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MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK Laptop Review: A mid-range and power-hungry gaming laptop

Compact gamer. The all-AMD team in the Alpha 15 runs all current games smoothly onto the device's matte, FHD, IPS, 144 Hz and FreeSync compatible 15.6-inch screen. However, its comparatively high power requirements take their toll.
Sascha Mölck, 👁 Florian Glaser (translated by Alex Alderson),

The Alpha 15 A3DDK is MSI's latest 15.6-inch mid-range gaming laptop, which it equips with an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H APU and a Radeon RX 5500M GPU. Our test device, the A3DDK-034, currently retails for just under €1,300 (~$1423). However, the entry-level starts at around €1,000 (~$1095). There are already plenty of gaming laptops at this price, with the Alpha 15 having plenty of competitors to overcome. Our comparison devices will include the Acer Predator Helios 300, Dell G5 5590, HP Pavilion Gaming 15, and Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH.

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MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 (Alpha 15 Series)
Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H 4 x 2.3 - 4 GHz, Zen+
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon RX 5500M - 4096 MB, Core: 1448-1645 MHz, Memory: 1750 MHz, GDDR6, 128-bit connection, Adrenalin 19.12.2 (26.20.15002.61), Enduro
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4-2666, dual-channel, two memory banks (occupied)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, AU Optronics B156HAN08.0 (AUO80ED), IPS, 144 Hz, FreeSync, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
AMD Promontory/Bixby FCH
Storage
Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ, 512 GB 
, M.2-2280, unoccupied 2.5-inch slot, 405 GB free
Soundcard
Realtek ALC233 @ AMD K17.1 - Audio Processor - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Dedicated headphone and microphone jacks, Card Reader: SD,SDHC,SDXC, TPM 2.0
Networking
Killer E2600 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Realtek 8822CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 27.5 x 357.7 x 248 ( = 1.08 x 14.08 x 9.76 in)
Battery
51 Wh, 4730 mAh Lithium-Ion, 6-cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD 720p
Primary Camera: 0.9 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 180 W power supply, MS Office 365 (trial version), 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.288 kg ( = 80.71 oz / 5.04 pounds), Power Supply: 600 g ( = 21.16 oz / 1.32 pounds)
Price
1299 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
79 %
02/2020
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
R7 3750H, Radeon RX 5500M
2.3 kg27.5 mm15.6"1920x1080
82 %
11/2019
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
2.3 kg23.2 mm15.6"1920x1080
80 %
10/2019
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
R7 3750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
2.3 kg23.5 mm15.6"1920x1080
80 %
10/2019
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
2.7 kg23.7 mm15.6"1920x1080
82 %
08/2019
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
2.2 kg26 mm15.6"1920x1080

Case - MSI settles on a metal and plastic mix for the Alpha 15

The Alpha 15 has a mostly plastic housing, with the display lid being the only thing made of metal. With exception to the keyboard deck, which is dark silver and grey, the device has a black finish. Overall, the Alpha 15 looks functional, with its most striking features being the green Alpha logo on its display lid and its illuminated USB ports. The device has slim bezels thanks to its rather compact dimensions, which helps make it look modern. MSI permanently installs the battery, though. There is no maintenance flap.

In short, the Alpha 15 is a well-made device. Our review unit suffers from no manufacturing defects, and the gaps between materials are uniformly even. There is room for improvement with the chassis' stability, though. The base unit should be stiffer, in our opinion. We found no such problems with the hinges, which hold the display firmly in place. They allow the display to be opened to about 160° and with one hand. The lid is sturdy too, with it resisting our attempts to temporarily deform the display.

Size Comparison

365 mm / 14.4 inch 260 mm / 10.2 inch 26 mm / 1.024 inch 2.2 kg4.85 lbs364 mm / 14.3 inch 273 mm / 10.7 inch 23.7 mm / 0.933 inch 2.7 kg5.98 lbs357.7 mm / 14.1 inch 248 mm / 9.76 inch 27.5 mm / 1.083 inch 2.3 kg5.04 lbs361.4 mm / 14.2 inch 254.2 mm / 10 inch 23.2 mm / 0.913 inch 2.3 kg5.09 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 257 mm / 10.1 inch 23.5 mm / 0.925 inch 2.3 kg4.96 lbs

Connectivity - No Thunderbolt 3 here

The MSI gaming laptop also comes with a comprehensive range of ports. All USB slots, three Type-A and one Type-C, operate on the latest USB 3.2 Gen1 standard, for example. Additionally, there are two video outputs, HDMI and mini DisplayPort, dedicated headphone and microphone jacks, along with a Gigabit Ethernet port. MSI has not included a Thunderbolt 3 port though, which would have permitted the option of connecting a more powerful external GPU. MSI also distributes the ports towards the front edges of the chassis, which could cause issues if you use an external mouse, for example.

