MSI gaming laptop buyer’s guide

The best MSI gaming laptops currently available across all budgets

MSI gaming laptop buyers guide 1

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Today we will be looking at our shortlist for the best MSI gaming laptop in 2022. We’ll be looking at various candidates for this prestigious title, all of them worthy in their own way, depending on your own budget and priorities in terms of screen size, display resolution, refresh rate, raw FPS power, etc. We will be keeping our selections on this page updated as new MSI gaming laptops are released, so be sure to check back throughout the year to keep yourself up-to-date. If you want to know the best gaming laptops across all brands, check out our Best gaming laptop page or one of our price-focused buyer’s guides that you can find in the menu above.

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Are MSI laptops good for gaming?

In short: yes. Micro-Star International is a Taiwanese company that has been manufacturing various computer components since 1988, but today they most are well known for their premium and mid-range gaming laptops. MSI’s high-end gaming laptops are regular features on our Best gaming laptop under $2,500 page, and some of them often make it into our more mid-range price guides too.

For more information about this, we recommend you have a quick scan through our Things to consider when buying an MSI gaming laptop section further down this page before you pull the trigger on any of these laptop purchases.

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Our Top Picks

01
Editor's Choice
The best high-end MSI gaming laptop for the money
02
Premium Pick
The most high-end 17-inch MSI gaming laptop
03
Mid-range pick
A great value, all AMD MSI gaming laptop

Best MSI gaming laptops: first look

01
Editor's Choice
The best high-end MSI gaming laptop for the money
MSI GP66 Leopard 10UH 244

MSI GP66 Leopard (1080p)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The MSI GP66, also known as the MSI GP66 Leopard, is not the most high-specced MSI gaming laptop on this list, that honour goes to the MSI GE66 Raider, but it contains similarly powerful core components as the more expensive machine, forgoing the inclusion of certain ports, having a less developed wi-fi card, and a shorter battery life to reduce costs. This means that, on a price per performance basis it is the best high-end gaming laptop that MSI produces, and our top pick for gaming enthusiasts.

02
Premium Pick
The most high-end 17-inch MSI gaming laptop
MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The MSI GE76 Raider is the top of the MSI gaming laptop range. Not only does it have the same high powered 30-series GPU as the MSI GP76 (either the RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 depending on how much you want to spend) and also comes with a high-powered Intel CPU, but it comes with the additional features and design quality that mark it out as a more premium product all round, assuming you don’t mind spending a bit extra. Undoubtedly one of the best gaming laptops money can buy.

03
Mid-range pick
A great value, all AMD MSI gaming laptop
MSI Delta 1

MSI Delta (1080p)

0 /5
Editor's Rating

This MSI Delta 15 is a 15-inch all AMD laptop from MSI, that enjoys the high battery life that AMD processors tend to bring, along with great FPS performance in games and great specs almost entirely across the board. Of the few complaints we’ve got with this laptop, these only extend to the slightly plasticy build quality and the poor onboard microphone. Besides this, it’s an impressive piece of kit.

04
Budget Pick
The best MSI gaming laptop for those on a budget
MSI Sword 15 Katana GF66

MSI Sword 15/ Katana GF66

0 /5
Editor's Rating

The MSI Sword 15, sometimes just referred to as the MSI GF66, or Katana GF66 depending on the color you go with, is a solid budget gaming laptop from MSI, assuming you can find one at a reduced price. The 144Hz display has one of the fastest response times you’ll find in a laptop in this price range, making it ideal for fast-paced gaming on a budget. These laptops can come with a range of different specifications, though the one we recommend trying to get hold of is the Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU iteration.

Things to consider when buying an MSI gaming laptop

If you want to know what to consider when looking for a gaming laptop in general, regardless of subcategory, have a quick look at this same section on our Best gaming laptop in 2021 page. The below points will be a quick summary of what you need to be aware of when shopping for an MSI gaming laptop specifically.

What products do MSI make?

MSI make a range of computer components, desktops and laptops, though they are mostly focused on targeting the PC gaming market, either through their graphics card AIBs, desktop gaming PCs, or their laptop range.

In terms of MSI gaming laptops, the company tends to focus its efforts on the mid-range to high-end price points, with high powered core components, although they do also produce one or two budget laptops, and previous generation models of higher-specced machines can often be found at reduced prices, making them worthy budget options.

MSI gaming laptop model names

As with most laptops, MSI models come with a confusing array of names that can be difficult to distinguish when you’re shopping for a specific product.

Most MSI gaming laptops have a codename that starts with 2 letters: the G is almost universal across all the gaming laptop ranges, but the second letter signifies the specific model range/line and there is often an accompanying brand name before or after which matches it. For instance the GP66 Leopard, the GE66 Raider, the GS66 Stealth, and Katana GF66.

MSI laptops also tend to have two numbers, the first of which signifies the size of the laptop, and the second its generation. The GP66 and GE66 for instance are both 15-inch laptops, whereas the GP76 and GE76 are both 17-inch machines. The older versions of these machines, which usually come with Nvidia 20-series GPUs, come with a 5 at the end, e.g. the GE65, whereas the 30-series laptops have a 6 e.g. GE66.

There are however other laptops that fall outside of this convention, such as the MSI Alpha, Bravo, and Delta ranges, which are all AMD-powered machines, that end with either a 15 or a 17 to signify the size of their display.

The best MSI gaming laptop in 2022

01
Editor's Choice
MSI GP66 Leopard 10UH 244

MSI GP66 Leopard (1080p)

CPU

Intel Core i7-11800H or higher

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 (125-140W)/ RTX 3080

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz

02
Premium Pick
MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)

CPU

Intel Core i9-11800H or higher

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 (125-140W) / RTX 3080 (150W)

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

17.3”

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz/300Hz

03
Mid-range pick
MSI Delta 1

MSI Delta (1080p)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H

Graphics

AMD Radeon RX 6700M (95-120W)

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz

04
Budget Pick
MSI Sword 15 Katana GF66

MSI Sword 15/ Katana GF66

CPU

Intel Core i7-11800H

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3060 (80-85W)

RAM

16GB

Storage

512GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

In-depth Review

01
Editor's Choice
MSI GP66 Leopard 10UH 244

MSI GP66 Leopard (1080p)

CPU

Intel Core i7-11800H or higher

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 (125-140W)/ RTX 3080

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz

Pros

High TGP Nvidia GPU

Powerful Intel CPU

superb response time with overdrive

240Hz display

good value

detailed BIOS for performance tweaking

decent color replication

good brightness & contrast

good build quality

Cons

No G-Sync/FreeSync

speakers could be better

poor battery life

runs hot

not the nicest looking

The MSI GP66 is a top-notch gaming performer. It comes with different specification options, including an RTX 3070 option or an RTX 3080 version, though given how well the former performs you might consider picking this cheaper option. The RTX 3070 with 140W max TGP in games actually performs on par or better than some other gaming laptops equipped with the more highly specced RTX 3080, so well-tuned it is within this machine. The Intel processor can also be changed, with the Intel Core i7-11800H CPU being the most common, and solid value for gamers with great FPS performance, even if it seriously underperforms AMD machines in terms of battery life. All told this means gaming performance on this machine is top notch.

Adding to the gaming experience is the display: the 240Hz refresh rate is high enough for even competitive gaming, and the response time comes in at around 3.5ms grey-to-grey, which is up there with the very best on the market, and ensures maximum responsiveness in twitch shooters. The screen has 99.5% sRGB coverage, meaning you could easily use this laptop for color work in this space.

So what are the downsides? Well, compared to the significantly more expensive MSI GE66 Raider, the MSI GP66 doesn’t have the same bells and whistles outside of actual gaming performance. The 720p webcam does the job well enough as does the in-built mic, but neither are high quality. There are no real complaints about the membrane keyboard or the trackpad, but both are merely adequate and the keyboard in particular doesn’t match up to the mechanical keyboards that certain competitors come with, like the Eluktronics Mech 15 / XMG Neo 15. Battery life when doing undemanding non-gaming tasks (a mix of web browsing, Word processing, and watching YouTube) comes in at between 3 and 4 hours, which is disappointing, though somewhat unsurprising given the power of the core components and the fact this is an Intel machine and not an AMD one. Still the battery size is smaller than its more expensive MSI GE76 brethren.

Ultimately though this may not matter to those purely interested in the gaming potential of this machine, and if you can find it for substantially cheaper than the GE66, we think this stripped-back MSI gaming laptop offers great value at the very high end of FPS performance. The 15.6” MSI GP66 comes in a larger 17.3” version called the MSI GP76, which is obviously more expensive but still offers good value. If you’re interested in greater immersion in your games and don’t mind the hit in terms of portability then we’d also recommend this.

