MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004) Review

Kenny Trinh Updated on October 2, 2020
MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004)

Editor’s Rating: 7 / 10

If we compare buying a laptop to alchemy, we’d say that handing your money to buy the GF65 is a perfect example of equivalent exchange.

MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004)
Getting a gaming laptop takes many considerations before you make a decision. The MSI GF65 Thin 9SD doesn't require all of that since it's a fair choice no matter how you look at it.

The Good

It’s lightweight, but it’s capable of providing you with an enjoyable time playing your favorite high-end games. And if you wish to, you can also use it to stream your gameplay without spending too much.

The Bad

There’s almost nothing wrong about this laptop. You’ll get what you’re paying for this machine. The only thing that might turn you off is its plastic shell that loves skin grease too much.

Detailed Review Of MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004)

Gaming laptops are excessively pricey, and we need to accept that fact. Because of that, we check every nook and cranny, specs and benchmarks, and style and design choices before we choose the one that we want, need, and afford. Instead of feeling excited about getting a laptop, we often get to feel anxiety in fear of choosing wrong–this is especially true if you’re hiding the fact that you’re buying a computer for games instead of buying a laptop for uni or work.

Fortunately, there are companies like MSI that always try to make things simple and straightforward. They tend to build and sell these products as if they’ve read our minds. The company seems to understand everything about gamers (aside from the fact that not all of us like red and most of us agree that the MSI dragon logo looks janky).

In this review, we will present to you MSI’s GF65 Thin 9SD. It’s part of a series of laptops that focus on performance, portability, and budget-friendliness. We’re sure that this will make it to your shortlist.

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(Image credit: MSI)

MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004) Configuration In Review

Processor: Intel Core i7-9750h 2.6 – 4.5GHz | RAM: 16GB (8G*2) DDR4 2666MHz | Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660Ti 6G GDDR6 | Display: 15.6-inch FHD  | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 7 hours | Weight: 4.1 pounds | Other Features: Cooler Boost 3

 A Hot To Touch Gaming Setup

The GTX 1660Ti is something you would want on your 15-inch gaming laptops. It’s not just for playing AAA games, but you can stream with it, too. So, what’s special about it?

It boasts its Turing shaders that make the card power and thermally efficient. It’s ideal for portable gaming. Also, it has 6GB of VRAM. Your computer won’t gasp for additional memory from your RAM and storage while playing your favorite game.

With this laptop, you can quickly achieve 60FPS on most modern triple-A games on Ultra anytime. Of course, if you want to gain some edge and take advantage of the 120hz monitor while you stream, you’ll need to sacrifice a bit of bloom and shadows.

When it comes to RAM, it’s all about numbers. As long as you see that everything is higher than average, then this aspect is good. And this GF65’s got you covered. It comes with two sticks of 8GB DDR4 2666Mhz, a total of 16GB. As a gamer, it’s standard fare. As a casual user, it’s way beyond your needs.

If you’re on media editing, you’ll want to max the RAM to its limit, which is 64GB. However, you’ll need to replace the sticks instead of just adding since there are only two slots.

On a different note, the processor’s a ninth gen i7 with six cores. It has a base frequency of 2.6 GHz with a turbo speed of 4.5 GHz.

Dominate all with higher clock speed with the latest 9th Intel Core i7 processor powers up with 10% performance gains over the previous generation.

In terms of power consumption and heat generation, this processor has a TDP of 45 watts. It’s on the higher side of things, so expect that your battery would suffer a bit, and your keyboard might feel a bit toasty.

Trendy And Showy

The GF65’s monitor’s a 15.6-inch FHD that has a refresh rate of 120hz. It has razor-thin bezels. They’re only half-inch-thick, and you wouldn’t even notice them when you start playing your games.

We wouldn’t recommend doing those tasks with its monitor for those who will use this laptop for media creation and editing. Instead, you would connect it to a decent display since its color gamut is off for about 40% to 50%.

When it comes to the monitor’s brightness and intensity, it’s just average as it only generates 280 nits. Bright window light can easily overpower the screen.

Fast And Decent Storage

It has 256 GB M.2. For a gaming laptop, 256 GB isn’t enough. AAA games typically require 50 to 100 GBs of space. Because of that, you’ll need to upgrade sooner or later. Thankfully, the GF65 has an extra M.2 slot.

If you plan to upgrade, know that you’ll need to open the laptop, and that may void your warranty. If you’re okay with that, understand that the GF65 is one of the most straightforward laptops to open. You can just flip it, unscrew the screws, remove the bottom cover, and plop in the new M.2.