Left-hand side: Cable lock slot, fan grille, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, mini Displayport, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 3.5 mm microphone jack
Left-hand side: Cable lock slot, fan grille, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, mini Displayport, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 3.5 mm microphone jack
Right-hand side: 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, SD card reader, power connector
Right-hand side: 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, SD card reader, power connector

SD Card Reader

The memory card reader takes it slow. When copying large data blocks, we observed our review unit peaking at 37 MB/s, which dropped to 35 MB/s when copying 250 5 MB jpg files. We test memory card readers with a Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II where possible, for reference.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Average of class Gaming
  (11.7 - 212, n=278)
92.8 MB/s ∼100% +165%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
35.3 MB/s ∼38% +1%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
35 MB/s ∼38%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
25 MB/s ∼27% -29%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
Average of class Gaming
  (13.4 - 257, n=276)
110 MB/s ∼100% +197%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
37.2 MB/s ∼34% +1%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
37 MB/s ∼34%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
26 MB/s ∼24% -30%

Communication

The Wi-Fi chip, a Realtek 8822CE, supports IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. Our review unit achieved good transfer speeds during our tests, although please keep in mind that we conducted these under optimal conditions with no other Wi-Fi devices nearby and the Alpha 15 only a short distance from the router. The Killer E2600 Gigabit Ethernet controller handles wired network connections; it did its job smoothly too.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
691 MBit/s ∼100% +4%
Average of class Gaming
  (141 - 1670, n=319)
679 MBit/s ∼98% +2%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
672 (min: 658, max: 682) MBit/s ∼97% +1%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Realtek 8822CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
665 MBit/s ∼96%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
619 MBit/s ∼90% -7%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
Realtek 8822CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
526 (min: 464, max: 639) MBit/s ∼76% -21%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
676 MBit/s ∼100% +7%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
Realtek 8822CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
660 (min: 536, max: 759) MBit/s ∼98% +4%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
653 (min: 615, max: 670) MBit/s ∼97% +3%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Realtek 8822CE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
634 MBit/s ∼94%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
630 MBit/s ∼93% -1%
Average of class Gaming
  (144 - 1645, n=319)
630 MBit/s ∼93% -1%

Accessories

MSI includes the usual set of accessories with the Alpha 15. Namely, warranty information a quick start guide and a power supply.

Maintenance

The Alpha 15 does not have a maintenance cover, as we mentioned earlier. To get to its innards, you must remove the lower shell, which requires removing all the screws securing it to the rest of the chassis. The base unit can then be removed with a flat tool, like a plastic spudger.

Warranty

MSI afford the Alpha 15 a two-year manufacturer's warranty by default. The company also sells an additional year's coverage for €119 (~$130), or a two-year extension for €249 (~$273).

Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies and Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices - The Alpha's keyboard has RGB lighting

Keyboard

MSI equips the Alpha 15 with a backlit chiclet keyboard. Its flat, slightly roughened keys have a medium stroke and clear pressure points. The key resistance is adequate in our opinion, but the keyboard deck gives way slightly while typing. This did not prove overly disruptive during our tests, though. All in all, MSI has provided the Alpha 15 with a decent everyday keyboard..

Trackpad

There is also a multi-touch trackpad that measures ​​approximately 11 x 6.2 cm (~4.3 x 2.4 in), making it large enough on which to perform multi-finger gestures. Its smooth surface does not inhibit scrolling or swiping movements, either. The trackpad reacts precisely to inputs even into its corners, too. Additionally, two mouse buttons sit below it. Both have short strokes and clear pressure points.

A look at the keyboard deck on the Alpha 15
A look at the keyboard deck on the Alpha 15

Display - IPS, 144 Hz and Freesync compatible

The matte 15.6-inch display in the Alpha 15 operates natively at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Average maximum brightness, which we measured at 310 cd/m², and a 1,069:1 contrast ratio meet our expectations. Positively, the display does not show any PWM flickering.

The 144 Hz panel delivers fast response times too and supports AMD FreeSync. The technology dynamically adjusts refresh rates of the display and GPU to maximise image smoothness. This is most useful when gaming.

314
cd/m²
324
cd/m²
317
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
310
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
330
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
AU Optronics B156HAN08.0 (AUO80ED)
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 330 cd/m² Average: 310.1 cd/m² Minimum: 14 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 310 cd/m²
Contrast: 1069:1 (Black: 0.29 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.78 | 0.6-29.43 Ø5.9, calibrated: 2.36
ΔE Greyscale 4.78 | 0.64-98 Ø6.1
91% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 59% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.43
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AU Optronics B156HAN08.0 (AUO80ED), IPS, 1920x1080
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
AUO, B156HAN08.2, IPS, 1920x1080
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AU Optronics B156HAK02.0, IPS, 1920x1080
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
AU Optronics B156HAN (AUO23ED), IPS, 1920x1080
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
BOE 084D, IPS, 1920x1080
Response Times
-51%
-325%
-387%
-21%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
7 (3.4, 3.6)
15 (8, 7)
-114%
40 (19, 21)
-471%
48 (22.8, 25.2)
-586%
8.8 (4, 4.4)
-26%
Response Time Black / White *
10.4 (5.2, 5.2)
9 (5, 4)
13%
29 (16, 13)
-179%
30 (16.8, 13.2)
-188%
12 (6.8, 5.2)
-15%
PWM Frequency
Screen
7%
1%
-21%
5%
Brightness middle
310
325
5%
302
-3%
234
-25%
299
-4%
Brightness
310
310
0%
291
-6%
216
-30%
290
-6%
Brightness Distribution
86
82
-5%
84
-2%
87
1%
89
3%
Black Level *
0.29
0.255
12%
0.25
14%
0.22
24%
0.29
-0%
Contrast
1069
1275
19%
1208
13%
1064
0%
1031
-4%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.78
4.28
10%
4.84
-1%
6.52
-36%
3.7
23%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.1
8.42
-4%
8.18
-1%
10.58
-31%
7
14%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.36
1.45
39%
2.63
-11%
3.56
-51%
2
15%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.78
5.01
-5%
4.31
10%
5.33
-12%
4.1
14%
Gamma
2.43 91%
2.6 85%
2.56 86%
2.86 77%
2.19 100%
CCT
7739 84%
7678 85%
7318 89%
5983 109%
7166 91%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59
60
2%
58
-2%
36
-39%
59.3
1%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
91
93
2%
89
-2%
57
-37%
91.5
1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-22% / -2%
-162% / -49%
-204% / -78%
-8% / 1%

