Notebookcheck

MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG (i7-9750H, RTX 2080 Max-Q) Laptop Review

Now with a super-wide clickpad. MSI has refreshed its eye-catching GS65 with faster graphics, faster processors, faster refresh rate, and an enlarged touchpad for more comfortable use. At $3000, however, we wouldn't expect anything less.

MSI has refreshed its GS65 series for 2019 with new Intel 9th gen CPUs and Nvidia Turing GPUs to replace last year's SKUs equipped with Intel 8th gen CPUs and Nvidia Pascal GPUs. The latest configurations range from the Core i7-9750H up to the Core i9-9880H with GeForce RTX 2060 graphics up to the RTX 2080 Max-Q. Display options include only 144 Hz or 240 Hz at 1080p with no 4K UHD as of this writing.

Other than the above changes, the new GS65 9SG/9SF/9SE SKUs are visually identical to last year's 8RE/8RF with only a few notable exceptions that we will detail below. We recommend checking out our earlier reviews on the GS65 8RE and 8RF for more information on the chassis and its features as nearly all our comments still apply here.

The GS65 9SG test unit we have today carries a Core i7-9750H with RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, 240 Hz IPS display, and a 512 GB NVMe SSD for $3000 USD on Xotic PC. Of course, lesser SKUs are available for up to $1000 less. Direct competitors include other super-thin gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 15, Asus Zephyrus S GX531, Aorus 15, Lenovo Legion Y740, Alienware m15, and the Acer Predator Helios 500. Users who want more budget offerings can still look at the entry-level MSI GP or GF series or the Asus TUF FX505DY series.

More MSI GS reviews:

MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG (GS65 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q - 8192 MB, Core: 835 MHz, Memory: 1500 MHz, GDDR6, 430.86, Optimus
Memory
32768 MB 
, DDR4-2666, 19-19-19-43, Dual-Channel
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP14C5), IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM370
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, 512 GB 
Soundcard
NVIDIA TU104 - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 20Gbps, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm microphone, 3.5 mm earphones
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18 x 358 x 248 ( = 0.71 x 14.09 x 9.76 in)
Battery
82 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p30
Additional features
Speakers: 2x 2W Speaker, Keyboard: Chiclet SteelSeries, Keyboard Light: yes, MSI Dragon Center, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.971 kg ( = 69.53 oz / 4.35 pounds), Power Supply: 865 g ( = 30.51 oz / 1.91 pounds)
Price
2500 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

362 mm / 14.3 inch 265 mm / 10.4 inch 25 mm / 0.984 inch 2.3 kg4.97 lbs363 mm / 14.3 inch 275 mm / 10.8 inch 21 mm / 0.827 inch 2.2 kg4.76 lbs358 mm / 14.1 inch 248 mm / 9.76 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 2 kg4.35 lbs360 mm / 14.2 inch 268 mm / 10.6 inch 15.75 mm / 0.62 inch 2.1 kg4.63 lbs356 mm / 14 inch 250 mm / 9.84 inch 19 mm / 0.748 inch 2.1 kg4.68 lbs355 mm / 14 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17.8 mm / 0.701 inch 2.2 kg4.87 lbs

Connectivity

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, AC adapter
Right: 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, AC adapter
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: Kensington Lock, Gigabit RJ-45, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 3.5 mm gold-plated headphones, 3.5 mm gold-plated microphone
Left: Kensington Lock, Gigabit RJ-45, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 3.5 mm gold-plated headphones, 3.5 mm gold-plated microphone

Communication

Removable M.2 WLAN module
Removable M.2 WLAN module
Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
696 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
688 MBit/s ∼99% +4%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
661 MBit/s ∼95% 0%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
659 MBit/s ∼95%
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
596 MBit/s ∼86% -10%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
718 MBit/s ∼100% +16%
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
678 MBit/s ∼94% +9%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
644 MBit/s ∼90% +4%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
620 MBit/s ∼86%
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
Killer Wireless-AC 1550i Wireless Network Adapter (9560NGW)
588 MBit/s ∼82% -5%

Maintenance

RAM and storage bays are not easily serviceable. Opening the bottom panel requires tearing an anti-tamper sticker
RAM and storage bays are not easily serviceable. Opening the bottom panel requires tearing an anti-tamper sticker

Warranty

The standard one-year limited manufacturer warranty applies. Users who register their laptops within 30 days of purchase will also receive one year of accidental damage coverage. Xotic PC also offers one-year warranty on any customized components with extended warranty options if desired.

