2021’s Best MSI Laptops [In-Depth Review]

TOP PICK
MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US 15.6" Full HD Gaming Laptop Computer Quad Core i7-7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4G Graphics, 8GB DRAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB Hard Drive, Steelseries Red Backlit Keyboard
BEST GAMING
CUK GE75 Raider by_MSI Gaming Notebook (Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB, 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD, 17.3" FHD IPS 240Hz 3ms, Windows 10 Home) 17 Inch Gamer Laptop Computer
BEST BUDGET
MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066 15.6" Gaming Laptop, Thin Bezel, Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650, 16GB, 512GB NVMe SSD
MSI GV62 8RD-034 15.6" Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4G, Intel i7-8750H (6 Cores), 8GB DDR4, 128GB SSD + 1TB, Windows 10 64 bit, Steelseries Red Backlit Keys
MSI GF75 17.3" Gaming Laptop, i5-10300H, 8GB, 128GB SSD+1TB
BLW's Score
94
93
85
92
-
MSRP
$1,199.00
Price not available
$1,299.00
$1,263.00
$835.00
Processor
Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz
Intel Core i7-9750H (6 cores)
Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6 - 4.5GHz
Intel Core i7-8750H (up to 4.1 GHz)
i5-10300H
RAM
8GB DDR4
64GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
8GB DDR4
8 GB DDR4
Hard Disk
128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
1TB SSD + 2TB HDD
512GB SSD
128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
512 GB SSD
Display
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080)
17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz
15.6" FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080)
17.3" (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
OS
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
Weight
3.62 pounds
5.75 pounds
4.1 pounds
4.8 pounds
4.85 pounds
TOP PICK
MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US 15.6" Full HD Gaming Laptop Computer Quad Core i7-7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4G Graphics, 8GB DRAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB Hard Drive, Steelseries Red Backlit Keyboard
BLW's Score
94
MSRP
$1,199.00
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz
RAM
8GB DDR4
Hard Disk
128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Display
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
OS
Windows 10
Weight
3.62 pounds
BEST GAMING
CUK GE75 Raider by_MSI Gaming Notebook (Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB, 64GB RAM, 2TB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD, 17.3" FHD IPS 240Hz 3ms, Windows 10 Home) 17 Inch Gamer Laptop Computer
BLW's Score
93
MSRP
Price not available
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-9750H (6 cores)
RAM
64GB DDR4
Hard Disk
1TB SSD + 2TB HDD
Display
17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
OS
Windows 10
Weight
5.75 pounds
BEST BUDGET
MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066 15.6" Gaming Laptop, Thin Bezel, Intel Core i7-9750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650, 16GB, 512GB NVMe SSD
BLW's Score
85
MSRP
$1,299.00
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6 - 4.5GHz
RAM
16GB DDR4
Hard Disk
512GB SSD
Display
15.6" FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
OS
Windows 10
Weight
4.1 pounds
MSI GV62 8RD-034 15.6" Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4G, Intel i7-8750H (6 Cores), 8GB DDR4, 128GB SSD + 1TB, Windows 10 64 bit, Steelseries Red Backlit Keys
Model
BLW's Score
92
MSRP
$1,263.00
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-8750H (up to 4.1 GHz)
RAM
8GB DDR4
Hard Disk
128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Display
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
OS
Windows 10
Weight
4.8 pounds
MSI GF75 17.3" Gaming Laptop, i5-10300H, 8GB, 128GB SSD+1TB
Model
BLW's Score
-
MSRP
$835.00
More Information
Processor
i5-10300H
RAM
8 GB DDR4
Hard Disk
512 GB SSD
Display
17.3" (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
OS
Windows 10
Weight
4.85 pounds

Most avid PC gamers will recommend MSI gaming laptops as one of their preferred weapons of choice.

But who are MSI and why are their laptops so good for gamers?

In this article we will look at five of the best MSI laptops. They do tend to be expensive, but we have tried to include MSI laptops to suit all budgets.

We will also examine the history of MSI—Micro Star International Computers—and just what makes their computers so good—and sometimes not so good.

7 Best MSI Laptops By Category

Best Overall:
MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US 15.6” Full HD

MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US Review

The new MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US is a sub $1000 gaming laptop which offers a decent mid-range gaming laptop at a price most can afford.