* ... smaller is better

Out of the box, our review unit is impressively colour accurate. However, its Delta E 2000 colour deviation of 4.78 misses our target of less than 3. Calibrating the screen leads to improvements though, resulting in a colour deviation of 2.36. The additional calibration helps make greyscale look more balanced, too. The display cannot fully cover AdobeRGB or sRGB, though. We measured 59% AdobeRGB coverage and 91% sRGB coverage, for reference.

CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Colour saturation
CalMAN: Colour saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: Greyscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Greyscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
91% sRGB colour space coverage
91% sRGB colour space coverage
Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array
59% AdobeRGB colour space coverage
59% AdobeRGB colour space coverage

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
10.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 5.2 ms rise
↘ 5.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 11 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (24.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
7 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 3.4 ms rise
↘ 3.6 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 5 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.2 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 50 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 18115 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

MSI has equipped the 15.6-incher with an IPS panel that has stable viewing angles, too. Hence, the display is readable from practically any position. The display is also readable outdoors, but only when the sun is not shining too brightly.

Using the Alpha 15 outdoors
Using the Alpha 15 outdoors
Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance - Mid-range AMD gaming power

The Alpha 15 A3DDK is MSI's latest 15.6-inch mid-range gaming laptop, and is one that plays all triple-A titles smoothly. The device cuts a good figure in all other areas too. Our review unit currently retails for around €1,300 (~$1423), but other variants are available starting at €1,000 (~$1095).

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
LatencyMon
 
 

Test Conditions

The pre-installed Dragon Center offers various performance profiles to choose from, which affect fan noise and performance. We conducted all our tests with the performance profile set to "User". We set the performance level to "High" and left the fan control on automatic mode. We left the integrated GPU on, too.

Processor

MSI has equipped our review unit with a Ryzen 7 3750H, a Picasso architecture APU. The quad-core processor has a 2.3 GHz base clock, which it can boost up to 4 GHz. It also supports Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT), a feature that allows the Ryzen 7 3750H to execute up to two threads per core simultaneously.

Cinebench R15 Multi 64Bit demonstrates that the CPU can operate between 3.6 and 3.8 GHz in multi-threaded tasks on mains power and 2.4 GHz on battery power. By contrast, the CPU fluctuates between 2.6 GHz to 4 GHz in single-thread tests on mains power and sustains 2.4 GHz on battery power.

CPU information during a CB R15 Single 64Bit benchmark
CPU information during a CB R15 Single 64Bit benchmark
CPU information during a CB R15 Multi 64Bit benchmark
CPU information during a CB R15 Multi 64Bit benchmark
System information during a UNIGINE Heaven 4.0 benchmark
System information during a UNIGINE Heaven 4.0 benchmark

We also checked whether the CPU can maintain its turbo clock speeds permanently on mains power by running CB R15 Multi 64Bit on a loop for at least 30 minutes. Scores drop somewhat from the first to the seventh run through before stabilising at a constant level. In short, the CPU can utilise its turbo clock speeds. However, the results are somewhat disappointing as they lag behind other Ryzen 7 3750H-powered devices like the HP Pavilion Gaming 15.

MSI Dragon Center has various performance profiles, as we mentioned earlier. We also checked the effects that these profiles had. On the one hand, the "Extreme Performance" profile delivered the same results as our custom one. On the other hand, activating the "Silent" profile causes the CPU to operate at lower clock speeds, which results in lower CB R15 Multi 64Bit scores.

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MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H: Ø707 (701.57-734.14)
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY Intel Core i7-9750H, Intel Core i7-9750H: Ø1113 (1102.29-1169.32)
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H: Ø765 (755.34-779.97)
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ Intel Core i5-9300H, Intel Core i5-9300H: Ø771 (679.21-818)
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE Intel Core i7-9750H, Intel Core i7-9750H: Ø1157 (1151.34-1211.72)
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 AMD Ryzen 7 3750H, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H; Silent: Ø668 (653.77-672.38)
CPU clock speeds during a loop of CB R15 Multi 64Bit
CPU clock speeds during a loop of CB R15 Multi 64Bit
CPU clock speeds on silent mode during a loop of CB R15 Multi 64Bit
CPU clock speeds on silent mode during a loop of CB R15 Multi 64Bit
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4527
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
19290
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8386
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
143 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
734 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
88.89 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
190 Points ∼100% +33%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
187 Points ∼98% +31%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
Intel Core i5-9300H
169 Points ∼89% +18%
Average of class Gaming
  (77 - 215, n=576)
159 Points ∼84% +11%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
143 Points ∼75%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
135 Points ∼71% -6%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Silent)
135 Points ∼71% -6%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
1170 Points ∼100% +59%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
1155 (min: 899.54, max: 1211.72) Points ∼99% +57%
Average of class Gaming
  (196 - 2804, n=580)
886 Points ∼76% +21%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
Intel Core i5-9300H
818 Points ∼70% +11%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
780 Points ∼67% +6%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
734 Points ∼63%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Silent)
672 Points ∼57% -8%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
20750 Points ∼100% +8%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
19290 Points ∼93%
Average of class Gaming
  (3026 - 50462, n=441)
18875 Points ∼91% -2%
Rendering Single 32Bit
Average of class Gaming
  (1645 - 8872, n=441)
4905 Points ∼100% +8%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
4898 Points ∼100% +8%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
4527 Points ∼92%
Cinebench R20
CPU (Single Core)
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
459 Points ∼100% +30%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
458 Points ∼100% +30%
Average of class Gaming
  (340 - 511, n=96)
441 Points ∼96% +25%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
Intel Core i5-9300H
404 Points ∼88% +15%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
352 Points ∼77%
CPU (Multi Core)
Average of class Gaming
  (1530 - 6321, n=97)
2837 Points ∼100% +74%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
2599 Points ∼92% +59%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
2595 Points ∼91% +59%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
Intel Core i5-9300H
1821 Points ∼64% +12%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
1633 Points ∼58%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average of class Gaming
  (9307 - 27774, n=81)
16229 Points ∼100% +12%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
15019 Points ∼93% +4%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
14478 Points ∼89%
32 Bit Single-Core Score
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
3819 Points ∼100% +3%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
3717 Points ∼97%
Average of class Gaming
  (2926 - 4825, n=81)
3710 Points ∼97% 0%
Geekbench 4.4
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average of class Gaming
  (4116 - 40720, n=80)
20070 Points ∼100% +49%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
18433 Points ∼92% +37%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
18433 Points ∼92% +37%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
17054 Points ∼85% +27%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
13738 Points ∼68% +2%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
13448 Points ∼67%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
4977 Points ∼100% +20%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H
4977 Points ∼100% +20%
Average of class Gaming
  (2131 - 6030, n=80)
4891 Points ∼98% +18%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
4440 Points ∼89% +7%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
4186 Points ∼84% +1%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
4150 Points ∼83%
Geekbench 5
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average of class Gaming
  (3007 - 10695, n=23)
5528 Points ∼100% +55%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
3718 Points ∼67% +4%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
3561 Points ∼64%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Silent)
3007 Points ∼54% -16%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Average of class Gaming
  (853 - 1264, n=23)
1110 Points ∼100% +29%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
908 Points ∼82% +6%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
860 Points ∼77%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Silent)
853 Points ∼77% -1%
Geekbench 5.1 / 5.2
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average of class Gaming
  (3448 - 10190, n=32)
6370 Points ∼100% +80%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
3537 Points ∼56%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Average of class Gaming
  (874 - 1352, n=32)
1182 Points ∼100% +35%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
874 Points ∼74%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
1713.4 ms * ∼100% -40%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44)
1227.7 ms * ∼72%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44)
1157.6 ms * ∼68% +6%
Average of class Gaming
  (745 - 7545, n=238)
1155 ms * ∼67% +6%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H (Edge: 44.18362.387.0)
1063.4 ms * ∼62% +13%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
37229 Points ∼100% +24%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H (Edge: 44.18362.387.0)
37133 Points ∼100% +24%
Average of class Gaming
  (12288 - 49518, n=210)
33662 Points ∼90% +12%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44)
30714 Points ∼83% +3%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44)
29949 Points ∼80%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
Intel Core i7-9750H (Edge: 44.18362.387.0)
264.28 Points ∼100% +26%
Average of class Gaming
  (51.6 - 333, n=218)
251 Points ∼95% +20%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44)
219.5 Points ∼83% +5%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
Intel Core i7-9750H
211.57 Points ∼80% +1%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44)
209.49 Points ∼79%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H (Edge 44; Silent)
205.33 Points ∼78% -2%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

Our review unit worked smoothly and fluidly during our tests. We encountered no problems. Overall, the Alpha 15 offers enough computing power even for applications beyond gaming. This is confirmed not least by our review unit's good PCMark benchmark results.