Input Devices

Touchpad

The Precision-enabled clickpad has increased in surface area from 10.5 x 7 cm on last year's GS65 8RF to 14 x 6.5 cm on this latest iteration. This is definitely the easiest way to tell the difference between a GS65 with 8th gen Intel versus a GS65 with 9th gen Intel. Everything else remains identical including the per-key RGB keyboard and textures of the keys and clickpad. The integrated mouse keys offer moderate feedback with an audible click when pressed. Expect fingerprints to accumulate quickly.

Wider and more comfortable clickpad than last year's model
Wider and more comfortable clickpad than last year's model
Keys are shallow in travel with quiet and satisfactory feedback
Keys are shallow in travel with quiet and satisfactory feedback

Display

Two display options are available: 144 Hz or 240 Hz. Both are FHD IPS panels with no OLED, 4K UHD, or touchscreen features to speak of. Our particular test unit is equipped with a 240 Hz panel that just so happens to be the same 240 Hz Sharp LQ156M1JW03 panel as found on the latest Razer Blade 15. Thus, these two systems share very similar response times, contrast ratios, gamut, and screen clarity. Even the brightness of the two displays are very close at just under 300 nits. All of our comments on the 240 Hz Blade 15 display apply here on our MSI GS65. In short, it's hard to go back to 60 Hz once you become accustomed to 144 Hz or 240 Hz displays.

We're surprised to find essentially no uneven backlight bleeding on our test unit. Most IPS displays have at least some uneven bleeding around the corners or edges of the screen, but this is not the case here. Texts and images are also crisp with no major graininess issues commonly associated with matte panels.

No edge-to-edge glass or 4K UHD option
No edge-to-edge glass or 4K UHD option
Same narrow bezels as last year's model
Same narrow bezels as last year's model
Matte subpixel array
Matte subpixel array
No noticeable uneven backlight bleeding
No noticeable uneven backlight bleeding
255.9
cd/m²
285.9
cd/m²
260.2
cd/m²
261.8
cd/m²
282.3
cd/m²
259.8
cd/m²
272.3
cd/m²
272.9
cd/m²
268
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 285.9 cd/m² Average: 268.8 cd/m² Minimum: 14.97 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Center on Battery: 282.3 cd/m²
Contrast: 882:1 (Black: 0.32 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 1.17 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1, calibrated: 1.06
ΔE Greyscale 1.3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
97.5% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 63.8% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.2
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP14C5), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP14C5), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
LP156WFG-SPB2, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
AU Optronics B156HAN08.2, IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP14C5), IGZO, 15.6, 1920x1080
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
AU Optronics B156HAN08.0 (AUO80ED), IPS, 15.6, 1920x1080
Response Times
7%
-24%
35%
-1%
-18%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
13.6 (8, 5.6)
12.8 (6.8, 6)
6%
18.8 (11.6, 7.2)
-38%
7 (3.6, 3.4)
49%
15.2 (7.6, 7.6)
-12%
17.6 (9.2, 8.4)
-29%
Response Time Black / White *
12 (7.6, 4.4)
10.4 (6, 4.4)
13%
13.2 (8, 5.2)
-10%
9.6 (4.4, 5.2)
20%
11.2 (6.8, 4.4)
7%
12.8 (7.6, 5.2)
-7%
PWM Frequency
23260 (19)
23810 (10)
2%
23580 (24)
1%
Screen
-10%
-53%
-44%
-36%
-19%
Brightness middle
282.3
293
4%
320.4
13%
323.6
15%
266
-6%
254
-10%
Brightness
269
270
0%
298
11%
315
17%
248
-8%
262
-3%
Brightness Distribution
90
87
-3%
85
-6%
91
1%
89
-1%
89
-1%
Black Level *
0.32
0.29
9%
0.42
-31%
0.29
9%
0.31
3%
0.22
31%
Contrast
882
1010
15%
763
-13%
1116
27%
858
-3%
1155
31%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.17
1.69
-44%
3.21
-174%
3.31
-183%
2.78
-138%
2.37
-103%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
3.29
3.37
-2%
5.54
-68%
5.74
-74%
5.96
-81%
4.71
-43%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.06
1.24
-17%
2.36
-123%
2.73
-158%
0.91
14%
1.84
-74%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.3
2.3
-77%
3.6
-177%
2.9
-123%
3.58
-175%
1.58
-22%
Gamma
2.2 100%
2.3 96%
2.27 97%
2.29 96%
2.46 89%
2.48 89%
CCT
6643 98%
6758 96%
6503 100%
6765 96%
7186 90%
6785 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63.8
63
-1%
59
-8%
59.7
-6%
62
-3%
60
-6%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97.5
98.5
1%
92
-6%
91.8
-6%
96
-2%
92
-6%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-2% / -7%
-39% / -48%
-5% / -32%
-19% / -29%
-19% / -19%

