MSI Pulse GL66 gaming laptop with 11th Gen Core i7 Review:

The introduction of Intel’s new H45 CPUs triggered a fresh wave of enthusiasm among laptop fans. I’d been waiting for the new crop of laptops with these CPUs to appear on the Indian market since the announcement, and MSI was the first to pull the trigger, making it happen before the other manufacturers.

The MSI Pulse GL66 is powered by an Intel Core i7-11800H 11th Gen processor with 8 cores and 16 threads.

Apart from the CPU, the MSI Pulse GL66 looks to be a well-rounded solution for gamers interested in 1080p gaming on a laptop. Does it come up to expectations in this regard? To learn more, read the complete review of the laptop.

Please keep in mind that the MSI Pulse GL66 device we received for this study is an engineering sample, so performance may vary somewhat. It might be somewhat better or slightly worse than the retail one you’d wind up purchasing on the market.

Specifications for the MSI Pulse GL66:

The MSI Pulse GL66 gaming laptop has a respectable set of specifications. The 11th generation Intel Core i7-11800H is paired with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB VRAM to give some promising gaming performance. Here’s a short rundown of the MSI Pulse GL66 gaming laptop’s specifications:

● Processor: Intel Core i7-11800H – 8 cores and 16 threads. Base clock – 3.1Ghz & boost clock of 4.2Ghz.

● Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM. Up to 1485MHz Boost Clock, 85W Maximum Graphics Power with Dynamic Boost.

● RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200Mhz

● Storage: 2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3) (NVMe PCIe Gen3)

● Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), 144Hz, IPS-Level

Performance of the MSI Pulse GL66

As previously stated, the MSI Pulse GL66 is powered by one of Intel’s latest H45 CPUs. In this example, it’s the Core i7 11800H, which has 8 Willow Cove cores and 16 threads. It has a base frequency of 3.1GHz @ 45W and a single-core Boost of up to 4.6GHz, while all cores can run at up to 4.2GHz.

It has an RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB VRAM and a TGP of 80W with an additional 5W for boost. In addition, there is 16GB DDR4 RAM, a 1TB NVMe disc, and a 1080p monitor with a refresh rate of 144Hz.

To begin with, I ran a number of games on this laptop, ranging from GTA V to some of the more recent titles like as Control and Metro Exodus. Here’s a brief peek at the frame rate graph to get a sense of the type of performance you may expect from this system. –

As you can see, I was getting similar performance across the board, including Metro Exodus, Shadow Of Tomb Raider, Apex Legends, and others, and all were running at 100FPS or higher, with some even hitting 144Hz, which is the kind of performance you can expect from an RTX 3060 configured to run at around 85W TGP.

The 8 cores of the Core i7-11800H and 3060 will provide provide dependable performance for content makers. For example, with Davinci Resolve, I was able to export a 5 minute 1080p project in 1 minute 41 seconds.

When it came to Lightroom, the laptop was able to export 50 RAW files in 1 minute 35 seconds, 100 RAW files in little over 3 minutes, and 200 RAW files in just under 6 minutes. These render times were quicker than on the ASUS Strix15, which was powered by the Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU.

MSI Pulse GL66 scored 4,643 in FireStrike Ultra and 7,271 in Time Spy in 3DMark testing. The results here are slightly lower than those obtained by the Zephyrus G15 when I evaluated it recently, but the RTX 3060 GPU on that one is set to operate at a higher TGP.

This is why we now place a greater focus on the TGP values of the mobile GPUs in these laptops.

Thermals MSI Pulse GL66

Before I go into the surface temperatures, I’d want to share some information on the CPU and GPU temperatures.

As you can see, both the CPU and the GPU handled the demands admirably. The CPU was hovering at 90’C, considerably below its TJMax limit of 100’C, while the GPU was running incredibly cool in this chassis.

I did observe the CPU hitting temps above 100’C, which is higher than the TJMax limit, and yep, it did throttle a little, but you know what? This was not a common occurrence with this laptop, and I didn’t notice any substantial fluctuations in clock speeds, as seen in the graph.

The GPU’s highest temperature was around 85’C, which is significantly below the TJMax limit. These temperature readings were generated in part by the fact that I was frequently operating the laptop in ‘Extreme Performance’ mode, which cruelly cuts off the fans regardless of load and causes it to get extremely laden.

Yes, the fans on this machine are really loud, and there’s no way you’ll be able to hear anything from the laptop’s little speaker configuration, so keep that in mind. It sounds as though it’s ready to take off at any minute.

A huge vent is located at the bottom of the chassis, and hot air exits the laptop through two vents on the back and one on the side. Despite this, I detected a surface temperature of around 55°C at the hottest point. Yes, it gets hot, but it has no influence on the functioning of the laptop.

Monitor MSI Pulse GL66

Let’s have a look at the display of the MSI Pulse GL66. The display is a 15.6-inch 1080p screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz. My gaming experience on this laptop was not out of the ordinary. It’s a basic 1080p panel with a higher refresh rate, perfect for gaming.

The most serious problem, though, is with colour accuracy. I tested this panel to see how it works and noticed that it is drastically undercalibrated straight out of the box.

The display exhibited a significant blue bias, which was clear based on the amount of blue it was infusing. As a result, the display ended up reproducing incorrect colours, notably different tints of blue.

A number of other colours showed a lot of variance as well, and the DeltaE error I measured was 4, which even manual colour calibration couldn’t fix past a certain point.

Even the sRGB and DCI-P3 coverage fell well short of MSI’s claims. Furthermore, it does not grow bright enough to be used outside, making it difficult to use, albeit thankfully it has a matte covering that makes it easy on the eyes. Overall, this isn’t a great panel, and I’m hoping that the issue is isolated to my “engineering sample” and that the ones you end up purchasing on the market will have a better panel.

MSI Pulse GL66 keyboard, trackpad, and I/O

The keyboard, trackpad, and I/O are also present. I’ll start with the keyboard, which has a gorgeous set of keys with white accents on the keycaps and RGB lights that illuminate them. It features a straightforward layout with a NumPad and arrow keys that aren’t too small. These keys have appropriate key travel, however the feel is on the softer side.

The touchpad has some odd imprints, but they don’t do anything and don’t light up. However, I’m delighted it’s a responsive trackpad with Windows Precision drivers.

The charging port is on the left side, along with a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port and a USB Type-A 2.0 port. An RJ-45 connector, an HDMI connector, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack are located on the right.

MSI Pulse GL66 Quality of Construction and Design

With the exception of the lid, which I assume is made of aluminium, the MSI Pulse GL66 is primarily comprised of plastic.

There are visible lines on the lid to represent the new “Pulse” designation, but it has a pretty subdued appearance. More air can enter the chassis thanks to the revised honeycomb structure on the base. Despite its plastic structure, the chassis does not flex when subjected to pressure.

The lid is easy to open with one hand, and the hinge is excellent and solid. The bezels around the display are equally narrow, but the chin and forehead stand out more, and it includes a pair of microphones and an HD webcam.

Overall, I like how simple this laptop’s design is. It’s also not the heaviest gaming laptop on the market, weighing only 2.25Kg, and there’s no flashy RGB lighting anywhere on the body. Excellent work, MSI!

The MSI Pulse GL66’s Battery Life

The MSI Pulse GL66’s frame includes a relatively small 53.5Whr battery, which is charged by the included 180W AC adaptor. On PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test, it barely lasted 3 hours and 17 minutes. Isn’t that fascinating?

At the end of the day, it’s just a little battery that has to power an i7 CPU and an RTX 3060 GPU. In terms of real-world performance, the Pulse GL66 lasted about 5-6 hours when I increased the brightness somewhat while going about my regular duties.

Verdict

Now it’s time to choose a choice. So, how accurate is the MSI Pulse GL66? So, in my opinion, it’s a very capable gaming laptop.

I’ve been looking forward to the Intel Core i7 11800H CPU for quite some time. It’s an excellent CPU, and the fact that it exceeds the Ryzen 9 5900HX in rendering performance is astounding. I had no issues with the game’s performance.

Yes, the laptop gets hot, but those extremely noisy fans will always come to the rescue and keep the laptop from throttling. I like the simple style and the sturdy build quality, however I wish I could say something positive about the display other than the refresh rate for gaming.

MSI has priced this laptop at Rs 1,39,990 in India, and I feel it is a very powerful machine that can be used consistently for both gaming and artistic tasks.

Having said that, I’d also recommend looking into the ASUS Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop, which costs a little less and substitutes the Intel CPU with a Ryzen one and an RTX 3070/ 3060 with a higher TGP.

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