• Justin-Rey

Comparison: 2019 GS65 vs 2020 GS66



Let's cut to the chase. You want to know what're the differences between the 2019 GS65 and the new 2020 GS66.

Let's get started

Specs

2019 GS65

Display – 15.6-Inch, 1080P, 144Hz Refresh Rate, 3ms Response Time, IPS-Level

CPU – Intel 8750H (6-Core, 3.9GHz All-Core Turbo)

GPU – Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q (80W and 90W)

Ram – 32GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz

Battery – 82Wh Battery

*Liquid Metal (LM) repaste done by HIDevolution for improved thermal performance

2020 GS66

Display – 15.6-Inch, 1080P, 300Hz Refresh Rate, 3ms Response Time, IPS-Level

CPU – Intel 10980HK (8-Core, 4.4GHz All-Core Turbo)

GPU – Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q (80w)

Ram – 32GB DDR4 @ 2666MHz

Battery – 99.9Wh Battery

*Liquid Metal (LM) repaste done by HIDevolution for improved thermal performance


The biggest component changes include:

  • Faster display (300Hz vs 144Hz)

  • 8-Core CPU (vs 6-Core CPU)

  • Faster GPU with more CUDA cores

  • Larger Battery (99.9Wh vs 82Wh)

Teardown and differences


Let’s open up both laptops up and show you EVERYTHING that I found.

Chassis

*Top is the GS65, bottom is the GS66*


The chassis of the GS66 has some slight changes. First, the dimensions are basically the same but the main size difference is the thickness of the bottom chassis. The GS66 also feels and appears sharper vs the more rounded edges on the GS65. Air exhaust vents are about the same size overall but are at the mirror opposite ends now that the motherboard is no longer inverted.


All ports have also been flipped to the other side. on the GS66, minDP has been replaced with a USB-C capable with miniDP.

Screen

*Left is GS65, right is GS66*

Screen size is the same, side bezels are about the same. The GS66 has a taller top bezel, probably to fit the Windows Hello camera and IR sensors. The only feature missing on the GS66 is the notch on the lid to aid in opening the laptop, something that the GS65 has. I don’t want to talk about screen brightness too much because it can vary with each laptop, but my GS66 review unit is slightly brighter overall than my GS65.


For screen speed, the GS66 is clearly superior as it feels much smoother and also makes me feel like my inputs are shown on the screen at a 1:1 ratio.


Hinge

*Left is GS65, right is GS66*


Opening and closing the lid is MUCH smoother thanks to the new hinge design on the GS66. It has smooth resistance throughout the 180-degree range while the GS65 has immediate resistance followed smoothness. The bottom lip of the GS66 is more flush with the bottom chassis so there isn't an airgap.


Also, opening the lid the full 180 degrees on the GS65 has the lid sitting above the exhaust vents while the GS66 sits below the exhaust vents. Something I noticed as well is that the GS66 lid may obstruct some airflow if the lid is opened past a certain angle (pictured at the very end).


Keyboard area

*Top is GS65, bottom is GS66*

The 2019 and 2020 have very similar keyboard layouts with the following changes:

  • Left CTRL key is larger with all keys to the right of it shifted about .5 inches to the right.

  • ESC key now has an FN Lock with LED

  • Function row has been reorganized with new Fn functions (Crosshair, CoolerBoost, etc)

  • The power button is now where the Delete/Insert Key was

  • Right Fn and CTRL have been "combined"

The GS66 keyboard feels MUCH better than the GS65. Keystroke feels VERY natural and requires less resistance while still staying clicky. The touchpad remains the same size and style, just without the gold trim.

On the sides of the GS66 are new slots for the tweeters of the speakers.


Motherboard

*Top is GS65, bottom is GS66*

The 2020 model does NOT have an inverted motherboard like the 2019 model. With the 2019 GS65, you had to remove additional screws and ribbon cables to access the serviceable side of the motherboard.

Heatsink and Fans

*Top is GS65, bottom is GS66*

The 2020 GS66 has an upgraded CoolerBoost Trinity+ Heatsink . This includes more heatpipes and redesigned fan blades for additional airflow and improved cooling. It’s hard to see, but the fans of the GS66 are thinner at .1mm vs .2mm in the GS65. There are also more fan blades on the GS66 per fan.

Sound and LAN

*Top is GS65, bottom is GS66*

The GS65 utilizes a Realtek HD Audio chip, an ESS Sabre HiFi ESS9118EQ chip, and the Killer Shield. The GS66 uses an ACL298 Realtek Audio Chip and The Killer Heat Shield. In practice, they sounded the same so I wasn’t missing the ESS Saber chip.


The speakers on the GS66 have been redesigned (Left and middle pics). One side is the tweeter that fires up and the other side is the woofer that fires down. The GS65’s speakers (right pic) combine the tweeter and woofer. The GS66 DOES sound better overall due to the new design BUT it’s still not that great IMO.


Bottom frame and Touchpad Area

*Top is GS65, bottom is GS66*

I tried to remove the motherboard from the GS66 but ultimately didn’t feel comfortable since it is a review unit. However, the pictures of the touchpad area should give you a good idea of how much stronger the frame is. The 2019’s frame has some cutouts around the touchpad area and is also using thinner plastic while the GS66 is using solid and thicker plastic.

Bottom cover

*Top is GS65, bottom is GS66*

The bottom cover of the GS66 has been slightly redesigned to have more surface area gripping the top of a desk. Also, the bottom cover feels almost 2x thicker vs the GS65.

Battery

The batteries are also roughly the same size and thickness. Improved battery technology could be the reason for keeping the same dimensions while increasing capacity. The 99.9Wh battery does have some rubber pads to make contact with the bottom cover. This helps to greatly reduce any creaking and does make the laptop feel more solid. Also, the 99.9Wh battery’s packaging feels more solid and doesn’t have any noticeable bending unlike the 82Wh found in the GS65.


Performance

Before we talk about performance, I'll go over my testing methodology.

  • The GS66 was set to Discreet GPU Mode via Dragon Center. The GS65 was tested in Optimus Mode. Nvidia driver used was 445.98.

  • Both laptops were set to my Optimized Max Performance profiles. This includes undervolt settings, BIOS tweaks, and registry tweaks. This will show you the absolute maximum I could achieve with each laptop.

  • I also disabled 2 cores in the BIOS to simulate an Intel i7 10750H. With Throttlestop, I also adjusted boost clock speeds per core to match an actual 10750H. Take my results with a grain of salt though as a 10750H has 12MB of L3 cache while the 10980HK has 16MB.

  • I used the Highest presets for all games and included the Lowest presets for “competitive” multiplayer games so you can get an idea of maximum FPS.

  • Built-in benchmarks (marked with *) were used when possible. If the game didn’t support a benchmark, I played the game at specific parts of the game while eyeballing FPS via RTSS.

  • The benchmarks/runs are done 3 times with my scores reflecting the average.

  • I’ll be showing stock performance (Extreme Mode with and without overclock) alongside my optimized profile results. Towards the end of the blog, I go over how to set up my optimized settings.

  • CoolerBoost was enabled for all modes.

  • Finally, I used MSI Afterburner to overclock the GPU to +100 core and +200 mem to both laptops at all profiles. This will give a good apples-to-apples comparison since they're all running the same overclock.

Now, onto the benchmarks!

The GS66 is superior to my GS65 in almost every benchmark. When it came to comparing the CPUs, the 10980HK unsurprisingly STOMPS on the 8750H. The GPU performance was very close though, especially when using the 90W vBIOS of the 2080MQ.


Now, let’s go over gaming performance.

Now this is where it gets interesting. The GS66 is still the better performer, even with 2 cores disabled. But both the 80W and 90W vBIOS are VERY CLOSE if not already MATCHING performance in most titles. Owners of 2019 GS65 shouldn't feel the need to upgrade at all.


In my opinion, the GPU doesn't deserve the Super branding, this is what the 2080 Max-Q should have been from the beginning.


Now, let's look at temps, power, and noise

While the GS66 is the better performer, it also gets really toasty. The new cooler in the GS66 is a much better cooler than the one found in the GS65. Look at the simulated 6 core vs the GS65 80W. The simulated 6-core is running at a higher CPU speed with more wattage but the GS66 is able to keep temps down very well, especially in the GPU department. My only gripe with the new cooler is that it's much louder. The fans do spin ~10% more (6600rpm vs 6000rpm) so that's probably where the noise came from.


Speaking of noise, the GS66 had a whiney pitch through the entire rpm range while the GS65 sounded like it was just blowing air. It was something I noticed immediately once the fans started ramping up.


And finally, battery life.

The larger 99.9Wh battery in the GS66 is the clear winner. It seems like the battery chemistry has improved within the last year.


Something to keep in mind is that my GS65's battery is a year old now. I'm getting less time than a brand new battery. While brand new, I was hitting over 8 hours of productivity, 7 hours of web surfing, and streaming videos. My battery has been calibrated quarterly and only charges up to 60% per Dragon Center Battery Master.

Conclusion

MSI's 2020 GS66 is clearly superior in basically every way when compared to the 2019 GS65. It has a superior screen, heatsink, and chassis design among the other components that make it blazing fast. There are some things I don't like about it though like the new fan curve and that the fans sound higher pitched while the GS65 sounds more like it's blowing.


If I had to choose between the GS66 and GS65, I'd pick the GS66 10/10 times.


But since I own a 2019 GS65, I flashed my 2080MQ to a higher wattage vBIOS to closely compete against the new GS66.


I said this in my GS66 review, I recommend the 6-Core 10750H over the 8-Core 10980HK for better heat management, less power draw, and (potentially) less noise.


I hope this helps!

If you missed my GS65 and GS66 reviews, check them out below!

  • 2019 GS65 Review - Click Here

  • 2020 GS66 Review - Click Here

Have fun!

-The Everyday Enthusiast

*Disclaimer – I own my GS65, the GS66 is a review unit provided by HIDevolution.

©2020 The Everyday Enthusiast. Proudly Created & Designed by GØLD Photography, Media & Design