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The Hades Canyon NUC shows off Intel’s marriage of a Kaby Lake CPU with AMD’s Radeon RX Vega M GPU, holding up superbly during content-creation tasks and 1080p gaming on High and Ultra settings.
Intel’s Hades Canyon is more than a simple successor to its Skull Canyon predecessor, an extreme version of Intel’s Next Unit of Computing (NUC). When Skull Canyon launched in 2023, it bucked the mini-PC trend of modest specs designed for general computing, instead boasting the absolute latest in hardware for its size: a 45W quad-core processor, integrated graphics capable of 1080p gaming, and a port that supported external graphics. At the time, that ultra-compact mini-PC was unrivaled.
Adam Patrick Murray / IDG
Clockwise from top left: Gigabyte Brix GB-BXA8-5557, Intel NUC5i7RYH, Intel NUC6i7KYK (Skull Canyon), Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon)Price, specs, and ports
Hades Canyon comes in two configurations—one marketed as an overclockable gaming machine (the NUC8i7HVK), and the other as a content-creation system (the NUC8i7HNK). We received the gaming version for review, which is the higher-end option and costs $1,000 for just the bare-bones kit.
Each configuration comes equipped with a different combination of Intel processor and AMD GPU. (To get a thorough rundown on Kaby Lake-G, you can read our primer that followed the CES announcement of the chips.) Inside the NUC8i7HVK is the 100W Core i7-8809G, which houses a quad-core, eight-thread mobile CPU and Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics.
Alaina Yee / IDG
Getting inside this NUC requires removing the top lid and a metal plate. Intel includes a hex wrench and spare screws for the top lid, but you’ll still need a Phillips screwdriver for the metal plate.
Linked to the processor by eight PCIe lanes is the Vega M GH, which runs at a 1,063MHz base clock and 1,190MHz boost clock. The GH variant of Vega M comes with 24 compute units and 4GB of HBM2 memory, along with a slightly faster memory bandwidth of 204.8GB per second. It also supports output to six 4K displays simultaneously, with up to five at 60Hz and the sixth at 30Hz. Like the CPU, you can overclock the Vega M GH and the HBM2 memory.
Adam Patrick Murray / IDG Adam Patrick Murray / IDG
You can expand the number of USB ports if you utilize the I/O header, which carries signals for two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, CEC, and the front panel.
Adam Patrick Murray / IDG
Our review unit didn’t include a spare lid, but if you don’t like the skull you can simply turn off the lights. The box did come with a hex wrench, some spare screws, and a VESA mounting plate.Performance
By and large, the NUC8i7HVK’s Intel-AMD combination delivers a solid experience. Let’s dig into the gaming performance first.3DMark Fire Strike
We’ll start with 3DMark’s Fire Strike test, a synthetic benchmark that simulates gaming at 1080p on Medium settings. Because this is the first time we’ve seen the Radeon RX Vega M in the wild, I chose to isolate just the graphics score in order to see where it ranked among other mobile GPUs. This way, the potential influence of the CPU on the ranking is minimized.
As you can see, performance roughly falls between that of an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti and an Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q part. That’s about where I estimated, especially given the fairly notable jump in performance between a 1050 Ti and a full 1060. The Vega M GH seems to skew closer to the 1060 Max-Q (which is a stepped-down version of the 1060) than the 1050 Ti, though.Rise of the Tomb Raider
In actual games, the NUC8i7HVK largely maintains that position just below systems with the GTX 1060 Max-Q. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is a semi-recent blockbuster game that can still push budget-range GPUs, we got an average of 51 fps on the Very High preset.
That should be smooth enough for many folks, but if not, the problem’s easily solved in one of two ways. The more exciting option: Hooking up the NUC8i7HVK to a FreeSync monitor. Like other AMD GPUs, the Vega M GH supports those variable-refresh displays. (It supports features like Radeon Chill as well.) You can also drop the graphics setting down to High, which will then bump up the frame rate to about 63 fps.Middle-earth: Shadow of War and PUBG
But what about today’s games? To answer that question, I fired up FRAPS in two contemporary games: last fall’s Middle-earth: Shadow of War and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
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AMD’s Radeon HD 6800 series has arrived, and the results speak for themselves: The Radeon HD 6870 is the midrange card to beat.
