We tested and compared the MSI GS75 versus GS66 in terms of Gaming Performance, Display Quality, Portability, Price, Battery Life and more.
Above you can see the Ranking with the results and below you will find the in-depth reports of the two Gaming Laptops.
Ranking First: MSI GS75 Stealth
- Best Gaming Performance
- Slim display frame & great 144Hz Display
- Great Battery & Lightweight
- More Expensive
The fact that MSI can produce gaming notebooks is well known and many gamers love this manufacturer for it. With the GS75 8SG-215 Stealth, MSI has surpassed itself in every respect. There is probably no more chic and powerful gaming notebook on the market today.
MSI has equipped the GS75 8SG-215 Stealth with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 32 GB RAM and two M.2 modules that run in raid mode. The 18.9 mm flat gaming notebook also has a dedicated graphics card.
And nothing less than a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q with 8 GB VRAM from Nvidia.
This time we don’t start with the design and the display, but with the installed hardware. We’ll come to the design and the 17.3 inch display later.
At the beginning we’ll have a look at the CPU that MSI used in the GS75 8SG-215 Stealth. It goes without saying that it is an Intel CPU of the 8th generation.
An Intel Core i7-8750H is used, which works with 6 computing cores. The basic clock rate is 2.2 GHz, and that with all cores.
In turbo mode, individual processor cores can reach a clock rate of up to 4.1 GHz with the appropriate cooling. The Intel CPU also supports Hyper-Threading, so the processor can perform 12 calculations simultaneously.
For the main memory, MSI relies on 2 modules with 16 GB each, which run in dual-channel mode. Two modules from Samsung were installed. MSI isn’t satisfied with standards when it comes to fixed memory either.
Two M.2 modules are built in, each with a memory capacity of 512 GB. The clou is that they run in RAID 0. The Super RAID drive thus created has very good transfer rates of 3.500 MB/s.
It is only a bit slower when reading. If you need even more SSD memory, there is a third M.2 slot inside.
Now let’s get to the graphics card, or more precisely, the two graphics solutions. One would be the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620, which is always used when no high demands are placed on the graphics. That would be Office or surfing, for example.
As a second graphics solution, MSI has decided on an RTX 2080 Max-Q, which has a whopping 8 GB of GDDR6 video memory. This graphic from Nvidia is currently ranked second in the Top10 for mobile graphic cards and is only beaten by the RTX 2080 (without Max-Q). Only the RTX 2080 graphics cards for desktop PCs are faster.
The Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 with Max-Q design is the energy-saving version of the RTX 2080 and is especially designed for thin gaming laptops. The power consumption and clock rates have been reduced so that the GPU generates less power dissipation (heat).
Less heat also means that the ventilation system can operate more quietly. The RTX 2080 Max-Q is based on the same TU104 chip used in the desktop version.
A further surprise in terms of hardware is the built-in battery. MSI has built a lithium-polymer battery with 82.0 Wh into the GS75 8SG-215 Stealth, which lasted for almost 5 hours in our battery benchmark. Gaming notebook and battery?
Good question, because playing in battery mode has always been a double-edged sword so far. The battery life has always been very short and the Nvidia graphic cards reduced the frame rate to 30 fps in battery mode.
Playing without power was therefore almost impossible. The 82 watt/h strong battery in the MSI GS75 8SG-215 Stealth only ran out of power after about 5 hours in the benchmark test.
This runtime is halved during gaming, but the RTX graphics only throttles the frame rate at 60 fps. A significant improvement in every respect.
Next we’ll take a look at the exterior of the gaming notebook from MSI. The first thing that catches the eye is the small dimensions, as the MSI GS75 8SG-215 Stealth is very flat with 18.9 mm.
The 17 incher is also pleasantly light with 5.02 lbs. The copper colored hinges and fan outlets on the sandblasted aluminum case provide for a noble appearance.
The scope of delivery consists of the 17-inch notebook including a small adapter and some reading. Windows 10 Pro is preinstalled as the operating system. With the Dragon Center you can make many settings for power management, fans and keys.
Besides the inner hardware, the display of the new gaming notebook from MSI also plays in a different league. MSI has installed a 17.3 inch wide view display with 144 Hz and 3 ms response time. The extremely thin display edge is striking, measuring only 5.2 mm at the sides.
The average illumination is also more than impressive. We could measure an illumination of almost 300 cd/m² in our test device of the MSI GS75 8SG-215 Stealth Gaming notebook. The color space coverage (sRGB) is almost 100%.
Although the housing is extremely flat at 18.9 mm, MSI was able to accommodate all the important connections.
