In the last 5 years, gaming laptops have become lighter, more compact, and more powerful. The advent of new mobile GPUs from NVIDIA has helped these devices take the next step forward. Do high-end games work well on 2 kg laptops? Let’s look at the MSI GS66 Stealth review – 10UH model with 8GB Nvidia GeForce 3080 GPU, and 8-core Intel Core i7-10870H processor.
MSI GS66 Stealth Specifications
- CPU: Intel Core i7-10870H 8 cores, 16 threads @ 2.2 – 5 GHz
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (16GB version) for laptops Intel UHD Graphics (embedded in CPU)
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4, 3200 MHz
- Storage: 1TB NVMe PCIE 3.0 3374MB/s Read, 2699MB/s Write
- Display: 15.6-inch QHD IPS, 300 Hz
- Ports: 1 × HDMI 2.0b (4K @ 60Hz), 1 × USB 3.2 Type-C (supports DP + TB), 1 × USB 3.2 Type-C, 3 × USB 3.2 Type-A, 1 × Gigabit Ethernet, 1 × Combo minijack (All USB ports Gen2)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi Intel 802.11ax (2×2), Bluetooth 5.1
- Battery: 99 Wh battery with 230 W power supply
- Dimensions: 36 x 25 x 2.5 cm
- Weight: laptop 2.1 kg, charger 0.4 kg
The design of the GS66 Stealth goes against the gaming pattern. The rectangular body is painted black, the corporate logo barely visible with the dragon on the lid. This type of design will appeal to those who already have gaming laptops that are of very state-of-the-art design, as there is also something called simplicity.
The laptop is thicker but more stable housing than the old GS65 series. The smooth metal surface quickly reveals fingerprints. The hinges are good but can be stronger to give a better, more durable effect. Unlike most gaming laptops, the hinges can be opened up to 180 degrees throughout. The lid is less stable than the Razor Blade. The connections are crammed together and the sides are far apart on the front. Plenty of ventilation opening on the back of the case.
The 300 Hz AU Optronics B156HAN12.0 IPS panel of our MSI GS66 Stealth is the same as that of the previous year’s model. Funnily enough, the maximum brightness is significantly lower here and only reaches 264 cd/m², while we measured 331 cd/m² on the older model (we even checked it again). We cannot fully explain this, as we could not find any automatic brightness regulation or limitation either.
Apart from this difference in brightness, the other properties of the panel remain the same. Such as the fast response time, the contrast ratio of over 1,000:1, and the wide color space. Users should keep in mind that the 300 Hz refresh rate is useful, even if you will probably never get such high frame rates while gaming.
The color space is identical to the 1,080-pixel panel from the previous year and covers around 63 percent of the AdobeRGB and 99 percent of the sRGB color space. At the time of MSI GS66 Stealth review, MSI did not offer any 4K panel options for GS66 configurations with GeForce RTX 30.
The display is already well-calibrated in delivery condition and has an average grayscale and ColorChecker DeltaE result of 1.7 and 2.52, respectively. We were only able to improve these values slightly through our own calibration.
Outdoor readability is poor compared to most Ultrabooks due to the low brightness of the panel. With a gamer who likes compact designs thanks to its dimensions, we would be happy about a great performance to travel and work outside.
Although the laptop has the Dynaudio logo, the sound from the speaker is not particularly impressive. The volume margin is low, the bass is almost inaudible, even at high frequencies are not worked out. But in headphones, the position is corrected. When multi-driver IEMs are connected, the background is absolutely noiseless, with volume reserve sufficient to swing a 150-ohm studio monitor. In games, you pay attention to excellent audio localization, but for this, you need a suitable headset.
Keyboard and touchpad
Despite the keyboard being small, the manufacturer was able to place additional navigation buttons on it. True, we had to be clever with the layout for this. Therefore, the power button is next to delete, so when you’re in a hurry you may accidentally send the system to sleep.
You also need to get used to the additional navigation keys: they are located unusually – in the right row. Of course, their functions can be performed by arrows and FN buttons, but there is a nuance. Fn was also misplaced. Also, it is small and is pressed close to the right Ctrl, causing a lapse.
The keys are pressed quietly and have a travel depth of 3 mm. In games, everything is fine, but with long typing, there is a lack of clear feedback. However, for gaming models, this is not particularly important.
Windows Precision gestures are supported, and their accuracy and responsiveness are not satisfactory. We are glad that gaming laptop manufacturers have realized the importance of the touchpad because the mouse is not always at hand.
The laptop received three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, two USB Type C (one of them supports Thunderbolt 4), HDMI 2.0B, and 2.5-Gigabit Ethernet. The connection set is extensive, with only the card reader missing.
