If you need a proof that you can still start a computer company in a time where large computer brands are already dominating, MSI is the entity that will provide that evidence. The company was launched about 30 years ago as Micro-Star International. It made its debut in Taiwan, basically sharing the country with Acer and Asus – two of the aforementioned giants – and, initially, it only dealt with motherboards and graphics cards. That’s how it managed to build a reputation and, in 2004, went head-first into the computer market. This proved to be an amazingly good idea, as MSI became, within the short span of 10 years, the 4th ranked laptop brand, awarded by the Laptop magazine. Currently, MSI is ranked 5th overall, according to most of the critics, but it’s gaining more and more field with some of the best products the market has ever seen.
Now it’s high time that we introduce you to our personal favorite MSI models. There’s not much to talk about, so this is going to be a pretty comprehensive list. Take a look at what MSI has to offer and make your choice; we can guarantee that whatever you pick, you’re going to seriously enjoy.
1. MSI VR Ready GT73VR Titan SLI-058 – The Powerhouse
Just to let you know… this is not even the most powerful laptop MSI has to offer. However, since the most powerful one is much more expensive, we preferred this instead. This particular model has a couple of features that no other gaming laptop we’ve ever reviewed has. In fact, we know of no laptop, besides heavily customized ones, to have such crazy specifications.
This beast has an i7-6820HK heart, quad-core, 2.7GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz, 8MB cache, which can be overclocked as much as necessary due to the superior cooling system. The SLI denomination comes from the graphics card, a dual nVidia 1070, 2x 8GB GDDR5X VRAM, which powers the 17.3” UHD screen and can play any of the latest releases at 4K settings, no problem. The rig is also blessed with the power of 64GB DDR4, as well as a 512GB SSD and 1TB HDD. It’s also pretty future-proof, as its special configuration allows it to be VR-ready – a feature which may come in handy with games developed in the next couple of years.
This is the third most powerful MSI laptop and unquestionably the best on this list, as well as the heaviest (at 4.4kg). If you think you’ll play games 24/7 for the next 4-5 years, stop asking questions and get it.
2. MSI GL62 6QF-627 – Best Bang for the Buck
While the laptop above is a total Titan regarding both size and power, this one may be considered some sort of Achilles. It’s not as big, nor is it as heavy; in fact, it’s a pretty standard laptop, at 15.6” and 2.5kg or so. However, if you take a look beneath the dark skin, you can see the inner workings of an amazing machine. If the GT73VR is among the highest-end gaming laptops, this one is a mid-ranger, although what MSI sees as “mid-range” may very well be other people’s high-end. The price tag will not disappoint either: you can buy 4 for the price of the GT73VR.
This godly contraption is powered by an i7-6700HQ, quad-core, 2.6GHz and up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost, as well as a nVidia GeForce GTX 960M with 2GB GDDR5, and 8GB DDR4 RAM. The Achilles’ heel on this one is the storage, as it only features a 1TB HDD, but that’s easily fixable as all laptops from this category have both a 2.5” SATA and an M.2 SSD Combo. Overall, we consider that this laptop is the best budget gaming rig among what MSI offers.
3. MSI GS60 Ghost Pro-002 – Lightest Gaming Laptop
Compared to the Titan above, of mythical power and size, this Ghost model is more like some divine child: human-sized, but clearly overpowered. Even the GL62, already pretty light and thin itself, pales in comparison to the Ghost Pro, at only 20mm thickness and 1.9kg. Actually, come to think of it, it’s even lighter and slimmer than the average 15.6” classic laptop, while still being a total beast inside.
It’s true, believe us. Just check the i7-6700HQ processor, same as above, and the GTX 970M, even better than above. The Ghost Pro is also powered by 16GB DDR4 and stores all its memories in a 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD. Astonishingly minimalistic for a gaming computer, you can take it anywhere with you without looking like a nerd, which is pretty great.
4. Classic laptop: MSI CX62 6QD-047US – Best Budget Laptop
Sure, “budget” sounds a bit laughable when it comes to MSI, but this is an excellent quality build for the price. It’s a classic 15.6” model, it’s fairly light (at only 2.4kg, considering the aluminum chassis), it’s highly durable and, of course, it has plenty of nice things inside which make the price tag worth it. It’s a great choice for any and all business applications, as well as graphic design and so on.
