Micro-Star International or commonly referred to as MSI has some of the best gaming laptops in the market. But which one is supposed to be for you? We have compiled the list of the best ones so you do not have to go through each and every one of them.
MSI has been doing a superb job so far when it comes to gaming components. Motherboards like the MEG Godlike for Intel and Tomahawk for AMD are just some of the best motherboards in the market.
Their gaming laptops also have great performance, they are yet to adopt Ryzen CPUs properly. The MSI Bravo 15 is their first-ever take on the new Ryzen CPUs but unfortunately, it does not live up to the MSI name.
It has some serious issues with the design which is causing throttling, and the display as well. There are many other issues with that laptop so we did not include it on our list.
If you do plan on going team AMD for a budget gaming laptop, the Alpha 15 is a better choice. But it has an older generation Ryzen 3000 series CPU. It does not have a better display though, but it does not throttle in the least.
But the Intel lineup of laptops is pretty impressive, MSI seems to have pretty much nailed it there. Now let us move on to a simple buyer’s guide on how to choose a gaming laptop.
What to look for in an MSI Gaming Laptop?
A few things are pretty much common when choosing a laptop regardless of what purpose it is built for. For instance the storage, battery life, and thermal performance. For gaming purposes, this just doubles up. Because not only do they consume more power due to the components but also produce more heat.
But other than that there are things like higher refresh rate displays and RGB. So you need to check those things out ahead before you go ahead and buy a gaming laptop.
If a laptop is sporting an RTX 2080, even if it is the Max-Q variant, it is going to consume a lot of power. It is not much you can do about it except for installing a bigger battery.
While you are at home you can always plug it to the laptop’s power brick. But laptops are supposed to be used without having a power source. That is the main appeal of a laptop, after all, a portable computer. And a gaming laptop means all that gaming power fit into a laptop.
But if it has a poor battery life, you will just need to plug it in to use. You are still bound by a power source. Of course, a laptop is still more portable, but having that battery life still matters. So check the battery life and power consumption during gaming ahead of time.
A lot of gaming laptops have one thing in common, they produce tons of heat. Most gaming laptops have issues with thermals, Acer did something unique with the Predator Helios 700 just to improve performance by reducing thermals.
A CPU and GPU are bound by thermal limits. If your CPU reaches above 95 centigrade, it will start to throttle. Throttling usually results in lag, sudden dips in FPS if you are gaming, and such performance-based problems.
The cooler the CPU and GPU are, the more it will be able to push its limit and perform better. But since laptop chassis are bound by limitations of size, you cannot do much externally for thermals.
You can buy a cooling pad and it does make a lot of difference, but you cannot carry a cooling pad everywhere. So a good thermal solution design would be adequate here instead.
When we are talking about the display here, we are talking about a few things. Firstly the refresh rate and response timing of the display. So we are familiar with higher refresh rates these days with displays going as high as 300Hz. Response times are also important if you do not want to see any artifacts or overshoots.
The second thing which matters in displays is the SRGB Gamut and brightness. MSI Alpha 15 and Bravo 15 might have one of the worst displays when it comes to gaming laptops. But the other MSI laptops do not have these problems.
They have a pretty good SRGB Gamut and their displays also do not have huge response times. The GS66 Stealth has one of the best displays in the market right now.
A computer is only as good as the components which drive them. The same is the case with a laptop as well. So if you have a laptop with let’s say, 8GB of RAM. But the problem is, the RAM is soldered on to the board, which means there is no chance for upgradability here.
You cannot expand or upgrade your memory if that is the case, and some laptop manufacturers have done that. So you are limited to the amount of memory the laptop manufacturer has given to you.
So when you are buying a laptop, make sure that upgradability is not difficult. Because in the future you might want to increase the RAM, and add more storage. Some laptops even have the option to upgrade the GPU in them, which is what we call a fantastic design.
Memory Speed and Storage
Now memory is very important when it comes to gaming. Because a higher speed memory will definitely improve gaming performance even if by little.
Storage is important for two aspects, one, games are getting ridiculously large in size. The new Call of Duty: Warzone had a massive size, and it got even bigger after an upgrade. So having a bigger storage capacity is always better.