The Radeon HD 6870 is the larger, more capable member of AMD’s new 6800 series lineup (the other newcomer is the Radeon HD 6850). Priced at a respectable $239 (as of October 21, 2010), this midrange graphics card manages to outpace its closest relative–the Radeon HD 5850 ($279)–while doing minimal damage to your bank balance.
Models in the Radeon HD 6800 series offer a new chip architecture, code-named Barts. It’s a modified version of the chip architecture (dubbed Cypress) featured in the Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 graphics cards, cutting back on Cypress’s size but still delivering excellent performance. Be sure to check out Jason Cross’s expansive overview of the Radeon HD 6800 GPUs and their architecture, for a deep dive into what’s happening under the hood.
If you’re already familiar with AMD’s 5800 series of graphics cards, you’ll be right at home with the 6800-series cards. In addition to sporting a similar aesthetic design to its predecessors’, the Radeon HD 6870 comes equipped with AMD’s Eyefinity Technology, which allows you to drive up to three displays from a single card. The card has a pair of DVI ports (one dual-link and one single-link), an HDMI port, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors. The variety is admirable, but keep in mind that you’ll need a pair of mini-DisplayPort adapters.
At long last, AMD has also implemented HD3D, the company’s take on 3D–and its answer to nVidia’s GeForce 3D Vision. HD3D focuses on support for the Open Stereo 3D Initiative. Instead of creating dedicated hardware, HD3D promises support for a wide variety of methods, ranging from existing active-shutter or polarized glasses, to glasses-free 3D technologies that will eventually work their way to market.
Where performance is concerned, the Radeon HD 6870 made an impressive showing on synthetic benchmarks and in real-world games. Though results on synthetic benchmarks don’t necessarily reflect real-world performance, they do provide a useful idea of how a particular GPU stacks up against the competition. The HD 6870 maintained a consistent lead over the older Radeon HD 5850 in all of our synthetic tests. It’s a pleasure to see a card outperform another while costing about $40 less, but the results here are hardly surprising: The HD 6870 sports an improved tessellation engine and runs at a higher clock speed than the HD 5850, lending the smaller card more muscle in all the right places.
In actual game testing, the performance gap narrowed, but the HD 6870 still came out ahead. All tests were performed at resolutions of 1920 by 1200 and 1680 by 1050 with maximum available settings, and with antialiasing alternately enabled and disabled. The Radeon HD 5850 earned the better score on our Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. benchmark, but barely: The average difference of 6 frames per second doesn’t justify the $40 bump in price.
Where power utilization is concerned, the HD 6870 gobbles up a bit more energy when under load on our test bench–246 watts, versus the HD 5850’s 231 watts. But it’s more energy-efficient when idle, consuming 103 watts at rest versus the HD 5850’s 127 watts. Keep in mind that those totals take the entire system’s load into account, so your own measurements will vary; our test bench sports a power-hungry Intel Core i7 980X processor and its accompanying gargantuan heatsink.
In terms of relative power efficiency, the Radeon HD 5850 edged past the HD 6870 ever so slightly–but bear in mind that the 6870 keeps the idle power lower by about 30 watts.
Overall, this choice is a no brainer. AMD’s Radeon HD 5850 had a good run, but it’s outclassed by a newcomer that delivers superior performance, comparable power efficiency, and a lower price tag. A great card may be riding off into the sunset, but the Radeon HD 6870 is a very worthy successor.
Intel Patches Security Flaw in Windows 10 Graphics Driver
Lately, Intel has released multiple updates for its Windows 10 graphics driver to patch severe security flaws. These security errors lead to denial of service, information exposure, increase to privilege if exploited
After fixing these flaws Intel said, “Intel is releasing Intel Graphics Driver for Windows updates to mitigate these potentialHow Intel Identified these flaws?
