetworkManager works out of the box for wifi on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.

Audio

The headphone jack always acts as SPDIF out and subsequently has no volume control and does not mute the speakers when a device is plugged in. Link to a description of the issue on the ALSA mailing list.

As a workaround it is possible to reassign a microphone input jack using hdajackretask to behave as an audio output.

SteelSeries Keyboard

To set color to Steel Series Keyboard use MSIKLM

GS63-8RE

Use the instructions on MSI GS65#Lights to install msi-perkeyrgbAUR.

Sleep

If the laptop doesn't fully enter sleep mode, bluetooth and mobile light stay on and sleep light does not come on. Then try reinstalling TLP.

Web Camera

GS63-8RE

Fn + F6 will toggle disable/ enable the web camera.

Power Management

GS63-8RE

After installing NVIDIA, bumblebee, and bbswitch while running KDE power usage is down to ~7W or 9 hours according to powertop.

Misc

BIOS

To access the BIOS, from a cold shutdown, repeatedly press the delete key immediately after pressing the power button. To access the Boot Device Menu, from a cold shutdown, repeatedly press the F11 key immediately after pressing the power button.