MSI’s GS66 is a thinner stealthy all black
laptop that can both play games but also has
a clean design and will fit right in in an
My GS66 has a 12th gen Intel Core i9 processor,
Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti graphics, 32 gigs of DDR5
memory and a 15.6” screen.
This configuration sits in between the lower
RTX 3060 and higher tier RTX 3080 Ti options,
and you can check them all out as well as
current prices with those links below the
The GS66 is available in MSI’s core black
The lid, interior and bottom panels are all
metal and while build quality feels decent.
Make no mistake, it can’t compete with Razer’s
Blade 15, but the Blade costs quite a bit
The black finish is a massive fingerprint
magnet anywhere you lightly touch, but I found
it fairly easy to clean with a microfiber
There’s a subtle indent along the whole
front edge which makes it easy to open the
lid, and it goes the full 180 degrees back
There’s a little flex to the metal lid,
but it’s sturdier compared to their larger
There was a tiny bit of screen wobble when
typing aggressively, but it’s fine.
but without long term testing it’s hard
for me to know if they’ll have similar issues
to past MSI laptops.
There’s a bit more flex to the keyboard
area compared to the larger GS77.
The smaller 66 is also a fair bit lighter,
so perhaps less materials, but I never found
this to be an issue during normal use.
The laptop alone weighs 2.2kg or 4.9lb, then
just under 3kg or 6.5lb with the 240 watt
power brick and cables for charging.
Just like the Stealth name implies, the GS66
is on the smaller and thinner side for a 15”
gaming laptop, it’s quite portable.
The GS66 has a 15.6” screen and is available
with different high refresh 1080p, 1440p or
For some reason mine has a 4K 60Hz panel that’s
not listed here.
Obviously for gaming that doesn’t make much
4K at 15 inches really isn’t worthwhile
unless you’re doing something like content
At this smaller size, honestly I think something
like a 1080p or 1440p high refresh screen
would be a better option for most people.
The GS66 has a MUX switch, so it’s possible
to disable the integrated graphics to get
a speed boost in games, but at the expense
of worse battery life.
Unfortunately there’s no advanced optimus,
so it needs a manual reboot to swap, and there’s
no G-Sync, at least with my 4K 60Hz panel.
I expected it to have adaptive sync with optimus
enabled, but couldn’t find that listed anywhere
through the Intel software.
My 4K 60Hz screen has excellent color gamut
and good contrast, so probably decent for
a creator, granted it’s 8-bit.
The brightness gets up to 420 nits at maximum
so it’s fairly bright too, but of course
expect different results with different screens
Obviously with a 4K 60Hz panel we’re not
expecting great response times.
I really wish MSI sent one with a better screen
for gamers, but here are my results for completeness.
It’s not amazing compared to others, not
the best 60Hz screen I’ve tested but also
not the worst either.
There are a number of high refresh 4K panels
that are considerably better, so we can’t
just blame the resolution, it’s the specific
Basically, I’d expect much better results
with any other screen option on this laptop.
The total system latency is the amount of
time between a mouse click and when a gunshot
fires on the screen in CS:GO.
The slower screen is definitely contributing
to a slower result here, but given the HP
Victus had a faster response time and faster
144Hz screen, it just goes to show that there’s
more to total latency than panel choice.
Backlight bleed was only minor, I never noticed
any problems during normal use, but this will
vary between laptops.
There’s a 720p camera above the screen in
the middle, and it has IR for Windows Hello
This is what the camera and microphone look
and sound like, and this is what it sounds
like while typing on the keyboard.
The GS66 has a per-key RGB backlit keyboard,
and all keys and secondary functions get lit
Brightness can be adjusted between 4 levels
by using the F10 and F11 shortcuts.
Typing was alright, though the key presses
felt a little shallow to me and the small
right shift might annoy some.
Although the power button is part of the keyboard
and right next to the delete key, an accidental
press doesn’t do anything.
You need to hold it for a long time before
Windows prompts you to shutdown.
The large touchpad is smooth to the touch
and works alright.
I’m not usually a fan of these super wide
touchpads, but my hands don’t rest on it
when typing and it’s making good use of
the available space.
There’s not much touchpad room because of
the holes for airflow above the keyboard.
That just pushes everything down a bit.
