MSI GS66 Stealth is one of the most coveted thin and light gaming laptops of this year. Compared to its predecessor, this one sees significant improvements in its design and internal machinery. The GS66 rocks a 15.6″ FHD 300Hz panel, 10th gen Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super (Max Q), 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage, and a 99.9WHr battery. Looking at these top-degree credentials, you know it will bode well in performance. But… (there’s always a but), as the sticker on the box marks a hefty price, our expectations and examination of the product inside also intensified.
This is the Smartprix review of the MSI GS66 Stealth (ver. 10SFS). Here, we will be scrutinizing not just the machine, but its bells and whistles too. ‘Cause when you pay the premium, you care not only about the hardware, but also the experience.
So. Let’s not dawdle and swiftly get to business.
MSI GS66 Stealth Specs
|Product||MSI GS66 Stealth (ver. 10SFS)|
|Display||15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), 300Hz, 3ms response time, IPS-Level|
|Processor||10th Gen. Intel Core i7 (10750H @2.60GHz) Processor (6 cores, 12 threads, TDP: 45W)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super Max-Q GDDR6 8GB|
|RAM||32GB DDR4-2666 (2 Slots Number of SO-DIMM Slot Max 64GB Max Capacity)|
|Dimensions and Weight||358.3 x 248 x 18.3-19.8 mm; 2.1 kg|
|Storage||1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)|
1x M.2 SSD Combo slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / SATA)
|Keyboard and Touchpad||Steel Series per-Key RGB with Anti-Ghost key (84 Key), 1.5 mm key travel; Glass multi-touch pad|
|Webcam||IR HD type (30fps@720p)|
|Audio||Front-firing 2W Dynaudio Dual Speakers backed by Nahimic 3 equalizer|
|I/O port||1x RJ45|
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
1x Type-C (USB3.2 Gen2 / DP / Thunderbolt 3) with PD charging
1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen2
3x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2
|Wireless connectivity||WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, Killer LAN E3100|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
|Battery||4-cell 99.9WHrs, 230W adapter|
Feel free to jump to:
- MSI GS66 Stealth Review: Design, Build, and I/O
- MSI GS66 Stealth Review: Display, Audio, and Keyboard
- MSI GS66 Stealth Review: Performance and Battery
- MSI GS66 Stealth Review Verdict: Is it worthwhile?
True to its name, GS66’s matte black finish is stealthy with a dash of sexiness. Although, the surface is a sucker for smudges, once wiped clean, it’s neat boi.
The machine has an angular build with flat sides and is built strong with Aluminum. Well, mostly. The chamfer at the front where your palm rests is plastic and isn’t that tough, it seems. My unit had chipped corners. Also, the bottom right portion next to the touchpad was creaking a bit.
The hinge is firm (build-wise) yet flexible (as it allows the screen to resign backward for a 180° angle). With the lid down, the lappy is easy to carry around. At 2.1 kg (~3.1 kg w/ the charger), the thing manages its weight well.
We’ll be covering the bottom half of the clamshell in the next section. Before we get to that, here, have a look at the kitchen sink of ports you get on the MSI GS66:
- 3x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2
- 1x Type-C (USB3.2 Gen2 / DP / Thunderbolt 3) with PD charging
- 1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen2
- Power Jack
- Audio Jack
- 1x RJ45
- 1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
The online missing thing here is an SD card slot. That might upset some creatives out there. Rest, such a choice should suffice most.
Coming to the display, it’s matte and rather good at keeping the reflections at bay. The viewing angles are fine. Brightness, sufficient. Out of the given color profiles within the MSI True Color app, Gamer and sRGB (close to 100% coverage) present more pleasing visuals. The latter will especially appeal to the pro or purist among you.
One other thing that would benefit the pros (gamer) will be the screen’s 300Hz refresh rate and the 3ms response time. Lock n’ load eSports players. No G-Sync though, in case, you were wondering.
On the other half, you’ve got a per-key RGB keyboard and an unusually wide touchpad. O, there are the speaker grills on either side too.
I like the look of the keyboard. RGB is fun. The font is funky. My brain also enjoys the symmetry of the key arrangement. But, due to the way some keys are crammed at the lower-right portion, I was often hitting the wrong one. And since I’m sniveling, here are a few other niggles I have.
The keys aren’t springy enough and there are no dedicated media keys. Fn should have been available on left side too. To close windows, you have to press alt+fn+f4, as f4 is the camera key. MSI could have assigned the F1 key for the camera option. The touchpad is also susceptible to ghost touches and palm rejection isn’t up to the mark.
Some of these are personal quibbles that could be sorted by a matter of muscle memory while others one-off cases. But there are reports of similar encounters by other GS66 users online. So, now you know.
In the list of common complaints, one thing that’s certainly true is the tinny speaker output. All the Dynaudio and Nahimic tech does no good. It’s loud but unpleasantly shrill. Going wireless, you don’t have to worry about latency (validated from experience and LatencyMon result).
