MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) review – it finally gets a good cooling

What is a world without thin and light gaming notebooks? For sure, it would be a boring place. Usually, the convenience of being able to carry your laptop around, without risking a shoulder sprain comes at a cost. These laptops run hotter and are paired with low-TGP graphics cards.

The MSI Stealth GS66 is one such laptop that aims to break the stigma. In fact, the Stealth series was one of the first to preach the thin and light gaming philosophy. Through the years, it has battled the Triton 500’s and the Razers of the world with mixed success. Today, we hope that the balance will change in MSI’s favor, as their latest Stealth GS66 (12Ux) moves to 12th Gen Intel processors, and employs the latest and greatest NVIDIA has produced – the RTX 3080 Ti.

Having such a powerful package under the hood means you can experiment with your display options. Currently, the screen roster of this device is truly spectacular. You can get it with a 1080p 360Hz panel, a 1440p 240Hz panel, or with a 4K 120Hz solution. Pretty much the cream of the crop, when it comes to mobile gaming displays.

Let’s take a deep dive into this laptop’s claims, and see if the lack of visual changes is backed up by a better cooling solution – the reason for the Stealth series’ struggle recently.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-stealth-gs66-12ux/

Contents


Specs Sheet

MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) review – it finally gets a good cooling - Specs

  • Sharp LQ156T1JW04 (SHP153C)
  • Color accuracy  5.8  1.9
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 8000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 2x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 99.9Wh, 4-cell, 99Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 358.3 x 248 x 18.3 - 19.8 mm (14.11" x 9.76" x 0.72")
  • Weight
  • 2.10 kg (4.6 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • Thunderbolt 4, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.1 (8K@60Hz / 4K@120Hz)
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000, 2500 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W Speaker, Dynaudio
  • Optical drive

All MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

This device ships in a package, that contains the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 240W power adapter. Additionally, the laptop is protected by an antistatic bag, and a cloth.


Design and construction

One of the most important aspects of this machine is its body. It has a lowkey design, which hides its gaming identity with pretty good success. Instead of the usual Red Dragon logo, you get a black flushed one. Its thickness goes from 18.3mm to 19.8mm, while the weight sits at 2.10 kilos.

The entire laptop’s body is made out of metal, which not only provides a cool touch feeling but also results in a rigid structure. Well, the lid is surprisingly sturdy, while the base shows some bends. Thankfully, the keyboard deck is not bendy, even when you press hard on it.

It’s good to know that the lid can be opened with a single hand, and goes all the way flat. This is one of the few gaming notebooks that not only have an HD camera, but also an IR face recognition scanner beside it.

As for the base, it has a large grill above the keyboard. It is meant for ventilation. The audio, on the other hand, is being pushed through two slits on either side of the palm rest area.

Generally speaking, the keyboard is not ideal for gaming. Its key travel is a bit too shallow, while the feedback has some tactile response, but is really quiet. This makes the unit more suitable for typing in business meetings than for gaming. On the other hand, you have an obnoxious amount of RGB customization, as it is equipped with a Per-Key RGB illumination.

And then comes the touchpad. It has a glass surface and is super wide. We find it comfortable, albeit it has short click travel. On the other hand, the fingerprint reader takes some space out of the usable area, which is not ideal.

Since the speakers are front-firing, the bottom panel is left with a sole resident – the huge ventilation grill. The hot air is then exhausted through four vents scattered on the back and the sides of the laptop.


Ports

On the left side of the laptop, you get the power plug, a Thunderbolt 4 connector, an HDMI connector, and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. Then, on the left, there is a 2.5G LAN port, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, as well as two USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) ports with DisplayPort capabilities. The I/O is rounded off with an audio jack.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

There are 9 Phillips-head screws holding the bottom panel of this laptop in place. After you undo them, pry the panel with a plastic tool and lift it away from the chassis.

Inside, you’ll find a behemoth 99.9Wh battery pack. To remove it from the laptop, you need to undo 3 Phillips-head screws. Then, unplug the battery connector, and lift the battery.

You get two SODIMM slots, hidden beneath a metal case. They support up to 64GB of DDR5 memory in total. As for the storage, there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots. They don’t support RAID configurations, but on the bright side, they fit Gen 4 drives.

There are a total of six heat pipes cooling the CPU and the GPU. A seventh one is managing the heat of the graphics memory, while three fans and four heat sinks dissipate the heat away from the device.


Display quality

MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) in the configuration we tested has a 240Hz QHD panel – Sharp LQ156T1JW04 (SHP153C). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution is 2560 х 1440 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 188 ppi, and a pitch of 0.13 х 0.13 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 46cm (18″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

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

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 269 nits in the middle of the screen and 267 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 6% (“sRGB” Display Mode – “MSI True Color”). The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6250K – colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the main display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1120:1.

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 MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, and 96% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, resulting in a vibrant and punchy image.

The MSI True Color app emulates the sRGB color space, used on the Web. Later on, we’re going to show the results in the “Color Checker”.

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 in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

We also compare the scores of MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right) against the P3-D65 color space.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

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

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 7 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.


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.

MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness at any point. This means it is comfortable for long gaming sessions without harming your eyes in this aspect.


