Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review

JT JT 29 December 2020
Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review

MSI’s Prestige 14 laptop is paired with Intel’s best 11th gen Tiger lake processor from the U series, the i7-1185G7, and despite being a 4 core part it’s able to offer some seriously competitive performance, especially considering its smaller 14” size. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewOverall build quality feels nice and premium, the whole chassis has a smooth aluminium carbon grey finish with blue accenting, and there are no sharp corners or edges. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewMine weighed right on 1.2kg, or about 2.6lb, and with the small 65w power brick and cables for charging we’re looking at 1.5kg total or 3.3lb.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review As a 14” machine it’s on the smaller size and under 1.6cm thick, so fairly portable. The 14” 1080p 60Hz IPS-Level screen looks decent, but it’s also available with a higher quality 4K option too.

I’ve tested it with the Spyder 5, and got 94% of sRGB, 72% of AdobeRGB, and 72% of DCI-P3.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review It was close to 300 nits at full brightness, and the contrast ratio was well above average at 1240:1.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review Backlight bleed was ok in my unit, but this will vary between laptops.

The 720p camera is above the display in the center, and it’s got IR for Windows Hello support which worked well.

The keyboard has white backlighting which illuminates all keys and secondary key functions. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewThe power button is in the top right, but pressing it by accident doesn’t trigger a shut down. Keyboard brightness can be adjusted between three levels or turned off. Typing felt good and the keys aren’t very noisy.

The precision touchpad is extremely smooth to the touch and clicks down anywhere. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewNow when I say typing feels good, I mean the key presses, as my right hand does rest on the right of the large touchpad. Although this feels a bit weird, I didn’t actually have any problems with it as the palm rejection prevents touches or presses from triggering clicks. There’s also a fingerprint scanner in the top left corner of the touchpad, and I found this to work fast and accurately.

Fingerprints don’t easily show up on the matte finish, and as it’s very smooth it’s easy to clean with a microfiber cloth. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewOn the left there are two USB 4 Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 and DIsplayPort out, and both can be used to charge the laptop.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review The right has a 3.5mm audio combo jack, MicroSD card slot, and USB 2.0 Type-A port. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewThe back just has rubber feet towards the corners, and these are what come into contact with the desk when you open the lid up, more on that in a sec. The front is clean with just a small indent in the middle for getting your finger into.

It feels balanced and can be opened easily with one finger, the screen goes the full 180 degrees back and there’s a button on the keyboard to flip the screen for sharing. When the lid opens, the bottom of the screen raises the back of the laptop up which helps with cooling, improves the keyboard angle for typing, and means the bottom speakers aren’t pressed up against the table. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewThere wasn’t much screen flex and the metal lid feels solid enough, but doing this test revealed that it’s pretty easy to slide the laptop around on a desk, which is a combination of there being less contact points at the back with the table, but also the lighter weight, but that said it didn’t move around when just typing or using it normally.

Underneath we can see the front has a rubber foot, and there are air vents towards the back over the intake fan. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewGetting inside involves taking out 7 phillips head screws and it was easy enough to open.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review Inside we’ve got the battery down the front, M.2 slots to the right which include PCIe Gen 4 SSD and WiFi 6 card. Memory is soldered to the motherboard which is pretty typical for laptops at this size, and there’s no discrete graphics here but the Prestige 14 does have that option.

The speakers are towards the front on the left and right sides. I don’t think they sound great, they were tinny and not too clear at higher volumes and a little distortion and wrist rest vibration at max volume, but the latencymon results were ok.

The Prestige 14 is powered by a 52Wh battery, and it was holding up well when compared to other laptops in the YouTube playback test.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review MSI note they’re using a 1W panel which would definitely be helping. While the Intel Xe graphics are capable of playing games at 720p, I didn’t test The Witcher 3 at 1080p like I usually do here, so no gaming data due to the lack of discrete GPU.

Let’s check out thermals next. The Prestige 14 has the MSI center software installed which lets you pick between different performance modes, which from lowest to highest are silent, balanced and high performance. High performance can be used to enable coolerboost, which maxes out the fan, or advanced mode which lets you customize the fans. We’ve just got a couple of heatpipes for the CPU and a single fan inside, I’m not sure if this will differ in the config with Nvidia graphics, and hot air is exhausted below the screen on the right.

