MSI Stealth GS77 review

MSI Stealth GS77 review (12UHS)

Not so long ago we raved about the fact that the MSI Stealth GS76 (with its 11th Gen Intel processor) had finally come close to breaking the law that decreed MSI Stealth laptops must be powerful, too hot and whiny in their svelte chassis. It was almost a dream laptop – offering everything to everyone… but it came with a huge price tag. Now here’s the MSI Stealth GS77 which sports Intel’s latest-and-greatest 12th Gen ‘Alder Lake’ processor, DDR5 memory and brand-new Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics. We expected greatness.

Key specs of the MSI Stealth GS77 (12UHS)

17.3-inch, matte, 120Hz, 3840 x 2160, IPS display; 3.8-5GHz Intel Core i9-12900H CPU; 64GB DDR5-4800 RAM; 2TB HDD; 16GB GDDR6 Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics; 99Wh battery; 2.8KG. SKU: 12UHS. Full specs here.

Design and Handling

Once again the MSI Stealth GS77 looks as invisibly imposing as a stealth fighter with its all-black livery. The glossy badge on the lid is only visible when the light catches it right. The only colour comes from the silver MSI moniker below the screen and the funky, individually lit RGB keys inside – unless you choose to go dark and turn them off. It’s awesome. It’s well built too. Despite housing the large 17.3-inch screen, the lid only flexes a little when twisted. The hinge isn’t the stiffest but it offers solid support to the screen.

MSI Stealth GS77 lid
You can only see the logo when it glints in the light.
MSI Stealth GS77 logo
A truly stealthy logo.

The MSI Stealth GS77’s IPS screen itself has a proper 4K, UHD, 3840 x 2160 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s sharp, bright and well-lit and colours are vibrant and the Windows Desktop looks incredibly crisp and clear. When it comes to gaming, we were impressed. The 120Hz refresh rate keeps everything smooth (there are other SKUs with faster, lower resolution screens) and the fast pixel response time means ghosting is minimal. Contrast is very impressive with details remaining visible in dark areas although they can get lost in particularly light areas. There’s minimal banding in colour gradients and impressively little in monochromatic transitions (at least for a laptop). Multimedia videos looked great with smooth motion, vibrant colours and decent contrast. We were very impressed.

We also liked the MSI Stealth GS77’s keyboard. The low-travel Scrabble-tile keys are very comfortable and accurate to type upon for extended periods. While the number pad and arrow keys are reduced-size versions, they’re not the annoying, half-height squished versions and remain very usable.

MSI Stealth GS77 keyboard
The keyboard is very comfy and accurate to type on – including the reduced-size arrow keys and number pad.

We’re big fans of the RGB backlighting which looks even better when set upon a black background.

MSI Stealth GS77 RGB keyboard
Mmm… glowy.

The large trackpad is smooth and the buttons are easy to activate. Above the screen there’s an impressive Full HD webcam. However, it’s not Windows Hello compatible.

Inside the twin, 2-Watt speakers and twin, 2-Watt subs sound very impressive. There’s good volume, impressive fidelity from top to bottom and even some decent bass.

All in all the MSI Stealth GS77 looks fantastic and is a joy to use.

Performance

The MSI Stealth GS77 has the highest specs we’ve ever seen so we demanded great performance. Inside there’s the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H processor with its 14 cores (six performance-based and eight ‘efficiency’-based) and 20 threads. This is flanked by the a whopping 64GB of the brand new DDR5-4800 RAM and supported by a PCIe 4.0 2TB hard drive. These combined to score 7526 in the general PCMark 10 test which is the fastest score we’ve ever seen(!) In the processor-intensive Cinebench rendering tests it scored 2942 in R15 and 17,107 in R23 – also the fastest scores we’ve ever seen. Whoah!

Would it fall down in our 3D tests? The MSI Stealth GS77 sports the brand new Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU with a massive 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. That amount of Graphics RAM means it can easily support the colossal HD Texture pack in Far Cry 6.

In 3DMark Time Spy it scored 10,907 (an average of 65fps). While this is impressive, it’s beaten by several lesser processors which benefit from superior overclocking performance in larger chassis. It was a similar situation in our other tests. It scored 12,746 in Fire Strike Extreme (average 59fps) and 6831 in the tricky, Port Royal ray tracing test (average 31.63fps). While you use MSI’s Control Center to push performance further, you’re likely to blow-out the thermal envelope that the Stealth’s chassis operates in. We’re actually glad MSI haven’t pushed this Stealth too far with the OC as it can easily affect stability in such a svelte device.

It all goes to show that the 12th Gen Intel CPU is a giant leap forward but the 3080 Ti is less so – at least when installed in the MSI Stealth GS77. We expect it to fly when there’s more headroom for overclocking – perhaps in the forthcoming update to the GE76 Raider? Still, it all amounts to gargantuan performance and any game will run smoothly and look amazing on the 4K screen.

We always expect some noise from a beefy laptop, but credit where it’s due, the Stealth GS77 doesn’t emit much. There’s a constant, minor swoosh to be sure, but even when under load it’s really not incomparable to the best-performing beefcakes we’ve tested. With 100 per cent loading the GPU hit 81oC while only emitting a not-too-distracting swoosh. It looks like we finally can have all singing and all dancing laptops in a thin shell without thermal and noise issues.

Connectivity of the MSI Stealth GS77

On the left
On the left are two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and a webcam privacy slider.
On the right
On the right are two USB-C ports (one 3.2 Gen 2/DisplayPort and the other DisplayPort/Thunderbolt 4/Power Delivery) and an SD card reader.
At the rear
At the rear is a 2.5Gb Ethernet port and an HDMI 2.1 port.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. It’s all the latest everything… nice!

Portability

No 17.3-inch laptop is particularly portable but at 2.8KG and with a 21mm thickness, the MSI Stealth GS77 is relatively thin and light. Relatively. The power brick is relatively small for such a beefy machine but it still adds an extra 750g to the mix. It’s also well built and should survive life on the road with few issues.

MSI Stealth GS77 underneath
For once the MSI Stealth isn’t noisy. There’s a regular, minor swoosh but it never gets too loud, even when under load.

The large, 99Wh battery ran PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test for an impressive (considering the power-hungry specs) 6hrs 52mins. That’s almost a full day out of the office.

Should I buy the MSI Stealth GS77?

Yes. It’s awesome. And in every respect. But, at $7,474 most people won’t be able to. It even makes the bonkers Alienware X17 look cheap. However, if you want the ultimate laptop, right now this is it. UPDATE: It can currently be had for $7,199 in MSI’s current, You Deserve A Better Laptop promotion. Other favourites are heavily discounted too.)

MSI Stealth GS77 results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
4.4

Summary

Right now it’s the ultimate, high-performance laptop.

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