02
Premium Pick
MSI GE76 Raider

MSI GE76 Raider (1080p)

CPU

Intel Core i9-11800H or higher

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3070 (125-140W) / RTX 3080 (150W)

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

17.3”

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz/300Hz

Pros

High TGP Nvidia GPU

Powerful Intel CPU

superb response time with overdrive

240Hz display

17-inch display

detailed BIOS for performance tweaking

SD card slot

respectable speakers for a gaming laptop

good port coverage

1080p webcam

screen has good color replication, brightness & contrast

Cons

RTX 3080 version is very expensive

No G-Sync

speakers could be better

poor battery life

runs hot

The MSI GE76 Raider is the same high-TGP graphics card options as its more affordable brother, the MSI GP76. Though it is more commonly found with a higher powered Intel i9 CPU than the latter, versions with the same core specs can be found, and in these scenarios, both laptops perform very similarly in FPS terms, which is to say at the highest level one can find in a gaming laptop. If you’re going with the RTX 3080 option, do make sure you pick the 16GB VRAM version though, as the performance boost will be noticeable.

Although the MSI GE76 Raider also comes in a 15.3” version, the MSI GE66 Raider, we’ve decided to go with the 17.3” bad boy for our premium pick, as this represents the version with the greatest screen real estate and therefore immersion in games, though at a higher price. If portability is a greater priority though then you may wish to go for the smaller and lighter MSI GE66.

In terms of resolution, 1080p (FHD) and 4K (UHD) versions are both available, and though once upon a time you could get an exquisite 120Hz 4K display version of the MSI GE76, it seems that currently the only options available are 60Hz, which we cannot recommend for gaming purposes. Consequently, we’d pick either the FHD 240Hz or 360Hz iteration if you really want to push the boat out. 165Hz and 240Hz 1440p (QHD) versions are also apparently becoming available which we’d definitely suggest considering (particularly the latter) as this is an ideal resolution for a 17-inch display, though we’ve yet to see these being sold by most major retailers. Response times differ depending on which display you choose, though the 240Hz 1080p option will perform at around 3.5-4ms grey-to-grey, which is up there with the best.

Besides this, what you pay extra for with this machine are the additional features, such as 1080p webcam (which is of great quality though lacks InfraRed functionality), the respectable microphone quality (for a gaming laptop), SD card reader and decent amount of I/O ports. Similar to the GP66 & GP76, the GE76 has great solid build quality but has a slight edge in terms of how the keyboard and trackpad feel. Additionally, you get an RGB lightstrip along the front-bottom of the laptop, and the overall aesthetic is slightly better, though not exactly gorgeous. Battery life of this machine is better than the GP76, but still not amazing, and you’ll get approximately an additional hour of runtime in non-gaming general usage, coming in at around 4 and a half hours. One of the standout additional features though is that the speakers on this machine are actually half-decent in sound quality (surprising for a gaming laptop), with some bass replication, and are actually front-facing.

In conclusion, whilst the MSI GE76 Raider can be expensive depending on which spec version you go with, it’s quite simply one of the best gaming laptops that money can buy.

03
Mid-range pick
MSI Delta 1

MSI Delta (1080p)

CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5800H

Graphics

AMD Radeon RX 6700M (95-120W)

RAM

16GB

Storage

1TB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

240Hz

Pros

good gaming performance

240Hz refresh rate

fast response time

fast RAM

superb battery life

good color gamut

relatively thin & portable

Cons

poor microphone

build quality could be better

The MSI Delta 15 is a great mid-range AMD gaming laptop, and one of the rare few MSI laptops that come with an AMD processor and graphics card. In terms of FPS performance in gaming, the AMD Radeon RX 6700M when combined with the Ryzen 7 5800H CPU performs somewhere between an Nvidia RTX 3060 and a RTX 3070, depending on the game, which at this price you can’t complain about.

The color gamut of the display is respectable, covering around 97% of sRGB, meaning it can be used for light color work in this color space. Brightness is decent, though nothing to write home about, and the same is true for the contrast ratio. The 240Hz refresh rate of the screen however is great, more than enough for competitive gaming on a laptop with core components of this power level. Similarly the response time of the screen is also very good, at least with overdrive enabled, coming in at around 5ms grey-to-grey, which is as good as you can expect at this price point.

In terms of battery life, the Ryzen CPU really shines, extending the lifespan to around 11 hours in non-strenuous, non-gaming general use (web browsing and word processing and the like). This is far above what Intel models will be able to manage in this price range or any other, and is a contender for the best battery life you’ll find in any gaming laptop.

The 720p webcam is adequate for a gaming laptop, though the inbuilt mic is certainly less so, and isn’t great at isolating external noise. The keyboard and trackpad won’t set the world on fire either, with the keys feeling slightly stiff and the trackpad a touch loose, but both do the job. Speakers are about average for a gaming laptop, which is to say not great, but still about average vs the competition.

Besides this, the only other real downside of this MSI gaming laptop is the rather plasticy build quality, but even this isn’t terrible. All told, this is a great mid-range gaming laptop and well worth your money with the specs we’ve recommended.

04
Budget Pick
MSI Sword 15 Katana GF66

MSI Sword 15/ Katana GF66

CPU

Intel Core i7-11800H

Graphics

Nvidia RTX 3060 (80-85W)

RAM

16GB

Storage

512GB SSD

Screen Size

15.6”

Max Refresh Rate

144Hz

Pros

fast response time

fast RAM

decent peak brightness

good upgradability

relatively thin & portable

Cons

pricey at MSRP vs the competition

poor battery life

loud fans

poor microphone

The MSI Katana GF66 aka MSI Sword 15 is the cheapest entry in MSI’s 2021 range of gaming laptops. The Intel i7-11800H is nice and powerful for this price range, and though the 80-85W RTX 3060 iteration underperforms the competition slightly in gaming, though only by a couple of FPS. One competitive edge this laptop certainly does have is the RAM speed: whilst many 2021 released laptops have come with slower stock RAM (ASUS gaming laptops for example), in part due to global supply shortages, MSI machines are invariably equipped with fast dual-channel x8 DDR4 memory, so there’s no danger of bottlenecking here.

In terms of color gamut, the display covers about 84% of the sRGB space, meaning it certainly isn’t suitable for any color related workflows, but for gaming at this price it’s pretty decent. Brightness is good for the price and contrast ratio is respectable. The two best things about the screen and indeed of this gaming laptop overall however are the 144Hz refresh rate and fast response time. At around 5ms with screen overdrive turned on, the grey-to-grey response time of this screen is the fastest you will see in a laptop at this price.

In terms of the other specs the 720p webcam does the job, although the inbuilt mic is pretty poor. The machine is relatively thin considering the power and price, not too heavy, and easy to transport. The hinge on the screen has a full 180 degrees hinge back action. The keyboard is adequate and the touchpad disappointing, but chances are you’ll be using a mouse anyway for gaming.

The fans on this laptop are fairly loud even when idle, and the battery life is pretty poor. Expect up to 3 hours of battery life in non-demanding general use. We would have liked to have seen a larger SSD than 512GB but thankfully the MSI GF66 is easily upgradeable, and the 16GB is a good amount for this price.

Ultimately, the biggest issue with this laptop is the price, and if the MSRP was a couple of hundred dollars lower we’d have likely scored it higher. If you can find an example on sale for around this price with the RTX 3060 GPU then go for it, otherwise we’d consider the RTX 3060 equipped Legion 5 2021 version instead if you’re not fully committed to buying an MSI gaming laptop.

Final Word

This has been our buyer’s guide to the best MSI gaming laptop in 2022. We hope that you’ve been able to find the right MSI machine for you, if not, either leave us a comment below to suggest an alternative that you’d like us to consider. Please also have a look at our other guides to the best gaming laptops across different brands and price points, which you can find listed in the site menu at the top of this page under Custom Gaming PC > Gaming Laptop.

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The Author Who Worked On This Article

Technology Writer
at
WePC
From halcyon days playing Sonic 2 on the Megadrive, to trying to work out how to make the ‘TOASTY!’ man appear on Mortal Kombat 3, many of Aaron’s fondest childhood memories are associated with gaming. He regrets nothing. First getting into PC gaming through exposure to text game Drug Lord 2.0 and then the original Half Life, Aaron has been a PC gamer ever since. A practical need to squeeze the most out of his machine turned into a genuine interest in the technology of PC hardware, a passion which fuels his desire to always be up to date on the latest tech news.

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