You would spend less on this machine than many of the new MacBook computers and get a much more capable gaming device.

Specs

  • Display Size: 15.6-inch full HD eDP
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Battery Capacity: 8.5 hours
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • Processor: 7th gen Intel core i7-7700HQ (2.8-3.8 Ghz)
  • Storage: 128GB M.2 SATA + 1TB HDD (5400RPM)
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 2GB GDR5
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com 
  • Weight: 5.29 pounds
  • I/O: 1 x USB-Type C, 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Mini-DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI (4K @ 30Hz), 1 x SD Card Reader (XC/HC), 1 x Mic In, 1 x Headphone out (SPDIF)
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com

Benefits

This machine from MSI is designed specifically for gaming. With a 7th gen i7 core processor, one of the latest NVIDIA graphics cards in the GTX 1050Ti and 8GB of RAM, it will play most modern titles with medium to high graphics settings enabled.

A 15-inch matte full HD display uses IPS technology for wider viewing angles. With a 94 percent NTSC color range, it gives more realism and a greater life to your games.  The MSI’s GTX 1050Ti GPU provides a faster frame rate on most titles with recent games like Overwatch even achieving 73 FPS.

A built in SteelSeries keyboard is comfortable to use and features single key backlighting with an anti-ghosting key. The red lighting uses a silver lining across three zones which offers the maximum customization.

The touchpad on this machine is just as good with a smooth, sturdy action. It is highly responsive with left and right click buttons just below the pad.

Storage is well covered with a hybrid drive of 128GB SATA SSD for your OS and programs, and a 1TB HDD for data storage. Although the SSD may seem small compared to other competitor models, it’s easy to swap out.

MSI laptops are designed for expandability with access to components by removing the bottom of the case. You could even upgrade the RAM to a maximum of 32GB with four slots available.

Drawbacks

Unfortunately, the main downside with this laptop is the lack of future proofing. The GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is not VR ready like the GTX chips and doesn’t yet support 4K gaming. It’s only an average performer which may struggle with some newer AAA titles being released.

Extra Features

  • Wider viewing angle display.
  • Wide selection of ports.
  • Keyboard backlighting.

Buying Advice

The MSI GL62M 7REX-1896 US is a competent gaming machine for the price. The high specs and speedy hybrid storage make it able to handle even the most demanding of productivity tasks when not gaming.

The extra portability of this laptop, combined with a pretty decent battery life and a high specification, make it the best all-around MSI laptop you can currently buy for the money.

Runner Up:
MSI GV62 8RD-034 15.6” Full HD

MSI GV62 8RD-200 Review

Specs

  • Display Size: 15.6-inch full HD eDP IPS
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Battery Capacity: 4.25 hours
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 2400Mhz
  • Processor: 8th gen Intel core i5-8750H (2.2 - 4.1 GHz)
  • Storage: 1TB HDD (5400RPM) + 128GB SSD
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB DDR5
  • I/O: 1 x USB-Type C, 1 x USB 2.0,  2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Mini-DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI (4K @ 30Hz), 1 x SD Card Reader (XC/HC), 1 x Mic In, 1 x Headphone out (SPDIF)
  • Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com 

The MSI GV62 8RD-034 is one of those systems that tries to make up for the failings of its predecessors. The newer 8th generation Coffee Lake-H processor used in this model is the latest in the series with many improvements over the previous 7th gen core processors.

And while the NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti GPU may not support VR gaming, it does manage to pack a lot of power into the thinner design.

Benefits

A large 1TB capacity allows for larger game installs. Many of the latest triple-A titles now need over 40GB just for installation.

The case still uses the same matte black plastic of earlier models with a red accent found at the back of the machine. It forgoes the optical drive which is a sacrifice you have to make if you want a powerful machine this thin. At just over 4.8 pounds and 1.06 inches thick, the MSI GV62 is designed to be more portable.

For a surprisingly thin machine it features plenty of connectivity options with a myriad of ports for a machine that doesn’t offer VR capability. The laptop even includes an RJ45 socket for ethernet connection and also includes Intel wireless AC 9462 Sandy Peak for a faster gaming connection.

This model has the same quality screen that we’ve come to expect from MSI and the usual well-designed SteelSeries keyboard that is comfortable to use.

The battery lasts a reasonable 4 hours which is what you would expect from a machine like this, although many newer SSD-based machines are much less power hungry.

Drawbacks

The storage on this machine is average at best. A 1TB HDD provides enough space for all your larger game installations and application data. Yet MSI have chosen an older 5400RPM drive rather than the much faster 7200RPM standard.

In addition, many people will bemoan the relatively small SSD, but combined with the 1 TB hard drive this isn't a serious issue.

Extra Features

  • Advanced cooling technology
  • Nahimic 3 Premium Audio

Buying Advice

The main strengths of this latest MSI GV62 are its excellent display, thinner size, large storage and, of course, the price.

If you are looking for a powerful yet portable gaming rig at a reasonable price, then this laptop is definitely worthy of your consideration.

Best Budget:
MSI GF63 Thin 9SC-066 15.6” Full HD

Specs

  • Display Size: 15.6" FHD, IPS-Level, 60Hz, 45 percent NTSC
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (Thin bezel, 16:9 aspect ratio)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2400MHz (Max RAM: 64GB)
  • Processor: 9th gen Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6 - 4.5GHz)
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB GDDR5
  • I/O: 1 x USB-Type C, 1 x USB 2.0,  2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Mini-DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI (4K @ 30Hz), 1 x SD Card Reader (XC/HC), 1 x Mic In, 1 x Headphone out (SPDIF)
  • Weight: 5.29 pounds
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com 

Buying one of the best MSI laptops for gaming doesn’t always have to cost you an arm and a leg. This entry level gaming device, the MSI GF63 Thin provides all the features you are looking for in a mid-range laptop.

The GF63 uses a 9th gen core i7 CPU with NVIDIA GTX 1650 GPU that should be able to power through any game you throw at it with at least medium graphic settings enabled.

Benefits

Using the same design of case as its predecessors in the MSI GL series, this latest budget model has tried really hard to slim down. This does mean losing the optical drive, but that’s a sacrifice commonly made nowadays.

For such a powerful gaming laptop, it weighs in at a very reasonable 4.1 pounds and has a design that screams professional gamer. The size and weight makes it much more portable than a typical gaming rig.

The other big plus point at this price, is the 15.6-inch full HD display which uses IPS technology to provide a wider range of viewing angles. A well designed SteelSeries keyboard is comfortable to use and features single backlighting with WASD keys.

Drawbacks

Some people feel the hand rest on the touch pad is uncomfortable. We personally didn't experience any discomfort but it's something to consider.

The 16GB of RAM is sufficient for most games. However, we recommend upgrading to 32GB to handle the most demanding gaming applications.

Extra Features

  • Recent, 9th Generation i7 processor
  • Awesome graphics with the GTX 1650 GPU.

Buying Advice

This MSI GF63 Thin may not be the cheapest of gaming laptops, but certainly is one of the lowest prices you will get an MSI for at the moment.

Building on the great reputation of the best MSI gaming laptops, this computer, at around $1000, provides a competent gaming device at what you would normally pay for a desktop replacement machine.

Most laptops are built to a standard of 15.6 inches diagonally across the lid, a standard that is reflected in the measurements of accessories of all kinds. This laptop forgoes that degree of versatility and mobility in favor of nearly 18 inches of screen and MSI’s classically overpowered set of hardware components to ensure a premium gaming experience. 

Despite being a gaming laptop, this machine actually has a relatively modest Intel Core i5 processor with just eight gigabytes of RAM to keep the price down as much as possible. Gaming laptops do the bulk of their work on the discrete graphics processor, allowing them to be built with incongruously small central processors compared to the rest of their hardware. 

That said, when it comes to the graphics processor, this model doesn’t disappoint; an NVIDIA GeForce GTX card keeps even recent and demanding titles playing smoothly, and even on good settings. The card is integrated into the computer’s cooling system, such that it will be hard to upgrade but gets maximum heat dispersion while in use. 

MSI has taken storage in a new direction here, following the growing trend of having two hard drives installed in the same device. The first is a relatively small solid state drive containing the operating system, lending its additional speed to booting and other system tasks, while the second is a cavernous terabyte of conventional hard disk to allow the user to install numerous chunky game files. 

The additional size that makes this laptop’s display so clear and detailed is also one of its biggest shortcomings; while it’s great for using as a desktop replacement, moving it is something of a chore. Most standard laptop bags will not fit, and the extra screen and drives put on additional weight and fragility that make it more delicate than other computers.

MSI Creator

Many users assume that the gaming laptop is the most impressive piece of hardware on the market; with its massive dedicated graphics processor and exceptional storage capacity, it is certainly a contender. The category that gives it the biggest run for the money is the content creation laptop, used to make games, programs, and web pages and built around a powerful central processor instead of a discrete graphics card. 

This computer is a shining example of a content creation laptop, packing a leading-edge Intel Core i7 processor to let it handle heavy compilation or rendering with ease. It features eight cores able to achieve the blurred speed of 5.1 gigahertz and carry 32 gigabytes of RAM, so you won;t need forever to get through your work. 

Storage is provided by a solid-state drive instead of a conventional hard disk, giving measurably faster performance reading and writing files. This translates directly into faster boot times for your system and load times for any projects you may have stored, saving you time and trouble for the project ahead. 

Although it’s not a gaming laptop, this computer still contains an impressive NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics card to keep track of the many minute details in video editing projects. GeForce is recognized throughout the technical community as the upper crust of graphics cards, and delivers graphics processing that thoroughly justifies the reputation. 

The only thing that might make users stop and think about this laptop is the price - at well beyond 1500 USD before taxes and shipping, it is far and away beyond the price bracket into which most users fall, surpassing even gaming computers by a healthy margin. For someone working at the specific applications for which this machine is intended, it remains a great choice, but few others will have the budget to support their purchase. 

MSI is known in the technical community for always going a little overboard with its products; its machines are regularly far more powerful than they truly need to be for their class. This laptop leans hard into that reputation, delivering all the functions one could want from even the latest of desktop computers in a single, self-contained device. 

The physical measurements are actually fairly pedestrian; this laptop conforms to the same 15.6 inch outline that has become standard for most working laptops, allowing it to fit most accessories currently on the market. The real giveaway is in the weight - at nearly five pounds, it weighs well beyond what one might find in a less powerful machine. 

Things get interesting, though, once you get under the hood; this laptop is a generation ahead of most other computers, using the Intel Core i9 processor with a whopping 64 gigabytes of RAM to get a leg up on competing devices. EVen the most powerful of gaming laptops rarely need more than 16 gigabytes, putting this laptop’s considerable power into sharp perspective. 

You are probably expecting that a computer like this will have a graphics card at least as impressive at the rest of it, and as it turns out, you’re right - this model comes with the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 discrete graphics processor, a unit powerful enough that even competitive gamers will often forgo it and make do with something lower down on the scale. Having such a powerhouse for graphics makes detailed editing and video playback a breeze, allowing editors and content creators to work without interruption. 

Two limiting factors may prevent someone from wanting this machine; the first, and more common, is the 4000 USD price tag, before either taxes or shipping are considered. Besides that, though, is the way that this computer has only limited internal ‘flash’ memory; it has been designed with no hard drive at all, making it of limited use to anyone who cannot also supply a powerful internet connection and robust cloud storage. 

Best For Gaming:
MSI GE75 Raider 17.3” 

MSI GE63VR Raider-075 Review

Specs

  • Display Size: 17.3-inch full HD 144Hz 3ms Ultra Thin Bezel
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • RAM: 64GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • Processor: 9th gen Intel core i7-9750H (6 cores, up to 4.5GHz)
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD + 2TB HDD (7200RPM)
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB GDDR6 and Ray Tracing
  • I/O: 1 x USB 3.1 Type C (Gen 2), 2 x USB 3.1 (Gen 1), 1 x USB 3.1 (Gen 2), 1 x Mini-DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI (4K @ 60Hz), 1 x SD Card Reader (XC/HC), 1 x Mic In, 1 x RJ45, 1 x Headphone out (SPDIF)
  • Weight: 5.75 pounds
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com 

This latest premium gaming device from MSI has a stylish look which easily identifies it as an MSI laptop. Despite the solid construction it’s still reasonably lightweight, although the poor battery life may mean you don’t take it on the road too often.

