MSI Alpha 15 In 2020? Price Drop + Driver Updates!
Alright. So first off lets discuss the price drop. You can find updated prices linked in the description.. When I reviewed the Alpha 15 last year, it was 1000 USD for the cheaper configuration or 1100 USD for the specs that I tested.. This is the same price as the Acer Helios 300, which lets face. It demolishes the Alpha 15., The i7 9750H easily beat the Ryzen 7 3750H, and the 1660 Ti also beats the 5500M in terms of raw performance.. Today, the cheaper configuration of the Alpha 15 is 892 USD or just under 1000 USD for the configuration I tested out. So basically a 100 price drop. But is this enough Theres more to consider as the Alpha 15 has also undergone a number of updates.? Since my testing last year, theres been a VBIOS update for the 5500M granted. I have no idea what changes this did as the changelog did not specify.. There was also a BIOS update and an update to the EC firmware, which the changelog notes, optimize, CPU power limit and fan. Speed. Changes. Additionally AMD also launched the new Radeon 2020 software suite and improved drivers. Shortly after my original review.. In my review, I noted that I had blue screen issues when updating the Radeon drivers to the latest from AMD.. The 2020 update resolved this problem and I added a pinned comment to note this on that video. When I found out., I had a lot of comments asking if the new 2020 software update would improve.
Performance. Were going to look at some game benchmarks before and after all of these updates soon, however, I am not expecting the Radeon drivers to make a noteworthy performance. Change., I recently had the chance to pose this question to Scott Wasson, who is a senior product manager for AMD.. He basically said that, updates that improve performance are trickled out through updates, as they become available. They don't hold them all for a big update, like the new 2020 driver. Suite so, basically were not expecting to see much improvement purely as a result of the driver updates alone., Hopefully with all changes combined, so Radeon driver update, VBIOS, update, BIOS, update and EC Firmware update well be seeing some form of improvements lets find out.. The configuration Im testing with was the same in both instances: Ryzen 7 3750H CPU Radeon, RX, 5500M, graphics and 16gb of memory in dual channel. Battlefield V was tested, walking through the same area of the game for each test.. Ive got the old results from last year shown by the red bars and the fresh, updated testing. With all updates mentioned shown by the purple bars., The average FPS was quite similar. There was more of an improvement to 1 low performance with the updates though. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games built in benchmark tool and for the most part, the new settings were similar slightly behind at medium, but otherwise equal or ahead. At all.
Other setting levels. Apex Legends was tested running through the same section of the map, and the average FPS with the updates in place was a little ahead. Assassins. Creed Odyssey was tested using the games benchmark and the average FPS was actually behind at all setting levels except maximum with the updates in place., Far Cry. New Dawn was also tested with the built in benchmark and again, the new results were a little behind what I tested months. Ago. Fortnite was tested by doing the same test pass through the game.. For the most part, average FPS was similar except at low settings, where the updated Alpha 15 was notably worse. Off. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the benchmark tool and averages were either similar or better with the updated system. However, there was a massive improvement to 1 low results at all setting levels granted that could be due to a specific game or driver update, as this was a much newer title when I originally tested the game. Overwatch was tested in the practice range and the results Were essentially the same in this game between the old and new config with minimal differences., The Witcher 3 was tested by walking through the same section of the game and again quite similar results with the updated system, a little ahead in average FPS at most settings. Performance. In CSGO was a little down in terms of average FPS. However, there was a slight boost to 1 low at all.
Setting levels. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane, and the game was worse off in all regards with the updated system in place, regardless of setting level used.. So, as expected, there were minimal changes in terms of improvements, though there were more games where performance was down a little than I expected, not really sure why that is., Im literally using the exact same machine as last year, just with all available updates in place. In The comments of the Alpha 15 video, a couple of viewers linked me to a reddit thread that explains how to get to the advanced, BIOS and overclock the memory.. I tried it and was able to run at the DDR4 2666 speed. My installed sticks are capable of rather than the DDR4 2400 default.. I only had time to test one game, so went for something more CPU bound. We can see that with CSGO. There was actually a slight drop off with the higher speed, though the higher speeds did also have lower timings. More investigation is needed. Ill. Also note that when testing with the latest Adrenalin 20.2.1 games were playing like trash to be fair, this was the optional version when using the current stable 20.1.3 release. I had no problems, but still, I feel like this is something that shouldnt happen. Seriously. The newer version. Tanked performance in everything I tried, maybe more testing is required before they release these.. I ran DDU multiple times to confirm.
Only the bleeding edge version had the issue.. This AMD only laptop is definitely still not perfect, although better than when I originally reviewed it, I was unable to even launch Red Dead Redemption 2, which is probably trying to open with Vulkan by default. Rainbow Six Siege also cant seem to detect the 5500M when trying To run it with Vulkan and instead runs on the Vega graphics. To fix these, I had to set both of them to high performance mode to ensure the 5500M would get used. So it seems that Vulkan titles still dont automatically swap over to the discrete graphics., While trying to load Ghost Recon Breakpoint for the first time gave me a blue screen. However, it was ok after that. These issues were not listed in the known issues for the driver. Download., I guess what Im trying to say is these sorts of issues are much more rare on Intel and Nvidia based laptops from my own personal testing. It seems like driver stability, could still use some maturity on the AMD, slash, Radeon side.. In conclusion, the newer drivers are more stable compared to the blue screens. I reported in my full review, but there are still issues that need to be resolved.. Even with the 100 price drop its difficult to recommend the MSI Alpha 15. In this current state., When you can get a Helios 300 with i7 9750H, which performs more than 20 faster in games when compared to the 3750H, while its 1660 Ti also performs about 20 better than the 5500M, it really seems worth it to pay 10 more money.
For that performance and thats before even considering the more stable driver experience., Let me know what you thought of the changes to the Alpha 15 down in the comments.