How to upgrade the HDD, RAM and SSD on the MSI Stealth Pro GS73VR (and MSI GS63VR)

By Derek Sullivan , last updated on September 22, 2016

If you’ve read my detailed review of the MSI Stealth Pro GS73VR (you can find it here, in case you didn’t), you should know that I decided to keep the 4k model, and order to make it more accustomed to my needs, I went ahead and upgraded some of the internals.

First off, the HDD had to go.  I decided to replace it with my old 1TB Samsung 840 Evo.  I also have a Plextor NVMe 1TB M.2 drive and 32GB of RAM to upgrade with.  So basically because of how the motherboard is configured, I bought myself into completely disassembling the laptop – yay!

Before venturing on, you must know that myself or anyone else associated with Ultrabookreview.com can’t be held responsible or liable for any damage that you might incur on your unit during the upgrade process, so proceed at your own risk and only if you know what you’re doing!

I took some pictures along the way and I also have some tips for those of you who want to venture forward with this as well.  I caution you in advance, this is a very time consuming process.  It took me about an hour but it will probably take you longer, as I have done this numerous times with my old GS60.  Give yourself 2 hours to be safe, and maybe longer if you repaste and you’re a rookie with that too.

The good news is that MSI GS63VR owners (reviewed here) can also follow this procedure pretty much to the letter.  If you look at the pictures, the only real difference between the GS73’s and GS63’s internal architecture is the fact that the GPU fans are a little further apart and some of the other components are a little spread out on the larger unit.  The motherboards are identical.

Make sure you give yourself a lot of room to work – I took up most of my kitchen table doing it since there are so many parts to move around.  Depending on where you live, you’ll probably also want to make sure you’re properly grounded.  Again, proceed with caution.

So here we go, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove the back cover.  The warranty sticker is in the way, hiding one of these screws underneath, so that needs to come off.  For US and Canada, this sticker doesn’t void the warranty, but if you’re anywhere else, know that by breaking this sticker your warranty is now void.  If you don’t care about looks, break right through it.  If you want to peel the whole sticker off though, you’ll want to heat it up with a hair drier or something to loosen it up – then it just peels right off.  You can always do this after you get the cover off.

The back cover is hold in place by 17 Philips screws

The back cover is hold in place by 17 Philips screws

There are 17 screws to deal with and some of them are different lengths.  I highly recommend getting a sheet of paper and drawing the laptop on it.  Then use double sided or clear tape and put the screws where they belong on the drawing.  If not for this step, do it for the motherboard for sure.

Once you get all the screws off, you’ll need a plastic opening tool, guitar pick or even a credit card to release the clips at the exhaust vents.  Be patient here and start at the edges.  Then work your way into the middle until the back panel fully releases.  If you break a clip, it’ll probably annoy you from now on so you won’t want to mess up here.

With the cover off, you’ll see the motherboard.  The HDD is easily replaceable, but the rest is going to take some work. First things first is to work on the cables.  There are 14 things to disconnect in total, including the Wifi module.  Start with the battery and work your way around.  Some of these are going to take some dexterity, especially the ones down by the HDD.  Removing the HDD helps get to them easier though.  That battery connector is also a tough one to pull out.  I had to pinch my fingers on all the wires together and just pull it.

This is what you see once you take care of the back cover

This is what you see once you take care of the back cover

The ribbon cable connectors are pretty fragile so you really want to be gentle here.  It’s pretty much a standard how to release them though – just carefully lift up on the plastic lever and it’ll rotate 90 degrees upward.  Then the ribbon cables can be pulled right out.  If you break one, it really sucks but it’s not the end of the world.  You’ll just have to rely on tape to hold it in from now on.  If you don’t have any Kapton tape, I recommend having some on standby.

These are the cables you need to disconnect

These are the cables you need to disconnect

Next are the screws.  There are 16 screws holding the motherboard down.  One of those you already removed with the Wifi module.  It’s very important you keep track of what screw goes where because many of them are different. Some are hard to see since they probably are surrounded by black elements and have black marker on them.  Others are hidden behind tape.  Once you get them all off though, the motherboard can now be lifted right off.

An optional step that might be necessary, especially for GS63VR owners, is to remove the memory card module to the right.  On the GS73VR, it’s not really in the way but it might be nice to remove it to have extra space upon reassembly.  If you do, it’s just 2 screws.

The screws that hold the motherboard in place

The screws that hold the motherboard in place

Now with the motherboard off, flip it around and place it somewhere safe where you can continue to work.  The RAM modules and M.2 module are pretty straight forward from here.  If you need help with these steps, I don’t know how you got here – seriously.

If repasting is your desire, this is where you’ll want to do it.  Keep in mind, this pretty much breaks your warranty on the CPU and GPU.  It’s a pretty straight forward task though, especially if you’ve done it before.  The CPU has 3 screws and the GPU has 4.  Once you get them all off, the heat sink pulls right off.  This is different from the GS60 because the heat pipes are all interconnected though.  Reapplying the heatsinks together might be challenging.

With the heatsinks off, use isopropyl alcohol and some lint free cloths to remove the paste.  Remove it on the CPU, GPU and the heatsinks until everything is nice and shiny.  Then apply your new paste according to their recommendations.  These are probably rectangular in shape so you might have to do a thin line down the middle.  I won’t go into too much detail with this because there are so many opinions on what’s right and wrong with each paste.  There are plenty of other guides on how to do paste though, so I recommend looking at some videos if you’re not experienced.

The screws holding in place the CPU and GPU, in case you go for repasting

The screws holding in place the CPU and GPU, in case you go for repasting

Reassembly is pretty much everything in reverse.  Double check all your connections and make sure all your screws are where they should be.  I recommend doing a boot and a mini performance test before putting the back cover on.  If it doesn’t power on, don’t panic just yet – you have to attach the power cord when powering it on for the first time after disconnecting the battery.

Hopefully at this point, everything is working.  If so, reattach the back cover, put in all the screws and make sure the clips are clipped back in.  You’re done!

Hope this helps someone and feel free to message me below if you have questions.

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In addition to being a tech enthusiast, Derek has a career as a biomedical engineer. He enjoys taking things apart, figuring out how they work and finding ways to make them better. His other hobbies include spending time with his family, "Do it yourself" projects such as home automation and running.

87 Comments

  1. william chan

    May 30, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Does the gate have 2 m.2 slots or 1. On the website it says 2x slots.

    • Derek Sullivan

      May 30, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      It's been a while but I'm pretty sure there's only one slot. I looked at the pictures and can only see one

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