Buying a new MSI laptop can be more challenging than you think. Not because they’re hard to find, but rather because you have so many to choose from. The brand features more than a dozen distinct lines across the gaming, creative, and professional landscapes. We’re here to help you make sense of the chaos with our list of the best MSI laptops you can buy.
While we won’t touch on every single line, we’re going to hit the most popular models for just about any need. Gaming and creation take precedence, though we’ve included a workstation model as well as a professional option to give you an idea of the biggest bang for your buck.
The best MSI laptops:
Editor’s note: We’ll keep this list of the best MSI laptops updated as new options launch.
What’s in a name?
The key to selecting the right MSI machine for your needs is understanding the complex naming scheme. We won’t go into too much detail here, but essentially you can figure out what a laptop is intended to do by looking at the first letter:
- G – Gaming
- W– Workstation
The next most important aspect is the first number, which indicates the screen size:
- 6– 15.6 inches
- 7– 17.3 inches
Finally, the second number refers to generation. The higher the number, the newer the model. For instance, the GS66 is a sixth-generation gaming notebook with a 15.6-inch screen.
One of the main reasons people turn to MSI is for a high-end gaming machine. Within the gaming umbrella, there are eight unique lines — see how this can get complicated already? We’ve decided on a top-notch mobility machine as well as two performance options to meet your needs.
If you want maximum portability combined with sleek styling, the Stealth line is the way to go. The GS66 is one of the sleekest yet most powerful Stealth models in the MSI portfolio — and it’s updated for 2021 to keep you ahead of the pack.
See also: The best MSI computers you can buy
You’ll find an Intel Core i7-10870H or a Core i9-11900H and pair it with up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The GS66 Stealth has ultra-slim 4.9mm bezels so that you can focus more on the blistering 300Hz screen and less on the space around it. You can even customize each key on the SteelSeries keyboard for the perfect RGB setup.
One worry with a slim laptop is cooling, but the GS66 stays cool under pressure with Cooler Boost Trinity+ technology. It combines three fans with 0.1mm blades and seven pipes to maximize cooling without sacrificing size or performance. Don’t forget, the GS66 name means that you’ll get to experience all of this power on a crisp 15.6-inch display.
An RGB keyboard is a nice feature, but what about an RGB laptop? That’s exactly what you’re getting with the GE66 Raider in the form of an RGB strip that runs across the front of the chassis. Not only that but the GE66 is refreshed for 2021 right alongside its Stealth sibling.
Powering that RGB strip is up to a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10870H chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics. When you pair that up with 16GB or 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, you’re looking at a pretty powerful machine. MSI’s GE66 Raider is a great option if you’re not looking for the large 17.3-inch display, but you still want top-end performance.
Cooler Boost 5 lends its support with dedicated cooling systems for both the CPU and GPU and larger fans and heat pipes. You can even strap on your headset because the GE66 is VR-ready, and Wi-Fi 6E offers top-end connection speeds.
The GF66 Leopard matches the other two gaming options with a 15.6-inch display, but it’s pared-down just slightly to help you save a couple hundred dollars. Make no mistake, however, this is still a powerful MSI gaming machine.
Not only does the GF66 Katana match the previous two options with a 10th-gen Intel setup, but you have Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050 GPU hiding behind Katana’s bleeding edge. It may only offer a Core i5 processor, but you’re still looking at fresh, 11th-generation hardware. Cooler Boost technology is present, as always, and the 144Hz refresh rate packs plenty of punch for your reasonably affordable price.
Small, slim laptops often sacrifice port potential in favor of size, but the GF66 Katana isn’t built that way. Instead, you get a variety of USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI ports to choose from. You can attach just about anything you need.
While you could probably use one of the gaming machines for most content creation, MSI has tuned a few laptops strictly with creation in mind. These picks are designed for everyday usage, and they slim down on the edgy gaming traits. The creator section is a bit simpler, with just four different laptop lines.
The Creator line is MSI’s collection of ultimate content machines. While many of the internal components are similar to those of the high-end gaming options, the Creator 15 has a display that blows them away. You won’t be able to customize your keyboard with RGB hues, but the screen more than makes up for it.