These are the temperatures when running a CPU heavy stress test,Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review so thermal throttling limits were being hit in both balanced and high performance modes in this test.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewDespite the temperatures staying the same, the higher modes still improve cooling which results in slightly higher clock speeds, and this is why the TDP increases as cooling improves,Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review getting to 30 watts best case, so higher than the Intel spec of 28 watts despite the thermal throttling.

Here’s how Cinebench performs in the different modes,Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review so not really a difference to multicore performance in balanced or high performance modes. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewWhen we look at how it compares against other laptops though, well the single core score is on another level when compared to all other laptops that I’ve tested, even ahead of the i9-9900K in the MSI GT76 Titan at the top of the graph. This is still a 4 core 8 thread part though, but even so it’s beating previous Intel 4 core options by a fair amount, so these new 11th gen Tiger Lake chips are a nice step up over Ice Lake.

At idle the keyboard was around the mid 20 degree Celsius point, so a little cooler than most others I’ve tested. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewWith the CPU stress test running it’s around 40 degrees but the keys hardly felt warm. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewStepping up to balanced mode was a little warmer towards the left which is where the CPU is, but still not hot feeling.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review High performance mode was again similar, mid to high 40s over WASD but the keys themselves weren’t too uncomfortable.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review With coolerboost enabled and the fan maxed out the keyboard wasn’t much different, which makes sense as the increased fan speed doesn’t change the CPU temperature inside.

It was only a little louder when the stress tests were running in silent mode, so you’ve got the option of keeping it quiet while still getting some decent performance, as shown earlier in Cinebench. Balanced mode was a little louder, but still quieter than most others I’ve tested, and keep in mind this is a heavy stress test. High performance mode is louder, then with coolerboost enabled it’s fairly loud now, but there’s fan control so you can customize it if you want.

Although not a gaming laptop by any means, the Intel Xe graphics are definitely capable of running games.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewAAA titles at 720p is possible as long as you’re not going to max settings, while esports titles are fine even at 1080p.Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review I’ve also tested some content creator workloads. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewAdobe Premiere video exporting doesn’t do as well when compared to other laptops that have discrete AMD or Nvidia graphics though. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewWhen we look at the Puget Systems Premiere test, where higher scores are better now, it’s not in last place anymore as this tests for more things than just raw export times such as live playback. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewAdobe Photoshop is heavily dependent on processor performance, and as we’ve seen before the i7-1185G7 has the best single core score I’ve ever seen in Cinebench R20, so not too surprising that the photoshop score is quite good. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewDaVinci Resolve on the other hand is heavily dependent on the GPU, and the Intel Xe graphics just can’t keep up compared to laptops with discrete GPUs.

Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewI’ve used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage, and the 512gb NVMe M.2 SSD was doing extremely well for read speed, this is the first PCIe Gen 4 SSD I’ve ever had in a laptop which is possible with Intel 11th gen. Intel’s BEST 11th Gen CPU in a 14” Laptop! MSI Prestige 14 Evo ReviewThe MicroSD card slot was also performing quite well, basically maxing out my card, and the card clicks in and sits most of the way into the machine.

As for prices, the configuration I’ve tested here goes for $1100 USD, or the 1650 Max-Q version is $400 extra. You can definitely get a better performing laptop for less money, but it will be larger and thicker, so it comes down to how much you value the smaller 14” size and what you’re using it for.

Basically to summarise, the Prestige 14 is on the smaller size and is fairly portable with a small power brick with Type-C charging. It’s got great battery life, an ok screen, granted the 4K one is probably better, great CPU performance for a quad core, especially in single thread performance. The read speed of the disk is great as it’s PCIe Gen 4, a benefit of Intel 11th gen, and this also means it’s got Thunderbolt 4, granted this isn’t that big of a change over Thunderbolt 3.

Anyway let me know what you thought about MSI’s prestige 14 laptop down in the comments.

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