The MSI Prestige 14 Evo Review: Testing The Waters Of Tiger Lakeby Brett Howse on December 17, 2020 10:00 AM EST
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- Tiger Lake
Powered by the latest Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, the MSI Prestige 14 is our first look at Tiger Lake in a production device. Intel’s Ice Lake platform was a strong step forward, with a new process and a new microarchitecture, and Tiger Lake looks to improve on that with a tweaked CPU core, improved frequencies thanks to the improved 10 nm Superfin process, and perhaps most importantly, Intel’s new Xe graphics in Tiger Lake promise a big step forward in terms of integrated graphics performance.
The Core-i7-1185G7 features four Willow Cove cores, with a peak single-core Turbo frequency of 4.8 GHz. This alone is a big jump over the Core i7-1065G7, which topped out at just 3.9 GHz. The CPU is fed by LPDDR4X-4267 memory as well, which is an improvement over the last generation of devices. The new Tiger Lake platform also adds support for not just Thunderbolt 4, but also PCIe 4.0, meaning faster storage is available.
While Intel has certainly struggled over the last several years, the company does seem to be moving in the right direction again, albeit not as quickly as they would probably prefer. Let’s dig into this new Tiger Lake platform and see how it performs. As a reminder, you can use our Online Bench to compare the MSI Prestige 14 Evo to any other laptop we’ve ever tested.
UL’s PCMark tests all aspects of a system, from CPU and GPU performance, to memory and storage, with several test suites focusing on different use cases, and using real-world applications such as web, video chat, and gaming. The MSI Prestige 14 performs very well here thanks to the improved Willow Cove CPU and the new Xe graphics.
Although version R23 has just been released, for now we’ll continue to showcase R20 scores until we have enough R23 results for comparisons. The higher-frequency Tiger Lake design makes a large jump in single-threaded performance, easily surpassing the other laptop processors. On multi-thread, the quad-core i7 offers eight threads thanks to SMT, and scores very close to an eight-core Ryzen 7 4700U. Tiger Lake makes a big jump here compared to Ice Lake.
For video transcoding, Handbrake is likely the most popular solution. It offers both software transcoding done on the CPU, as well as hardware transcoding, which in the case of an Intel processor is Intel’s QuickSync media block. Somewhat surprisingly, the software transcode was not really much faster on the new Tiger Lake than it was on Ice Lake, but the hardware transcode did gain over the older design. It still can’t quite match Renoir though on software or hardware transcoding.
The open source file compression utility 7-Zip includes a built-in benchmark. The gains Intel has made over Ice Lake show up again here, with a strong win over last year’s i7 laptops. The eight cores on the Ryzen 7 4700U though are well-utilized here, and Tiger Lake can’t quite catch up with just four cores.
For 2020, we have moved to the new Chromium Edge on Windows 10 for all web testing. As much of the performance of the web can be tied to the underlying browser, consistency is key, and we found the Chromium Edge was one of the best performing browsers on Windows.
The gains Tiger Lake has made over Ice Lake on web performance are significant, and the higher frequency of the i7-1185G7 really makes a big difference here. The gains in Speedometer 2.0 are very impressive.
Tiger Lake is the first platform from Intel to offer PCIe 4.0 support, which, at least for now, is mostly tied to faster storage. MSI has tapped the Phison PS5016-E16 SSD controller in both 512 GB and 1 TB size offerings, with the review unit being the smaller 512 GB model.
For 2020, we’ve moved to utilizing the PCMark Storage tests, which utilize real-world application traces for programs such as Adobe CC, and common tasks like booting Windows. The benchmark records bandwidth and access time, and calculates an overall score.
The new PCIe 4.0 drive is the top performing laptop drive we’ve tested yet. The results are not wildly higher than the PCIe 3.0 drives tested in the past, but that is to be expected for most actual storage tasks, and unless you are doing a lot of large file copies, the extra performance is noticeable, but not as big of a jump as going from SATA SSDs to NVMe would have been.
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Vitor - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkIm just glad the display has decent accuracy.
Teckk - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkThis is a really good enough laptop for a lot of people and surprisingly good graphics performance by Intel. Is 1 Watt display not a requirement for Evo?
gizmo23 - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkThis laptop with 16:10 ratio display = take my money. As it is, I think my XPS will have to last a bit longer.
s.yu - Friday, December 18, 2020 - linkMy 2019 XPS132N1's digitizer experience really sucks, but I looked around the market and nothing really serves as a solid upgrade. If the latest Surface Book weren't so expensive with soon to be outdated graphics that would be my first choice.
oRAirwolf - Saturday, December 19, 2020 - linkOffering a laptop with a 16x9 display when it's almost 2021 is pretty well. Get with the times MSI. 16x9 is fine on a large display, but laptops greatly benefit from some extra vertical real estate
mobutu - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkalmost bought this, luckily that I saw at the last time that, at the begining of 2021, it doesn't have at least one USB 3.x.A port ... good thing it has a TOTALLY USELESS 2.0.A one.
I would torture the guys at msi for this stupid decision. what a bunch of retards .
ozzuneoj86 - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkI am totally confused by this decision as well. What a complete waste of a computer. What are you supposed to do with external storage devices that connect with USB A? Carry around adapters, or just deal with USB 2.0 speeds? In 2021!?!?
And as a general complaint with most "nice" laptops these days, what if you use a mouse that connects via USB??? No flash drives then?
Might as well be an Apple product.
And no, it isn't a typo. The MSI site shows this across the board for all configurations of this model "USB: 1x USB 2.0"
Yakinabe - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkThe USB 2.0 port is for your mouse. That's why it's on the right side. For faster peripherals like storage devices, it has two Thunderbolt ports. If you insist on keeping your legacy storage devices then yeah, you'd need to get a USB-C cable for your device, or carry an adapter.
CharonPDX - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkOr use one of my dozens of USB-A 3.0 64-256 GB thumb drives. Or my external Blu-ray drive that has a tethered cable.
Modern EFI and OSes can handle running a keyboard or mouse just fine over USB 3.0/3.1/3.2/4. There is no reason to continue to offer a USB 2.0 USB port.
The_Assimilator - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - linkWhile I agree that the choice of USB 2.0 is bizarre, my guess is that it's due to SOC peripheral bandwidth limitations - those two TB4 ports consume a LOT of PCIe lanes, and IIRC Tiger Lake has a relatively low PCIe lane count due to thermal and power constraints.