In the case of laptop computer workstations, the massive three—Dell, HP, and Lenovo—are in alphabetical order and everybody else. The MSI WS66 (begins at $2,599; $4,199 as examined) is the most recent 15.6-inch aspirator from the corporate higher recognized for gaming rigs. (Actually, this mannequin relies on the GS66 Stealth.) The WS66 has spectacular {hardware}, together with an eight-core Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia’s high skilled GPU, however our check unit’s lackluster display delivered elite design and 3D rendering apps. for spoiled its suitability. , HP’s ZBook Fury 15 G8 stays our Editors’ Alternative winner amongst flagship cell workstations, and we place the Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 and Dell Precision 7560 above the WS66 as nicely.


elements of a claimant

The $2,599 base mannequin of the MSI WS66 provides a Core i7-11800H CPU with Nvidia RTX A3000 graphics, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB solid-state drive, and a Full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) contact display. Stepping as much as the two.5GHz (4.9GHz Turbo) Core i9-11900H processor provides as much as $400. For $4,199, our evaluation mannequin 11UMT-220US packs the identical show and SSD, Core i9 chip, 64GB of reminiscence, and Nvidia’s RTX A5000 with 16GB of video reminiscence.

MSI WS66 Left Angle

(Picture: Molly Flores)

MSI’s web site promotes the WS66 as providing a 4K (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) show with an older Tenth-generation CPU, however an organization consultant informed us that Eleventh-generation 4K configurations aren’t accessible at retail. Though they are often special-ordered. It is a letdown since video enhancing, structure, and plenty of different workstation duties work—and since others on this class provide nice screens, from high-resolution OLED panels to HP’s dazzling DreamColor shows. However this nonetheless leaves alternatives for scientific and engineering jobs that prioritize shrinking giant datasets over rendering photographs.

Clad in black aluminum with a buried MSI Dragon emblem on the lid, the WS66 measures 0.71 by 14.2 by 9.7 inches, a bit thinner however roughly the identical dimension because the correct 7560 and ZBook Fury 15 G8. At 4.63 kilos, it is a few pound lighter than these methods, and far wider than the ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 (1.24 by 14.7 by 9.9 inches and 6.32 kilos). The Fury’s digital-content-creator sibling, the HP ZBook Studio G8, lowers all of them to £3.96.

MSI WS66 Rear View

(Picture: Molly Flores)

The WS66 has handed MIL-STD 810G testing for journey hazards reminiscent of shock, vibration and environmental extremes; There’s somewhat flex if you happen to grasp the corners of the display or press the keyboard deck. The aspect bezels of the display are skinny; The highest bezel makes room for a face recognition webcam, which together with a fingerprint reader in a single nook of the touchpad provides you two methods to skip typing passwords with Home windows Whats up.

Networking is one in every of MSI’s strengths, with Wi-Fi 6e and a pair of.5Gbps Ethernet as an alternative of Wi-Fi 6 and Gigabit respectively. Alternatively, whereas different premium workstations have two Thunderbolt 4 ports, the WS66 has only one. It is on the left edge, together with HDMI and USB 3.2 Sort-A ports and an influence connector. Two extra USB-A ports hook up with a USB-C 3.2 port, an audio jack, and Ethernet on the proper.

MSI WS66 Left Port

(Picture: Molly Flores)

MSI WS66 correct port

(Picture: Molly Flores)


not a lot to see

As with Disney+ and LinkedIn, Home windows 10 Professional software program preload is strengthened by MSI Middle Professional software program that gives system statistics, diagnostic routines, noise cancellation, useful resource optimization for chosen purposes, and a number of cooling or fan-noise modes. (We used Quickest or Excessive-Efficiency mode for our benchmark exams.) An MSI True Coloration utility permits you to cycle by way of sRGB, Film, Workplace, Anti-Blue-Mild, and customized colour temperature settings.

The latter likes sRGB, native, and Rec. The 709 colour palette is subsequent to the Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and different gamut of different premium cell workstations, and the WS66’s 1080p contact display is mostly subsequent to different panels—be it wealthy, vivid colours or excessive distinction. The show is of comparatively low high quality. , Brightness is enough, however the display must be tilted again sufficient to see white as an alternative of a blurry background (by now it is floppy). Effective particulars are sharp and viewing angles are very large, however boring, washed-out colours are a drag.

MSI WS66 front view

(Picture: Molly Flores)

MSI’s keyboard is brightly backlit, however has a shallow, picket typing really feel. The format is a bit awkward, as nicely—there is a stack of 4 keys on the proper that may be good for Dwelling, Finish, Web page Up, and Web page Down, however as an alternative they’re Delete, Insert, Web page Up, and Web page Down. The latter two pair with the Fn key for Dwelling and Finish, however the Fn secret’s to the proper as an alternative of to the left of the area bar, so it is a clumsy mixture.

High-line perform keys embrace a microphone mute and webcam toggles in addition to quantity and brightness controls. The touchpad is buttonless, by no means factor for a workstation as many impartial software program vendor (ISV) apps make intensive use of the proper and center buttons; It glides on and faucets easily however has a stiff, plasticy click on.

MSI WS66 Keyboard

(Picture: Molly Flores)

Webcams have a standard, minimal 720p decision; It captures brightly coloured, soft-focus photographs with numerous noise or static. The sound from the speaker above the keyboard is so weak it would not even fill a room at excessive quantity; You may make out a dimly overlapping monitor but it surely’s hole and muffled, like a blanket thrown at a laptop computer.


