Nvidia recently refreshed their RTX 2060 graphics for laptops by allowing OEMs to raise the power limit up to 115 watts, the same as the 2070 and 2070 Super Max-P, but just how well does it perform in games?
I’ve tested MSI’s GL65 gaming laptop in 20 games at all setting levels and compared it with some other laptops to find out. These are the hardware specs we’ve got in my model so I’m definitely expecting it to be quite a capable gaming machine, however there are also other configurations available.
The MSI Dragon Center software lets you select between different performance modes. I’ve used the highest extreme performance option for best results, though I didn’t find this to apply any overclocking or undervolting by default. Unfortunately it’s not possible to disable Optimus, as was the case with the GS66 We’ll only be covering gaming performance in this review.
Let’s start out by going through all games at all setting levels, then afterwards we’ll see how a laptop with these specs compares against some other laptops, check the timestamps if you just want to skip to the comparisons. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark tool, and this test is tough on pretty much any laptop regardless of specs with max settings, though high was able to do pretty well. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode, and ultra settings were playing fine at max settings, but we’ll check out how other laptops compare with the GL65 in this game soon. 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 is much worse, then RTX on with DLSS enabled as shown by the red bars, which was still playing quite well, looking nice and not too different in performance compared to having it off when maxed out. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built in benchmark, and this new 115 watt variant of 2060 was just able to give me the best result from any gaming laptop with 2060 graphics so far, but again we’ll look at some comparisons shortly. 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. It was playing fine maxed out no problem, after I did my benchmarks and my teammates were angry at me I finished the match with max settings. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode, and I’ve also tested it with the settings either maxed out or at minimum. Again no problems playing at max settings, though there was less of a difference dropping the setting levels down compared to Apex. Borderlands 3 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark, and after a recent update they seemed to have removed the lowest and highest setting levels, which I’m not complaining about, less testing for me - anyway, still above 60 FPS average at the highest setting preset. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was also tested with the benchmark tool, and again despite max settings being quite resource heavy we’re still able to push past 60 frames per second on average. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature, and the average FPS at epic weren’t too far behind the refresh rate of our 144Hz screen, while medium was pretty much guaranteeing above this for even the 1% low performance. Overwatch is another less demanding game and was tested in the practice range. Again no problems at all playing maxed out here, and the 300 FPS frame cap was being hit at low. CS:GO was tested using the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and the performance was decent as this game can run on a potato, but it does see huge gains on laptops that let you disable optimus, which unfortunately the GL65 does not support. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane, and pretty similar results compared to most laptops that I test, again this will run on any modern gaming laptop perfectly fine, even with much lower specs. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built in benchmark using Vulkan, now they just changed this benchmark for the first time in years to apparently better reflect the current state of gameplay, so these results can’t be compared with any of my previous numbers. 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, and as was the case with many other resource heavy games, still about 60 FPS at max settings in this test on the 115 watt 2060. Monster Hunter World was tested running through the main town, and again still decent frame rates with the highest setting preset and definitely quite playable, with higher frame rates available at lower settings if desired. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark, and the results were fair for a game that doesn’t need mega high frame rates to play, with 60 possible in this test at the second highest setting level. Far Cry New Dawn was also tested with the games benchmark, and 100 FPS was just possible at low settings, with not that big of a change at higher levels. The Witcher 3 was playable with the ultra setting preset, but as always seems to be the case in this game, there’s a decent FPS boost possible stepping down just one setting level.It’s a similar deal with F1 2019 which was tested with the games benchmark tool, the 1% low from high settings was close to the averages of ultra high.
Let’s also take a look at how this new 115 watt RTX 2060 compares with 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 GL65 highlighted in red. The average frame rate is right on par with the ASUS Scar III which has the higher tier RTX 2070 graphics, though MSI’s own GE65 with 90 watt 2060 is doing better just above it, particularly in terms of 1% low performance, though that model does apply a GPU overclock out of the box, so we could probably boost performance by doing that.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. The GL65 was once more quite close to the 2070 in the Scar III, though many other 2070 laptops of same power limit were able to do better - either way though the 115 watt 2060 isn’t that far behind them.
These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider with the built in benchmark at highest settings. Many of the other lower wattage 2060s like the Triton 500 or Scar II are around 10 FPS lower, so this more powerful 2060 does have an edge over most of those older ones. The exception seems to be MSI’s GE65 again, which was just 1 FPS lower with the 90 watt variant, but again as mentioned that laptop is overclocked by default.
The gaming performance of the GL65 is decent, and about what I expected, in general falling in between the 115 watt RTX 2070 and the 90 watt 2060, which was the highest power limit previously. Hardware Unboxed found the 115 watt 2060 about 13% faster than the 80 watt 2060, or 8% faster than the 90 watt 2060. Here are the screen response time results for the 1080p 144Hz screen in my unit.
By default MSI have overdrive mode enabled through the dragon center software, and this gives us a 5.3ms grey-to-grey response time. If we instead disable overdrive, the response time increases a little to 8ms, but there’s less overshoot and undershoot present in some transitions. I’ve got a link in the description if you need an explanation on what these numbers mean.
Let me know what you thought of the gaming performance from the 115 watt RTX 2060 in MSI’s 10th gen GL65 gaming laptop down in the comments.