MSI Katana GF66 12U overview -mismatched gaming laptop computer specs

The MSI Katana GF66 12U is a conventional gaming laptop computer by and thru. That’s to not say it doesn’t pack a punch, because it wields a panel that’ll please aggressive PC gamers and esports fanatics alike. But, it feels as if MSI has taken a muddled strategy with its funds mannequin specs, leading to a value that may sway you to look elsewhere.

Armed with a 240Hz show, the MSI Katana GF66 12U gaming laptop computer is not any run-of-the-mill machine. Whereas its display decision and graphics card of alternative caters to 1080p gaming, its excessive refresh charge capabilities are a boon when taking part in the finest FPS video games.

Execs Cons
  • Speedy 240Hz panel
  • Snappy Intel Alder Lake CPU
  • Costly
  • Bland aesthetic
  • Restricted ports

It takes greater than a speedy display to reach the finest gaming laptop computer ring, as there are cheaper contenders that wield a excessive refresh charge. The MSI Katana GF66 12U has the potential to return out swinging in opposition to some Gigabyte, Acer, and Asus alternate options, however its aesthetic, alternative of specs, and value level may preserve it from the limelight.

MSI Katana GF66 12U gaming laptop from back with cooling vents facing camera

MSI Katana GF66 specs

MSI Katana GF66 12U
CPU Intel Core i7-12700H
GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 laptop computer GPU
Reminiscence 16GB DDR4, 3200MHz
Storage 1TB NVMe SSD
Display dimension 15.6-inch
Display decision 1920 x 1080
Refresh charge 240Hz
Worth £1,399

Please be aware: this SKU is presently out of inventory, however MSI tells us it’ll be again quickly. Here’s a related mannequin you should purchase immediately.

Top view of MSI Katana GF66 12U with black shell and logo

MSI Katana GF66 12U design

Take a second to think about a gaming laptop computer in your thoughts’s eye. Received one thing? Effectively, it most likely seems nearly just like the MSI Katana GF66. At 15.6 inches, this explicit moveable gaming PC options the identical understated housing as earlier fashions, with high-quality plastics that contribute to its inflexible chassis.

When you’re searching for a stable laptop computer that’ll survive day-to-day knocks, the Katana GF66 ought to maintain up simply positive. Weighing in at 2.25kg, it’s moderately burly, nevertheless it truly weighs greater than the Asus TUF Sprint F15 – a particularly sturdy laptop computer that I take advantage of as a each day driver. It’s onerous to decipher why MSI’s machine is heftier, however it’s visually chonkier and something however elegant.

The Katana GF66 makes use of a reasonably typical display bezel, however MSI hasn’t gone out of its technique to slim something down. In actual fact, not like some laptops on the market ( you, Asus TUF Sprint F15), this mannequin features a 720p webcam. Efficiency-wise, the moveable rig’s electrical eye is dependable and clear, making it greater than as much as the duty of labor conferences.

Aesthetically, Katana GF66 sits someplace between understated and bland. Don’t get me unsuitable; I’d take MSI’s matte black end over a loud and proud racing stripes rig any day of the week. Nonetheless, there’s one thing overwhelmingly primary concerning the laptop computer’s exterior, with a glance I’d usually affiliate with cheaper choices. Put it this manner, in case you typed ‘gaming laptop computer’ into that Dall-e Mini AI generator, you’d most likely find yourself with one thing related.

That’s to not say the laptop computer is totally devoid of color, because it harbours menacingly pink accents round its keycaps. When you’re not a fan of pink, you’re fats out of luck, because the laptop computer’s chiclet gaming keyboard boasts single-colour LED backlighting that screams ‘darkish facet of the drive’.

Talking of keyboards, the Katana GF66’s clicky-clacky resolution features a comically small numpad, which occupies a two-inch house on the right-hand facet. Fortunately, the remainder of the laptop computer’s keyboard structure doesn’t really feel cramped, however all the things is barely off-centre in comparison with alternate options. That shouldn’t matter a lot to the typical person, however I’ve already deleted this sentence 4 instances to right typos, so take from that what you’ll.

MSI Katana GF66 12U gaming laptop keyboard numpad in red

MSI Katana GF66 12U options

Arguably, the star of the present is the Katana GF66’s 240Hz show, as choices at this value level usually embrace a 144Hz panel. When you’re hellbent on taking part in video games on a excessive refresh display, this laptop computer will enable you obtain that purpose, however its inclusion comes with compromise, particularly in terms of bang for buck.

Underneath the hood, the MSI Katana GF66 is supplied with an Nvidia RTX 3060 – a laptop computer GPU that pairs nicely with 1080p gaming. My major concern with this particular SKU is that you could seize an RTX 3070 laptop computer for across the identical value, and with RTX 4000 graphics playing cards on the horizon, they’ll doubtless get cheaper.

Certain, these fashions usually embrace a 144Hz display, however to benefit from the Katana GF66’s panel, you’d have to go to greath lengths to increase fps to get wherever close to the 240Hz on show right here. That’s to not say it’s not doable, nevertheless it’ll be more durable to realize with future releases, and also you may have to bump your settings down in newer video games (we’ll get to that in a bit). That is all par for the course in case you play aggressive shooters, but when that’s not your bag, you then may need to spend your cash on an RTX 3070 rig as an alternative.

