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[In-depth Comparison] MSI GP66 Leopard vs MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx – the GP66 Leopard shows significant GPU improvements but has lost some of the best qualities of its predecessor

MSI was among the most active manufacturers at CES 2021, being one of the first to reveal the updated 2021 versions of their laptops, with the newest GeForce Ampere Graphics cards. One of these devices was the MSI GP66 Leopard, which brought with itself a complete visual overhaul while keeping most of the internal components and display options.

The older MSI GP65 Leopard brought to the table a more gamer-y aesthetic, with the red MSI badge on the lid and red accents on the base. It is also a pretty good choice, still in 2021, as it mostly has the exact same specs, with the exception of the graphics cards, of course. With it comes the question of: “Do you really need the new one, or is the older GP65 Leopard still powerful enough for today’s standards?” We are here to answer that question, by offering you a detailed comparison between the new MSI GP66 Leopard and last year’s MSI GP65 Leopard.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx) – Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx – Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx) configurations:

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx configurations:

Contents

Design and construction

MSI took a drastic turn, in terms of the design, which is extremely noticeable in the new GP66 Leopard. It features a completely new, more industrial-looking design, with no red badging or RGB light (except for the keyboard) or anything of that sort. What is done is rely only on the body lines and overall angular design.

Materials-wise we believe it features metal for the lid and the base, however, the bottom panel and hinge covers are clearly made out of plastic, which is not a bad thing, as most other gaming laptops use the same layout. The GP65 Leopard uses the same materials at the same places for its body, but its design is more suited towards gamers, with a red MSI badge on the lid and red accents on the base (mainly on the back).

The lids on both devices open easily with a single hand, with the one on the GP65 Leopard being slightly twisty when under pressure. In terms of bezel size, the GP65 Leopard actually has thinner bezels than the new laptop, and still manages to come with an HD webcam, something the GP66 Leopard also has.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

HeightWeight
MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)23.4 mm (0.92″)2.38 kg (5.2 lbs)
MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx27.5 mm (1.08″)2.30 kg (5.1 lbs)

Keyboard and Touchpad

For the input devices, sadly the GP66 Leopard’s keyboard isn’t as good as the one on its predecessor. First of all, it completely gets rid of the Numpad, but it also has a rather short key travel and the mechanism feels dull and not clicky, which for a gaming device and overall typing experience, is very valuable. Fortunately, its only saving grace is the per-key RGB backlight and the function keys, which open up the Dragon Center and Steelseries software, plus one, that lets you push the fans to their maximum.

On the GP65 Leopard, the keyboard spans through the entirety of the base, and it has a Numpad. It has a nice and long key travel, plus very clicky feedback. In terms of the backlight, you have the option of either a single-color (Red) backlight or a per-key RGB backlight that is provided by Steelseries.

The Touchpad on the GP66 Leopard lacks the dedicated buttons but is still very accurate and easy to use. Still, we believe that the unit on the GP65 Leopard had a glass-like finish, making for exceptional gliding, and was better all around, and while the buttons are hard to press on the edges, they at least exist.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Ports

Being gaming-oriented devices, the I/O is quite stacked and there is an abundance of ports. On the newer GP66 Leopard, there are ports on the left, right, and backside. In total, you have four USB ports, with one Type-C  3.2 (Gen. 2) port on the back, and the other three Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) spread around the sides. Additionally, there is an HDMI connector and an RJ-45 connector as well as the mandatory 3.5 mm audio jack.

As for the GP65 Leopard, all of the I/O is on the left and right sides. On the left, you have a microSD card reader as well as two USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports. On the opposite side, you have the RJ-45 and the HDMI connectors, a Mini DisplayPort, and two more USB ports, one of which is a Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port and the other Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) port, along with the 3.5 mm audio jack.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

 Specs Sheet

Display quality

There are multiple display options for both laptops but they are generally the same panels. In our case, both laptops had the same panel with the model number LG LP156WFG-SPB3. That is a Full HD IPS panel with a refresh rate of 144Hz, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a pixel density of – 142 ppi. The pitch stays at 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60cm or 24 inches (from this distance, the human eye can’t distinguish between the individual pixels).

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Viewing angles are great on both devices. We have provided images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

In terms of brightness, despite having the same panel, the GP65 Leopard has higher maximum brightness both in the center of the screen and on average for the whole area. However, the panel on the GP66 Leopard has a higher contrast ratio of 890:1, compared to the 800:1 on the GP65. The panel of the older laptop also has a temperature on a white screen (6280K) that is closer to the sRGB standard (6500K). For example, the color temperature on a white screen on the GP66 Leopard is 7100K.

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.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Color coverage

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 on 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.

Below you can see the results of our color coverage test, with the yellow dotted line showing the area, which the laptops’ displays cover. You can see the results for both the MSI GP66 Leopard, which covers 95% of the sRGB color gamut, and the MSI GP65 Leopard, which shows 94% coverage of the same color gamut.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Color accuracy

Moving over to the color accuracy, we tested it by using the 24 most commonly used colors. Below you can see the results of both laptops with the factory settings (left) and with our “Gaming and Web design” profile applied (right). Both panels show exceptional color accuracy, especially when using our profile.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Response Time (Gaming capabilities)

Both panels showed great results with the panel on the GP65 Leopard being slightly faster. We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Health impact / PWM

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.

