MSI GS66 Stealth Evaluation

Gaming laptops appear to be in a relentless state of evolution. Balancing thermals, body charges, and acoustics is not any straightforward job, particularly as design traits push these cellular energy homes into thinner and lighter kind components. Usually, it’s a recreation of sacrifice to take your recreation on the go. Will that stay the case now that the RTX 30-Collection has made its method into laptops?That’s the query I’m out to reply with at the moment’s overview of the MSI GS66 Stealth. It comes outfitted with the most recent RTX 3080 Max-Q graphics processor and a 1440p (QHD) IPS show that runs at 240Hz. This explicit configuration gained’t be out till Q2 of this 12 months, however will land close to the reducing fringe of cellular gaming efficiency. Let’s take an in depth look and see what it has to supply.

MSI GS66 Stealth Evaluation

The mannequin I’m reviewing got here configured with the next specs:

  • Mannequin: MSI GS66 Stealth 10UH-290US
  • Show: 15.6-inch IPS 240Hz at 2,560 x 1,440
  • Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-10870H processor (8 core/16 thread, 5GHz Enhance)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q GPU (16GB GDDR6 VRAM)
  • Reminiscence: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
  • OS: Home windows 10 Professional
  • Storage: 1TB Western Digital SN730 NVMe SSD
  • Audio: MSI Duo Wave Stereo Audio
  • Webcam: 720p
  • Ports: 3 x USB 3.2 Sort-A, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C, 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x Headphone/Mic Combo Jack, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x A/C Energy
  • Connectivity: 2.5GB Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Battery: 99Wh
  • Dimensions: 14.2″ x 9.7″ x 0.7″
  • Weight: 4.6 lbs

MSI GS66 Stealth – Design and Options

MSI’s Stealth moniker for the GS66 suits this pocket book to a tee. At first look you’d be exhausting pressed to inform that it is a gaming laptop computer in any respect. It’s outer metallic shell is darkish matte gray with a small blacked out brand within the middle. The one RGB you’ll discover is behind the keyboard, however because it’s SteelSeries per-key programmable, you possibly can simply change this to match no matter look you’d like. That is a pc you may take to class within the morning and frag enemies with within the afternoon. Admittedly, it’s not the thinnest or lightest laptop computer, however it’s actually a good dimension contemplating what’s inside.

The GS66 Stealth represents a brand new technology of gaming laptops. Desktop avid gamers have identified for years the candy spot that’s 1440p gaming. Providing 78% extra pixels than 1080p whereas solely 44% that of 4K, it’s far simpler to drive than 4K whereas nonetheless wanting a lot crisper than Full HD. It’s a decision that exists squarely within the center between visible constancy and efficiency value, with many avid gamers discovering it to be one of the best of each worlds — myself amongst them. Till now, cellular avid gamers have been principally compelled to decide on between 1080p and 4K resolutions for his or her gaming laptops, however with the discharge of the RTX 30-series Max-Q graphics playing cards, that’s lastly altering. The GS66 Stealth is on the forefront of that change.As you may think, that makes this fairly the premium laptop computer and MSI has outfitted it as such. It contains a 15.6-inch IPS show that clocks in with a powerful 240Hz refresh charge and helps Nvidia G-Sync. It makes use of an Intel i7-10870H CPU with eight cores, sixteen threads, and a most increase clock of 5GHz. It runs sizzling, but in addition provides glorious efficiency each in video games and when multitasking or working in inventive apps like Adobe Premiere Professional.

It additionally options 16GB of DDR4 reminiscence clocked to 3200 MHz and a 1TB SN730 NVMe SSD able to learn and write speeds of three,400 MB/s and three,100 MB/s respectively. Every of those components are objectively “excessive efficiency” and compete with desktop gaming PCs on paper. Temperatures could make a giant distinction in efficiency in any pocket book, nevertheless, so it’s all the time price maintaining thermal efficiency in thoughts when {hardware} rundowns like these.

The crowning jewel of the laptop computer is clearly its graphics card, the RTX 3080 Max-Q. Like most cellular variants of desktop chipsets, it’s not a one-to-one translation of the desktop RTX 3080. The CUDA depend is extra sparse at 6144 (versus 8704) however it’s actually no slouch. The clock pace additionally has a wider swing to accommodate totally different temperature situations.

Nvidia has it starting from 1245 – 1710 MHz. In my testing, the cardboard properly exceeded that decrease benchmark and tended to hover round 1500MHz with occasional peaks and valleys relying on what was occurring within the recreation. It’s completely an enchancment over final technology’s RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q however lands nearer to the desktop card of the identical title in sheer FPS within the video games I examined.

