Like every other laptop maker, MSI is taking CES 2022 as an opportunity to overhaul its gaming and creator-focused machines with powerful new chips.
The star of MSI’s updated gaming notebook lineup is the new 17-inch Stealth GS77 (starts at around $2,500), which not only gets support for Nvidia’s new RTX 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti GPUs, but also features MSI’s new Liquid Thermal Pad cooling tech, which uses liquid metal thermal paste to improve heat transfer away from the laptop’s CPU. All told, when combined with the arrival of new 12th-gen chips from Intel and support for DDR5 RAM, MSI is claiming a 30 per cent to 45 per cent increase in CPU performance over the previous model.
However, the GS77’s upgrades aren’t all about speed. It also sports a new design, with a more durable hinge made from zinc alloy, 8% larger keycaps, a new six-speaker sound system, and a 50 per cent bigger touchpad, which MSI says was specifically changed to address complaints about the touchpads on previous models feeling a bit cramped.
The 17-inch GS77 certainly isn’t a small laptop, weighing in at around 2 kg and measuring just 0.81 inches thick, but it remains relatively portable while still packing a huge 99.9 WHr battery (which is as big of a battery as you can put in a laptop and still take it on a plane). Oh, and for people who don’t necessarily want to draw everyone’s attention, the GS77 Stealth has even gotten a more subdued “Core Black” paint job to help the system blend in at work, though its keyboard still comes with full per-key RGB lighting when you want to show off a bit.
Then there are the new GE76 (starting at around $2,290) and GE66 Raider laptops ($3,100-ish). MSI is keeping the flashy RGB lightbar from previous models while adding a new line of 12th-gen Intel CPUs, which alongside MSI’s new OverBoost mode help the laptops pull down up to 220 watts of performance.
And if you want a more affordable gaming laptop that can also serve as a good daily workhorse, the new Vector GP76 ($2,600-ish) and GP66 laptops (about $3,100) come with Intel 12th-gen chips, RTX 30-series GPUs (though not the new 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti cards), up to a 240Hz QHD display, and a simple, understated design with a solid selection of ports (2x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1 USB 3.2 gen 2 Type-C, HDMI 2.1, mini DisplayPort, and more).
Rounding out MSI’s new laptops is a special edition collaboration with Ubisoft, the Crosshair 15 Rainbow Six Extraction edition laptop, which features a unique keyboard and lid design to match the latest Rainbow Six title. MSI has a tradition of doing showing off at least one special edition laptop every year at CES, but the neat thing about Rainbox Six Crosshair 15 is that unlike some of the company’s other super expensive, limited edition gaming notebooks, this one was designed to be a bit more approachable with starting a price of $US2,000 (so that’s about $2,800) for a 15.6-inch 165HZ QHD screen, Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of RAM, and an RTX 3070.
For artists and video editors looking for powerful content creation machines, MSI has beefed up its Creator series laptops with more powerful specs and a new design that’s unabashedly trying to steal some of the understated premium appeal from Apple’s MacBook line.
For the Creator Z17 (coming is at around $4,500 after conversion), MSI says it has created the world’s first 17-inch laptop with support for stylus input, while its 16:10 display provides a bit of extra vertical screen real estate for drawing or sketching. But the Creator laptop that really sticks out to me is the new Creator Z16 (around $3,500), which is keeping pace with MSI’s gaming laptops thanks to support for up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i9 CPU, Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 Ti GPU, and DDR5 RAM, which means non-gamers don’t have to sacrifice anything when it comes to performance. And while it doesn’t have one of MSI’s new liquid metal cooling pads, the Creator Z16 will come with vapour chamber cooling to help provide increased cooling and airflow for optimal performance.
MSI is also giving its MSI Centre software some love by including two new performance modes. MSI says its new Smart Auto feature was designed to more intelligent adjust your laptop’s performance so you don’t need to manually adjust when switching between various workloads. The new Ambient Silent AI mode monitors your surroundings to match the laptop’s fan speed with the level of ambient noise, so the laptop can eke out a little bit of extra performance without turning into a distraction, regardless of if you’re in a library or a coffee shop.
All of MSI’s new laptops will be available for preorder on Jan. 25, before shipping out sometime in February.