MSI Vector GP66: Review in Two Minutes
The new MSI Vector GP66 laptop series is one of the most surprising newcomers to the world of gaming and somehow manages to balance performance and affordability in a world where we are getting used to good products that offer an unreasonable price. Fortune cost – but that doesn’t mean this laptop is flawless.
It packs an impressive set of hardware capable of competing with some of the best gaming laptops from Razer and Lenovo while cementing its place as arguably one of the best MSI gaming laptops available.
The Vector GP66 is equipped with high-quality components: the latest 12th generation Intel processors, an Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics card and up to 64 GB DDR4 RAM. As is typical for gaming laptops, models seem to vary depending on region, but MSI has a well-balanced selection for those who need a relatively affordable, bare-bones machine and an ultra-powerful beast.
However, the inclusion of the Intel Alder Lake CPU and a power-guzzling 150W GPU mean this gaming laptop will likely be plugged into a wall outlet semi-permanently due to its shockingly short battery life.
Battery life aside, the MSI Vector GP66 is a mighty laptop that can easily take on any gaming challenge you can imagine, and pretty short shrift to graphic-heavy AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Total War: Warhammer 3†
MSI Vector GP66: Pricing and Availability
- How much is it? From $1,900 / £1,900 / AU$2,500
- When is it out? The MSI Vector GP66 is now available
- Where is it available? You can buy it in US, UK and worldwide
Here is the MSI Vector GP66 configuration sent to Ditching for review:
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-12700H (2.40GHz)
Graphic: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 8GB DDR6
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 15.6” QHD (2560 x 1440) and 165 Hz refresh rate
Storage: 1TB Samsung NVMe SSD
Optical drive: N/A
Ports: HDMI 2.1, Mini DisplayPort, Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2, 3 x Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11ax 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
webcam: HD 720p
Weight: 5.2 pounds (2.38 kg)
Mate: 14 x 10.5 x 0.9 in (358 x 267 x 23.4 mm)
The MSI Vector GP66 laptop range is now available in the US, UK and worldwide, with slightly different configurations on offer depending on your gaming needs.
The starting configuration, priced at $1,900 / £1,900 / AU$2,500 comes with an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU, a 165Hz QHD display, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Meanwhile, more expensive variants offer the choice between an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti or 3080, as well as an option to switch to a 240Hz FHD display.
The configuration that Ditching reviewed is available for $2,000 / £2,300 (about AU$3,800). While the MSI Vector GP66 is far from cheap, it certainly comes at a much more attractive price point compared to other high-end gaming laptops on the market.
For example, the closest equivalent in terms of specifications that the Razor Blade 15 (2022) range would cost a whopping $3,326 / £3,099 (around AU$5,400) and comes equipped with a 3070 Ti rather than a 3080 (albeit with a 240Hz QHD display).
However, the Vector GP66 still struggles for the Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) in terms of value for money, with the latter costing just $2,689 / £1,999 (around AU$3,700) for similar specs.
MSI Vector GP66: Design
- Beautiful 165Hz QHD display
- Classic gaming laptop aesthetic
- Disappointing speakers
Overall, the MSI Vector GP66 follows the trend of slim gaming laptops with its classic black body.
The laptop features a Steelseries-designed RGB gaming keyboard per key, which offers the ability to customize the illumination of each individual key. However, the shallow depth of the keyboard leaves something to be desired, especially when playing motion-heavy FPS games like the Overwatch 2 beta†
Alternatively, you can take advantage of the Vector GP66’s three Type-A USB 3.2 ports to connect an external gaming keyboard or mouse† The Vector GP66 also has a single Type-C USB 3.2 port on the left side of the unit, in addition to a 3.5mm audio jack.
Conveniently, the laptop’s charging port is on the back of the device, as are the Mini Display and HDMI ports. Both support video output of 8K at 60 Hz and 4K at 120 Hz, paving the way for you to connect external gaming monitors to enhance your overall experience.
Speaking of monitors, the Vector GP66’s native 165Hz QHD display and 2560 x 1440p resolution is a great feature that gives you a smooth visual experience in most games, despite the lack of Nvidia G-Sync support. Gamers willing to sacrifice resolution in favor of an even faster refresh rate can opt for a 240Hz FHD (1920 x 1080) display configuration instead.
One minor disappointment is that the MSI Vector GP66 lacks features like an Nvidia G-Sync display or Thunderbolt port, which makes it feel a bit half-baked, although this will be a pretty big deal for some, especially casual gamers. Still, it’s worth noting that there are options on the market that do include these features for those who need them, and at a comparable price.
The sound quality of the MSI Vector GP66’s built-in speakers ultimately disappoints, despite the promise of Hi-Res Audio capabilities. Their performance with both music and gameplay has been disappointing, so the use of headphones is highly recommended.
MSI Vector GP66: Performance
- Value for money
- Incredible game performance
Here’s how the MSI Vector GP66 performed in our series of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Night Raid: 58,358; Fire Attack: 27,419; Time spy: 12,483
Cinebench R23 multicore: 16,812 points
Geek Bench 5: 1801 (single wire)† 11,870 (multicore)
PCMark 10 (modern office): 7,637 points
Battery Life PCMark 10: 2 hours 43 minutes
Battery Life (USA Health Reports Movie Test): 2 hours and 16 minutes
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 87 fps; (1080p, Low): 246 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 89 fps; (1080p, Low): 131 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 112 fps; (1080p, Low): 219 fps
Gaming performance is one area where the MSI Vector GP66 undeniably excels. Armed with its powerful 12th Gen Intel Core processor, the Vector GP66 surprisingly managed to match – and in some cases beat – the Razer Blade 15 (2022) in several benchmark tests. For example, in our 3DMark Night Mark test, the Vector GP66 outperformed Razer’s flagship laptop by a whopping 10%.
The configurations are all well equipped with the latest hardware except RAM which still used the previous generation DDR4 over DDR5. This is likely a cost-saving measure, although we expect DDR4 to become less common in laptop releases in the coming months as DDR5 becomes more affordable for manufacturers, which can make the laptop feel a bit outdated.
In our gaming benchmarks, the MSI Vector GP66 also beat its competition, hitting a satisfying 89 frames per second (fps) on Cyberpunk 2077 at ‘Ultra’ settings and 41 fps with ray tracing enabled. In comparison, the Razer Blade 15 (2022) achieved 58 fps and 35 fps respectively in comparable tests – in short, enough difference to make a solid case for the Vector GP66.
All in all, this is a solid choice for… well, a wide selection of consumers considering all the configurations available and a reasonable price tag, although there are certainly more affordable options for those in need of a cheap gaming laptop, and those with lots of cash to splash can feel like the lack of G-sync, DDR5 and Thunderbolt is a deal breaker.
MSI Vector GP66: Battery Life
- Terrible battery life
- slow charging
With its top-notch hardware and great gaming performance, the MSI Vector GP66 12UH seems to be taking its newly established rivalry with the Razer Blade 15 (2022) a bit too far by surpassing the latter’s poor battery life.
The Vector GP66 barely managed to squeeze in a disappointing two hours 43 minutes during our PCMark10 battery life test and two hours 16 minutes during our FHD movie battery test. In comparison, the Razer Blade 15 (2022) lasted six minutes and 27 minutes longer, respectively, than the Vector GP66 in both tests.
Fast charging could have offered some sort of silver lining, but unfortunately this is not the case with the MSI Vector GP66. During our numerous tests, we found that the laptop can take up to two hours during use to reach 100% of the battery, even when performing the simplest work-related tasks.
As is the case with many other gaming laptops, the Vector GP66’s short battery life is likely the result of its power-hungry CPU and GPU. Fortunately for MSI, its latest laptop is far from the only one on the market with three hours or less battery life, and given the warm reception the Razer Blade 15 (2022) and Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) have received, it seems being tethered to a charging cable isn’t such a big deal breaker within the gaming community after all.
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
First review June 2022