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Razer Blade 15 vs. MSI GS65 RTX Edition: Sorry MSI, but Razer has the edge yet again

Razer Blade 15 vs. MSI GS65 RTX Edition: Sorry MSI, but Razer has the edge yet again
Razer Blade 15 vs. MSI GS65 RTX Edition: Sorry MSI, but Razer has the edge yet again
Slightly cooler, slightly quieter, slightly smaller, and slightly faster — the little things all add up for a more favorable experience on the Razer Blade 15.

If you've been shopping around for an ultrathin 15.6-inch gaming laptop, then chances are good that you've stumbled upon the MSI GS65 or Razer Blade 15. These two are some of the thinnest, smallest, and most photogenic gaming laptops in their category with very similar specifications and features between them.

For this comparison, we'll be taking a closer look at the MSI GS65 9SG and Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model each equipped with identical Intel 9th gen Core i7 CPUs, RTX 2080 Max-Q GPUs, 1080p/240 Hz displays, and even 512 GB Samsung PM981 SSDs to see which comes out on top. They may be alike on paper, but differences do begin to appear when you start digging deeper.

We recommend checking out our individual reviews on the MSI GS65 and Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model for more details and benchmark comparisons on each.

MSI GS65 9SGRazer Blade 15 Advanced Model
CPUCore i7-9750HCore i7-9750H
GPUGeForce RTX 2080 Max-QGeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Display15.6-inch, 240 Hz, 1080p, SHP14C5, Optimus, no G-Sync15.6-inch, 240 Hz, 1080p, SHP14C5, Optimus, no G-Sync
RAM32 GB DDR4-2666 (2x SODIMM)16 GB DDR4-2666 (2x SODIMM)
Storage2x M.2 2280 1x M.2 2280 
Battery82 Wh80 Wh
Ports3x USB Type-A
Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 2.0
mDP 1.2  
RJ-45
3.5 mm microphone
3.5 mm earphones
Kensington Lock 
3x USB Type-A
Thunderbolt 3
HDMI 2.0
mDP 1.4
3.5 mm combo audio
Kensington Lock
Dimensions17.9 x 358 x 248 mm17.8 x 355 x 235 mm
Weight1.97 kg2.21 kg

Case

Razer is the clear-cut winner in this round. It's smaller in every dimension whilst offering a more rigid chassis design for a tougher, more unyielding, and more luxurious first impression. It's about 200 g heavier, however, likely due to its large vapor chamber cooler when compared to MSI's more traditional approach with standard copper heat pipes.

Serviceability is indubitably easier on the Razer as well whereas the MSI system requires tearing an anti-tamper sticker. The SODIMM and M.2 slots are more difficult to access on the MSI.

(June 7, 2019 correction: Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model has a single M.2 slot versus two on the MSI)

Ports

The GS65 includes RJ-45 and a dedicated 3.5 mm mic port not found on the Razer. Port positioning, however, is arguably better on the Razer whereas all the ports on the MSI are close to the front.

CPU Performance 

The MSI system is slightly better at maintaining faster Turbo Boost clock rates than the Razer. As shown by our CineBench R15 Multi-Thread loop test graph below, both systems start out with nearly identical scores. After several loops to account for throttling, however, the CPU in the MSI can outperform the same CPU in the Razer by about 6 to 7 percent.

Running Prime95 reaffirms our observations. The MSI system stabilizes at 3.2 to 3.3 GHz whereas the Razer stabilizes slightly slower at 3.0 to 3.1 GHz.

GPU Performance

In contrast to the above, the Blade 15 has the faster-performing RTX 2080 Max-Q by about 8 to 9 percent according to 3DMark benchmarks. This is at least partially attributed to the faster GPU clock rates of the Razer. When running Witcher 3, for example, the Blade 15 GPU stabilizes at 1350 MHz compared to 1260 MHz on the GS65.

Temperatures

Core temperatures are within a few degrees of one another when gaming with the Razer being just slightly cooler. The CPU and GPU in the MSI stabilize at around 81 C and 71 C, respectively, compared to 79 C and 69 C on the Razer. Activating "Cooler Boost" mode on the MSI system will bump temperatures down even more albeit at the cost of significantly louder fan noise (55 dB(A)) than on the Razer.

