ASUS Zenbook 15

Overview

The GS66 is a laptop made for individuals who are seeking plenty of performance power while still maintaining a premium/ sleek design. With one of the latest and most powerful processors in the i9-10980HK, the robust RTX 2080 Super MQ graphics card and a wonderful 32 GB RAM memory, the Stealth is built to conquer the latest gaming , content creation and just about all those demanding tasks.

Specifications

  • 15. 6″ FHD, Anti-Glare Wide View Angle IPS 300Hz 3ms display
  • Core i9-10980HK 2.4 – 5.3GHz
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX2080 Super Max-Q 8G GDDR6
  • 1TB NVMe SSD
  • 32GB RAM (16G*2)DDR4 2666MHz 2 Sockets; Max Memory 64GB
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • USB-C Gen1 *1 USB 3. 2 Gen2 *3
  • Steel Series per-Key RGB with Anti-Ghost key (84 Key) KEYBOARD
  • 720p HD Webcam
  • Win 10 PRO Dynaudio Speakers 2W*2
  • 4 cell (99. 9Whr) Li-Polymer 230W Slim
  • Killer Wi-Fi6 AX1650 (2*2 ax)

Design & Build quality

As for the design of this laptop, a lot of it can be seen in the images. The Stealth GS66 subtle and sober design makes it the perfect pick for just about any environment. Unlike the predecessor, the GS66 is pure black , free of the golden accent and you can hardly see the logo printed on the back panel. The device is covered with solid metal which gives it a really sturdy feel and though it’s 0.2 CM thicker than the older GS65, it definitely feels stronger. The display lid has minimal flex and the hinges feel quite stiff and firm. When pressed, the area around the keyboard was very sturdy and as such ,matched up with the rest of the chassis.

How is the display ?

Where display is concern, the GS66 can do a lot of boasting. It stocks a 15. 6″ FHD, Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 300Hz 3ms display. This panel not only has an excellent refresh rate and response time, but is also highly color accurate, covering 98% of the sRGB color space. On that note, this display is perfect for just about all gaming , color sensitive tasks and in general , tasks that require high level of details. Measuring 300 nits , the display of of the GS66 is average where screen brightness is concern. On a sunny day, you may struggle a bit to see content on display outside. The viewing angles of this display are very good , thanks to the IPS technology employed by manufacturer. The display does have minimal backlight bleeding to the lower edge of the panel on both right and left hand sides. Overall, the display is very decent one and sits well above average.

Performance Power

The performance power of the Stealth GS66 depends heavily on its processor, graphics card and memory, as well as its ability to sufficiently cool these components.

The Processor

This device employs the all new 10th Generation Intel Core i9-10980HK processor. Built on the Comet Lake architecture, this eight cores- sixteen threads CPU is a monster in the world of mobile processors! The Core i9-10980HK has a base frequency of 2.40 GHz but can be boosted to a whopping 5.30 GHz. Early tests have shown that this processor easily outperforms its predecessor , the Core i9-9980HK  from the previous generation of processors, thanks mainly to its higher clock speeds that can be achieved in turbo mode.
Feel free to see more details on the performance of the i9-10980HK here.

As you can see to your left , a comprehensive ranking of mobile CPUs based on overall performance . It shows that the i9-10980 HK while not by much, outperforms the Ryzen 9 4900 HS and 7-4800 H that in themselves are super powerful chips. The Stealth also recorded a total of 3690 points on Cinebench R20 test , performing slightly better than other devices such as the HIDevolution ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401IV with the Ryzen 9 4900HS.

The Graphics card

Credit to techpowerup.com for image

Nvidia recently released their RTX Super graphics cards for laptops and this Stealth was lucky enough to be one of the first units to be released with the RTX 2080 MQ Super Graphics card. The 2080 Super Max-Q is designed to draw less power and by doing so, produces less heat and of course, is easier to be cooled. This card performs a little better than the regular RTX 2080 MQ (non- super) , but falls a little below the performance level of the regular RTX 2080 (non MQ; non super) .

Don’t watch though, the fact that it falls a little below the performance of the regular mobile RTX 2080 card, as this card is still super powerful and will run even the most demanding games , excellently. Below we have details on how the 2080 Super Max-Q paired with the i9-10980 HK, performs in the GS66.

Gaming Benchmarks of the Stealth GS66 @ various performance level.

Heat management

Heat management is crucial in just about any laptop, but is even more crucial in a laptop as thin as this GS66 is. Before we actually look at numbers as it relates to thermals, it’s important that we look at the cooling solutions and design employed by MSI. As seen in images below , you’ll notice that this device uses three fans connected to seven copper heat pipes.

Of course, with all the work put in by MSI, it is solely to to get the CPU and GPU as well as other internal components to operate at the lowest temperatures possible as we all know that heat is a threat to their performance. The Stealth GS66 surprisingly achieved some decent temperatures when tested in gaming and through the use of Blender. The maximum temperature achieved in both stress test for the CPU was 92 Celsius. We were able to lower temperatures in gaming to a maximum of 88 C with the use of a cooling pad whose fans were positioned directly under the base grill seen above. Overall, the temperatures of the CPU were not terrible at all for a laptop that is so thin and you could possibly even be able to further lower heat with a a re-pasting later one. The graphics card was outstandingly cool throughout all tests which is really a major selling point. Though the center keys of keyboard got pretty warm in out tests, the outer edges and palm rest were comfortable to touch throughout.

Connectivity

Saying the Stealth GS66 comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port is a good way to start out . It also has a USB Type-C port and three USB Type-A ports. This specific device uses USB 3.1 Gen2 ports which of course, is a major plus. On top of the above mentioned ports, the GS66 also has a HDMI-2.0 port that supports 4K@60Hz output, an audio input and output combo port, as well as a Killer E3100 LAN port (something you hardly find on laptops these days).Sadly, this laptop does not have an SD, card reader (a feature that would come in very handy to some). As a part of networking , the Stealth GS66 has the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201(2×2 ax) Wireless adapter in addition to Bluetooth 5.0.

Maintenance

The MSI GS66 Stealth 10SGS-031 is easier work with than the older GS65 for several reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that you have full access to the RAM chips and in extension, slots as well as to both the occupied and unoccupied storage slots . You also have full access to the heat sink , which means that you have the option of upgrading memory, storage as well as repaste CPU and GPU for possibly, better thermals. This laptop comes with no empty hard drive bay which was expected, but has two M.2 SSD slots , one of which is occupied with the 1TB NVMe SSD. Though these components are made physically accessible , it should be noted that to get to them, you have to remove nine Phillip screws ( which is quite simple), as well as use a flat- smooth tool to force it open.

Battery Life

Which other laptop have you ever seen with a 4 cell (99.9Whr) battery ? Your closest bet probably is the Gigabyte Aero, but not even with its 94 Whr battery pack, is it rated as high as that of the GS66. On regular internet browsing and light tasks with screen brightness around 70%, you will achieve about 7 hours. That itself is quite decent for a laptop with so much power. As for gaming , expect around 2 hours and 15 minutes at the same level of brightness.

Verdict

The MSI GS66 Stealth 10SGS-031IS is quite a different machine from the GS65 that it has succeeded. MSI has to be commended on the effort they have put into the build quality and overall aesthetics of this laptop. If you are looking for a super powerful laptop for just about any productive work or heavy gaming, while maintaining a sleek and professional design, this is a very good pick. The price is quite hefty though; the inclusion of the i9-10980HK, definitely is a part of the reason for that.

To purchase the specific configuration we reviewed , go here or see the banner below.

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