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

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) configurations with 15.6″ QHD IPS Sharp LQ156T1JW04 (SHP153C).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux)’s speakers produce a sound of very good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are all clear of deviations.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://us.msi.com/Laptop/Stealth-GS66-12UX/support

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests 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. This device’s 99.99Wh battery lasted us for 6 hours and 46 minutes of Web browsing, or 6 hours and 1 minute of video playback.

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


CPU options

You can find the Stealth GS66 (12Ux) either with the Core i7-12700H, or the Core i9-12900H.


GPU options

The graphics card choices are equally impressive with the RTX 3070 Ti, RTX 3080, and the RTX 3080 Ti, all coming with a 105W TGP. The first two have 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, while the last one has 16GB.


Gaming tests

Metro Exodus Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS 156 fps 67 fps 35 fps

Borderlands 3 Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average fps 131 fps 90 fps 71 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average 109 fps 95 fps 63 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average 120 fps 114 fps 77 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 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 i7-12700H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) 3.84 GHz @ 2.82 GHz @ 83°C @ 124W 3.55 GHz @ 2.67 GHz @ 85°C @ 107W 3.19 GHz @ 2.42 GHz @ 83°C @ 85W
MSI Vector GP66 (12Ux) 3.81 GHz @ 2.91 GHz @ 81°C @ 116W 3.54 GHz @ 2.72 GHz @ 83°C @ 98W 3.30 GHz @ 2.57 GHz @ 79°C @ 86W
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) 3.25 GHz @ 2.52 GHz @ 89°C @ 80W 3.10 GHz @ 2.46 GHz @ 90°C @ 73W 2.93 GHz @ 2.38 GHz @ 91°C @ 66W

Unlike last year, the cooling solution here does a decent job. Yes, it still falls behind the Vector GP66, but considering the thin package, we are happy with the results.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux) 1277 MHz @ 71°C @ 92W 1250 MHz @ 75°C @ 91W 1314 MHz @ 64°C @ 92W
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) 1270 MHz @ 87°C @ 115W 1200 MHz @ 87°C @ 105W 1320 MHz @ 87°C @ 113W

Now, here we see something weird. This laptop runs at similar clock speeds to the Predator Triton 500 SE, and at a significantly lower temperature. We are talking about 23°C when CoolerBoost is turned on. However, GPU-Z posted a Board Power Draw of 92W, as opposed to the maximum of 105W of this graphics card. We are not sure if there is an issue with some of the sensors, but it appears that the laptop has a lot of headroom both for higher clocks and for bigger TGP use. Interestingly, the MSI Center allows an overclock of the Core of up to 200 MHz, which also didn’t seem to ramp up the Board Power Draw value.

Gaming comfort

And finally, the MSI Stealth GS66 has come in favor of the temperature gods. The external temperature is well-managed, and the noise levels are really good with the CoolerBoost turned off.


Verdict

MSI is at a great advantage for being one of the first manufacturers to ship 12th Gen Intel devices to the market. The difference they make in computational performance is the largest we’ve seen for quite a while. And despite the weird situation with the graphics card not reaching its maximum TGP allowance, it outperforms the Triton 500 SE (PT516-52s) in some games.

An area where it also outperforms its opponent is upgradability. Not only is the Stealth GS66 a lot easier to upgrade, but it also offers two SODIMM slots for up to 64GB of RAM, as opposed to the soldered solution on the Acer. In addition to that, you get two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for Gen 4 drives, which are insanely fast.

Unfortunately, though, the battery life is far from fantastic. The fans stay on constantly, which may be one of the reasons we got only 6-7 hours of battery life during very light use. This will also mean that dust is going to build inside the device a lot more quickly.

Another reason for the low battery life can be MSI Stealth GS66 (12Ux)’s IPS panel. It has a QHD resolution, a good contrast ratio, and comfortable viewing angles. In addition, the backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level, and it covers 96% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. Moreover, our Gaming and Web design profile makes the color reproduction really accurate. The MSI True Color app allows you to choose from the full DCI-P3 coverage, or limit it to the sRGB color space. Also, you can use the overdrive function to make the 240Hz refresh rate even snappier. Regardless, the pixel response times are really fast.

Speaking about the pure gaming experience, the laptop is not ideal, due to its keyboard. It comes with short key travel, and rather basic feedback, making it more suitable for typing, rather than playing games. On the other hand, the Per-Key RGB backlight surely means you will boost your rep points. And another crucial feature is the MUX switch.

The I/O is pretty good, with three USB Type-Cs (one is Thunderbolt 4), which can output a DisplayPort signal. Make that a total of four display outputs, since there is an HDMI connector, as well. In addition, you get a couple of fast USB Type-As, and a 2.5G LAN port.

Obviously, it supports fast wired connection speeds, but it also happens to feature Wi-Fi 6E for an equally fast wireless connection. Plus, there is an IR face recognition sensor and a fingerprint scanner. So, is this a gaming device? Or is it a content creator’s dream? Well, why not both?

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-stealth-gs66-12ux/

Pros

  • 2x M.2 PCIe Gen 4 slots, 2x RAM SODIMM slots in dual channel
  • Covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and has accurate color representation with our Gaming and Web design profile (240Hz 1440p panel)
  • Snappy panels with quick response times
  • Good cooling
  • You can connect up to four additional monitors
  • Thunderbolt 4 + IR face recognition + fingerprint scanner
  • Wi-Fi 6E + 2.5G LAN port
  • Has a MUX switch


Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader
  • Subpar battery life
  • Its keyboard is not ideal for gaming

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