Digging through the current lineup of MSI laptops can be a challenge. MSI has 12 brands across the gaming, creative, and workstation markets. Each brand offers multiple models, and each model has multiple configurations.

Navigating through all that can be a chore, but we’re here to help.

Understand the branding

To determine what MSI laptop works best for you, start with the model number. The first letter defines the target market:

  • G – Gaming
  • P – Prestige (for creators)
  • W – Workstation

The second letter refers to class. We currently don’t know the official labels for the “F” and “V” series, and MSI had not responded by the time of this publication. We took an educated guess instead, though the portfolio is still a little confusing:

  • Titan – high-end (hardcore)
  • Stealth – thin and light (high end)
  • Enthusiast – mid-range, thin bezels, entry-level VR (formerly Apache)
  • Phantom – budget-friendly performance with GTX 1060 graphics
  • Fundamental – budget-friendly performance with GTX 1050 Ti and 1050 graphics
  • Leopard – Low end with RTX graphics (mainstream)
  • Value – Budget (mainstream)

Next, the first number in the brand is the laptop’s screen size:

  • 6 – 15.6 inches
  • 7 – 17.3 inches
  • 8 – 18 inches and larger

Finally, the second number refers to generation. The higher the number, the newer the model. For instance, the GT83 is a third-generation Titan-class gaming notebook with an 18.4-inch screen.

Thankfully, the branding stops there. MSI laptops formerly relied on annoyingly long names that included the processor generation, GPU codes, and more. MSI trimmed the branding fat in 2018. You may see extra numbers at the end of specific configurations, but they’re only used to separate these SKUs for selling purposes only.

Now then, let’s get to the best MSI laptops out of its three major families.

Gaming

Ultra-thin: GS75 Stealth

Best MSI gaming ultra-thin laptop: GS75 Stealth

Starting at $2,099, this ultra-thin laptop was introduced in January, measuring 0.75 inches thick and weighs 4.96 pounds. It sports a 17.3-inch IPS-level screen with a set 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 144Hz powered by Intel’s 9th Gen Core i9-9880H octa-core processor. Outside those two factors, the discrete graphics chip, memory amount, and storage capacity are what separate MSI’s seven current configurations apart.

On the graphics front, you’ll find three GPUs: The GeForce RTX 2060, the RTX 2070 with Max-Q, and the RTX 2080 with Max-Q. Memory consists of 16GB or 32GB at 2,666MHz (DDR4) while storage is 256GB or 512GB on a stick-shaped SSD. Backing all this hardware is a 82Wh battery paired with a 180-watt or 230-watt slim power supply, depending on the model.

The GS75’s port complement consists of three USB-A ports (10Gbps), one Thunderbolt 3 port (40Gbps), HDMI output, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. Other ingredients on the menu include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a 720p camera, and per-key RGB keyboard lighting.

Other laptops in this series include the GS65 Stealth with RTX graphics, the GS73 Stealth, and the GS63 Stealth.

Hardcore: GT76 Titan

Best MSI Hardcore gaming laptop: GT75 Titan

Built for the hardcore PC gamer with a seemingly bottomless budget, the GT75 is a titan of a laptop, measuring 2.28 inches at its thickest point and weighing 10.05 pounds. It’s got a 17.3-inch IPS-level screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 144Hz or a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 60Hz, depending on the model. Backing this screen is Nvidia’s latest RTX 2070 or RTX 2080 graphics chip for laptops revealed in January providing real-time ray tracing in supported games.

Five available configurations rely on Intel’s eighth-generation Core i7-8750H or ninth-generation Core i9 processor. Memory consists of 16GB to 64GB (DDR4) at 2,666MHz while storage is served up on a single 256GB SSD or a 512GB SSD paired with a 1TB hard drive. You can even pair the hard drive with a 1TB SSD, if you’re feeling particularly spendy.

This laptop is packed with ports, with five USB-A connectors (10Gbps), one Thunderbolt 3 port (40Gbps), HDMI output, Mini DisplayPort output, an SD card slot, an Ethernet port, one headphone jack, and one microphone jack. Other features include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and a SteelSeries mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB illumination.

Powering this laptop is a 90Wh battery and up to a 330-watt power supply. The starting price is $2,499.

