MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse – MSI Gaming Laptop Review

MSI GL66 & GL76 got released yesterday at the Virtual Event, MSIology 2021, MSI also revealed their new lineup and series of other Gaming Laptops. These laptops are all powered by the latest Intel Core i7 or i9 11th Gen H Series Processors. All of them come equipped with Nvidia’s latest 2nd Generation Ray Tracing Technology, the RTX 3000 Series. In this new lineup of Gaming laptops from MSI, there won’t be any variant with an older generation GTX Graphics Card.

The new Intel i7 11th Gen Chips on MSI GL66 & GL76 Laptop is a octa-core chip with multi-threading. With 12MB Intel Smart Cache and up to 4.8Ghz Turbo, this processor can handle almost anything you throw at it. We will be getting RTX Graphics Cards ranging from RTX 3050 and all the way up to RTX 3070.

MSI GL66 Pulse Gaming Laptop (Source : Laptopmedia)

Specifications of MSI GL66 & MSI GL75 Pulse

MSI GL66 Pulse

Up to 11th Gen. Intel® Core™ i5 10400H/i7 Processor 10800H
Windows 10 Home
15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), 144Hz, IPS-Level
15.6″ QHD (2560×1440), 165Hz, IPS-Level
Intel® HM570
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050/3050Ti/3060/3070 Laptop GPU 4/6GB GDDR6
DDR4-3200 Memory Type
2 Slots Number of SO-DIMM Slot
Max 64GB Max Capacity
2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)/1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
HD type ([email protected])
RGB Backlight Keyboard
Gigabit LAN
802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth v5.2
1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen1
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
1x Type-A USB2.0
1x RJ45
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
53.5 Battery (Whr)
150W/180W adapter
359 x 259 x 23.95 mm
2.3 kg
Titanium Gray

MSI GL76 Pulse

Up to 11th Gen. Intel® Core™ i5 10400H/i7 Processor 10800H
Windows 10 Home
17.3″ FHD (1920×1080), 144Hz, IPS-Level
17.3″ QHD (2560×1440), 165Hz, IPS-Level
Intel® HM570
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050/3050Ti/3060/3070 Laptop GPU 6GB GDDR6
DDR4-3200 Memory Type
2 Slots Number of SO-DIMM Slot
Max 64GB Max Capacity
2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3) / 1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
HD type ([email protected])
RGB Backlight Keyboard
Gigabit LAN
802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth v5.2
1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen1
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
1x Type-A USB2.0
1x RJ45
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
53 Battery (Whr)
180W adapter
398 x 273 x 24.2 mm
2.3 kg
Titanium Gray
MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI GL Pulse Gaming Laptop

What’s inside the box?

Inside the box you will find the laptop which is covered with a textile cloth and placed inside an antistatic bag. There will be another cuboid box which will contain the 180W Charger.

MSI GL66 Charger
MSI GL66 Charger (Source: Laptopmedia)

Design and Aesthetics

The Pulse name signifies the design and the looks that MSI GL66 or MSI GL76 possess. And the design portrays the two slits that are done on the lid which is a traditional MSI GL Design. The two slits make the laptop look edgier & the additional design lines on the lid depict the chest plate of the mascot character that MSI created for their MSIology event and marketing campaign.

MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI GL66 Laptop in Action! (Source: Laptopmedia)

The MSI GL66 Laptop’s top lid is made out of metal (aluminum). Although the chassis is built out of plastic, it is interesting to note that both the Pulse Laptops weigh the same although the GL76 has a 17.3″ Display. The metal MSI emblem is a game-changer in the Aesthetics department. But the overall design is a huge upgrade over the last year’s GL Series.

Despite of the strong plastic base, the laptop doesn’t flex at all even when stressed physically. The display does flex and its very common to withstand the shocks. The lid can be opened with one hand thanks to the heavy plastic base. The new hinge system is much more stable and the infamous MSI hinge breaking issue will not be a problem anymore. The new Pulse Grid design can be a major eye turner for a lot.

