MSI GP65 Leopard 10SDK-049 Gaming Laptop
The MSI GP65 Leopard 10SDK-049 joins the stellar cast of gaming laptops from the stables of MSI, and it brings a motley of brilliant lights, a 720p HD camera, and all the high-octane gaming action to the stage. With Intel’s Core i7-10750H processor and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card to call on, this laptop will make a go at some of the biggest names in the game.
The battery and the cooling system almost always live up to the typical gaming rig stereotypes, as does the per-key RGB keyboard, but in a good way too. The best part of it is that this laptop will not leave a hole in your pockets, at least by gaming laptop standard.
Design and Appearance
MSI employs a two-part material design for this laptop. While the lid sports a brushed aluminum texture, the keyboard is of a plastic build, although it has the looks that could easily make a case for metal. Both the lid and the deck are finished in matte black, and it adds a touch of elegance to their overall visage.
A large stack of openings fan out at the bottom, a better part of which serve as air vents, and the remaining as speaker grilles. The laptop looks and feels like one solid piece of rig, and at 5.14pounds, it could stake a claim for a lightweight laptop by gaming rig standards.
The lid can be flipped open with one hand to reveal a matte finish screen, with bezels the size of a smidgen, and a 720p webcam squeezed into the top border. As for the keyboard, it is not the strongest we’ve seen on a gaming laptop.
It may flex a bit when subjected to quick-fire pressure, as with gaming, but it will not cave in.
Ports and Connection
The major takeaway from the port layout in this laptop is the unusual choice of site for the USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen.1) ports at the right edge. They are mounted very close to the front of the deck and with very little space between them, making for a fairly awkward connection to your external device peripherals, as with a mouse. Other than that, there is little to complain about the port selection.
The left edge lines up with the bigger lot of ports; two slots for the remaining USB-3.0 ports, one of which is a Type-C port. Then there are slots each for the headphone, the microphone jack, and the RJ-45 Ethernet port.
The display output provisions include the HDMI connector which supports 4K output at 30Hz and a Mini DisplayPort that offers even better refresh rates.
Wireless connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
Keyboard and Input devices
While the Steelseries supported Per-key RGB backlight takes the crown at a canter, there’s plenty of other highlights in this six-row ensemble keyboard. For starters, there’s a Numpad to work with, and Anti-ghosting for the keys. The latter allows for the concurrent registering of multiple keystrokes that will come in handy for quick-fire game maneuvers.
Then there’s a chic silver-print font on all of the keys as well as feedback that is difficult to miss, and travel that is very palpable. There are special keys for unleashing the Dragon Center software and for sending the fans into a spiral.
As for the touchpad, it is sleek, sizable, and pretty responsive, with dedicated buttons for left and right click that give distinct feedback. As you slither across its slightly recessed surface, you’ll hardly ever put a foot or a finger wrong, as there is accurate cursor control to go with the precision of tracking.
MSI equips its gaming laptops with massive speakers for hardware, and the Nahimic 3 for software, and the GP65 leopard is the latest beneficiary. The audio output is not groundbreaking by any means, but it will suffice for a more than decent listening experience, for gamers first, and for the occasional Netflix and Spotify audience. While the bass does not entirely hit the high notes, the volume is resounding.
When you get down to gaming, the Nahimic 3 software will come in handy with its capacity to customize the sounds from every piece of the action. And with the built-in Amp feature along with a 3D surround sound, you can pick out the in-game sound cues that will warn you of incoming opposition, even from a few paces off.
The 15.6″ slim bezel screen of this laptop meets up with the minimum standards for a satisfactory viewing experience. It is admittedly more suited for content consumption than creation, with its fairly vibrant Full HD IPS display catering to the entertainment needs of its audience.
As for the enterprise needs, a 61% and 96% coverage for AdobeRGB and 96% sRGB gamuts respectively might not exactly count for much.
That being said, this laptop is best suited for one particular job, gaming, and the display, without being particularly spectacular, will cut the mustard at just about the right size for the grind.
The refresh rate is a sticking point, MSI often promotes this screen as a 144Hz panel, but it turns out to be a 120Hz offering. Not that the latter is a sour point, throw in a 3ms response time into the mix and it should be enough to plow through fast-paced esports titles from the FPS divide. You’ll be up to speed with every piece of the action, and without the problem of screen flickering and graininess to worry about.
