REVIEW: MSI Pulse GL66 GAMING Laptop 11TH GEN i7 – (2021). REVIEW: HITS THE SWEET SPOT 1080P Gaming

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MSI Pulse GL66 GAMING Laptop 11TH GEN i7: The MSI Pulse GL66 gaming laptop is a reliable gaming machine that can handle both creative and gaming tasks.

The combination of the RTX 3060 and Intel Core i7-11800H delivers solid performance to rival the best in 1080p gaming. The display was a bit disappointing, and the fans are too loud to maintain the temperature. The MSI Pulse GL66 is a great choice for 1080p gaming.

MSI Pulse GL66 GAMING Laptop 11TH GEN I7 – (2021). DETAIL REVIEW

Laptop enthusiasts were excited by the arrival of Intel’s H45 processors. Since the announcement, I had been waiting for these new laptops to hit the Indian market. MSI was the first to do so.

The MSI Pulse GL66 runs on the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H, which has 8 cores and 16 Threads.

MSI Pulse GL66
MSI Pulse GL66

The MSI Pulse GL66 is more than just a processor. It also offers a complete package for gamers who want to play 1080p on their laptop. Is it able to deliver? This full review will help you to understand more about the laptop.

MSI Pulse GL66 SPECIFICATIONS

The MSI Pulse Gaming Laptop GL66 brings solid specs to the table. To deliver promising gaming results, the 11th gen Intel Core i7-11800H and the Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 GPU with 6GB RAM is paired.

The specifications of the MSI Pulse Gaming Laptop GL66 are briefly shown below.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H – 8 cores and 16 threads. Base clock – 3.0GHz, boost clock – 4.2GHz.
    Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX3060 GPU with 6GB GDDR6 RAM. Boost Clock up to 1485MHz,
  • Maximum Graphics Power of 85W with Dynamic Boost.
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz
  • Storage: 2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
  • Display: 15.6 inch FHD (1920×1080), at 144Hz, IPS Level

MSI Pulse GL66 PERFORMANCE

As mentioned, the MSI Pulse GL66 is powered by an Intel H45 processor. This Core i7 11800H has 16 threads and 8 Willow Cove cores. It has a base clock speed of 3.1Ghz at 45W and can achieve a single core boost of up to 4.65Ghz.

All cores can run at 4.2Ghz. It has an RTX 3060 GPU and 6GB VRAM. The TGP is 80W, with 5W for boost. You also get 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB NVMe drive, a 1080p screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, and 16GB DDR4 RAM.

To start with the gaming performance, I tried a few games on the laptop. These included GTA V and Metro Exodus. This graph will give you an idea about the performance of this machine.

You can see that I got similar performances on all titles, including Metro Exodus and Shadow Of Tomb Raider. All of them ran at over 100FPS, some even reaching the 144Hz mark.

This is what you would expect from an RTX 3060 configured to run at 85W TGP.
Content creators will find the Core i7-11800H’s 8 cores and the Core i3060 to be reliable. Davinci Resolve was fast enough to export a 5-minute 1080p project in 41 seconds. Lightroom was faster than the other programs.

The laptop could export 50 raw files in less than 35 seconds. 100 RAW files took just over 3 minutes. 200 RAW files were rendered in just 6 minutes. These render times were much faster than those on the ASUS Strix15 powered with the Ryzen 9 5900HX processor.

MSI Pulse GL66 was able to score 4,643 in FireStrike Ultra and 7,271 during the Time Spy tests in the 3DMark tests. These scores are slightly lower than the Zephyrus G15’s score, but the RTX3060 GPU is set up to run at a higher TGP. We place more importance on the TGP values for mobile GPUs in these laptops.

MSI Pulse GL66 THERMALS

Before I get into the surface temperatures, let me give you some insight on the CPU’s and GPU’s temps. As you can see, both the CPU and the GPU were able to handle the load very well.

The CPU was at 90°C, which is well below the TJMax limit of 100°C. Even the GPU ran surprisingly cool in this chassis. The CPU did reach temperatures above 100°C, which is higher than the TJMax value. It did throttle slightly though.

This was not a frequent occurrence on my laptop. I also didn’t notice any significant fluctuations in the clock speeds, as shown in this graph.