* ... smaller is better

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB

Further measurements with an X-Rite colorimeter show a very accurate panel out of the box. Average DeltaE grayscale and color values sit at just 1.3 and 1.17, respectively, to show that no end-user calibration is necessary for sRGB. If we are to nitpick, both Red and Blue are represented less accurately than all other primary or secondary tested colors, but you'd be hard pressed to notice even with a trained eye.

Grayscale before calibration
Grayscale before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
Saturation Sweeps before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
ColorChecker before calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Grayscale after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
Saturation Sweeps after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration
ColorChecker after calibration

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
12 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7.6 ms rise
↘ 4.4 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 (25.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
13.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8 ms rise
↘ 5.6 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 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 7 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (40.4 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 detected 23260 Hz ≤ 19 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 23260 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 19 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 23260 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9533 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is similar to the Blade 15. In other words, expect to squint if working under sunlight or on a cloudy day. Most Ultrabooks, like the XPS 15 or MacBook Pro 15, have brighter displays than what is offered here. Viewing angles are otherwise excellent with only slight impact to contrast levels if viewing from abnormally obtuse angles.

Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

Processor

CineBench R15
CineBench R15

Multi-thread CPU performance is about 11 percent faster than the Core i7-8750H as found on last year's GS65 8RE. Our newer GS65 9SG is able to maintain faster Turbo Boost clock rates as well and so it remains faster even after accounting for any throttling. Performance is also slightly better than on the Zephyrus S GX502GW equipped with the same i7-9750H CPU due to poorer Turbo Boost sustainability on the Asus.

There are some small dips in performance throughout the stress test, however, as shown by our graph below. This could simply be due to background activity as performance eventually jumps back up to normal. There are, after all, pre-loaded apps like Dragon Center and Norton Anti-Virus. The stability of the system is not affected.

See our dedicated page on the Core i9-9750H for more technical information and benchmarks.

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MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1110 (975.73-1185.01)
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø991 (974.33-1083.86)
Alienware m15 P79F GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G; CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1123 (1106.07-1188.78)
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 9750H, 2x Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8 (RAID 0); CPU Multi 64Bit: Ø1040 (1017.76-1182)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Intel Core i9-8950HK
205 Points ∼94% +18%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
189 Points ∼87% +9%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H
  (173 - 194, n=9)
182 Points ∼83% +5%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Core i7-9750H
177 Points ∼81% +2%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
Intel Core i7-8750H
175 Points ∼80% +1%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Core i7-9750H
174 Points ∼80%
MSI GF63 8RC-040XPL
Intel Core i5-8300H
171 Points ∼78% -2%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP930QAA
Intel Core i7-8550U
154 Points ∼71% -11%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
150 Points ∼69% -14%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
144 Points ∼66% -17%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
144 Points ∼66% -17%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
1721 Points ∼39% +53%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Intel Core i9-8950HK
1378 Points ∼31% +22%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H
  (1115 - 1300, n=9)
1183 Points ∼27% +5%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Core i7-9750H
1182 Points ∼27% +5%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Core i7-9750H
1126 Points ∼26%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
Intel Core i7-8750H
1011 Points ∼23% -10%
MSI GF63 8RC-040XPL
Intel Core i5-8300H
805 Points ∼18% -29%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
805 Points ∼18% -29%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
734 Points ∼17% -35%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
661 Points ∼15% -41%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP930QAA
Intel Core i7-8550U
497 Points ∼11% -56%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Intel Core i9-8950HK
2.33 Points ∼95%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
2.11 Points ∼86%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
1.73 Points ∼71%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
1.71 Points ∼70%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
1.64 Points ∼67%
CPU Multi 64Bit
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
18.94 Points ∼70%
MSI GT75 8RG-090 Titan
Intel Core i9-8950HK
15.05 Points ∼56%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
9.21 Points ∼34%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
8.08 Points ∼30%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
7.53 Points ∼28%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
6967 Points ∼64%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H
  (6659 - 7214, n=3)
6859 Points ∼63%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
5528 Points ∼51%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
4770 Points ∼44%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
42456 Points ∼85%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H
  (33467 - 35717, n=3)
34293 Points ∼69%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
21839 Points ∼44%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
20687 Points ∼42%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m
MSI GF63 8RC-040XPL
Intel Core i5-8300H
278.469 s * ∼3%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
212.96 s * ∼3%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
197.075 s * ∼2%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
118.733 s * ∼1%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - ---
Average Intel Core i7-9750H
  (8.3 - 10931, n=6)
5402 Seconds * ∼24%
Asus ROG GA502DU
AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
649.703 Seconds * ∼3%
MSI GF62VR 7RF-877
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
550.75 Seconds * ∼2%
MSI GF63 8RC-040XPL
Intel Core i5-8300H
545.627 Seconds * ∼2%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H
476.493 Seconds * ∼2%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
174 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
1126 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
107.77 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks rank our GS65 in the same ballpark as other high-performance ultrathin laptops including the new Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic. We didn't experience any software or hardware issues during our time with the test unit.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
8163 Points ∼73% +15%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7236 Points ∼65% +2%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (7090 - 7236, n=2)
7163 Points ∼64% +1%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7090 Points ∼63%
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 9750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
6888 Points ∼62% -3%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6775 Points ∼61% -4%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
6272 Points ∼56% -12%
Productivity
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8200 Points ∼85% +7%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (7657 - 8200, n=2)
7929 Points ∼82% +4%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
7793 Points ∼80% +2%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7750 Points ∼80% +1%
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 9750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
7695 Points ∼79% 0%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7657 Points ∼79%
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
7351 Points ∼76% -4%
Essentials
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
9486 Points ∼89% +1%
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 9750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
9472 Points ∼89% +1%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
9380 Points ∼88%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (9109 - 9380, n=2)
9245 Points ∼87% -1%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
9109 Points ∼85% -3%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
8875 Points ∼83% -5%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
6838 Points ∼64% -27%
Score
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
5941 Points ∼77% +4%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5839 Points ∼75% +2%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (5725 - 5839, n=2)
5782 Points ∼74% +1%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5725 Points ∼74%
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 9750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
5697 Points ∼73% 0%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5426 Points ∼70% -5%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5095 Points ∼66% -11%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 9750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
6035 Points ∼93% +5%
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
5852 Points ∼90% +2%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5751 Points ∼88%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (5749 - 5751, n=2)
5750 Points ∼88% 0%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5749 Points ∼88% 0%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5621 Points ∼86% -2%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
5407 Points ∼83% -6%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
5115 Points ∼84% +15%
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 9750H, Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
4851 Points ∼80% +9%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4665 Points ∼77% +5%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4454 Points ∼73%
Alienware m15 GTX 1070 Max-Q
GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H, Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G
4418 Points ∼73% -1%
Average Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (4380 - 4454, n=2)
4417 Points ∼72% -1%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4380 Points ∼72% -2%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4454 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5751 points
Help

Storage Devices

Two internal M.2 NVMe slots are available, but they continue to be more difficult to access than on most other laptops since they sit underneath the motherboard. Our particular test unit comes with a 512 GB Samsung SSD PM981 which is exactly the same SSD as found on last year's GS65 8RF. The Samsung PM981 series offers some of the fastest and most balanced read and write rates when compared to alternatives from Toshiba, Lite-On, or Intel.

See our growing table of HDDs and SSDs for more benchmark comparisons.

