Despite cancelling their in-person plans, MSI still brought plenty of new laptops, motherboards, peripheral and new toys to the world’s biggest tech show.
Much like ASUS’s ROG gaming line, updating its laptops with the latest AMD and Intel hardware was a primary focus for MSI. The Taiwanese manufacturer also had a few other tricks up its sleeve, including a special tie-in with Rainbow Six: Extraction and a “phase-changing” thermal pad.
MSI’s laptops have a new trick: phase-changing liquid metal
Available only for MSI’s laptops with i9 CPUs, the phase-change liquid metal pad melts once the laptop CPU exceeds 58C / 137F. Once that happens, the previously-solid pad will fill the space between the thermal block and CPU, improving the transfer of heating and increasing cooling performance by up to 10 percent.
Made of tin, indium and bismuth, MSI argues the pad is easy to remove, and doesn’t suffer from leakage or crystallization like some mainstream metal paste.
MSI jumps into mini-LED screens
Like many other brands, 2022 is the year where mini-LED and micro-LED start to find their way into the PC market. MSI’s first crack at the technology is the MEG 271Q, a 27-inch 1440p screen with a staggering 300Hz refresh rate, DisplayHDR 1000 support and 500 local dimming zones.
The amount of local dimming zones is high for traditional monitors, although it still doesn’t compare to the amount of dimming zones in today’s LED TVs. (A high amount of dimming zones is necessary to prevent blooming for any screen or TV that’s not using OLED technology.)
Still, the combination of the 1440p resolution and 300Hz refresh rate — with no risk of burn-in — is an attractive proposition. MSI’s page says the screen will also be Nvidia Reflex-capable, with 1ms grey-to-grey response time and 97 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space for content creation.
No price was announced at the time of release, but considering the shortage of all consumer technology, and the rarity of mini-LED screens in the PC market, don’t expect the MEG 271Q to be cheap. (Competition might keep the price in check though, as other manufacturers have also announced 1440p/300Hz mini-LED screens this week, like AOC’s AG274QGM.)
MSI’s Stealth GS77, GS66
The MSI Stealth laptops have been some of the company’s most popular, cramming top-end gaming hardware into increasingly thinner frames.
The GS77 and GS66, as you’d expect, have been updated for 2022 with the latest hardware. The 15.6-inch and 17-inch models come with an Intel i9-12900H CPU, with the i9 version of the GS77 equipped with MSI’s new phase-shifting thermal pad.
Both laptops have multiple screen options, much like previous models: 4K/120Hz, 1440p/240Hz or a 1080p/360Hz screen for the GS77, and 4K/60Hz, 1440p/240Hz or 1080p/360Hz for the GS66. The GS77 also has a bonus 1080p webcam with Windows Hello support, while the GS66 has a 720p webcam.
The base Stealth GS66 configuration in the United States starts from $2,499 and comes equipped with a RTX 3070 Ti, 32GB RAM and an i9-12900H. The GS77 will be available from $1799, with the base model shipping with a i7-12550H, 16GB RAM and an RTX 3060, although it can be specced out with a 3080 Ti, 32GB RAM and an i9-12900H from $3699.
Both updated laptops will also ship with enlarged glass touchpads, and the latest generation of Nvidia’s mobile-focused Max-Q optimizations.
MSI’s Raider GE76, 66
The Raider GE line sacrifices some portability for more power. This year’s edition can use 220 watts of power, pushing the most possible performance through the 12th-gen i9 mobile CPUs, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti GPU, and MSI’s own OverBoost technology. The i9 editions of the Raider will also have MSI’s new phase-changing liquid cooling.
Along with HDMI 2.1 support, a 3.5mm jack, USB-C and USB-A connections, ethernet and an SD card reader, the baseline GE76 will retail from $1599. That model will ship with an RTX 3060, 12GB RAM and an i7-12700H, while the base Raider GE66 comes with the same CPU, 16GB RAM and an RTX 3070 from $2249.
