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Thin, Light & Narrow Bezel, MSI GS65 Gaming NB Review

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More and more mobile devices become narrow bezel or frameless design to get higher competitive capability. 
As the Ultrabook or mobile phone in recent years, becomes slimmer and lighter is the most important trend.
Thought about the design on Gaming Notebooks, since the design needs more high performance hardware and cooling solution, 
if the technology, ID and material is keep improving, maybe the frame and size could become thinner and lighter year by year.
Evantually there are 3 of 15.6” thin bezel and ultra slim gaming notebooks came out in the market, this time it’s MSI GS65, the company did work hard on the gaming market.

The full name is GS65 Stealth Thin 8RF, it comes with 3 versions by different hardware combinations.
Evolved from last version of slim notebook GS63, the GS65 designed with narrow bezel and brand new ID design. 
By the way, the previous generation GS63 with GTX1050 graphics was high C/P ratio, really worth of the price with great value!

GS65 with metallic A cover and matted touched design.
Printed with golden MSI Dragon logo, the frame also uses shinning gold lines to make it looks higher quality and special.
The dimension is 357.7x247.7x17.9mm, the weight is 1.88kg

B side attached the AUO 15.6” IPS level panel, with FHD resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and 7ms response time. 
The bezel only got 4.9mm slim, display ratio is 82%, camera on the top side is better place than some others at bottom side. 
WebCam is 720P 30fps, the mic on both side support stereo sound recording. 
The video image will have more noise if it’s darker environment, but the image quality and detail is better than GS63.

C side is keyboard side, besides of that it’s all matted metallic material, this is same design as A cover side. 
Keyboard kept the design with Steelseries slim Per-Key RGB keyboard, but no numeric keys. 
Around the slim type membrane keyboard notebooks, Alienware still better than GS65 of the feedback type feeling.

Power button on the top center position, use brushed treatment with golden edge frame line to make it higher quality. 
A small light on the right side, white light means it’s using UMA, orange light means it’s using GTX graphics.
There were align with holes for airflow across the power button, that makes cool air into the fan to enhance the cooling system performance. 
The MSI logo on the bottom of panel is not obvious, it will be more shinning if comes with golden material.

The IO port on left side
Kensington lock \ airflow exhaust \ RJ45 LAN port \ 2x Type-A USB3.1 port
The 3.5mm golden jack for HiFi headset and Mic audio jack. 
The headset output design with ESS SABRE HiFi DAC.
The hinge frame and airflow exhaust hole design with golden material inside, it makes the appearance looks higher level.

The right side IO design
Start from left, Type-A USB3.1 \ Type-C Thunderbolt 3 with USB3.1 Gen 2 & DP \ Mini DisplayPort \ HDMI 2.0\ AC input \ black-golden airflow exhaust

There were three 15.6” narrow bezel gaming notebooks in the market, GIGABYTE Aero 15X about 2kgs, 18.9mm height, 
RAZER BLADE 15 about 2.07~2.15kgs, 17.3mm height, the thinnest but also the heaviest one.
MSI GS65 formal shows 1.88kg, tested model is 1862g is the lightest one, 17.9mm height in the middle. 
But most of the ultra-slim notebooks came with softer chassis, so the weight depends on the design, 
the stronger chassis might enlarge the size. But it’s not always like this rule.

The GS65 display could open to 180 degree to become flat; it helps on office meeting or group discussion to share the screen. 
If this panel could design with touch feature, that will be great.

Edited by windwithme
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D side has bigger difference, besides of larger surface of holes for airflow, the based robber came with bigger size and taller, 
that helps more for airflow to reduce the heat more effectively. Built-in 4-Cell battery with 82Whr, larger than GS63 as well.

Application is also a very important point that could enhance user experience for convenience, 
the Dragon Center is MSI own design APP, 2.0 version with brand new interface and enhanced a lot on the features. 
The UI showed it’s transparent image to see through your desktop. System Monitor showed current hardware working status.

