MSI Katana GF66 – The Best Budget-Friendly Gaming Laptop

Introduction: MSI Katana GF66

MSI Katana GF66
MSI Katana GF66

MSI Katana GF66, the latest gaming laptop in the budget-friendly category, currently stands as one of the most affordable choices out there. But, as is often the case with lower-priced products, you might have to make some compromises. In this review, we’ll break down both the upsides and downsides of its performance, design, and features. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a clear picture of whether this MSI gaming laptop aligns with your needs. So, let’s jump right in and examine what this budget-friendly gaming laptop brings to the table.

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MSI Katana GF66: Configuration
MSI Katana GF66: Configuration

MSI laptops come with remarkable configurations that you can easily find on the market. The particular setup I’m assessing includes an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, sporting 8 cores and clock speeds ranging from 2.8 to 4.6 GHz. Fueling the system is the HM570 chipset, and it flaunts an elegant black katana design, complete with an intricately etched MSI logo. The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS-level display, boasting a speedy 144Hz refresh rate, is ideal for both gaming and editing tasks.

Performance of MSI Katana GF66

MSI Katana GF66

The i7 processor is more than capable of handling web browsing, content creation, and editing tasks, while the Nvidia 3060 laptop GPU with 6GB of GDDR6 RAM can easily handle demanding games. Additionally, the GPU can be overclocked to 1567 MHz with a 95-watt maximum graphics power dynamic boost. The laptop delivers an immersive gaming experience, with Warzone running at 60 to 70 frames per second and Black Ops at over 100 frames per second.

Memory and Connectivity

The laptop itself houses 16 gigabytes of RAM and a one-terabyte NVMe SSD, making it an excellent choice for both creators and gamers. However, when considering storage and speed, the amount of RAM plays a crucial role.

In the past, 16 gigabytes sufficed for most tasks. But, in my experience, the system reached its limit when handling a 4K60 render on the GT2 Pro. Adding more RAM would have offered additional capacity, resulting in a smoother process. That’s why I recommend upgrading to 32 gigs, especially for creators.

The exciting part is that you can customize this laptop’s configuration, allowing for RAM upgrades. Additionally, it comes equipped with gigabyte LAN, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.1 for seamless connectivity. Keep in mind that this laptop is more budget-friendly than other options in the market, so its configuration might not be as robust. Nevertheless, it serves as an excellent starting point for individuals seeking to enhance their content creation or gaming setup.

The laptop doesn’t come with an SD card slot or a memory card, which is a bummer. However, it does feature a 720p webcam located at the top of the display that’s decent enough under good lighting conditions.However, we recommend using a DSLR or a higher-end webcam for better footage, especially when gaming or capturing side-angle views, if you require a more professional setup.

In terms of connectivity, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and a USB Type-C port on the right side. The Type-C port is versatile and can be used for multiple purposes, as I’ll show you in my office setup. Additionally, there’s an HDMI port that supports 4K 60 frames per second output, making it perfect for powering a 4K monitor. There’s also an audio port, a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack located on the right side.

The laptop comes with a 180-watt power adapter, and its battery is rated at 53 watt-hours with a three-cell capacity.

GPU Power in MSI Katana GF66: RTX 3060 TDP

Nvidia’s control panel shows that the RTX 3060 graphics card has a power limit of 85 watts, which may reduce to 80 watts when both the GPU and CPU are active together. In the extreme mode, the power limit was set at 80 watts. However, it’s uncertain whether the Balanced mode has the same limit due to thermal throttling in the current tests. On the flip side, the Silent mode isn’t ideal for gaming because it imposes a low 35-watt GPU power limit, leading to stuttering during game tests. Despite this, the CPU was restricted to 45 watts in the extreme mode, and higher fan speeds helped maintain manageable temperatures.

Design and Build

MSI Katana GF66: Design and Build Quality
MSI Katana GF66: Design and Build Quality

The actual weight of the laptop, though technically 4.6-4.63 pounds, is on the lighter side overall. This is a common trait of MSI laptops, which use lighter materials that provide better thermal control due to the lack of obstructions to airflow. The cooler system, Cooler Boost 5, is excellent, pushing all the hot air out through the back vents.

Let’s keep in mind that gaming laptops will always generate fan noise, and this noise is intentional and necessary to dissipate heat, especially during intense gaming and rendering sessions. Speaking of gaming, now let’s discuss the keyboard and its setup. The MSI keyboard is backlit with a standard red light, which can’t be customized but allows you to adjust the brightness by holding the function key and using the dimming option. You’ll also find shortcut keys for volume, webcam, touchpad, and other customizable functions. What’s more, MSI offers a user-friendly and efficient onboard customization app.

It’s worth noting that the keyboard layout on this laptop differs slightly from most laptops. The number pad is squeezed in on the right side, giving you a unique experience on the keyboard’s right side. It might take a day or so to get used to, but having the number keys without compromising the entire keyboard layout is a nice touch. MSI’s approach to keyboard layout is definitely intriguing and worth giving a try.

Buying/Pricing of MSI Katana GF66

If you’re thinking about getting the MSI Katana GF66 gaming laptop, it’s important to know that it comes in several configurations, each with its own price tag. MSI gives you choices with different levels of performance and storage space, so you can select the one that matches your budget and requirements. Additionally, you can find the MSI Katana GF66 available at different online retailers and physical stores, giving you the freedom to decide where to buy it.

For pricing/buying the model we review here you can check the following link:

For buying and Pricing: Amazon

Conclusion on MSI Katana GF66

MSI Katana GF66: Conclusion
MSI Katana GF66: Conclusion

Straight out of the box, the RTX 3060 paired with the i7 processor forms a potent combination. While the 16 gigs of RAM might seem a bit modest for some users, it’s a compromise made to keep the price reasonable. If necessary, you can independently upgrade the RAM, possibly at a lower cost. The included 1-terabyte SSD offers a perfect size for most users, and you also have the option to expand storage using the USB 3.2 or USB Type-C ports. Going for anything smaller than 1 terabyte might prove too limiting.

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