MSI GS66 Stealth Review – the White Collar Performance Notebook

I was finally able to spend time on the ultra-portable performance of the MSI GS66 Stealth 2020, and I’ve gathered my thoughts on this product below with its solid features and quirks.

You probably already know a lot about it, but after reviewing it later than other websites, I can also tell you how this compares to the other 15-inch notebooks in the same niche that I’ve been testing.

In short, the GS66 is a brand new product for 2020 with a new exterior design, a new internal housing, a new keyboard and updated hardware specifications compared to the GS65 2019.

Unlike some other OEMs, MSI offers potential buyers multiple hardware configurations of this laptop with i7 or i9 processors, RTX 2060 to 2080 super graphics, and various screen types. This makes it competitive at the top end with the best 15-inch ultraportables, but especially in the lower-tier SKUs where the competition usually deals with somewhat compromised products like the Zephyrus M15, Blade 15 Base or Predator Triton 300.

This brings us to our test unit, one of these lower-speed models, an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 1 TB of memory, Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics, and a 240 Hz 3 ms IPS screen. At the time of this review, this type of configuration costs around $ 1,800 in the United States and around $ 2,000 here in Europe. However, you can follow this link to get updated prices and configurations.

Specifications as verified – MSI GS66 Stealth

MSI GS66 Stealth 10SF
screen 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080 px IPS 240 Hz 3 ms, 16: 9, non-contact, matt, sharp LQ156M1JW03 panel
processor Intel Comet Lake-H Core i7-10750H CPU, 6C / 12T
Video Intel UHD + Nvidia RTX 2070 8 GB (80-90 W Max-Q, overclocked) – Optimus mode
memory 32 GB DDR4 2666 MHz (2x DIMMs)
camp 1x 1 TB SSD (Samsung PM981) – 2x M.2 NVMe 80 mm slots
Connectivity Wireless 6 (Killer AC 1650i), Bluetooth 5.0, 2.5 Gigabit LAN (Killer E3100)
Ports 3x USB-A 3.2 Gen2, 1x USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen2, HDMI 2.0, LAN, microphone / headphones, lock
battery 99.9 Wh, 230 W Power Brick, USB-C charging support
size 359 mm or 14.14 inches (W) x 248 mm or 9.76 (D) x 19.8 mm or 0.77 inches (h)
Weight 2.17 kg (4.78 lbs) + 0.92 kg (2.02 lbs) Power Brick and Cables, EU model
Extras Keyboard with RGB backlighting per key, HD + IR webcam, stereo 2x 2W speakers

MSI offers this laptop in a variety of configurations, from 6Core Intel i7-10750H processors and RTX 2060/2070 graphics and a 240 Hz screen at the bottom to an 8Core i9-10980HK configuration with RTX 2070 / 080 super graphics and a 300 Hz display.

Design and build

As mentioned earlier, MSI completely redesigned this 2020 generation of the GS Stealth and had to do so given the overall precarious build quality of the previous GS65 chassis that was launched in 2018 and then lightly patched for 2019.

Overall, the GS66 feels much more robust than the GS65, with almost no flex in the main body and one of the strongest screens in the segment. However, I still noticed a creak as I pressed harder on the armrest or picked up the laptop and picked it up from the corners. They are subtle, but still there, at least in our sample.

I was expecting these little flaws because I knew the GS66 was not a unibody design like some of the other options in its class, and instead it was still made of sheet metal attached to a plastic inner frame. For what it’s worth, build quality has been improved and shouldn’t be a problem for most of you unless you expect the feel and quality you would get with a MacBook or Razer Blade. I have to pay a premium for.

Apart from this, this 2020 GS66 is also a bit thicker and heavier than the GS65 generation due to its harder construction, the newly designed heat module and the inclusion of a 99.9 Wh battery, the largest in this segment. At 2.2kg (plus about 1kg for the Power Brick), it’s still within the segment’s boundaries, and its compact form factor makes it a great option for everyday commuting.

MSI also ensured that the frames around the screen were minimized, but left enough space above for a double IR + webcam with support for Windows Hello. While there is no finger sensor option, you get speakers. I remember MSI mocking speakers in two directions in their launch materials, but what I see there are no speaker grilles on the bottom and the sound comes out only through these tiny cuts on the right and left corners of the armrest. These speakers get loud, but don’t expect much from the audio quality. They are among the smallest in this segment.