The gaming notebook has a total of 5 USB sockets, whereby two are compatible with the USB Type C standard. External monitors can be connected via HDMI or Thunderbolt.
MSI could also include a full RJ-45 port (Gigabit-LAN / Killer E2500) and a card reader for microSD. The wireless network connection is via a fast WLAN (Killer DoubleShot Pro). Bluetooth 5.0 was of course also built in.
Keyboard & Touchpad
For the GS75 8SG-215 Stealth, MSI has once again relied on the proven SteelSeries gaming keyboard, which is also good. The key layout is clearly arranged and on the right you’ll also find a separate numeric keypad.
The keys have a pleasant short stroke and a switchable backlight. This doesn’t just glow in one color, but shines in all colors of the rainbow. Likewise different light effects can be switched on.
As already in the PS63 8RC-089 Modern, MSI has included an oversized touchpad in the wrist-rest. MSI has enlarged it by 35% and with 140 x 65 mm it turns out to be especially enormous. The surface is pleasantly smooth and also supports many multiples.
The compact notebook can be opened easily, but upgrading the hardware equipment is actually not necessary. 32 GB RAM and two M.2 modules with 512 GB capacity each should be enough for the life of the notebook. If you want, you can also upgrade an M.2 module.
The expectations for the benchmarks were high. With the Intel Core i7 and Nvidia’s RTX graphics, the measurement results had to clearly distinguish themselves from previous gaming notebooks. And we weren’t disappointed.
The expectations for the benchmark rates were high. With the Intel Core i7 and the RTX graphics from Nvidia, the measurement results had to clearly set themselves apart from previous gaming notebooks. And we weren’t disappointed.
The power dissipation of the installed hardware is effectively transported to the outside via four ventilation slots on the housing.
The three fans work relatively quietly and are only audible under heavy load (e.g. during gaming). In comparison to other gaming notebooks, the Cooler Boost Trinity+ System works significantly quieter.
That MSI is always good for surprises is once again confirmed with the GS75 8SG-215 Stealth. The strong hardware in the 18.9 mm flat gaming notebook is admirable. The times when powerful gaming notebooks had to be thick and heavy are finally over. You also find it hard to believe that the 17 incher only weighs 5.02 lbs.
MSI has shown a good hand with the hardware equipment. In addition to an Intel Core i7 with six computing cores, a new RTX 2080 in Max-Q design was installed.
MSI has installed 32 GB of RAM, so there is no need for upgrading. MSI was also very generous with the fixed memory. Why install an M.2 module when you can install two modules. Inside are two fast M.2 modules, each with 512 GB capacity, which run in a RAID array.
The transfer rate of this RAID drive breaks the sound barrier of 3,500 MB/s. The transfer rate hardly drops at all when writing. For those who still don’t have enough storage space, a third M.2 module can even be installed.
Another surprise is the built-in battery. Normally, the battery life in a gaming notebook is 2, maximum 3 hours. The GS75 8SG-215 Stealth managed almost 5 hours in the PC Mark benchmark. So that you can play reasonable and long games on the go. The RTX graphics does not limit the frame rate to 30 fps, but only to 60 fps.
Also with the case MSI did everything right. The GS75 8SG-215 Stealth not only stands out with its small dimensions and light weight, but also with its design.
Ranking Second: MSI GS66 Stealth
- Good Gaming Performance
- Better Price
- Housing has become much more stable
- Annoying fans
Extreme change. While the GS65 had a tough time against the competition in many respects, MSI presents a completely rebuilt successor with the GS66. Read in our detailed test report what has changed for the better.
In order to appeal to the widest possible group of buyers, MSI offers the GS66 Stealth in several equipment variants. The processor is a six- or eight-core model made of Intel’s current Comet Lake generation. In opposition to the Core i9-10980HK, the Core i7-10750H has to manage without an open multiplier.
A high-end GPU is also on board, matching the high-end CPU. Besides the GeForce RTX 2060, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q and the GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q are also available.
The package is rounded out by 16 to 32 GB DDR4 RAM (each in Dual Channel) and a 1 to 2 TB M.2 SSD. A matt Full-HD panel with 240 or 300 Hz takes care of the image reproduction.
For our test configuration with the product name 10SFS, which is based on the Core i9-10980HK, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD, around $2550 are required, which is quite expensive for a 2070 laptop.
The fact that MSI has taken the criticism of the predecessor to heart can be seen especially well in the case. If we still complained about the GS65’s meager torsional stiffness, the GS66 now belongs to the most stable representatives of the thin & light category. The chassis only yields slightly under stronger pressure.
