Have we reached the point where high-end laptop technology has evolved to the point where one machine can cover the majority of potential use-case scenarios? Can the latest thin and light machines featuring six-core Intel processors and Nvidia’s GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU replace your games machine and your ultrabook – while delivering enough CPU horsepower to work as a high-end 4K video editing workstation? In a multi-month experiment, we put MSI’s GS65 Stealth laptop to the test, with some fascinating results.
The GS65 is one of a small range of notebooks recently released that deliver formidable CPU and GPU power in a form factor very similar to a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Effectively, these machines work by taking high-end desktop CPU and GPU processors and running them at reduced clocks – at frequencies tuned to deliver the sweet spot in terms of performance per watt (what Nvidia refers to as the Max Q point). The Core i7 8750H in the GS65 is architecturally identical to the Core i7 8700K from the desktop realm, simply running in a reduced power window. And it’s the same with the GTX 1070 – though Nvidia’s mobile part here actually has 128 more CUDA cores than its desktop counterpart.
These machines are typically delivered with 1080p, 144Hz 15-inch screens, while storage is taken care of with M.2 SSDs. This is crucial for productivity workloads and ease of use in Windows: NVMe SSDs use PCI Express connectivity for extreme bandwidth, every bit the equal of the best desktop drives… because they are the best desktop drives. All of the 8750H/1070 Max-Q notebooks feature two M.2 SSD slots on their mainboards, bar the new Razer Blade 15, which only has one.