MSI Pulse GL66 Review: Great Performance, Poor Build Quality

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In this review article, I will provide a clear analysis of the MSI Pulse GL66’s design, display, ports, and connectivity features. Not just that, I will also discuss the CPU, RAM, GPU, storage, and battery life performance of the laptop.

Furthermore, I will offer comparisons between the MSI Pulse GL66 and some of its major rivals. In addition to that, a rating on a scale of one to ten will be included at the end of each section.

Notably, these ratings are going to be based on my personal opinion and how well the laptop performs. Therefore, reading this review all the way through should help you decide if the MSI Pulse GL66 has all you desire in a gaming laptop.

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My Initial Thoughts

MSI Pulse GL66 Review: My Initial Thoughts

Since its introduction in 1986, MSI has grown to become one of the most admired gaming laptop brands globally. This is because the brand has been releasing outstanding gaming laptops that offer exceptional specs over the years.

 

Therefore, to expand its lineup of outstanding gaming laptops, MSI released the Pulse GL66 in June 2021. As expected, this laptop bags a lot of incredible features as well as multiple configuration options that deliver optimal performance.

Impressively, the laptop goes for a fair price. Precisely, as of May 2022, when this review article was published, the MSI Pulse GL66 had a starting price of $1,279.99.

Wondering if the laptop’s performance matches its price tag? Read on as I reveal the answer to that question in the subsequent sections below.

MSI Pulse GL66 Design, Display, Ports, and Connectivity Review

Although the MSI Pulse GL66 has an incredible list of specs and features, its build isn’t particularly great. Specifically, the chassis of the laptop is mostly made of plastic that isn’t solid.

Hence, the durability level of the laptop is quite low. As a result, the laptop won’t be able to withstand rough handling.

Thus, it is best you handle the MSI Pulse GL66 with care if you want to prevent it from getting faulty rapidly. On a positive note, the lid and hinges of the laptop are made of aluminum material.

Moreover, these aluminum hinges attach the laptop’s base to the lid. Due to the aluminum build of the hinges, the lid shouldn’t wobble too much when nudged.

Besides, the MSI Pulse GL66’s lid, as well as its entire chassis, features a metallic-gray color. However, the laptop has a glossy finish.

Hence, its entire chassis and lid are prone to fingerprints and smudges. Nevertheless, you will see a beautiful MSI logo with lines on both sides at the center of the laptop’s lid.

Even though this logo is the only thing on the lid, it gives the laptop a distinctive and refined look.

Moving on to the interior, the MSI Pulse GL66 features an amazing 15.6-inch display. Impressively, the laptop offers two resolution options for its display.

Thus, you can purchase the MSI Pulse GL66 with an FHD (1920 x 1080) or a QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution. In terms of performance, both resolution options allow the display to offer bright and colorful images for video streaming and gaming.

However, with the QHD resolution, images on the display should appear more realistic and vibrant. Therefore, if you are a hard-core gamer who is so keen on color accuracy, I suggest you go for the QHD resolution option.

Asides from the obvious difference in picture quality, both resolution options differ in other aspects. Specifically, with the QHD resolution, the display offers an impressive refresh rate of 165 Hz.

Meanwhile, with the FHD resolution, the display offers a refresh rate of 144 Hz. In case you are wondering, refresh rate is the number of times per second a display is able to refresh or update new images.

Therefore, a high refresh rate means that fast-paced content like video games will refresh within the shortest time possible. Thereby making images and contents on the display appear smoother with minimal or no blur trails.

As a result, giving users a satisfactory gaming experience. Apparently, because the laptop’s QHD resolution display option features a higher refresh rate, it should offer a better gaming experience.

That doesn’t mean the FHD resolution display option isn’t good for gaming, it isn’t just on par with the QHD display’s performance. Besides, with either resolution option, the MSI Pulse GL66’s 15.6-inch display is made with an IPS panel.

Thus, the display should offer wide viewing angles. Hence, you can watch the display off-center or from the sides without noticing color distortion or a reduction in picture quality.

To crown it all, the MSI Pulse GL66’s display is surrounded by slim bezels on both sides and slightly thick bezels at the top and bottom. Speaking of the bottom bezel, it houses an “MSI” inscription in the middle.

Meanwhile, the top bezel features an HD camera that can be used for video conference calls as well as for taking selfies.

Coming down to the base, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers a standard keyboard with a full number pad. Impressively, this keyboard is backlit.

Therefore, using the MSI Pulse GL66 to type or play games in dark or dimly-lit areas should not be a problem. Sadly, in terms of performance, this keyboard isn’t particularly good or comfortable because it flexes when pressed, and feedbacks aren’t precise.

Regardless, it still offers a decent typing experience. Besides, since this is a gaming laptop, you will be doing less typing with the laptop and more gaming.

When it comes to the touchpad, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers a mid-sized touchpad with integrated click buttons at the bottom of its keyboard. Performance-wise, this touchpad has a smooth and responsive surface that makes navigation easy.

For ports and connectivity, the MSI Pulse GL66 features a good number of ports on both sides. Specifically, on the right side, the laptop offers an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, and a USB Type-C port.

You will also find a USB Type-A port and an audio port on the right side of the laptop. The left side of the laptop, on the other hand, features a power port, a USB Type-A port, and a USB 2.0 Type-A port.

In terms of size and weight, the MSI Pulse GL66 measures 359 x 259 x 23.95 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 2250 g. With this amount of weight, it is quite obvious that this MSI laptop is not lightweight.

Moreover, when compared with most of its competitors, this MSI laptop is bigger and heavier. For example, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 measures 19.90 x 355.1 x 243.1 x 19.8 mm (W x D x H) and weighs 1900 g.

In conclusion, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers a decent design, a vibrant display with multiple resolution options, and a good number of ports. However, the build quality of this laptop isn’t impressive, and it is heavier than most of its counterparts.

Due to these reasons, I will rate the MSI Pulse GL66 an eight out of ten in this design review section.

MSI Pulse GL66 Processor (CPU) Performance Review

Coming down to the processor, the MSI Pulse GL66 employs a powerful CPU from Intel’s latest H-Series. Specifically, this laptop features an octa-core (8 cores) Intel Core i7-11800H processor with a massive 24 MB cache memory.

In terms of processing speed, the CPU offers a base frequency of 2.30 GHz and a maximum frequency of 4.60 GHz. Furthermore, this processor is a high-end CPU that is mostly found in gaming laptops and workstation laptops due to its excellent performance.

Therefore, with this CPU, the MSI Pulse GL66 should not have a problem delivering great performance for gaming and other computing tasks. Speaking of performance, let us quickly consider the laptop’s result on a Geekbench 5.3 test to further verify its processor’s performance.

In brief, Geekbench 5.3 is a benchmark test that measures the processing abilities of a computer when its CPU’s cores are in use. Thus, the Geekbench 5.3 involves two tests – the single-core test and the multi-core test.

For better understanding, the single-core test checks how well the computer’s CPU performs when one of its cores is in use. Meanwhile, the multi-core test estimates the overall performance of the processor when all its cores are in use.

Moreover, a high score on these tests shows that the processor has a good performance. Basically, the higher the score, the better the processor’s performance.

So, on the Geekbench 5.3 test, the MSI Pulse GL66 scored 1564 points and 8589 points on the single-core test and multi-core test, respectively. Comparatively, the Schenker XMG Pro 15, which uses the same CPU, performed less than this MSI laptop.

Specifically, on the Geekbench 5.3 test, the Schenker XMG Pro 15 scored 1429 points and 4655 points, respectively, on the single-core and multi-core tests.

In summary, the MSI Pulse GL66 features a remarkable high-end processor that delivers great performance for most computing tasks. Moreover, this laptop surpassed most of its rivals on a CPU benchmark test.

Hence, the MSI Pulse GL66 deserves a rating of nine out of ten in this processor review section.

MSI Pulse GL66 Memory (RAM) Performance Review

For memory, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers two memory slots. Furthermore, this laptop features a standard memory of 16 GB RAM and supports a maximum memory capacity of 64 GB.

As a result, you can upgrade the laptop’s overall memory up to 64 GB RAM. However, I don’t think an upgrade would be necessary.

