Two years in the past, Nvidia hatched a novel concept, begging the query, What if we took the center of a gaming laptop computer and squeezed them right into a MacBook Professional-like body? Certainly, others had entertained related ideas prior to now. However to set itself aside, Nvidia truly invested the assets essential to make it occur. Making an allowance for the overwhelming success of the Max-Q Design initiative, I would say it paid off.
Although its conception has since led to legitimate issues about thermal administration, Max-Q is tucked into a major variety of the best gaming laptops in the marketplace. Amongst them is the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny, an unusually subtle member of its dragon-emblazoned household. Painted black with gold accents, its shade scheme alone is a welcome departure from the edgy crimson gamer’s aesthetic of yesteryear. The remainder of its design is simply in need of revolutionary.
Measuring 0.69 inches deep (good), it’s the thinnest Max-Q laptop computer we’ve ever reviewed. And, sporting a fun-size GeForce RTX 2080 and a 9th generation Intel Core i9-9880H, additionally it is essentially the most highly effective. However except for that, and a few minor enhancements to the keyboard and touchpad, not a lot has modified because the final time we examined a GS65 Stealth Thin. It has the identical dimensions, the identical ports, and one more G-Sync-deprived panel driving its juicy graphics. Although, to be truthful, the refresh price is now a blistering 240Hz.
Processor: Intel Core i9-9880H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q 8GB
Reminiscence: 32GB DDR4-2,666MHz
Show: 15.6-inch TN 240Hz
Decision: 1920 x 1080
Storage: 1TB SSD
Connectivity: 1 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), Three x USB Kind-A 3.2 Gen 2, Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, Mini-DisplayPort
OS: Home windows 10 Professional 64-bit
Dimensions: 0.69 x 15.08 x 10.24 inches
Weight: 4.19 kilos
Guarantee: One yr
Nothing concerning the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny screams GAMING LAPTOP!!! straight into your ear canal. As such, it is one of many extra flattering contributions to the style. Its predominately black end is festooned with lavish gold trimmings alongside the aspect, and a default keyboard glow to match. The touchpad, energy button, and ears of the hinge have been handled to a modest serving to of diamond-cut sheen as effectively. Its followers breathe by means of a gold and black vent.
For stealth avid gamers inhabiting espresso outlets, taking part in Apex Legends, The Division 2, and Dauntless in secret, the GS65 Stealth Skinny is a reliable rival to the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model. And as an enormous center finger to Razer, it is a full 0.09 inches thinner than the tri-snake firm’s self-proclaimed “world’s smallest gaming laptop computer.” Additional sweetening the deal, the GS65 packs beefier parts, together with an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. To offset that value, it instructions the next price ticket. $3,399 for the mannequin MSI despatched me is sufficient to ship my pockets up in flames.
There are cheaper choices in MSI’s catalog, nonetheless. For $2,999, the identical worth because the Razer Blade 15 I reviewed, you possibly can have your self a still-impressive Core i7/RTX 2080/32GB RAM/512GB SSD machine. In the meantime, the $2,499 config bears an analogous worth level to the Acer Predator Triton 500. The entry-level, $1,998 model of the GS65 Stealth Skinny homes an RTX 2060, an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Regardless of which mannequin most closely fits your funds, all possess 240Hz shows. All are ninth gen. For a high-end, flagship gaming laptop computer born in the age of Turing, this can be a comfy vary of specs and costs.
Talking of consolation, the keyboard, whereas solely a light enchancment from its predecessor, does really feel higher for each typing and gaming. This time round, key journey is up from 1.4mm to 1.5mm. As website LaptopMag typically suggests, the perfect journey distance for a keyboard is between 1.5 and 2mm. In the end, the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny falls inside that threshold. The keyboard helps per-key RGB lighting by means of the built-in SteelSeries Engine 3. Different pre-installed software program consists of MSI True Coloration, MSI Dragon Heart, and the ever-uninvited Norton Safety.
The touchpad, too, has skilled progress. It is 35 p.c larger than final time, based on MSI, and that is no small change. Now comparable in measurement to that of the 17-inch GS75 Stealth, the touchpad virtually serves as an ideal silhouette of my iPhone X.
Additionally just like the GS75 Stealth, the touchpad on the GS65 Stealth Skinny is fickle. Even once I’m not making an attempt to have interaction, it generally registers my mild palm contact as a palpable gesture. I’ve by no means had this drawback with a MacBook or with the Razer Blade. Most gaming laptops, for that matter, don’t place the touchpad this near the keyboard deck. When you’re taking part in video games, you will need to shell out a further lump of money for the best gaming mouse. When you do, I’d disable the touchpad altogether, lest you run into the identical unintentional cursor actions that I did.
Opposite to what different reviewers have stated, the bottom-mounted audio system on the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny didn’t blow me away. In actual fact, they sounded flat, particularly at louder volumes. I do not know what the vary is on these items, however I can hardly distinguish the mids from the lows and so forth.
The display is one other story altogether. Whereas I anticipated typical TN high quality from a so-called “IPS-level” show, the display is nearly as vibrant from the aspect as it’s trying straight on. Nonetheless, there’s an RTX 2080 driving its 1080p show, which looks like overkill, even when has a 240Hz refresh price. A few of us care extra about decision than refresh price. I would fairly have a 1440p 60Hz show, as my underclocked eyes can hardly inform the distinction between 60fps and 240fps. Both I want a brand new prescription or excessive refresh price panels are little greater than an inexpensive advertising and marketing ploy.
Efficiency and Verdict: Ought to I purchase the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny?
Given its extravagant innards, it ought to come as no shock that the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny excelled in our suite of benchmark exams. In Metro Exodus, on the most intense RTX setting (with ray-tracing cranked all the way in which as much as Excessive), it blew the Razer Blade 15 Superior Mannequin out of the water, netting a mean of 62fps — a full 22 p.c greater than the Blade 15’s 51fps tumble.
As for non-ray-traced video games, aka most of them, the variations weren’t as monumental. The GS65 garnered a 71fps common in The Division 2 at Extremely settings, with a 69fps rating within the Complete Battle: Warhammer II Battle benchmark. In 3DMark Fireplace Strike, it introduced residence 16,741 factors. To place this in perspective, here is how the Razer Blade 15 Superior Mannequin carried out in those self same exams:
- Tom Clancy’s The Division 2: 75fps (5.6 p.c greater)
- Complete Battle: Warhammer II: 79fps (14.5 p.c greater)
- 3DMark Fireplace Strike: 15,889 factors (5.1 p.c decrease)
As you possibly can see, the distinction between these two laptops is marginal in The Division 2, regardless of the GS65’s quicker CPU and extra capacious RAM. In Complete Battle: Warhammer II, the Razer Blade 15 carried out notably higher than the GS65 Stealth Skinny. In 3DMark Fireplace Strike, the de facto DirectX 11 bench, the GS65 Stealth Skinny took residence the crown.
Battery life is tougher to contextualize. Earlier than this evaluate, we’d run a Twitch stream on each laptop computer we reviewed till the system died. Due to the sheer variety of variables in that evaluation, I’ve determined to modify us over to the constant and standardized PCMark 10 battery life take a look at from UL, which simply launched final week. Simulating “a spread of of widespread eventualities,” like writing, net shopping and video conferencing, I felt as if the Fashionable Workplace take a look at would greatest mimic real-world use circumstances, so I attempted that one.
At Four hours and 25 minutes, the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny reached its deadly demise. Examine that to the 5 hours and 1 minute endured by the Razer Blade 15 in our earlier, dodgier Twitch stream take a look at and I would say it stacks up high-quality towards the gaming laptop computer norm. Possibly sometime, with the advent of Ice Lake and Project Athena, we’ll begin seeing battery life take precedence over a few of the superfluous elaborations. Till then, 4 and half hours is par for the course, sadly.
Cinebench R15: 3,383cb (single-core); 412cb (multi-core)
CrystalDiskMark Q32 Sequential (Learn): 3,241.5MB/s
CrystalDiskMark Q32 Sequential (Write): 2,396.1MB/s
PCMark 10: 5,450 factors
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2: 71fps
Complete Battle: Warhammer II (built-in benchmark): 69fps
Metro Exodus (built-in RTX benchmark): 62fps
3DMark Fireplace Strike: 16,741 factors
PCMark 10 Battery Life: Four hours 25 minutes
MSI has crafted one more win for itself with the GS65 Stealth Skinny. Though it does not stray removed from the precedent it set final yr, it actually did not have to. I preferred it because it was, and I prefer it much more now. It’s costly, sure, and also you would possibly name me a hypocrite for criticizing different laptop computer makers for worth gouging whereas letting MSI off scot-free. However contemplating its elegant appears, premium construct high quality, and highly effective parts, the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny is not what I’d name overpriced.
That stated, it is not good. It does warmth up in my bag once I put it into sleep mode, and whereas I’d by no means use a gaming laptop computer in my lap, that does imply it might depart slight burns do you have to deliver it into contact towards your naked pores and skin. Furthermore, the built-in Norton Safety software program must cease. Severely, if I’ve to see one other reminder that my laptop computer is in danger, I’ll throw it out a window. And as I discussed earlier, the touchpad could be unreliable at instances because of its misguided placement.
Fairly than focusing purely on worth, the MSI GS65 Stealth Skinny takes a distinct method, outfitting an already good chassis design with best-in-class efficiency for the primary time in firm historical past.