MSI Alpha 15 Thermal Testing – Radeon RX 5500M Tested!

The MSI Alpha 15 gaming laptop uses the new
Radeon RX 5500M graphics, so let’s find out just how hot this runs, see how it performs
and find out if anything can be done to improve thermals. I’ve got the A3DDK version of the Alpha
15, so there’s an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H CPU, the new Radeon RX 5500M graphics, 16gb of
memory in dual channel, and a 1080p 144Hz screen with FreeSync. There’s also a cheaper
A3DD model with small changes, you can find updated prices to both linked in the description. Air is pulled in underneath the machine through
the large mesh area towards the back, it’s then exhausted from the left and right corners
out the back, and back left corner, there’s no exhaust on the right side so your mouse
hand won’t suffer. Inside there are 7 heatpipes in total, but only two are shared between
processor and graphics. The MSI Dragon Center software can be used
to swap between different performance modes, I’ve tested silent, balanced and extreme
performance here. Basically I only found these modes to adjust fan speed, silent mode lowered
the GPU power limit, but otherwise there were no other differences. I’ve also tested with
the fan on the default automatic speed, or with cooler boost enabled which maxes out
the fan speed. Thermal testing was completed in an ambient
room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius, so expect different results in different environments.
No undervolting has been done here, as that’s not currently possible with the AMD Mobile
platform. At idle it was on the warmer side. The rest of the results are from combined
CPU and GPU workloads, and are meant to represent worst case scenarios as I ran them for extended
periods of time. The gaming results towards the upper half
of the graph were tested by playing Watch Dogs 2, as I find it to use a good combination
of processor and graphics. The stress test results shown on the lower half of the graph
are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test with only the stress CPU option checked, and
the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings at the same time to fully load the system. With the stress tests going in silent mode
the GPU was hardly much warmer, however the CPU rises to its highest temperature of almost
81 degrees, which honestly doesn’t seem too bad compared to most Intel based laptops
I’ve tested which easily surpass 90 degrees, but to be fair the 3750H does have a lower
35 watt power limit. The balanced and extreme profiles were basically the same, and notice
the GPU temperature rise up compared to silent mode now as the power limit is boosted to
85 watts. With max fan speed enabled the temperatures drop back a couple of degrees, then adding
a cooling pad helped more with this. Similar patterns were observed while playing an actual
game, however compared to the stress tests the temperatures were lower overall and well
within reason, no problems here with regards to heat and there was no thermal throttling. These are the average clock speeds for the
same tests just shown. We can see that silent mode is basically going to be useless for
GPU based workloads, the 5500M seems to be capped at around 20 watts so it’s performing
badly in this mode. In basically all other modes the clock speeds of both the CPU and
GPU are quite similar, as there’s no throttling observed. Thermals were fine as we just saw,
and AMD’s uProf tool showed the CPU was always running at the max 35 watts, and the
GPU was at 85 watts outside of silent mode, so performance should be pretty consistent. Here are the CPU clock speeds while under
a CPU only stress test, so the GPU is idle. Again there’s minimal difference between
the different modes. Temperatures lower as we step up the performance mode, but that’s
just a result of the associated fan speed increase, which you’ll hear soon. In all
cases the 3750H was sitting at its 35 watt limit according to AMD’s uProf tool. Here are some Cinebench results from different
laptops to get an idea of the how MSI Alpha 15 stacks up. The performance from the 3750H
was in line with other laptops that I’ve tested with this same CPU, and the i5-9300H
in the Lenovo L340 was only just ahead. It’s worth noting that the L340 capped the power
limit to 35 watts, same as the 3750H. I found this quite interesting, sure the TDP limits
aren’t directly comparable for different reasons, but with similar power budgets we’re
seeing similar performance. To be fair though, most laptops will run the i5-9300H at 45 watts
so in most cases it will do better than what I’m showing here, but I thought this was
interesting as more of an apples to apples comparison. To see how the different settings actually
affect gaming performance I’ve tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the highest setting
preset using the game’s benchmark tool. Like we saw earlier, there was basically no
difference between balanced and extreme modes. Silent mode on the other hand was completely
unusable, as we saw earlier the GPU is capped heavily making this mode terrible for graphically
intensive tasks like gaming. If you want to see more gaming benchmarks
from the Alpha 15, check the card in the top right where I’ve tested 21 games at all
setting levels. As for the external temperatures where you’ll
actually be putting your hands, at idle it was in the low to mid 30s, pretty standard.
In silent mode with the stress tests going it gets to around 38 in the center. In balanced
mode the fans are louder now, but the GPU is also being put to work, so it’s a bit
warmer at around 42 now. The results were quite similar in extreme mode, no surprises
there given balanced and extreme performed about the same. With the fans now at max speed
it’s only a couple of degrees cooler, so probably not worth the extra fan noise trade
off. Speaking of, let’s take a listen to those
fans. At idle it was completely silent, no fan noise
at all. With this stress tests in silent mode it was on the quieter side, but again the
GPU doesn’t perform well here so it’s going to be far less useful for graphical
based workloads. In balanced mode the fan speed picks up and is about on average compared
to most gaming laptops I test, and it was basically the same in the extreme performance
mode. Enabling coolerboost for max fan rose it up to 55 decibels, so on the louder side
now. Overall the Alpha 15 was running on the cooler
side when under these workloads, most likely due to a result of the Ryzen CPU which has
a lower power limit compared to most Intel based laptops that I’ve covered. Performance
is lower as a result, but in terms of thermals there were absolutely no issues here. We could
improve things a little by raising the fan speed, but as it was performing and running
fine I probably wouldn’t bother considering the noise level increase. It’s looking like
the Ryzen 7 3750H and Radeon RX 5500M combination in this chassis are running well. It’s likely
that if the 5500M was paired with an Intel CPU then it could be a bit of a different
story. The extra heat from the Intel CPU combined with some shared heatpipes would transfer
some of the extra heat over to the graphics, so it will be interesting to test that out
in the future if it becomes available. It may be possible to further improve temperatures
by swapping the thermal paste, however as this is a review unit that I have to send
back I’m not able to change the paste, otherwise the next reviewer will unknowingly report
different results due to what I’ve done. Changing the settings through Dragon Center,
raising fan speed or using a cooling pad are much easier for most people to do than changing
paste anyway, and as we’ve seen these tweaks did help improve performance and temperatures
with the Alpha 15. Let me know what you thought about the thermals
from the MSI Alpha 15 gaming laptop down in the comments, and if you’re new to the channel
you’ll definitely want to get subscribed for the upcoming full review to see everything
this machine has to offer.

97 thoughts on “MSI Alpha 15 Thermal Testing – Radeon RX 5500M Tested!

  1. At 3:30 you write 1600 mhz GPU speed under stress, but only 1300 in gaming.

    What I'm curious about, is the 5500m able to keep 15-1600mhz at 85watts in gaming, or is the boosted speed only a result of the stress test, not being quite as punishing?

  2. Just one thing bothers me. Why would anyone buy an AMD-based laptop instead of an NVIDIA-based one? I thought NVIDIA covered every segment of the price range.

  3. haven't been commenting since the hype for hardware has died down, the peripheral side is where I'm at. how do you feel about nvidia bringing super gpus to laptops next year? are you going to do a video/live stream for black friday/cyber monday?

  4. What do you think, an Hp Omen 15 for 800€ with i5 9300h + gtx 1650 4vram + 8 ram + 144hz screen + 500 ssd or this one for 1000€ ?
    One thing is that I don't really like the chassis that connect the display with the main body in the Hp, they seem very weak 🤷‍♂️

  5. Guys, torn between MSI GL75 9SD and ASUS ROG Strix G531GU, the main criterion is cooling, what do you recommend?

  6. My i5 in my nitro 5 scores <=1600 in cinebench r20 with power limit initially at 55w then drops to 45w. Dont know how l340 scores 1700 with 35w limit

  7. Hi Jarrod,

    Can you compare RTX 2060 performance with both 180w vs 230w power brick? I just got GS65 with 180w adapter but I am curious if it is sufficient or not for full RTX.


  8. Hey Jarrod just a question. Does playing with fans on quite affect the long term life of a laptop? I accidentally did this twice for like 2 hours and I’m wondering wether my laptop will get damaged

  9. hey jarrod can you give opinion?right now i have laptop in 2 year with the spec : CPU : A8-7410 + iGPU : R5 (28 nm) and my first upgrade is making system parition to SSD 2.5 Sata(before on HDD),then do i have to clean up the hardware cooling (CPU and iGPU)?