Other laptops in this series include the larger GT83 Titan with two GTX 1080s in SLI mode and the GT63 Titan. There’s also the GT76 Titan, which also features Intel’s ninth-generation Core i9 processor and similar specs in a smaller profile.

Mid-range: GE75 Raider

Best Mid-range gaming MSI laptop: GE75 Raider

Moving down the line, the GE75 Raider has a $1,999 starting price. It’s not thin like the GS75 Stealth or clunky like the GT75 Titan, falling in-between the two in size without sacrificing performance. It’s based on a 17.3-inch IPS-level screen with a set 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 144Hz. It also features an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8750H or ninth-generation Intel Core i9 processor.

There are six different configurations relying on the GeForce RTX 2060, the RTX 2070, or the RTX 2080 discrete graphics chip. Models also have 16GB or 32GB of RAM (2,666MHz), and one of four storage configurations, with up to two SSDs (256GB or 512GB) paired with a single hard drive (1TB or 2TB).

Related: The best laptops with the RTX 2080 

Powering MSI’s gaming laptop is a 51Wh or 65Wh battery paired with a 280-watt or 180-watt power supply, depending on the model. Ports consist of two USB-A ports (5Gbps), another faster USB-A port (10Gbps), one USB-C port (10Gbps), HDMI output, an SD card reader, and wired networking.

Rounding out this package is a 720p webcam, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and per-key RGB keyboard backlighting.

MSI’s other laptop in the GE Series is the GE63 Raider with RTX graphics. Both are also available in “RGB” flavors that include multi-zone RGB illumination.

Budget: GL73

Best Budget gaming MSI laptop: GL73

Our final gaming laptop on the list is the GL73, which comes in two configurations starting at $1,499. You could go lower in price with something from the GP Series with GTX 1060 graphics or the GF Series with GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti graphics, but this one has the newer RTX 2060 chip. It’s paired with an Intel Core i5-8300H or ninth-generation Core i7 processor.

Under the hood, you’ll find 16GB of memory along with a single 256GB SSD or a 128GB SSD paired with a 1TB hard drive. You also get three USB-A ports (5Gbps), one USB-C port (5Gbps), HDMI output, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack. Other features include wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a 720p webcam, and a single color backlighting the keyboard.

Related: Best cheap gaming laptops to buy in 2019

This laptop is based on a 17.3-inch IPS-level screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 120Hz. It’s powered by a 51Wh battery and a 180-watt power supply.

Other laptops in this series include the GL63 with RTX graphics and the GL72. Meanwhile, the GV Series appears to be at the bottom of the gaming barrel, still offering a six-core Intel processor.

Creators

Ultra-thin: PS63 Modern

Best Ultra-thin MSI laptop for creators: PS63 Modern

The newest PS Series laptop arrived in January with a $1,499 starting price. Designed for content creators, it provides plenty of performance without the bulk, measuring 0.63 inches thick and weighing 3.53 pounds. MSI boasts an 86 percent screen-to-body ratio framing the 15.6-inch IPS-level screen with 0.22-inch bezels. The resolution is a now-standard 1,920 x 1,080.

Three available configurations rely on Intel’s Core i7-8565U processor, as well as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q or GTX 1650 Max-Q discrete graphics. System memory remains at 16GB across all three configurations, while storage consists of one or two 512GB SSDs. MSI crams a 720p camera into the top portion of the screen despite the narrow bezel.

For ports, this ultra-thin laptop is loaded. It packs a microSD card slot, one USB-A port at 10Gbps, two slower USB-A ports (5Gbps), one USB-C port (5Gbps), HDMI output, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. Other features include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, white backlighting in the keyboard, and a fingerprint scanner.

Powering the PS63 Modern is a compact 90-watt power supply and an 82Wh battery promising up to 16 hours.

The only other laptop in this family is the PS42.

Traditional: P65 Creator

Best Traditional MSI laptop for creators: P65 Creator

Despite advertisements claiming this is a thin and light laptop for creators, specifications show the latest models with Nvidia’s new RTX graphics ditch the ultra-thin design for performance. Two out of eight configurations provide the discrete RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 graphics chips in laptops measuring 1.16 inches thick and weighing 4.19 pounds. The other six have the GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060, and GTX 1070 in designs measuring 0.69 inches thick and weighing 4.14 pounds.

Across the board, this laptop provides a 15.6-inch IPS-level screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 144Hz with normal bezels, or at 60Hz with thin bezels. All configurations rely on Intel’s Core i7-8750H or ninth-generation Core i9 processor, 16GB or 32GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB on a single SSD. Other ingredients include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and a 720p webcam.

The port complement depends on the configuration. One set provides a USB-A port at 10Gbps, two USB-A ports at 5Gbps, one Thunderbolt 3 port (40Gbps), HDMI output, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. The other set rips out Thunderbolt 3 for a standard USB-C port (5Gbps) and lowers the speed of the 10Gbps USB-A port to 5Gbps.

The P65 Creator is powered by a 82Wh battery and a 15o-watt or 180-watt slim power supply. It has a $1,399 starting price.

Workstations

Powerhouse: WT75

Best workstation MSi laptop the Powerhouse: WT75

MSI’s WT75 doesn’t attempt to be anything but a mobile powerhouse for on-the-go architects, VR content creators, and more. You’ll find five configurations based on Intel’s Core i7-8700 and Xeon E-2176G processors along with three discrete Nvidia graphics chip options ranging from the Quadro P3200 to the Quadro P5200.

Across all five configurations you’ll see 32GB or 64GB of system memory and storage consisting of a 512GB SSD paired with a 1TB hard drive. It packs plenty of ports too: five USB-A ports at 10Gbps, one Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI output, Mini DisplayPort output, an SD card slot, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack. Rounding out this beefy package is a 1080p webcam, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.

MSI’s titan-class workstation sports a 17.3-inch IPS-level screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 120Hz or a higher 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 60Hz. Powering this mobile workstation is a 90Wh battery and a 330-watt power supply. The starting price is $3,329.

Other workstations in this family include the WT72 4K and the WT73VR.

Ultra-thin: WS65

Best workstation Ultra-thin MSI laptop: WS65

While the WT75 is more titan-sized, the WS65 borrows its design from MSI’s ultra-thin Stealth series. There’s still plenty of punch under the hood across four configurations, with all of them equipped with the ninth-generation Intel Core i7 or i9 processor. All four include up to 64GB of system memory, with the graphics card options including the Nvidia Quadro T2000, RTX 3000, RTX 4000, and RTX 5000.

MSI’s ultra-thin workstation packs a 15.6-inch IPS screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution. It measures 0.69 inches thick and weighs 4.15 pounds, but that slim figure doesn’t limit connectivity to just a few ports. There are plenty: Three USB-A ports (5Gbps), one Thunderbolt 3 port (40Gbps), HDMI output, Mini DisplayPort output, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack.

Other features thrown into MSI’s workstation include Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, a 720p webcam, and an 82Wh battery backed by a 180-watt power supply. The starting price is $2,699 with options to use a single SSD from 512GB to 2TB, or two SSDs from 1TB to 2TB.

Other laptops in this family include the WS63, the WS60, and the WS72. There’s also the WS75 with similar configurations to that of the WS65.

Traditional: WE73

Best workstation Traditional MSI laptop: WE73

MSI provides 11 different configurations for this mobile workstation, which starts at $1,749. They’re based on a combination of two processor choices – the Core i7-8750H and the Xeon E-2176M – and two discrete graphics options: Nvidia’s Quadro P2000 and Quadro 3200. System memory is either 16GB or 32GB while storage ranges from a single SSD (256GB or 512GB) to a dual-storage setup with an SSD (up to 1TB) and a hybrid hard drive (up to 2TB).

That said, MSI provides lots of choices to meet your needs and budget. The WE73 is based on a 17.3-inch IPS screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 120-Hz or a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution at 60Hz. It’s powered by a 51Wh battery backed by a 150-watt or 180-watt power supply, depending on the configuration.

For ports, this mobile workstation includes an SD card slot, two USB-A ports at 5Gbps, one USB-A port at 10Gbps, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort outputs, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack. Rounding out this workstation is a 720p webcam, Wireless AC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. It measures 1.18 inches thick and weighs 9.52 pounds.

Other workstations in this family include the WE62 and the WE72.

Hopefully we’ve cleared the confusion about what the MSI laptops you can purchase right now can actually do. However, customers could probably benefit from a more refined, smaller selection — especially PC gamers.

If we missed a laptop that should be included on the list, let us know!

For other laptop guides, here are a few:

Comments
Read comments