MSI Katana GF66 12U side view with USB and HDMI ports

Accompanying the Katana GF66’s GPU is an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Gen 4 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD. By way of ports, the laptop computer’s kitted out with three USB 3.2 ports, a USB 2.0 port, USB-C, and an HDMI 2.0 port.

The variety of ports included is pretty typical, however I’ve just a few gripes with MSI’s configuration. First off, HDMI 2.0’s limitations imply that if you wish to hook up the Katana GF66 to the finest gaming monitor round, it’ll be capped at 4K 60Hz. The laptop computer’s USB-C port additionally lacks each Thunderbolt and energy supply capabilities, additional dashing my plans to combine it with my gaming desk setup.

Naturally, a gaming laptop computer’s measure of benefit ought to be primarily based on its gaming PC efficiency, and the MSI Katana GF66 is a succesful 1080p machine. You’ll have to wind your settings down to learn from its 240Hz display, however it’s best to be capable to obtain over 60fps in lots of trendy video games with out touching a dial.

The RTX 3060 isn’t a foul laptop computer GPU, and it’s greater than able to offering a contemporary gaming PC expertise. When you’re not a body charge fuss pot, you may even make the most of its ray tracing talents and nonetheless obtain 1080p 60fps in video games like Guardians of the Galaxy.

That stated, the RTX 3060 is an entry-level card, and utilizing it to succeed in 240fps is not any straightforward feat. Regardless of my finest efforts, I couldn’t get Halo Infinite to run previous 170fps, even with decision scaling cranked to the ground. Naturally, GPU can pump out extra frames in older shooters like CS:GO, however you’d maybe anticipate as a lot with a 2022 mannequin.

MSI Katana GF66 12U screen with Samurai themed wallpaper

Most of my Katana GF66 considerations lie with its panel and GPU pairing. A transportable RTX 3060 rig usually sells for round $1,200, and it’s completely doable to get one for beneath $1,000 on sale. MSI’s SKU, nonetheless, is available in at £1,399 (round $1,650 USD with VAT) within the UK – a price ticket you’d anticipate to see slapped on an RTX 3070 mannequin.

When you think about the truth that the RTX 3060 isn’t essentially capable of hit 240fps in most video games, even with toned-down settings, it locations a query mark above the high-spec display’s inclusion. So as to add insult to harm, the show is visually mediocre, missing each vibrancy and definition. Quick-paced video games like Neon White really feel silky clean at 240Hz, however the platformer’s vivid visuals failed to show as much as the panel occasion.

In fact, the Katana GF66’s Intel Alder Lake CPU additionally contributes to its value level, because the twelfth gen chip contributes to gaming efficiency and retains issues snappy throughout normal use. Although, the processor’s talents solely excuse its value to an extent, as AMD Ryzen chips aren’t far behind the i7-12700H when it comes to gaming efficiency.

MSI Katana GF66 12U with MSI Centre software on screen

The annoying cherry on high of MSI’s questionable alternative of specs is the choice to forgo a MUX change. Together with the motherboard graphics tech would have helped the RTX 3060 churn out extra frames and edge nearer to the 240Hz pannel’s most well-liked fps.

Gaming laptop computer efficiency generally comes at the price of peace and quiet, however the Katana GF66’s cooling resolution isn’t offensively loud. You may toggle fan velocity settings utilizing MSI Centre, and the software program comes with a bunch of profiles to go well with quite a lot of use eventualities.

Please be aware: this SKU is presently out of inventory, however MSI tells us it’ll be again quickly. Here’s a related mannequin you should purchase immediately.

The laptop computer’s ‘smart-auto’ fan profile ought to, in idea, robotically scale issues by monitoring GPU and CPU mode. Whereas the mode seems to perform as supposed, fan noise seems to sit down at a particular stage throughout gaming, which I’m truly okay with.

If any and all fan noise provides you the ick, you most likely gained’t be blissful till you’re blocking it out with a gaming headset. I truly favor the Katana GF66’s persistent hum, because the sudden stop-and-start strategy utilized by the likes of the Asus TUF F Sprint 15 is typically distracting.

MSI Katana GF66 12U gaming laptop charger

Battery life is a little bit of a sore spot for the Katana GF66, because it’ll solely have your again for a fraction of your day. Throughout testing, I’d have to succeed in for its weighty energy brick after three hours of normal use, that means I couldn’t enterprise too removed from an influence outlet. The actual fact the laptop computer’s USB-C lacks charging capabilities provides salt to the wound, because it additionally means you may’t use an influence financial institution in a pitch.

In the end, the MSI Katana GF66’s greatest disadvantage is its price ticket, and it’s a kicker when you think about what you may truly purchase for round £1,400. When you’re a stickler for quick refresh charges, this laptop computer’s panel could verify just a few containers, however sadly, the remainder of this explicit SKU seems like an costly mismatch. Utilizing an excellent speedy panel like peacock feathers isn’t sufficient to masks that truth, and until you’re keen to stay to older video games and cut back your settings, the 240Hz machine will battle to take flight.

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