BEST LAPTOPS FOR GAMES

Top 100 Best Laptops for Apex Legends Top 100 Best Laptops for GTA V Top 100 Best Laptops for Red Dead Redemption 2 Top 100 Best Laptops for ARK: Survival Evolved Top 100 Best Laptops for AC: Odyssey Top 100 Best Laptops for AC Valhalla [AnvilNext 2.0] Top 100 Best Laptops for Battlefield 5 Top 100 Best Laptops for Borderlands 3 Top 100 Best Laptops for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Top 100 Best Laptops for CS:GO Top 100 Best Laptops for Cyberpunk 2077 Top 100 Best Laptops for Darksiders Genesis Top 100 Best Laptops for DOOM Top 100 Best Laptops for DOOM Eternal Top 100 Best Laptops for DOTA 2 Top 100 Best Laptops for PES 2021 Top 100 Best Laptops for Far Cry 5 Top 100 Best Laptops for Far Cry New Dawn Top 100 Best Laptops for FIFA 19 Top 100 Best Laptops for FIFA 20 Top 100 Best Laptops for FIFA 21 Top 100 Best Laptops for For Honor Top 100 Best Laptops for Fortnite Top 100 Best Laptops for Gears 5 Top 100 Best Laptops for Halo: Reach Top 100 Best Laptops for Hearthstone Top 100 Best Laptops for League of Legends Top 100 Best Laptops for Metro Exodus Top 100 Best Laptops for Minecraft Top 100 Best Laptops for Need For Speed Heat Top 100 Best Laptops for Overwatch Top 100 Best Laptops for PES 2020 Top 100 Best Laptops for PUBG Top 100 Best Laptops for Resident Evil 2 [RE Engine] Top 100 Best Laptops for Rise of the Tomb Raider Top 100 Best Laptops for Rocket League Top 100 Best Laptops for Shadow of the Tomb Raider Top 100 Best Laptops for Team Fortress 2 Top 100 Best Laptops for The Witcher 3 Top 100 Best Laptops for TC: Wildlands Top 100 Best Laptops for TC: Six Siege Top 100 Best Laptops for Total War: THREE KINGDOMS Top 100 Best Laptops for Warframe Top 100 Best Laptops for World of Tanks

[In-depth comparison] ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) vs MSI Stealth 15M – You have to make a choice between Style and Functionality

The proposition of a portable gaming laptop is becoming more enticing with every passing year. As we annually reach new heights with PC hardware, we can make smaller but powerful ships, which don’t need a crazy cooling setup or that much power to run, so you can play your favorite games. For today, we will focus on two such devices from two hometown warring brands. Both MSI and ASUS have had their beginnings in Taipei, Taiwan, roughly 40 years ago. The laptop on the left is the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) and it is part of ASUS’s new TUF Gaming brand, which is quickly picking up steam. On the right, we have the MSI Stealth 15M, a sleek device, which packs a whole dragon inside of itself.

Without further ado, here is our In-depth comparison between the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) and the MSI Stealth 15M.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516): Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI Stealth 15M: Full Specs / In-depth Review

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) configurations:

MSI Stealth 15M configurations:

Contents

Design and construction

The ASUS laptop comes in a really sleek chassis. Its profile is only 19.9 mm, while the weight stands at 2.00 kg exactly. These dimensions give you a pretty portable device, especially considering the hardware inside. Despite the build materials not being specified, we strongly believe that the whole laptop outer shell is made from plastic. Fortunately, both the lid and the base were strong enough and resisted us fairly well when we tried to flex them. The lid opens with a single hand, which is a nice touch, but following the thing that we call 2020, we were definitely surprised to find that there was no Webcam, which was essential. Thankfully, the bezels are nice and thin all the way around. The lid is also the home of the TUF logo, which sits in the corner, and the wordmark is vertically placed opposite of the logo.

Things on the MSI Stealth 15M are a lot better. For starters, the laptop weighs significantly less, at 1.70 kgs, and is considerably thinner, measuring at 16.1 mm. Following that, you get an aluminum chassis, which can withstand a formidable force, with just a tad of flex. There are also two color options: Pure White and Carbon Grey. The MSI Dragon logo is placed at the top center of the lid. Speaking of the lid, it opens easily with a single hand, thus revealing an anti-glare display with thin bezels. The bezels house the microphones, the HD Webcam, and the new MSI wordmark.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Keyboard and Touchpad

On the ASUS, we see a familiar keyboard unit. While It drops the Numpad for a more symmetric position, the transparent WASD keys are still here, revealing the scissor mechanism of the keyboard. The typing experience is pretty good, with an average key travel and clicky feedback, which is great for typing and just okay for gaming. There are also several shortcut keys for audio control, as well as the Armory Crate. The keyboard also has an RGB backlight. As for the touchpad, you get a pretty accurate unit with no dedicated buttons.

The MSI keyboard first of all is pretty huge. The keycaps are massive, which can only bode well for the gaming experience. It has an RGB backlight as well, which accompanies the White color really well. Unfortunately, the key travel is a bit short, while the feedback is pretty mushy, which is far from ideal. The touchpad is uninspiring as well, as first of all, its size is pretty small, considering the dimensions of the notebook. Secondly, while the tracking is accurate, the clicking mechanism ruins the experience for us, as the feedback comes on the way back, instead of when the click registers.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Ports

On the ASUS, the I/O is mostly placed on the left side, which houses the charging plug, an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI 2.0b connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and an audio jack. That leaves the other two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports on the right.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

The MSI laptop also splits the I/O into the left and right sides. The left side is the home of a power plug, a MicroSD card reader, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack. On the right, you can see an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port.

MSI Stealth 15M

Spec sheet

Dissasembly, Upgrade options

Taking apart both devices is pretty simple on both the ASUS and MSI laptops. The Dash F15 is held together by 15 Phillips-head screws. One of them is captive, however, remaining attached to the bottom panel, allowing you to start the prying process. The upgradeability is there, albeit not at 100%. There is a single SODIMM slot, with the rest of the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard. You also get access to two M.2 PCIe x4 slots, for future storage upgrades.

On the MSI camp, upgradeability is a mixed bag. The laptop has two fewer Phillips-head screws, which sounds great. Contrary to the ASUS it features two SODIMM slots but only one M.2 PCIe x4 slot, which is okay, but reaching them is more difficult, as you have to remove the battery, Wi-Fi card, and M.2 drive. After some ribbon cable removals, you can carefully lift the motherboard, which houses the SODIMM slots.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Display quality

The Dash F15 offers three display choices, all coming with a diagonal of 15.6 inches. There is a Full HD IPS panel with a 240Hz refresh rate, followed by a QHD IPS panel with a 165Hz refresh rate. Finally, the panel that was in our review unit had a Full HD resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. It’s got a 16:9 aspect ratio a pixel density of – 142 PPI, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

The Stealth 15M offers only one IPS display, with a 15.6-inch diagonal, Full HD resolution, and identical pixel density, pitch, and Retina distance.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

The ASUS panel has a maximum brightness of 300 nits in the center of the screen and 279 nits as an average for the whole display area. This calculates to a maximum deviation of 8%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7070K, colder than the 6500K optimal for the sRGB standard. The contrast ratio is great, sitting at 1400:1.

On the MSI notebook, the maximum brightness is 254 nits in the middle of the screen, and 248 nits on average for the whole display, calculating a maximum deviation of 8%. The Correlated Color Temperature here is also colder, sitting at 7400K. The contrast ratio is worse than the ASUS, but still good, sitting at 1130:1.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)’s and MSI Stealth 15M’s color gamut coverage.

The ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) covers 54% of the sRGB color gamut, while the MSI Stealth 15M has a slightly worse color coverage, at 51% sRGB.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Color accuracy

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile. The MSI laptop has a better color accuracy from the factory, but with our profile, its dE value of 1.0 matches the standard exactly. The ASUS laptop starts with a dE value of 3.0, which goes down to 0.6 after applying our profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” methods from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

The ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) has a significantly slower Fall + Rise time of 27.8 ms, while the MSI Stealth 15M has a Fall + Rise time of 16.9 ms.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Health Impact / PWM (Blue light)

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

In terms of flickering both panels show no usage of PWM across any brightness levels.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Here at LaptopMedia, we create a set of custom-tailored profiles for every notebook we review. They boost the productivity of display and reduce negative effects such as blue light emissions and PWM. You can read more about them here.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) 15.6″ FHD IPS Panda LM156LF-2F03 (NCP004D): Buy our profiles

MSI Stealth 15M 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE NV156FHM-NX4 (BOE0910): Buy our profiles

Sound

On both laptops, the speakers are positioned on the bottom panel, on each side. The ASUS speakers produce relatively quiet audio with deviations across the entire frequency range. The MSI, on the other hand, produces good quality sound, with a rise of amplitude in the high tones. Sadly, it also suffers from deviations across the entire frequency range.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Battery

The way we conduct our battery tests is with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The ASUS device has a battery unit with a size of 76Wh. The MSI laptop’s battery unit is smaller, with a size of 52Wh. Now, for the results themselves, the ASUS TUF Dash F15 lasted for  14 hours and 46 minutes of Web browsing, and 11 hours and 11 minutes of video playback. We got significantly worse results on the MSI Stealth 15M, with only 6 hours and 40 minutes of Web browsing, 5 hours and 31 minutes of video playback, and 55 minutes of gaming.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Performance

CPU benchmarks

The Dash F15 offers three Tiger Lake-H CPU choices: the Core i5-11300H, the Core i7-11370H, and the Core i7-11375H. The Stealth 15M has two CPU options, both still in the Tiger Lake family. We’re talking about the Core i7-11370H or the Core i7-11375H, which are identical on paper, except for the slight boost speed increase on the latter unit.

In our CPU tests, we tested the Core i7-11370H (ASUS) against the Core i7-11375H (MSI). In both benchmarks, the ASUS laptop had the upper hand, with 7% better performance in 3D Rendering, and 0.06s lead in Photoshop.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

GPU benchmarks

On the GPU front, the ASUS laptop offers the RTX 3060 (Laptop) and RTX 3070 (Laptop), along with an undisclosed GPU with 4GB of GDDR6 memory. Our unit had the RTX 3070. As for the MSI, it only offers the RTX 3060 (Laptop). Unsurprisingly, the RTX 3070 (Laptop) performed better, with 21%, 24%, and 29% higher scores in 3DMark Fire Strike, Unigine Heaven 4.0, and Unigine Superposition, respectively.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Gaming tests

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Far Cry 5Full HD, Normal (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)101 fps (+15%)96 fps (+23%)92 fps (+30%)
MSI Stealth 15M88 fps78 fps71 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)137 fps (+38%)89 fps (+98%)60 fps (+107%)
MSI Stealth 15M99 fps45 fps29 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)94 fps (+36%)83 fps (+38%)58 fps (+49%)
MSI Stealth 15M69 fps60 fps39 fps

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)96 fps (+35%)96 fps (+48%)73 fps (+83%)
MSI Stealth 15M71 fps65 fps40 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

With the laptops having a nearly identical CPU, with a slight clock speed difference, let’s see which manufacturer can squeeze more out of it. In the CPU stress test, 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-11370H (35W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)4.01 GHz (B+22%) @ 78°C @ 64W4.00 GHz (B+21%) @ 82°C @ 64W3.96 GHz (B+20%) @ 90°C @ 60W
Intel Core i7-11375H (35W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Stealth 15M3.53 GHz (B+7%) @ 94°C @ 42W3.44 GHz (B+4%) @ 94°C @ 39W3.35 GHz (B+2%) @ 94°C @ 37W

