The cheapest RTX 3050 laptop right now costs $629 and thrifty creatives will love it - meet the outrageously powerful MSI GF63 that Walmart is clearing out

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MSI GF63 Thin: Was $699 Now $629 at Walmart

MSI GF63 Thin: Was $699 Now $629 at Walmart
Save $70 Don't be fooled by its looks, the GF63 is a mean computing machine that's available for an unbelievable price tag. 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD are paired with a 11th Gen Core i5 and an RTX 3050 GPU. The results are spectacular.

What is it?
This is probably the best value-for-money gaming/creator laptop you can get for around $600. Great for thrifty buyers that want to play and work without breaking the bank. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile laptop in this price range, especially as its setup makes it great for anyone hunting for a laptop for AutoCAD. Plus at just 1.83Kg and 22mm thick, it is a remarkably portable device. Retailers like Walmart are clearing it (11UC-1276US) to make way for the 2023 version.

What makes it so special?
So far, it is the cheapest machine I've seen to feature an RTX 3050 GPU, which will get you some great 1080p gaming chops (with a serving of rendering or coding on the side) considering the price. At just under $630, this one is a great starter machine  or simply needs a cheap backup machine for when they're away from home. The fact that it has a reasonably powerful CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD makes the deal even sweeter.

What else should I know?
The GF63 has been around - as a gaming model - for several years and is one of the most popular entry level gaming laptops. Its CPU - the Core i5 11400H - is a 6-core model from 2021 and scores just under 16,000 points on popular benchmark, Passmark. That's more than some Core i9 models from the previous generation. The 16GB DDR4 RAM occupies two slots and the SSD is a PCIe Gen 3 model, not the latest technology but still good enough for most jobs. There's also a free 2.5-inch SATA slot that can host a SSD or HDD. The dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU has 4GB GDDR6 memory. As for connectors, I've counted nine in all - four USB ports, two audio ones, a Gigabit Ethernet one, HDMI and a dedicated power connector. The screen is a 15.6-inch IPS model with a 144Hz refresh rate and FHD resolution with a 720p camera on the bezel. And for those wondering, despite being a 15.6-inch laptop, it doesn't have a dedicated numeric keypad but does have a backlit keyboard.

Any cons?
The 3-cell, 52WHr battery is on the small side and according to MSI will last up to seven hours. Expect that to be less than a couple of hours when playing or doing rendering, more on that further down. The HDMI port supports only 4K at 30Hz which is a disappointment. Our review also highlighted the fact that there's some bloatware that takes precious SSD space and the charging connector can block access to the nearby USB port. Some users have also mentioned issues with the touchpad and the fact that it does become hot under load (no surprise there).

What have others said about it?
Note that the reviews below are for the 2022 model with the same configuration as the one on offer, some reviews have the 2023 model which is more expensive or with different specs.
TechRadar (4.5/5): A sensibly priced gaming laptop that doesn’t feel cheap? Decent 1080p performance without horribly noisy fans? A sturdy chassis with a comfortable, responsive keyboard? Yes, the MSI GF63 Thin has all this and more, making it a fantastic value option despite its unimpressive battery life.
TechAdvisor (3.5/5): The MSI GF63 Thin is cheap, it handles everyday eSports and mainstream games at mid-range settings, and it’s got a decent keyboard and a slim, light design. Rivals perform better in various ways but for office work followed by gaming time at the end of the day, it’s a good value buy.

What about aftersales?
You are in the capable hands of the world's largest retailer, Walmart. So you get the peace of mind associated with a company that won't disappear overnight. You can return it till Jan 31, 2024 should you want to; otherwise it is the standard 12-month warranty with, sadly, no option to extend further. Walmart offers something called Premium Tech Support and Security which includes a number of perks like a free internet security suite, free data recovery, antivirus removal and more.

Also consider

HP Victus 15 Gaming Laptop: Was $769 Now $637 at Amazon

HP Victus 15 Gaming Laptop: Was $769 Now $637 at Amazon
Save $132 This is a newer laptop and benefits from a much faster CPU, DDR5 memory, a larger (1TB) PCIe Gen4 SSD and, I'd reckon, a better design (and a numeric keypad). On the flipside, the GPU is an older RTX 2050. If you can live with it, then this is a better deal, especially as a potential business laptop.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.