Both the GP66 Leopard and the GP65 Leopard don’t use PWM to adjust their brightness at any level.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Buy our profiles

Here at LaptopMedia, we create a set of custom-tailored profiles for every notebook we review. They boost the productivity of display and reduce negative effects such as blue light emissions and PWM. You can read more about them here.

Buy our profiles from here:

MSI GP66 Leopard 15.6-inch 144 Hz Full HD panel – LG LP156WFG-SPB3 (LGD0625): Buy our profiles

MSI GP65 Leopard 15.6-inch 144 Hz Full HD panel – LG LP156WFG-SPB3 (LGD0625): Buy our profiles

Sound

While the speakers on the GP66 Leopard produce clear audio, they are a tad too quiet. Also, the low, mid, and high tones all have some deviations. As for the GP65 Leopard, it has the same low volume and good quality, however, there are some deviations in the low tones, while the mids and highs are clear.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Battery life

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. The MSI GP66 Leopard lasted for 4 hours and 23 minutes of Web browsing and 4 hours and 54 minutes of video playback. As for the GP65 Leopard, it had a significantly higher score in the web browsing test of 5 hours and 45 minutes but dropped substantially in the video playback test, only lasting for 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Overall the GP66 Leopard has a much more balanced battery life and the GP65 Leopard excels at web browsing but falls short in video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Performance

Both laptops have great options for processors and graphics cards, with the GP66 Leopard having available the RTX 3000-series Ampere GPUs from NVIDIA. Below you can see the results from both our CPU and GPU benchmarks.

CPU benchmarks

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

GPU benchmarks

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Gaming tests

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Far Cry 5Full HD, Normal (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
MSI GP66 Leopard (RTX 3060)132 fps (+33%)124 fps (+31)117 fps (+29)
MSI GP65 Leopard (RTX 2070)99 fps95 fps91 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
MSI GP66 Leopard (RTX 3060)162 fps (+11%)96 fps (+16%)65 fps (+14%)
MSI GP65 Leopard (RTX 2070)146 fps83 fps57 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
MSI GP66 Leopard (RTX 3060)105 fps (+18%)92 fps (+15%)60 fps (+5%)
MSI GP65 Leopard (RTX 2070)89 fps80 fps57 fps

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
MSI GP66 Leopard (RTX 3060)123 fps (+16%)118 fps (+17%)79 fps (+22%)
MSI GP65 Leopard (RTX 2070)106 fps101 fps65 fps

Gaming comfort

In terms of gaming comfort, the MSI GP66 Leopard did a better job of keeping the CPU and GPU cooler. As always, below you can see the outside temperatures that are measured during full load. From the photos below you can see that the MSI GP65 Leopard is 6°C hotter on the outside, which might leave some of you with “sausage fingers”.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx)

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx

Verdict

Both laptops are fantastic and deserve your attention, with the new one being the better device, but with some caveats. Design-wise, it has a more refined and streamlined exterior that is as sturdy as the old one. but has a thinner profile that weighs more. The input devices are better on the older laptop, especially the keyboard, which has a long key travel for a laptop and very satisfying and clicky feedback, something which makes the typing and gaming experience very pleasant. It even has the Numpad, which is gone on the GP66 Leopard. Fortunately, both touchpads are very accurate and easy to glide, with the one on the GP65 having a better texture, which mimics glass.

I/O and upgradability are on a very high level on both devices, which should be expected as they are gaming-oriented. Both laptops have four USB ports, an HDMI connector, an RJ-45 port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack, along with upgradeable RAM and SSD storage. However, the GP65 excels by having an SD card reader.

The display quality is great, regardless of what machine you go for, as they share the same 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel. It has a 144Hz refresh rate, as well as comfortable viewing angles, high maximum brightness, and great sRGB color coverage, which is insignificantly higher on the GP66 Leopard. For the color accuracy, the panel showed exceptional results, especially after we applied our “Gaming and Web design” profile. Health-wise, both panels show no signs of PWM usage, meaning that they are safe to use for prolonged periods.

The speakers on the laptops are somewhat quiet but produce clear audio. On the GP66 Leopard, we noticed deviations in the low, mid, and high tones. On the older laptop, there were deviations only in the low tones. Battery life was very balanced on the GP66 Leopard, with the device showing similar results both in the Web browsing and video playback tests. The battery life on the GP65 Leopard is much more “black & white”, performing better than the GP66 Leopard in Web browsing, but worse in video playback.

In the hardware and gaming tests, the MSI GP66 Leopard showed better results, being faster in both the CPU and GPU benchmarks. In the gaming tests, the RTX 3060, which is inside the GP66 Leopard outperformed the RTX 2070 across all games and graphics settings. Finally, in the gaming comfort section, the GP66 Leopard was 6°C cooler on the outside than its predecessor during full load.

If money isn’t an issue, you should pick up the new GP66 Leopard. Not only does it look better on the outside, but it also has more performance, thanks to the new Ampere graphics cards. The keyboard, however, is quite lacking, in comparison to the older one. If you are looking for a deal, the GP65 Leopard will be a better option for you. While you will be sacrificing a decent amount of performance, it will still be enough to grant you a great gaming experience, you get a better keyboard, and with the release of its successor, it will be going down in price, and you will for sure see it go on sale if it isn’t already.

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx) – Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx – Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI GP66 Leopard (10UHx / 10UGx / 10UEx) configurations:

MSI GP65 Leopard 10Sx configurations: