The MSI WS65 8SK: Powerful, Portable, and Poised

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Posted on January 28 2019



With its Workstation laptop series, MSI strives to provide a mobile solution to professionals on the move who do not want to sacrifice performance. The WS65 8SK truly delivers, packing the beastly Intel Core i9-8950HK into a chassis only 17.9mm thick. With this top-of-the-line processor, video editing, CAD modeling, and other computational-intensive applications should be a breeze.

Due to its high-powered nature, one might assume the WS65 8SK to often operate at higher temperatures. However, MSI's efficient Cooler Boost Trinity technology, with its three fans (featuring 47 blades) and five heat pipes, keeps the WS65 8SK cool despite its powerful components.
 

Sleek Exterior Design

The WS65 8SK features ample connectivity. On the left side, a full-sized RJ45 Ethernet port is adjacent to two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, which are next to gold-plated headphone and microphone jacks. A Kensington lock by the corner provides security for this high-end system.

The right side features another USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port as well as the WS65 8SK’s several display options (from left to right: Type-C (USB 3.1 Gen2 / DP / Thunderbolt™ 3, Mini DisplayPort, and HDMI). Of course, the three ports allow the user to connect up to three additional screens using MSI's Matrix Display technology.

The WS65 8SK's keyboard features a fingerprint sensor which enables easy log-in using Windows Hello. The spacious chiclet-style keyboard, backlit in white, provides a pleasant typing experience.
 

Optimize Performance with Dragon Center

MSI's Dragon Center is pre-installed in MSI systems and allows convenient monitoring and configuration:

The "System Monitoring" page displays device information such as CPU/GPU/RAM/SSD usage, current power plan and internet speeds, as well as fan speeds.

The "System Tuner" page allows selection of a cooling mode, a fan speed, a DPI percentage, and an RGB mode.

There is also a "Mobile Center" page that allows control of the computer through a mobile device. The application "MSI Dragon Dashboard" has to be installed on the mobile device.
 

High-End Components for Professionals

The WS65 8SK features the Intel Core i9-8950HK processor along with 64GB DDR4-2666 RAM. The i9-8950HK is a 64-bit hexa-core high-end performance x86 microprocessor introduced in Q2’2018. Based on the Coffee Lake microarchitecture, the i9-8950HK operates at 2.9 GHz with a thermal design power (TDP) of 45 W and a turbo boost of 4.8 GHz.

The WS65 8SK features the P3200 workstation GPU (6GB DDR5). Quadro graphics cards prioritize accuracy and quality, unlike GeForce cards, which prioritize speed.
 

Run at Blazing Speeds

As Intel's 8th generation is the first to introduce a mobile version of the i9, we shall compare the i9-8950HK to last generation’s popular high-end processor, i7-7700HQ. First are Cinebench results, with the i9-8950HK’s screenshot following that of the i7-7700HQ.

As expected, the i7-7700HQ couldn't even come close.

Next, we converted a video file using Premiere Pro. The settings on the two systems were identical. To differentiate between the two, Premiere was installed on the i7-7700HQ system in Simplified Chinese.

Estimated time remaining (5 minutes, 8 seconds)

In the conversion test, the WS65 8SK completed the conversion in 35 seconds. The i7 system’s time of 5 minutes, 8 seconds is 8.8 times longer.

Finally, the Unigine Superposition benchmark was run twice on both systems, once with DirectX and once with OpenGL. Again, the WS65 8SK far outclassed the older system. The first two screenshots were the results of the older system; the third and fourth are the results of the WS65 8SK:

In the DirectX benchmark, the WS65 8SK outscored the i7 system 6436 to 2946, a multiplier of 2.18.

In the OpenGL benchmark, the WS658SK outscored the I7 system 5536 to 2697, a multiplier of 2.05.

Powerful Cooling In a Svelte Package

With such superb performance in such a compact chassis, how does the WS65 8SK stay cool when running demanding tasks? Let us take an internal look at its components.

As we can see, the WS65 8SK has four heat pipes, allowing efficient heat dispersal even when the system is under heavy load. Two are dedicated to the CPU while the other two are for the GPU, assuring that cooling is sufficient for both. On the other hand, here is the design of the HP ZBook 15 G5:

The HP ZBook 17 G5 has only two heat pipes. Although the laptop is an inch (33mm) in thickness, nearly double that of the WS65 8SK (17.9mm), the ZBook 17 G5’s cooling system is less optimized.
 

Conclusion: Desktop Workstation Power on the Go

Armed with the Intel Core i9-8950HK, the powerful P3200 workstation GPU, and with a thickness of only 17.9mm, the MSI WS65 8SK is truly a combination of performance, portability, and poise. Thanks to its sophisticated cooling system, it is able to maintain low temperatures even when challenged. The WS65 8SK is the ideal solution for the professional who wishes to tick all the boxes.
 

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