MSI Introduces its Ai Era of Computing

MSI Introduces its ‘Ai Era of Computing’ Laptops

MSI showed-off its forthcoming range of Ai laptops at an event in Melbourne recently and High Performance Laptops was there to check it out.

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The event kicked-off with opening remarks from Jerry Lu, MSI’s ANZ Country Manager. He pointed out that 2024 is the 20th anniversary of MSI entering the laptop market. He noted that last year was tough for the laptop market but that MSI’s local market share grew from 10 per cent to 20 per cent in that time. He also introduced MSI’s first handheld gaming device, The Claw.

Next up was Intel Retail Sales Manager, Ricardo Wells-Jansz, a local Melbournite, who started by extolling the virtues of Intel’s new 14th-Gen processors and how they’re great for gaming, creating and general productivity.

He moved on to talk about the Performance Hybrid Architecture of the ‘Raptor Lake’ HX processors which can see 24 cores (across 32 threads) run at 5.8GHz frequencies using (highly overclockable) 3rd-Gen Turbo Boost technology and how these processors had maintained Intel’s dominance in the high performance gaming segment. He said that they enabled simultaneous gaming and streaming plus 8K video editing and architecture planning as prime examples of the processors’ prowess.

MSI Ai Era of Computing
There were many journalists, industry people and influencers at the MSI Ai Era of Computing event in Melbourne.

He then moved on to the new, 14th-Gen ‘Meteor Lake’ Core Ultra processors which feature NPUs and integrated Arc graphics for, ‘Thinner, slicker laptops with better battery life.’ Ricardo also spoke about Arc’s integrated XeSS (super sampling) technology which uses Ai to upscale graphics and improve framerates. He mentioned how the new GPUs were almost 1.5x faster than before and offered more performance to casual gamers. This meant that gaming was now being marketed on Intel’s portable Evo-branded slim-and-portable laptops. He also reminded everyone that the new MSI Claw handheld was powered by Intel Core Ultra processors.

Up next was Greg Arthurton, the Head of Consumer Products Division ANZ at Nvidia. He started off saying Nvidia had been “Blown Away” by what MSI had achieved in the laptop space and how it was now Nvidia’s second largest brand partner in the region. He praised the local MSI team for being a major reason for this happening.

He gave an overview about what Ai meant to Nvidia in terms of laptops. He said that Nvidia is at its heart a gaming company but it’s also an Ai company (which is a bit of an understatement). He went on to describe a brief history of Ai including an anecdote on how a team of researchers at the University of Toronto made an ‘incredible discovery’ in 2012 – that the game-oriented programmable Cuda cores on the GTX 580 GPU could be reprogrammed to run a Convolutional Neural Network and used it to create transformative Ai processing technologies.

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He went on to say that Nvidia launched RTX GPUs in 2018 and that its Tensor cores and ray-tracing provided the amount of processing that was previously achieved using four, $60,000 data centre GPUs.

He added that DLSS 3.5 meant that now seven out of every eight pixels could be generated using artificial intelligence, “Accelerating ray tracing by up to four times with better image quality.”

He described all of the Ai-based applications that Nvidia now offers in 2024, including the ability for even casual users to use ChatRTX LLM training.

Next up was Kiwi, Brent Strudwick who is better known as 5 Percent Gamer. He gave his first impressions of MSI’s new handheld, The Claw. He said it felt very natural in his hand and the speakers sounded great. He mentioned that the MSI Center interface was useful with its shortcuts to games and apps like Steam.

He also liked the ability to pause and switch apps if ‘something happens.’ He said that he got fully immersed in older games like Resident Evil 3 and loved using emulators to play old school games like Street Fighter 2, Ghosts and Goblins and Shinobi.

Brent was followed by MSI Sales Product Manager, Michael Cheng. He pointed out that it’s the year of the [MSI] Dragon in addition to the 20th anniversary of MSI laptops. He mentioned that there were three pillars of MSI’s laptop mission: Extreme Performance, Luxurious Aesthetics and Innovative Technology.

MSI Sales Product Manager, Michael Cheng
MSI Sales Product Manager, Michael Cheng

Michael mentioned that MSI is was pushing beyond its reputation for gaming laptops and was now making a reputation for content creation plus business and productivity. He showed us the product hierarchies of MSI’s laptops and picked out a few specific models, starting with MSI’s gaming laptop range.

He said that the MSI Titan has a brand new design and had moved up from 17 inches to 18 inches and had more upgrades than any other new-and-refreshed model. Other new features include four RAM slots and three NVMe SSD slots plus 200 Watts of CPU power. He also said there was a new cooling system, a haptic-feedback RGB trackpad(!), a new Mystic Light RGB Bar plus a new Mini LED display with 1000-nit peak brightness.