Surface temperatures are a mixed bag. The palm rests are cooler and the WASD keys are warmer on the MSI whereas the opposite is true on the Razer. The bottom hot spot on the MSI is especially warmer than the Razer at about 58 C. Comfort is down to user preference especially when it comes to the clickpad, keyboard layout, and key feedback.

Display

Both systems utilize the same 1080p 240 Hz IPS panel from Sharp with nearly identical response times, brightness, gamut, and contrast levels. Thus, the visual experience is almost the same between the two laptops. Interestingly, the MSI panel is ever-so-slightly better calibrated out of the box.

Fan Noise

When gaming, both laptops are about the same at 45 to 46 dB(A) each. When browsing, streaming, or emailing, the Blade 15 is generally the quieter machine as it is less likely to pulse and can remain quieter for longer before needing to kick start the fans.

Power Consumption

The Blade 15 may be 9 percent better in terms of GPU performance, but it consumes about 14 percent more power than the GS65 when gaming. Running Witcher 3 draws 162 W on the Razer compared to 143 W on the MSI.

The opposite is true during very low processing loads. Idling on desktop draws less power on the Blade 15 than on the GS65 to suggest more efficient management of background activity on the Razer. We're able to record between 12 W and 21 W on the Razer compared to 18 W and 29 W on the MSI.

Battery Life

Speaking of power efficiency, the more efficient Razer is able to edge out the MSI in battery life. Real-world WLAN load lasts about 30 minutes longer on the Razer than on the MSI even though both systems are equipped with nearly identical battery capacities.

Verdict

The Razer Blade 15 is marginally smaller, cooler, tougher, quieter, longer-lasting, more serviceable, and with faster GPU performance than the MSI GS65. The differences are generally minuscule, but they all slowly add up to Razer's favor for a more refined experience overall.

The MSI system still has a few advantages going for it. It's noticeably lighter with slightly faster processor performance while hardcore gamers will appreciate the integrated RJ-45 port. Since most games are GPU bound, however, the Razer system will still have the performance advantage when gaming.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model with RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, 240 Hz display, 512 GB SSD, and 16 GB of RAM can be found for $3000 USD while the MSI GS65 9SG with similar specifications and double the RAM can also be found for $3000 USD. The GS65 would have to retail for a bit less than the Razer when considering its shorter list of strengths.

MSI GS65 9SGRazer Blade 15 Advanced Model
Advantages

+ Slightly faster CPU performance
+ Lighter
+ RJ-45 and dedicated 3.5 mm mic port
+ Wider clickpad
+ Louder speakers
+ Cooler palm rests
+ 2x M.2 slots

+ Slightly faster GPU performance
+ Smaller in every dimension
+ Stronger build quality
+ Taller clickpad
+ Slightly longer battery life
+ Generally quieter
+ More accessible M.2 and SODIMM slots
+ Cooler WASD keys
+ Smaller AC adapter

Size Comparison

358 mm / 14.1 inch 248 mm / 9.76 inch 18 mm / 0.709 inch 2 kg4.35 lbs355 mm / 14 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17.8 mm / 0.701 inch 2.2 kg4.87 lbs
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MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG Intel Core i7-9750H, Intel Core i7-9750H: Ø1110 (975.73-1185.01)
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q Intel Core i7-9750H, Intel Core i7-9750H: Ø1056 (1046.13-1175)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-9750H
175 Points ∼100%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Core i7-9750H
174 Points ∼99%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Intel Core i7-9750H
1175 Points ∼100%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Intel Core i7-9750H
1126 Points ∼96%
PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7236 Points ∼100%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7090 Points ∼98%
Productivity
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
8200 Points ∼100%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
7657 Points ∼93%
Essentials
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
9380 Points ∼100%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
9109 Points ∼97%
Score
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5839 Points ∼100%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5725 Points ∼98%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5751 Points ∼100%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
5749 Points ∼100%
Home Score Accelerated v2
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4454 Points ∼100%
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 9750H, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
4380 Points ∼98%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
7840 Points ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (6464 - 8844, n=13)
7763 Points ∼99%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
7266 Points ∼93%
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Graphics
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
4705 Points ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (4039 - 5149, n=10)
4618 Points ∼98%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
4325 Points ∼92%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
20718 Points ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (18048 - 23032, n=13)
20314 Points ∼98%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
18962 Points ∼92%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
27762 Points ∼100%
Average NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
  (23386 - 30910, n=14)
27388 Points ∼99%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
24926 Points ∼90%
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP14C5), IPS, 1920x1080
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
Sharp LQ156M1JW03 (SHP14C5), IPS, 1920x1080
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
13.6 (8, 5.6)
12.8 (6.8, 6)
Response Time Black / White *
12 (7.6, 4.4)
10.4 (6, 4.4)
PWM Frequency
23260 (19)
23810 (10)
Screen
Brightness middle
282.3
293
Brightness
269
270
Brightness Distribution
90
87
Black Level *
0.32
0.29
Contrast
882
1010
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
1.17
1.69
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
3.29
3.37
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.06
1.24
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
1.3
2.3
Gamma
2.2 100%
2.3 96%
CCT
6643 98%
6758 96%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
63.8
63
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
97.5
98.5
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Noise
off / environment *
28.3
28.3
Idle Minimum *
30.4
28.8
Idle Average *
30.5
28.8
Idle Maximum *
30.6
29
Load Average *
37.6
33.5
Witcher 3 ultra *
46
45
Load Maximum *
55.1
45.2

* ... smaller is better

MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 82 Wh
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q, 80 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
953
WiFi v1.3
362
393
Load
102
MSI GS65 Stealth 9SG
9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Razer Blade 15 RTX 2080 Max-Q
9750H, GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
18.3
12.5
Idle Average *
22
15.3
Idle Maximum *
28.8
20.7
Load Average *
93
90.2
Load Maximum *
215.9
209.3
Witcher 3 ultra *
142.6
162

* ... smaller is better

MSI GS65 9SG running Witcher 3 (top)
MSI GS65 9SG running Witcher 3 (top)
MSI GS65 9SG running Witcher 3 (bottom)
MSI GS65 9SG running Witcher 3 (bottom)
Razer Blade 15 running Witcher 3 (top)
Razer Blade 15 running Witcher 3 (top)
Razer Blade 15 running Witcher 3 (bottom)
Razer Blade 15 running Witcher 3 (bottom)
MSI GS65 9SG. 14 x 6.5 cm clickpad
MSI GS65 9SG. 14 x 6.5 cm clickpad
MSI GS65 9SG. Upgrading requires additional disassembly
MSI GS65 9SG. Upgrading requires additional disassembly
Razer Blade 15. 13 x 8 cm clickpad
Razer Blade 15. 13 x 8 cm clickpad
Razer Blade 15. Easily serviceable SODIMM and M.2 slots. There is only one M.2 slot, however
Razer Blade 15. Easily serviceable SODIMM and M.2 slots. There is only one M.2 slot, however
MSI GS65 9SG running Prime95
MSI GS65 9SG running Prime95
MSI GS65 9SG running Witcher 3
MSI GS65 9SG running Witcher 3
Razer Blade 15 running Prime95
Razer Blade 15 running Prime95
Razer Blade 15 running Witcher 3
Razer Blade 15 running Witcher 3
MSI GS65 9SG
MSI GS65 9SG
Razer Blade 15
Razer Blade 15
MSI GS65 9SG Grayscale
MSI GS65 9SG Grayscale
MSI GS65 9SG Colors
MSI GS65 9SG Colors
Razer Blade 15 Grayscale
Razer Blade 15 Grayscale
Razer Blade 15 Colors
Razer Blade 15 Colors
MSI GS65 9SG pink noise at maximum volume
MSI GS65 9SG pink noise at maximum volume
Razer Blade 15 pink noise at maximum volume
Razer Blade 15 pink noise at maximum volume
MSI GS65 9SG GPU-Z
MSI GS65 9SG GPU-Z
Razer Blade 15 GPU-Z
Razer Blade 15 GPU-Z
MSI GS65
MSI GS65
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 06 > Razer Blade 15 vs. MSI GS65 RTX Edition: Sorry MSI, but Razer has the edge yet again
Allen Ngo, 2019-06- 7 (Update: 2019-06- 8)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.