The fact that the construction height climbs from 1.8 to 2.0 cm and the weight increases from 4.18 to 4.62 lbs due to the firmer material is completely understandable in our eyes.
MSI could improve a bit on the workmanship, which is a bit weaker than most of its competitors. Thus, some elements don’t blend into each other quite so neatly.
There is no reason for complaint regarding the quality. The metal surfaces of the lid and base unit make a high-quality impression, even though they tend to get dirty quickly (keyword: fingerprints), not least because of the dark color.
A unique selling point of the case is the ample opening angle: We rarely see 180° in gaming notebooks. MSI also deserves praise for the simple design, which at first glance doesn’t necessarily resemble a gaming platform.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard was optimized for gamers. For example, the <>|-key is in an unfamiliar position. The fact that Ins and Del share a key is also suboptimal.
Also worthy of discussion: Compared to its predecessor, the spacebar has been moved a bit to the right, which leads to very narrow and contiguous Fn- and Ctrl keys (see photos). Due to the mentioned peculiarities, there is a lot of training time.
Meanwhile, we liked the typing feel and combined a pleasant pressure with sufficient feedback. Because the keyboard and touchpad aren’t exactly quiet when typing, the GS66 is only suitable for quiet environments like libraries to a limited extent.
One of the keyboard’s biggest highlights is the RGB illumination, which can be adjusted in several stages, but could be a bit stronger for our taste. If you don’t like a light show (there are several modes available), just choose a color.
MSI also stands out from the crowd with the touchpad. A width of 14 cm is extremely generous for a 15 inch device. Thus, even longer picture stretches are possible without having to reposition the finger.
In return, the mouse replacement measures only 6.5 cm in height, which is a bit meager. Because the touchpad has a decent stability and accepts input (except for the edge area) relatively precisely and cleanly, the renouncement of dedicated mouse keys doesn’t weigh too heavily.
There weren’t any major conspicuous features in the multi-touch support, either. 2-finger gestures, such as zooming and scrolling, were mostly reliably recognized in the test.
After 144 Hz panels dominated in gaming notebooks in 2019, the year 2020 will be dominated by 240 and 300 Hz technology.
Although you subjectively notice the recent Hz jumps less and less (the change from a 60 to a 144 Hz display has a much stronger effect) and the graphic cards only rarely provide suitable FPS numbers, the 300 Hz screen of the test configuration is a certain buying argument.
MSI uses the AU Optronics B156HAN12.0, a non-glare panel (IPS level) with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The latter often scores noticeably better in the measurements than the 240 Hz display of its predecessor (Sharp LQ156M1JW03).
While the black value has dropped from 0.32 to 0.21 cd/m², the luminosity has increased from approx. 282 to 311 cd/m², making the GS66 somewhat more suitable for outdoor use (over 400 cd/m² would be desirable). The contrast is now around 1500:1 instead of the former 900:1.
The color space is on a similar level with 100% sRGB and 65% AdobeRGB. On the other hand, the new panel is no longer quite as true to colour as our measurements with the Calman tool show, although the values are for the most part still within the target range (dE less than 3).
Like the GS65, the GS66 also scores with a low response time. 9.6 ms black-to-white and 14 ms grey-to-grey should satisfy most gamers. A screen flicker didn’t occur in the test.
Whether RTX 2060, RTX 2070 or RTX 2080: the GS66 Stealth belongs to the high-end segment. All three graphics cards provide more than enough power for native Full HD resolution. A 1,000 to 2,000 GB SSD and 16 to 32 GB RAM are also contemporary. Not to mention the potent six- or eight-core processor.
About sense and nonsense of the Core i9-10980HK can be excellently argued. On the one hand, the Octacore offers a brute performance, but we currently see the strongest model from Intel’s Comet Lake generation rather in massive desktop replacements due to the heavy cooling requirements.
Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that the 10980HK only exhausts its turbo to a limited extent. Of the theoretically possible 5.3 GHz, only 4.3 to 4.9 GHz remain under single core load.
Under load of all cores, the clock rate drops to 3.6 to 3.9 GHz, which isn’t bad at all, but still falls short of the CPU’s potential and calls the already poor price-performance ratio into question, especially since the performance in our Cinebench R15 loop – other notebooks send their regards – continues to collapse from the second run.
For these reasons, we would recommend the likewise very fast, but less demanding Core i7-10750H when buying the GS66.