There’s also a fingerprint scanner inside
the touchpad on the top left corner.
It worked fine, but personally I prefer larger
scanners like the one on MSI’s bigger GS77.
The smaller rectangle on the GS66 just gives
you a smaller target to aim for.
There are front facing speakers near the left
and right corners.
My hands don’t cover them when resting comfortably
on the machine, but it’s not impossible
if I’m moving.
The speakers definitely aren’t as good compared
to MSI’s larger GS77, but that has subs
while the 66 does not.
There’s a little bass, but at higher volume
they’re not very clear and there’s some
palm rest vibration.
The latencymon results are looking pretty
The left side from the back has an air exhaust
vent, the power input, USB Type-C port with
Thunderbolt 4 support, HDMI output and a USB
3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port.
The right from the front has a 3.5mm audio
combo jack, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports,
though neither of these offer Thunderbolt
support, a second USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port,
2.5 gigabit ethernet port facing the preferred
way so you don’t have to lift the machine
to unplug, and there’s an air exhaust on
this side too.
There aren’t any ports on the back, just
more air exhaust vents towards the left and
All three of those Type-C ports offer DisplayPort
The two on the right connect directly to the
Nvidia graphics, while the Thunderbolt 4 port
on the left connects to the Intel integrated
graphics, but only with optimus enabled.
If you turn optimus off with the MUX switch
then you can’t use the Thunderbolt 4 port
to run an external screen at all.
But only that left port can be used to charge
The HDMI port also connects directly to the
Nvidia graphics, so that along with the two
Type-C ports can be used for VR, and we also
confirmed that the HDMI port supports an external
4K screen at 120Hz 8-Bit with G-Sync, so variable
There are 9 Phillips head screws to get inside,
only the one in the middle down the front
is shorter than the rest.
I found it fairly easy to pry open using these
tools which I’ll link to below the video.
Inside we’ve got the large battery down
the front, two M.2 storage slots just above
it, two memory slots in the middle, and a
Wi-Fi 6E card to the left of those.
Wi-Fi performance was alright, but not as
good compared to most other Intel or Killer
options that I’ve tested, but still better
than the laptops with MediaTek or RealTek
The upgradeability score was decent as unlike
some other thinner MSI laptops, the motherboard
isn’t flipped upside down.
The laptop was easy enough to open and once
inside we’re able to upgrade quite a bit.
The GS66 is powered by a 4-Cell 99.9Wh battery,
the biggest size legally allowed on a plane.
As expected, running on battery power with
optimus disabled results in less run time
because the Nvidia graphics are more power
hungry compared to the Intel integrated graphics.
With optimus on though, it’s doing quite
well compared to most other Intel based gaming
Sure it’s got the largest possible battery,
but there are a number of others that have
the same sized battery that couldn’t last
Generally AMD Ryzen based options seem to
run longer than Intel laptops according to
this data, but at almost 6 hours in my YouTube
playback test there aren’t many 12th gen
options that do better than the GS66.
Let’s check out thermals next.
There are a few heat pipes shared between
the CPU and GPU, and we’ve got 3 fans, a
little unusual as most gaming laptops have
Cool air comes in underneath and there are
plenty of holes for airflow directly above
the intake fans.
Based on the holes above the keyboard, it
probably comes through here too.
Hot air then gets exhausted out of both sides
and out the back vents.
The MSI Center software let’s us change
between different performance modes, which
from lowest to highest are silent, balanced
and extreme performance.
Extreme performance mode optionally lets you
overclock the GPU.
The first time you go in here, there’s no
GPU overclock applied, but if you click default
it boosts the GPU core by 100MHz, so not really
a good default if you have to manually go
and click the default button first.
Extreme mode also lets you enable cooler boost,
which sets the fans to maximum, but you can
also go to advanced mode to customize either
It’s not quite as granular as a regular fan
curve, but it’s something.
You can also enable max fans at any time regardless
of the performance mode selected with the
F8 shortcut key.
The temperatures were cold at idle.
The rest of the results are from combined
CPU and GPU stress tests which aim to represent
a worst case full load scenario.
Most applications don’t fully load both
the CPU and GPU at the same time like this.
