We reviewed the MSI GF63 8RC last year, while we generally love the laptop’s design, however, the lack of SSD in 2019 left us with a bitter taste in the mouth. Today what we have in our labs is the MSI GF65 Thin 9SD which finally utilises a 512GB SSD as well as the 9th Gen Intel Core processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU.

Even though the MSI GF65 This 9SD is originally priced at RM 4,699, the Malaysian official MSI store is currently offering the laptop at RM 4,511. Let’s dive straight into the review and see how it fares against our test.


What’s in the box

  • MSI GF65 Thin 9SD
  • 180W charging adapter
  • Product documentation

Design

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 1

The GF65 Thin is practically having the same chassis as the previous GF63.

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 2

The combination of plastic and aluminium panel body doesn’t really make it stand out from the crowd but it serves its purpose well.

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 3

It is moderately thin and light without having any of those unnecessary design cues.

Ports & Connectivities

The ports are mostly located on the right side of the laptop. We appreciate the thought of placing the charging port and HDMI on the left side, still, plugging in USB devices would indirectly get in the way of your mouse movement.

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 4

Left

  • Barrel charging port
  • HDMI

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 5

Right

  • 3.5mm combo jack
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen1
  • 2x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen1
  • Gigabit Ethernet

MSI has interestingly included two USB-C port on the GF65 Thin, which is a rare occasion when it comes to laptops of this price range. On that side note, the USB-A port has been reduced to just two which might be a problem for some who wish to use keyboard, mouse and external storage at the same time. Nonetheless, we’re happy to see that MSI is embracing the future and taking a step towards USB-C everything.

Display

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 6

Opening the lid reveals the 15.6-inch Full HD display with narrow side bezels. MSI has kept the design conventional with the top webcam and microphone placement. In terms of the panel performance, the one we have is rocking a 120Hz high refresh rate display. MSI marketing never boasts any of those colour accuracies statistics nor anything about its display. We’re not entirely sure why but from our user experience, it is a decent panel with good viewing angle and colour reproduction.

Keyboard & Trackpad

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 7

The individual keys are having slightly larger key surface but not to the extent of throwing off your muscle memory. I find it easier to type and less prone to typos. RGB-lovers, on the other hand, might be disappointed with the single red colour backlit option.

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 8

The trackpad, just like most of the other gaming laptops out there, it is usable but not great. The use of Windows Precision Touchpad driver makes finger tracking and gestures register without any trouble. Just that the integrated click mechanism underneath the touch surface is not something I would be proud of using. Despite so, gamers would just opt for a gaming mouse.

Performance

Synthetic Benchmark

Internal Storage

The Kingston 512GB M.2 SSD runs at PCIe Gen 3.0 x2 specifications.

Gaming Benchmark

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 9

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 10

The actual gaming experience is pretty decent, the Intel Core i5 9300H and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti pairs up nicely without causing any major bottlenecking to each another. Sure, some may question why do we need a 120Hz display when the GPU is struggling to push beyond 75 FPS in most of our tests.

To put things into perspective, this is a machine suitable for competitive esports titles which you don’t need to configure all the eye candy to the maximum. What you need is a decent resolution and quality and the GTX 1660 Ti would gladly provide you that 100+ FPS without any hiccups.

Thermals

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 11

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 12

The thermal performance could have been better especially with the heat zone separation. I mean, sure, the average CPU and GPU temps are well controlled under 95 degrees and 85 degrees respectively. What concerns me is the heat that transferred to the top of the keyboard panel which makes the keyboard somehow uncomfortable for long term gaming session.

Upgradability

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 13

The GF65 can be easily upgraded.

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 14

There are two M.2 slots with one pre-occupied with the Kingston 512GB NVMe SSD.

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 15

The factory default configuration is a single 8GB SODIMM stick, just get another stick to complete the dual-channel RAM setup.

Battery Life

A single full charge would last us about 4~5 hours of everyday usage, without gaming. That is a decent battery life for a gaming laptop and to be honest, it is not recommended to game on the battery as you’re not getting the most out of the hardware component’s performance and the battery will be empty in less than 2 hours.

Final Words

Review - MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (i5-9300H, GTX 1660 Ti, 8GB DDR4, 512GB) 2

All in all, the MSI GF65 Thin 9SD is considered as a minor spec upgrade instead of a major overhaul. The use of similar chassis with GF63 is something I never expected considering how MSI has traditionally named their model numbers according to the chassis design. With that being said, expect the overall user experience of GF65 remained the same with the performance improvement from the newer components.

Even at the promotional price of RM 4,511, the GF65 Thin is facing a lot of fierce competition in the market especially from ASUS FX505D and HP Pavilion Gaming 15. Some of then come packed with higher RAM and storage configuration while sharing the same GTX 1660 Ti GPU. With that said, each of them has its own quirks, for instance, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 despite having the best internal component but only comes with 60Hz display. So pick your poison according to your requirements.


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