The RAM runs in dual-channel mode.
The RAM runs in dual-channel mode.
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4121 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4614 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5045 points
Help
PCMark 10 - Score
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
5716 Points ∼100% +24%
Average of class Gaming
  (2603 - 7511, n=269)
5303 Points ∼93% +15%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
5279 Points ∼92% +15%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, KBG30ZMS128G
4615 Points ∼81% 0%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
4605 Points ∼81%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-256G
4565 Points ∼80% -1%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
5483 Points ∼100% +9%
Average of class Gaming
  (2484 - 6593, n=428)
5082 Points ∼93% +1%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
5045 Points ∼92%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
5041 Points ∼92% 0%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-256G
4967 Points ∼91% -2%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
4688 Points ∼100% +14%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
4507 Points ∼96% +9%
Average of class Gaming
  (2554 - 6093, n=445)
4277 Points ∼91% +4%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
4121 Points ∼88%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-256G
3944 Points ∼84% -4%

Storage Devices

MSI includes a Kingston NVMe M.2-2280 SSD, specifically the RBUSNS8154P3512GJ, 512 GB drive. The SSD delivers good transfer rates, but it is not one of the top models among modern SSDs. The laptop also contains a 2.5-inch drive bay should you wish to add a second drive. MSI pre-installs the frame for adding a 2.5-inch drive, along with a SATA cable.

An SSD serves as a system drive.
An SSD serves as a system drive.
MSI includes a 2.5-inch drive bay for adding a second drive. Black film covers the SATA drive bay.
MSI includes a 2.5-inch drive bay for adding a second drive. Black film covers the SATA drive bay.
Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
Sequential Read: 1077 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1019 MB/s
512K Read: 857.9 MB/s
512K Write: 1020 MB/s
4K Read: 34.93 MB/s
4K Write: 104.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 326.7 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 282.2 MB/s
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-256G
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
KBG30ZMS128G
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
67%
39%
-48%
60%
Write 4K
105.4
108.7
3%
148
40%
65.35
-38%
158.8
51%
Read 4K
33.24
44.91
35%
43.73
32%
29.71
-11%
29.11
-12%
Write Seq
1029
2424
136%
1617
57%
128.8
-87%
1584
54%
Read Seq
1098
1617
47%
1753
60%
858.9
-22%
1694
54%
Write 4K Q32T1
322.1
356.9
11%
246.3
-24%
95.85
-70%
535.7
66%
Read 4K Q32T1
352
556.8
58%
368
5%
197.6
-44%
363.9
3%
Write Seq Q32T1
1036
2541.8
145%
1618
56%
132.5
-87%
2536
145%
Read Seq Q32T1
1606
3217.7
100%
3027
88%
1208
-25%
3458
115%

Graphics Card

The Alpha 15 also features a Radeon RX 5500M, a Navi GPU that belongs in the upper midrange of laptop cards. The graphics core supports DirectX 12 and works at a base clock of 1,448 MHz. The card can turbo up to 1,645 MHz, although higher speeds are feasible if the GPU does not reach its temperature or power limits. Our tests revealed that the GPU can hit 1,658 MHz, for example. Meanwhile, the Radeon RX 5500M averaged 1,564 MHz when playing The Witcher 3. The GPU utilises 4 GB of fast GDDR6 VRAM, too.

3DMark benchmark results rank the GPU between the performance of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 and the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q. While the performance profiles of MSI Dragon Center do not affect graphics performance, they do impact physics performance. Additionally, the Alpha 15 can only deliver a third of its peak graphics performance when running on battery power. Correspondingly, the GPU can only reach 500 MHz.

The Alpha 15 also has an integrated GPU. Its RX Vega 10 GPU can be manually deactivated within Dragon Center, but AMD Enduro can switch the system between the integrated and dedicated GPUs when needed.

3DMark 11 scores on mains power
3DMark 11 scores on mains power
3DMark 11 scores on battery power
3DMark 11 scores on battery power
3DMark 11 scores on mains power and Extreme Performance mode
3DMark 11 scores on mains power and Extreme Performance mode
3DMark 11 scores on mains power and Silent mode
3DMark 11 scores on mains power and Silent mode
3DMark 06 Standard
24966 points
3DMark 11 Performance
12765 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
55844 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
21898 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
10319 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
4105 points
Help
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Average of class Gaming
  (368 - 13013, n=214)
5886 Points ∼100% +37%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
5616 Points ∼95% +31%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
5166 Points ∼88% +20%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Radeon RX 5500M
4298 Points ∼73%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
3488 Points ∼59% -19%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
14358 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
14288 Points ∼100% +15%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
13362 Points ∼93% +7%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Radeon RX 5500M
12441 Points ∼87%
Average of class Gaming
  (385 - 40636, n=601)
11926 Points ∼83% -4%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
9239 Points ∼64% -26%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
19553 Points ∼100% +20%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
19435 Points ∼99% +19%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
18493 Points ∼95% +13%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Radeon RX 5500M
16335 Points ∼84%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
AMD Radeon RX 5500M (Silent)
16302 Points ∼83% 0%
Average of class Gaming
  (513 - 50983, n=678)
14238 Points ∼73% -13%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
13233 Points ∼68% -19%

Gaming Performance

The hardware in the Alpha 15 is capable of playing all games in our database smoothly. As a rule, the device can handle triple-A titles at 1080p and medium to high graphics settings. Our review unit can play some games at higher resolutions and graphics in some cases, though. In short, the graphics core is not made for beyond 1080p gaming. Only a few games can be played at beyond that, typically more undemanding ones.

The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H
54.6 (min: 48, max: 62) fps ∼100% +22%
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H
53.1 (min: 50, max: 58, 99th percentile: 51) fps ∼97% +19%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H
52.2 fps ∼96% +17%
Average of class Gaming
  (12.6 - 115, n=369)
51.9 fps ∼95% +16%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H
44.7 fps ∼82%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H (Silent)
44.5 fps ∼82% 0%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H
34.4 (min: 26) fps ∼63% -23%
BioShock Infinite - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H
138 fps ∼100% +46%
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H
128 fps ∼93% +36%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H
107.4 fps ∼78% +14%
Average of class Gaming
  (9.7 - 266, n=370)
100 fps ∼72% +6%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H
94.2 fps ∼68%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H (Silent)
93.7 fps ∼68% -1%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H
86.1 (min: 3) fps ∼62% -9%
For Honor - 1920x1080 Extreme Preset AA:T AF:16x
Average of class Gaming
  (34.9 - 182, n=34)
97 fps ∼100% +24%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H
78.5 fps ∼81%
F1 2019 - 1920x1080 Ultra High Preset AA:T AF:16x
Average of class Gaming
  (10.8 - 152, n=34)
94.1 fps ∼100% +38%
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H
77 fps ∼82% +13%
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H
68 fps ∼72%
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H
59 (min: 53) fps ∼63% -13%

We also checked GPU performance under sustained load by running The Witcher 3 for about 60 minutes at 1080p and maximum graphics settings. We do not move the in-game character during this period, for reference. We observed no drop in framerates during this test.

05101520253035404550556065Tooltip
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 Radeon RX 5500M, R7 3750H, Kingston RBUSNS8154P3512GJ: Ø43.4 (38-48)
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G: Ø51.9 (47-58)
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, R7 3750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-256G: Ø49.5 (43-53)
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, i5-9300H, KBG30ZMS128G: Ø35.8 (32-38)
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, i7-9750H, WDC PC SN720 SDAPNTW-512G: Ø53.1 (50-58)
GPU information during The Witcher 3 endurance test
GPU information during The Witcher 3 endurance test
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 197.3 173.5 155 94.2 fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 173.6 129 73.3 44.7 fps
For Honor (2017) 184.3 102 97 78.5 fps
Ghost Recon Wildlands (2017) 73.1 52.9 50.3 27.1 fps
Final Fantasy XV Benchmark (2018) 90.9 57.7 30.8 fps
World of Tanks enCore (2018) 241.9 176.3 89.7 fps
F1 2019 (2019) 114 97 82 68 fps
Control (2019) 128.9 50.1 36.9 fps
Borderlands 3 (2019) 75.2 62.3 45 34.2 fps
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order (2019) 57.3 52.8 50.1 fps

Emissions - The fans in the Alpha 15 do not hold back

Our custom Dragon Center profile results in the fans running permanently. They are audible even when the system is idling, and at low loads too. While they generally operate at around 36 dB(A), we observed them reaching 46 dB(A) in both scenarios. Unsurprisingly, the fans get even louder under load. They reached 57 dB(A) during our stress test, for example, although they do not get quite as loud when gaming. During our The Witcher 3 test, the fans peaked at 51 dB(A), but that is still loud enough to need to have a headset to hand.

If you like things quiet to silent, then you must set the Alpha 15 to "Silent" within Dragon Center. This comes at the expense of performance, though. Additionally, it does not prevent the fans from occasionally switching on.

Noise Level

Idle
36 / 37 / 46 dB(A)
Load
50 / 57 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.339.736.129.734.62544.542.542.537.141.13136.934.935.630.533.14043.938.639.532.733.65037.433.235.229.630.66339.741.33227.8338042.228.128.125.843.810029.327.525.623.746.512529.827.424.724.831.616027.727.126.425.830.420028.725.924.222.232.725029.728.123.5213431536.533.231.820.537.940036.832.129.219.24150038.736.124.918.94263036.933.425.117.643.78003632.524.817.142.3100037.53425.517.143.4125038.935.426.317.945.4160038.834.825.317.545.6200040.837.525.117.347.3250040.937.123.717.347.9315036.43120.417.146.5400036.432.321.61744.550003933.722.917.645.5630033.929.419.817.142800028.624.117.61737.31000027.721.417.517.236.41250022.618.617.21733.21600019.317.917.116.827.9SPL49.845.936.329.756.8N7.15.32.51.311.3median 36.4median 32.1median 24.7median 17.5median 42Delta4.73.72.51.95.5hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseMSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
R7 3750H, Radeon RX 5500M
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
R7 3750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
Noise
15%
15%
9%
20%
off / environment *
29
30.2
-4%
30.2
-4%
30
-3%
29.3
-1%
Idle Minimum *
36
31
14%
31.5
12%
31
14%
29.3
19%
Idle Average *
37
31
16%
31.5
15%
32
14%
29.3
21%
Idle Maximum *
46
31
33%
31.5
32%
35
24%
29.3
36%
Load Average *
50
41.5
17%
41.4
17%
49
2%
35.7
29%
Witcher 3 ultra *
51
46.7
8%
43.7
14%
47
8%
44.2
13%
Load Maximum *
57
46.9
18%
45.5
20%
53
7%
45.6
20%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Our stress test, which we conducted by running FurMark and Prime95 for at least an hour, produced different results depending on whether the Alpha 15 was charging or not. When running from mains power, for example, the CPU managed about 3.3 GHz, with the GPU hovering at between 1,500 and 1,600 MHz. However, switching to battery power resulted in clock speeds dropping to between 2.6 and 2.8 GHz for the CPU and 200 to 400 MHz for the GPU. You should not encounter such heavy throttling in everyday life though, as we have designed our stress test to check whether machines remain stable under sustained load.