System Tuner
About DPI, hardware performance, fan speed or display color adjusts setup. 
Original with 4 preset, and 2 user define profile could save by user’s own preference. 
Shift mode got Turbo (GPU OC), Sport,ECO, Power Options of 4 types.
Fan Speed got Auto, Basic, Advanced and Cooler Boost modes.
No matter on performance wise or cooling mode, it all applied many modes that made GS65 more advanced usages with fun.

Gaming Mode
You could see few hottest game titles supported here, like this GS65 already installed PUBG, 
users could through here to launch the game with MSI apps to change the keyboard backlit for the game hot keys.

MSI True Color, display colors adjust
The Display Software was rare at NB products market, True Color comes with 6 modes for user to adjust with favors.
MSI formal preset is sRGB mode, but users could still make more detail adjustment on each of the 6 modes.

The sound enhancement APP kept on Nahimic 3, become Microsoft Market Place APP, it’s more convenient to use, 
the UI changed a lot, rich features, with sound stages adjustment, mic enhancement, gaming stereo and other detail setup.

Here was my GS65 sound experience; this part might be more subjective point of view, compared with other high level gaming laptops.
High Frequency – No over-sharped tone, rich of detail, presented high level quality.
Mid Frequency – The sound detail was outstanding, strong vocal over average, but still could be better.
Low Frequency – It presented good with clear drum sound, but it could be more powerful.
Within this slim chassis design and narrow bezel frame, the speakers only got very limited space. 
With 2x 2watts speakers, turn on the maxima volume is really loud when play games in the room.
The authentic sound detail is the most outstanding part, it’s really good no matter FHD video or play games.
Headset output designed with ESS SABRE HiFi DAC, supported up to 192kHz/24bit as Hi-Res sampling rate. 
When use Hi-Res Audio headset to listen, the sound quality could compete the top level DELL Alienware products.

Keyboard APP is Steelseries Engine 3
Applied with general backlit management, rich of Macro-keys setup and multiple virtual keyboards for any different usage.
Some of the lighting mode was preset inside that user could use, with Per-Key RGB function that could make the color modes become very fancy. 
The default with golden light made the dual wave from middle to aside, it really fits the color and style of GS65.

GS65 came with 2 GPUs first, the 8RF with GTX 1070 and 8RE with GTX 1060 versions.
Also got different DDR4 and M.2 SSD capacities inside, that comes with different price range.
Here came the GS65 8RF of top level hardware test, CPU used Intel Core i7 8750H, 
use Sport mode with Auto fan set to test, it’s the most balanced at performance and noise.

CPUZ 1.85.0
Single Thread => 470
6C12T Multiple Thread => 3222
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 41.67/19999

CPU => 1124 cb
CPU(Single Core) => 177 cb

Running Time => 2m 22s
x265 Benchmark 2.1.0 => 34.36 FPS

The Intel 8th Gen. Core i7 8750H core clock is 2.2~4.1GHz, the core architecture is 6C12T, 
compared to last Gen. same level of Core i7 7700HQ clock at 2.8~3.8GHz, core numbers only 4C8T.
The Core i7 8750H single Core got about 8% performance enhancement, multi-Core with full speed will have 52%~65% performance enhancement depends on the usages. 
It’s really great help on high quality video editing, image or artwork designs, which really needs more CPU Cores to speed up. 
Besides of gaming enhancement, the 8th Gen architecture could also make the video clip and artwork more effectively.

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PCMARK10 => 5103

Storage designed with dual M.2 PCIe Gen.3 SSD slot, and 1 slot supported M.2 SATA interface. 
This GS65 8RF used 2 SAMSUNG MZVLB512HAJQ with RAID0.

