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MSI GS65 Stealth: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q Benchmarks

Stacking up Max-Q against its nearest desktop equivalents

We've established that the MSI GS65 Stealth is a highly capable production workhorse, delivering desktop-class power in a thin and light chassis. Its combination of six-core i7 8750H and GTX 1070 Max-Q is just the ticket for 4K editing on the go, but also crucial to the experience are the machine's gaming credentials. In short, it's all about testing the stability of the 8750H for gaming when running with titles fully unlocked, while at the same time figuring out the extent of the Max-Q performance hit. We're not making it easy for the notebook here - we're stacking it up against a desktop machine running a Core i7 6700K at a 4.6GHz all-core turbo, paired with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and the GTX 1070.

We're testing six titles here which effectively demonstrate that most workloads see the GTX 1070 Max-Q slot in between 1060 and 1070, while a smaller selection of more intensive tests see the laptop GPU slide further down the scale, closer to desktop 1060 performance.

First up though, a quick word about our benchmarks. For mobile users, our metrics below take the form of simple tables with mean frame-rate averages and lowest one per cent scores (this is actually a frame-time average, translated into fps). Desktop users get a significantly richer experience: you can play the YouTube video to see frame-rate and frame-time telemetry play out in real-time, while you're able to hover over the bar charts for more comparative data, while clicking on the bar chart swaps between frame-rate and percentage differentials. The latter is probably more useful in gauging overall relative performance.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Nixxes' PC port of Lara Croft's latest adventure is a wonderful piece of work, with a remarkably robust DirectX 12 implementation, exceptional HDR support, and a benchmark that accurately represents the game under load - in stark contrast to its predecessors. It's our first look at the Max-Q GTX 1070, so how does it perform? Well, there's a decent enough 13 point lead over the desktop GTX 1060, but the full-blooded GTX 1070 powers ahead with a 21 per cent advantage.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, DX12, Highest, TAA

  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GTX 1070

Battlefield 1

DICE's Battlefield 1 is just a little bit of a challenge for Nvidia hardware - more so under the DirectX12 API which we're testing here. The Max-Q GTX 1070 is only seven per cent faster than the desktop 1060. That's still enough to comfortably run this game north of 60fps at ultra settings (and using DX11 will bump up your frame-rate a little more) but what's interesting here is that some stutter enters the experience, causing the lowest one per cent frame-times to dip hard compared to the desktop cards. Possibly a CPU throttling issue of some description?"

Battlefield 1 DX12, Ultra, TAA

  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GTX 1070

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Running at high or even very high settings, Ghost Recon Wildlands is an eminently playable game that runs well across a range of PC kit. However, ramp things up to the ultra preset and the game transforms into one of the most challenging titles we've seen. Similar to Battlefield 1, it brings the Max-Q version of the GTX 1070 plummeting down performance-wise, with just a small seven per cent advantage over our Founders Edition GTX 1060.

Ghost Recon Wildlands, Ultra, TAA

  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GTX 1070

Crysis 3

This is still our go-to game for getting a general idea of gaming performance when a new piece of hardware arrives at the office. The first level challenges GPU power - particularly in terms of bandwidth, while the second jungle stage monsters both CPU and GPU depending on the area you test. And it's that latter point which may explain the lowest one per cent score here, which struggles compared to our desktop unit. We found that the CPU could exceed 90 degrees Celsius playing this game, causing CPU clocks to drop. That said, limiting frame-rate to 60fps helped overall stability significantly.

Crysis 3, Very High, SMAA T2x

  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GTX 1070

Assassin's Creed Unity

We love this game, not just because it's still an absolute treat visually - even four years on - but also because of how it tests PC hardware so comprehensively. Over the years, the latest CPUs and GPUs have allowed this title to truly shine. By and large, the Max-Q GPU is at a mid-point between GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 here, skewing slightly more towards the lower end card. The desktop 1070 is a good 19 per cent faster, so no real surprises here when stacked up alongside our other results.

AC Unity: Ultra High, FXAA

  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GTX 1070

Far Cry Primal

Supplanted by Far Cry 5, Primal is still a formidable workout at its ultra settings and here we see the Max-Q version of the GTX 1070 return to its more natural home at a mid-point between its two nearest desktop equivalents, but again skewing slightly more towards the lower-end card. This is a game that thrives on single-core performance and we expected the slower Core i7 8750H to suffer a little in its lowest one and five per cent scores, but by and large, it holds up well.

Far Cry Primal, Ultra, SMAA

  • GTX 1060
  • GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GTX 1070

MSI GS65 Stealth: Core i7 8750H/GTX 1070 Max-Q Analysis

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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