This model is built around an i5-6300HQ, quad-core, clocked at 2.3-3.2GHz, paired with a nVidia GeForce GTX 940M with 2GB GDDR3, 8GB DDR4, and 1TB HDD. All the basics for a great all-rounder classic laptop, with a strong CPU, discrete video card, and enough RAM for all practical purposes. Everything is, of course, upgradable.
5. Premium laptop: MSI PX60 6QE-615
While being an all-rounder laptop just like the CX62 model, this one is, in fact, part of a more premium line, which, in practical terms, translates into it not having any form of optical drive, overall slimness, and generally a really beautiful design, under the tagline “The Essence of Elite”. In fact, as far as we are concerned, this is the classiest among all MSI laptops.
This elegant beast is powered by the same almighty i7-6700HQ, 2.6-3.5GHz. It doesn’t have a discrete graphics card, but the CPU also comes with an Intel HD Graphics 530, a high-end video chip which processes 3D imagery like there’s no tomorrow. It also features 32GB DDR4, as well as a forgivable 1TB 7200RPM HDD. All things considered, it’s a beautiful, sharp workstation and business computer you will never be ashamed of.
6. Workstation: MSI WT72 6QN-218US
Please don’t faint when you read this, but the price tag on this one is on par with the most expensive gaming rig. However, there are a couple of very good reasons why it’s so expensive. To begin with, it has a top-class design, which allows the astonishing inner mechanism to work perfectly without overheating, which is often a problem with this level of components.
The processor itself is a completely overpowered Intel i7-6920HQ, which Alienware never dreamt of, 2.9GHz base frequency, overclocked to 3.8GHz. This is paired with a workstation-specific graphics card, an ungodly nVidia Quadro M5500 with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM, as well as 16GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD storage. All things considered, this incredible rig is made to run VR design on four monitors at the same time, create VR applications and test them while not experiencing a single second of lag.
It’s true that, within such short time, they couldn’t have developed an incredibly high number of laptop models. After all, there’s a limit to all research and development, and MSI has yet to reach the hundred-billion-dollar revenue of Apple. However, just like Apple, MSI has focused instead on creating a restricted range of excellent quality products, and we’re happy to say that it succeeded completely. In fact, when it comes to innovation, we can pick MSI as the absolute number one. Whenever there’s some new and shiny implement, it can soon be seen in an MSI model – examples are, for instance, mechanical keyboards for gaming laptops (first to implement) and nVidia’s G-Sync technology (among the first, along with Asus). The newest nVidia graphics cards, with desktop-level performance, and the fastest Intel processors are not uncommon among the MSI laptops.
What’s the problem, then? Well, there are three problems with MSI laptops, two of which are shared by Apple as well. First and foremost, there’s a very narrow range of products. Just as Apple focuses on slim, classy, business & multimedia laptops, MSI focuses on gaming rigs, with only a couple of all-rounder models. Then, there’s the price. While the cheapest MSI laptop goes for around $700 or so, the most expensive one (GT83 Titan RF SLI) falls just a bit short of the $5000 mark, which is quite a lot even for a gaming laptop. Of course, it does have some crazy specs, worthy of an alien mother ship, but it’s pretty high-priced nonetheless. The third problem, which Apple, fortunately, doesn’t have, is the poor tech support. It’s somewhat understandable, considering the relatively small size of the company, but the lack of live chat and online databases is unforgivable. Also, the company is dead last when it comes to average time trying to get a tech on the phone. The only good thing about MSI tech support is that, unlike Asus or Dell representatives, MSI techs are well-prepared and solve manageable problems in no time.
As far as preinstalled software goes, MSI is both great and lousy. It does have a couple of excellent apps, including a proprietary System Monitor, but also plenty of absolutely useless bloatware, including So Cookbook (no, we don’t get it either) and Norton Studio. The warranty is two years, longer than most providers, but you pay for shipping costs. At least you don’t void your warranty when you upgrade the RAM or storage, which happens with Asus models.
If you’re a hardcore gamer and also a bit of a hipster, we completely recommend the MSI products. Even the “budget” gaming laptops, at around $1000, are enough to manage some of the latest releases at high or even ultra settings, which is impressive. As far as the high-end rigs are concerned… we’ll simply let the numbers do the talk. If you’re not a gamer, but you still want a high-quality product, which won’t let you down when you’re trying to kill it with AutoCAD and 3000 Chrome tabs, we recommend, once more, the “budget” gaming laptops. In fact, whatever you’re trying to do, if you’re not bothered by a high price tag and the classic design (which involves weight above 2kg), MSI is unquestionably one of our favorite choices.