What’s particularly attention-grabbing right here is that the laptop computer makes use of Nvidia’s new Superior Optimus system to swap between built-in graphics and the devoted GPU to avoid wasting battery. If you’re searching the online, the laptop computer is ready to decide that you just’re performing a much less intensive job and reverts to the built-in graphics on the i7-10870H. If you load a recreation, it robotically swaps to the devoted GPU. It’s a great system for enhancing battery life, however it’s not with out its hiccups. With built-in graphics, you’re restricted to a 60Hz refresh charge, which is a noticeable drop in fluidity even when shifting the mouse. I usually opted to make use of the RTX 3080 when working on battery, however this had its personal subject: if I left it on “Nvidia GPU Solely” the laptop computer’s show would usually not activate following a reboot, forcing me to restart it a second time.

A typical ache level for gaming laptops is their restricted upgradability. The Stealth mitigates that considerably with user-replaceable reminiscence and a second M.2 NVMe slot. It’ll imply popping the backplate off the laptop computer, however that’s not a tough job should you’re helpful with a screwdriver. In whole it may possibly assist 64GB of DDR4 RAM throughout two slots.

Along with sheer efficiency specs, the GS66 additionally sports activities a number of different options focused towards avid gamers. The keyboard is powered by SteelSeries and options full per-key illumination. Extra importantly, each key’s remappable and macro programmable with delay-free macros similar to a devoted SteelSeries keyboard. The touchpad is spacious with good tactility. If you happen to’re utilizing a touchpad for informal video games it’ll work properly, however I discovered it too giant and would often ship gestures I didn’t intend. It additionally comes outfitted with a 720p webcam that’s respectable however nothing to jot down residence about.

Way more spectacular is the brand new Duo Wave audio system. Somewhat than place two tiny audio system to the rear of the keyboard, the laptop computer now makes use of this area for air flow and locations two front-firing audio system to both aspect of the palm relaxation. They gained’t substitute a devoted gaming headset however are simply one of the best audio system I’ve ever heard on a laptop computer. When you can solely anticipate a lot from such small audio system, I used to be genuinely shocked on the fullness of their sound. You may simply use them for an impromptu Warzone match or Netflix binge. The one factor price noting is that the positioning of the audio system works finest should you’re leaned again or sat away from the pocket book. Leaning in instantly over prime of them tended to make them sound too bassy and fewer clear.

My general impressions of the construct and specs are optimistic, however I might be remiss if I didn’t point out what a fingerprint magnet the metallic shell is. The matte black end is horrible for exhibiting in every single place it’s been touched. The image above was taken with simply two days of use after its final wipe down. My palms have been clear and dry, however even regular finger oils present up as darkish smears.

MSI GS66 Stealth – Software program

The GS66 additionally applies the “stealth” theme to its software program, coming delightfully mild on bloatware. In reality, other than the necessary configuration instruments and a small collection of content material creation software program, it comes pretty clear. An important instrument is MSI’s Dragon Middle, which remains to be considerably clunky, however will get the job carried out for altering efficiency modes and different primary settings.

Dragon Middle has by no means been my favourite program, however it’s gotten higher over time. I discovered myself utilizing it incessantly to vary efficiency mode between Balanced, Excessive Efficiency, and Silent, and it was principally painless. It additionally means that you can change some primary settings, like disabling the Home windows key. MSI hides a very helpful setting within the Instruments menu, nevertheless, that means that you can set your battery state of affairs to delay battery life, in addition to a calibration possibility for the meter, so it’s price digging round a bit bit to see the whole lot it has to supply.

Together with Dragon Middle, you’ll discover a collection of different packages to customise totally different components of the PC. SteelSeries Engine 3 means that you can customise your keyboard. Nahimic and KillerLAN are MSI staples and can help you customise your audio and networking optimization. There’s additionally a handful of CyberLink apps for modifying images, video, and audio. Often I might take into account these pointless, however with a laptop computer so suited to content material creation, together with them right here is an effective match, particularly for brand new creators who don’t need to purchase extra software program.

MSI additionally pre-installs the Microsoft Workplace suite, however it wasn’t activated on my unit. On condition that this laptop computer is more likely to value upwards of $3,000, that feels a bit stingy to me.

MSI GS66 Stealth – Efficiency and Gaming

With that out of the way in which, it’s time to try gaming benchmarks. It’s necessary to notice right here that gaming efficiency can differ broadly between producers, even amongst machines utilizing the identical {hardware}. This incessantly has to do with how every firm has managed the thermals of its unit and whether or not they’ve balanced for warmth or noise degree.

It’s necessary, then, to check machines in opposition to one another to essentially get a perspective on comparative efficiency. Since these laptops are nonetheless releasing, and even this PC gained’t be out for a while, it’s tough to try this. In consequence, I’m evaluating the GS66 in opposition to our latest overview of the Asus ROG Movement X13 with its cellular RTX 3080 unit, in addition to a barely older laptop computer working an RTX 2080 Tremendous.

All video games have been examined at Extremely settings with RTX and DLSS enabled (High quality Preset) wherever obtainable. The GS66 was examined at each 1080p (FHD) and 1440p (QHD), whereas the competitors was solely examined at 1080p.

BENCHMARKS

MSI GS66 Stealth

MSI GS66 Stealth (QHD Perf)

Asus ROG Movement X13 (w/eGPU)

Razer Blade 15 Superior

Worth as examined

TBA

TBA

$3,299

$2,799

CPU

Intel Core i7-10870H

Intel Core i7-10870H

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS

Intel Core i7-10875H

GPU

Nvidia RTX 3080

Nvidia RTX 3080

Nvidia RTX 3080

Nvidia RTX 2080 Tremendous

3DMark Time Spy

9623

N/A

10146

7680

3DMark Fireplace Strike

19725

N/A

23079

16593

3DMark Night time Raid

40996

N/A

44307

35805

Complete Conflict: Three Kingdoms

83

53.1

80

64

Borderlands 3

89

64.5

88

65

Metro Exodus

64

56.1

66

48.98

Unigine Heaven 4.0

124

78.1

136

103

PCMark 10

5892

N/A

6823

5467

PCMark 10 Battery Check

5:44

N/A

9:05 (no eGPU)

6:14

As you possibly can instantly inform, the RTX 3080 Max-Q provides a big enchancment over the RTX 2080 Tremendous within the Razer Blade 15 Superior. Taking the three video games, in addition to the FPS within the Unigine Heaven benchmark, the common enchancment clocks in at a good 30%. In 3DMark’s artificial benchmarks, the outcomes are barely nearer at a mean of 20% uplift. In contrast in opposition to the XG Cellular RTX 3080 within the ROG Movement X13, the outcomes are inside 1% of each other general.

For these in search of sheer gaming efficiency, here’s a rundown of the entire video games I examined and the outcomes.

MSI GS66 Stealth

MSI GS66 Stealth (QHD)

CPU

Intel Core i7-10870H

Intel Core i7-10870H

CPU

Nvidia RTX 3080

Nvidia RTX 3080

Complete Conflict: Three Kingdoms

83

53

Management

97

69

Battlefield V

58

83

Dust 5

54

45

Gears Ways

104

80

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

119

110

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

81

66

Borderlands 3

89

65

Metro Exodus

64

56

Gaming on the G66 Stealth is a deal with. The IPS display is coloration wealthy and the pixel density at 1440p actually makes video games look crisp. Mixed with G-Sync, it made for a fluid expertise, even in excessive depth shooters like Apex Legends and Valorant. The outcomes additionally show how significant DLSS is, particularly on this cellular platform. With it, it’s completely potential to play ray traced video games at extremely settings at playable body charges. The one exceptions above are Complete Conflict: Three Kingdoms, which gave the impression to be CPU sure, and Dust 5, which is closely optimized towards AMD.

With out different RTX 3080 Max-Q laptops to check in opposition to, it’s tough to get a bead on how aggressive these body charges really are, however the lack of thermal throttling on the GPU leads me to imagine that will probably be aggressive. In my testing, the graphics card peaked at 77C and spent most of its gaming time comfortably between 72-75C. In consequence, GPU Enhance was capable of robotically overclock the cardboard to hover round 1500 MHz. There have been frequent instances when this may drop nearer to 1300 MHz however it by no means seemed to be the results of thermal efficiency and sometimes occurred when there was much less demand on the cardboard. At instances, it spiked as much as 1700 MHz however these often solely lasted 1-2 seconds earlier than dropping again down.

I solely want the processor had such cheap temps. Throughout video games, it might shortly warmth all the way in which to 95C and would generally spike to 99C briefly bursts. Intel’s documentation states that the utmost protected temperature is 100C however that is nonetheless far too shut for consolation. What occurs in a 12 months or two as mud makes its method into the system or should you by chance block a vent?

Regardless of this, I used to be pleasantly shocked on the general noise of the machine. When searching, it was fairly quiet. When absolutely ramped up, it may get loud however not obnoxiously so. Nonetheless, the skinny kind issue has the identical wind tunnel impact as many gaming notebooks, so I’d advocate having a set of headphones close by should you’re hoping to make out directional audio when it’s absolutely ramped up.

MSI GS66 Stealth – Battery Life

The GS66 comes outfitted with a big 99WH battery. That is the most important legally allowable battery for air vacationers and it’s put to good use right here. In PCMarks 10’s Trendy Workplace battery life take a look at, it lasted 5 hours and 44 minutes. That is largely because of Superior Optimus using the built-in GPU on the processor. To check battery life whereas gaming with the RTX 3080 Max-Q, I let Unigine Heaven run on a loop. In that state of affairs it lasted 1 hour and 34 minutes. Combined use will place reside time between these two figures.

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Buying Information

The whereas the MSI GS66 Stealth we reviewed will not be obtainable till later this 12 months, it is obtainable in a number of different configurations with 1080p shows. Essentially the most inexpensive ships with an RTX 3060 at 240Hz for $1,799. A 300Hz variant is offered with both a RTX 3070 or RTX 3080, for $2,399 and $2,999 respectively. The mannequin examined right here doesn’t have pricing on the time of overview however given the flagship 1080p mannequin lands at $2,999, it’s seemingly this configuration will land close by or barely larger in worth.

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