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MSI’s GS66 Stealth hands-on: gaming is better with the RTX 3080 and QHD

MSI’s GS66 Stealth hands-on: gaming is better with the RTX 3080 and QHD
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MSI’s GS66 Stealth hands-on: gaming is better with the RTX 3080 and QHD

MSI’s GS66 Stealth hands-on: gaming is better with the RTX 3080 and QHD

I had hoped that MSI’s GS66 Stealth for 2021 would look and really feel a little totally different than final 12 months’s mannequin — not that the 2020 model was notably busted in any main means. Actually, the earlier mannequin was a number of nips and tucks shy of reaching Razer’s excessive bar for gaming laptop computer design. However whereas the outdoors shell of this 12 months’s mannequin is precisely the identical as final 12 months’s, I can dwell with that as a result of what’s inside is principally all-new.

The evaluation unit we examined is the present pinnacle of cellular graphics tech: Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 Max-Q graphics chip, with 16GB of video reminiscence (Nvidia additionally makes an 8GB variant). MSI additionally added a beautiful canvas of a show: a 15.6-inch 1440p (QHD) IPS G-Sync display screen with a quick 240Hz refresh charge. The worth for this configuration can be $2,599 when it releases in June.

The opposite specs are good, too, however not essentially cutting-edge. It has 16GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe SSD, and the identical massive, four-cell 99.99Wh battery that was in the earlier iteration. It is outfitted with an Intel Core i7-10870H processor, which on paper is a slight step down in comparison with the Core i7-10875H in the earlier mannequin I examined, however I didn’t discover a distinction in efficiency.

The unique first-look at this laptop computer targeted on how good it was at enjoying video games at QHD decision. Since then, our group has reviewed a number of different laptops that characteristic Nvidia’s newest era of RTX 30-series graphics playing cards, in addition to a number of which have QHD screens, too. In that point, we’ve agreed that the RTX 3070, the subsequent notch down on the totem pole of Nvidia’s newest graphics card lineup, is better at QHD gaming than we anticipated. The Razer Blade 15 Base and Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G15 are two key examples.

If it’s complicated to fathom how a lesser GPU might come near outpacing what’s purported to be a a lot better performer, it’s principally about the thickness of a laptop computer. These two examples are just a little thicker than the GS66 Stealth and have the same or larger quantity of energy degree allotted to their GPUs set to the same or larger enhance clock velocity. As we noticed, that may end up in comparable efficiency, regardless of costing a whole bunch of {dollars} lower than this.

On the different aspect of that coin, the RTX 3080, like the one you’ll discover on this laptop computer, is good at getting you a number of additional frames per second over that. However most avid gamers, particularly ones who’re making an attempt to save cash when doable, will possible nonetheless be glad with the efficiency of a extra inexpensive laptop computer. MSI makes cheaper variants of the GS66 Stealth that I’ve listed under, however for now, it’s limiting its use of a beautiful QHD display screen for simply this high-end mannequin. That’s a disappointment, since different firms like Razer and Asus are together with them in additional budget-conscious gaming laptops with efficiency that isn’t too far off from this mannequin.

MSI GS66 Stealth

This 12 months’s GS66 Stealth seems and feels precisely the identical as 2020’s, which is each good and dangerous in some methods.

Again to the specs, this 12 months’s GS66 Stealth makes the leap as much as Wi-Fi 6E compatibility and Bluetooth 5.2. This laptop computer has an HDMI 2.0 port, so it’s restricted to outputting 4K decision at as much as 60 frames per second. Of the issues MSI up to date on this 12 months’s GS66, the HDMI port ought to have been just a little larger on the record than Wi-Fi 6E. A number of different fashions we’ve reviewed characteristic HDMI 2.1, permitting 4K output with as much as 120 frames per second to essentially benefit from the {hardware} whereas related to an exterior excessive refresh charge monitor.

Common efficiency outdoors of gaming felt equally snappy to final 12 months’s mannequin. An enormous stack of tabs in Microsoft Edge, alongside Slack and Spotify, didn’t gradual this machine down. It didn’t carry out practically as nicely in our Adobe Premiere Professional export take a look at, although. Tasked with exporting a five-minute, 33-second 4K video, the laptop computer took six minutes, 30 seconds, in comparison with the three-minute, 14-second export time that we bought with final 12 months’s mannequin. The battery life can final for round three hours and change underneath a light-weight load of functions. That’s lower than the roughly 5 hours of screentime I used to be getting with final 12 months’s mannequin, however then once more, this one has a QHD display screen in comparison with FHD.

MSI GS66 Stealth

Cyberpunk 2077 carried out the worst of any current AAA title I examined, however the numbers are nonetheless spectacular.

However the actual query is: was Nvidia’s newest high-end graphics chip price the wait — and can it sustain with a QHD show? The quick reply is that, like my colleague Tom Warren noticed on the desktop model of the RTX 3080, this cellular variant is a leap over what the last-gen RTX 2080 might present. Since this is additionally the first era of gaming laptops that provide QHD screens, it’s just a little onerous to check the two, however there’s no query that video games look better than earlier than.