The M.2 SSD can be seen here, but good luck trying to upgrade it
The M.2 SSD can be seen here, but good luck trying to upgrade it
CDM 5.5
CDM 5.5
AS SSD
AS SSD
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Lenovo Legion Y740-15ICHg
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB256HAHQ
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
Intel SSD 660p SSDPEKNW512G8
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
Gigabyte Aero 15 Classic-XA
Intel SSD 760p SSDPEKKW512G8
AS SSD
-5%
-23%
-42%
-6%
-21%
Copy Game MB/s
1554.28
976.6
-37%
1164.53
-25%
811.76
-48%
1140.57
-27%
Copy Program MB/s
712.72
496.53
-30%
478.19
-33%
702.66
-1%
454.24
-36%
Copy ISO MB/s
3024.87
2082.66
-31%
1872.47
-38%
1236.22
-59%
2085.95
-31%
Score Total
4230
4221
0%
3230
-24%
1654
-61%
4122
-3%
2870
-32%
Score Write
1991
2102
6%
1752
-12%
910
-54%
2051
3%
1141
-43%
Score Read
1490
1394
-6%
985
-34%
492
-67%
1346
-10%
1186
-20%
Access Time Write *
0.036
0.034
6%
0.043
-19%
0.047
-31%
0.035
3%
0.065
-81%
Access Time Read *
0.054
0.05
7%
0.077
-43%
0.073
-35%
0.073
-35%
0.042
22%
4K-64 Write
1729.71
1807.21
4%
1500.92
-13%
721.96
-58%
1760.16
2%
921.88
-47%
4K-64 Read
1240.56
1159.06
-7%
756.72
-39%
322.05
-74%
1170.26
-6%
875.61
-29%
4K Write
103.79
108.34
4%
88.05
-15%
95.65
-8%
107.15
3%
126.51
22%
4K Read
49.33
52.08
6%
33.2
-33%
45.74
-7%
48.94
-1%
59.11
20%
Seq Write
1579.5
1864.07
18%
1629.24
3%
920.07
-42%
1834.04
16%
923.81
-42%
Seq Read
2004.98
1832.18
-9%
1952.51
-3%
1238.57
-38%
1266.1
-37%
2516.94
26%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
CDM 5/6 Read Seq Q32T1: 3395 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write Seq Q32T1: 1922 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K Q32T1: 417.4 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K Q32T1: 308.3 MB/s
CDM 5 Read Seq: 2051 MB/s
CDM 5 Write Seq: 1915 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Read 4K: 40.73 MB/s
CDM 5/6 Write 4K: 91.32 MB/s

GPU Performance

The RTX 2080 Max-Q is a powerful GPU, but it may not be as powerful as you think. We've already proven that the performance delta between the RTX 2070 Max-Q and RTX 2080 Max-Q is quite small when compared to the delta between the GTX 1070 Max-Q and GTX 1080 Max-Q and this remains true on the new GS65 9SG. Its RTX 2080 Max-Q is merely 4 to 8 percent faster than the RTX 2070 Max-Q in the Razer Blade 15. Still, owners can expect a performance level very similar to the standard non-Max-Q RTX 2070 for laptops.

Running the system on maximum fan speed (Cooler Boost mode) will not increase GPU performance. A Time Spy run on Cooler Boost mode returns Physics and Graphics scores of 6690 and 7143, respectively, compared to 6282 and 7266 points when on the standard Balanced Mode.

