My MSI GS65 Stealth THIN Review

Discussion in 'MSI' started by Quadron, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. Quadron

    Quadron Notebook Deity

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    TLDR: Get this machine if you want a thin and light gaming laptop that is stylish, good battery life, and games really well, but don't expect to run long 100% CPU loads without throttling.

    Here's my review of the GS65 Stealth Thin. Let me start with the video I made on it:



    This is one incredible thin and light machine overall. I can recommend it with a couple caveats, which I'll cover in a second.

    The keyboard has shallow depth, great font choice, and a solid layout. The trackpad is great, though clicking requires more pressure than I'd ideally like. It has great all around specs for gaming, but you'll see CPU significant throttling when CPU is under 100% load. First Cinebench R15 clocked in at 1120, but after that it throttled down to 920 area. This might be alleviated somewhat with a LM repaste and/or an undervolt, but hard to say. Ultimately, it will be power limit throttled at some point no matter what though. This is pretty typical of thin and lights like this though. You can still do great productivity work on it, but it will throttle down to 60-70% potential performance when rendering, etc. I believe the Aero 15x didn't throttle below the 1120 mark, so potentially better CPU focused thin and light? But if you want ultimate CPU power, you'll want to get a thicker laptop with i9-8950HK or 8700K desktop processor with great cooling upgrades instead. But that's a whole different type of machine for a different type of user...

    Gaming was fantastic with no throttling that I found so far, but I didn't push this to the limit of what's possible. This thing will play every game out there on high settings at 1080p no problem. I ran a bunch of benchmarks on it, and you can compare how it did vs the other machines I've tested by looking at this google document: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1I666RUisMZwQOFyw_AGhPt6-ZMzPvkKI2oEga1lQW8A/edit#gid=0

    The display is quite fantastic with great response time and solid colors and contrast. The build quality is mostly on point, though the chassis does creek here and there. I also don't trust the hinges to stay together. The one hinge on mine was already misaligned right out of the box. I'd suggest getting an extended warranty to cover any build issues like that in the future.

    Pros:
    Great gaming performance
    Awesome gaming display with great colors and contrast for a high refreshrate screen
    Nice keyboard and trackpad
    Very minimal size with small bezel display
    Great battery life for productivity

    Cons
    CPU throttling under 100% CPU load
    Would recommend extended warranty on this badboy
    No GSync
    Shallow depth keyboard takes getting used to
    Hard to upgrade because you have to take motherboard out and flip over, so get your upgrades done ahead of time, unless you're an advanced user.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  2. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    Could you undervolt and do repaste on it? (I don't mean LM, but something like ICD etc.) and check again the thermals? I would like to know if it does keep it from throttling and "only" runs hot or if its still throttling.
     
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  3. Phoenix

    Phoenix Super Tweaker

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    Even my GT75 Titan with the 8950HK throttles under load thanks to MSI's horrid default BIOS Settings. They put a VR Current Limit of 136A. Simply increasing the VR Current Limit to 200A stops throttling for me under any circumstances.

    Not sure you have access to that setting in your BIOS though if you don't have an overclocking menu. Maybe XTU can increase that VR Current limit.

    Mind you, in the BIOS the value is divided by 4 so for 200A, I would need to enter a value of 800 in the BIOS. This 4 dividend is shown in the tooltip on the right to that setting.
     
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  4. Support.3@XOTIC PC

    Support.3@XOTIC PC Company Representative

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    Great review thanks for posting!
     
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  5. Quadron

    Quadron Notebook Deity

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    Yeah, though you have a thick and beefy machine with much better cooling, as well as significantly high power input with dual AC adapters. I don't think the GS65 would handle that kind of wattage, though I'm not sure. I don't have the laptop at the moment, though I doubt there is much flex room with the BIOS for overclocking. Maybe the folks in the owners lounge can get us the answer.
     
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  6. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Undervolting is safe and at stock speeds -100mV undervolt can drop 100% CPU load temps by 10c , which can make a big difference if you were hitting thermal throttling before.

    The thermal reduction from tuning the minimum CPU voltage needed for stable operation can make a big difference, and allow you heavy CPU use without re-pasting or re-padding. undervolting can also stop power throttling under load as well.

    Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility - XTU, or ThrottleStop - TS, can both be used to easily tune the CPU voltage using undervolt.

    Start at -100mV, and see if you are stable by running an included tool in XTU - Benchmark or Stress Test, or run another CPU benchmark or CPU load generator.

    If you are stable at -100mV at load, try increasing the undervolt by -10mV at a time until you are unstable - odd benchmark results or BSOD, then back off by +5mV at a time until you are stable.

    Then one last test, Idle Stable, let your laptop sit idle - exit any applications or games - or systray apps generating CPU usage, and after 15 - 30 minutes if your laptop is still running ok, it passed the test.

    You can also tune the fan curve on most laptops, have the start up temperature a bit earlier and run the fans a bit faster to improve cooling, or reduce them to decrease fan noise - which will increase temperatures sometimes too.

    If you could undervolt as part of your review testing that would be a big step forward. Most laptops come out of the box with a too high default CPU voltage set in the BIOS, and undervolting can compensate for that to reduce CPU temperatures at load, stopping thermal throttling.

    I wish all laptop reviewers would include software tuning through undervolting, fan curves, FPS limiter, and other software tuneables to get the best out of the laptop during the review.

    Software tuning is something the reviewer can do with a loaner review laptop - and reset it back before returning it to the vendor, unlike re-pasting / re-padding, and it's a great way to show potential buyers the real potential of the laptop in their hands.

    Most laptops run hot out of the box with that too high CPU voltage in the BIOS, and therefore look less attractive, when simple software tuning can bring the best out of them quickly. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  7. Quadron

    Quadron Notebook Deity

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    Thanks for this. When I made the review, I didn't fully understand undervolting. I've been doing a lot of learning in the last 2-3 weeks. Yes, I do plan on undervolting in future reviews when possible and displaying throttling graphs as well when throttling occurs. I've got a Aorus X9 coming for review here soon, which will be awesome to review.
     
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  8. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    That would be great.:)

    You might take some time and practice the undervolting process in between on other non-review hardware that aren't under time constraints.

    It takes a few hands-on experiences to get the feel for it and know what to do most effectively. It's not difficult, but there are some points of personal growth - pushing the undervolt value until it BSOD's is scary for some initially, and this is a good way to get through it.

    It's always good to have a complete backup, not run important work at the same time you are doing stability testing - I wouldn't be editing your next article without saving it in a couple of places, and if you do BSOD, at the next start up select the C drive for checking / fixing at the next boot.

    Windows is pretty good about not getting corrupted due to a BSOD, but it's always a good idea to clean up afterwards with a quick disk check, and the boot partition won't want to allow a fix session while booted.

    Have fun, and if you have any questions on the process or you want to share your results please post here on NBR, lots of people here can help you out all times of the day. :)
     
  9. cranker2k

    cranker2k Notebook Enthusiast

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    Did you try test under Cooler Boost 3 active to see if CPU throttles? If not, then I suggest do a custom advanced setting for a halfway between the default "auto" mode and the Cooler Boost 3. The auto mode is too conservative. While feels great working normally in an ultra quiet setting, it obviously won't handle hi temps. I believe Aero 15x has a more aggressive fan profile, so maybe for a fair assessment that a custom fan profile need to be experimented. The reason I'm thinking this is when I didn't have LM pasted, I was able to drop CPU/GPU down from 90C to 70C just by changing to CB3 mode.
     
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  10. Quadron

    Quadron Notebook Deity

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    I did max fan speeds on all benchmarks.
     
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