Earlier in the year, MSI announced the latest gaming laptops lineup for the year. This lineup sparks a reason to be excited, as it brings a refreshing feeling to the gaming laptops that we got from MSI in 2020. Although some models continued from where their predecessors stopped last year, other models have been renamed and repositioned.
Before we proceed into the exciting changes, let us take a little delve into what has remained the same this year. The most notable feature that has not changed is the design of MSI laptops, except for the newly released Sword models.
What this means is that we still get to see an aspect ratio measuring 16:9. Although the premium workstations in the Creator Series has moved to a 16:10 aspect ratio. The loftier aspect ratio is better suited to offer a wider viewing area for the increasingly portable chassis and has seen a revival.
The other obvious constant is MSI’s decision to remain with Intel for the chips when other manufacturers like Asus are blazing forward with AMD manufactured chips in their latest gaming laptops. Although the Zen 3 AMD processors can boost performance to clock higher speeds and have slightly better efficiency, the real-world difference should not be too obvious.
Now, on to what has changed
The most notable changes occurred in the GPU, the display options, and the improved connectivity range.
MSI has added the RTX 30-Series graphic chips to its latest lineup. Most people have widely considered these chips from Nvidia as the best release in the company’s history. These GPUs offer a 50 percent boost in performance with increased efficiency and similar pricing to the RTX-20 series.
MSI went ahead to upgrade some of its gaming laptops, including the latest GPUs in them. Few months on, they have also included the Tiger Lake processors from Intel.
Another significant change happened with the display options, as MSI increased the refresh rate – matching the recent trend in the market. In this year’s lineup, the 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models have the options of identically improved panels. These displays are IPS, even in the least expensive model.
The new UHD 4K panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and two 2560 by 1440 panels QHD panels with 240Hz and 165Hz refresh rates have been newly introduced into the lineups.
Lastly, MSI updated the port range in its latest lineup, adding support for the 3.2 2nd Gen USB ports, the Thunderbolt 4, Bluetooth 5.2, WiFi 6E, and Gen. 4 PCI Express SSDs. Although, only the high-end models enjoy this new port range. If you like the updates you can sell old laptop to us and use the cash for the newest one.
The MSI laptop models
With the latest entries, MSI has put its gaming laptop series at five. The GE76/GE66 Raider, GP76/GP66 Leopard, GS76/GS66 Stealth, the Sword/ GF76/GF66, and the GL76/GL66 Pulse.
Some recent changes include the GL models no longer being “the Leopard”, the GF models no longer being called “Thin”. All of these looks pretty confusing. However, more importantly, the GF66/GF76 now being called GL66/GL76, taking up the same role that the GL has always been to the GP.
Also, the GF66/GF76 has moved from being thin to MSI’s thickest models in the latest lineup.
The GS66/GS76 vs GE66/GE76 Raider
The Raider model is still holding the top echelon of MSI’s lineup. However, the Stealth model almost matches it in configurability this year. They have the same battery (99.9Wh), the industry’s largest.
The only difference is how the Stealth has the RTX-3060 GPU options at the bottom end, misses out on one port, has a Mini DisplayPort that is 20 percent lighter and thinner, and the RGB lighting is less expensive.
The GP66/GP76 Leopard
This is the midrange model. Compared to the Stealth and Raider models, they lose out on premium features like the UHD 4K display, the 240Hz QHD panel, Thunderbolt 4, and reduced battery size.
The Katana GF66/GF76 vs the Pulse GL66/GL76
The GL models are now called Pulse, in a move that sounds somewhat confusing, while the GF is now called Katana. The Sword and Crosshair models are similar but exist in different colors. The Sword and Katana models are cladded with plastic, while the Crosshair/Pulse models come with metal chassis.
The entry-level models of these laptops top out at RTX-3060 GPU and Core-i7 processors. They also unexpectedly have the Gen. 3 PCIe SSDs. The Crosshair/Pulse models have the QHD 165Hz display option, while the Sword/Katana only has the entry-level FHD display option.
While the Crosshair/Pulse models have RGB lighting, the Sword/Katana models only have the single-color backlight.