This new GS is also more spartan than the previous GS65. Black aluminum is used for the entire case, with no other accents and with a very subtle black Dragon Shield logo on the lid and Steelseries and DynAudio logos inside. I wish the MSI logo under the lid was smaller or darker, it sticks out as it is. That being said, the GS66 is a very clean and cushioned product, or will be if you peel these stickers off the armrest.

At the same time, some might argue that this series looks a bit boring and has lost its personality, but I’m not in this camp. It looks simple, clean, and professional, just as I would expect from a versatile work / play computer. However, these black surfaces still have stains, even though they may not be as strong as other dark metal laptops. You should therefore have a cleaning carpet on hand.

However, I am not a big fan of this shiny leading edge. I understand that they had to place the radio antennas somewhere, but why behind a shiny piece of cheap looking plastic that is easily scratched? In addition, the design leaves a fairly sharp leading edge and annoyingly sharp corners that can aggressively penetrate your wrists with daily use. MSI should have put more effort into this small but otherwise outstanding part of the case that you come into contact with every day when you pick up the screen or use the laptop.

The GS66 is otherwise pretty practical. Large and handy rubber feet keep it well anchored on a desk, the screen can be easily adjusted with one hand and goes back flat up to 180 degrees. However, there is no notch on the front lip, so capturing the screen isn’t as seamless as I would have expected, and would often require the use of both your hands or your fingernails. Another quirk, but the kind that will annoy you with this notebook every day of your life.

I should also add that MSI had a fairly narrow armrest on this notebook, with the keyboard pressed down on the case to reserve the top for the heat module. Air is sucked in through the grill on top of the keyboard and through the wide open back, and pushed out through the exhaust systems on the rear edge and on the sides. This is a pretty good implementation, but also the way that dust easily collects, which is something to watch out for. As you will see below, there is a lot of dust in our device after about 2-3 months.

MSI GS66 stealth cooling

Finally, let’s go into the I / O. It is located entirely on the left and right edges, with the DC plug and video connectors on the right outside your mouse area. The laptop has USB-A and USB-C ports and a Thunderbolt 3 port with data, DP and up to 100 W power supply. However, there is still no card reader here, something that professionals in this type of business would have appreciated – friendly design.

Keyboard and trackpad

MSI has redesigned the inputs of the previous GS65 generation with a slightly different keyboard and a larger clickpad.

They stick to their annoying layout peculiarities, such as the large left CTRL key that sends the Fn key to the right, which is now pressed into the right CTRL key, and cramp the already cramped area around the direction keys. With this generation, you also inserted the power switch as a key in the upper right corner and switched on a red light that makes no sense to me. At least it’s a tiny LED, unlike other laptops that have illuminated on / off buttons.

MSI GS66 stealth keyboard and clickpad

On the other hand, this layout adds additional secondary functions to the F keys at the top right compared to their previous implementation and keeps the function column on the right.

As for the daily use of this keyboard, MSI mocked changed and improved keyboard feedback when launching the GS66, and as someone who got on well with its previous design, I feared it would mess it up. Fortunately, they don’t have it, but there is a catch.

This is currently the softest keyboard in this 15-inch niche of premium laptops. With a travel of 1.5 mm and little effort to register a stroke, this keyboard feels like an Ultrabook keyboard, so it may be difficult for those who use it for more rigid input to get used to it.

In any case, I can imagine that I use it as a daily type. It is very fast and very quiet, but also quite unforgiving for stray fingers with these gentle presses, and that slightly affected my typing experience. Overall, however, this is one of my favorite writers in this niche.

The RGB lighting per key has been adopted from the previous generations, with sufficiently bright LEDs, good uniformity and almost no light that comes out from under the key caps. The design also includes CasLock and NumLk physical indicators, and MSI notebooks also offer this neat trick that only illuminates the features available when you press the FN key.

On the other hand, MSI’s Steelseries Engine control software looks and feels outdated, with antique graphics and tiny, barely usable interfaces. In fact, their entire software suite could be completely revised, which means that all control options can be combined in a uniform, modern interface.

For the mouse, MSI was used with a wider, but for me rather shorter, clickpad than with the previous generation, because the armrest is narrower and most of the upper area is reserved for the heat module. I agreed with the size, overall feel, and performance of this glass implementation with precision drivers, particularly because of the smooth clicks and the sturdy construction that prevents rattling when tapped more firmly. However, this shorter format can be restrictive with some gestures.

I’ve also seen some complaints about poor palm rejection with this wider clickpad, but haven’t noticed any glitches during my time with this example.

For biometrics, there is an IR camera on the GS66, but no finger sensor.

screen

For the display, MSI offers either a UHD-IPS option or two types of FHD-IPS panels for the GS66 series: a sharp 240 Hz model for the lower level configurations that is on this device or an AU Optronics 300 Hz panel for the higher-level variants that we have already tested in the Zephyrus S15 and Predator Triton 500.

The UHD panel is a bright and expressive option for developers and professionals looking for a 100% AdobeRGB-enabled screen. However, it is also expensive, affects battery life, and with its 60 Hz update and slower response times, it is not ideal for gaming.

The FHD options are more versatile for both gaming and everyday use. The 300 Hz offer a slightly increased color coverage, deeper black tones and an improved contrast. However, you will hardly notice this type, even if you have the two options side by side. In addition, fairly severe degrees of light bleeding have been reported for the AU Optronics B156HAN12.0 300 Hz panel, and we have seen this to varying degrees in our tests, while the 240 Hz options we tested showed less marked bleeding. In fact, this sample almost does not bleed easily.

So if you were set on the 300 Hz screen but these configurations are not in your budget, I would not worry that this 240 Hz panel made by Sharp is almost as good and even more consistent on most levels is. In fact, last year’s top tier panel option was previously implemented in devices like the MSI GS65, Razer Blade 15, and Gigabyte Aero 15.

If we don’t want to peck, I have to mention that here and in none of the GS66 configurations there is no GSync support and the maximum brightness of this panel is only up to 300 nits at the highest settings, which may not be the case for bright illuminated surroundings are sufficient.

We received the following in our tests with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:

  • Panel Hardware ID: Sharp SHP14C5 (LQ156M1JW03);
  • Coverage: 98.7% sRGB, 69.9% AdobeRGB, 72.3% DCI P3;
  • Measured gamma: 2.16;
  • Maximum brightness in the middle of the screen: 299.37 cd / m2 with power supply;
  • Min. Brightness in the middle of the screen: 15.69 cd / m2 with power supply;
  • Contrast at maximum brightness: 1074: 1;
  • White point: 6800 K;
  • Black at maximum brightness: 0.27 cd / m2;
  • PWM: 24 kHz, <19% (source) - to be confirmed.
  • Answer: ~ 14ms GtG (source) – still has to be confirmed.

The panel is immediately well calibrated with the supplied sRGB setting. If you continue to run our calibration software to fix the slightly distorted white point, Gamma will decrease the brightness by about 5 to 8%. Once this is done, the panel will return a uniform color and brightness.

By the way, we don’t have the right tool to test PWM and response. For this reason, we have listed Notebookcheck’s results for the same 240 Hz panel implemented in the MSI GS65 Stealth 2019 as a reference.

Hardware and performance

Our test model is a lower configuration of the MSI GS66 Stealth with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz memory, 1 TB fast Samsung PM981 memory and two graphics: the Nvidia RTX 2070 dGPU and the Intel UHD within the Intel platforms with Optimus.

Before we proceed, remember that our test device was sent by MSI and was running on software available from mid-June 2020 (BIOS E16V1IMS, Dragon Center 2.0.52.0, GeForce Game Ready 446.14 driver).

MSI specifically offers the GS66 in a variety of configurations. Our variant is a lower to medium variant with the 6Core Intel i7-10750H processor, while the top models receive the 8Core i9-10980HK, which will clearly exceed them under demanding loads. Be sure to check out the reviews. These 10th generation Intel processors from Comet Lake require a lot of power to support the higher speeds.

As for the GPU, here we have the 2019 Nvidia 2070 in a Max-Q implementation that runs between 65 and 80 W between the power modes. RTX 2070/2080 Super of the higher level and an RTX 2060 in the basic configurations are also available.

The updated Intel platform also supports DDR4 memory up to 3200 MHz. However, our configuration only receives 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM in the two-channel area with 2 x 8 GB DIMMs. The two DIMMs are easily accessible for interior upgrades. There you will also find two M.2 SSD slots and the WiFi chip. Our device came with a single 1TB SSD, a fast Samsung PM981 drive.

Access to the components is fairly easy. You just have to pop out the back cover and hold it with a handful of Phillips screws. Make sure that a warranty sticker is attached to one of these screws. Therefore, you may have to ask about the warranty conditions in your region if you want to open them. For me, these types of warranty stickers that prevent user
s from upgrading should be prohibited!

As already mentioned, the software suite from MSI is quite functional, but outdated in terms of design and interfaces. The Dragon Center app controls the main settings for power / fan / screen / battery, while the sound and keyboard are controlled by separate apps. There is also an option to choose between a hybrid and a discrete GPU mode in Dragon Center. We run all of our tests on Discrete, which disables the iGPU and connects the internal monitor directly to the Nvidia GPU. However, GSync is not supported on this laptop.

The GS66 is not only a powerful laptop, but can also handle everyday multitasking, surfing and video while running quietly and coolly. Two of the fans remain active in daily use, but in most situations they are quite inaudible.

For more demanding loads, we first test CPU performance by running the Cinebench R15 test more than 15 times in a loop with a 2-3 second delay between runs.

The i7 processor stabilizes at the default setting for extreme power at 53 + W. This corresponds to frequencies of 3.5+ GHz and temperatures of 90+ C, values ​​of more than 1550 points and fans, which at head height to 45-47 dB increase.

Undervolting is disabled by default, but you can enable it in the BIOS. To do this, restart in BIOS mode and simultaneously press Right-Ctrl + Right-Shift + Left-Alt + F2 to unlock the extended BIOS functions. Then scroll down to the overclocking settings, enable overclocking and XTU support, and restart Windows.

Our sample ran steadily down to -120 mV, but we selected back to -80 mV to avoid stability problems and to ensure consistency between the live profiles that we use in most of our reviews.

The CPU runs on this live Extreme profile with 3.6+ GHz and a TDP of only 50+ W at similarly high temperatures of 90+ degrees Celsius. As a result, this profile only increases the score by approximately 2 to 5% over the stock profile, with performance being the limiting factor for this sample in both cases.

By switching to the silent profile, the CPU is limited to 45 W, with lower frequencies and values, but the same temperature. In this case, the fans run much quieter with only 35-37 dB at head height. After all, the CPU performance in battery mode is limited to 25 + W, and the results match. Details below.

Overall, this GS66 example performed worse than the other i7-10750H notebooks that we tested in the same class. The CPU ran at lower performance and higher temperatures and achieved 3-8% lower values ​​in this Cinebench Loop test. However, it has a slight noise advantage over some of its competitors.

Nevertheless, the i7-10750H processor can theoretically withstand up to 4.3 GHz turbo clocks in all-core loads, and our device only performs up to 3.6+ GHz at a power of 50 + W when it is under Tension stands, which corresponds to approximately 80% of the platform’s performance.

Still, the results are better than I would have expected, given the limited amount of CPU power, with the other implementations tested returning slightly higher frequencies, but at 63-70W of power. In fact, XTU shows a TDP limit of 65 W for this laptop too, but our example is significantly lower due to a combination of thermal (first) and power limitations (later). However, for what it’s worth, our device is not a retail model. You should also look at other reviews of the final retail models if this type of detail is important to you.

After that was out of the way, we further verified our results with the longer Cinebench R20 loop test and the cruel Prime 95 on the Extreme Performance profile with the applied undervoltage of -80 mV.

We also ran our combined CPU + GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark Stress loops the same test 20 times and looks for fluctuations in performance and deterioration over time. This device passed it without any problems. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads CPU and GPU at the same time. The CPU stabilizes at around 40W, the GPU at around 80W.

Next, we ran the full suite of tests and benchmarks for the standard extreme performance profile in Dragon Center.

