Like with most portable gaming laptops, the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is expensive. A configuration that closely resembles what we tested goes for about $2,100. It’s not unfairly priced though, as competitors like the Gigabyte Aero 15X and Asus ROG Zephyrus cost a similar amount.
We reviewed the GTX 1070 Max-Q variant though a cheaper version with the GTX 1060 is available for around $1,800. That puts it at the same price as last year’s i7-7700HQ model with the same GPU, so there's some welcomed consistency there.
When considering everything this laptop provides, I really like what MSI has brought to the table. This is clearly their best gaming laptop so far, bringing a superior design, smaller footprint and improved performance compared to the GS63. The build quality is fantastic and the cooler surprisingly decent in acoustics, providing a better experience than the Gigabyte Aero 15X, its closest competitor, in both aspects.
The new six-core i7-8750H provides up to a 60 percent performance improvement in some productivity workloads, which is great news for those that want to use this laptop for tasks like video rendering. Gains aren’t as significant in gaming, but the combination of this CPU with a GTX 1070 Max-Q allows for ultra quality 1080p gaming at decent frame rates. And don’t forget about the 144Hz display either, which is perfect for medium quality settings or less intense titles.
The use of single-channel memory out of the box leads to reduced performance compared to a dual-channel setup, though this was also an issue with the Aero 15X. However the internal layout of the GS65 makes this problem difficult to fix on your own; it is fixable, just you’ll need to take the entire motherboard out and be very careful in the process.
That aside, MSI has nailed this laptop. It’s a great buy and I love seeing companies continue to iterate on their designs and produce even more compelling hardware.
Pros: Excellent metal chassis with slim bezels is MSI's best design yet. Effective cooler without being overly loud. i7-8750H provides a lot more performance than previous-gen CPUs.
Cons: Memory not configured to run in dual channel mode out of the box, and the internal motherboard layout makes this hard to fix
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