MSI Pulse GL66 Review 16

MSI Pulse GL66 Review

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Introduction

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Not all laptops are built the same. One thing that stands out right away is naming schemes for mobile parts these days, with mobile GPUs hard to differentiate from one another. They have similar names even though their performance may be quite different. You really have to pay attention to the specifications and power draw of mobile GPUs to exactly know what you are getting—information that is sometimes hard to find. Examples are the low-power RTX 3070 GPUs, which in their low-power format are eclipsed in performance by the seemingly lesser yet high-power-draw RTX 3060. However, that difference is only present when the laptop is plugged in; unplugged, mobile GPUs are power restricted even further yet, and in that instance, you have something different. You've got a 40 W GPU limit with NVIDIA Optimus while unplugged, so what can we get out of that 40 W, and what's the biggest battery we can stuff inside? The answer to that question should set a lot of laptops apart from each other, but I don't often see it considered. Everyone is trying to differentiate themselves to get your dollar, but there is not a lot of focus on what you get unplugged.

MSI's Pulse GL66 is a laptop that tries to do things differently right from the start. Clad in titanium-gray instead of MSI's usual black, the Pulse GL66 takes cues from futuristic fighters in its look. There's subtle design cues all over the Pulse GL66/GL76. There's attention to the parts used inside. All finely balanced. MSI states that "with titanium-gray metal armor and contour lines, the Pulse GL series is for those who love futuristic aesthetics." To pull this off, MSI tapped Maarten Verhoeven, digital concept sculptor and Z-Brush World Champion.



While the Pulse GL66 comes in a multitude of configurations, we have a variant with one of those lower-power 85 W 3070 GPUs inside. Yet once you unplug from the wall, maximum power levels aren't exactly in use anymore, and you're then still left with a 3070, not a 3060. Once you unplug from the wall, the 3070 is further restricted to 40 W. Fortunately, we also have a 90 Wh battery, so that time unplugged is as long as it can be. There are still silicon supply restraints in place too, so this lower-power 3070 is a great option for those who plan to use their laptop unplugged, but want an aesthetic different from the norm.

Specifications
Manufacturer:MSI
Model:GL66 Pulse
Size:359 x 259 x 23.95 mm.
Weight:4.63 lbs
Processor:Intel Core i7-11800H
2.40 GHz (4.60 GHz Turbo)
Chipset:Intel HM570
Display:15.6" screen
1920x1080, 144 Hz
Operating System:Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Integrated Graphics:Intel UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel Processors
Dedicated Graphics:NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
8 GB GDDR6
Memory:16 GB (2x 8 GB) 3200 MHz
2x SO-DIMM slots (both are occupied)
Storage:512 GB NVMe SSD
Optical Drive:None
Connectivity:1x HDMI 2.0
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
1x RJ45 Ethernet jack
1x 3.5 mm audio combo jack
Communications:Intel KTI225V
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Bluetooth 5.1
Audio:Realtek (R) Audio
Input device:Multi-touch trackpad
Single-Zone RGB keyboard (99 key)
720p Webcam
Power:180 W AC adapter
90 Wh battery
Warranty:1 year
MSRP:C$2359
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