The RTX 3080 with 16GB of video reminiscence is able to working a few of the most demanding video games in QHD nicely past 60 frames per second — with all graphical settings adjusted to max and with ray tracing and different RTX settings activated, when relevant. That’s an unimaginable achievement. And in case you’re somebody who doesn’t all the time play the newest video games as they’re launched, these specs will afford you much more headroom to energy via your backlog, with a implausible show to get pleasure from them on besides. The IPS display screen that MSI opted to make use of is wealthy with distinction and better viewing angles than I anticipated, and its G-Sync adaptive sync does an important job of retaining visuals freed from artifacts.

I used to be capable of spend time enjoying Horizon: Zero Daybreak, Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Stranding, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Management, most of which have ray tracing and / or DLSS (deep-learning tremendous sampling) graphical choices to take additional benefit of this highly effective graphics chip. Since Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Stranding, and Management don’t ship with built-in benchmarking exams, I merely ran round quite a lot of locales to stress-test the {hardware} (the different video games have scripted strategies for gathering efficiency metrics).

MSI GS66 Stealth

I couldn’t cease holding my eyeballs this near the display screen.

As somebody who’s used to enjoying video games on a 1080p show, I used to be impressed to see such graphically intensive video games run this fluidly, particularly at the next native decision. Nonetheless, we all know now that this laptop computer isn’t the solely machine on the market that may obtain past 60 frames per second in-game efficiency, and typically, you don’t even want an RTX 3080 to do it.

MSI GS66 Stealth with RTX 3080 (16GB) efficiency

Benchmark (set to highest doable settings) Common QHD outcomes Razer Blade 15 Base (QHD, RTX 3070) Asus Zephyrus G15 (QHD, RTX 3070)
Benchmark (set to highest doable settings) Common QHD outcomes Razer Blade 15 Base (QHD, RTX 3070) Asus Zephyrus G15 (QHD, RTX 3070)
Horizon: Zero Daybreak 76fps 71fps Not examined
Crimson Lifeless Redemption 2 58fps 59fps 58fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (RT shadows and DLSS on) 62fps 46fps 61fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (RT and DLSS on high quality mode) 40fps Not examined Not examined
Dying Stranding (DLSS on) 100fps Not examined Not examined
Management (RT and DLSS on) 56fps Not examined Not examined

As I discussed up high, the design of the 2021 GS66 Stealth is note-for-note the identical as final 12 months’s mannequin. The general look is stellar, although, and I want each gaming laptop computer had a trackpad this generously massive. It has backlit keys that may be programmed to dazzle with RGB splendor via SteelSeries software program, however that’s actually the solely component that reveals this is a gaming laptop computer.

Effectively, other than the very loud followers. I famous that final 12 months’s mannequin was comparatively quiet, even underneath strain. I’ve heard laptops louder than this new RTX 3080 model, however the decibel degree went excessive sufficient in order that at instances I felt I wanted headphones to listen to all of the in-game particulars. After all, that differed relying on the recreation. Cyberpunk 2077 made this laptop computer whir the loudest of the video games I examined, whereas Management really ran pretty quietly by comparability. However even when the GS66 Stealth is simply idling throughout a browser, it’s audible.

MSI GS66 Stealth

This QHD display screen is pin-sharp, however importantly, it’s actually vibrant, and the viewing angles are beneficiant.

I discovered different flaws with the design. The keyboard format is nonetheless crowded, with the vital operate key positioned awkwardly subsequent to the management key, making it cumbersome to do easy duties like regulate the quantity and brightness. Additionally, the backside of the laptop computer chassis nonetheless flexes in a barely worrying means. I don’t assume it’s liable to interrupt underneath regular use, however for a dear machine like this, the design doesn’t encourage confidence.

In the event you’re trying to purchase one among MSI’s non-QHD fashions immediately, there are a variety of choices. You will get a system outfitted with a much less highly effective RTX 3060 chip beginning at $1,799.99, one with the RTX 3070 for $2,399.99, or with the new RTX 3080 chip beginning at $2,699.99 (that mannequin has a lesser CPU, an FHD 300Hz show, however extra RAM than this one). The specs begin with a 1080p IPS show with a 240Hz or 300Hz refresh charge. MSI’s product touchdown web page signifies that will probably be doable to improve to a 4K 60Hz IPS show.

Identical to final 12 months’s GS66 Stealth, this is an alluring bundle that delivers nearly all the pieces that I need in a gaming laptop computer. Its design is mature, and it has a beneficiant quantity of ports. Although, additionally like final 12 months’s mannequin, it has some flaws, like the over-crowded keyboard and some drawback areas on the chassis that flex greater than they need to. The inclusion of a QHD display screen with a succesful GPU overshadows most of the points, making this a stellar machine for gaming and watching films.

This is one among the slimmest, but strongest laptops obtainable, nevertheless it’s powerful to advocate outright to most individuals when some inexpensive fashions, like the Zephyrus G15 or the Razer Blade 15 Base can get you most of the means there by way of gaming efficiency, at QHD decision no much less.

Images by Cameron Faulkner / GadgetClock

Replace 2:09PM ET, March twenty fourth: MSI has launched the worth for this laptop computer, so we’ve now added a rating, in addition to extra context surrounding its efficiency and worth in comparison with different gaming laptops that we’ve lately reviewed.

#MSIs #GS66 #Stealth #handson #gaming #RTX #QHD

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