And when you take it outdoors, the matte screen finish will do well to shield the display from the glare-inducing reflections from light sources. Except if the light source is intense sunlight, in which case you would have to find the nearest shaded area to get a good view.
The laptops from the GP65 rollout assembly can call on several decent graphic card configurations from NVIDIA’s GTX lineup. Our review laptop is equipped with the Geforce GTX 1660 Ti, it is not a front-row chip, but it delivers much more than satisfactory returns in the speed and smoothness of gameplay, even high-end games.
With this GPU, the GP65 leopard will run a vast number of the biggest AAA titles with minimal fuss, so long as some minor concessions are afforded. But with other computing tasks aside from gaming, as with Photo and video editing, or 3D rendering and High-res streaming of media content, this laptop will hold out quite well.
Gaming is this laptops’ strong suit, and with the GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, it is well placed to blaze a few trails along the well-beaten track. What this chip lacks in tensor cores and ray-tracing capacity, it makes up for with its DirectX12 support and a VRAM of 6GB, more than enough firepower to cut through the biggest names in the gaming circles.
MSI promotes this laptop as a VR-ready device, so connecting to external monitors with VR compatibility via the Mini DisplayPort should be no problem. But if you are okay with the 120Hz, 1080p screen, and you can take a little hit to your graphic settings, then you’ll be well set to play in the big leagues, as with titles like The Rise of the Tomb Raider and The Witcher 3.
The most comfortable setup for a majority of the FPS titles will most likely be low to medium settings at Full HD. You can even reach triple figures for frame rates at high settings with older games like Battlefield V and Forza Horizon 4.
Not many people will bat an eyelid at the sight of a drastically declining battery bar in the screen of a gaming laptop, especially at the thick of the action. And although the GP65 does not remotely raise the bar, it just about offers more in terms of staying power than what is the regular average.
Admittedly, we have seen better battery life on gaming laptops from the stables of MSI, and from other laptop brands. But the six-cell, 51Wh battery in this laptop lasted for around 5.45 hours during web browsing, with the promise of more with dialed down settings and lower brightness.
Cooling and Noise Emission
With a lineup of seven heat pipes and two fans plugging away at the internals, it is safe to say that the GP65 is well secured against the heat threat. But when it comes down to brass tacks, especially with high-powered processor activity, this line of defense is often at the brink of being breached.
The hotspots may sneak inside of the chassis and cause slight warming of the keyboard, and some parts of the palm rest. Still, the laptop will almost certainly not be too hot to handle, on your lap or your hands.
But if it gets too hot for comfort, you can always ramp up the speed of the fans by meddling with the cooler boost profile via the Dragon Center software. Only then you’ll be faced with a new problem, a bigger one too, the racket of fans that is quite the spectacle.
With the 10th Gen Core i7 processor to call on, there is more than enough processing power in the inside of this laptop to take it through the thick of the action at every time of asking.
This processor is armed with six cores, along with a clock speed that boosts to 5GHz from a base of 2.8 GHz. And when paired with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD capacity, with an efficient cooling system to boot, as with this laptop, it is capable of powering through some of the most heavy-compute workloads that you can throw at it.
Away from the thrill of gaming, this laptop can roll up its sleeve to take on sessions of word processing, data analysis, CAD design, and media transcoding. All of the aforementioned tasks will undoubtedly draw up tons of memory space and battery juice, to this effect, the MSI Dragon Center software will come in handy as a moderator of sorts.
This software is wired to keep things ticking, from monitoring fan speed and CPU/GPU temperatures and exertions to RAM usage and battery life.
The MSI brand name rings a lot of bells in gaming circles, and with the MSI GP65, it rolls in another addition to a growing list of gaming rigs. Only this time, it parades a 10th generation processor and a slightly improved battery, while costing even less.
It still features all the highs and lows of the typical MSI gaming laptop, with the per-key RGB backlight of the keyboard as the standout feature.
You’ll have to work your way around the unusual positioning of the right-sided ports, and the din of the fans under high-intensity action too.
Screen display size
1920 x 1080
Intel Core i7-10750,2.6 GHz – 5 GHz
16 GB DDR4
512 GB Flash Memory Solid State
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti
Windows 10 Home
14.08 x 10.57 x 1.08 inches