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 15164 (Graphics – 16738, Physics – 16613, Combined – 8261);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 3772;
  • 3DMark 13 – time spy: 6336 (graphics – 6310, CPU – 6488);
  • AIDA64 memory test: Write: Read: 48461 MB / s, Read: 44732 MB / s, Latency: 57.3 ns;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 3878;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 12234;
  • Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p coding): 34.87 average fps;
  • Minimum score: Rating: 6525 (CPU brand: 16033, 3D graphics brand: 11609, plate brand: 24418);
  • PCMark 10: 5481 (Essentials – 9092, Productivity – 7500, Digital Content Creation – 6555);
  • GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single core: 5658, multi-core: 25267;
  • GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single core: 1227, multi-core: 6231;
  • CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1222 cb, CPU single core 193 cb;
  • CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 2737 cb, CPU single core 460 cb;
  • x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 222.38 fps, Pass 2 – 71.88 fps;
  • x265 HD benchmark 64-bit: 50.21 s.

The standard profile for extreme performance has no effect on the GPU. For this reason, in addition to an overclocked GPU in MSI Afterburner at +120 MHz Clock and +200 MHz, we also have several tests for a low voltage extreme performance profile with -80 mV. We will continue to call this the Extreme Tweaked Profile. The GPU is also operated in this profile with a power of up to 80 W and not with 90 W as in other 2070 Max-Q implementations.

In this case we received the following:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 16085 (graphic – 17725, physics – 17691, combined – 8790);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 3979;
  • 3DMark 13 – time spy: 6767 (graphics – 6734, CPU – 6965);
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4086;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 12597;
  • Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p coding): 36.13 average fps;
  • PCMark 10: 5637 (Essentials – 9495, Productivity – 7542, Digital Content Creation – 6787);
  • GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single core: 1248, multi-core: 6651;
  • CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1241 cb, CPU single core 194 cb;
  • CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 2964 cb, CPU single core 462 cb;
  • x265 HD benchmark 64-bit: 48.12 s.

We also performed some workstation-related loads for the Extreme and Extreme Tweaked profiles:

  • Blender 2.82 – BMW car scene – CPU Compute: 5 m 9 s (extreme), 4 m 42 s (extremely optimized);
  • Blender 2.82 – BMW car scene – GPU Compute: 1 m 20 s (CUDA), 36 s (Optix);
  • Blender 2.82 – Classroom Scene – CPU Compute: 15 m 56 s (extreme), 14 m 50 s (extremely optimized);
  • Blender 2.82 – Classroom Scene – GPU Compute: 5 m 44 s (CUDA), 3 m 45 s (Optix);
  • Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: 28841;
  • SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 152.4 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 99.05 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 145.69 (extreme
    );
  • SPECviewerf 13 – energy: 16.67 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 187.7 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – medicine: 43.93 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – shop window: 88.21 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 15.05 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 71.28 (extreme).

The following describes how this i7-10750H + RTX 2070 configuration of the MSI GS66 is compared to some other devices in the same niche in terms of benchmark results.

Let’s take a look at some games. We ran some DX11, DX12 and Vulkan titles for the standard Extreme and Extreme UV profiles, with fans set to Auto. We have the following:

i7-10750H + RTX 2070 Max-Q FHD Extreme FHD extremely optimized FHD Silent * QHD Extreme
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Raytracing AUS) 95 fps (81 fps – 1% low) 106 fps (91 fps – 1% low) 81 fps (67 fps – 1% low) 69 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Raytracing ON, DLSS OFF) 49 fps (41 fps – 1% low) 56 fps (49 fps – 1% low) 43 fps (34 fps – 1% low) 36 fps (29 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 91 fps (68 fps – 1% low) 96 fps (70 fps – 1% low) 89 fps (62 fps – 1% low) 66 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset) 156 fps (94 fps – 1% low) 162 fps (112 fps – 1% low) 131 fps (84 fps – 1% low) 104 fps (78 fps – 1% low)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 66 fps (52 fps – 1% low) 73 fps (57 fps – 1% low) 62 fps (47 fps – 1% low) 48 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, very high preset, FXAA) 94 fps (54 fps – 1% low) 106 fps (58 fps – 1% low) 78 fps (42 – 1% low) 72 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, highest default, TAA) 76 fps (60 fps – 1% low) 83 fps (63 fps – 1% low) 56 fps (41 fps – 1% low) 54 fps (43 fps – 1% low)
Strange brigade (volcano, ultra preset) 118 fps (88 fps – 1% low) 129 fps (99 fps – 1% low) 90 fps (65 fps – 1% low) 90 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4 80 fps (53 fps – 1% low) 87 fps (65 fps – 1% low) 72 fps (50 fps – 1% low) 61 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
  • Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with in-game Fraps / FPS counter in campaign mode;
  • Far Cry 5, Middle-earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included benchmark utilities;
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.