MSI GL76 Pulse Aluminum Lid

Keyboard and Trackpad

Keyboard

You are going to get a Per Key RGB Keyboard along with this laptop. The key travel as usual is really good. It almost feels like typing on a mechanical keyboard except for some softness to it. The MSI GL66 Laptop uses a full sized keyboard with proper arrow keys and a Numpad as well.

Touchpad

The earlier versions of GL series had two dedicated buttons on the touch bar. MSI this year completely omitted using separate keys and placed them beneath the trackpad instead. They also placed some new imprint design on the trackpad which might be a aesthetic feature, that being said the tracking accuracy, responsiveness, smoothness and usability have improved a lot.

MSI GL66 Keyboard and Trackpad
MSI GL66 Pulse Per Key RGB Keyboard and Trackpad

Display

For the Display, both the MSI GL66 and GL76 possess a color-calibrated display of color accuracy of close to 100% sRGB. Apart from the display size on both the variants (15.6 on MSI GL66 Pulse & 17.3″ on MSI GL75 Pulse), the GL66 features a 1920 x 1080 pixels panel with a refresh rate of 144Hz. But with MSI GL76 Pulse, you can choose from either a 1920 x 1080 pixels 144Hz version or a 2560 x 1440p 165Hz version depending upon your requirements. Viewing angles are prefect even at 45 degrees.

Source : Laptopmedia
MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Pulse Display viewing angles (Source : Laptopmedia)

The maximum brightness that this laptop can have is around 335 nits. The Color temperature on the white screen is around 7700K. MSI GL66’s color gamut coverage is 93% of the sRGB. The Design and gaming profile also provides optimal color temperatures of around 6500K luminance & 140 cd/m2 sRGB mode.

Color Gamut (Source: Laptopmedia)

For gaming the response time, the Black to white and from white to black it is 8.7ms and with the Gray to Gray Result the response time of the MSI GL66 Laptop will be 5.6ms. The laptop also doesn’t use the Pulse-width Modulation (PWM) to adjust the brightness. This helps in prolonged use of the laptop without putting excessive stress on your eyes. Overall you will have a good experience while using this laptop for both design work and gaming as well.

MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI GL76 Pulse Laptop

Sound and Drivers

Flipping the laptop upside down, there are two cutouts for the small Dynaudio speakers that comes along with the MSI GL66 & MSI GL76 Gaming laptop. The speakers are powerful and suitable for indoor usage.

You can download the latest drivers and utilities by clicking here!

Battery

The MSI GL66 Pulse features a 53.5Wh battery which will last for around 4 hours of web browsing while a minimum of 3 hours during media playback. The notebook has been tested with the Best Performance Profile turned on and screen brightness lowered to 120nits.

53.5Wh Battery (Source : Laptopmedia)

Performance

Performance on the MSI GL66 or GL76 Pulse will undoubtedly be one of the Top performers in the budget-oriented Gaming Laptop range. This laptop is powered by Intel Core i7 11800H which is an 8 core 16 threads CPU.
You can choose between various GPU options ranging from RTX 3050 and goes all the way to RTX 3070 Graphics. Basically, both the laptops will have more or less the same amount of performance except for some of the other features which the high-end laptops enjoy like better aesthetics, RGB glass bar, the inclusion of RTX 3080, and high refresh rate displays!

Lets check out some of the benchmarks of this Laptop.

CPU Benchmark

The CPU we have here is the Intel Core i7 11800H which is an 8 core 16 threads CPU and here are the benchmarks.

APPLICATIONCinebench 20 Score
3D Rendering Test4450
Adobe Photoshop Test4.63
MSI GL66 CPU Performance

GPU Benchmark

The GPU we have here is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 85W Laptop Graphics card and here are the benchmarks for it.

APPLICATIONNvidia Geforce RTX 3060
3D Mark Firestrike18872
Uni Heaven 4.04343
Unigine Superposition4357
MSI GL66 Graphics Performance

Gaming Benchmark

Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 (Source: Laptopmedia)
GAMEGAME SETTINGS AVERAGE FPS
Farcry 5Full HD/ Normal121 FPS
Full HD/High111 FPS
Full HD/Ultra102 FPS
Rise of the Tomb RaiderFull HD/ Medium141 FPS
Full HD/Very high77 FPS
Full HD/Max51 FPS
Tom Clancys Ghost ReconFull HD/ Very high83 FPS
Full HD/High99 FPS
Full HD/Ultra54 FPS
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderFull HD/ Medium105 FPS
Full HD/Very high99 FPS
Full HD/Max64 FPS
MSI GL66 Gaming Performance

The device has been tested thoroughly by Laptopmedia.

Talking about the performance this Laptop can pretty much run any games or content creation software at ease. With the introduction of RTX GPUs in the low-end segment, content creation and gaming will be a no-hassle for anyone.

MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Pulse Gaming Laptop

Thermals

The Thermals are being taken care of by MSI’s signature Cooler Boost 5 Technology for next generation cooling. They have also increased the internal diameter of the heat pipes for more heat transfusion with a total of 6 heat pipes along with two fans to cool the internal components directly.

As tested by Laptopmedia, we get to see a chart depicting the thermal performance of the MSI GL66 Pulse. The table shows the temperatures and the clock speed as well.

Intel Core i7-11800H 0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI GL66 Pulse 2.94 GHz  @ 94°C @ 58W2.76 GHz @ 94°C @ 52W2.77 GHz @ 94°C @ 52W
MSI GL66 Thermals
MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Cooler Boost 5 Technology (Source : Laptopmedia)

What we see here that the Intel 11th generation processors are running at a fairly lower clock speeds than the expected. It might be because of the cooling solution is not adequte enough to keep up with the hardware. But this is really vague because they did improve the cooling solution over the last year’s GL65 models. Plus laptops which have more or less the same cooling system like the MSI Leopard GP66 & MSI Leopard GP76. But they dont have such high temperatures even with more beefier specifications.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
MSI Pulse GL661433 MHz / 83°C @ 85W1408 MHz / 87°C @ 84W1437 MHz / 81°C @ 85W
MSI GP66 Leopard1863 MHz / 72°C @ 124W1852 MHz / 75°C @ 125W1849 MHz / 69°C @ 127W
MSI GP76 Leopard1860 MHz / 71°C @ 129W1857 MHz / 73°C @ 128W1869 MHz / 67°C @ 128W
So are the temperatures really bad?

No its not. I think there is a problem with the unit that Laptopmedia recieved because this laptop is not supposed to run so hot. Although we will keep you updated. So do follow this thread!

Internals of MSI GL66 Laptop (Source : Laptopmedia)

Read about all the MSI Gaming Laptops

Powered by Intel Core 11th Gen Processors and Nvidia Geforce RTX 3000 Grpahics

Conclusion

These Laptops are a fantastic choice for all the gamers out there and will be hitting the stores soon. The design, the performance, and the user experience will be mindblowing. They always had the reputation of bringing revolutionary changes when it terms to gaming and the GL series is one of those products. The Intel i7 11800H is a great CPU but it still lags behind the Ryzen 5800H during rendering performance. We hope to see some MSI Ryzen 5000 Series Laptops as well in the future!

MSI GL66 & GL76 Pulse - MSI Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Pulse Series Gaming Laptops

Thats all for now!
Until next time!


A 29 year old avid gamer by choice dabbles in all things tech. Whether be it spending hours in single-player narrative-based games or going through the latest innovation in technology and chip manufacturing he prefers to stay on top of things. In the other times, you'll find him tucked away drumming and headbanging to Rock and Roll Classics.

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