  10. U only do laptop reviews if u remember i requested u to do a video bw 1660ti laptop vs desktop please again can u make a video on that

  11. I found a Legion Y740 BF deal on Lenovo site, i7 9750h, win 10 pro, 144hz, 1tb ssd, 16gb ram, gtx 1660ti (i thought y740 only comes with rtx, probably some mistake?) for 2170AUD. Good deal? :3

  12. Okay imma just say it, this is a okay laptop, but nobody wants it, it has fairly mediocre performance for an unreasonable price.

  13. Wow that thermals are superb especially for a hotter climate place like Malaysia. My previous gaming laptop would hit 90C on a i7 7700hq with turboboost disable at 2.8ghz in higher demanding games. Amd seems to be doing well now

  14. Can you do a review with the new MSI GF65 ? I think that is a very good laptop and it have a very good price about 1.050 usd. Currently there isn't many information about it.

  15. Hi Jarrod, is this worth the price? Or do u have other suggestion for a gaming laptop? A tip can be really helpful since im planning to buy a laptop ranging price from 900-1100$. Thank you!

  16. My i7 8750h and 1060 gets a consistent 90-99 degrees while gaming. Even mid range hardware deserves better heatpipe designs.

  17. The manufacturer should made better thermal design for selling their products in tropical countries.. Europe market and Asian market really have different weather, which is playing games on short time in Asia could make ur laptops getting hotter rather than in playing games Europe's country. Average without AC, it's reach 30-35°C in Indonesia.. Just like motorbike, why Asian manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki get big marketshare in world wide selling automotive, they has better thermal design on their radiator. And when they sold it in Europe, which is have cool weather, of course it's not a big problem. Different case, when Europe manufacturers bring their products to Asia region, it's always had a thermal problem. I believe that American and European manufacturers have a competitive quality with Asian vendors. Automotive or electronics. But hey, this is a place like in the desert, too hot. Very rare products from America or Europe can survive in Asian markets.

  18. I’m going to college this fall and need a laptop, what do you recommend for someone who plays games like Civilization, Hearts of Iron, and other games which aren’t very fast paced or graphically intense?

  19. hi, which one whould you choose? 1. Asus Rog gx701 with i7-8750h+16gb ram+ 2080max q 2. Asus Rog gx701 with i7-9750h+32gb ram+rtx 2070+ samsung evo 970 plus..

  20. Heya Jarrod! IIRC, MSI mentions freesync in this laptop, can you please include this function in your full review, whether is it worth using it and what impact does it make, if any

  21. Hey jarrod, I’m contemplating on getting the dell g7 with rtx 2060 or the Lenovo legion y540 rtx 2060. What’s your opinion?

  22. The Cine20 scores at around 1700 is more or less same ballpark as my 7mm fanless/passive tablet..
    though it performs around 750 in Cine15

    not to shabby from a old fanless 7mm device.

  23. I want to but the Lenovo legion y740 rtx 2060 model is there anything better than that laptop overall in that price range?

  24. I might buy this but not yet. Its probably going to be out of sell by the time i do like everything youtubers review. But it looks like a good computer.

  25. I have 9300h with heavy undervolt of -170mv my cpu's max power draw is 36W at 100% load
    So i don't think intel solution would produce more heat provided you optimise the machine

  26. Hello there!!!
    I found your channel just yesterday.
    Wow, actually you are one of the best reviewer for laptops on this platform imho.
    I was watching many of your reviews and I could not find a review about the Xiaomi gaming laptop and/or the xiaomi notebook pro gtx.
    Are you considering on reviewing it/them in the next future?

  27. Can someone help me? Ive got a budget of 500 dollars, and i found a late 2016 Razer Blade Stealth for 500 dollars. Should i get it? (i7 7500u, Intel HD graphics 620, 16gb ram, 512gb ssd, 12.5 inch)

  28. Nice vid man. I wanted to ask you one thing. Considering similar pricing in my country which one would you recommend for casual gaming and 3d modelling.
    Y540(i5 and 1650), Nitro 5 2019 (i5 and 1650), ROG G strix (same) or the TUF Fx505 (R5 and 1650)?

  29. Someone please help me 😭
    What should I get ? i5 8265u or i5 1053g1 both are with mx250 and all other specs are same.. please reply fast…

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