MSI GF65 Thin review: the most powerful graphics card for the money?

In the middle segment of gaming laptops, the war for the user’s attention is raging seriously. The slightest constructive oversight, be it low-quality case material or outdated hardware, can bury the vendor’s plans for success. It is all the more interesting to watch how brands get out of hand in such difficult situations. Let’s see how MSI is going to conquer the public with the GF65 9SXER gaming laptop.

MSI GF – Mobile Gaming at a Reasonable Price

MSI laptops are known to users not by the sonorous names of the series, for some reason the letter indices have taken root among the people. The GF line is, figuratively speaking, “the entry-level of gaming”: relatively thin models in which there are no obvious flaws. Balanced configuration, adequate characteristics, and price, pleasant against the background of flagship solutions. 

MSI GF65 Thin

In a gaming device, everything should be good initially, because, alas, it will not work to change the key components (processor and video card). The buyer is doomed to use what he gets when ordering. That is why there is a fierce struggle in the middle price segment. The owner of a budget model is more or less aware that miracles do not happen and the low price did not come from thin air. Here, such a trick will not work. Those suffering from high fps and comfortable gaming without overpayments will go through the entire Internet but will find the best way to invest their money.

MSI GF65 – the golden mean?

A few years ago, when asked “what laptop for gaming to take for 1000-1200 bucks?” usually followed by one answer – they say, buy MSI. It was the devices of this brand that received smart hardware, excellent screens and the best keyboards. In 2020, things are no longer so simple. The GF65 still offers good performance per ruble spent. True, last year’s quad-core processor is a little embarrassing – but what about the future? And a video card with support for ray tracing must be loaded with tasks. On the other hand, the bundle comes with a fast SSD and you can add RAM.


Intel Core i5-9300H
4 cores, 8 threads @ 2.4 – 4.1 GHz
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB 
Intel UHD 630 
16 GB DDR4
2666 MHz (2 SO-DIMM slots)
512 GB NVMe PCIE 3.0
15.6 “Matte Full HD IPS, 250cd / m2
~ 54% sRGB, 120Hz
2 × USB Type-C 3. Gen1
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
1 × HDMI 1.4b
1 × 3.5 mm audio combo jack
1 × Gigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi 5.0 802.11ac (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.0
Li-Pol battery, 51 Wh
adapter for 180 W
36 x 25.4 x 2.2 cm
laptop – 1.9 kg
charger – 0.6 kg
MSI GF65 Thin

Will an obsolete processor be a bottleneck in such a system? In five years – certainly. But if you do not plan to engage in streaming, then, as the benchmarks show, even such a CPU will cover the needs of a gamer. It will provide 120 fps wherever you need it without any problems. With Full HD resolution, the laptop runs any modern hit on high graphics settings. And our test results clearly confirm this. Even the proverbial beams do not drop performance below comfortable values.

Test results (1080p, “high”)

81 fps
70 fps
92 fps
70 fps

Pleasant ergonomics and modern appearance

Vendors are increasingly abandoning pretentious decorations on gaming models, so the new MSI looks almost laconic: a strict black laptop with a pleasant texture like rough-cut aluminum. Only the red backlighting, the edging of the keys, and the scarlet logo on the back of the LCD panel remind of the gaming origin. The screen lid and the space around the keyboard keep your fingers cool but don’t be fooled. These are thin covers for the plastic case. They look neat, easily part with prints. In addition, the novelty seems to be more expensive than it actually is. 

The full-size keyboard is good – the key travel is short, confident, soft, the layout is not too eccentric. 

MSI GF65 Thin

There are, of course, some oddities in the bottom row of keys: there is some kind of mess to the right of the spacebar. But the rest is difficult to find fault with. Grouping FNs of 4 on in-game models is rare. This is much more necessary for programmers, not gamers. But the arrows are where necessary: ​​in the lower right corner. Large. The power key is separated from the rest – zero accidental presses. 

The touchpad is compact, positioned exactly under the spacebar for the comfort of the players. In shooters, they still hack with the mouse, but for navigating in the browser and the system, such a touchpad is enough with your head. The cursor moves precisely, multitouch works clearly, all standard gestures, such as scrolling through desktops or switching between applications, are recognized at once.

MSI GF65 Thin

Pleased with the abundance of ports. The massive cooling system did not become an obstacle to the placement of four USB connectors (two Type-A, a pair of Type-C), a wired network, and a hybrid mini-jack for the headset. All of them are installed on the right side, on the left, there is only power and connection of an external display via HDMI 1.4b (maximum 4K at 30 Hz).

120 hertz for wins. But only.

The main pride of the MSI model is a 15-inch display with thin bezels and a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It has an IPS-matrix, 120 Hz, good factory calibration: the eyes don’t get tired, everything is well suited even for competitive shooters. Unfortunately, this is where the merits end. An inexpensive 120 Hz panel from AU Optronics produces low brightness (about 250 cd / m2) and has a modest color gamut (about 54% sRGB).

Therefore, if you expect to take a powerful system not only for games but also for editing photos or videos, then get ready to fork out for an external screen. It’s not worth working with graphics on the MSI GF65: start retouching the frame, tweak the colors on the laptop, as a result, on monitors with full sRGB color gamut, you will get an acid trip instead of a snapshot. On the other hand, the manufacturer does not position the laptop for such tasks. Such restrictions do not interfere with playing.

MSI GF65 Thin

The sound, by the way, matches the screen. To play – plays does not rattle, does not annoy, but is not capable of hitting with volume and clarity. To the best of the bass, to the best of the top, the overall volume is also average. So to play in some DOOM Eternal, it is preferable to connect headphones.

Victory at any cost

To ensure high fps, the novelty was equipped with the fastest possible video card. You can hardly find another device with an RTX 2060 and a 120Hz panel for the money. And it worked! AAA releases do fly. Moreover, all this power was placed in a neat and thin case, equipped with a good keyboard and a scattering of additional connectors. Success? Not really.

For gaming happiness had to pay with compromise solutions. 

MSI GF65 Thin

Here is not the most relevant processor, average sound, and autonomy. There are also questions about the build quality. Are such nuances overlapped by the low price they ask for a powerful laptop? Everyone will answer this question. We can only state the facts: this is a truly affordable, relatively light, and thin gaming model with an RTX 2060 and a fast screen. It works well.

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