The best MSI laptops reach out across a wider range of markets than you might expect. While most know MSI for supplying some of the best gaming laptops around, it’s also developed some formidable workstations and creation-class laptops.
The similarities between MSI’s dragon shield logo and that of supercar manufacturers Lamborghini and Ferrari are likely no coincidence. MSI laptops are known for their impressively powerful components and fantastic performance. With the arrival of Intel’s new 12th Gen Alder Lake CPUs, we expect the level of power and performance in MSI laptops to do nothing but increase.
Buying any laptop can quickly become an overwhelming experience. Thanks to MSI’s often confusing naming conventions, this task isn’t made any easier. With that in mind, we at Laptop Mag have compiled a list of our favorite MSI laptops that suit a variety of needs and budgets. From high-end ray-tracing powerhouses to business 2-in-1s, there’s something for everyone to check out in our shortlist of the best MSI laptops.
What are the best MSI laptops right now?
Gaming laptops are MSI’s bread and butter, and the 17-inch MSI GE76 Raider is its latest and greatest offering. It’s a force to be reckoned with, delivering incredible 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processing power and pace-setting gaming performance from an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU. It shredded our benchmark tests and sped past premium gaming laptop averages after going head-to-head with our gauntlet of demanding games. Throw in dual lightning-fast 2TB NVMe Gen 4 SSDs and super-fast panel refresh-rates of up to 360Hz, and you have a machine so powerful you may need an open carry permit if you ever plan on leaving the house with it.
The GS66 Stealth is a beautiful machine, but beauty is often skin deep. Luckily, MSI packed this sleek gaming laptop with everything you’d need for a solid gaming experience. The pairing of a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series GPU (up to an RTX 3080 Max-Q) is a tried and tested combination for serious performance. It’s a great all-rounder that can make high-end gaming or CPU/GPU intensive tasks a breeze.
We likened the MSI Prestige 14’s Evo tag to an FDA badge of approval; it’s reserved for laptops proven to meet the standards of the Intel Evo platform and is a general indicator of quality among 11th Gen Intel notebooks. There’s a considerable 11-hour battery runtime and awesome Intel Core i7 processing capped off with Intel Iris Xe graphics. The latter of which gave the Prestige 14 Evo a noticeable kick in performance when it came to content-creation tasks. That performance boost makes MSI’s notebook the ideal companion for content creators with mid-tier needs.
Best MSI laptop
MSI has a solid reputation for delivering groundbreaking gaming laptops, and with the MSI GE76 Raider, that reputation has never been safer. Lift away the GE76 Raider’s stunning anodized aluminum chassis and what you’re left looking at is the current dream team of gaming laptop components. No matter where you look under the hood, be it the new 12th Gen Alder Lake Intel CPU, the mighty Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, or the blazingly fast dual 2TB NVMe Gen 4 SSDs, they all have one thing in common: incredible performance.
The MSI GE76 Raider is a shining example of what a flagship laptop can be. It tore through our benchmark tests at a full sprint without breaking a sweat. Then, when we pitted it up against some of gaming’s most demanding titles, it maintained that winning pace and left the premium gaming laptop averages in the dust. The Raider’s impressive speed didn’t end there, as breakneck refresh rates of up to 360Hz ensured no single frame of action would be missed across the incredibly sharp 17.3-inch display. The Raider is a genuine desktop replacement, offering immense performance across the board.
See our full MSI GE76 Raider review.
Best all-round MSI laptop
Don’t let the name fool you, the MSI GS66 Stealth isn’t capable of being this good of a laptop and going unnoticed. It’s a sleek, attractive, thin-and-light gaming laptop with powerful performance on show thanks to a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and a selection of Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs, going as high as the RTX 3080 Max-Q.
In our synthetic testing, the GS66 Stealth blew us away with its lightning-fast transfer speeds and brilliant multitasking potential. When it came to gaming performance, MSI’s powerhouse impressed us with solid frame rates across a number of demanding titles. While the games we tested ran well, the 15.6-inch high-res display made things ultra-smooth thanks to its super-fast 240Hz refresh rate.
See our full MSI GS66 Stealth (2021) review.
Best MSI laptop with high refresh rate
Gaming laptops have seen some awfully gaudy designs over the years — I’m looking at you Acer Predator 21x. However, those extreme designs are rare now, phased out for uniform and predictable modern builds. Then, just as you begin to miss them, there’s the MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield. MSI’s behemoth looks like the gaming laptop design equivalent of the Battle of Thermopylae, with the 300 linking shields to proudly make a last stand against a horde of bland builds. And you know what? It looks incredible.
What the GE66 Raider Dragonshield has on the inside is no less impressive. Outfitted with a 10th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU, MSI’s gaming laptop offers excellent performance. It makes for a viable desktop replacement and offers outstanding on-screen visuals thanks to a sharp 15.6-inch display with a super-speedy 300Hz refresh rate. As the age-old saying goes: “You should never judge a notebook by its cover.” However, considering the cover in question is totally badass, sometimes that works out pretty well.
See our full MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield review.
Best MSI laptop for mid-level media editors
If a laptop has the word Evo at the end of its name, it isn’t just some half-baked idea to make it sound cooler. What it means is that the Prestige 14 Evo has been vetted to meet premium level standards for battery life, charging speed and performance by the Intel Evo platform. The Prestige 14 Evo’s title proved fitting as its 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU offered excellent performance in tandem with a battery runtime of nearly 11 hours.
The integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU isn’t going to blow you away when it comes to gaming, but it will help out with content-creation tasks. The Prestige 14 Evo proved particularly useful when it came to transcoding 4K video, and preinstalled photo and video editing apps indicate that MSI also see this as a content creator-friendly machine. While it might lack the power of a true creator-class laptop, the MSI Prestige 14 Evo’s portability and performance would make for an ideal notebook for editors with mid-tier needs.
See our full MSI Prestige 14 Evo review.
Best MSI workstation laptop
A good workstation laptop isn’t too hard to come by nowadays, but a well-rounded, durable, lightweight and powerful workstation? That’s a little more of a challenge. Luckily the MSI WS66 10TMT is all of those things and more, delivering first-rate Intel Core i9 processing power and blazing Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 Max-Q graphics. It effortlessly sailed through our benchmark tests, putting a number of its direct competitors on notice with its stand-out results.
One result in particular during our benchmark testing really made MSI’s workstation rise above its contemporaries. Most workstations aren’t expected to last long when untethered from the power cord, but the WS66 10TMT showcased an outstanding 10+ battery life in testing. And, while we didn’t dare throw our review model around the office like a lawn dart, its MIL-STD 810G certification means it can withstand a wide range of drops and shocks without damage. Considering the price of this laptop, that sort of reassurance goes a long way.
See our full MSI WS66 10TMT review.
Best MSI creator-class laptop
Creator-class laptops don’t come cheap, and that’s because they need enough power and versatility to cover a wide gamut of professional content-creation tasks. MSI’s best-suited laptop for tasks like these is the Creator Z16, one of the best workstation laptops for high-level content creators and prosumers alike. MSI’s mobile workstation is a powerful MacBook Pro alternative and comes outfitted with an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics. While the laptop seems limited by its RTX 3060, it’s still capable of serious performance.
The Creator Z16 obliterated the average scores of other workstations in our benchmark testing and proved more than capable of handling CPU/GPU intensive software — whether it be for music creation, 3D rendering, or multimedia editing. To aid in these tasks, the Creator Z16 also features a sizable 16-inch, near bezel-free QHD touchscreen. The MSI Creator Z16 is a fantastic laptop brimming with potential, both for its performance and for what can be made with this powerful tool in front of you.
See our full MSI Creator Z16 review.
Best MSI 2-in-1 laptop
While no best gaming laptop list would be complete without at least one MSI entrant, you’d be entirely forgiven for being caught off guard when seeing one appear in a best business laptop shortlist. However, while MSI knows which side its bread is buttered on, it is known to dabble in other markets. The MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo is one of those ventures, and it’s a great business-focused 2-in-1 that offers powerful performance and a vibrant 13.4-inch, 120Hz display in a thin-and-light form factor.
MSI’s 2-in-1 is powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics, while also packing in 32GB of RAM. Multitasking was a breeze, and when we let it face a battery of performance benchmarks, it sailed past the average premium laptop scores at every turn. The Summit E13 Flip is also another of MSI's notebooks to be vetted and approved by the Intel Evo platform, earning it the respected Evo tag at the end of its name. It’s a seal of approval for a premium quality Intel-based machine, and if you are looking for a Windows alternative to the MacBook Pro for your business needs, that’s exactly what you’ll find in the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo.
See our full MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo review.
Best mid-range MSI gaming laptop
MSI’s Alpha series of gaming laptops are decent mid-range devices that feature all AMD components. While the AMD components are generally more efficient, the AMD Ryzen 7-3750H CPU housed within didn’t wow us with its performance. While it handled real-world multitasking tests quite well, it spent more time below the entry-level gaming laptop average scores than above them during our synthetic benchmark tests. However, the AMD Radeon RX5500M GPU fared much better when tested across a range of demanding titles at maximum settings, resulting in solid performance and FPS output.
The MSI Alpha’s 15.6-inch, 1080p display is pretty decent for a mid-range machine, offering a speedy 144Hz refresh rate and a decent 3ms response time. What’s more, the panel has solid color reproduction and was bright when compared to its mid-range contemporaries. It’s by no means the best mid-range on the market, and it suffers from the Ryzen 7’s middling CPU performance. However, the MSI Alpha 15 is redeemed by some solid graphics performance and a few smaller touches like its comfortable keyboard with per-key lighting.
See our full MSI Alpha 15 (A3DDK) review.
Best budget MSI gaming laptop
For its price, the MSI Katana GF66 offers plenty of power from its speedy 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. The flip side of that is its weak display, poor battery life and generally uninspiring design. It's safe to say that you won't be turning many heads when you pull this notebook out, but if you can get past its bland exterior there's genuine potential here. If you're looking for a gaming laptop to deliver on graphics and performance that won't cost you an arm and a leg, MSI's sub-$1000 gaming laptop could be just what you need.
We put the Katana's gaming potential to the test against a flurry of demanding titles, and were pleased with its ability to meet or surpass the gaming laptop average scores across the board. Even at maximum graphics in 1080p resolution, the MSI Katana GF66 was able to churn out a solid 60+ FPS across titles like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It performed even better when we tested it against Far Cry New Dawn, registering 94 FPS and crushing the category average score of just 78 FPS. If you're looking for function over form, the Katana will get the job done — however, the overall experience may be tainted by its relatively dim display and weak speakers.
See our full MSI Katana GF66 review.