Benefits

The powerful NVIDIA RTX 2070 is one of the latest graphics cards that will run most of the modern blockbuster games at the highest settings. This is backed up by all the necessary hardware needed to run the GE75 including 64GB of DDR4 RAM and a 9th generation core i7 processor.

The SteelSeries keyboard found on this machine is one of the best found on a gaming laptop at any price, with each key able to be individually backlit in a range of varied RGB colors or even in zones.

The display of the Raider series features a 144HZ refresh rate, ensuring your games play at the smoothest frame rates and a greater color accuracy.

Drawbacks

Although it’s understandable with the power hungry components, the battery life on the MSI Raider is mediocre to say the least. At five hours rated battery life, you will often get less than two hours of heavy gaming before it needs charging. Also, the battery is not removable.

The touch pad quality has had mixed reviews suggesting it is unresponsive, and some finding it, at best, to be average.

Extra Features

  • Large capacity SSD / HDD combination.
  • Dual fans for cooling.

Buying Advice

If you need a lightweight gaming laptop which features some of the best hardware for gamers at a decent price, the MSI GE63VR Raider-075 may be the best choice for you.

Even though it has some of the latest VR Ready tech built in, you can still just throw this laptop in a backpack for gaming on the go. Just don’t forget the power adapter.

Who are MSI? A Brief History of MSI

Micro-Star International Co Ltd (MSI) are a Taiwanese multinational company which was formed in 1986.

They now have a global presence in over 120 countries and offer a worldwide warranty in all the major markets.

MSI began by specializing in making motherboards and add-on cards. It wasn’t until 2008 they diversified into the PC gaming sector with their Gaming series of laptops, desktops, motherboards, graphics cards and peripherals designed for power gamers.

Micro-Star International or MSI

According to a report in Digitimes, by 2015, MSI controlled 19 percent of the gaming laptop market to become a world leader in this overcrowded sector.

When you buy a gaming laptop from MSI, you are buying from a company with over 30 years of computer manufacturing experience and 10 plus years in the gaming PC market.

Why are MSI Gaming Laptops so Popular?

MSI laptops remain one of the most popular choices with serious gamers despite increasing competition.

Many of the traditional business machine makers like HP, Acer and Lenovo have now recognised the value of the gaming laptop market.

All MSI laptops are designed with gamers in mind and feature the most powerful graphics card while utilizing the latest core processors.

Extra features like the SteelSeries keyboard, Nahimic Sound processing, 120Hz displays and an increasing reliance on SSD drives have been thought out for gamers needs.

MSI provide an excellent telephone tech support system for effective solutions and are one of the few vendors who offer accidental-damage protection when you register your laptop.

What’s Not to Like About MSI Gaming Laptops?

MSI Mechanical Keyboad Laptop in Office

Some business laptop users bemoan the lack of variety in MSI’s range of laptops. Many of the features you find on a high end MSI gaming laptop would be just as at home on a serious business workstation.

Mostly, MSI have set their stall out as a gaming laptop manufacturer with a design which would look out of place on most business desks and features which would just be overkill.

The other main criticism often levelled at MSI gaming laptops is their repetitive use of the same design. Although the stylish matte black with red accents screams “Gamer”, for a company that prides itself on innovation, reusing it so much often seems lazy.

Other manufacturers have moved to sleek all metal casing designs while MSI has stagnated with what appears to many as a boxy design, even if newer models have become slightly slimmer.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a gaming laptop from MSI means you are buying into a solid gaming ecosystem.

Although the innovation may have slowed down over recent years, none of their more recent models have scored less than 3.5 to 4 stars in most reviews.

However, we don’t all have a thousand dollars plus to spend on a gaming laptop.

The latest version of the MSI GL62, the GL62M 7REX-1896US offers a top spec gaming laptop with the latest powerful processor and GPU that is within the reach of most  (under $1000) and is our favorite MSI laptop.

About the Author Marcus

Marcus has a graduate degree in computer engineering and has many years of experience in cutting-edge technology research and development in both startups and Fortune 500 corporations. In his free time, he enjoys RTS gaming.