This week, PC-maker MSI held a “virtual summit” where it announced a plethora of new machines, largely driven by the launch of Intel’s 11th-generation CPUs. Much of what was discussed amounts to the usual suspects—various forms and configurations of gaming laptops to compete with Razer and its ilk. But the Taiwanese tech company also introduce the Summit series: slim business laptops that are outside the recent norm for the company.
MSI’s existing Prestige and Modern lines will also get a Tiger Lake refresh, with retail availability expected in October.
As a laptop vendor, MSI focuses on the higher end, both in gaming and productivity laptops. Until now, all MSI models we’re aware of—including the general-purpose laptops not aimed at gamers—have featured Nvidia discrete GPUs. The Tiger Lake refresh of the productivity-oriented Modern line does away with the Nvidia GPU, relying entirely on Intel’s integrated Xe graphics instead. Seeing an OEM who has been all-in on discrete GPUs suddenly drop them in existing product lines is another good indicator that Intel’s Xe integrated graphics will likely live up to the hype.
The new Summit is split into two series: E and B, each of which offers 14- and 15-inch variants, plus a 13-inch convertible in the E series.
The E series laptops both have IR webcams and touchscreens, but the B series does not. Otherwise, a lot of the key features are the same: TPM, Intel vPro, fingerprint sensor, 11th-gen Intel CPUs, Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, and so on.
In terms of specifications, the B14 and B15 have Core i7 CPUs, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, FullHD displays, 720p@30fps webcams, a single Thunderbolt 4 port, SSDs, DisplayPort 1.4, two USB-A ports, one HDMi port, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. Both can be upgraded to as much as 64GB of DDR4-3200 RAM. The B14 has a 14-inch display, as the name suggests, and the B15 has a 15-inch one.
The E14 and E15 kick things up a notch with dedicated graphics: Nvidia’s GTX 1650Ti with 4GB of GDDR6, in addition to Intel Core i7 CPUs and similar options to the B-series for storage. The E series laptops offer two Thunderbolt 4 ports instead of one, and they offer FullHD touchscreen or 4K non-touchscreen configuration options in addition to the non-touch FullHD option. Finally, there’s the Summit E13 Flip convertible “featuring a display that flips 360 degrees.”
As noted above, MSI updated its existing lines, including the introduction of the Prestige 14 Evo, the first MSI laptop to carry Intel Evo certification. If you haven’t gotten the news about Evo, it’s a rebranding of the earlier Project Athena and is designed to give users guarantees about the “experience” a system offers—specifically, requirements for Evo certification include an i5 or i7 CPU, wake time of less than a second, 9-hour or greater runtime on a “typical use” workload (which includes some idle time), and fast charging—specifically, 4+ hours of runtime from a half-hour of charging.
All that said, the company hasn’t revealed pricing or availability for any of the Prestige laptops yet.
Listing image by MSI