The MSI GE66 gaming laptop has a good combination of things that make a gaming laptop perform great, so just how well does it run in games?
I’ve tested 21 different games at all settings and compared it against some other laptops to find out. I’ve got the highest end GE66 here, but it is available with different specs.
The MSI Dragon Center software lets you select between different performance modes, I’ve used the highest performance mode with coolerboost enabled which maxes the fan speed for best results. The software also lets you disable optimus which will give us a performance boost, however there’s no G-Sync.
By default, Max-Q Dynamic Boost is enabled, meaning the GPU can boost higher when the CPU doesn’t need the power, I was seeing up to 105 watts. We’ll only be covering gaming performance in this video, so if you’re new then get subscribed for the upcoming thermal testing and full review videos.
Let's start out by going through all 21 games at all setting levels, then afterwards we’ll see how other laptops compare. I’ve tested the new Marvel Avengers game as it’s been getting a lot of attention lately. It’s still in BETA, so the performance will probably improve over what we’re seeing here. The performance would also vary a fair bit based on what character you’re playing as, in my testing near the start of the game there are plenty of explosions and various effects which may explain the 1% lows, either way though it was still definitely very playable, which you’d expect with this level of hardware. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark tool, and it’s close to 60 FPS at ultra settings which is a very good result for a laptop, most mid range options are in the 40 range for comparison. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and the performance at ultra settings is one of the best I’ve ever seen from any gaming laptop, we’ll see how other laptops compare in this game and others a bit later. Control was tested with and without RTX enabled. I’ve got the results with RTX off in purple, RTX on in the green bars which was much worse but still fairly playable, then RTX on with DLSS enabled as shown by the red bars, which was running much better while also looking good. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and again some of the best results I’ve ever seen out of any gaming laptop, but we’ll see how other laptops compare in this title soon. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings on the lowest possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. Minimum settings was getting use out of the 300Hz screen, and it was still running well maxed out. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode with either max or min settings for the same reason, the difference isn’t as big between the levels here, but it’s still running around 100 FPS with max settings. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, and medium settings were getting higher average FPS than the screen’s refresh rate, while low settings would push even the 1% low near this, and of course no issues playing at max settings. CS:GO was tested with the ulletical FPS benchmark, and this game sees big improvements with optimus disabled compared to other laptops that are stuck with it, 500 FPS at minimum settings is an extremely good result for a laptop. Dota 2 wasn’t much different compared to far lower specced laptops, so let’s keep on moving. Overwatch is another less demanding game and was tested in the practice range, no issues hitting the 300 FPS frame cap between low and high settings. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built-in benchmark using Vulkan, there wasn’t much difference in average FPS between high and ultra settings. Meanwhile, the averages at medium and below would better utilize the 300Hz display. Metro Exodus was tested using the built-in benchmark, most parts of the game perform a fair bit better than this, so don’t take these results as a good indication of what to expect throughout the entire game, it’s more of a worst case. The Division 2 was also tested with the built-in benchmark. Near 100 FPS at ultra is a very good result for a laptop, though not too surprising given the other results we’ve seen so far. Monster Hunter World was tested running through the main town, and I had no issues with the highest setting preset, it felt quite smooth and the 1% low wasn’t that far behind the average which is always good to see. Borderlands 3 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark, and once more great results from a gaming laptop, generally I think making it to 60 FPS at max is a good result here, but we’re passing that no problems with this one. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was also tested with the benchmark tool, again excellent results for this test, it’s another where 60 FPS at ultimate is considered quite good. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is another that was tested with the games benchmark, I’m getting sick of saying it but great results again, easily surpassing 60 FPS maxed out. The Witcher 3 was playing fine at ultra settings, and although we can improve frame rate a fair bit by stepping down from ultra to high settings, over 100 FPS maxed out is a great result. F1 2019 was tested with the benchmark tool and sees similar behaviour, while minimum settings would push us closer to the screens refresh rate. Far Cry New Dawn also tested with the games benchmark, good results again from our 21st game, 100 FPS at max is hard to achieve for a laptop.
Now let’s take a look at how the GE66 with these specs compares against other laptops, use these results as a rough guide only, as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the GE66 highlighted in red. It’s giving a great result when compared to others, beating the thicker GE75 with higher wattage non max-q graphics below it, which would be a result of the faster DDR4-3200 memory and option of disabling optimus. We’re only seeing better results with even larger machines with desktop tier processors inside.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built-in benchmark. Again the GE66 is doing extremely well here, actually offering the best 1% lows out of all laptops shown here, and again not far behind the much chunkier and more expensive options.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool and again the GE66 is in the same position in relation to the other machines tested, near the top and only behind the thicker, more expensive options. Again the fact that it’s ahead of the GE75 which is thicker and has a higher wattage GPU really goes to show the benefits of being able to disable optimus.
Overall the gaming performance from MSI’s GE66 is excellent, though this is the highest specced version of it, but even with lower specs I’d still expect it to stack up well against others with similar hardware based on what we’re seeing here. The combination of faster memory, option of disabling optimus, and Max-Q dynamic boost allows this thing to run very well in games. Here are the screen response time results for the 1080p 300Hz screen in my unit.The average grey-to-grey response time was 7.4ms, so not too bad, but not ideal to get the most out of a 300Hz panel.
When we look at how it compares against others the ASUS Zephyrus Duo 15 uses the same panel but has faster response time, and this is because that one lets you enable overdrive. Other MSI laptops offer this, but the GE66 does not which is why it’s not also around 3ms.
Let me know what you thought of the gaming performance from the MSI GE66 gaming laptop down in the comments.