Interestingly, the Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX with the same RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU is able to outperform our MSI by about 12 percent albeit at the cost of louder fan noise.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Port Royal
Port Royal
Time Spy
Time Spy
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark
2560x1440 Port Royal Graphics
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9880H
5538 Points ∼93% +30%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H
4495 Points ∼76% +5%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H
4275 Points ∼72%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (3698 - 4655, n=9)
4192 Points ∼71% -2%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 9750H
3958 Points ∼67% -7%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
3679 Points ∼62% -14%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop), 8750H
3168 Points ∼53% -26%
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop), 2700X
11294 Points ∼79% +55%
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9880H
9754 Points ∼69% +34%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H
8171 Points ∼57% +12%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (6464 - 8512, n=9)
7580 Points ∼53% +4%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 9750H
7277 Points ∼51% 0%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H
7266 Points ∼51%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
6728 Points ∼47% -7%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
6606 Points ∼46% -9%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop), 8750H
6007 Points ∼42% -17%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
5689 Points ∼40% -22%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
4548 Points ∼32% -37%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop), 2700X
27620 Points ∼68% +46%
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9880H
24623 Points ∼61% +30%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H
21237 Points ∼52% +12%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
20307 Points ∼50% +7%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (18048 - 21515, n=9)
19989 Points ∼49% +5%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 9750H
19123 Points ∼47% +1%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H
18962 Points ∼47%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
18153 Points ∼45% -4%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
17792 Points ∼44% -6%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop), 8750H
15501 Points ∼38% -18%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
14780 Points ∼36% -22%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
14394 Points ∼35% -24%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
11814 Points ∼29% -38%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
6262 Points ∼15% -67%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9880H
16523 Points ∼73% +30%
MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop), 2700X
13644 Points ∼60% +7%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H
12732 Points ∼56%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (10893 - 12732, n=10)
11796 Points ∼52% -7%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H
11561 Points ∼51% -9%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
11288 Points ∼50% -11%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 9750H
10866 Points ∼48% -15%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
10749 Points ∼48% -16%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
10663 Points ∼47% -16%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
10475 Points ∼46% -18%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
10020 Points ∼44% -21%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop), 8750H
9981 Points ∼44% -22%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
7573 Points ∼33% -41%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
5792 Points ∼26% -55%
1280x720 Performance GPU
MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop), 2700X
37989 Points ∼75% +52%
MSI GE75 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop), 9880H
34050 Points ∼67% +37%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 8750H
28997 Points ∼57% +16%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop), 7820HK
27109 Points ∼53% +9%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (23386 - 29453, n=10)
27077 Points ∼53% +9%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H
24926 Points ∼49%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop), 9750H
24267 Points ∼48% -3%
Alienware 17 R5
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop), 8750H
23414 Points ∼46% -6%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, 8750H
22723 Points ∼45% -9%
Aorus 15 W9
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop), 8750H
20464 Points ∼40% -18%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 8750H
18687 Points ∼37% -25%
MSI GS63VR 7RG-005
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q, 7700HQ
18205 Points ∼36% -27%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 8750H
14879 Points ∼29% -40%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop), 2700U
8451 Points ∼17% -66%
3DMark 11 Performance
20209 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
37220 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
16598 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
7099 points
Help

Gaming Performance

As suggested by the 3DMark results above, real-world gaming performance is close to the RTX 2070 for laptops. All the latest titles should run without a hitch especially at the "low" native resolution of 1080p.

What users shouldn't expect, however is reaching a stable 240 FPS at 1080p on most modern titles. While possible on Fortnite and Rocket League at Medium settings, users should instead aim for stable frame rates that are divisors of 240 to reduce or eliminate tearing. Users would still be able to exploit the advantages of a native 240 Hz panel this way without reaching 240 FPS.

Idling on Witcher 3 shows no recurring frame dips to suggest no interrupting background activity when gaming.

See our dedicated page on the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q for more technical information and benchmark comparisons.

The Witcher 3 - 1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop)
109 (min: 94, max: 120) fps ∼100% +63%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop)
95.3 fps ∼87% +42%
Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
80.3 fps ∼74% +20%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (65.7 - 81.7, n=12)
75.8 fps ∼70% +13%
Asus Zephyrus S GX502GW
Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Laptop)
70.2 (min: 58) fps ∼64% +5%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2070 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
68.9 fps ∼63% +3%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
66.9 fps ∼61%
HP Omen X 17-ap0xx
Intel Core i7-7820HK, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Laptop)
65 fps ∼60% -3%
Alienware 17 R5
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (Laptop)
60.8 fps ∼56% -9%
Aorus 15 W9
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 (Laptop)
58 fps ∼53% -13%
MSI GS65 8RF-019DE Stealth Thin
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
52.7 fps ∼48% -21%
MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE-051US
Intel Core i7-8750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop)
40 fps ∼37% -40%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U, AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
20.6 fps ∼19% -69%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 1920x1080 Highest Preset AA:T
MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Desktop)
110 fps ∼100% +31%
MSI GE75 9SG
Intel Core i9-9880H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 (Laptop)
109 fps ∼99% +30%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
84 fps ∼76%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (71 - 84, n=4)
77 fps ∼70% -8%
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-42-R6V0
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U, AMD Radeon RX 560X (Laptop)
23 fps ∼21% -73%
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