Silent mode was thermal throttling on the
GPU, but the fans are quieter, it’s a trade
Balanced mode was a little cooler, while extreme
mode was about the same.
If we set the fans to full speed we’re able
to get a nice dip in temperatures, however
if we use the cooling pad that I’ve got
linked below the video, things actually get
warmer to the point where the CPU thermal
These are the clock speeds for the same tests
The clock speeds get progressively higher
as we move up to higher performance modes
and improve the cooling.
Adding the cooling pad gets us more than a
500MHz boost on the 6 P cores and 400MHz to
the 8 E cores, so the cooling pad allows us
to reach higher levels of performance, hence
the higher temperatures.
We can see this when looking at the power
levels being reached.
Balanced mode seems to run the GPU at 80 watts
when the CPU is under load at 45 watts.
Extreme mode appears to take a little power
from the GPU and give it to the CPU, and then
things start to get interesting once we max
out the fans.
Although we’re averaging about 59 watts
on the CPU long term, it was actually bouncing
between 45 and 88.
Basically every few minutes it would boost
up, hit thermal throttling, then drop back
down, and it kept doing this but only with
the fans maxed out.
Adding the cooling pad allowed it to stabilize,
which is why the CPU power limit was close
to 85, extremely high in a CPU plus GPU workload,
but we can see this comes at the expense of
some GPU power, as the 3070 Ti is now running
closer to 70 watts.
This is lower than the 80 watt minimum listed
on Nvidia’s spec sheet.
So for whatever reason, MSI seems to prioritize
CPU power over GPU power when both are loaded
up at the same time, though this only happens
if you actively improve the cooling.
Either through increasing the fan speed, or
adding a cooling pad.
It’s a bit different in a CPU only workload
PL1 initially gets set to 90 watts in extreme
performance mode, but after a few minutes
it drops down a little to 85 or 87 watts,
it seems to dynamically change to avoid thermal
The GS66 is doing quite well compared to most
other laptops, especially when we consider
that the three machines ahead of it are all
thicker, granted the Zephyrus M16 isn’t
I found it interesting that the GS66 was outperforming
MSI’s larger GS77 here, given you’d think
the GS77 has more space for cooling, but it
was hitting thermal limits and lower maximum
TDP as a result.
The performance drops back when we unplug
the charger and instead run purely off of
battery power, but the GS66 is still one of
the higher results.
Now that said, it is worth noting that there
are now 8 core 16 thread Ryzen options that
are able to score higher in multicore, which
is kind of impressive considering the 12th
gen Intel options are 14 core 20 thread chips.
Intel still clearly has the lead when it comes
to single core performance though, whether
on or off battery.
It’s very cool when just sitting there idle,
most laptops are around 30 degrees Celsius,
but as you’ll hear soon, the fans are active
even when it’s not doing anything.
It gets warmer with the stress tests going
and the WASD area wasn’t too comfortable,
which I found interesting because others like
ASUS laptops bring air through the keyboard
to avoid this.
Balanced mode felt a bit cooler though because
the fan speed increases.
Extreme mode wasn’t too different, though
WASD is still fairly warm, but not hot in
this worst case stress test.
Setting the fan to full speed cools things
down significantly, but as you’ll hear next,
this is also quite loud.
The fans were audible when just sitting there
idle doing nothing in silent mode, but at
least they weren’t constantly ramping up
and down like the larger GS77.
Interestingly the fan noise didn’t really
change in silent mode from idle to when we
ran the stress tests, so it’s no surprise
we saw thermal throttling there.
Even extreme mode with the fans on auto was
quieter compared to most gaming laptops I
test in their highest mode, however maxing
the fan out could make it quite loud.
I’d definitely want headphones there.
Now let’s find out how MSI’s GS66 actually
performs in games and compares against other
Cyberpunk 2077 was tested the same on all
laptops, and I’ve got the GS66 shown by
the red highlight.
It’s basically performing the same as Razer’s
Blade 15, despite that having a higher tier
RTX 3080 Ti with double the VRAM and slightly
higher power limit.
That’s also putting aside that it costs
over $1000 USD more as well.
We’ve got a different selection of laptops
at the higher 1440p resolution as we only
test machines that actually have a chance
of running it.