The GS66 might look meek from the outside but is a monster inside. I won’t bog you down by repeating its specs, just like how it doesn’t bog down while handling programs and processes. Here’s what you really wanna know:
|3DMark Time Spy||6424|
|Cinebench R15 OpenGL | CPU||163.90 fps | 1076 cb|
|CrystalDiskMark Seq Read | Write Speed||3024.48 | 2797.93 MB/s|
|CrystalDiskMark Random Read | Write Speed||522.12 | 372.32 MB/s|
|Geekbench 5 Single-Core | Multi-core (CPU)||1284 | 5691|
|PCMark 10 Battery test (Gaming)||1 hr 41 min|
|Blender – bmw27 | classroom | fishy_cat | koro | pavillon_barcelona | victor||1m10s | 3m56s | 2m34s | 4m15s | 8m36s | 10m1s|
|Handbrake test (1GB WebM file to H.265 MKV 1080p30 conversion)||37 min|
FPS scores on Pop. titles
- Avengers: 76 fps
- Microsoft Flight Simulator: 57 fps
- Fortnite: 127 fps
- Red Dead Redemption 2: 29 fps
- Rocket League: 250 fps
- Valorant: 281 fps
- Witcher 3: 99 fps
As you see, the real benefit of the high-end hardware is evident on fast-paced eSports titles like Rocket League, Fortnite, and Valorant. That said, you should have a good time with almost all AAA titles. The outlier of the lot, however, is R2D2, which doesn’t seem to do well on this Max Q processor.
Now, for the best of performance, run the Extreme Scenario from the MSI “Dragon Center” app and activate Discrete Graphics Mode under the GPU switch Options within the General tab. This will fire up physics (oh, I mean the heat and consequently the fans). MSI has equipped the system with 3 fans and 7 heat pipes. The whirling noise is something you could expect out of a gaming machine. Shouldn’t be an issue, if you wear an ear/headphone.
Even in the Silent Scenario, the margins flanking the keyboard, and the base can get hot sometimes. However, the aforementioned (Fan + Pipe) arrangement keeps the thermals in check.
By default, the system would be in MSHybrid Graphics Mode, which as the name suggests shifts between iGPU and dGPU based on the demand of the task at hand. This is as some of you may know, Nvidia Optimus at play. There is no Advanced Optimus and no dynamic boost though, afaik.
Enthusiasts amongst you can tinker with some things and squeeze a better performance. Hint: Disable Optimus altogether from the BIOS.
On the other hand, the same holds true for wringing out better battery life.
Speaking of which, this one packs a 99.99 Whr battery. That’s HUGE! Here are the results from a few of my use cases:
- 5 Hr 30 mins (Work involving a dozen Chrome tabs, 15 mins of YouTube, some downloads, YouTube Music/ Spotify in the background and full brightness)
- 1 Hr 19 mins (Gaming)
- 2 Hr 30 mins (Movie)
Those numbers could be more, if you uninstall all the bloatware sucking juice behind the scenes, underclock the CPU using Throttlestop, Disable Intel Turbo boost, Set iGPU as Global Settings both within the Dragon Center and Nvidia Control Panel, scale down 300Hz to 60Hz using something like Hotkey Resolution Changer, etc. You can find guides for all the tricks and hacks online. Google your solution.
The 230W brick 2 hrs for filling from 10 to 99-percent. There’s support for PD charging (up to 65W) too. So, you can use the compatible mobile charger with a USB-C end.
MSI GS66 is both stealthy and skilled. The design is something that will blend well in any public setting. The presence of a pretty versatile port selection, decent battery life (for a gaming machine), and manageable heft make it one for the road. It has got a gorgeous display upfront that’s fairly color accurate, even with that 300Hz refresh rate. The responsive screen complements the performance pushed by the powerful internals. So, this is easily one of the best lite gaming laptops available right now.
There are some things MSI could’ve improved or changed completely. The speaker output is feeble, there are some touchpad anomalies to deal with, and the webcam quality is a tad shabby.
Now, this one costs ₹2,54,990 in India, which makes it one of the costliest laptops in the market. So, if you are ready to shell out that many shekels, well then, this would be a bonafide addition to your rig. For the hefty price tag, you are getting a lot of good here, provided you bear a few bad.
- Sleek and mobile-friendly design
- Top-class performance
- Assuring battery life
- Captivating 300Hz display
- Diverse port selection
- Tinny speaker output
- Paltry webcam quality
MSI GS66 Stealth FAQ
Q. Does MSI GS66 Stealth support G-Sync?
A. No, the MSI GS66 Stealth screen doesn’t support G-Sync.
Q. Is MSI GS66 Stealth VR-ready?
A. Yes, the MSI GS66 Stealth is equipped for a Virtual Reality experience.
Q. Does MSI GS66 Stealth support Adaptive Optimus and Advance Boost?
A. Nope, MSI GS66 Stealth doesn’t support Adaptive Optimus and Advance Boost.
Q. Can MSI GS66 Stealth be undervolted?
A. Yes, you can undervolt the MSI GS66 Stealth via the Advanced BIOS settings. You will find tutorials for the same online.
Q. Does MSI GS66 Stealth support Thunderbolt 3?
A. Yes, MSI GS66 Stealth comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port.
Q. Can you charge the MSI GS66 Stealth using a USB-C cable?
A. Yes, the MSI GS66 Stealth does support USB-C (Power Delivery) charging up to 65W with compatible chargers.