Internally, the Creator 15 works with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 chip, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Now, on to the stunning screen — the Creator 15 is equipped with a 15.6-inch Mini LED display, one of the first-ever in a laptop. The display promises 4K UHD resolution, which is perfect for fine-tuning your latest edits and renders.
Also retained from the best MSI gaming laptops is the Cooler Boost 5 technology. That means you should have no problem staying cool and productive while you make the most of the Creator 15’s 99.9Whr battery. If you’re not quite ready to upgrade, MSI’s Creator series is gearing up for an 11th-generation refresh to hit shelves soon.
While the Creator 17 is the content-managing powerhouse, the Prestige 15 is a high-end option that offers powerful performance across the board. It’s a bit less powerful than the Creator, though it also costs a fraction of the price.
If you open up the Prestige 15, you’ll be greeted with a powerful 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. Supporting the 15.6-inch Full HD display is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU. The slimmer body still houses a 4K display with up to 16 hours of total battery life. Another sacrifice that comes with the portable design is that the Prestige 15 relies on Cooler Boost 3 instead of Cooler Boost 5.
If you’re looking for a slim powerhouse that can hold its own in the board room or the classroom, the Prestige 15 is a solid pick. The laptop weighs in at just 3.64 lbs and measures 15.9mm thick.
With the way this list has gone so far, you might be surprised to learn that MSI laptops are available for close to $1,000. However, that’s exactly what the Modern 15 offers, in a small, light form factor compared to most others on the list.
As you might expect from a lower cost, the Modern 15 trades the Nvidia GeForce RTX series graphics card for a GeForce MX450. You won’t hurt for processing power, as the Intel Core i7-1165G7 should provide a solid punch. It’s newer than most other Core i7 processors, and it works well for the money. The Modern 15 boasts up to 11 hours of battery life in a 3.53 lb shell that’s just 0.64-inches thick.
Cooling is no sweat for the Modern 15 either, it matches the Prestige 15 with Cooler Boost 3. If you want the lightest and thinnest of the best MSI laptops, the Modern 15 is not to be overlooked.
The final section of the best MSI laptops touches on workstations. It’s the last section we’re highlighting because it’s probably not the best fit for most people. The six workstation lines are even more powerful than the content creation laptops, and they carry certifications from the top design software names like Autodesk, Siemens, and Graphisoft.
If you want a machine that can handle the most intense tasks you can imagine, you have to look towards the MSI Workstation line. The WS75 is one of the most powerful and flexible options on the market. It’s actually more affordable than some configurations of the Creator 17, although it’s built with different tasks in mind.
MSI has fine-tuned the WS75 with Nvidia’s Turing architecture and elite-level Quadro RTX 5000 graphics. It’s equipped with 64GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD that should offer plenty of power for most of your daily tasks. While the design is overall similar to that of the GS75 Stealth, the WS75 is a bit heavier and weighs in at just over five pounds.
As you’d expect from a mobile workstation, the WS75 packs a powerful variety of ports. You can choose from USB-A and USB-C hookups, and Gigabit Ethernet should keep you connected through even the toughest of tasks. If you head to MSI, you can upgrade and change many internal components but be ready to pay extra for them.
It wasn’t too long ago that we were calling MSI’s new Summit Series one of the most exciting new laptops to look forward to. Now, the powerful business beasts are hitting shelves, and they’re absolutely worth the attention. Where most MSI machines are gaming-centric RGB laptops, the Summit Series takes a sleek, classy approach that’s built for the board room.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the Summit B15 and E15 is the all-new internals. Both pack the latest Intel 11th-gen Core i7 processors with Intel Iris X graphics to keep you blistering along. You can also configure either version with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage space. If the Intel Iris X graphics aren’t up to your expectations, MSI even offers versions with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics for a bit more money.
The Summit B15 and E15 sound remarkably similar, though the B15 is slightly lighter than the E15. It weighs in at 1.6kg compared to 1.7kg for the E15. The B15 packs slightly more ports as well, adding a DC-in port and swapping one USB-C port for a USB-A alternative. So if you’re looking for a business-ready machine that can game on the side, the MSI Summit Series is the way to go.
Those are our picks for the best MSI laptops you can get right now. At the very least, you’ll have a better idea of just how many options are out there. Check out a few of these other lists to complete your setup: