MSI GE65 9SE Gaming Laptop Review – RTX 2060 Goes Beast Mode ?
In this detailed review Ill show you both the good and the bad sides of the GE65 to help you decide if its a laptop that you should consider. Ive got the 9SE Version of the GE65 so theres an Intel: i7 9750H CPU, Nvidia, RTX, 2060, graphics, 32gb of memory in dual channel: a 15.6 1080p 144Hz screen and 256gb NVMe M.2 SSD with 1TB hard drive. For network connectivity, its got gigabit ethernet, WiFi, 6 and Bluetooth 5.. The GE65 is also available with different specs, including i9 CPU GTX 1660 Ti RTX, 2070 or 240Hz screen. You can find other configurations and updated pricing linked in the description.. The lid is a matte black, aluminium and the interior is the same. Id say. The build quality was a little above average. There were no sharp corners or edges anywhere, and I was pleased to see that theyve reduced the red accenting over previous models.. The weight is listed at 2.27kg and mine was around 60g above this. With the 180 watt power. Brick and cables for charging the total weight rises to just over 3kg.. The dimensions in terms of width and depth are similar to many other modern 15 laptops. However, its a little thicker at 2.7cm and well see if this extra space helps improve thermals later.. This thinner footprint gives it 8mm thin screen bezels on the sides., The 15.6 1080p 144Hz IPS Level screen has a matte finish. Viewing angles: looked fine and theres, no G Sync.
Its also available with a 240Hz option as well, so expect different results compared to what Im about to go through with that. Ive tested the screen with the Spyder 5 and got 96 of sRGB 66 of NTSC and 71 of AdobeRGB. At 100 brightness, I measured the panel at 340 nits in the center, with a 7001 contrast ratio., The contrast was a little lower compared to others, but otherwise brightness was a little above average with fair colour. Gamut for a gaming, laptop. Backlight, bleed, was extremely minimal. I had no problems at all when viewing darker content, but this will vary between laptop and panel.. Despite the metal lid, there was some screen flex as its on the thinner side. However, the screen felt quite sturdy, with the hinges being out towards the far corners.. It was possible to open up with one finger which, aside from just being easier to open, also helps demonstrate that the weight is more evenly distributed. So no issues using it on my lap., Despite the thinner bezels, the 720p camera is found above the display in the center no Windows, Hello, support, though.. This is what the camera and microphone look and sound like on the MSI GE65. Heres. What typing sounds like, and this is what it sounds like with the fan on max speed, so you can still hear me over the fan.. The Steelseries keyboard has per key RGB backlighting and in my opinion, it looks better than most other RGB keyboards, as the sides are clear to allow light to shine through.
. There are plenty of effects and changes that can be made through the software, and the product page on the MSI website gives some examples of what it can do.. The brightness can be adjusted between 4 levels by holding the function key and pressing the plus or minus keys on the numpad, or turned off completely. If you prefer., I liked typing with the keyboard heres how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. There are some extra buttons above the keyboard next to the power button. These, let you enable cooler boost for max fan, speed or cycle through keyboard lighting effects.. There was only a little keyboard flex when pushing down hard overall, the body felt quite solid, and I found the letter keys needed 61 grams of force to actuate. The precision touchpad doesnt, actually, click down when pressed as its instead got physical left and right click buttons, Which make fairly loud, audible presses., I thought the size was fine and didnt have any problems using it., Fingerprints and dirt show up on the matte black interior. However, as a smooth surface, its easy enough to clean. On the left from the back theres, a Kensington, lock, air exhaust vent, gigabit, ethernet, port HDMI, 2.0 and mini DisplayPort outputs, both of which are wired directly to the Nvidia graphics, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type, A port USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C port, no Thunderbolt. Here, though, and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. On the right, there are two USB 3.
2 Gen1 Type, A ports right down the front which are seriously going to get in the way of your mouse hand if youre right, handed and plug anything in with a cable, full Size SD card slot and the power input. All three USB Type: A ports light up red when the laptop is powered on. However, you can either set these to half brightness or turn them off through the dragon center software.. The back just has air exhaust vents on the left and right corners with subtle, raider branding in the middle. Meanwhile, theres nothing at all on the front.. The matte black metallic lid has two red accents with the MSI logo in the center towards the top, and the logo gets lit up from the screens. Backlight so cannot be turned off. Underneath has a large mesh area towards the back half for air intake. To get inside. You need to remove 12 Phillips head screws. Once inside weve got the single 2.5 drive bay on the left, WiFi 6 card right next to that battery, right up the back two memory slots towards the right in the middle, with the two M.2 slots underneath and to The right. Both M.2 slot support NVMe PCIe drives. However, only one of them supports SATA.. The two 2 watt speakers and two 3 watt subwoofers are found towards the front on the left and right.. There was a little bass and they sounded ok, but were a bit muffled sounding when on a desk.