This is because the standard 16 GB RAM is enough for the laptop to efficiently run most high-end games. In fact, with this standard memory, this laptop should be able to multitask flawlessly.

Speaking of multitasking, with 16 GB RAM, the MSI Pulse GL66 will be able to concurrently run 15 Chrome tabs or more without issues. Impressively, switching from one tab to the other should be incredibly swift and lag-free for this laptop.

To back up these claims, I will briefly highlight the memory performance of the laptop on a PCMark 10 test. In short, PCMark 10 is a benchmark test that gauges the memory performance of a computer by simulating everyday computing operations.

Furthermore, a high score/point on this test means a good memory performance. So, according to PCMark 10 test results, the MSI Pulse GL66 scored a whopping 6623 points.

In comparison, the Acer Predator Helios 300 scored 5550 points on the test. Clearly, the MSI Pulse GL66 has a better memory performance than this Acer gaming laptop.

Hence, to wrap up this memory review section, I will rate the MSI Pulse GL66 a nine out of ten.

MSI Pulse GL66 Storage Options and Performance Review

MSI Pulse GL66 Storage Options And Performance Review

When it comes to storage, the MSI Pulse GL66 does not disappoint. Specifically, the laptop comes with an M.2 SSD and supports a maximum storage capacity of 2 TB.

Even though the laptop lacks an SD card reader for storage expansion, this max storage capacity should be enough for most users. In actual fact, users should be able to save a decent amount of high-end games on the laptop.

Besides, because it uses SSD (Solid State Drive), the MSI Pulse GL66 should deliver a fast transfer speed and boot time. In fact, according to howstuffworks.com, it takes a laptop with SSD an average of 22 seconds to boot into Windows 7.

To further ascertain the laptop’s performance with SSD, I will now share its CrystalDiskMark 5.2 test results. Before that, it is worth mentioning that CrystalDiskMark 5.2 is a benchmark test that measures the storage speed of a computer’s storage drive.

Precisely, it estimates the read and write speed of a computer’s storage drive. For your information, read speed is how fast a computer’s storage drive can save a file.

Meanwhile, write speed is the opposite – it is how fast a storage drive can open a file. That aside, a high “MBps” value on the CrystalDiskMark 5.2 test means a fast read and write speed.

So, based on the benchmark test result, the MSI Pulse GL66 has a sequential read speed of 3691 MBps. Also, this MSI laptop has a sequential write speed of 3355 MBps.

When compared with some of its closest counterparts, the MSI Pulse GL66 has a faster read and write speed. For instance, the Schenker XMG Focus 15, which also uses SSD, has a sequential read and write speed of 3561 MBps and 3287 MBps, respectively.

In conclusion, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers a fast SSD with sufficient maximum storage space. Therefore, the MSI Pulse GL66 deserves nothing short of a nine out of ten rating in this storage review section.

MSI Pulse GL66 Graphics Card Performance Review

In terms of the graphics card, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers multiple GPU options to choose from. Therefore, you can either purchase the laptop with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, NVIDIA GeForce 3050 Ti, or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card.

All these GPU options are dedicated graphics cards, and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 has 4 GB of dedicated VRAM. In terms of speed, this graphics card offers a base frequency of 735 MHz and a boost frequency of 1035 MHz.

Meanwhile, the NVIDIA GeForce 3050 Ti GPU features a base frequency of 712 MHz and a boost frequency of 1057 MHz. Just like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, this graphics card also has 4 GB of dedicated VRAM.

However, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 offers 6 GB of dedicated VRAM. Also, it has a base frequency of 900 MHz and a maximum frequency of 1425 MHz.

As clearly seen above, all the MSI Pulse GL66’s GPU options are dedicated graphics cards with respective dedicated VRAM (Video RAM). As a result, unlike integrated GPUs, they operate independently and don’t have to share the system memory with the processor to perform.

Due to this, with either graphics card option, the MSI Pulse GL66 should be able to handle graphics-intensive tasks and some high-end games. However, with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, the laptop’s graphics performance should be better.

This is due to the fact that the graphics card features a higher amount of dedicated VRAM. Gladly, this review focuses on the MSI Pulse GL66 with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card.