On the other hand, 256 GBs of storage space is just about right for casual users. If you’re planning to store HD videos, we suggest that you upgrade your storage or consider getting some cloud storage solution service. Alternatively, since the laptop has USB3 ports, you can instead call a high performance and high capacity external HDD for your files. If those files are just movies to be watched and kept, the external drive should suffice.

Overall Impression

The bottom panel is more like a grill than a cover. You can almost see everything inside through those grates. It’s a nice thing to have because it allows more airflow, which a laptop, nonetheless a gaming laptop, requires to maintain its temperatures when throttling. However, you know that it’s also a cause of concern because anything liquid that may spill near it may quickly get inside this laptop.

It’s sad to say, but we don’t like the material and finish on the GF65. It looks like cheap plastic regardless if you look at it from afar or up-close. MSI was going for a brushed metal look, but it only made it appear much worse. Instead of brushed metal, it looks more like brushed plastic.

And when we held it, our fingers immediately left impressions on it.

Battery life is the number one issue when it comes to gaming laptops. And that’s the main reason the “PC Master Race” people are looking down upon laptop gamers. At this point, face it. You can’t have your cake and eat it. If you want performance and thinness, then you’ll need to sacrifice battery life.

Another thing to note is that there’s no way you can play AAA games on Ultra for multiple hours with a slim battery, especially if you’re using laptops with high-end i7 processors. What you need is a car battery—just kidding. Cheer up. Compared to its peers, the GF65 Thin can operate up to seven hours for regular gaming without streaming and capping your refresh rate/FPS to 60. If you want to exceed 60, then expect that it’ll cut your battery life’s short to only three hours tops.

When it comes to ports, we felt oddly pleasant to see a gaming laptop to have multiple ports ready. After all, we often connect a lot of stuff on our laptops, mostly when we play a game. We have our gaming keyboard, gaming mouse, and even a cooling pad/stand. The only problem with the GF65 is that MSI positioned all of these ports on the sides.

That has been a common issue with laptop manufacturers ever since laptops with ports on its back didn’t sell well before. Just connecting the cables on the sides looks messy and can cause accidents.

And another thing: it isn’t enjoyable to play a game, especially FPS games, on a chiclet/island-style keyboard. Every manufacturer should know that gamers would spend thousands of bucks for an ergonomic mechanical keyboard. But you get this instead.

Unless you started gaming using a laptop keyboard, your fingers wouldn’t feel alienated when you use this. The travel is a bit higher than regular laptop keyboards, and it’s a bit stiff. But once you’ve started using mechanical, your expectations for keyboards will always be on an all-time high.

Lastly, with any gaming-related product from MSI, this has a red keyboard backlight. It doesn’t give you the option to change the color.

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(Image credit: MSI)

Critic Reviews

NotebookCheck.com: 79% / 100%

Same look, faster performance: The GF65 replaces last year’s GF63 by introducing new Nvidia Turing GPU options, new display options, a more comprehensive cooling solution, and faster wireless. The narrow bezel chassis design remains unchanged.

Buy It If

Suppose you’re not ready to buy an expensive high-end laptop. The GF65 is a mid-range gaming laptop that you can easily upgrade later on. It also has a better cooling solution than most gaming laptops in the market, which can ensure that you’ll have good mileage with this one. It’s also lightweight, considering its class and specs.

Dedicated thermal solutions for both the CPU and GPU with up to 6 heat pipes, work harmoniously by minimizing the heat and maximizing the airflow for smooth gaming. 

Don’t Buy It If

The cooling is excellent, but it generates much noise. A minor inconvenience you will always face with a gaming laptop. MSI positioned the ports on the sides. The cable can get quickly wrapped up. You get a 120hz monitor, but the machine itself struggles on maintaining 60-70 fps on AAA games set to Ultra. It’s not gaming ready out of the box. You’ll need to have a set of gaming peripherals to enjoy yourself.

On the other hand, if you plan to use it for work, this might not be for you. It’s indeed powerful, but it’s overkill for you and what you need is something with more battery life. Check out these business laptops instead.

MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004) Alternatives

Verdict

MSI GF65 Thin 9SD (2019, GF65004)
Getting a gaming laptop takes many considerations before you make a decision. The MSI GF65 Thin 9SD doesn't require all of that since it's a fair choice no matter how you look at it.

We’re sure that you’re delighted to know GF65 is a safe choice, and you can fall back on it if other brands and models don’t satisfy what you want. Nevertheless, we still encourage you to look around a bit more, especially in our gaming laptops list, to make sure you get what you want.

Kenny Trinh
Article by:
Kenny Trinh
Editor @ Netbooknews. While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur tips and tricks which featured Forbes and other places.

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