MSI GS65 Stealth Thin Review: This thin gaming laptop features 9th-gen Core and GTX 1660 Ti

The MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD has a tradition to uphold. Its predecessor, MSI’s GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE, was the laptop that changed our perception of just how much real gaming performance you could pack into a thin-and-light gaming laptop. With the next generation, we find essentially the same winning laptop design, stuffed with the latest toys from Intel and Nvidia.

We’re not exaggerating about the original GS65 Stealth Thin 8RE’s wow factor, either. It was just a hair over 4 pounds, in the same weight class as a Macbook Pro 15 or ThinkPad X1 Extreme, yet it packed way more firepower. 

The newest incarnation of the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD ups the ante with Intel’s newest 6-core 9th gen Core i7-9750H, along with Nvidia’s gift to those who just don’t give a damn about ray tracing: A GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. Thanks to a slight lack of coordination between Intel’s and Nvidia’s product cycles. The GS65 Stealth Thin will find itself battling with laptops such as Acer’s Predator Triton 500  or Alienware’s m15 Thin, both of which feature older 8th-gen CPUs, but Nvidia’s newer ray-trace-enabled RTX GPUs.

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9th Gen Core i7-9750H Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Adam Patrick Murray

MSI’s updated GS65 Stealth Thin features a 9th-gen Core i7-9750H and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU.

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin specs

As we said, the GS65 Stealth Thin is the first laptop we’ve reviewed with Intel’s 9th-gen mobile 6-core CPU. Let’s run down all the specs: 

  • CPU: Intel 6-core 9th gen Core i7-9750H
  • Memory: 16GB DDR4/2667 in dual-channel mode
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch 144Hz “IPS-like” screen without G-Sync
  • Storage: 512GB WD SN520 NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Networking: 802.11ac using an Intel AC9560 controller and Rivet Networks E2500 Gigabit ethernet.
  • Dimensions: 14 x 9.75 x 0.75 inches
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds

That last bullet point is worth pointing out. While the original GS65 we reviewed last year was stupidly light at 4 pounds, MSI has added about 6 ounces to it. Some of that heft likely came from welcome structural reinforcements compared to the original run, which we called “flexible.” How flexible? Well, let’s just say it was a little scary to pick it up by one corner. The current version doesn’t flex much at all, but it’s definitely a little heavier unfortunately.

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin Ports

As a gaming and workhorse laptop, the GS65 brings on the ports. The right side gives you USB-A, Thunderbolt 3, miniDisplayPort and full-size HDMI. Careful observers will also note the dedicated power plug on the right side. That may tick off some right-handed gamers who don’t like power cords on the same side as their mousing hand, but MSI does at least provide a right-angle plug to make routing less obtrusive.

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9th Gen Core i7-9750H Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Adam Patrick Murray

The GS65 Stealth Thin 9SD controversially puts the power plug on the right side, which could annoy some gamers. 

On the left side you get two USB-A ports, an analog headphone port, mic-input, Kensington Lock Port, and gigabit ethernet using a Rivet Networks Killer NIC part (made by Atheros). For those seeking state-of-the-art 2.5Gb ethernet, the GS65 Stealth Thin isn’t there yet. To be fair, however, very few homes or offices have routers that could take advantage of it.

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 9th Gen Core i7-9750H Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Adam Patrick Murray

MSI’s updated GS65 Stealth Thin features a 9th gen Core i7-9750H and Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU.

MSI GS65 Keyboard and Trackpad

For keyboards, you get a SteelSeries dome-type with per-key RGB lighting. The key action is good and features full-sized cursor keys. Overall, there’s no major faux pas, such as oddly placed or half-sized keys.

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