A total of 19 errors were detected in Intel’s Graphics driver. Out of which one was reported by a security researcher and the remaining ones were reported by an external Intel partner. Two detected security flaws CVE-2023-12214 and CVE-2023-12213 are rated as high risk with CVSS Base Score of 7.3 and 8.2. Both can lead to escalation of privileges for local user. While others are rated as low or medium risk by the company.Has Intel Fixed all the Flaws?
According to reports, Intel employees found eight of the 19 security errors fixed in updated Windows driver. Plus, Intel asks Linux developers using version 2.2 to update SGX and SDK and Windows developers using 2.1 or later to update SGX and SDK.What to do to Avoid being a Victim?
To avoid being a target, Windows 10 users should update Intel’s graphics driver. All the 19 security errors are tagged with CVE dates in 2023. But the good news is, to exploit these flaws threat actors need to have local access of the machine. Updates for some of the drivers were already rolled out by Intel several months back.
Moreover, Intel is updating Software Guard Extensions (SGX) software developer kit (SDK) that has a bug that can permit denial of service.
Also Read : Ways To Secure and Manage Windows 10Do we need to Worry about anything else?’
Apart from the Graphics Driver flaw Intel has disclosed a high severity flaw in the Intel Matrix Storage Manager. However, Intel has not released any update for it. Instead the company is asking users to uninstall and stop using the product.What is Intel’s Matrix Storage Manager flaw?
Intel describes that inappropriate authorization in Intel Matrix Storage Manager 188.8.131.523 and earlier might let a valid user to possibly permit escalation of privilege via local access.
With regards to this, Intel is asking users to stop using Intel USB 3.0 Creator Utility, as this too can permit a valid user to possibly allow escalation of privilege through local access.Quick Reaction:
About the author
Tweak Library Team
Across the How-To guides I’ve written for adding solid state drives (SSDs) to iMacs, Mac Pros, Mac minis and MacBooks, there was one option I left out: thumb drives. While external SSDs such as Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drives and Samsung’s T1 can do two things — dramatically speed up Macs and add storage space — thumb drives tend to be much slower, lower in capacity, and made from inexpensive materials to achieve smaller sizes and price points.
Other World Computing’s new Envoy Pro mini (120GB/$119, 240GB/$199) sits directly between thumb drives and SSDs in both features and performance. “It’s nearly twice as fast as the average thumb drive,” OWC says, and roughly the size of an actual adult thumb — larger than most USB flash drives, but a lot smaller than traditional external hard drives, while promising “desktop-class” SSD speeds, capacities, and build quality. Unlike common plastic thumb drives, it’s made from aluminum and uses a USB 3.0 connector, yet matches desktop SSD 120GB or 240GB storage capacities. It’s affordable, but clearly designed to be a professional option.
How does it actually stack up? Read on…
A 120GB or 240GB SSD in a 3.7″ by 0.94″ by 0.44″ metal case
Includes USB 3.0 connector and USB 3.0 extension cable for use with laptop and desktop Macs
Lanyard included for easy carrying on the neck
Actual speeds* are between common USB thumb drives and higher-end desktop SSDs
Measuring 3.7″ long by 0.94″ wide by 0.44″ tall at its thickest points, Envoy Pro mini looks like a silver metallic version of a classic thumb drive, packaged with a detachable black fabric lanyard and a thick black 14″ USB 3.0 cable. A sturdy metal O-ring is built into one short edge for connecting the lanyard, and a plastic-lined metal cap on the other end detaches to expose the USB plug.
While the drive itself is thin enough to fit beside other USB plugs on most Macs, the extension cable enables you to easily connect and disconnect it from the rear-mounted USB ports on desktop Macs if you want. There’s no impact on transfer speeds when using the cable; it’s bona fide USB 3.0.
It’s easy to miss the first time you handle Envoy Pro mini, but there’s a seam between its top and bottom halves, and on the right angles, you can see a yellow light glowing through it near the USB plug to indicate SSD power. The light is subtle enough not to glow beyond the back edge of a Mac, but can be seen if you twist the drive when it’s attached to the extension cable.
When Envoy Pro is first plugged in, it appears to be far lower in capacity than expected; you’re actually seeing only a small partition that holds documentation and optional bundled software, namely Prosoft’s Data Backup 3 and Intech’s disk management tool SpeedTools Utilities 3. An OWC app called OWC Drive Guide quickly formats the drive to its full 120GB or 240GB capacity, at which point it will look and work like any other hard drive.
The actual formatted capacity of the 240GB drive we tested was just under 236GB including OWC’s software, or a hair under 240GB if you erase the OWC Software folder. If you’re accustomed to hard drives that promise a given capacity but miss the number by 5 or 10GB after formatting, you’ll be pleased that Envoy Pro mini delivers what it claims — at least, on the capacity side.
When it comes to speed, I found Envoy Pro mini’s real-world performance to be markedly better than the typical flash drive, but not as fast as OWC’s claim* of “sustained speeds up to 433MB/second.” (Updated: See note at the bottom of this review.) Paired with a USB 3.0 Retina MacBook Pro, the 240GB version of Envoy Pro mini sustained read speeds around 209MB/second with write speeds of 155MB/second, which is roughly on par with high-end flash competitors such as SanDisk’s Extreme Pro 128GB drive. But it’s 10-30 times faster than low-end USB flash drives, where 20MB/second read and 5MB/second write speeds are common.
On the other hand, Elgato’s 256GB Thunderbolt Drive+ is about twice as fast as Envoy Pro mini over USB 3.0, with 425MB/second read and 328MB/sec write speeds.* However, to get that speed, you also have to pay more than twice the price (currently $419), and deal with an enclosure that’s around 10 times larger. Envoy Pro mini can be worn around your neck; a Thunderbolt Drive+ will occupy a large pocket or space in a bag.
In short, Envoy Pro mini sits in the middle ground between traditional thumb drives and competing external SSDs. As compared with SanDisk’s options, Envoy Pro mini offers better build quality and the option of greater capacity, as it’s offered in 120GB or 240GB sizes, while SanDisk’s plasticky flash drives tap out at 128GB. Versus higher-end SSDs, OWC’s option offers the same professional-grade metal exterior, high-quality NAND flash, and similar capacities, but not as much speed. As a result, it’s easy to recommend Envoy Pro mini as a super-portable solution to augment your Mac’s existing storage, though it won’t likely become a faster replacement boot drive. Give it serious consideration if you need an SSD-sized bump in Mac capacity that you can take anywhere.
[* Note: Substantially after publication of this review, OWC noted that its testing is conducted with a different app called QuickBench, “which uses compressible data for testing” versus Blackmagic’s tests with incompressible data. While Blackmagic’s tests accurately reflect Enjoy Pro’s comparative speeds for heavy-duty tasks such as video rendering, OWC suggests that QuickBench’s results (428MB/read, 408MB/write) better reflect the less demanding tasks a smaller SSD would likely be used for.]
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The global gaming market is not in the best position right now. With Bitcoin miners snatching up graphics cards, gamers regularly find themselves paying a premium to build their perfect PC build. Since the GPU shortage isn’t ending any time soon, many gamers are turning to beefy gaming laptops as a replacement. And well, MSI is looking to offer them a complete package with its latest MSI GS66 Stealth 2023 gaming laptop refreshment. It was unveiled with a stunning display, new RTX 30 series graphics, and other features earlier this year. Rivaling Asus’ Zephyrus and Strix series, the MSI GS66 Stealth is a sleek yet mean mobile gaming machine. After using the MSI Stealth GS66 for almost a month now, here is what I think about it.MSI GS66 Stealth Review
I have been using the MSI GS66 Stealth as my daily driver for over a month now. My personal usage leans towards a combination of everyday work, entertainment, and gaming. The config of the MSI GS66 Stealth laptop I have been using includes a QHD screen with the GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. So without further ado, jump in and read about my experience:MSI GS66 Stealth Spec Sheet
Before I share what’s good and bad about the MSI GS66, take a quick look at the key specifications of this gaming laptop:
Weight4.6 lbs (2.1 kgs)
Display15.6-inch (2560 x 1440) 165Hz QHD IPS Display
CPU11th-Gen Intel Core i7-11800H
95W Maximum Graphics Power with Dynamic Boost
RAM16 GB DDR4-3200Mhz
1x HDMI (8K @ 60Hz / 4K @ 120Hz)
Weight4.6 pounds (2.1 kg)
ConnectivityKiller ax Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth v5.2Unboxing Experience
We gamers are a breed that loves a sense of showmanship, and in turn, appreciates attractive packaging. So I am pleased to report that MSI’s packaging appealed to me right off the bat. The GS66 Stealth came in a hefty well-packaged box that no doubt protected the laptop against all the dings and knocks. Inside the cardboard box, I first found the laptop’s 230W power adaptor, along with a small box, which housed this mean gaming machine.Design and Build
The GS66 Stealth gaming laptop is one of MSI’s top-of-the-line products, and it certainly shows. When holding the laptop for the first time, I could feel that it is built-well and has a decent heft to it. The GS66 weighs in at 4.6 lbs (2.1 kgs), which is honestly not bad for a gaming laptop with a large battery and top-end specifications. The MSI GS66’s design and build betray the fact the laptop is made for a segment of gamers who want pure performance without standing out in the crowd.
Low-profile design – perfect for users who want a single machine for their work and gaming needs
The design of the laptop is based on a modern and sleek architecture that emphasizes a lower profile while giving the gamer a good feel for the real estate that is there. The entire laptop feels like a single chunk of metal, especially when the lid is closed. However, true to its name, the MSI GS66 Stealth’s outer design doesn’t feature any flashy logos or strips of LED running around the edges. The GS66 is here to be silent and deadly, and that’s what it does.
no flashy LED strips running along the edges – stealthy design
When you lift the lid, the inner portion of the laptop includes a compact keyboard along with a mesh for cooling up-top. While we will talk about the peripherals later, I am a bit disappointed to see that the laptop’s webcam doesn’t have a privacy shutter, which is becoming more and more common these days. With privacy concerns at an all-time high, the lack of a privacy shutter means I will either need to go out and purchase one or risk myself being recorded.
The build of the laptop itself is robust. I am impressed with the metal casing of the laptop, which does not bend or curve under pressure, unlike some laptops. The quality remains consistent throughout, and the laptop’s lid has been reinforced to be more durable. MSI knows well the userbase it’s targeting, and the mature design does live up to those expectations.Display Display Work Performance
Being in a career that requires one to stare at the screen for long periods, it’s almost mandatory for your screen to be sharp and crisp. After using the GS66 Stealth for weeks to type out content and do all my work in general, I am thoroughly impressed by the display quality offered by MSI here.
Not once during my work time did I experience anything less than an amazing screen experience. Setting the resolution at its highest and scaling at 150%, I always had sharp text that was easily discernable and did not strain my eyes. I compared it across my standard 24-inch inch monitor, and at the end of the day, I found myself with stronger eye endurance with the GS66. A factor working for the GS66 is the smaller screen size and hence tightly packed pixels.
If you are a working professional like me, you can safely use this laptop’s display for extended periods without worry. Now hang on while I ask my editor to use this as my daily work laptop.Perfect for Your Entertainment Needs
One of the things besides gaming that I absolutely love is binging Netflix shows, and the display performs perfectly in this scenario as well. The 15.6-inch screen comes with MSI True Color technology and the accompanying software allowed me to calibrate the color settings with ease. However, even without fine-tuning any settings, the experience was amazing.
The brightness control here is apt because it can go low when needed and equally high in other scenarios, making it usable on a sunny day outdoors. I did find the darker shades suffering at the highest brightness, but I will give it a pass since I never use the screen that bright. My time with the MSI GS66’s display while consuming media was more than satisfactory.Gaming on MSI G66 Stealth’s 165Hz Quad-HD Panel
So if you are a gamer who values display quality over anything, the MSI GS66’s display will serve you pretty well.Performance
The MSI GS66 Stealth gaming laptop comes with an 11th-Gen Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, an 8-core processor that clocks in a turbo frequency of 4.60 GHz. Paired with it is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile GPU. Since the graphics card has a slimmer form factor for laptops, its power consumption has been dialed down. While the desktop RTX 3080 GPU has a 360 watts TGP, the laptop GPU is confined to a range of low wattages, starting from 80 watts and going up to 150 watts. This review unit, the MSI GS66 11UH, contains an 80 watt GeForce RTX 3080 GPU along with 16GB of 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM to match. For storage, the laptop is outfitted with a 2TB Samsung SSD in the PCIe Gen 4 slot.Day-to-Day Performance
As I mentioned in brief before, my daily workflow requires me to have multiple tabs of a browser open along with a few other software. I tested the Intel Core i7-11800H CPU’s performance by going about my business but adding a little more to the mix.
Safe to say, the 11th-Gen Intel i7 CPU performed better than I expected. I had 7 Chrome tabs playing 4K videos on YouTube, along with a simple image editing software and a text editor open in the background. While the fans were quite loud, the CPU held on its own and only used about 42% of its total capacity. The frequency didn’t need to go above 4.02 GHz and stayed that way during my extreme usage. This allowed me ample room to open even more tabs and get work done in a jiffy.
It was no doubt made possible by the i7-11800H’s 8 cores, each clocked 4300MHz effective Clock and averaged around 450Mhz for each core in Active Clock in HWiNFO. The integrated Intel graphics chip kept itself at 1500Mhz. The 16 gigs of RAM was at 72% percent usage, and a part of me wished I had a 32GB configuration, but even with this, the laptop did not stutter or lag at all.
While my daily workflow does not require me to push any laptop, let alone the MSI GS66 this far, I decided to tack more weight on the CPU to be sure gamers and multi-taskers won’t be disappointed with it.Gaming Performance
Now, right off the bat, let me start by saying that it’s fruitless to cross-compare desktop and laptop variants. To make the laptop slimmer, it is obvious that MSI has used the Max-Q GPU variant onboard here. While it certainly makes the machine lighter and slimmer, it naturally reduces performance compared to its desktop counterpart. As I mentioned above, this MSI GS66 review unit has a GeForce RTX 3080 that caps out at a TGP of 95Watts with Dynamic Boost.
With that said, I decided to hit the MSI GS66 with some graphically intensive games to test its performance. I started the test by booting up one of the most demanding games, Microsoft Flight Simulator. After detecting the configuration, the game placed the resolution as 2560 x 1440 and all graphics settings at Ultra.
Flying across the beautiful and vibrant city of Naples, the GeForce RTX 3080 laptop GPU hit a utilization of 99% at 92Watts (at 1440p resolution and Ultra graphics) and gave me a core clock frequency of around 1300MHz. The CPU sat quietly at 45% percent usage and had more room. Microsoft Flight Simulator averaged around 40 FPS with all the graphics settings topped out, and the gameplay felt smooth even at 40 FPS. I did resort to using a lower resolution and got more FPS, but I feel more power provided to the GPU could have given it that much-needed boost at my original settings.
I further moved on to Forza Horizon 4 to test out MSI GS66’s performance, and it was much more merciful on the system. Running the onboard benchmarks took a few minutes, and all the while, the gameplay felt smooth.
Some other games I tested on this laptop are GTA Online, The Ascent, Titanfall 2, and since I got lucky, the Back 4 Blood beta as well. Save for Back 4 Blood, because the beta build was unoptimized, every other game gave satisfactory performances. Titanfall 2 even hit the 144+ FPS mark on max settings. All this performance is without any additional overclocking through software (mentioned below). All things considered, I had a fabulous time gaming on the MSI GS66 Stealth, thanks to the very capable 11th-Gen CPU and RTX 3080 GPU onboard.Benchmark Test Results
While real-world experience is the best way to learn about a laptop’s true potential, the MSI GS66 Stealth didn’t do half bad at benchmark tests. I decided to run 3D Mark’s TimeSpy benchmark to get a score rating. After going through a few cycles of the animation, 3D Mark hit me back with a GPU score of 8478 and a CPU score of 6225. Studying the result further, 3DMark informed me that the score is better than 68% percent of all results which puts the GS66 quite high up there.
