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Choosing a gaming laptop is often an exercise in picking your compromises. But what’s making recent notebooks so impressive is how minor those compromises really are. That’s thanks to tech like Intel’s recent H35 mobile processors that bring high-end gaming to an ultraportable form factor. And after experiencing that first hand with MSI’s Stealth 15M (available for $1,700), it’s a great time to recommend a gaming laptop.

The new Stealth 15M comes with an Nvidia RTX 3060 and the Intel Core i7-11375H CPU. That is a 4-core, 8-thread processor that is capable of boosting all the way up to 5GHz on a single core. These specs make the Stealth 15M a gaming beast, and yet MSI claims this is the “world’s thinnest 15-inch gaming laptop.” And at 16mm, it feels very slight indeed, and yet it is capable of high-refresh rate graphics with real-time raytracing.

Ubisoft benchmarks are often very intense and showcase worst-case scenarios for the CPU and GPU. So getting 49 frames-per-second in the Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey test at 1080p is indicative of a powerful machine that should run the game at around 60-to-70 frames-per-second in most situations on Ultra graphics settings.

Getting up to 5GHz on a single 10nm core is a huge reason why the i7-11375H is so good for gaming. While these boost speeds are one thing, this processor is capable of maintaining 4.8GHz speeds for long periods of time. And that is how you can get consistent performance from games like Assassin’s Creed.

With the H35 Core processor, the Stealth 15M is also great as a portable machine. It is light for a notebook with a discrete graphics card, but it also has great battery life. It regularly lasts for more than 10 hours on a charge for web browsing and consuming video.

So, then, what are the compromises?

The MSI Stealth 15M is thin, light, portable, and powerful, so what are you giving up? Well, you will still have to deal with loud fans in certain situations. And when the processor thermals push the cooling too far, you’ll have to deal with thermal throttling. This isn’t strange for gaming notebooks. What’s odd is that a mobile processor can boost to 5GHz at all.

And this is the point. A laptop with this kind of power would’ve been much thicker and heavier even a few years ago. And even then, boosting above 4.5GHz was rare.

These machines are transforming into the total package. And that starts with energy efficient, powerful processors like the Intel Core i7-11375H.

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