Seq Read - 3501.5 MB/s,Write - 3256.0 MB/s
AS SSD Benchmark - 3426
Seq Read - 2908.68 MB/s,Write - 2960.23 MB/s
4K - 64Thrd Read - 1061.38 MB/s,Write - 967.93 MB/s

This SSD should be PM981 512GB, above are the performance with RAID0.
But the chipset support up to PCI-e Gen3 x4 bandwidth limitation, not like SATA3 RAID to double the performance. 
So the Max. performance is up to 3500+ MB/s around, plus the storage of 4k test will be lower because the notebook power saving technology is not able to manual disable.
But if we consider in the notebook field, PM981 of RAID0 already the highest speed level of M.2 performance.

Embedded with 2 kinds of GPU, one is Intel Core i7-8750H of built-in HD630 graphics.
The 2nd one is nVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM of Max-Q versions.
Below numbers all based on GTX 1070 Max-Q tests, same software with 2 types of preset and score
Up: Shift Sport + Fan Speed Auto
Down: Shift Turbo + Fan Speed Cooler Boost
3DMARK 11 => 16105

3D MARK 11 => 17297, improved 7.4% after overclocked.

3DMARK Fire Strike => 12785

3D MARK Fire Strike => 14067, improved 10% after overclocked.

1080P MEDIUM => 10171
Compared GTX1060 => 7902, GTX1070 => 13537

1080P MEDIUM => 11217, improved 10% after overclocked.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate
1920 x 1080,GRAPHIC preset ULTRA HIGH
In Beginning Theme - 49 FPS
Previous test with GTX 1060 was 37 FPS,GTX 1070 was 59 FPS

The same game theme – 53FPS, add 8.2% after overclocked.

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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six® Siege
1920 x 1080,GRAPHICS preset Ultra
In Game Theme - 146 FPS
Previous test with GTX 1060 got 110 FPS,GTX 1070 got 167 FPS

The same game theme – 153FPS, add 4.8% after overclocked.

1920 x 1080, set 3D effect at Highest, Lobby character setup theme – 78FPS

Lobby character setup theme – 85FPS, add 8.9% after overclocked.

The Turbo Mode that overclocked GTX 1070 Max-Q Core/VRAM over 200MHz, benchmarks could raise up 10% 
performance, in game FPS around 4.8~8.9% depend on different games.
That made the GTX 1070 Max-Q overall 3D performance closer to GTX 1070, also more fun at overclock feature.
Because the GS series designed with Ultra Slim type, it’s critical limitation to put GTX 1070 Max-P version on thermal, power consumption and size. 
The GS65 with much optimized interior design to achieve the highest performance inside.

The room temperature is about 31°C, tested the GPU of GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q with its cooling capability. 
Try FurMark test, idle at 49°C, full speed at 87°C

Shift set at Sport and Fan Speed Auto of GPU burn-in test status
Keyboard surface around 30~41°C, top side and aside of airflow exhausts was about 42~48°C.
The noise level present is outstanding, even the GPU temp. was not as low as GS63 at 83°C, but the noise level reduced a lot.
Enable Cooler Boost Mode made higher noise level, it’s better to use headset to play, but the temperature from 87°C dropped to 78°C.

CPU default clock from 2.2GHz~4.1GHz, battery mode set to High Performance.
Tested with LinX 0.6.5 at full loading speed, around 82~90°C, maxima up to 93°C.
Enable Cooler Boost for reference, 80~86°C, maxima up to 91°C.

Intel high level Core i7 from 1~7th Generation all came with 4C8T architecture,  the 8th Gen. become 6C12T, since it enhanced a lot on multi-task works, 
but more challenge to high level notebooks, the cooling surface was very limited, and slim notebooks even more challenge of thermal design.
Last GS63 with 4C8T of Core i7 CPU presented 88~92°C with same burn-in test apps.
Seems the GS65 temperature even a bit lower than GS63 with Core i7 8750H, the cooling design really improved.
C side just around 31~38°C when CPU at full loading speed, the up side and left-right side airflow exhaust is abour 41~47°C.
No matter on CPU or GPU burn-in temperature, GS65 was getting lower temperature than other brand of same high level gaming notebooks.