Cinebench R23’s Multi-Core benchmark dished out a score of 7313 after multiple cycles. While the score is lower compared to an AMD alternative like the Ryzen 7 5800H, it will perform multi-tasking applications with ease.Software: MSI Center
The MSI GS66 comes with a pre-installed MSI Center software to help gamers further enhance their experience, and it deserves a quick mention in this reviewMSI G66 Stealth Thermals
MSI GS66 has a thermal configuration of 3 fans with 7 copper heat pipes packed in a tight environment. The main heat area of the GS66, in my experience, sits right above the WSAD keys as this is where I felt the temperate crank up while I am gaming or using it for general day-to-day use. The laptop’s fans do compensate for that and output all the air hot air through the side vents.
When it comes to actual cooling, the GS66 is a mixed bag. All the cooling systems operated at peak capacity while I gamed away. While the keyboard hotspot I talked about did get hot to the touch, it was amazing that the GPU did not get a degree hotter than 81. And for the times I felt even that was too much, I turned on the provided Cooler Boost Trinity + feature, which ran all the fans on full power immediately. It helped cool down the GPU by about 11 degrees in 2 minutes, which is amazing. However, the fans get crazy loud, so be prepared for that.Keyboard
It can get a bit difficult for companies to give a balanced keyboard that every gamer loves. The MSI GS66 Stealth includes a SteelSeries custom RGB keyboard. The keys are chiclet-style and feel flat on impact. As someone who uses Red Mechanical keyboard switches as his primary, the laptop’s keyboard was not so bad.
If you are a gamer who loves the RGB trend every company has hopped on, the GS66’s keyboard features a lot of color profiles that make it come to life. Found under the SteelSeries GG software, these color schemes are useful if you want to make your laptop stand out or have a backlit keyboard in general. I am more of a solid red color kind of guy, and that’s what I outfitted the review unit with. You can, however, also use more RGB features like have audio and keyboard sync, display GIFs on keyboards, and more.
When it comes to typing, the keyboard gets a lot of love from me. Currently typing this review from the keyboard, the key travel time has proven helpful in increasing my word rate. The flat keys that annoyed me in gaming prove beneficial in this area, and I actually kind of feel like I’m typing on a MacBook Pro. If you are in the business of dishing out words on the daily, you will definitely take a liking to this tactile keyboard.Trackpad
Since the trackpad supports Windows Precision drivers, you get all the gestures you could ask for. Hence, my daily use with the GS66’s trackpad was made more simple by easing pinch zooming, scrolling, and other easy gestures. As for gaming, I doubt many of you out there play a shooter with your trackpad, but if you do, it went as well as you would expect it to.Speakers and Audio Quality
When it comes to raw audio power, the speakers did get fairly loud during my test. I listened to my favorite playlist of songs, ranging from standard pop songs to EDM/ bass-heavy stuff. In either case, the speakers did quite well, and I could even hear all the instruments in the famous track ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ by Arctic Monkeys. The bass itself was decent and I could definitely feel it when my hands were on the laptop. You can go on to consume media or play single-player games without headphones, but I recommend against getting into competitive gaming or playing for a large gathering with this speaker setup.I/O Ports and Connectivity
The MSI GS66 Stealth provides an ample amount of I/O ports for gamers to plug their peripherals. The laptop gives you two USB Type-C ports, one of which is a Thunderbolt 4 port with fast data transfer and Power Delivery charging support.
You also get 3 USB 3.2 Type-A ports, an RJ45 connector for that speedy LAN connection, and a Mic-in/ Headphone-out Combo Jack. I was also pleased by the HDMI input port that supports up to 8K @ 60Hz and 4K @ 120Hz. While you obviously won’t be able to game that high, you can hook up your monitor to enjoy even greater resolutions while editing or streaming videos. Connectivity-wise, the MSI GS66 is amped up with a Killer ax Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth v5.2 for hyper-fast transfer speeds.