But these days laptops are switching from traditional mechanical storage to flash storage instead. We have SSDs replacing HDDs but they do cost significantly more. But they are faster than HDDs and can take away the wait at the loading screen in games and can increase boot-up speed as well.
Due to them being expensive, some companies offer HDDs and SSDs both with their laptops. But an HDD will increase the weight of the laptop as well, that is why some laptop models don’t have an option for HDDs at all.
Best MSI Gaming Laptops in 2021 Reviewed
So the GS66 Stealth follows the name of the laptop closely. In the previous models, as the GS65 Stealth had golden accents on the black body, it did not feel stealthy at all.
The GS66 Stealth is a thin form factor laptop that packs a lot of power. The laptop comes in all black, even the MSI Dragon logo is barely noticeable, making it true to its namesake.
The earlier versions of the laptop were a far cry from the ‘Stealth’ name in the model. It had glittering golden accents all around the laptop that made it stand out way more than other MSI laptops do.
But looks aren’t the only thing that MSI has changed on this laptop. The laptop has some very decent performance upgrades. First of all, it has the latest Intel 10th Generation processor.
The Core i7-10750H is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU that has a base clock of 2.6GHz. It boosts up to a surprising 5.0GHz which means extreme performance.
You have a choice in GPU, we chose the RTX 2060, but you can go up to the RTX 2080 Super if you have the money. Our model performed extremely well in gaming performance showing GPU prowess was better than other laptops with the same GPU.
Of course, with the ray-tracing turned on we did huge loss in FPS, so if you want to play with ray-tracing enabled, we would suggest the RTX 2070 Super variant instead.
There is 16GB of memory in the laptop which is good enough for gaming and most tasks. But if you feel like upgrading in the future, then you can do it easily as the RAM can be expanded.
Let us talk a bit about other features, the best feature in this laptop has to be the display. The display has the truest to life colors available in panels these days. The panel has a refresh rate and response time of 240Hz and 3ms.
The keyboard is made by SteelSeries with the keys having a good feel to them. By that, we mean that the keys have a good travel in them, and typing on them feels great. There is a per-key RGB with various effects on it.
The one complaint we have from this laptop is that the body gets fingerprint marks very easily. It is like an oil magnet and you will have to frequently clean it up.
For storage, it has NVMe storage, our model had 512GB but you can expand further if you have the money. High capacity SSDs do cost a lot of money but 1TB will not cost a lot.
It has plenty of IO options, it has a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB Type-C port, and 3 Type-A ports, all of them are USB Gen 3.2. For display, you have an HDMI port and for connectivity KillerLAN RJ45 port.
Now for the pricing, you can find this laptop around $1500 on Amazon, on the BestBuy link its around $1300.
The MSI GT76 Titan has all of the top tier components, from CPU to GPU all of them are maxed out. But you might have to sell a car or something to purchase this gaming laptop because it costs a lot.
Every brand has a top tier laptop in their line of products, for ASUS you have the ROG Mothership, MSI has Titan. The MSI GT76 Titan is so powerful, there is no game it cannot run on ultra settings with all the good features enabled on 60FPS above.
Let us talk about portability first, since laptops are all about portability. This thing is a beast, if you put this thing in your lap, chances are you will have to take breaks because this thing is heavy. We would not exactly call this a portable solution, but it is more portable than a desktop though.
Now the specs, it has a 10th Gen Core i9-10900K Processor, which has 10-cores, 20-threads. If the number of cores did not surprise you, this CPU has a boost clock of 5.3GHz. Passing the 5.0GHz mark is in itself an impressive feat.
No matter how CPU intensive game you run on this beastly laptop, you will not be having any problems whatsoever. It stood on top of all of the benchmark tests when compared to other laptops. But that is not a surprise given it has the highest tier, latest Intel CPU in it.
The GPU does not get any better than this on mobile computers. It has an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Super to power all your games at ultra settings with ray-tracing enabled.
When it comes to memory, it has 64GB of DDR4 RAM, even that is overkill. But at least this much memory justifies its premium price.
The display is 17.3″ 4K UHD display, it has truest to life colors, with 100% Adobe RGB color levels. So this is as close as it gets to the real thing but on a monitor.
There is 2TB of flash storage, which is more than enough for a number of games. It is flash storage so you are going to be getting some really short loading times and booting times on games and your OS.