Thanks to this GPU, the laptop should deliver an outstanding frame rate of 198.3 while playing Vampire Bloodhunt. Also, while playing Ghostwire Tokyo and Cyberpunk 2077, this laptop should offer a frame rate of 128.2 fps and 88.1 fps, respectively.

That said, for more insight into the laptop’s GPU performance, let us proceed to discuss its 3DMark test result. In case you’re curious, 3DMark is a benchmark test that measures the 3D rendering and gaming abilities of a computer’s GPU.

Furthermore, a high score on this benchmark test implies good graphics performance. So, based on the outcome of the 3DMark test, the MSI Pulse GL66 scored 44096 points.

In comparison, the Alienware M15 Ryzen, which also uses an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, performed lesser than this MSI laptop. To be precise, the Alienware M15 Ryzen scored 39997 points on the 3DMark test.

In summary, the MSI Pulse GL66 offers a wide variety of dedicated GPU options to choose from. Also, this laptop surpassed most of its closest competitors on a graphics benchmark test.

Hence, the MSI Pulse GL66 deserves a rating of nine out of ten in this graphics review section.

MSI Pulse GL66 Battery Life and Performance Review

MSI Pulse GL66 Battery Life And Performance Review

For battery, the MSI Pulse GL66 is equipped with a 53.5 Whr battery. To know the battery life of this laptop, let us briefly consider its performance on a battery rundown test.

For your information, this battery rundown test involves repeatedly surfing the internet via a WIFI network until the laptop’s battery dies. Hence, at the conclusion of the battery rundown test, the MSI Pulse GL66 delivered a battery life of 3 hours and 32 minutes.

Sadly, this laptop’s battery life is quite poor and not even up to the category average of 4 hours. Moreover, when compared with most of its opponents, the MSI Pulse GL66 has short battery life.

For example, the Acer Predator Helios 300 delivered a battery life of 7 hours and 24 minutes on the same battery rundown test. Therefore, I will rate the MSI Pulse GL66 a seven out of ten in this battery review section.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Much Does The MSI Pulse GL66 Cost?

In May 2022, when this review was published, the MSI Pulse GL66 had a starting price of $1,279.99.

2. How Long Does The MSI Pulse GL66’s Battery Last?

After a battery rundown test that involves continuous web surfing, this MSI Pulse GL66 delivered a battery life of 3 hours and 32 minutes.

3. When Was The MSI Pulse GL66 Released?

The MSI Pulse GL66 was released in June 2021.

4. What Storage Drive Does The MSI Pulse GL66 Use?

The MSI Pulse GL66 features an SSD (Solid State Drive) and supports a maximum storage capacity of 2 TB.

5. Does The MSI Pulse GL66 Have A Thunderbolt Port?

Sadly, the MSI Pulse GL66 does not have a Thunderbolt port.

My Final Thoughts

MSI Pulse GL66 Review: My Final Thoughts

The MSI Pulse GL66 is one of the most powerful gaming laptops due to its incredible list of high-end specs. To give more details, this laptop offers one of Intel’s latest 11th-generation CPUs and outstanding, dedicated GPU options.

Furthermore, the laptop features a super-fast SSD and supports a maximum storage capacity of 2 TB. However, this laptop is held back by its short battery life and not-so-sturdy build.

Nevertheless, for a starting price of $1,279.99, this gaming laptop offers nothing short of optimal performance. Besides, the laptop tops the chart when placed side by side with most of its competitors.

Therefore, if you need an adequate gaming laptop at a fair price, the MSI Pulse GL66 is a laptop you should consider.

I hope you found this MSI Pulse GL66 review helpful. If you found the review helpful, kindly spare a few minutes to share your thoughts with Itechguides Community.

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Finally, for more gaming laptop reviews, visit our Gaming Laptop Reviews page. You may also find our Laptop Specs page very helpful.

References and Further Reading

  1. pcmag.com – MSI GL66 Pulse Review
  2. pcgamer.com – MSI PULSE GL66 GAMING LAPTOP REVIEW
  3. notebookcheck.net – MSI Pulse GL66 11UEK-034
  4. trustedreviews.com – MSI Pulse GL66 (2022) Review
  5. notebookcheck.net – Intel Core i7-11800H
  6. notebookcheck.net – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU
  7. Itechguides Community

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