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Thermals, Acoustics, Storage, Battery Life
No laptop review would be complete without discussing thermal and acoustic performance. In such a slim laptop you're never going to get amazing results in this department, especially with such powerful hardware, though MSI does do as much as possible to keep things in check. The GS65 is neither outrageously hot nor deafeningly loud as a result.
When playing Watch Dogs 2, the GS65's CPU reached around 89 degrees Celsius while the GPU sat at 86 degrees. Ideally I'd like to see the GPU a bit cooler than that - that's fairly hot for a laptop GPU - but CPU temperatures are in line with other gaming laptops. In CPU-only workloads you can expect the CPU to sit more at 81 degrees with no throttling unless you're running a power virus.
Acoustics is where I was more impressed with the GS65 Stealth Thin. Under a Watch Dogs 2 load the system's triple-fan cooler produced just 44 dBA of noise, which is significantly quieter than its main competitor with identical hardware, the Aero 15X. The impressive Predator Triton 700 edges both laptops out in this test, but either way, the GS65's cooler noise is relatively easy to drown out with game noise.
In Handbrake encoding, the cooler wasn't as loud, at 40.6 dBA. That's mid-range for a gaming laptop of this size, though again notably quieter than the Aero 15X.
Storage performance is very good. My review unit came with a Samsung PM981, yes PM981, 512GB unit which provided excellent performance across the board.
As for battery life, the GS65 includes an 82 Wh battery, which is fairly sizable for a 15 inch laptop but not quite as large as the 90+ Wh units we see in the best devices. As a result, battery life is roughly where I expected for a gaming laptop: not horrendous like the early days of gaming laptops, but not amazing either.
You won't get ultrabook battery life out of this system but it is capable of a decent amount of usage away from the charger, especially if you're just doing light tasks like web browsing.