The following HWinfo logs show the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Farcry 5, Battlefield V, Red Dead Redemptions 2 and Witcher 3 in the standard profile for extreme performance.

The CPU runs at very high temperatures between 88 and 95 degrees between the tested titles, while the GPU runs at excellent temperatures from 72 to 76 degrees, with the fans rotating at head height with about 45 to 47 dB average for this class.

The performance is consistently solid. However, this implementation ensures that the CPU runs at high power settings and frequencies, which leads to these high temperatures.

Raising the laptop from the desk has no significant impact on performance or temperatures.

However, by under-stressing the CPU and especially overclocking the GPU, the overall frequencies are slightly increased by 2 to 5%, whereby the GPU temperatures rise slightly and the frame rates in all titles tested increase by about 5 to 10%.

MSI also offers a Cooler Boost fan profile for this laptop, with which the CPU at FarCry 5 with even higher clock speeds, but still with over 90 degrees Celsius, but with less than 83 degrees Celsius in the less CPU-demanding Witcher 3 title can work. This also has a positive effect on the temperatures and frequencies of the GPU, especially in the optimized profile. However, this cooler boost profile also pushes the fan noise down to unusable levels of 52-53 dB.

If I got this laptop, I would normally try to limit the CPU to reduce these high temperatures while keeping the fans at bay. However, this option was disabled in Throttlestop in this example. While there is a way to enable it in the advanced BIOS settings, I couldn’t figure it out, so I just gave up further tweaks.

By switching to the silent performance profile, the fans are dampened to below 38 dB, but with increasing temperatures and a loss of performance. In this case, both the CPU and the GPU are thermally limited, with the CPU running at around 22 W and the GPU at 65 W. Games are still playable, but the laptop’s case reaches very high temperatures and I can’t recommend using this mode for long, especially with demanding titles.

After all, the GS66 is also a good candidate for using external monitors, although the CPU runs hot in this case as well. Most of the air is drawn in through the floor, so temperatures shouldn’t matter when using the laptop with the lid closed. However, I would recommend placing it in a vertical stand to improve air intake.

Insgesamt hat dieses GS66-Beispiel eine gute Leistung erbracht, aber diese hohen CPU-Temperaturen in all unseren Tests und in Spielen geben Anlass zur Sorge. Auch hier handelt es sich bei unserer Testeinheit nicht um ein Einzelhandelsmodell, und ich möchte eines dieser Endprodukte erneut testen, wenn ich die Gelegenheit dazu habe. In der Zwischenzeit würde ich vorschlagen, unsere Ergebnisse nach Möglichkeit mit anderen Quellen zu überprüfen.

Lärm, Hitze, Konnektivität, Lautsprecher und andere

Der MSI GS66 Stealth verfügt über ein komplexes Kühlungsdesign mit drei Lüftern und einer Vielzahl von Heatpipes, die über CPU, GPU und VRMs verteilt sind, jedoch ohne Northbridge-Thermoplatte. Bei näherer Betrachtung ist der größte Teil dieses Moduls jedoch auf die GPU ausgelegt, und die CPU profitiert nur von zwei ziemlich schmalen Heatpipes, was diese hohen CPU-Temperaturen erklären könnte.

