Sucking wind: MSI GL75 suffers from loud fans and potential coil whine
Our recent review of the MSI GL75 portrays the machine as something of a mixed bag. While we found a few things we liked about the GL75, a few annoyances kept the laptop from getting a recommendation.
Let's start with the highlights. The 120 Hz display is a nice touch considering the price (US $1500), and CPU's (Intel Core i7-9750H) and GPU's (Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060) performance are both above-average. The SteelSeries keyboard feels as comfortable as ever, and its per-key RGB backlight is a neat party trick. Lastly, the speakers are quite good for a laptop and offer a full and rich media experience.
Sadly, it's all downhill from there. The build quality feels cheap, the display is far too dim and dull for bright environments, and the machine still suffers from the plagues of MSI laptops: middling battery life and a slow SD card reader.
However, the Achilles Heel of the GL75 is system noise. Our unit exhibits noticeable coil whine from a normal sitting distance, even when there is some ambient noise (e.g., light office chatter). Further, the fans are extremely aggressive and tend to ramp up quickly under the standard fan profile. We routinely measured fan noise in excess of 50 dB(A) during gameplay sessions, so headphones are a must-have. (We should note that the Dragon Center software has two fan modes that restrict fan speed for quieter operation. However, these modes may result in worse thermal dissipation and thermal throttling.)
Overall, the GL75 falls flat when compared to other options on the market. At $1500, there are much better gaming laptops out there.
To see more details about these aspects of the MSI GL75, be sure to check out our review of the 17.3-inch gaming laptop here.