The keyboard has RGB and is made by SteelSeries, it seems SteelSeries has taken over the keyboard department for all of the MSI laptops. Also with the MSI Dragon Center app, you can customize and tweak performance profiles.
This laptop has 4 fans, 2 normal ones, and 2 small ones that are required to cool the 11 heat pipes used to cool down the components. This is not overkilling because this much is required to cool the laptop efficiently with those components.
Now the price tag is as ridiculous as the specs of this laptop, this laptop can be purchased for around $4500.
The MSI Alpha 15 not only has an AMD CPU but also an AMD GPU. Not a lot of AMD GPU laptops out there in the first place so this laptop is unique in its own right.
The MSI Bravo 15 is rebranded MSI GL65 with AMD components, it is almost identical to it in all ways except for the logo and branding. You can see that instead of the red Dragon logo we have a green bird one.
So let us talk about the specs right away, it has a Ryzen 7 3750H CPU in it. The Ryzen 3750H is a 4-Core, 8-Thread CPU, and has a base clock of 2.3GHz while it boosts up to 4.0GHz.
The GPU is the RX 5500M which is the mobile variant of the RX 5500 GPU, so it is packed with all of the AMD goods. The RX 5500M works greatly and can run games at ultra settings. Of course, you do not get any of the goodness that is offered in the RTX GPUs though.
For memory, you have 16GB of RAM, and for storage, you have 512GB of NVMe SSD. The laptop does not seem to have the problems with thermals like the Bravo 15. But it also has a subpar display. So using this display for anything other than gaming would not give you good results.
Using this laptop for content creation would be a serious mistake, this laptop is only good for gaming. One thing though, the laptop does not have a powerful battery, while gaming you can barely get around 3.5 hours of battery life.
Now, for the price range, this laptop is not bad in the least. But other brands offer significantly better laptops in the same price bracket.
Would we suggest this laptop? If you want to go team AMD there might not be a better laptop in the market. But this laptop has a poor battery life and a substandard display.
MSI’s Prestige 14 is a powerful laptop with a premium design. It features the latest 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor along with Nvidia discrete graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. In terms of battery life, the laptop will last you over 16 hours of battery life.
The Prestige 15 delivers a spectacular visual experience with MSI’s exclusive True Pixel display. The 15.6-inch display supports 4K resolution, AdobeRGB 100% color gamut, and Delta E<2 making it an ideal choice for creative work, design, photo and video editing.
The laptop also supports Thunderbolt 3 connection and USB-C for quick charging. Another highlight feature is the Creator Center that offers easily adjustable system modes and resources for a wide range of scenarios and needs.
All in all, the Prestige 15 is a solid pick for those looking for a slim powerhouse that can deliver high-end performance across the board.
5 – MSI GE75 Raider
The GE75 Raider model by MSI has superbly thin bezels, amazing performance, a 17.3″ display, and is aesthetically pleasing as well. The Raider means business, in this case, gaming would be the business it is made for.
The laptop does use an older generation Intel CPU, a 9th Gen to be specific. But its performance is nothing short of ordinary as well. That is why it is ranked below other models.
It uses an Intel 9th Generation Core i7-9750H, which is a 6-core, 12-thread CPU boosting at 4.5GHz and has a base clock of 2.60GHz. It is not the best out there but is still pretty decent. You can get the Raider with 9th Gen Core i9 as well if you have the money to go the distance.
The same is the case with the GPU as you have a choice from RTX 2060 to RTX 2080 from NVIDIA. Our model had an RTX 2070 and it cost us about $1450 on Amazon.
It also had 16GB of DDR4 memory along with 512GB of NVMe flash storage, which is basic for a gaming laptop to have these days. The panel in the GE75 Raider is a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. The display has ultra-thin bezels on the corners and the top, just there is a big chin where the MSI logo is present.
The thin bezels on the top do not mean the exclusion of a webcam though, so that is a welcome addition. Especially these days it is a much-needed addition to laptops, ROG Zephyrus G14 was not ready for the pandemic it seems.
Lastly per-key RGB, again by SteelSeries and amazing speakers that have a decent sound to them. The thermals are decent enough, if the laptop gets too noisy you can configure the profiles in MSI Dragon Center.
We believe that the laptop is one of the best by MSI, it just needs an upgrade to the Intel 10th Gen of CPUs.