A
ls zusätzliche Anmerkung lässt das weit geöffnete Rückendesign zu, dass sich leicht Staub im Inneren ansammelt, und Sie möchten dies ziemlich oft sauber blasen. Sie können bereits sehen, wie sich der Staub auf den Heatpipes und den Lüfterflügeln unserer etwa 203 Monate alten Probe ansammelt

MSI GS66 Stealth Wärmemodul und Kühlung

Die Lüfter laufen im täglichen Gebrauch leise und Sie werden sie in einer normalen Schul- / Arbeitsumgebung nicht bemerken, aber sie sind in einem ruhigen Raum immer aktiv und hörbar, selbst im Silent-Profil. Ich habe keine Spulengewinne oder elektronischen Geräusche an unserem Gerät bemerkt.

Folgendes ist in Bezug auf Lärm auf Kopfhöhe zu erwarten.

  • Extreme Leistung, Fans auf Cooler Boost – 52-53 dB bei Spielen;
  • Extreme Leistung, Fans auf Auto – 45-47 dB bei Spielen, 45-47 dB bei Cinebench-Loop-Test;
  • Lautlos, Fans auf Auto – 37-38 dB bei Spielen, 32-35 dB bei täglichem Gebrauch.

Bei Spielen steigen die Lüfter auf Kopfhöhe des Standard-Extreme-Profils auf nur etwa 45 bis 47 dB an, was für diese Art von Notebook durchschnittlich ist. Wenn Sie die Lüfter auf das Maximum hochfahren, wird das Geräusch auf unbrauchbare 52-53 dB-Pegel gebracht, während beim Umschalten auf Silent das Geräusch beim Ausführen von Spielen unter 38 dB gesenkt wird, jedoch mit einem Anstieg der internen und insbesondere externen Temperaturen.

Apropos, dieser GS66 heizt sich bei längeren Spielesitzungen ein wenig auf.

Die Außentemperaturen sind durchschnittlich. Wir betrachten Temperaturen in den niedrigen 50er Jahren in der Mitte der Tastatur im Extreme Performance-Profil, hohe 40er Jahre im WASD-Bereich und niedrige 60er Jahre an bestimmten Stellen auf der Rückseite. Das Silent-Profil drückt diese Temperaturen ein gutes Stück weiter, während diese bei Cooler Boost um etwa 5 Grad fallen. Trotzdem werden mit der WASD-Region in den höheren 40ern und noch 50ern in der Mitte der Tastatur längere Spielesitzungen auf diesem Laptop ungeachtet des ausgewählten Profils nicht sehr angenehm sein.

Denken Sie daran, dass wir unsere Tests in einer kontrollierten Umgebung mit einer auf 24 bis 25 Grad Celsius eingestellten Klimaanlage durchführen, sodass diese Temperaturen in heißeren Räumen möglicherweise noch höher steigen.

* Täglicher Gebrauch – Streaming von Netflix in EDGE für 30 Minuten, Silent-Profil, Lüfter bei 32-35 dB
* Gaming – Silent – 30 Minuten lang Far Cry 5 spielen, Silent-Profil, Fans bei 37-38 dB
* Gaming – Extreme Performance, Fans, die 30 Minuten lang Far Cry 5 automatisch spielen, Extreme Performance-Profil, Fans bei 45-47 dB
* Gaming – Extreme Performance, Fans auf Cooler Boost – 30 Minuten lang Far Cry 5 spielen, Extreme Performance-Profil, Fans bei 52-53 dB

Für die Konnektivität stehen auf diesem Gerät Wireless 6 und Bluetooth 5 über einen Intel AX201-Chip sowie 2,5 Gigabit Lan zur Verfügung. Unser Sample zeigte in der Nähe des Routers eine gute Leistung, aber dann sanken die Geschwindigkeit und die Signalqualität in mehr als 30 Fuß Entfernung mit dazwischen liegenden Hindernissen, sodass die Reichweite hier möglicherweise ein Problem darstellt. Wieder etwas, das Sie noch einmal mit anderen Bewertungen überprüfen sollten.

Audio is handled by a pair of punchy speakers that fire through narrow cuts at the left and right side of the arm-rest. These can get loud, at about 90 dB at head-level, but the quality is tinny, lacking in both mids and lows. A pair of headphones is a must with this laptop if you care about sound quality, and overall I feel this implementation is a step-backward from the GS65.

