MSI have got some brand new gaming laptops coming in 2021, as well as some updates to their existing lineup.
I think the most interesting model is the new GE76, which is basically a larger 17 inch version of the 15 inch GE66 from last year.It’s still using Intel 10th gen processors as 11th gen isn’t available yet, but also no AMD Ryzen 5000 here. It’s available with Nvidia RTX 3080 or 3070 graphics, so should be quite a capable gaming machine.
I’ve actually had some hands on time with an engineering sample of the GE76, so I’ll go into more details in a dedicated review.
MSI GE66 + RTX 3000
The smaller 15” GE66 has also been refreshed with Nvidia 3060, 3070 or 3080 graphics. The GE66 also moves from Wi-Fi 6 to the latest Wi-Fi 6E, though that’s only going to be useful with access points that also support the newer 6E too. That’s basically none today, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and it’s good to see MSI putting these in their newer machines. I think only a couple of other companies are doing WiFi 6e at the moment, but otherwise based purely on the spec sheet, I’m not seeing that many differences compared to the last gen GE66.
MSI GS66 + RTX 3000
The biggest difference is definitely the upgrade to Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics. The thinner GS66 also makes a return, again with Nvidia 3060, 3070 or 3080 graphics, and also that upgrade to Wi-Fi 6E. It also now comes with 2.5 gigabit ethernet like the GE66, I believe the GS66 from last generation had gigabit ethernet, so while a nice change there, it’s another one that’s not really going to be utilized by most people - at least for today.
New MSI GP66 and GP76
MSI has also replaced the existing GP65 15 inch and GP75 17 inch models with the GP66 and GP76 respectively. Both have an updated look, a black finish with angled design, similar to the GE66 and new GE76 just mentioned, which just in my opinion looks far better than the grey plastic design of the older models. It’s not all about the looks though. Like the other MSI laptops covered so far, we’re looking at Intel 10th gen processors with Nvidia RTX 3060 or 3070 graphics here. The battery is 65Wh, so lower than the 99.9wh that the higher end models had.
MSI GF65 and GF75
The only difference between the GP66 and GP76 appears to be the screen size, and of course as a result of that also the size and weight. It doesn’t appear that the budget friendly GF65 and GF75 have received the same chassis design updates. Visually they look the same as last gen, but again they’re now refreshed with Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics.
MSI Stealth 15M
The Stealth 15M, which only came out a few months ago has already been refreshed with RTX 3000 graphics. I’m actually in the process of reviewing it right now. It has an 11th gen Intel tiger lake processor, the i7-1185G7, but the newer RTX 3000 series models will have the newer H35 CPUs, and you can learn more about those processors over in this video. Basically it’s just a higher wattage part that should give it a bit more performance.
Summary of MSI’s gaming laptop changes
So outside of the GP66, GP76 and GE76, MSI’s changes can be summarised as an update to Nvidia RTX 3000 graphics, with just a little bit of Wi-Fi 6e and 2.5 gigabit ethernet thrown in. So for the most part, they’ve got the same lineup, just with new Nvidia graphics.
Where is AMD Ryzen?
I was hoping that we’d see a move to AMD Ryzen 5000 mobile processors, as a lot of people have been asking MSI for this last year. Considering that other companies like ASUS and Lenovo for example are now offering AMD Ryzen laptops with up to RTX 3080 graphics, I figured MSI would be on board too. Also while on the topic of AMD, I found it strange that there was no mention of Ryzen at all in MSI’s CES presentation.
MSI does have Ryzen based models, like their Alpha 15 and Bravo 15. Either they’re not updating those models, or they wanted to keep the focus on their Intel 10th gen models. It could also just be something simple like MSI not being confident in Ryzen’s supply.
AMD is already having trouble supplying Ryzen 5000 desktop chips as well as chips for Playstation 5 and Xbox, we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out. For now though, it seems that MSI are sticking to Intel 10th gen for their gaming laptop lineup, presumably until they can refresh with the newer 11th gen.
Is it worth buying now or later?
I haven’t heard anything official yet, but it sounds like the new 11th gen 6 and 8 core H series mobile CPUs will be available some time in March. So assuming that’s accurate, this kind of puts MSI buyers in a strange position. Is there any point buying a brand-new gaming laptop if 11th gen is just around the corner? Personally I’d just wait, but I guess it also depends how serious you really want RTX 3000 straight away. This of course assuming you’re dead set on MSI, because as mentioned earlier, companies like ASUS and Lenovo are offering up to RTX 3080 with Ryzen 5000 processors.
So it seems that these 10th gen gaming laptops are in an awkward transitional phase.