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The best MSI laptop for gaming

The best MSI laptop for gaming
(Image credit: MSI)

Picking the best MSI laptop for gaming will deliver a mobile machine capable of offering high gaming frame rates, outstanding build quality, and excellent all-round functionality. It's a name that's often associated with powerful gaming components as well as some of the best gaming laptops. In fact, these notebooks appear so frequently in our list of favourites, it makes sense to gather the best MSI laptops for gaming and list them in one place.

If you're after true portability without sacrificing performance, the Stealth Thin takes full advantage of Nvidia's Max-Q technology with a slimiline chassis that weighs in at less than five pounds. You'd have a tough time finding a better gaming laptop that delivers the freedom you'd expect with specs that can handle pretty much any game you care to throw at it.

But if you're only interested in performance, and don't mind owning a larger machine to house more powerful components, the MSI GT75 Titan is a solid option. And with a choice of full-fat GTX or RTX graphics, the aptly named Titan is easily capable of handling tasks such as recording, streaming, and editing too.

1. MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

Desktop performance made nigh-perfectly portable

CPU: Intel Core i7-8750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – RTX 2080 Max-Q | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS 144Hz | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD | Battery: 82Wh | Dimensions: 9.75 x 0.69 — 0.70 x 14.08 inches | Weight: 4.14 – 4.19 lbs

Elegant design
Powerful internals
No G-Sync

Until the advent of the GS65 Stealth Thin, every thin and light gaming laptop was either too expensive or too inefficient to be a viable replacement for your desktop. Or even your existing clamshell for that matter. In a way, the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin disrupted an increasingly complacent subsect of computing that, to this day, is in dire need of a revolution. Black with gold accents, it took the banal red and black gamer's palette of the past and subverted it. Its gold-trimmed lattice exhaust breathes opulence. It's economical at the low end, and its recent configurations are capable of raytracing in real-time. 

There is a new MSI GS66 Stealth but we've not been as impressed with the compromised performance on offer with the latest Intel 10th Gen and Nvidia Super combo in this svelte package. And the last-gen version still comes with great tech, and a price tag that's only going to get more competitive.

I'm left with few complaints about the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin. Sure, I'd prefer to have G-Sync or a higher resolution screen option, but at what cost? Right now the battery lasts through a whole day of basic productivity tasks. Introduce a pair of battery-hungry features to the mix and we'll lose out on its stately endurance.

Should you crave the winning desktop-level performance of the Razer Blade, not to mention its narrow screen bezels, but all for a lower price, the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin is the best MSI laptop for gaming 2019 can afford. However, if its (roughly 10 percent) weaker Max-Q graphics aren't for you, perhaps this next entry will be.

Read the full review: MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

2. MSI GT75 Titan

In this case, maybe bigger is better

CPU: Intel Core i7-8750HK — i9-8950HK | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 — RTX 2080 | RAM: 16GB — 32GB | Screen: 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) — 4K UHD IPS 60Hz — 144Hz | Storage: 256GB SSD — 1TB HDD, 512GB SSD | Battery: 90Wh | Dimensions: 12.36 x 1.22 — 2.28 x 16.85 inches | Weight: 10.05 lbs

Gushing CPU and GPU power
True mechanical keyboard
Poor battery life

Against all odds, the runner-up to the best MSI laptop for gaming is the polar opposite of thin and light. Lugging around a 10.05-pound gargantuan might sound like a chore, but we assure you it's worth it for the genuine desktop power on offer. It's not supposed to be travel-size, the MSI GT75 Titan is a sight to behold. For one, its desktop-class Intel processor is joined by your choice of full-fat, non-Max-Q Nvidia GeForce GTX or RTX graphics. This means you can save some money by opting for the last-gen GTX 1070 or 1080, or alternatively you can experience highfalutin raytracing for enhanced lighting and shadows in games such as Battlefield V and Metro Exodus

For day-to-day tasks, you'll enjoy fewer typing mistakes since the GT75 Titan boasts a deeply satisfying SteelSeries mechanical keyboard. Tactilities aside, the "HK" moniker of the housed Core i7-8750HK or i9-8950HK silicon indicates overclockability. You can raise the stock frequency on the CPU using the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility or by toggling on Turbo in Dragon Center.

But what sets the Titan apart from the 17-inch MSI GS75 Stealth is its screen. Unlike most gaming laptops, you don't have to prioritize refresh rate over resolution. Instead, you can take your pick between a 1080p 144Hz screen and a 4K 60Hz one. Oh, sweet freedom.

3. MSI GE63 Raider RGB

Abnormally powerful for its size, and also hella lit

CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H | GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 — 2080 | RAM: 16GB — 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD — 512GB SSD | Battery: 51Wh — 65Wh | Dimensions: 10.24 x 1.16 x 15.08 inches | Weight: 5.49 lbs

Genuine (not Max-Q) RTX graphics
Modest footprint
Middling battery life
Harsh fan noise

At the cross section between the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin and the GT75 Titan exists the GE63 Raider RGB, a midrange gaming laptop that—while thin and light—foregoes shortsighted industry trends in favor of uninhibited balance. Despite its RGB surname, don't be confused: ostentatious lighting is not the real value proposition here. Performance is.

On the GPU front, the Raider packs Nvidia's formidable RTX graphics, absent is the stifled Max-Q design of the GS65 Stealth Thin. In other words, the GE63 Raider's RTX 2080 is about 10 percent faster than its GS65 equivalent. If you care more about frames per second than cosmetic appeal, it might be for you.

As for the LEDs, yes, it's stacked. To no surprise, the keyboard is graced with per-key illumination, meaning you could theoretically assign a different backlit color to every key on the keyboard if you're a total sadist. The keyboard itself is rather deep for a gaming laptop of this stature, with 2mm of travel guiding each press.

Moreover, the GE63 has a couple of weird accents on its lid, resembling the number 7 and its mirrored counterpart. Some will see these embellishments as garish and unnecessary. Those people hate fun. Kidding aside, the MSI GE63 isn't too unwieldy, nor is its potential softened by the limitations of Max-Q. Quite the contrary. It's just right, in almost every aspect. 

Jorge Jimenez is a Hardware Writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, you can find Jorge streaming bad games with his dog or binge-watching an irresponsible amount of Law & Order: SVU.