System information while playing The Witcher 3
System information while playing The Witcher 3
System information during a FurMark and Prime95 stress test
System information during a FurMark and Prime95 stress test
Heatmap of the top of the device under load
Heatmap of the top of the device under load
Heatmap of the bottom of the device under load
Heatmap of the bottom of the device under load

The Alpha 15 does not get excessively hot, either. During our stress test, for example, surface temperatures exceed 40 °C at most measuring points. However, they were a few degrees lower when playing The Witcher 3. In either case, the device is too hot to leave resting on your thighs or lap. You should have no such problems in everyday tasks, though.

Max. Load
 42 °C
108 F
44 °C
111 F
42 °C
108 F
 
 43 °C
109 F
44 °C
111 F
41 °C
106 F
 
 34 °C
93 F
37 °C
99 F
35 °C
95 F
 
Maximum: 44 °C = 111 F
Average: 40.2 °C = 104 F
46 °C
115 F
46 °C
115 F
43 °C
109 F
49 °C
120 F
47 °C
117 F
43 °C
109 F
34 °C
93 F
40 °C
104 F
39 °C
102 F
Maximum: 49 °C = 120 F
Average: 43 °C = 109 F
Power Supply (max.)  50 °C = 122 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 40.2 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 39.7 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 49 °C / 120 F, compared to the average of 42.5 °C / 109 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.6 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 37.3 °C / 99 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 37 °C / 98.6 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (-8.2 °C / -14.8 F).
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
R7 3750H, Radeon RX 5500M
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
R7 3750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
Heat
1%
6%
-3%
-20%
Maximum Upper Side *
44
52
-18%
44.8
-2%
49
-11%
42.7
3%
Maximum Bottom *
49
46.3
6%
40.8
17%
55
-12%
52.7
-8%
Idle Upper Side *
26
24.8
5%
25.4
2%
25
4%
33.1
-27%
Idle Bottom *
28
25.4
9%
26.6
5%
26
7%
41
-46%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

MSI has equipped the Alpha 15 with stereo speakers, which sit on the underside of the device. They sound decent to our ears, but while reproducing hardly any bass. Headphones or external speakers would offer a better listening experience than the stereo speakers here.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2029.7402537.146.83130.541.94032.738.85029.635.26327.835.48025.831.410023.732.912524.835.616025.84820022.249.22502150.131520.551.940019.25950018.957.863017.670.380017.177.1100017.185.4125017.981.5160017.576.5200017.377.6250017.374.3315017.178.640001778.2500017.675.3630017.175.380001779.11000017.279.5125001777.41600016.876.1SPL29.790.6N1.383.1median 17.5median 75.3Delta1.911.23433.43432.930.332.932.233.432.231.931.231.930.129.530.129.529.529.527.827.727.825.827.825.826.332.326.32439.52423.840.323.822.333.922.321.740.221.720.356.420.319.556.719.518.558.218.518.455.918.418.25918.217.661.217.617.460.617.417.459.917.417.561.517.517.658.417.617.76417.717.968.617.917.962.817.91862.21817.960.617.917.85317.817.946.417.930.374.130.31.431.81.4median 18median 58.2median 182.28.22.2hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseMSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (91 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 30.7% lower than median
(+) | bass is linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | reduced mids - on average 7.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (10% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2.2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (19.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 65% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 27% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 41% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 52% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (68 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 22.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 1.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.4% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 74% of all tested devices in this class were better, 5% similar, 21% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 18%, worst was 37%
Compared to all devices tested
» 50% of all tested devices were better, 9% similar, 42% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

Power Management - High power consumption and a small battery

Power Consumption

The Alpha 15 has above-average power consumption. When idling, for example, our review unit consumes up to 32 W, a value that we would only have expected if we had deactivated the integrated GPU. Moreover, we measured the device reaching 193 W during our stress test, a value that outstrips all but the Lenovo Legion Y540 of our comparison devices. Likewise, the Alpha 15 averaged around 123 W during our The Witcher 3 endurance test.