The new hardware platform is the Intel Core i7-10870H CPU with 8 cores, 16 threads, and a base frequency of 2.2 GHz. Thermal package of the processor – 45 W. The laptop received an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card with 16 GB of GDDR6 video memory and 16 GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, which can be independently expanded up to 64 GB.
Synthetic measurements show good results for a device of this size, although not a record one. Ryzen 4000/5000 counterparts are capable of more. The “reds” have an advantage not only in benchmarks but also in programs like Blender and 3ds Max. On the other hand, hardly anyone will load a laptop’s processor 100% daily for several hours. And in ordinary tasks, the difference is not so significant.
- GEEKBENCH 5: Single Core – 1231 / Multi Core – 7410
- CINEBENCH R23: Single Core – 1158 / Multi Core – 8275
- 3DMARK TIMESPY: Total – 9823 Points / CPU – 8560 / GPU – 10086
During a prolonged load in 3DMark, the clock speed is kept at 4.3 GHz, while the CPU temperature does not drop below 90 degrees, despite the loudness of the three fans. By the way, about cooling. A small laptop is not capable of boasting massive heatsinks, which had to be compensated for by the high rotational speed of the coolers. This, in turn, creates a noticeable noise under load, including in games. The keyboard area is also noticeably warm.
Limited cooling resources also affected performance. The TGP of the video card is only 95 watts, and the base frequency is 780 MHz. Because of this, the gaming results are not the best, but this is the price for such a thin body.
- CYBERPUNK 2077, QHD, MAX. CUSTOMIZATION: RTX Off – 45.5 fps average, 36 fps min. 1% / RTX On, DLSS Quality – 38.1 fps average, 32 fps min. 1%
- CONTROL, QHD, MAX. CUSTOMIZATION: RTX Off – 81.9 fps average, 13 fps min. 1% / RTX On, DLSS 960p – 64.8 fps average, 46 fps min. 1%
- DEATH STRANDING, QHD, MAX. CUSTOMIZATION: 126.8 fps average, 117 fps min. 1% / DLSS Quality – 136.8 fps average, 59 fps min. 1%
- RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2, QHD, MAX. CUSTOMIZATION: 32.6 fps average, 14 fps min. 1%
Out of the box, the laptop was equipped with a 1 TB solid-state drive. When it is 80% full, it shows a read speed of 3433 MB / s in CrystalDiskMark and a write speed of 1934 MB / s. There is also a slot for a second SSD.
The MSI GS66 Stealth received a 99 Wh battery – this is the maximum allowable figure with which a laptop can be taken on an airplane. Nevertheless, the operating time is far from being a record – affecting the lightness of the iron and the abundance of software running on the background.
When playing FHD content from YouTube at 50% brightness, the device runs for 8 hours. And the battery was discharged in 2 hours and 15 minutes under load in 3DMark.
In our MSI GS66 Stealth review device had a strange charging behavior with the 230-watt power supply unit. When charging the empty battery, the speed was extremely slow at the beginning and took about a full hour to charge to 10 percent. After that, for no apparent reason, the speed increased and the laptop fully charged within the “normal” 1.5 to 2 hours. It happened over and over again. We encourage buyers to check their charging speeds to ensure that the battery does not take longer than usual to charge.
The upgrade from a desktop GeForce RTX 3070 GPU to the desktop RTX 3080 gives owners an advantage of 40 to 45 percent in terms of pure graphics performance. The difference between the mobile versions of these two graphics cards, on the other hand, only results in an increase of 25 to 30 percent. The MSI GS66 Stealth 2021 is equipped with a stylish new GPU, but the performance restrictions remain similar. The overall improvement compared to the previous year’s model is also limited. Of course, the new version is faster – but only a little. Gamers looking to get the new GS66 can definitely consider the slightly older RTX-20 configurations without missing out on much.
MSI GS66 Stealth 10UH received top-end filling in a compact body. The laptop has enough pluses: a strict design, an excellent display, a rich set of ports, a high-quality touchpad, a huge battery, and two slots for SSD. On the other hand, compactness imposes corresponding restrictions: the cooling system does not allow a powerful video card to work to its fullest.
The main complaint is the inexpressive sound. At the same time, the price of the device is clearly not designed for those who are ready to put up with compromises. However, the laptop is primarily focused on working with resource-intensive content. And here everyone has to answer for themselves what is important for them? Mobility and the ability to solve tasks anywhere or perform gaming? Also, don’t forget to tell your opinion about this MSI GS66 Stealth Review in the comment section below.
Price and availability
If compactness is not your preference and you are the gamer who likes glowing balls more then you should also see our ASUS ROG Strix G17 G713 Review. The Strix G series is the popular Asus ROG gaming laptop line and the affordable line in the ROG family (except TUF), which is aimed at students who want a powerful laptop in an affordable price range.