MSI has been owning the show with its Raider, Titan and Stealth gaming laptops for more than a year now. However, there’s another premium MSI gaming laptop range and this is part of it. The MSI Vector GP66 is a fully-fledged gaming laptop that also suits Creators with powerful multimedia requirements. But, it doesn’t come with all the RGB bling or overclockability of its siblings. This reduces the ostentatiousness but helps to keep the price down, too. Interesting!
Table of Contents
- Specs of the MSI Vector GP66
- Features, Ergonomics & Design
- Connectivity and Ports
- Price and Availability
Specs of the MSI Vector GP66
|Screen||15.6-inch, matte, 165Hz, 2,560 x 1,440, IPS display|
|Processor||3.5–4.7GHz Intel Core i7-12700H CPU|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 RAM|
|Graphics||Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti 8GB GDDR6 RAM|
|Hard drive||1TB PCIe NVMe|
USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
|Speakers||2 x 2-Watt speakers|
|Extra security features||N/A|
|Dimensions||358 x 267 x 23mm|
Features, Ergonomics & Design
The MSI Vector GP66 is black like an MSI Stealth but has design elements that are more like MSI’s Raiders and Titans with their recessed screens and big backsides. There’s no exterior RGB but the dragon logo on the lid is takes the form of a quasi-embossed glossy and matte badge that shines or vanishes according to the ambient lighting. It looks good but the matte finish is a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
Opening the MSI Vector GP66 up reveals the 15.6-inch UHD screen and the familiar Steelseries RGB keyboard that we’ve come to love on MSI gaming laptops. The Scrabble-tile keys are large, have low-travel and are very comfortable and accurate to type upon and game with for extended periods. It also has full-size arrow keys but no number pad. The trackpad beneath it is smooth and accurate with well-weighted, integrated buttons.
Above the MSI Vector GP66’s screen is an HD webcam with a dual-array microphone array. The webcam gets rather grainy in low light, but the audio is clear, even if vocals sound a bit pinched in a noisy environment.
The matte, IPS screen is very impressive with its UHD, 165Hz, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and fast, 165Hz refresh rate. It displays a crisp and clear Windows Desktop with bright, vibrant colours. It also supports 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour space, which will please Creators.
For multimedia, colours are vibrant and bright and transitions (both colourful and monochromatic) exhibit only minor banding. The 165Hz refresh rate keeps objects in motion looking silky smooth although the pixel response time isn’t the fastest. Still, only the most competitive gamers will grumble about any motion-blurring issues. Contrast is generally good with details remaining in dark and bright areas, but it’s not the best on the market in this regard.
The twin, two-Watt speakers deliver a loud, well-rounded sound. The top-end can get a bit tinny at max volume, but bass performance is above average. They’re generally very good (for a laptop) for music and multimedia.
Ultimately, the MSI Vector GP66 is a joy to interact with and has no obvious weak points.
Inside the MSI Vector GP66 is a 3.5 – 4.7GHz Intel Core i7-12700H processor which has 6 Performance cores and 8 efficiency cores. This combined with 16GB of (last-gen) DDR4-3200 RAM plus a 1TB hard drive to score 7,841 in the general-computing, PCMark 10 test which is impressive. It also scored 2,650 and 15,446 in the Cinebench CPU rendering tests (R15 and R23 respectively) which is not quite as high as we’d expect from a laptop with this CPU. Nonetheless, a 4.1 Star score demonstrates the MSI Vector GP66 is no slouch in 2D Performance.
3D power comes via Nvidia’s impressive 3070 Ti GPU. This scored 12,034 in 3DMark Time Spy (average 73fps) and 14,249 in Fire Strike Extreme (average 65fps) which illustrate that the MSI Vector GP66 is more than capable of playing the latest AAA titles. Just note that the 8GB of GDDR6 RAM isn’t quite enough to handle (12GB) HD texture packs on games like Far Cry 6.
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In the more-difficult, ray-tracing benchmarks it scored 7,217 in Port Royal (average 33.4fps) and 3,041 in the newer Speed Way test (average 30.4fps) which are very impressive for any gaming laptop and show it will be able to play the toughest games at full resolution with most detail settings ramped right up.
It scored 58,203 in the easy, cross-platform Night Raid test which is an average of 620fps, so there’s naturally no problem playing any casual and basic, competitive games.
In our new, old, super-tough CS:GO test it averaged 401fps and this only dropped to an average 73fps when the going got tough in the trickiest one per cent of frames in our 1% Low Test. This will please competitive Counter Strike players.
This all means that the MSI Vector GP66 is a very capable gaming machine as its 4.2 Star rating for 3D Performance illustrates.
It’s worth noting the noise that the MSI Vector GP66’s cooling system makes. MSI’s Cooler Boost 5 technology uses two fans and five heat pipes. This regularly provides a low whirring sound. It’s not too distracting but it can also appear in Silent Mode. However, even during fast and frantic gaming, it doesn’t ramp up much more. So, it manages to keep the heat minimal while regularly remaining not-too-silent, but it’s not-too-noisy either.
Connectivity and Ports
Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Some of the ports might not be the latest and greatest, but the important ones are covered. That said, despite the MSI Vector GP66 supposedly catering to Creators, there’s no SD card slot or speedy Thunderbolt 4 ports, which is a shame.
The MSI Vector GP66 weighs 2.34KG which is reasonable for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop. The sizeable power brick and cables add another 1.03KG to this bulk which is not insignificant, but we’ve seen worse.
You’ll need to carry all that around though, as the 65Wh battery only ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for a pitiful 3 hours and 48 minutes which is the lowest score we’ve seen. That’s extraordinary for a 12th Gen laptop but we ran the test multiple times and came up with the same result. We suspect it’s partly down to having its fans constantly running under even basic workloads.
Still, the MSI Vector GP66 is very well built. The lid is robust and barely flexes when a twisting force is applied. The hinge is good and the chassis is very solid. It should easily survive life on the road. Still, this low portability score of 1.4 Stars is something we’d normally associate with a 17-inch gaming behemoth.
Price and Availability
There are many SKUs of the MSI Vector GP66 which generally swap-in lesser GPUs and different screens (one of which is the 240Hz OLED seen on the recent Raider).
Our model is new and available for pre-order at the time of going to press, costing $3,299. Update: It’s currently on sale for $2,499 which makes it the best value gaming laptop, you can buy(!) Note also that, at the time of going to press, MSI is running its Back to School promotion where various SKUs of the MSI Vector GP can be picked up for huge discounts. Check it out, here (or here for NZ readers).
That’s a low price for such a premium collection of parts and it helps give the MSI Vector GP66 a very high value score of 4.8 despite its portability foibles. Only Acer’s Nitro 5 and Predator Helios 300 rival it for value and they’re both very hard to find at a non-inflated price, if at all.
Update: The price has risen again.
Regular readers will know that we’re big fans of MSI’s best gaming laptops as they are generally well-designed, dripping with features, glistening with RGB detailing and very high performing. But the MSI Vector GP66 is different. It eschews the bells and whistles for a lower price tag while maintaining gaming performance where it counts and this will please many who don’t want to spend big or stand out in a crowd.
It’s not perfect, especially the battery life, constant fan noise and being a fingerprint magnet, but it’s considerably cheaper than its siblings and, for the money, it’s an excellent gaming laptop for those who are seeking more from a gaming laptop than a basic, budget buy.
Constant fan noise
MSI Vector GP66 results
The MSI Vector GP66 eschews the bells and whistles of its more-glamourous gaming siblings in order to keep the price down while maintaining top performance. There are some foibles present but it’s a great-value gaming laptop.