MSI includes a 180 W power supply in the box.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.7 / 0.9 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 14 / 18 / 32 Watt
Load midlight 64 / 193 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
R7 3750H, Radeon RX 5500M
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
R7 3750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile
Power Consumption
-12%
38%
34%
-2%
Idle Minimum *
14
17.2
-23%
3.4
76%
4
71%
14.5
-4%
Idle Average *
18
22.6
-26%
7.6
58%
7
61%
18.5
-3%
Idle Maximum *
32
25.5
20%
10.2
68%
12
62%
20
37%
Load Average *
64
88
-38%
73
-14%
95
-48%
81.6
-28%
Witcher 3 ultra *
123
107
13%
86
30%
132
-7%
Load Maximum *
193
177
8%
140.5
27%
135
30%
208.1
-8%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

MSI equips the Alpha 15 with a 51 Wh battery, which achieved a runtime of 4:05 hours in our practical Wi-Fi battery life test. We conduct this test by running a script that simulates the load required to open websites. We also deactivate any power-saving features and set the display brightness to about 150 cd/m².

Moreover, the 15.6-incher needed recharging after 3:54 hours of playing a looped H.264 video. Specifically, we run Big Buck Bunny in 1080p on a loop, during which all radio modules and power-saving features are disabled. We set the display to 150 cd/m² again, too.

Overall, the Alpha 15 has underwhelming battery life. We were unable to achieve any major improvements by switching profiles in Dragon Center, either. Even using the "Super Battery" profile only netted an additional 20 minutes in our Wi-Fi test.

We also re-ran these tests with our review unit equipped with one of our SSDs, on which we installed a fresh copy of Windows 10. We did not install any MSI software either to rule out any software abnormalities. Doing so resulted in a runtime of 4:45 hours with Windows 10 set to "Balanced" mode.

The Alpha 15 has a 51 Wh battery.
The Alpha 15 has a 51 Wh battery.
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 49min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge 44)
4h 05min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
3h 54min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 49min
MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034
R7 3750H, Radeon RX 5500M, 51 Wh
Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-79TY
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, 58.75 Wh
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng
R7 3750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, 52.5 Wh
Dell G5 15 5590-PCNJJ
i5-9300H, GeForce GTX 1650 Mobile, 60 Wh
Lenovo Legion Y540-15IRH-81SX00B2GE
i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, 57 Wh
Battery Runtime
2%
102%
137%
-6%
Reader / Idle
349
298
-15%
819
135%
867
148%
240
-31%
H.264
234
202
-14%
508
117%
WiFi v1.3
245
210
-14%
480
96%
482
97%
145
-41%
Load
49
73
49%
79
61%
131
167%
76
55%

Pros

+ matte IPS screen
+ 144 Hz refresh rate
+ FreeSync support
+ NVMe SSD
+ free SATA slot
+ backlit keyboard

Cons

- relatively high power consumption
- loud under load
- no Thunderbolt 3
- poor battery life

Verdict - A competent and compact midrange gaming laptop let down by loud fans and short battery life

The MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 laptop review. Test device courtesy of MSI Germany.
The MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 laptop review. Test device courtesy of MSI Germany.

MSI has, with the Alpha 15, created a decent midrange 15.6-inch gaming laptop. Its Ryzen 7 3750H APU and Radeon RX 5500M GPU allow the Alpha 15 to play all current games smoothly. As a rule, the Alpha 15 is a 1080p gaming laptop that can play titles at medium to high graphics. In some cases, the Alpha 15 can game at beyond these levels, but only in undemanding titles. Overall, the RX 5500M sits between the GeForce GTX 1650 and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q.

The Alpha 15 has comparatively high power consumption too, both under load and at idle. As a result, the runtimes from its 51 Wh battery are not particularly good. MSI should take another look at power management, in our opinion. The laptop also runs loudly, especially with the performance profile we used during our tests. If you do not necessarily need maximum performance, then you could use the Silent mode within MSI Dragon Center. This would at least be preferable for everyday use, anyway.

Essentially, the MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK is a successful mid-range gaming laptop. However, it suffers from weaknesses that MSI is yet to eradicate, if that is even possible.

MSI has equipped the device with a fast NVMe SSD, which offers 512 GB of storage. If that is not enough, then you could add a 2.5-inch SATA drive. MSI pre-installs the Alpha 15 with a SATA slot and mounting frame, too.

The device also has an adequately bright IPS panel, which has a matte finish and a native 1080p resolution. The panel has a good contrast ratio too, along with stable viewing angles, decent colour accuracy and short response times. It also supports AMD FreeSync technology. Additionally, the Alpha 15 has an adequate number of ports, but there is no Thunderbolt 3. The backlit keyboard is good enough for everyday use, too.

The Alpha 15 will not have an easy time asserting itself, though. Some competitors are significantly better value for money, for instance. The HP Pavilion Gaming 15-ec0017ng costs €1,150 (~$1259), a good €150 euros (~$164) less than our review unit. The Pavilion Gaming 15 offers a stronger GPU than the Alpha 15 too, along with quieter fans, lower surface temperatures, reduced power consumption and significantly better battery life.

MSI Alpha 15 A3DDK-034 -