The Blade 15 was able to come out ahead now,
so perhaps the 3080 Ti can do better at higher
resolutions, but at the same time we’re
talking less than a 2 FPS difference, nothing
significant considering the price gap.
Control is a fairly GPU heavy game, and although
the Blade 15 does have a higher tier GPU,
it was only slightly ahead of the GS66 this
Even last year’s lower specced Xenia 15
was quite close, and that’s another slimmer
15” design too.
At 1440p the GS66 is now our lowest RTX 3070
Ti result, however the Zephyrus M16 just above
it is very close despite having a higher GPU
Razer’s Blade 15 is ahead again here, but
with another tiny lead it really makes you
question whether an RTX 3080 Ti is worth wasting
money on in a thinner and lighter design.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the
game’s benchmark tool.
I’ve found that AMD’s Radeon GPUs typically
do better than Nvidia in this test.
This would explain why the RX 6700M in MSI’s
Delta 15 from last year was reaching about
the same average FPS.
At 1440p MSI’s larger GS77 with higher tier
RTX 3080 Ti was performing about the same
as the smaller GS66, so yet another example
of why a lower wattage 3080 Ti probably isn’t
worth spending more money on, at least at
1080p and 1440p resolutions.
The GS77 doesn’t have a MUX switch for some
reason, but I doubt that matters a whole lot
at this higher resolution.
Here are the 3DMark results for those that
find them useful, now for some content creator
Adobe Premiere was tested with the Puget Systems
benchmark, and MSI’s GS66 is one of the
I suspect this is due to the high CPU power
limit that’s possible at the expense of
GPU power, as that would help here.
The GS66 was also doing great in Adobe Photoshop,
only being beaten by MSI’s larger GS77 with
higher tier 3080 Ti.
I’ve found this test to depend on single
core performance, which is why there are a
bunch of i9 laptops near the top.
DaVinci Resolve still cares about CPU performance,
but GPU matters more here which is why the
lower wattage 3070 Ti is now being beaten
by higher wattage options, despite many of
these being paired with lower tier i7 processors.
We’ve also tested SPECviewperf which tests
out various professional 3D workloads.
Intel 12th gen supports faster PCIe gen 4
storage, and the read and write speeds from
the installed 1TB SSD are excellent.
Just like pretty much every other MSI gaming
laptop, you’ve got the option of pressing
this epic cheat code to unlock the advanced
This is a tweaker’s dream, you can change
pretty much anything here from power to thermal
limits and way more, so make sure you know
what you’re doing or you risk bricking the
Linux support was tested with Ubuntu 22.04.
By default out of the box, the keyboard, touchpad,
speakers, ethernet and camera all worked.
The keyboard shortcuts for volume adjustment
and keyboard brightness still worked, as well
as the button to instantly max out the fan,
however screen brightness shortcuts did not
Wi-Fi didn’t work out of the box despite
the latest Ubuntu coming with Kernel version
Let’s discuss pricing and availability next.
This will of course change over time so refer
to those links below the video for updates.
At the time of recording, the GS66 seems to
start at around $1900 USD for an RTX 3060
Now that does sound a bit pricey for 3060
tier performance, but we’ve got to consider
As far as slim stealthy black gaming laptops
go, there’s really only Razer’s Blade
15, and with an RTX 3060 that starts at $2500
USD, so $600 more than the GS66.
The 3070 Ti version of GS66 like I’ve tested
here starts at $2250 USD at the moment, and
again compared to Razer’s Blade 15 which
starts at $3000 USD for the 3070 Ti tier,
well the GS66 is looking like a deal comparatively.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do think that
the Blade 15 is a better gaming laptop compared
to the GS66, but it also costs quite a lot
You definitely get more bang for buck with
the GS66 if you don’t necessarily need all
the bells and whistles.
But let me know if you’d be interested in
a dedicated comparison between those two laptops.
Apart from those two, there just aren’t
a whole lot of thin stealthy black gaming
laptops out there.
But yeah, MSI’s GS66 is definitely the cheaper
of the two.
Now if thinner stealthy all black gaming laptops
are what you’re after but maybe you want
a larger 17 inch screen, then check out my
review of MSI’s larger GS77 over here next.
Despite being bigger and having higher tier
specs, it’s not always better than the GS66,
and you’ll see why in that video.