Cyberpunk 2077 is the hottest new kid on the block, and it’s probably getting many people considering console or computer upgrades to play this long awaited title. Allow us to offer the MSI GL65 Leopard as one option out of many you can get.
Don’t let its relatively compact size fool you: this 15.6″ laptop allows for some ultra-portable gaming, least of all for Cyberpunk 2077. With a 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD and DDR IV 8GB*2 (2666MHz), you can safely store all your games, especially as they demand more and more of your storage. Packing a GeForce® RTX2070 Super , 8GB GDDR6 and Coffeelake i7-10750H+HM470, it’ll be running them at high settings too!
The MSI GL65 occupies the mid-range bracket of gaming laptops, and it does live up to the ‘mid’ tag in some aspects: not the thinnest or lightest offering certainly. Design wise, nothing especially stands out unless you really peer at the vents and grilles towards the bottom. The dragon logo on the back is a little flashier than regular laptops at least. The body is mostly plastic, but thanks to the little detailing, it doesn’t give off that impression at a quick glance.
You can check out some quick benchmarks below:
3DMark places it at about 68% better than other results, solidifying that mid-range status, making it that much better than the average offerings out there.
Now, the game is still undergoing hotfixes and patches to improve the bugs and issues so keep that in mind if you’re in any way going to turn up your nose at any frame rate dips. The GL65 Leopard is putting in the work for its price point! When you think about how the previous generation hardware – especially consoles – can’t run this game without having trouble, Cyberpunk 2077 itself is a high benchmark to clear, and this laptop’s handling it with class.
Going over the build of the machine first, the laptop is on the smaller side, yet still having a full sized keyboard complete with numpad. The per-key RGB lighting cycles through the colours, for those who like a light show. The keys aren’t the clicky types, and require a slightly firmer press than you might expect, just not by that much. I had to get used to the more compact layout and the fact that the Windows key is not on the left, but that’s easily adjusted through the Dragon Center. If you need any specific functions, like turning up the volume, you can just hit the Fn key and the arrow keys in the direction you desire. Any associated buttons usable with the Fn key will be highlighted in red when you hold it down: convenient! Above the keyboard itself is your power button, and easy access for the Cooler Boost. The touchpad isn’t anything special, with its dedicated buttons that can be a little tough to press.
Now, about Cyberpunk 2077, though: gaming laptops, even under MSI itself, can have an incredible range of prices, and for the GL65, while being lower end on the price point, can still run the game at a stable frame rate. I honestly had no idea what to expect going in, besides, hey, gaming laptop! I would have thought this smaller, lighter machine would have trouble running the game, compared to those on the higher end of the spectrum. You can use the Dragon Center for some overclocking too.
I’m glad to be proven wrong though, as the game ran a steady 50 to 60 FPS on regular, default Ultra settings. Maybe it’s because I’m used to a tragic single digit FPS on other games, but running games without any drastic dips in frame rate is a wonderful experience. The fact it can even run on the default Ray Tracing Ultra settings – albeit at a maximum of 30 FPS – is very impressive to me. Yes, yes, PC Master Race should run it at 60 FPS, but console players have been used to 30 and this is with ray tracing on on a machine roughly in the middle of the pack in terms of pricing. That deserves respect.
The fan can be a little loud, so having a good set of earphones/headset to plug in and play – especially when you’re on the move – is advisable. It’s doing its job though: once again, expectations were on the laptop starting to bake with the slightest provocation, so the GL65 Leopard passes my personal assumptions with flying colours. Having the fan whirring away for pretty much the whole day (plugged in, of course) when gaming did not make the keyboard uncomfortably hot. There will be some heat, but it won’t send you running for an industrial cooler. If you really need even more cooling, the pre-installed Dragon Center has your back with the Cooler Boost option. The UI on the Dragon Center is clean and easy to read, when you really need to find the information you want.
The 144Hz refresh rate for the display means you’re going to enjoy the buttery smooth visual feedback on whatever graphics settings you have your game on. All those possible issues regarding screen tearing or popping were non-existent. I even played the game with some sun glare on the screen, but I could see everything perfectly fine. Outdoor performance: check.
For the go-getter gamer in you, there’s plenty of connection options to enhance your Cyberpunk 2077 – or anything else for that matter – experience. On the left, you have your RJ-45 connector, HDMI connector, Mini DisplayPort, and one each of USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) and USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1), and 3.5mm jacks for microphone and earphones/headset. The right houses the power plug, an SD card reader, and two additional USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports. It’ll certainly be functional enough to your needs in most situations you’ll be using the GL65 Leopard for.
The laptop also comes with the MSI Dragon Center companions for further tweakings as you see fit, plus checking out usage of your hardware, temperature and other nitty gritty details. You can’t get wrong taking the GL65 Leopard with you on your outing into Night City, with or without ray tracing. The game will run and look beautiful regardless. I mean, hey, if it’s gonna run Cyberpunk 2077 on Ultra at a steady 60 FPS, it’s gonna be future-proof enough to run the biggest AAA games for a while yet to come.
As mentioned, you can certainly get pricier laptop options out there to play your games, besides Cyberpunk 2077. I’d argue that the GL65 would be one of your better options out of your mid-range gaming laptop selection, considering how it handles itself. It doesn’t heat up too much even over extended gaming sessions, and it cools down quickly enough, while also being compact, for you to pack it into your bag and go.
You can get your own GL65 Leopard here, presently at a promotional price of RM7,299.