The webcam is placed at the top of the screen flanked by microphones. The image quality isn’t much, though, choppy and washed out, so I doubt you’ll want to use this often.

Battery life

There’s a 99.9 Wh battery inside the GS66 Stealth, the largest legally allowed on a notebook, and that translates in fair runtimes on a charge, as long as you use the laptop in the Discrete mode that enables Optimus.

However, keep in mind that the system down not automatically switch the screen to 60 Hz when unplugging the laptop, which you might want to when looking to maximize runtimes, as running it at 240 Hz takes its slight toll.

Here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120-nits (60%) and 240 Hz refresh:

  • 24 W (~4 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 19 W (~5+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 19.2 W (~5+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 24 W (~4+ h of use) – browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 65 W (~1h 20 min of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Extreme Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON, no fps limit.

And here’s what happens when switching the screen to 60 Hz:

  • 16 W (~6+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 16.2 W (~6+ h of use) – Netflix, fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
  • 22 W (~4-5 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.

Overall, this GS66 sample required more power than other i7-10750H notebooks in our tests, and thus our runtimes ended up slightly shorter than I expected, given the size of the battery. Other reviews mention better battery life results, so take our findings with a grain of salt.

MSI pairs the laptop with a generic and fairly-compact 230W power-brick, which still weighs around .83 kilos with the included cables in this US version. Refilling the battery takes 2 to 3 hours, and up to 100W of USB-C charging is also supported through the Thunderbolt 3 port with a compatible charger, for the occasions when you might not want to bring along the main power brick.

Price and availability

The 2020 MSI GS66 Stealth is available from select retailers around the world, in a bunch of different configurations.

The base models start at 1600 USD / 1800 EUR for i7-10750H / RTX 2060 80W GPU/ 16 GB of RAM / 512 GB SSD and 240 Hz screen. 200 USD/EUR more will get you the RTX 2070 Max-Q model tested here, with 1 TB of RAM, while RTX 2070 Super versions go for around 2200 USD.

As for the highest tier variants, the i9-10980HK model with the RTX 2080 Super GPU, 32 GB of RAM, 1 TB of SSD storage and the 300 Hz display goes for around $3000.

Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time yo
u’re reading this article.

Final thoughts

I’m going to draw my conclusions based on my experience with this sample, but take some of our findings with a grain of salt, especially our battery life findings and some of the CPU performance/temperatures results.

For the most part, I feel this is a good laptop that should meet the design, performance, and battery life requirements of its potential buyers, but it’s also affected by many small imperfections and quirks.

MSI improved the overall craftsmanship quality from the previous generation, but somehow still left a prominent and annoying front lip that makes no sense to me. At the same time, this is also a clean and practical laptop, with a pretty good set of ports, an IR camera, reliable inputs, and good screen options, starting with this base-level 240 Hz FHD implementation.

I’m not entirely convinced by MSI’s thermal design after spending time with this laptop. The CPU runs hot in most demanding loads, and that takes a toll over its performance and spreads onto the exterior chassis, which runs uncomfortably hot in games and other such combined tasks that push the entire hardware system. Sure, cramming powerful components inside a narrow chassis will lead to high temperatures, that’s just psychics, but based on our findings, the GS66 is a notch behind its competitors at this level, while also a notch behind in performance.

Speaking of, undervolting the CPU and overclocking the GPU makes a fairly big difference on this laptop, and MSI should do a better job at implementing those by default withing the power profiles, something most competitors offer in various degrees.

That’s why these lower-tier i7 + 80W 2060/2070 implementations are the better value options here, as more versatile all-around options for school/work and only some occasional gaming. There’s still plenty of competition in this lower segment a well, though, yet the GS66 benefits from being a higher-tier chassis with a large battery and some extra features that you might not normally find in this class, on laptops such as the Blade 15 Base or the Predator Triton 300 or the Zephyrus M15, which you should nonetheless look into as well. Gigabyte’s Aero 15 is the close competitor in this niche, though, the same kind of higher-tier chassis with lower-tier specs.

That wraps up our review of the MSI GS66 Stealth, but I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions on it, both if you’re looking to get one and especially if you’ve already bought it and can share your ownership experience. Please get in touch in the comments section down below.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I’ve been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you’ll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

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