While I personally would have loved an additional Type-A port and an SD card slot, I believe the existing connectivity options can be used effectively by gamers and creators alike.Battery and Charging
A bit surprised at this, I investigated and found a bug some MSI GS66 stealth users have faced in the past. It makes the laptop use the primary GPU, in my case, the GeForce RTX 3080, for all its visual tasks. This resulted in unnecessary power wastage and battery drain.MSI GS66 Stealth: Pros and Cons
Strong chassis and robust construction
Amazing Display with a high refresh rate
Capable CPU and GPU combination
MSI Game Center is a treat
Loud speakers, refined audio quality
No privacy shutter on webcam
RTX 3080 held back by low TGP
Average auto heat management
Fans can get too loud
Battery draining bug that should have been fixed by nowMSI GS66 Stealth (2023): A Rather Pricey Affair
If you are willing to tack on more weight to your laptop without compromising on performance, we suggest you check the MSI GE66 Raider (starts at Rs. 1,99,990) gaming laptop with a higher TGP RTX GPU and an SD card reader. However, if you put the nitpicking aspects aside, the MSI GS66 serves as an excellent if not the best gaming laptop out there. It will definitely last laptop gamers and working professionals for years to come, and I’m probably going to recommend it to casual gamers-cum-professionals.
For the last several years, I have been using a Twelve South HiRise as the main charging dock for my iPhone on my desk. I just like the simplicity of it, in both design and function, but the Satechi Aluminum Charging Stand is a serious contender that I’ve had the pleasure to use for the past week or so.
Inside, I will share some thoughts and observations about this new dock’s design, look, and simple features.A simple and elegant design
When it comes to charging docks, I like my accessories to be simple, elegant, but also match my existing setup. More specifically, I like my charging stands to match the color of my iMac to offer a consistent look across my desk.
Made of aluminum, and available in silver, space gray, or gold, the Satechi Aluminum Charging Stand definitely meets my basic esthetic requirements. Sitting next to my iMac on an otherwise very sterile desk area, this dock looks like it belongs to the rest of the Apple family of products.
Past the material and color choices, I think what I like the most about the Satechi Aluminum Charging Stand is its simple and unassuming design. I can image the folks at Satechi sitting down and wondering how they could make the most elegant, yet most simple dock for iPhone. This dock was their answer.
There is no unnecessary part here. Just the basics: a base, and a stand. Nothing else.
The minimalist in me was slightly disappointed to see the brand “Satechi” printed on the front of the base. But quite honestly, it is so subtle that you probably won’t even notice it. I know I don’t, especially depending on lighting conditions in the room that may make the print completely unnoticed.An easy setup
In the box come the base and stand, two little screws, and an allen wrench.
The initial installation is quick and simple, especially since the one tool needed is provided. Simply tighten the two screws at the bottom of the base, thread your own Lightning cable through the hole in the base, press the cable into the trough at the bottom of the base, and you’re good to go.
Not surprisingly, a Lightning cable is not included. Because of the design of the dock, only an official Lightning cable will fit inside the stand. You “may” be lucky with a third-party cable, but note it must exactly resemble a stock Lightning cable, or else it will simply not fit in.A dock for your iPhone, iPad mini, and more…
Once set up, you can use your Satechi Aluminum Charging Stand with any iPhone, iPad mini, and even with your Magic Mouse 2 or Magic Keyboard. I know, it sounds a little silly, and believe me, it looks silly too, but no doubt this is convenient not having to plug yet another cable to charge these two accessories.
To be completely frank, I did expect my iPhone to be a little wobbly when docked, mainly because there isn’t much to support it besides the Lightning cable itself, but my assumptions were wrong. Once docked, the iPhone is secured enough that you can easily tap on the screen to launch apps and what not without having to fear it will fall off.Final thoughts
I’ve been sold on this dock the minute I was done setting it up.
As mentioned above, I’ve been a TwelveSouth HiRise user for years, but the Satechi stand got me on its even simpler design, devoid of any unnecessary parts.
At $24.99 on Amazon, I think the Satechi Aluminum Charging Stand is fairly priced, and I have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for a charging dock for iPhone or iPad mini.
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