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By published 20 June 22
Packed with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU, the MSI Vector GP66 is a mighty gaming laptop. Unfortunately, it’s also overshadowed by barely any semblance of a battery life, effectively restricting you to the nearest power socket.
Fantastic gaming performance
Decent value for high-end specs
Plentiful display and configuration options
Shocking battery life
Slow charging capabilities
No Nvidia G-sync display
The new MSI Vector GP66 laptop series is one of the more surprising newcomers to the world of gaming, somehow managing to balance performance and affordability in a world where we’re becoming accustomed to good products costing an unreasonable fortune – but that doesn’t mean this laptop is without fault.
It’s packing an impressive set of hardware capable of competing with some of the best gaming laptops from Razer and Lenovo while simultaneously cementing its place as arguably one of the best MSI gaming laptops available.
The Vector GP66 comes equipped with top-of-the-line components: the latest 12th Gen Intel processors, an Nvidia RTX 30-series graphics card and up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM. As is typical with gaming laptops, models appear to vary depending on region, but MSI has a well-balanced selection to suit 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-hungry 150W GPU means that this gaming laptop will likely be tethered semi-permanently to a power socket due to its shockingly short battery life.
Battery life aside, the MSI Vector GP66 is a mighty laptop that will easily handle any gaming challenge you can throw its way, making fairly short work of graphics-heavy AAA titles such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Total War: Warhammer 3.
Here is the MSI Vector GP66 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H (2.40 GHz)
Graphics: 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 lbs (2.38 kg)
Size: 14 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches (358 x 267 x 23.4 mm)
The MSI Vector GP66 laptop range is available in the US, UK and worldwide now, 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 variations offer a choice between an Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti or 3080, as well as an option to switch to a 240Hz FHD display.
The configuration that TechRadar reviewed is available for $2,000 / £2,300 (around AU$3,800). Although the MSI Vector GP66 is far from cheap, it certainly has a much more attractive price compared to other high-end gaming laptops on the market.
For instance, the closest equivalent in terms of specs that the Razer Blade 15 (2022) range would have to offer would cost a whopping $3,326 / £3,099 (around AU$5,400) and comes equipped with a 3070 Ti instead of a 3080 (albeit with a 240Hz QHD display).
However, the Vector GP66 still struggles to beat 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 equivalent specs.
Overall, the MSI Vector GP66 follows the trend of sleek gaming laptops with its classic black chassis.
The laptop features a per-key RGB gaming keyboard designed by Steelseries, offering the possibility to customize the lighting of each individual key as you see fit. However, the shallow depth of the keyboard does leave something to be desired, particularly when playing movement-heavy FPS games such as the Overwatch 2 beta.
As an alternative, 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 located on the left side of the device, alongside a 3.5mm audio jack.
Conveniently, the laptop’s charging port is located at the back of the device, as are the Mini Display and HDMI ports. Both support video output of 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz, paving the way for you to connect external gaming monitors to elevate your overall experience.
Speaking of monitors – the Vector GP66’s native 165Hz QHD display and its 2560 x 1440p resolution is a great feature that gives you a smooth visual experience throughout most games, despite the lack of Nvidia G-Sync support. Gamers prepared to sacrifice resolution in favor of an even faster refresh rate can also opt for a configuration with a 240Hz FHD (1920 x 1080) display instead.
A small disappointment is that the MSI Vector GP66 lacks features like an Nvidia G-Sync screen or Thunderbolt port which makes it feel a little half-baked, though this will be a fairly significant issue for some, especially casual gamers. Still, its worth noting that there are options on the market that do include these features for those who need them, and at a similar price.
The audio quality of the MSI Vector GP66’s built-in speakers ultimately falls flat despite its promise of Hi-Res Audio capabilities. Their performance with both music and gameplay was disappointing, so the use of headphones is strongly recommended.
Here’s how the MSI Vector GP66 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Night Raid: 58,358; Fire Strike: 27,419; Time Spy: 12,483
Cinebench R23 multi-core: 16,812 points
GeekBench 5: 1801 (single-core); 11,870 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Modern Office): 7,637 points
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 2 hours 43 minutes
Battery life (TechRadar 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 an area in which 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, even beat – the Razer Blade 15 (2022) across various benchmarking tests. For instance, during our 3DMark Night Mark test, the Vector GP66 performed a staggering 10% better than Razer’s flagship laptop.
The configurations are all well equipped with the latest hardware, save for RAM which still used the previous DDR4 generation over DDR5. This is likely a cost-saving measure, though we anticipate that DDR4 will start to become less common in laptop releases over the next few months as DDR5 becomes more affordable for manufacturers, which could make the laptop feel a bit outdated.
In our gaming benchmarks, the MSI Vector GP66 edged out its competition as well, offering 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) managed 58 fps and 35 fps respectively in similar tests – in short, enough of a difference to make a solid case for the Vector GP66.
In all, this is a solid choice for…well, a wide selection of consumers given all the configurations available and reasonable price tag, though there are certainly more affordable options around for folks who need a budget gaming laptop, and those with plenty of cash to splash may feel like the lack of G-sync, DDR5 and Thunderbolt are a deal-breaker.
With its top-of-the-line hardware and great gaming performance, the MSI Vector GP66 12UH seemingly takes its newly-established rivalry with the Razer Blade 15 (2022) a tad too far by outdoing the latter’s poor battery life.
The Vector GP66 barely managed to squeeze out 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 than the Vector GP66 in both tests, respectively.
Fast charging could have offered some sort of silver lining, but unfortunately this is not the case with the MSI Vector GP66. Throughout our numerous tests we found that when in use, the laptop can take up to two hours to reach 100% 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 by far not the only one on the market with a battery life of three hours or less, and considering the warm reception that the Razer Blade 15 (2022) and the Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) have received, being tethered to a charging cable doesn’t appear to be too much of a dealbreaker within the gaming community anyway.
You play AAA games
Packed with a 12th Gen Intel Core CPU and an Nvidia RTX 30-series GPU, the MSI Vector GP66 makes short work of virtually any AAA game even at max settings.
You want the best specs possible
The MSI Vector GP66 offers the latest lines of CPU and GPUs, in addition to its high-speed NVMe SSD and beautiful 165Hz QHD display for one of the best values on the market.
You plan on gaming on-the-go
You can expect to be glued to the nearest power socket seeing as that will be the only way to get the best of the Vector GP66, thanks to its poor battery life and relatively slow charging.l
You’re not planning to use peripherals
A combination of an average shallow depth keyboard, mediocre trackpad and disappointing native audio speakers means that your gaming experience is bound to suffer unless you plan on connecting peripherals such as a mouse, keyboard and headphones.
Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6)
The Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) is one of the best bargains in gaming laptops available now, offering top-of-the-line performance coupled with a great value for money.
Check out our Lenovo Legion 7 (Gen 6) review (opens in new tab)
Razer Blade 15 (2022)
Although in some benchmarking tests the Razer Blade 15 (2022) fell a tad short of the Vector GP66, its classic Razer design and stylish MacBook-esque appearance is difficult to beat, provided you can stomach the price.
Check out our Razer Blade 15 (2022) review (opens in new tab)
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
It’s hard to argue against the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, which has cemented its place atop TechRadar’s list of the best gaming laptops.
Check out our Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review (opens in new tab)
First reviewed June 2022
Ilyas is a freelance writer and technology communications specialist based in London, United Kingdom. On the rare occasion that he’s not working, you can find him either binge-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe or doom-scrolling on Twitter. You can reach him anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org (opens in new tab).
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