The GPU’s maximum temperature was 85°C. This is well below the TJMax limit. These thermal values are also due to the fact I was using the laptop in ‘Extreme Performance mode, which mercilessly turns on the fans regardless of load and gets it super-loaded.

Yes, you will hear the fan noises from this machine. You won’t be able to hear any in-game audio, or anything coming out of the tiny speaker on the laptop. It sounds almost like it is about to take flight.

There is a large vent at the bottom of your chassis. The hot air exits from the laptop through the vents on the sides and back. Despite this, the surface temperature was still around 55 degrees Celsius at its hottest point. It does heat up, but that didn’t impact the laptop’s performance.

MSI Pulse GL66 DISPLAY

Let’s now talk about the display in the MSI Pulse GL66. This panel is 15.6 inches in size and has a 144z refresh speed. My gaming experience on the laptop was not exceptional.

The panel is a simple 1080p panel, but it’s well-suited for gaming due to its higher refresh rate. However, the main problem is with color accuracy. To see how the panel performs, I tested it and discovered that it is not calibrated out of the box.

It displayed a strong bias towards blue and you could see it by the amount of blue it was injecting. The display was unable to accurately reproduce different shades of blue, which led to inaccurate color reproductions. Other colors showed a lot more variation than expected.

The DeltaE error that I recorded was 4 which even a manual calibration couldn’t correct beyond a certain limit.

MSI claims that the sRGB coverage and DCI-P3 coverage were not even close. It also doesn’t get bright enough, making it difficult to use outdoors. However, the matte finish makes it easier to see.

This panel is not great. I hope it is only my engineering sample and that the panels you end up purchasing on the market have a better panel.

MSI PULSE GL66 KEYBOARD – TRACKPAD, I/O

We now have the trackpad, keyboard, and I/O. The keyboard has nice keys, with white keycaps and RGB lighting. The layout is clean and includes a NumPad.

The arrow keys are not too small. These keys have decent key travel, but the feedback was a bit soft.

Although the touchpad does have some strange imprints, they do not do anything or light up. It’s responsive and compatible with Windows Precision drivers, which I find very pleasing.

On the left side of the ports, you will find the charging port as well as a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) and a USB Type-A 2.0 port. On the right side, you’ll find an RJ45 connector, an HDMI connector, and a USB Type C 3.2 (Gen.1) port.

MSI Pulse GL66 DESIGN QUALITY & BUILD QUALITY

The MSI Pulse GL66 is mainly made of plastic, with the exception of its lid, which is, if I had my way, made of aluminum. The lid has visible lines to represent the new “Pulse”, but it is otherwise quite muted. The new honeycomb design on the base allows for more air to pass through the chassis.

The chassis is rigid despite its plastic construction. The lid can be opened with one hand, and the hinge feels solid and secure. Although the bezels around the display are quite thin, the forehead and chin are more prominent.

MSI Pulse GL66
MSI Pulse GL66

They also have a few mics and an HD camera. I like the simplicity of the design of this laptop. It weighs in at 2.25Kg and is not the heaviest gaming laptop on the market. There’s no RGB lighting on the body. Good stuff, MSI!

The MSI Pulse GL66 has a 53.5Whr internal battery that can be charged via the 180W AC adapter. It failed to last 3 hours 17 minutes in PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery testing.

That’s not surprising. It’s not surprising, as it’s a small battery that powers hardware such as an RTX3060 GPU and an i7 processor.

The Pulse GL66 was able to last about 5-6 hours in real-world use when I turned down the brightness while I did my daily work.

MSI Pulse GL66 VERDICT

It’s time to give the verdict. How good is the MSI Pulse GL66? It’s a powerful gaming laptop. For a while, I have been eagerly awaiting the Intel Core i7 1800H CPU.

It’s a great CPU. The fact that it surpasses the Ryzen 9 5900HX in rendering performance is amazing. The gaming performance was also excellent..

Although the laptop is hot, super loud fans will save the day and prevent it from throttling. The simple design and sturdy build quality are also great. However, I would like to have some positive comments about the display aside from the gaming refresh rate.

MSI launched the laptop in India at Rs 1,39990. I believe it is a powerful machine that can be used for both creative and gaming tasks. However, the ASUS Zephyrus G15 gaming notebook is slightly cheaper than the Intel processor. It can be traded for a Ryzen one or RTX 3070/3060 with a higher TGP.

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