About battery life, set Windows 10 power option at balanced, battery option set at power saving mode. 
System Tuner to Theater Mode to playback DVD video; still got 55% power after 4 hours playback. 
8% left after 8 hours playback with disable the WiFi connection. But still more than 6 hours even enable WiFi.
So when you go out to use for entertainment usage, proper setup could extend the outstanding battery life for GS65.

Summarized on the GS65 Stealth Thin 8RF
Pros & Advantage:
1.    Golden edge line ID design, the lightest 15.6” narrow frame gaming notebook.
2.    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics with Turbo mode, made ultra-slim notebook with higher 3D performance.
3.    8th Gen Core i7 with 6C12T architecture that enhanced multi-tasks working performance.
4.    Matted IPS-Level of 144Hz/7ms display and narrow bezel, and applied True Color 2.0 color calibration technology.
5.    Dragon Center 2 interface become more elegant with rich control and features.
6.    Cooler Boost Trinity of thermal module designed with 4 heatpipes & 3 fans to become more powerful than previous design.
7.    Keyboard feedback is outstanding, SSE3 app handle the Per-Key back light management, Macro keys and Gaming Mode for gamers.
8.    Headset output embedded with ESS SABRE HiFi DAC, support up to Hi-Res Audio format sound quality.
9.    Dynaudio sound speakers with Nahimic 3, presented much better sound around all ultra-slim notebooks.
10.    New 180W adaptor even smaller than previous 150W design, more convenient for carry out.

Cons & Enhancements
1.    A side cover is easier to attached finger print, very obvious under brighter environment.
2.    WebCam only got 720p resolution, and image quality is not good enough under darker environment.
3.    If press the chassis will feel a little softy feedback, this happened very often on slim notebooks.
4.    Recommend the Dragon logo on A cover to use 3D material; that will make it looks higher value, B side black MSI logo is not clear, it will be better if use golden color logo.


Performance Ratio    ★★★★★★★★★☆ 92/100
Material Ratio        ★★★★★★★★★☆ 90/100
Specification Ratio    ★★★★★★★★★☆ 92/100
Aesthetics Ratio    ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 86/100
Price-Value Ratio    ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 85/100

Did mention there were 2 brands launched same type of 15.6” narrow bezel slim gaming notebooks, 
if pick them with Core i7 8750H, GTX 1070 Max-Q and FHD 144Hz display as a standard.
These 3 models came at same price range included MSI, so consumers should compared the material and design to choose.
GS65 8RF designed with DDR4 32GB, and 512GBx2 NVMe M.2 SSD
Other 2 brands at same price range comes with DDR4 16GB RAM and single 512GB SSD, 
although it’s all 144Hz FHD display, but GS65 showed IPS level panel and 7ms response time. 
Furthermore with SABRE HiFi headset DAC, Cooler Boost Trinity thermal design, 
MSI own design APPs are more outstanding, the main Dragon Center 2 with more elegant UI and rich functions, 
True Color 2 with sRGB and 6 mode adjustment and Nahimic 3 audio enhancer, put all high level features on notebooks.

Frankly speaking, if a notebook only compared on top level hardware SPEC., many brands are able to put hardware into a notebook body.
But included ID design with own style, cooling solution, functions and features, software and usage, better user experience, those detail took long time evolution on products for years.
In before the DELL Alienware was great on these points, but recent years MSI did catch up even exceed to higher level in some ways.
The GS65 maybe not 100% perfect but already got really high score, it’s a great balanced on hardware, 
features and software combination of ultra slim gaming notebook although still have some small part could be improved.
If you like the product review articles by windwithme, you are welcomed to my FB fans club and give me a like. 
You could get faster noticed about my latest review status. 
Your feedback and like always the great momentum for me to move forward on the reviews!

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