They did get very loud with maximum volume, though, and the latencymon results were looking good.. The GE65 is powered by a 6 cell 51wh battery. Ive tested it with the screen brightness at 50 background apps, disabled and keyboard lighting off., While just watching YouTube videos, it only lasted for 3 hours and 6 minutes, and this was with the Intel, integrated, graphics and Nvidia Optimus., While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. The battery lasted for 59 minutes. However, it ran at a solid 30 FPS, the entire time without dipping. The result, while gaming was similar to others, so no problem there, but outside of gaming. The battery life was definitely on the lower side.. The 180 watt power, brick thats, included with the GE65 didnt, seem to be adequate to deal with heavy loads. As my battery drained down to 85. While I was performing my thermal testing., The RTX 2070 model is available with a larger 280 watt. Brick, so Id think that to be plenty for that, one. Ill briefly cover thermal performance, but this is a shortened version.. You can check out the detailed thermal testing with the card in the top right. If you want all the details.. The MSI dragon center lets us swap between four performance modes: ECO comfort, sport and turbo and turbo mode overclocks, the graphics.. We can also use the coolerboost fan mode to set the fan to maximum speed.
When under combined CPU and GPU stress test with Aida64 and Unigine heaven thermal throttling on the CPU at 95 degrees Celsius was being hit, however, simply setting the fans to max speed reduced This meanwhile gaming with Watch Dogs, 2 wasnt, quite as hot., A cooling pad helped lower temperatures quite a bit. Thanks to the large mesh area on the bottom of the laptop., The biggest improvement to performance was gained by undervolting, the CPU, which basically allowed us to hit the full 4GHz turbo boost speed of the 9750H.. The undervolt helped so much because PL1 is capped to 45 watts and I wasnt able to boost this. Meanwhile, the RTX 2060 was running at 90. Watts outside of ECO mode. CPU performance outside of combined CPU and GPU. Workloads was pretty good with the undervolt applied, were getting around 3000 points in Cinebench, which is a good result for the i7.. The keyboard area was looking normal at idle and, with stress tests running, it was only a little warm and this lowered a bit with the fan. Speed increased. Lets have a listen to the fans. At idle. The fan was only just audible., With the stress tests in ECO mode, its still on the quieter side. Then comfort, sport and turbo modes were all the same with coolerboost mode, increasing further.. Unfortunately, ECO mode wasnt, a good experience for gaming, so playing cooler and quieter loses a lot of performance. However, the other modes didnt really see too much.
Change. Next lets take a look at some gaming benchmarks to see what the GE65 can actually do in the task. It was designed, for. Battlefield, 5 was tested in campaign mode and Ive got RTX on shown by the green bars and RTX off shown by the purple bars. With RTX on it was kind of playable at high, but for a first person, shooter youll probably want medium Settings or below and in my opinion, RTX off with ultra both looks better than RTX on at lower settings and performs better anyway. Control was also tested with and without RTX on. Ive used ray tracing with high settings and it wasnt really too playable, but with RTX Off it was still possible to average 60 FPS, even with the highest setting preset. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum or all settings on the lowest possible values as it doesnt have predefined setting presets. With minimum settings. It was averaging on the 144 FPS frame cap and even at max settings it was still playing smoothly.. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark and the results were quite impressive, but well take a look at how this laptop compares with some others. In this game, shortly. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature and as a less demanding game. Even epic settings was playing well with above 120 FPS averages. High settings averaged above the refresh rate of the screen and low settings was almost double this.
. Csgo was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark and as a game that depends primarily on CPU power. The results arent really that much lower compared to other laptops, Ive tested with the same i7 CPU but different graphics., Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane and as another primarily CPU driven game. The results at lower settings arent really that much different compared to other laptops with the same CPU.. Even at ultra settings, its working extremely well. PUBG was tested using the replay feature and ultra settings was still able to run over 100 FPS with around medium, hitting close to the refresh rate of the laptops screen. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark.. Even the maximum ultra setting preset was able, to average the refresh rate of the 144Hz screen that Im using and thats with a 100 render scale too. If youre after more gaming benchmarks check the card in the top right corner, where Ive tested 21 games in total. On the GE65. Lets also take a look at how this config of the MSI GE65 compares with other laptops use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers. In Battlefield, 5 Ive got the GE65 highlighted in red near Similarly, specced machines. – This is only the second time Ive tested the RTX 2060 with a 9750H CPU and its beating the Clevo machine, underneath it by a fair amount.
Despite that, one being undervolted out of the box., The results are actually ahead of most of the 2070 Max Q machines too, both in terms of average FPS and 1 low, so great results from the GE65 here.. These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. Again, the GE65 was a fair amount ahead of the competition, even scoring close to higher specced machines like MSIs own GP75, with RTX 2070 graphics.. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider, with the built in benchmark at highest settings.. Again, the results are above average and in front of most of the RTX 2070 Max Q laptops above it granted not by much but its still, winning with lower specs.. Overall were seeing excellent results from this level of hardware, with the MSI GE65 gaming laptop., Its consistently outperforming other RTX, 2060 laptops, Ive tested and even most of the RTX 2070 Max Q ones too likely in part thanks to the GPU overclock in turbo mode.. Based on what Im seeing here Id expect the 9SF version of the GE65 with RTX 2070 to be a beast. Now for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark just pause. The video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Ive, used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD was performing great for the reads, but less than half as much for the writes.
, The spinning rust was giving about what wed Expect from a 5400 RPM drive and the SD slot was below average, but Im just happy. They included it at all. For updated pricing check the links in the description as prices will change over time.. At the time of recording in the US, Ive had trouble finding the 2060 model. It seems to go for 1800 USD, but that doesnt make much sense. Given the 2070 model is on sale for the same price. To be fair, these are with the 240Hz screen, which should increase the price over the 144Hz one I have. Otherwise, theres also the 1660 Ti model that goes for 1200 USD. Its a similar weird deal here. In Australia, the GE65 with 2060 is 3200 AUD, but the 2070 model is on sale for 3000, putting the 2060 in a strange, overpriced position. So if thats the case, it would make sense to just get the more powerful 2070.. With all of that in mind. Lets conclude by looking at the good and bad aspects of the MSI GE65 gaming laptop. As a gaming laptop, the GE65 is doing what its designed to do its playing games very well and beating higher specced laptops.. The new thin bezel design is appreciated over, say the older and thicker GE63 design and the reduction of gamer red was also nice, though there is still a little around, but its somewhat more subtle compared to previous MSI laptops.. The build quality was also quite good.
It felt solid and well made. Its great that the screen is available with 144Hz or 240Hz options and the colour, gamut and brightness measured in my unit were great for a gaming laptop, however, contrast was a little below average. Bleed was fine in my unit though. Theres, a decent selection of IO on offer. However, I found it a little strange that the two USB Type A ports are right down the front on the right.. If you plug in pretty much anything itll be in the way. If youre right handed and using a mouse., Its especially strange when the back section appears free., The Steelseries keyboard is one of the best looking in terms of per key RGB lighting that Ive tested, and it also offers a lot of customization. Theres plenty of storage options Available with a 2.5 inch drive bay space for two M.2 drives and even SD card slot., I know some people would have preferred to remove the 2.5 inch drive bay for a larger battery, which sounds fair, considering the poor battery life from the smaller 51wh battery.. Personally, I think this compromise is fair.. This is meant to be a gaming laptop youre, not really going to want to game on battery power as it cuts performance significantly.. Having a large hard drive will allow you to store plenty of games for less money compared to M.2 SSDs, but yeah the trade off does mean lower battery life.. I thought the thermals were on the warmer side.
Considering weve got 7 heatpipes inside. It would be interesting to see how things would go with either an 8 core, i9, 9880H CPU or RTX 2070, as Id expect those to run hotter.. The only other strange thing was the price both in the US and here in Australia. For some reason, the RTX 2070 model is either about the same price or cheaper than the 2060 one. So if thats the case, it probably makes sense to just go for the 2070, as that would be better value.. All things considered, the GE65 is a powerful gaming. Laptop for the specs that its packing., Its punching above its weight and even beating higher specced 2070 Max Q machines.. Let me know what you thought about the MSI GE65 gaming laptop down in the comments and, if youre new to the channel, consider getting subscribed for future laptop reviews and tech.