MSI’s new Vector line
MSI’s Vector GP series is a new laptop line for 2022. Starting with the Vector GP66, users can get a RTX 3080 with an i7-12900H and 32GB RAM from an MSRP of $2389. There’s also the Vector GP76 for those who want a slightly larger laptop, with the base version of that retailing from $1899 and shipping with a RTX 3060, i7-12700H and 16GB RAM, although a RTX 3070 version is available from $2249.
Both laptops are branded as “metaverse” ready, and they ship with 1080p/360Hz models. The GP66 has a version available with a 1080p/144Hz screen — although it comes with the slightly weaker i7-12700H processor.
There’s a special laptop for Rainbow Six: Extraction
The tie-in is part of the Crosshair GL line, with the laptop themed yellow and black for Ubisoft’s upcoming co-op shooter. As far as specs go, it’s a 15.6-inch laptop with a 1440p/165Hz, 2ms screen, an RTX 3070 16GB GPU and an i7-12700H CPU.
Pricing for that model will start from $1999, with a mouse pad, gaming mouse and copy of Rainbow Six: Extraction included.
The Crosshair 15 and 17 will also be sold separately in different configurations. The Crosshair 15 will come in multiple configurations, offering up to an i9 Intel CPU, RTX 3070 Ti GPU, as much as 32GB RAM and a 1TB NVMe drive. The Crosshair 17 will top out at a 12th-gen i7 Intel CPU, up to an RTX 3070 and a 512GB NVMe drive.
Pricing for the Crosshair 15 begins from $1599 in the United States, and $1649 for the base Crosshair 17.
MSI’s Creator laptops got upgraded, too
MSI’s Creator line is their crack at making laptops to appeal to the content creator crowd: laptops with enough power for 3D rendering, video editing and artists, but with screens that are better color calibrated than what regular gamers would typically need.
The latest option in the line is the Creator Z17, which includes an 180 degree hinge and stylus support, a first for a 17-inch laptop. The Z17 will naturally come equipped with up to the i9-12900H, a 16:10 1600p/165Hz screen, up to an RTX 3080 Ti, DDR5 4800MHz RAM and an MSI stylus that can attach to the side of the laptop. The Z17 will retail from $3249 in the United States, equipped with an RTX 3070 Ti, i7-12700H and 32GB RAM.
MSI’s existing Creator line, the Z16P and M16, have also been refreshed with the latest Nvidia/Intel hardware. The 2022 M16 will be available from $1499 in a i7-12700H/RTX 3050 Ti version, while the Z16P 2022 edition will start at $2499 with an i7-12700H, RTX 3060, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD.
Given MSI’s product line also includes graphics cards, cases, desktop PCs, motherboards, keyboards, audio gear and other peripherals, it’s natural that their CES keynote didn’t feature everything. Here’s the highlights from some of MSI’s other new products for 2022:
- MSI Modern DM10 Desktops: with PC parts heinously expensive, pre-built desktop PCs have become an increasingly reasonable choice for those looking to get next-gen hardware. The modern DM10 is a small-size chassis that’s suitable for office use or those who just want a gaming-capable PC that doesn’t look like one.
- MSI MEG Aegis TI5 Gaming Desktop: For those who do want their PCs to scream “gamer”, the MSI MEG Aegis is more appropriate. The latest MEG Aegis Ti5 will ship with an RTX 3090, 12th-gen Intel CPUs and a mech-like design.
- MSI Immerse GV60 Streaming Mic: Along with an Immerse-branded wireless headset, the GV60 is MSI’s first microphone for streamers. It has three dials on the front, 3.5mm headphone zero latency output, standard thread mounts and multiple pickup patterns. Pricing and an exact release hasn’t been revealed, however.
- MSI MEG Treble PC Case: Want a small-size PC case that’s reminiscent of a cube? No? Well, just in case, there’s the MEG Treble. Designed to work with a mini-ITX motherboard, the case still supports 330mm full-length GPUs and 280mm liquid AIO coolers, as well as a PCIe 4.0 riser cable so you don’t have to sacrifice anything in performance.