A convention about gaming isn’t complete if it focuses just on the games and not the hardware they can run on. And that brings to light the tangible side of our fine industry – the gaming rig. And those rigs have progressively become more mobile – the power of those bright shiny boxes under desks across the globe have gone mobile, and gaming class laptops are here to stay.
A couple weeks ago at PAX East I got a chance to tour MSI’s new gaming laptop suite, going from multi-use slim designs to desktop replacement monsters. We started off with the newly released GS 65 Stealth, and ultra thin gaming machine that measures in at a svelte 17.9mm (0.7″) thick and about 4 pounds in weight. Inside that tiny frame rests an nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 (upgradeable to a 1070 for those who really want to push it) and the latest Intel 8th-gen i7-8750H 6-core processor.
With a 144Hz IPS near-bezel-less screen and aesthetic bells and whistles like Dragon Center game optimization and customizable key lighting, the GS 65 Stealth also provides some impressive battery life, touting “up to 8 hours” of off-power life. Talking to Lenny Tang, Product Marketing Manager for gaming laptops, we got a bit more detail on what that really translates into though. “When we’re gaming Fortnite or League of Legends, I play for almost 3 hours – like 2 hours and 40 or 50 minutes.” That might not sound like a lot for those that aren’t familiar with gaming laptop hardware, but I’ve worked with more than a few units that barely let you get through watching an hour and a half long movie and doing nothing else. “As far as video watching, web surfing, and productivity you’ll get closer to 6 hours.”
I myself like single units that can get everything done for me for both work and play – I don’t really want to use multiple laptops for multiple needs. I want to be able to raid on the same laptop i give client presentations on. “This is super discreet – we don’t have that red logo before,” Tang said. “It has that really premium look so it can have that business feel too.”
Sweet, that’s right up my alley. The GS 65 Stealth starts at $1799 for the GTX 1060 edition, and $1999 for the GTX 1070.
Next up was the GE Raider, with a new unique illuminated cover and fully RGB keyboard for lighting superfans. As opposed to the Stealth, the Raider comes in a bit bigger at 1.2″ thick and 5.5 to 6.2 pounds, depending on whether you’re looking at the 15.6″ or the 17.3″ editions. The bigger size gives it a bit more room for upgrades and more storage with 2 M.2 slots plus SATA, and allows it to fit a full GTX 1070 in the casing. As far as power, it still packs the same 8th gen i7’s that the Stealth does. A very “lit” solution for lovers of lights.
That finished the “laptops of reasonable size section” of the tour. Next up was the GT75 Titan.
The Titan is a mammoth of a machine, sitting at 17.3″ and 10+ pounds, running Intel’s 6-core i9 (yes, I said i9) processors, overclocked of course. And with it comes massively matching options. Available on the Titan is a 120MHz screen option, 4K option, GTX 1080 SLI option, and even the option to put up to 64GB of RAM in it. With all of those features this is a straight-up desktop replacement that can in fact house up to 5 hard drives inside (3 M.2’s and 2 2.5″ slots). It’s a good thing that chassis is a big as it is, because for the kind of power it’s packing it requires the 2 massive fans on the back end that look more like custom exhausts on a car than fans on a laptop. I was actually surprised to hear that with everything running hot that you can still squeak out an hour of gaming on battery on this behemoth. In addition to all the functional options, the keyboard does have customizable RGB as well as MSI proprietary mechanical switches.
To me this is beyond a gaming laptop, so who is this really for? “A lot of media or content creators use this because they can game, they can stream, and they can record at the same time. And you’ll have all the storage and power you’ll need for those things, all at once.”
With this MSI is showing that they have a laptop for all sorts of gamers and enthusiasts, whether it be packing something light to game while you travel or running and recording livestreams with the settings turned all the way up. I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these and take them for a test drive.