Efficiency Testing of the WS66: A 5-Manner Workstation Scramble

The apparent machines to hitch the MSI WS66 in our benchmark comparability chart are the opposite high-end 15.6-inch cell workstations, the aforementioned Lenovo ThinkPad P15 Gen 2, the HP ZBook Fury 15 G8 and the Dell Precision 7560. Moving into final place is HP’s ZBook Studio G8, a content material creation workstation with one in every of Nvidia’s GeForce gaming GPUs as an alternative of A-series skilled silicon. You possibly can take a look at their fundamental specs within the desk beneath.

productiveness check

UL’s PCMark 10 core benchmarks simulate quite a lot of real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows to measure the general efficiency of office-focused duties reminiscent of phrase processing, spreadsheets, net searching, and videoconferencing. We additionally run PCMark 10’s full system drive check to evaluate the load time and throughput of the laptop computer’s storage.

The three benchmarks give attention to the CPU, utilizing all accessible cores and threads, to charge the suitability of a PC for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 makes use of that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Professional emulates well-liked apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder Handbrake 1.4 to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (the shorter the time the higher).

Our final productiveness check is Puget Techniques’ Pugetbench for Photoshop(Opens in a brand new window), which makes use of Artistic Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s famend picture editor, to charge PC efficiency for content material creation and multimedia purposes. It is an automatic extension that performs quite a lot of frequent and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties, from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to making use of masks, gradient fills, and filters.

The WS66 did fantastic in PCMark 10 and Photoshop (all of those methods are fairly excessive for on a regular basis apps like Phrase and Excel), however its Core i9 processor overwhelmed in Handbrake and Cinebench, crushed by others, together with Dell’s Core i7.

graphics check

We examined the graphics of Home windows PCs with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night time Raid (appropriate for laptops with extra modest, built-in graphics) and Time Spy (appropriate for gaming rigs with extra demanding, discrete GPUs) We do.

We additionally ran two exams from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which emphasizes each low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like picture rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Automotive Chase exams present offscreen to accommodate completely different show resolutions, apply graphics and calculate shaders utilizing the OpenGL programming interface and {hardware} tessellation, respectively. The extra frames per second (fps), the higher.

These cell workstations are constructed for severe duties, not shoot-em-up, however have greater than sufficient graphics muscle for our gaming simulations. MSI received the silver medal on the again of the ThinkPad.

workstation-specific testing

We run two extra packages to emulate workstation purposes. The primary, Blender, is an open-source 3D suite for modeling, animation, simulation, and compositing. We report the time it takes for its built-in cycle path tracer to render two photo-realistic views of BMW automobiles, one of many system’s CPU and one of many GPU (much less time is best). BMW artist Mike Pan has mentioned that he considers the visuals too quick for rigorous testing, however they continue to be a preferred benchmark.

Maybe our most essential workstation check, the SPECviewperf 2020, renders, rotates, and zooms out and in in strong and wireframe fashions utilizing a viewset of well-liked impartial software program vendor (ISV) apps. We run 1080p decision exams primarily based on PTC’s Creo CAD platform; Autodesk’s Maya modeling and simulation software program for movie, TV and video games; and Dassault Techniques’ SolidWorks 3D rendering package deal. The extra frames per second, the higher.

Go determine: After clearly underperforming in a number of benchmarks, together with Blender, the WS66 merely crushed SPECviewperf. That is a degree in its favor, however we’ve got to confess that the renders and viewsets seemed higher on the higher screens of the opposite 4 methods.

Battery and efficiency testing

We check a laptop computer’s battery life by taking part in a regionally saved 720p video file (the open-source Blender film.) tears of metal(Opens in a brand new window)) with show brightness at 50% and audio quantity at 100%. We ensure the battery is absolutely charged, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off earlier than testing.

We additionally use the Datacolor SpiderX Elite Monitor Calibration Sensor and its Home windows software program to measure the colour saturation of a laptop computer display – the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 colour gamut, or what proportion of the palette the show can show. is – and 50% of it and the height brightness in nits (candelas per sq. meter).

Workstations spend virtually all their time plugged into wall retailers or energy strips, not airline tray tables, so battery life is much less essential for them than for ultraportables, although the MSI confirmed good stamina. In distinction, it carried out poorly in our show brightness and colour constancy exams—the display is actually usable or satisfactory, but it surely’s greater than what we have come to count on from an inexpensive general-purpose laptop computer, not only a laptop computer. That from an elite workstation.


if you strike a king

The 15.6-inch flagship workstations from HP, Lenovo and Dell are costly, engaging laptops that ship supreme efficiency for demanding professionals. The MSI WS66 is not in its league, partly resulting from a considerably dim Core i9 CPU, however principally resulting from an unimpressive display. In case you have $4,000 to spend, you are able to do higher.

professionals

  • Quick efficiency for many duties

  • comparatively skinny and lightweight

  • Quick graphics and networking {hardware}

Shortcoming

  • carry out poorly

  • Just one Thunderbolt 4 port

  • Decrease reminiscence and storage ceilings than different cell workstations

  • mediocre keyboard and audio

See extra

Backside-line

MSI’s WS66 challenges the best (and priceless) 15.6-inch cell workstation, however a subpar display makes it unsuitable for 3D design, CGI rendering, or video enhancing.

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