Gaming laptops are an ever increasing breed, particularly in 2022 when machines with highly effective graphics playing cards prolong far past the normal hefty units with flashing RGB it’s possible you’ll count on on this area. Oddly, the MSI Katana GF66 sits extra firmly prior to now, although not essentially in a nasty means.
It’s a laptop computer made for PC players who don’t need to splash out for the best high quality of supplies and design in addition to top-tier efficiency. As a outcome, there are just a few compromises to just accept. And maybe the toughest to swallow is that, despite the fact that the Katana presents itself as a worth proposition, increased costs throughout the board and a scarcity of low-end GPU choices restrict this laptop computer’s enchantment.
The mannequin of the MSI Katana GF66 I examined isn’t probably the most wallet-friendly out there, sporting a Twelfth-Gen Intel Core i7-12700H chip, the mid- to low-tier Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 1 TB SSD, and 16 GB RAM—all for a worth of $1,399 (£1,399). There’s a small however vital distinction between the UK mannequin I examined and its US equal, with the previous that includes a quicker 240-Hz show, and the latter, a 144-Hz panel. Both are 15.6-inch, with the Katana GF76 being the 17-inch model of this machine. You can enterprise as little as a $1,100 mannequin and get a RTX 3050, 512 GB SSD, and eight GB RAM as a substitute should you’re on the lookout for the most cost effective choice from this vary.
The Katana GF66 is actually a step up from the earlier mannequin, with a brand new Twelfth-Gen Intel chip being the most important change. You can comfortably break the 60 frames-per-second mark in graphically demanding titles like Borderlands 3, and even get above 100 fps in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint—all on Ultra settings at 1080p. For fps fanatics, testing noticed round 110 fps in Apex Legends on the identical settings. To take full benefit of the 240-Hz show, you’ll have to use decrease Medium settings and scale back the decision to 720p. The 144-Hz mannequin out there within the US ought to permit for round Medium settings at 1080p to hit the utmost body price.
Comparing these outcomes with our favourite funds gaming laptop computer of final 12 months, the Acer Nitro 5—additionally sporting an RTX 3060—it gives between a ten to 25 % bump. Frame-rate-focused titles see the most important distinction, with Apex providing comparable frames at 1080p Ultra that it supplied at 1080p Low settings on the comparable mannequin.
The efficiency provides little to complain about, and the identical goes for some key performance-adjacent components. The followers aren’t overly intrusive, even when this laptop computer actually will get going, and, regardless of this, it by no means will get overly scorching to the contact. The regular efficiency is matched by a robust show. OK, it doesn’t carry remarkably vibrant colours, however the 1080p decision supplies appropriate element, it will get moderately vivid for a gaming laptop computer—dealing with most indoor circumstances, however you gained’t be utilizing it exterior—and the 240-Hz panel has pleasingly clean gaming throughout all titles.