Not least thanks to the potent processor, the GS66 is somewhat overtaking the competition in terms of application performance. With 6,490 points, the overall score in PCMark 10 is between 8 and 18% above the opponents. The operating system boots quite fast and also reacts pleasantly fast in other respects (loading times, installations, …).
At the request of some readers, we recently expanded our latency test considerably (it now includes web browsing and video playback, among other things).
If you look at the result of the tool LatencyMon, the MSI GS66 still leaves room for optimization in this respect.
An NVMe model from Samsung, more precisely the PM981 MZVLB1T0HARL, is at work in the test device as mass storage. The M.2 drive definitely doesn’t have to hide behind the competition from Intel (Aero 15 Classic), Seagate (Schenker XMG Neo 15) and WDC (Predator Triton 500 & HP Omen X 2S) in both reading and writing.
If you want to expand the memory, you’ll find an empty M.2 slot under the hood.
The GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q is a slightly tuned version of the old 2070 Max-Q (also Turing architecture). For example, Nvidia has increased the number of shaders from 2,304 to 2,560. The GDDR6 video memory is again 8 GB in size and connected via a 256-bit interface.
The manufacturer cites 930 MHz as the base clock, whereby significantly higher values can be achieved with the automatic GPU boost.
How the clock rate behaves under load was tested with the Ungine Heaven 4.0 benchmark and the role playing game The Witcher 3. Around 1.300 to 1.400 MHz is a decent result.
Talking about The Witcher 3: In opposition to the processor performance, the graphics performance remains fairly constant.
The 60 minute endurance test didn’t reveal any FPS breakdowns or the like. You only have to be careful in battery mode.
As in most laptops, the frame rate drops massively (-85 % @GS66) without a power supply, because CPU and GPU throttle down strongly.
The RTX 2070 Super Max-Q can really show its power on the mains, as our GPU benchmarks also prove. Although the performance in 3DMark 11 or 3DMark 13 is somewhat worse than the recently reviewed Aero 17 HDR XB, the GS66 still sprints past the competing laptops with “normal” RTX 2070 Max-Q by several percent.
Temperature & noise levels
The noise is not necessarily the chocolate side of the GS66, to put it mildly. MSI takes a negative example from the competition here and lets the fans run at a very high speed under load.
48 to 53 dB are disturbingly loud without a headset and will discourage some potential buyers from buying.
The GS66 performs better in idle mode, but we weren’t really satisfied with the performance here either. The fact that the fans are never completely off in the tested Dragon center settings isn’t even the problem.
In practice, the intermediate revving up proves to be much more annoying, the cause of which often puzzles us. Supposedly simple activities such as video, web and installations/updates also like to force the fans to sudden noise.
One solution would be to use the silent mode, although we have made the experience with other MSI laptops that this only helps against some problems to a limited extent and limits the performance considerably (jerky YouTube videos). Regardless of the speed, the fan noise of the MSI GS66 is not one of the most pleasant.
The temperatures are typical for such a flat high-end notebook. While the base unit reaches up to 53 °C (top) and 55 °C (bottom) in 3D mode, the case stays cooler than 30 °C in idle.
The verdict on the components turns out ambivalent. On the positive side, the RTX 2070 Super Max-Q should be mentioned, which reaches a maximum of 75 °C even under full load (Furmark & Prime95).
The processor looks worse. Although the turbo hardly gets a chance, the Core i9-10980HK settles at around 90 °C in the stress test.
This is another indication that the CPU is chosen somewhat unsuitable for the case – especially if you take into account the noise level, which in our experience is primarily due to the 10980HK.
While the GS65 had to make do with an 82 Wh battery, its successor offers a gigantic 99.99 Wh. Even the Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic, which is trimmed for mobility, can’t come close to this value (94 Wh). Most gamers are only provided with a maximum of 80 Wh.
However, the runtimes are a bit sobering in view of the ample capacity. Okay, up to 8.5 hours under ideal conditions (no load, minimum display brightness) and about 6 hours of internet surfing via WLAN with medium brightness can be impressive for a high-end notebook, but the competition achieves similar or even better rates with weaker batteries. Thus, the GS66’s energy management doesn’t seem to be quite optimal.
MSI took care of the most important points of criticism and gave the compact case more stability and better maintenance possibilities.
Applause is also given for the contemporary connectivity (Thunderbolt 3), the brisk and high-contrast 300 Hz panel, as well as the huge battery, which can’t quite show off its capabilities, which is why the MSI GS66 is ranking behind second versus the MSI GS75.
The GS66 is a great Gaming Laptop nonetheless and much cheaper, so if you are on a budget, this is your choice!