Which MSI laptop is best?
MSI makes high-quality laptops. They do not make cheap laptops. In particular, their gaming laptops are known for being packed with powerful hardware capable of high-resolution gaming at max settings. On the other hand, some of their most recent business-class laptops offer performance and convenience in a slim and light package, to the point where one of their best and latest models is part of the Intel Evo-certified family.
Their most powerful laptop currently available is the MSI GP76 Leopard, which measures 17.3 inches with a 240Hz display and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card. It’s pretty expensive, but few devices on the market can outperform it.
What to know before you buy an MSI laptop
Gaming vs. business MSI laptops
You won’t find many bargain-basement models from this premium company, but you will find laptops tailored for either intense gaming or full-time business or travel use. Their gaming laptops tend to be relatively bulky and heavy, with their top-of-the-line offerings exceeding 1-inch thick and weighing up to 7 pounds. In those cases, the added size and weight come not only from powerful components but also the added cooling systems and ducts needed to keep the hardware from overheating.
On the other end of the spectrum, MSI produces some highly refined laptops that are slim, light and powerful enough for anything aside from resource-intensive 3D gaming. Their most premium laptops sport surprisingly effective integrated GPUs that can handle some casual gaming just fine.
What to look for in a quality MSI laptop
CPU and GPU performance
The latest mobile Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs are all quad-core models, and the H-class designation (that’s the letter at the very end of the CPU model number) denotes that a CPU is not part of the high-efficiency family, which is a good thing for gamers. You’ll also find a decent number of MSI laptops for sale with previous generation GeForce GPUs from the RTX 2000 series. These are in no way bad investments, as long as you get a decent deal. For the best in guaranteed performance, though, keep an eye out for one with an RTX 3000-series GPU.
RAM and storage capacity
Most MSI laptops come with ample system memory and storage drives for most users, but some people demand the best. Those people will appreciate that most of MSI’s high-end laptops allow for upgraded RAM and SSDs, in most cases offering two non-soldered slots so you can select and install your preferred brand and speed of RAM.
Intel Evo certification
Evo-class machines are the successor to Ultrabook certification. For this certification, Intel considers aspects like battery life, size and weight, Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and the time required to wake from sleep. Intel does actually have some hard and fast requirements for the label, and you can be certain that anything with the Intel Evo stamp on it will be an absolute breeze to use and should never really suffer from frustrating slowdowns or bottlenecks.
How much you can expect to spend on an MSI laptop
MSI laptops range in price from about $900-$2,800.
MSI laptop FAQ
Can I use an external GPU with a business-oriented MSI laptop?
A. You can as long as you select a laptop with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity or better. However, external GPUs are not recommended in general, because they’re quite expensive and because the architecture that connects them to the CPU and monitor tends to bottleneck the graphics card, which wastes powerful and expensive hardware resources.
Can I connect my MSI laptop to an external display?
A. Yes. Most gaming-focused MSI laptops come with an HDMI 2.0 output, so if your screen is ever a little too small for your liking, you can connect it directly to a second display, whether that’s a TV or a computer monitor. If you opt for one of their business laptops, you can still use an external display, but you’ll need an adapter or even a productivity-enhancing Thunderbolt 4 dock.
What’s the best MSI laptop to buy?
Top MSI laptop
What you need to know: This 17-inch laptop boasts some of the most advanced mobile gaming hardware on the market.
What you’ll love: Inside this powerful machine is an advanced Intel Core i7-11800H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 chipset. Together, they do an excellent job at driving the 240Hz display. While it’s limited to a 1080p resolution, it still offers a perfectly crisp image, even with just about the largest screen available on any laptop. Its 16GB of RAM should be plenty for most games, but if you feel like you need more, there are two memory slots.
What you should consider: Its premium performance comes at a high price, and it’s neither slim nor lightweight.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top MSI laptop for the money
What you need to know: The Prestige is a full-featured business-class laptop that’s about as slim and light as they come.
What you’ll love: While many MSI products are aimed at gamers, the Prestige is decidedly geared toward professionals who demand peak performance in an efficient package. Its high-end yet low-power CPU, slim and light chassis and advanced features like Thunderbolt 4 mean it falls in the Intel Evo class of ultraportable laptops.
What you should consider: This budget-friendly model does not have the upgraded Core i7 CPU.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Consider this mid-range notebook if you want to play modern AAA games but don’t want to spend a fortune.
What you’ll love: Some great modern features are nice to have, like WiFi 6 and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. The most important specs, though, are probably the performance-class Core i7 processor and GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chipset. These both pair very well with the 144Hz, Full HD screen. Unlike some recent laptops, there’s no shortage of I/O ports and despite the Stealth’s high level of gaming performance, it’s thin and weighs less than 4 pounds.
What you should consider: Gaming on a 15.6” screen is still great fun, especially with such powerful hardware, but it’s noticeably less immersive than using a 17-inch laptop.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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