MSI Titan 18 HX 2024
The 2024 MSI Titan 18 HX with its haptic RGB trackpad.

Michael went on to talk about how an 18-inch MSI Raider was now, “Joining the family.” It, too, has new RGB flourishes including a new Mystic Light RGB bar with a slimmer profile.

He then moved on to the Stealth series which now also includes a new 18-inch model: the MSI Stealth 18 Ai Studio A1V . It had a lower profile and is apparently the lightest 18-inch laptop anywhere, at 2.89KG. It has a Mg-Al alloy chassis which gave it a ‘premium feeling’ in addition to making it tough and light. There were new, high-end speakers and the new models would use Core Ultra CPUs with an NPU inside. It would come with Nvidia-certified Studio drivers by default but would still be great for gaming with features like DLSS 3.5.

Michael then announced that the popular, mid-range Crosshair gaming laptops were coming back in the form of 16 and 17-inch models with Intel HX processors and GPUs that range up to Nvidia’s RTX 4070. He said they would have 24-zone RGB keyboards plus QHD+ 240Hz displays. They had impressive-looking details on the lid and there would be a limited Monster Hunter edition based upon the 20-year old Capcom game. It has a very cool Dragon embossed lid that’s reminiscent of the Tiamat Dragon gaming laptop we saw in 2021.

Also returning are the wallet-friendly MSI Sword and Pulse gaming laptops. Both are also available in 16 and 17-inch versions with the former using Intel HX processors and the latter also available with Ai-friendly Core Ultra processors. Both models can use up to 140-Watts of power but the HX variant of the Sword dials that down to 115 Watts. This is to create more budget-friendly options in this popular section of the market. All models are available with up to RTX 4070 graphics.

Michael then moved on to MSI’s content-creation laptops. He said it was, “For the niche market of creators, video editors, designers, engineers and so on.’ He highlighted the difference between regular and pro models being that the Pro variants had workstation-certified graphics rather than consumer-grade Nvidia GPUs.

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He also highlighted the latest Mg-Al alloy, Creator Z17 HX – whose predecessor we previously dubbed the MacBook killer – with its MSI Pen 2 which can be used to write both on screen and paper with its special, graphite tips.

He then showed-off the brand-new 16-inch Creator 16 Ai Studio which weighs 1.99KG and is less-than 20mm thick (19.95mm!) He also spoke about new 16 and 14-inch budget creator laptops – the Creator M series which use Intel HX processors.

Finally, we moved on to MSI’s Business and Productivity laptops.

At the top was the premium Summit Series which consists of high-quality, convertible tablets. ‘Below’ that is (our favourite) the thin-and-powerful Prestige series which is available with integrated or discreet graphics. Unfortunately, there won’t be a hot pink version in Australia this year.

Michael also pointed out that the Prestige could be part of MSI’s Commercial Series which meant it could include bespoke features like NFC, smart tags, access keys, ID badges, Smart Card readers, eID cards in addition to corporate features like vPro – bulk buyers and MSPs just needed to contact MSI sales to tailor laptops in this way.

MSI Prestige 16 Ai Studio B1VGFG-030AU
The MSI Prestige 16 Ai Studio B1VGFG-030AU.

Michael then described some specific models in more detail, including the 16-inch Summit E16 Ai Studio A1M laptop (with Nvidia graphics certification) and the (Intel-certified) Summit E16 Ai Evo A1M. Both had ‘3D Noise Reduction+’ and three spatial-array mics which facilitate 360-degree nose cancelling for webconferencing in any loud environment. They also have Military-Grade robustness and a new, 13-inch version will be joining it. The latter is also convertible and comes with gold sides.

The Prestige 16 Ai Studio weighs 1.5KG and is 19mm thick and will now come with an OLED panel. It has a claimed 16-hour battery life, fast charging and small PSU.

Meanwhile, the 2024, 13-inch Prestige will, once again, only weigh 990g and be 17mm thick. Magnesium-Aluminium alloy is again used to keep it as light as possible. It too has an OLED screen and a 16-hour battery life.

We were also introduced to new, 14-inch Prestige 14 laptops – available in Studio and Intel Evo versions. They have 16-hour battery lives, they can tip the scales at 1.7KG, they’re 19mm thick and the former is available with Nvidia RTX 4060 graphics.

Finally, we looked at the new, low-end MSI Modern 15 H Ai which still has a Core Ultra CPU inside.

Michael wound-up the presentation by talking about the new MSI Claw gaming handheld which we’ve covered, separately, here.

All new laptops will start appearing in the second half of 2024 and we’ll review them at High Performance Laptops as soon as we’re able.

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