Quick MSI Stealth 15m review with thermal performance

Discussion in 'MSI' started by Silvr6, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. Silvr6

    Silvr6 Notebook Evangelist

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    I was intrigued with the Stealth 15m ever since it was released, I was looking for a laptop to transition from the desktop I was using due to being a bit more mobile with my job. My desktop specs were as follows.

    I5 9400

    16GB DDR 2666

    500GB NVME SSD

    Asus GTX 1660 Super

    Hooked up to 2 4K 60hz monitors.

    I don’t really do anything strenuous on my computer just web browsing the odd video to edit and I’m completely addicted to Beam.ng

    Even though Beam.ng is quite multithreaded when you spawn multiple cars single thread performance is still very important and this is where the 11th Gen i7 1185G7 caught my eye with its 4.8ghz single core boost.

    I went back and forth between wanting to get a ROG Zephyrus G14 with the Ryzen 4800HS and GTX 1660 Max-Q and the MSI stealth, I originally wanted the G14 with the 4900HS and RTX 2060 Max-Q but that configuration was $2500 cdn vs the $1500 vs the GTX 1660 version.

    The MSI Stealth 15m I bought for $1800 cdn is configured as follows:

    I7 1185G7 4.8ghz single core turbo 4.3ghz all core turbo

    16GB DDR4 3200 8GB x 2

    1GB Kingston PCIe 3.0 4x NVME SSD (Gen 3 even though it supports Gen 4 shame on you MSI!)

    RTX 2060 Max-Q + Intel Iris XE Graphics

    2x USB 3.0 1 X Micro SD

    1x Thunderbolt 4 Supports 100w USB Charging.

    15.6” LCD 144hz

    150w AC Adapter


    For $1800 there wasn’t much else that could match these specs, and I have to say I’m very glad I picked up this laptop. I was most interested in the performance of the i7 1185G7 since most of the review online focused on the 28w and 15w performance of the CPU. I’m pleased to announce that as of now this is probably the only laptop that runs the CPU MUCH above intel’s specifications and as such make it quite fast especially in lightly threaded tasks.

    MSI offers their Dragon Center app to control things like RGB keyboard and GPU and CPU fans (each has their own dedicated fan and heatpipe) I will make reference to which mode I used below when I talk about thermals and performance. Just note that for the videos below I had the fan set to “cooler boost” which puts them to max speed is very loud and sounds like a vacuum cleaner. I’ve found since testing that even with the cooler boost fan setting off there is no thermal throttling, with the fans set to auto they eventually do ramp up and are somewhat loud they aren’t anything like what you hear in the video.

    CPU Power limits as reported in HWinfo

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    Here we can see a PL2 value of 64w and a PL1 value of 44w which is great, however the laptop never hits the PL2 of 64w the limit seems to be 55w as I’ll show below.


    I started off with putting the Dragon Center settings to extreme performance, extreme performance sets the cpu mode to “turbo” and GPU to max performance and even allows an overclock (however this overclocking is useless more on that later)

    Using Cinebench R15 I started with the multithreaded test.






    Here you can see the CPU turbo up to 4.3ghz which is the max all core turbo with a power draw of 55w, it stays at 55w and 4.3ghz for the entire time no throttling just a power limit throttle. At this point the max CPU temp was 82c which isn’t bad at all.

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    Cinebench R15 single thread test







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    The cpu hit max single core turbo of 4.8ghz and stays there with a TDP draw of approx 21w CPU temp never goes above 82c


    Here is the Open GL score with the RTX 2060 Max-Q

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    I then did some stress testing using Furmark’s CPU and GPU tools

    CPU Stress test

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    Furmark multi threaded test starts out with 55w TDP at 4.3ghz all core turbo and then cuts back to approx. 48w with a 4.1-4.2ghz all core turbo it keeps this turbo speed and TDP indefinitely.

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    Furmark single threaded test starts out with 4.8ghz single core turbo with a TDP of 25w it keeps this clock speed indefinitely

    After being pleasantly surprised at the CPU performance I decided to test out the RTX 2060 Max-Q. The TDP on this card is 65w. Stock clocks are 975mhz with a Boost up to 1095mhz when under full load. Memory is 1375mhz.

    Furmark

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    The TDP spikes right up to 65w off the bat and the core hits 1095mhz then settles back around the 990-1050mhz range the entire time, staying at 65w the max temp I saw was 72c which is very nice. I mentioned about overclocking earlier and it doesn’t matter how much I overclocked the core instead of thermal throttling all it did was power limit throttle and keep the TDP at 65w. The only thing that overlocked and had a positive impact was a small memory overclock, however I have not had a chance to test out of there are any gains with the memory OC. In games, well the only game I play Beam.NG I would see 1500mhz boost clocks from time to time. GPU wise I will need to look at undervolting in order to get the GPU clocks up as the power limit is the issue not thermals.

