Considering the hardware it offers, the MSI GL65 10Sx is one of the most budget-friendly gaming laptops money can buy. Currently, there are configurations, featuring the Core i7-10750H and an RTX 2070 that come at $1400, and this is with 16GB of RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and a 144Hz panel.
Ultimately, the GL65 10Sx is largely unchanged from the GL65 9SE, with the only changes under the bonnet being the 10th Gen Comet Lake-H processors and the Wi-Fi 6 support.
Of course, more and more people are interested in thin and light gaming machines, like the Lenovo Legion 7 (15), but thicker boys like this MSI device, offer more cooling capacity (in theory). This provides the headroom for a 115W version of the RTX 2060 (found in our unit), and we will compare how it deals against other lower-power devices.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-gl65-leopard-10sx/
MSI GL65 Leopard 10Sx – Specs
1000GB SSD + up to 1000GB HDD
1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4
Windows 10 Home, No OS
41Wh, 6-cell, 51Wh, 6-cell
357 x 248 x 27.5 mm (14.06″ x 9.76″ x 1.08″)
Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum
Ports and connectivity
What’s in the box?
Inside the package, we found the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 230W power brick, and the device, itself.
Design and construction
Again, the GL65 comes with an aluminum lid and an all-plastic body. It weighs 2.30 kg and has a profile of 27.5mm. The device, itself is pretty sturdy if we have to be honest, and the only visual difference, when compared to the GL65 9SE, is the lid cover and its two stripes, making it appear a little more aggressive. It’s also safe to say that the base and the lid are absolute fingerprint magnets.
Speaking of the lid, you can easily open it with one hand. The hinges are placed in the corners, which helps with the force distribution, but on the other side, there is a bit of flex, when you twist the lid. Thankfully, we see narrow bezels to the sides and the top of the display, and the latter also houses the HD camera, that can take 720p 30fps videos.
Next, we move to the keyboard. As usual, it comes in two options, regarding the backlight – an all-Red and a Per-Key RGB one. The unit itself is comfortable for gaming with its relatively long travel and clicky feedback. It’s also good to see that there is a NumberPad section, but on the downside, it is placed too close to the Arrow keys, resulting in misclicks every once in a while. By the way, the laptop has two dedicated buttons, placed right next to the Power button. One of them opens the Dragon Center, while the other unleashes the full potential of the fans, making the laptop sound like you have opened a window in your car while driving at 100 MPH.
Thankfully, the keyboard deck has almost no flex when you push it, and we found the weakest point to be right between the space bar and the touchpad – where the plastic is extremely thin. As for the touchpad, we have a very good unit, whose accurate tracking pairs really well with the fast-refresh-rate display. It also has a couple of dedicated buttons, which are … okay.
And if you turn the laptop upside down, you will notice the huge ventilation grill, which covers pretty much the entire cooling solution, providing a nice look inside. Also, there are the speaker cutouts, while the heat is dissipated from two vents on the back and one on the left side of the device.
On the left side, you’ll see an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI connector, a Mini DisplayPort, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and two audio jacks. Then, on the right, there is the power plug, an SD card reader, and two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports.
Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance
In order to open the get to all of the internals, you need to remove the back panel. It is held in place by 12 Phillips-head screws. Keep in mind that one of them has a “Factory seal”, which may or may not void your warranty in some regions. After you remove them, you’ll need a (preferably) plastic pry tool, or a guitar picks to pop the plate out of the chassis.
Inside, you’ll see 7 heat pipes, which despite looking thin, are quite beefy. So, four of them are cooling the GPU and its VRM modules and memory. Of them, one is cooling the CPU voltage regulators, while two others are cooling down, the CPU, itself. Interestingly, though, the heat sinks look quite narrow (although they are almost as thick as the laptop, itself. We’ll see how they manage the thermals of the device in the Temperature section of the review.
Then, in terms of upgradability, there are two RAM SODIMM slots, stacked above each other, and they support up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. Storage-wise, you can put an M.2 PCIe/SATA drive, while the big gap on the left is reserved for the 2.5″ SATA drive.
Last, but not least, there is the 51Wh battery pack. It is easy to remove, but sadly it looks too small for a laptop of this caliber.
MSI GL65 10Sx has a 144Hz IPS panel, model number AUO B156HAN08.4 (AUOAF90). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).
It has comfortable viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.
The measured maximum brightness of 258 nits in the middle of the screen and 255 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 6%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6880K – slightly colder than the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is not bad – 1000:1.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows MSI GL65 10Sx’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers 53% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of MSI GL65 10Sx with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
The light coming from MSI GL65 10Sx’s screen doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. Thankfully, this enables you to play for extended periods of time, without the risk of further damaging your eyes and brain.
Blue light emissions
Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
MSI GL65 10Sx’s 144Hz IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, decent contrast ratio, and doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. However, it covers only 53% of the sRGB gamut, which is something uncommon for a 144Hz panel.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI GL65 10Sx configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO B156HAN08.4 (AUOAF90).
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
MSI GL65 10Sx’s speakers have a decent quality. However, the low, mid, and high tones all have some deviations in clarity.
You can download all of the latest drivers and utilities for this notebook from here: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/support/GL65-Leopard-10SX
Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This notebook’s 51Wh battery delivers 6 hours and 13 minutes of Web browsing, and 6 hours and 36 minutes of video playback.
This device can currently be found with the Core i5-10300H or the Core i7-10750H.
Whereas the graphics cards of choice include the GTX 1650, GTX 1650 Ti, GTX 1660 Ti, and the ray-tracing enabled options – the RTX 2060, and the RTX 2070.
MSI GL65 Leopard 10Sx GPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the MSI GL65 Leopard 10Sx models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which MSI GL65 Leopard 10Sx model is the best bang for your buck.
Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.
Temperatures and comfort
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|Intel Core i5-10300H (45W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|MSI GL65 10Sx||4.19 GHz (B+68%) @ 79°C||4.13 GHz (B+65%) @ 94°C||3.76 GHz (B+50%) @ 95°C|
|HP Envy 15 (15-ep0000)||4.02 GHz (B+61%) @ 87°C||3.52 GHz (B+41%) @ 76°C||3.56 GHz (B+42%) @ 82°C|
|Lenovo Ideapad Creator 5 (15)||4.11 GHz (B+64%) @ 91°C||3.99 GHz (B+60%) @ 94°C||3.67 GHz (B+45%) @ 94°C|
|Dell XPS 17 9700||3.83 GHz (B+53%) @ 94°C||3.59 GHz (B+44%) @ 95°C||3.31 GHz (B+32%) @ 89°C|
|Dell XPS 15 9500||3.43 GHz (B+38%) @ 85°C||3.34 GHz (B+34%) @ 97°C||3.34 GHz (B+34%) @ 99°C|
|Dell G3 15 3500||3.70 GHz (B+48%) @ 97°C||3.53 GHz (B+41%) @ 97°C||3.32 GHz (B+33%) @ 95°C|
|Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3i (15)||4.00 GHz (B+60%) @ 94°C||3.76 GHz (B+50%) @ 94°C||3.57 GHz (B+43%) @ 94°C|
|Acer Predator Triton 300 (PT315-52)||3.35 GHz (B+34%) @ 72°C||3.33 GHz (B+33%) @ 79°C||3.31 GHz (B+32%) @ 84°C|
On the bright side, we’ve just seen the highest clock on a Core i5-10300H in Prime95 – 4.19 GHz average on all cores. However, despite the strong start and finish, the 95C end temperature kind of takes away from the sense of glory.
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)||GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min + fan boost)|
|MSI GL65 10Sx||1805 MHz @ 75°C||1794 MHz @ 78°C||1802 MHz @ 76°C|
|Dell G7 17 7700||1468 MHz @ 72°C||1440 MHz @ 77°C||1450 MHz @ 75°C|
|Dell G7 17 7790||1432 MHz @ 73°C||1462 MHz @ 73°C||–|
|MSI GF65 Thin 10Sx||1434 MHz @ 84°C||1421 MHz @ 86°C||–|
|Acer Predator Helios 300 (PH315-53)||1506 MHz @ 77°C||1457 MHz @ 82°C||1671 MHz @ 76°C|
|MSI GL65 9SE||1590 MHz @ 71°C||1588 MHz @ 73°C||1590 MHz @ 68°C|
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502||1454 MHz @ 76°C||1394 MHz @ 85°C||–|
|MSI GS65 Stealth 8SE||1305 MHz @ 77°C||1267 MHz @ 80°C||–|
|Lenovo Legion Y740||1526 MHz @ 70°C||1499 MHz @ 74°C||–|
You can see that his notebook’s 115W TGP completely annihilates everything else we’ve tested when it comes to core clocks. On the downside, the laptop runs its fans at a very high RPM, which makes them sound extremely loud. One of the reasons for that is their small size. And as you can see, turning the fan boost on doesn’t really make that much of a difference.
As we said, the laptop is extremely loud during gaming, and we found the keyboard to run pretty warmly as well. Thankfully, the bottom panel remained cool throughout both tests, mainly thanks to the huge ventilation grill.
We feel we have to start with that – the Core i5-10300H will definitely bottleneck the RTX 2060 at low settings, and at some games – even at medium. However, the potent GPU pulls the entire system ahead, once we are dealing with a smaller amount of fps, and the true power, provided by the 115W TGP shines away.
Regardless of the processor choice, however, keep in mind, you are getting a very loud device. Its rather small fans are blowing a ton of air, but at the expense of noise, and a bit of heat on the base.
Thankfully, though, there are two RAM SODIMM slots, supporting up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. You will also find a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay, an M.2 NVMe drive slot, an SD card reader, and a ton of I/O connectors. As for the battery life – well you will get about 6 hours and 13 minutes of Web browsing and a bit more than 6 hours and a half of video playback.
MSI GL65 10Sx’s 144Hz IPS panel (AUO B156HAN08.4 (AUOAF90)) has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, decent contrast ratio, and doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. However, it covers only 53% of the sRGB gamut, which is something uncommon for a 144Hz panel.
So if you want a more all-around experience, the Acer Predator helios 300 (PH315-53) is definitely a great choice, as is the HP Omen 15 (15-ek0000). With that said, the MSI GL65 10Sx is not a bad device. It’s just that a couple of factors prevent it from being a top-notch option.
- Exceptional performance
- Great I/O connectivity with an SD card reader
- Optional Per-key RGB backlight
- Lack of PWM (AUO B156HAN08.4)
- Up to 64GB of DDR4 memory
- Quite bulky for 2020
- Very loud during gaming
- Covers only 51% of sRGB (AUO B156HAN08.4)
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-gl65-leopard-10sx/