Despite the lower boost clock speed, the ASUS laptop manages to achieve a much higher boost speed, even after 15 minutes of testing.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)1389 MHz @ 69°C @ 84W1377 MHz @ 74°C @ 84W

The GPU maintains a decent temperature of 74°C after 30 minutes, while the clock speed stays nearly the same, as when the test began.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
MSI Stealth 15M907 MHz @ 61°C @ 40W865 MHz @ 65°C @ 40W1024 MHz @ 53°C @ 40W

The RTX 3060 (Laptop) runs very cool, especially when the fans are put to the max setting, but the clock speeds suffer.

Gaming comfort

As for the gaming comfort, both laptops reach an outside temperature of above 50°C. The ASUS takes it even further, by spiking to 57.8°C. It’s safe to say that sausage fingers will be a regular occurrence with both laptops.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)

MSI Stealth 15M

Verdict

Choosing a winner here is difficult, as both devices have their flaws. To start off on the outside, the MSI Stealth 15M definitely wins out when it comes to the design (at least in our view), with its aluminum unibody, contrasting the plastic shell that the Dash F15 uses. Both units have a lackluster combination of input devices. The ASUS keyboard has small keys, but otherwise fine key travel and feedback. The MSI has huge keys, which would be great to use if the feedback wasn’t as mushy. In terms of I/O, both laptops have adequate coverage, with all the necessary ports being there.

As far as the upgradability goes, they offer similar setups, but the Stealth 15M’s slots are a bit more difficult to access. You have to remove several components, as well as lit the motherboard completely. Only then will you find the two SODIMM RAM slots. On the other hand, the ASUS offers one SODIMM slot but supports two M.2 PCIe x4 storage devices.

Both laptops offer average displays with barely 50% sRGB coverage. The ASUS also offers more display options, so you might actually find a decent unit with near 100% sRGB coverage and a standard matching color accuracy. Sadly, both of the panels that we tested weren’t that. Still, if you want to dabble in design or artistry (as a hobby, of course), at first the display won’t matter. The MSI laptop has a faster response time, which should deliver a better gaming experience. Both displays don’t use PWM to adjust their brightness, which makes them better for your eyes if you decide to have longer gaming sessions.

The speakers also produce audio of similar quality, with the MSI laptop’s sound being louder than the ASUS TUF Dash F15’s sound. However, both speaker setups suffer from deviations across the entire frequency range. Battery life is way, way better on the ASUS device, with a longer battery life of around 7 hours across our two tests.

The Dash F15 is also better when it comes to the CPU and GPU tests, especially in the CPU benchmarks, where despite having the less powerful CPU, it performs better. The gaming tests are also in favor of the ASUS laptop, which is expected since it has a more powerful RTX 3070 (Laptop).

Finally, when it comes to the stress tests and the cooling, the CPU inside the Dash F15 reaches higher clock speeds while running cooler, even after 30 minutes of testing. As for the GPU tests, the RTX 3070 inside the ASUS laptop ran at a higher speed at a higher wattage, while the temperatures were acceptable. The gaming comfort, however, is worse on the ASUS TUF Dash F15, with the outside temperature during a full load reaching nearly 58°C. The MSI laptop, while running at the colder 50°C, is still pretty warm. Thankfully the aluminum body is helping dissipate the extra heat.

If we have to be honest, we prefer the performance and battery life of the TUF Dash F15 (FX516), as it makes it a lot more productive than its competitor.

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516): Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI Stealth 15M: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Why choose ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516)?

  • Longer battery life
  • Better cooling
  • Keyboard with good key travel and feedback

Why choose MSI Stealth 15M?

  • Subjectively better design and an aluminum body
  • Better comfort during full load
  • Keyboard with large and comfortable key caps

ASUS TUF Dash F15 (FX516) configurations:

MSI Stealth 15M configurations: