The 10th generation Intel CPUs are going to be dominating the market as a whole soon enough. Already we are seeing gaming laptops utilizing this very same CPU to boost their gaming performance.
Gaming laptops have been becoming more and more popular. This can be mostly attributed to the fact that lots of different manufacturers started different versions at different price ranges to suit the market needs. MSI GF65 is one of the new additions to the collection which is an answer from MSI to ASUS’s ROG Zephyrus G14 and Lenovo’s Legion Y540.
It goes without saying that even though the hardware seems to resemble what we have in our gaming personal computers, most of the tech is downclocked. However, most of them are rocking the 14nm version, which is a mobile CPU to keep the heat output at bay and keep the battery performance as high as possible. Although it is worth noting that the 14nm versions are not something “new” these new CPUs are performing quite well considering the architecture.
MSI GF65 Thin Design
As the name of the laptop, MSI GF65 Thin, itself suggests it is quite a bit thinner than it’s beefy counterpart innovatively named just GF65. We are talking about 42mm thick casing versus the 21.7mm sized thin design.
While the specifications cannot match the ultra-thin high-end laptops the price point is quite a lot lower as well. Apart from this, considering the amount of hardware that is crammed into it with the desktop version Nvidia RTX 2060 and 45W TDP Intel i7-10750H CPU that goes up to 70W on the high workload the size factor of this laptop is put into the perspective. With this in mind, the 21.7mm design still should be considered quite thin.
As with industry-standard concerns, the casing is made of both aluminum and plastic. While the cover and the areas around the keyboard are matte black aluminum the casing overall is made with solid plastic. It looks quite cool and premium considering the pricing. However, the ancient issue with these aluminum covers still persists. In fact, it collects fingerprints so much that every law enforcement agency would love this to become the go-to laptop for criminals.
The computer’s overall design looks great. In real life, it is even more pleasant to see and look at. It is important to note that the price range also allows companies to use this laptop in their promotional campaigns without breaking the bank. This was especially the case with online casinos as they were trying to not overdo on their advertising budget while still trying to match that year’s plan. Thus, MSI with their mid-range gaming laptops would often appear on their banners. This strategy was taken a bit further with Canadian casino game sites, which would not only happily showcase the laptop but would offer it as a bonus for their mid-range winners to give more incentive to the players to continue using their services.
The weight sits at 1.86kg, which is not the lightest out there but should not be considered a back-breaker unlike older workstation MSI laptops like GT70, which netted around 3.8 kilos. This is a great weight ratio considering the complex ventilation system that the computer comes with, which is a must-have for hotter summer days in warmer parts of the world.
The keyboard, however, desires something more. We are not even talking about RGB here as for some people it just becomes an annoyance as a whole when the laptop is shining like a Christmas tree. The GF65 offers a simple red-backlit keyboard with three levels of light intensity. The feeling of the keys is a bit different from what it used to be and the strokes are suddenly much louder.
MSI GF65 Thin Screen
The laptop comes in with a middle range screen. The display is a full-HD and has a fast response time with a 120Hz refresh rate. The gamut is a bit thin, however, the screen itself is quite bright. It is obvious that MSI is not targeting any video or photo editors with this computer.
Overall the screen contrast is around 1200:1, which is considered quite good. The color uniformity is something MSI has compromised although the color accuracy is very enjoyable for the eye.
Performance is the biggest factor when it comes to gaming laptops. The idea is that the middle price range at which this computer is offered should compare to other solutions like Lenovo’s Legion Y540 and ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14. The idea is that it is usually hard to do due to the fact that one cannot have exactly the same configuration on two different laptop models as the manufacturers are always playing around with clock rates, different motherboard versions, RAM, etc.
As much as we would love to just swap out specific hardware and see what changes – it is unfortunately impossible. So we just took a couple of games and counted the average FPS that GF65 Thin would get and then compared it to others in its class.
Nvidia RTX 2060 is present in all of these models but the configuration has different hardware like CPUs and etc. However, the FPS difference was not as big as one would think. The intel CPU here did not outperform the AMD equivalents in most of the games that we tried (except for Ghost Recon Breakpoint). Sometimes the difference was quite considerable, for example, with Ghost Recon Lenovo Y540 clocked 54 average FPS while MSI did 68 but mostly on average the performance was almost exactly the same with Far Cry 5 giving 1 FPS difference (82 from MSI to 80 from Lenovo and 81 in case of Zephyrus).
Overall the performance is quite good and on par with other laptops in this price range.
However, when it came to Synthetic tests the AMD 4800H and with RTX 2060 outperformed the i7-10750H by about 1000 points. Although, this is not a good showcase for real-life performance as we already saw gaming-wise sometimes Lenovo’s performance was even lagging behind.
Heating and Noise
Funnily enough, even though AMD was always the one that was running hotter, in this case, it is wise versa. Intel’s CPU runs quite hot. Under average load, it was running 80 to 85 degrees celsius while under full load it overcame the 90-degree mark. While this is quite hot for PC standards the laptops are usually running somewhere around these marks. The GPU was always staying in the 70 to 80 degrees range thus putting it into quite normal range as well.
The cooling system for this laptop is fantastic in comparison to others. The idea is that it has a complex system with 6 different heating pipes 2 designated for CPU, 3 for GPU, and 1 for VRAM. All of them separate, which is good since the heat dissipation is quite important when it comes to closed down systems like portable gaming laptops.
The noise that the heating system was making is a bit lower than that of their counterparts.
The battery life is a huge upgrade for gaming laptops. 3 years ago when we were using the Lenovo Y540 Legion laptop the battery would die while just casually using windows with a dimmed screen in just 2 hours. Funnily enough, this was basically doubled once we installed Linux Ubuntu on it. The MSI GF65 Thin offered 4 hours and 47-minute battery life on super battery saver mode set in the MSI Dragon Center profile.
In conclusion, the laptop fared quite well for the price point that it offered. The noise was low, the performance on par with others and the full-blown suits that MSI is offering for their computers like Afterburner, Dragon Center profile, etc. are cool additions to the already existing hardware. The laptop looks nice and performs nicely.
However, it goes without saying that 14nm CPU technology is almost 5 years old now. No matter how much one refines the system it always leaves us desiring more. This is not because of MSI but due to Intel’s laziness and love for refurbished hardware.
The Thin series is quite thin in comparison to the normal version and weighs 1.8kg, which is not going to be too heavy for normal use like when someone wants to take it to their workplace or university. The battery life of almost 5 hours is extremely good for gaming laptops, which does not come often.