    Now on to a few other benchmarks.

    Winrar Single threaded

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    Winrar Multi threaded

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    Passmark

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    Check out the single core score of 3300!

    Beam.Ng Benchmark


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    With all the exciting benchmarks out of the way I will turn to my only complaint, the SSD.

    Tiger Lake supports PCIe 4.0. So why did MSI include a rather garbage gen 3.0 SSD Kingston 1TB drive? Benchmarks aren’t the best and to be fair the system feels very snappy and things load faster than my desktop but that’s probably more to do with the CPU than anything else, but coming from a gen 4 SSD being used in my desktop in a Gen 3 slot (Sabrent Rocket 4.0 500gb) this one just plain sucks, I’ll likely pick up a gen 4 ssd and swap it in one of these days.

    [​IMG]


    Dragon Center profiles (plugged in)

    Super Battery

    CPU = 10w TDP 1.3ghz all core load 2.9ghz single core load

    GPU = 22w TDP 300mhz Core 200mhz Ram

    Silent

    CPU = 40w TDP 4.0ghz all core load, 25w TDP 4.8ghz single core load

    GPU = 65w TDP 1ghz core, 1375mhz ram

    Balanced

    CPU = 55w 4.3ghz All core turbo then 48w 4.1ghz all core. 25W 4.8ghz single core load

    GPU = 65w 1ghz Core 1375mhz Ram

    Extreme Performance

    CPU = 55w 4.3ghz All core turbo then 48w 4.1ghz all core. 25W 4.8ghz single core load

    GPU = 65w 1ghz Core 1375mhz Ram


    Battery performance and TB 4.0 Charging

    Full disclosure. I don’t believe I have the proper cables for proper 100w USB PD operation. I have a 100w USB PD charger however it would only charge the laptop at 60w. As such when plugged in using the TB 4.0 port

    CPU = 15w 2.1ghz

    GPU 15w 300mhz Core 100mhz Ram

    When on Battery (CPU/GPU max performance)

    CPU = 28w TDP 3.3ghz – 3.4ghz

    GPU = 30w 1425mhz Core 202mhz Ram

    Once I get a proper cable I will retest this and hopefully it mirrors the behavior when plugged in.


    Overall I’m very pleased with the laptop. Haven’t had much time to focus on the battery aspect of things but from limited use, using the super battery setting it would look like around 3-4 hours of use, not ideal but I’m not planning to be away from an outlet or powerbank for long periods of time. You’ll notice that I haven’t talked about the Iris XE graphics, still trying to figure out how to get them to work in 3D games and not just the desktop. I’ve tried in the Nvidia control panel disabling the RTX card but it still seems to pick it up any time there is a 3D type load.

    If you have read this far good for you if you are looking for superior performance for lightly threaded tasks and some light gaming the Stealth 15m might be for you, Zero thermal throttling at all in a laptop is quite a pleasant surprise.
     
    pau1ow and JRE84 like this.
  2. Silvr6

    Silvr6 Notebook Evangelist

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    A few more benchmarks

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  3. Silvr6

    Silvr6 Notebook Evangelist

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    A slight update after i've had the laptop for about a week now and a few quirks I've found.

    1. I can't use the intel XE graphics for any type of gaming. The only time the intel graphics are used is on the desktop. I've tried changing the optimus settings in both windows and the nvidia control panel to use the integrated graphics but nothing appears to work, not a deal breaker but it really kills the battery life when using the laptop on battery power.

    2. USB PD charging is less than ideal even when using a 100w charger and cable. When using the laptop with the AC adapter the CPU will turbo up to 58w and then settle back to 48w. When plugged in using a 100w USB-PD charger the CPU will turbo to 45w then settle back to 28w, this CPU performance while less than it is when plugged in is still totally acceptable. The real issue is the GPU.

    I never clued in to it before, but when using the 60w USB PD charger the GPU was at 300mhz and the Vram was at 200mhz, on battery the GPU would turbo up to around 1425mhz but the Vram was stuck at 200mhz. This behavior is IDENTICAL when a 100w USB-PD charger is plugged in. I can understand not running both the CPU and GPU at full speed however, with the CPU and GPU fully stressed using a 100w PD Charger the max power draw I get is around 90w spikes and settles around 70-75w long term. MSI advertises 5a 20V USB PD charging which is 100w, I'm alright with the CPU performance but they need to do something in the video BIOS to bring the Vram speed up higher than 200mhz, with it running at that speed anything 3D really doesn't run at all.

    Here is a screen shot showing power draw with the GPU throttling charging with 100w USB PD

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    Here is the GPU throttling while on battery power

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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  4. Silvr6

    Silvr6 Notebook Evangelist

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    Swapped out the stock 1TB Kingston PCIe 3.0 Drive with a Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 1TB, can confirm PCIe 4.0 works on Tiger lake

    Stock Drive
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    Sabrent

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