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MSI Stealth 15M (2021) Gaming Laptop Review

The updated Stealth 15M adds GeForce RTX 30 series graphics and a Tiger Lake H35 series CPU for a potent lightweight gaming combo.

@TylerBernath
Published Thu, Apr 29 2021 10:10 AM CDT
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: MSI (Stealth 15M A11UEK-021)

Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing

The "Stealth" brand has been a part of MSI's gaming laptops for several years. More recently, it has become a marquee brand for its lightweight gaming platform. The Stealth 15M has several SKUs floating around, split between Tiger Lake-U platforms from 2020 and the more recent Tiger Lake H35 release this year. The model sent for review is one of three new SKUs and features the Core i7-11375H, a 35W variant that pushes the limits of Tiger Lake-U with a 5.16GHz boost clock.

To push these limits, MSI has designed custom cooling for the Stealth 15M rooted in their extensive work in the GPU market; Cooler Boost 5 deploys six heat pipes and two high-performance fans to efficiently control heat dissipation from both the 11375H and RTX 3060 GPU.

Specifications

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VIEW GALLERY - 43 IMAGES

Additional specifications for the Stealth15M show a FullHD IPS panel, 15.6" diagonal with a 144Hz refresh rate, this mate up with an RTX 3060 Laptop GPU that offers 3840 shaders, 120TMU, and 48 ROPS. It is paired with 6GB of dedicated VRAM over a 192Bit bus.

Mystic Light powers the single zone 84 key RGB board that also features anti-ghosting. Nahimic 3 pushes Hi-Res audio to a pair of 2W speakers. On the memory and storage side of things, our SKU was set up with a 2x8GB set of DDR4 3200. Storage was a single 1TB NVMe from Kingston.

Further hardware includes Intel Wi-Fi 6 with the AX201 chipset, this includes BT 5.1 support, and MSI does include a USB dongle for wired LAN. Connectivity includes two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, 1x Thunderbolt 4 port that supports 100W charging, 1x USB-C pushed over USB 3.2 Gen 2 supporting 8K DisplayPort. HDMI, MicroSD, and 3.5mm audio out finishing up connectivity.

Dimensions come in at 14.1 x 9.7 inches at 0.6 inches thick. Weight is 3.7 lbs.

Pricing

Pricing of the MSI Stealth 15M A11UEK-021 gives a retail price of $1599.99 with a one-year warranty.

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MSI Stealth 15M Gaming and Entertainment Laptop

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$2499.00$2499.00-
* Prices last scanned on 5/7/2021 at 4:39 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Packaging, Accessories, and Overview

Packaging and Accessories

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MSI Stealth15M offers very similar packaging to the recent Rocket Lake media kit. Gold dragon on a black box.

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Included with the MSI Stealth15M, we have the power adapter centered with reading materials above and the LAN adapter below.

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The laptop is secured in a cloth bag to protect it from scratches in transit.

MSI Stealth 15M (2021) Overview

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Our time with the Stealth15M starts here, taking images after the notebook arrives. The finish is quite nice, a smooth aluminum in carbon gray with simple branding on the lid.

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Ports on the left include power input, 3.5mm audio, microSD, and USB 3.2.

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On the right side, we have USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, followed by USB 3.2 and HDMI.

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The bottom of the Stealth15M has audio relief at each side of the laptop along the bottom in the image. Cooling intake across most of the top with rubber feet to space it from any surface.

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Internally, the battery takes up most of the bottom of the chassis, a slight relief to the left for NVMe drives.

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In closer, the battery is a 52.4Wh model operating at 13V.

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The Intel AX201 lives next to one of the fans at the top.

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The NVMe solution offered is a Kingston model, 1Tb in capacity powered by the Phison E12C.

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Keyboard offers one lighting zone; the trackpad is centered on the chassis.

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Lights out, we can see the backlit keyboard.

BIOS/UEFI and Software

UEFI

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Setup does use MSI Click BIOS with five main areas of configuration. On the main page, you get a hardware overview with model information and two additional options for storage info and system info. On the system info page, you get a breakdown of CPU and memory set up along with the Wi-Fi modules and firmware revisions on-board.

The advanced menu offers CPU power state options along with USB config and BIOS update.USB options go deeper in hand-off operations and time-out settings. The Boot menu allows you to enable or disable fast boot or change the current boot order.

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Above, we have the MSI Stealth15M config outlined by CPUz and GPUz.

Software

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MSI Dragon Center is the leading software platform for Stealth 15M. It starts with the monitor seen above, which gives insight into CPU and GPU usage and SSD and memory capacity, among others.

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Consumers can choose from several presets to match their workload; for testing, we used the extreme mode seen above.

