The GS65 is one of the best compact gaming laptops available in the market right now, along with the Gigabyte Aorus and the Razer Blade. Unfortunately, the latter 2 are not available in the Philippines which means that anyone who wants a compact gaming laptop with thin bezels only has the MSI GS65 to look to. This Q4 2018, however, the MSI GS65 is set to have a competition in the form of ROG’s latest Zephyrus S GX531 which is basically a shrunken down GX501 Zephyrus. We were able to grab a sample of both laptops and we pit them side by side in photos for you guys to see! Read on to see our ROG Zephyrus S vs MSI GS65 initial impressions!
Unfortunately, both units were only engineering samples so we weren’t allowed to run any benchmarks. They should perform similar to each other given the near identical specifications. On paper though, the Zephyrus does have the advantage of a 512GB SSD versus MSI’s 256GB.
Early reviews from other international media also don’t reveal much of the performance comparison but one thing we’re glad is that the MSI GS65 has supposedly fixed the throttling issue that was present on the GS63 series, though it may be because of the underclocked CPU found on the GS65 as reported by notebookcheck.
Let’s head on to the side by side photo comparisons!
ROG Zephyrus S vs MSI GS65
Both the MSI GS65 and ROG Zephyrus S are very thin devices. The GS65 has a smaller and more compact foot print but the ROG Zephyrus S had a thinner body at only less than 15mm thin.
While the ROG Zephryus S does have a cool title of being the WORLD’S THINNEST GAMING LAPTOP, we do prefer the more compact form factor of the GS65. After all, the difference in thinness, 17.99mm vs 14.99mm is something forgiveable since it’s not signficant. The footprint is something to consider greatly though. MSI wins in this aspect.
Keyboard wise, the MSI GS65 has a more traditional lay-out while the Zephyrus S GX531 opts for a forward layout, just like the original Zephyrus. The track pad is also on the side which takes some getting used to. MSI wins in this regard, proving that there was no need to re-change the lay-out.
ASUS ROG , however, claims that the keyboard was not moved forward due to the form factor but due to importance in cooling wherein the CPU and GPU were given vast and ample heatpipes and fan technology to remain at peak, and ultimately avoid any throttling. Dave2D’s Youtube video seems to prove this as there was no throttling to speak of on the Zephyrus S.
MSI’s keyboard is designed by steelseries and features per lit RGB backlighting while the ASUS Zephyrus S only features a 4 zone RGB lit keyboard.
Panel Wise, both the GS65 and GX531 features narrow borders, and 144hz refresh rates. The ROG GX531, however, takes the cake with a faster 3MS response time versus the MSI’s 7ms. We are also not quite sure on which tech both panels use but early reviews call out the panel of MSI as TN while the Zephyrus S as IPS.
UPDATE: MSI Philippines has reached out and confirms that the GS65 also uses an IPS PANEL.
Other things worthy of note is ASUS’ Zephyrus signature Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) which lifts the back side of the laptop open for better airflow. This helps in better cooling over-all, and the technology is exclusive to ROG for now. The AAS is then paired with 5 heatpipes and 2x 12volt fans for maximum airflow and cooling. MSI relies on a more traditional cooling with its 4 heatpipes and 3 fans running at 5 volts and no fancy tech like the AAS.
Finally, in terms of port selection – there are pre-dominantly more ports on the ROG Zephyrus GX531, but while the MSI GS65 has less – it has a thunderbolt 3 port. This is really important for gamers who want a more future-proofed gaming laptop that can get aided power from External GPUs and newer video cards like the RTX series by Nvidia. But then again, with the price tag of both GX531 and GS65 – We can all nearly assume that the buyer has enough purchasing power to just replace the unit entirely after 24months.
At the time of writing, we also don’t have the final SRP of the Zephryrus S but it is estimated to be around the vicinity of the MSI GS65. If the Zephyrus S is priced at PHP139,995, it may be due to the higher 512GB storage capacity but the GS65 will win more hearts with it’s better keyboard, thunderbolt 3 and more compact form factor.
If priced at the same PHP134,995, the battle is tougher and you’ll have to prioritize whether you want paper spec or features. It is important to notice that you can just upgrade the GS65’s storage to 512GB yourself though for roughly PHP10,000.
And then, ofcourse, there’s the unlikely possibility that the Zephyrus S GX531 will be priced at BELOW PHP134,995. If this happens, then the comparison tilts slighly more towards the GX531’s favor.
Here are the complete specifications laid out for you. Let us know if we missed anything of note!
|ROG Zephyrus S GX531||MSI GS65 Stealth Thin|
|Suggested Retail Price||Estimated 134,995 – 139,995||PHP 134,995|
|Dimension||360 x 268 x 14.95mm||357.7 x 247.7 x 17.9 mm|
|Material Construction||CNC Milled Aluminum Body||Metal|
|Weight||2.10 Kg||1.8 Kg|
|Processor||Intel® Core™ i7-8750H Processor 2.2 GHz||Intel® Core™ i7-8750H Processor 2.2 GHz|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel® HM370 Express Chipsets||Mobile Intel® HM370 Express Chipsets|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060||NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060|
|Graphics Memory||GDDR5 6GB||GDDR5 6GB|
|IGPU||Intel HD Graphics 630||Intel HD Graphics 630|
|Resolution||FHD 1920×1080 16:9||FHD 1920×1080 16:9|
|Response Time (G2G)||3ms||7ms|
|Total System Memory||DDR4 8GB (on board) + DDR4 2666 8GB||16GB DDR4 2400Mhz|
|System Storage Installed||PCIE NVME 512G M.2 SSD(Hyper Drive)||PCIE NVME 256GB M.2 SSD|
|M.2 SSD Support List||256G PCIE
|USB||1x Type A 3.1 (Gen.2)
1x Type C 3.1 (Gen.1)
1x Type C 3.1 (Gen.2)
2x Type A 2.0
|1x Type A 3.1 (Gen.2 with Thunderbolt 3)
3x Type A 3.1
|Display output||1x HDMI 2.0||1x HDMI 2.0 / 1x Mini Display Podfr|
|Webcam||720P HD||720P HD|
|Keyboard Type||Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard 4-Zone RGB||Steel Series Per Key Backlit Keyboard|
|Speakers||2 x 2W||2 x 2W|
|Audio Tech||Smart Amp and SonicStudio||DynAudio Sound System with Nahimic|
|Cooling Technology||5 HeatPipes
Active AeroDynamic System
Anti-Dust Cooling Fans with 83 fan Blades
2X 12Volt Dual Fans
|4 Heat Pipes
3X 5Volt Fans
Fans have 41 Blades
|Operating System||Windows 10 (64bit)||Windows 10 (64bit)|
|Battery||50WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
Comes with PowerDelivery Charging Support
|82Wh. 4 Cell|
Here are more photos for you to make that final decision!
We promise to make a performance comparison once the units hit the shelves!