There’s a huge difference between the MSI GS66 Stealth gaming laptop I reviewed over a year ago and the one in front of me now. Not on the outside, of course — it’s the same slim chassis that MSI has been using for its GS66 machines for generations — but the performance is very different thanks to the core components chosen for the 12th-gen build.
The 2021 version of this machine opts for an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU paired with a 10th Gen Core i7 10870H processor. Compared to the Core i9 12900H that MSI dropped into this laptop, it’s now just a silicon moron sitting in the corner of a classroom. Interestingly, the more modern Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti used in the new GS66 Stealth also compares favorably with last year’s model.
But that doesn’t mean I find myself falling in love with the black tech in front of me.
This is the gaming laptop of 2022, and that inevitably means something. On the one hand, that means almost no changes to the chassis or the cooling system offered; two, there will be some odd spec choices; and three, you’ll need a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones because it’s going to sound irreverent based on fans roar.
Stealth GS66 12UGS Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i9 12900H
core: 14 (6P | 8E)
memory: 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR5-4800
Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti
General development plan: 95W
exhibit: 15.6 inches
Native resources: 3840×2160
Refresh rate: 60 Hz
Storage: 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
price: ~$3,000 | £3,100
So, those specs. For the three big best parts, you get a 14-core Alder Lake CPU matched to six Performance cores and eight Efficient cores for a total of 20 threads of overall multithreaded grunt. The 12th Gen Intel platform means DDR5 memory, which includes 32GB of 4800MHz RAM.
On top of that is the RTX 3070 Ti, an updated Ampere GPU with 5632 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 memory. The GPU inside MSI is fixed at 105W, which is slightly higher than the 95W TDP of the RTX 3080 it used before.
So far so good. Where I’m struggling is with the MSI running a 4K screen at a paltry 60Hz.I watch with excitement Online Specifications Quite disappointed with the latest GS66 12UGS that promises a 120Hz UHD panel, so booting to a slow 60Hz Windows desktop.
I have a UK SKU which may or may not be available stateside, so you may be lucky and find a 120Hz screen in your area, but the price is about what I expected.
Maybe I’m a bit Timmy about this, but no gaming laptop in 2022 should have a 60Hz refresh screen. Granted, this RTX 3070 Ti machine struggles to hit 60 fps — again, suggesting that’s probably not the smartest spec — but even just moving a browser window around on a desktop is a vague, ghostly mess.
Contrast is okay, whites are well-saturated, but gradients are noticeable, and black levels are substandard. I guess what I mean is: I don’t like panels.
But I’m impressed with the performance of the 105W RTX 3070 Ti. At the very least, this feels better in the chassis than the previous 95W RTX 3080. It regularly posted higher frame rates than last year’s laptops, albeit inevitably below the 150W RTX 3070 Ti Asus stuck in the mighty ROG Strix Scar 17.
1080p gaming performance
On the positive side, the latest MSI Stealth GS66 has a lower peak operating temperature than any of these machines. The same goes for processors and GPUs. The 10th-gen chips and Strix’s own 12900H CPU top out at 100°C, while the new GS66 tops out at 97°C.
Obviously, it’s hot, but the processing performance you get out of a 12th-gen chip definitely justifies it. Single-core speeds are fantastic, and with those smaller cores coming online to help handle multithreaded workloads, it certainly has some workstation-class features as well.
I mean, I’m happy with it, but not because of the noise it makes the temperature drop. Honestly, this is downright offensive. In polite company, you can’t possibly play around with it.
When I benchmarked the Metro Exodus, my two-year-old walked into the room and yelled, “Dad, is that da fuq?!” I was explaining, but that was his general gist. Heck, even with a good pair of headphones on, I can still hear its fans running wild.
So it’s really hard for me to recommend this system. I’d happily forgive the slight slack on the keyboard while typing, and the oddly ultra-wide and wobbly trackpad, but the noise was a deal-breaker for me. So is the price. When Nvidia announced the RTX 3070 Ti, we were promising a $1,500 laptop, of which I saw exactly zero. At twice the price, this MSI Stealth GS66 isn’t enough to justify its cost.
Sure, it’s thin, but the racket it makes while gaming is certainly not invisible.