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Mystic Light allows you to customize RGB lighting on the keyboard.

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MSI sound tune can help tune out background noise in your streaming session by allowing AI noise cancellation for both speakers and mic.

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One last function of Dragon Center is to offer battery configuration to extend life.

System/CPU Benchmarks

WPrime

WPrime is a leading multi-threaded benchmark. In our setup, we will manually set the number of cores for the CPU under test.

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With WPrime, the Stealth 15M picked up 32M in 5.1 seconds and 1024M in 162.06 seconds.

Cinebench

Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU

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Single thread performance in R23 reached 1525 while multi-thread came in at 6529, both the highest seen so far.

Realbench

Realbench utilizes both video and photo workloads for real-world testing.

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In our RealBench Heavy Multi-tasking workload, the Stealth 15M completed it in 60.7 seconds, 6 seconds quicker than the previous best from the Xenia Xe.

AIDA64 Memory

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Memory bandwidth was slightly lower than usual due to the 3200MHz memory, 43K for read and write and 36K for copy.

PCMark 10

PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.

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PCMark showed 9508 in essentials, 8690 in productivity, and 6659 for digital content.

BAPCo CrossMark

CrossMark™ is an easy-to-run native cross-platform benchmark that measures the overall system performance and system responsiveness using models of real-world applications.

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The Stealth 15M is our first system to go through CrossMark testing; I had the Xenia Xe still on hand to add to the charts. In this testing, the Stealth shows an overall score of 1195.

Graphics, System I/O and Battery

Graphics Performance

3DMark

Night Raid is a DirectX 12 benchmark for mobile computing devices with integrated graphics and low-power platforms powered by Windows 10 on ARM.

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The Stealth picked up an overall score of 29643 in Night Raid, 47332 for the graphics, and 9508 for CPU.

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Comparing internal graphics in the RTX 3060 Mobile to Thunderbolt eGPU with our RTX 3080, there is a sizable gain to be had for those purchasing this laptop that may need more performance later on.

Storage

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The included SSD in the Stealth 15M produced 2579 MB/s read and 2772 MB/s write. 4KQ1 results reached 41 MB/s reads, and 128 MB/s write.

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External storage testing with our WD Black P50 USB 3.2 Gen2x2 gave 1059 MB/s read and 1033 MB/s write.

Networking

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Wireless LAN pulled in 1331 for the Stealth 15M.

Battery Testing

For battery tests, we use the PCMark 10 Battery tests in Gaming mode.

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The Stealth 15M was able to maintain battery power for 35 minutes with the gaming workload.

Thermals

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During testing, I was able to grab some images of the laptop with our thermal camera. On top in the keyboard area, we see temps around 36 peak along the top that radiates down towards the trackpad.

On the backside, you can pick out the two fans via thermals with a peak in between near 41c.

Final Thoughts

When we finished up testing on the Razer Book a few months back and got that unit sent back, it was only days later the MSI Stealth 15M showed up on our doorstep. Since then, it's been everything for me, my daily driver, and my gaming machine. Now I don't game like I used to, but I was surprised with how well this notebook does in gaming with modest titles like COD Warzone, PUBG, and Farm Sim. I was able to turn up graphics to the max on PUBG and Farm Sim and push excellent frame rates between 60 and 100FPS, and Warzone was smooth on high settings between 60-90FPS.

System performance was fantastic, higher than previously tested Tiger Lake-U platforms, and rightly so as the CPU in this machine can boost upwards of 5.1GHz in its 35W configuration. For those wanting to dock and connect higher resolution monitors, the Stealth 15M support DP direct from its USB-C port along with Thunderbolt 4 with PD for adding more ports, etc.

Dragon Center is the leading software for this machine and does a great job aiding configuration of the systems power modes, battery setup, and Mystic Light platform. It also does a significant job monitoring usage of hardware components, including CPU, GPU, memory, and storage.

What We Like

Design:Aluminum design offers smooth finish.

35Watt 11th Gen: Tiger Lake H35 paired with RTX 3060 is a potent combo!

Cooling: Cooler Boost 5 offers efficient always on cooling.

What Could Be Better

NVMe: Kingston NVMe lacks performance.

Performance

95%

Quality

90%

Features

95%

Value

90%

Overall

93%

The Bottom Line

At $1599 MSRP, the Stealth 15M offers a hybrid platform that can handle both your gaming and productivity needs rather well!

TweakTown award
93%

MSI Stealth 15M Gaming and Entertainment Laptop

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$2499.00$2499.00-
* Prices last scanned on 5/7/2021 at 4:39 am CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Tyler joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new techy items. Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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