MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review

2021 will be a year of laptops as desktop GPU prices have skyrocketed. Recently at the MSIology launch event, MSI added two new gaming laptops to their already popular GF Series arsenal. They are the MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Thin Gaming Laptops. They refreshed the look of the last year’s extremely popular model GF65 Thin and came up with a new series called the MSI Katana GF Gaming Laptops.

The new laptops will feature the latest Intel Core 11th Gen Processors and RTX 3000 series graphics from Nvidia. This laptop will be able to run all the latest AAA titles with ease. Although a lot of E-sports players who are looking to get their hands on a good Gaming Laptop can check out options like the GF66 & the GF76 from the MSI Katana Series.

MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review

Now lets quickly dive into the the specifications and the details of the MSI GF66 Gaming Laptop and in the end we will give you some performance insights as well.

Specifications

MSI Katana GF66

CPUUp to 11th Gen. Intel® Core™ i5 11400H/i7 Processor 11800H
OSWindows 10 Home
DISPLAY15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), 144Hz, IPS-Level
15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), IPS-Level
CHIPSETIntel® HM570
GRAPHICSNVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3060 Laptop GPU 6GB GDDR6
Up to 1485MHz Boost Clock, 85W Maximum Graphics Power with Dynamic Boost.
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050 Laptop GPU, 4GB GDDR6
Up to 1500MHz Boost Clock, 60W Maximum Graphics Power.
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050Ti Laptop GPU, 4GB GDDR6
Up to 1485MHz Boost Clock, 60W Maximum Graphics Power.
MEMORYDDR4-3200 Memory Type
2 Slots Number of SO-DIMM Slot
Max 64GB Max Capacity
STORAGE CAPABILITY2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)/1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
WEBCAMHD type ([email protected])
KEYBOARDBacklight Keyboard (Single-Color, Red)
COMMUNICATIONGb LAN
802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth v5.2
AUDIO JACK1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
I/O PORTS1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen1
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
1x Type-A USB2.0
1x RJ45
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
BATTERY53.5 Battery (Whr)
AC ADAPTER150/180W adapter
DIMENSION (WXDXH)359 x 259 x 24.9 mm
WEIGHT (W/ BATTERY)2.25 kg
COLORBlack
MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Katana GF66

MSI Katana GF76

CPUUp to 11th Gen. Intel® Core™ i5 11400H/i7 Processor 11800H
OSWindows 10 Home
DISPLAY17.3″ FHD (1920×1080), 144Hz, IPS-Level
CHIPSETIntel® HM570
GRAPHICSNVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3060 Laptop GPU 6GB GDDR6
Up to 1485MHz Boost Clock, 85W Maximum Graphics Power with Dynamic Boost.
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050 Laptop GPU, 4GB GDDR6
Up to 1500MHz Boost Clock, 60W Maximum Graphics Power.
NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050Ti Laptop GPU, 4GB GDDR6
Up to 1485MHz Boost Clock, 60W Maximum Graphics Power.
MEMORYDDR4-3200 Memory Type
2 Slots Number of SO-DIMM Slot
Max 64GB Max Capacity
STORAGE CAPABILITY2x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)/1x M.2 SSD slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
WEBCAMHD type ([email protected])
KEYBOARDBacklight Keyboard (Single-Color, Red)
COMMUNICATIONGb LAN
802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth v5.2
AUDIO JACK1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
I/O PORTS1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen1
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
1x Type-A USB2.0
1x RJ45
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
BATTERY53.5 Battery (Whr)
AC ADAPTER150W/180W adapter
DIMENSION (WXDXH)359 x 259 x 24.9 mm
WEIGHT (W/ BATTERY)2.25 kg
COLORBlack
MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Katana GF76

Box Contents

Inside the laptop box you will find a the laptop which is wrapped inside a textile cloth covered with an anti-static bag. There will be another box which will have the 150W charger inside it (180W for the RTX 3060 GPU).

MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Katana Charger (Source: Laptopmedia)

Aesthetics and design

The MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 is fully black in color. It has a brushed aluminum finish to it. The last year version had their red MSI logo on the back. But from this year onwards they have started inscribing a silver logo on the lid. Pairing that to the matte black aluminum finish, it looks absolutely stunning.

The sleek looks and the honey comb mesh design for the thermals are a huge upgrade over the last years GF series Gaming Laptops. Although the laptop will be a bit thicker weighing around 2.25kgs. It is entirely made up of plastic. But MSI did a good job of providing a high quality plastic material which almost feels like a metal. The laptop base has a good weight to it so opening it up with one single hand is easy. It is sturdy with no flex. The slim bezels are exactly like the previous year’s models with a good quality HD Webcam installed on the top.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Keyboard

MSI Katana Gaming Laptops will feature a full-length keyboard across all their product lines. The red-backlit keyboard has a lot of key travel so it’s perfect for gamers who are looking to have a mechanical keyboard feel on their gaming laptops.

Trackpad

Features a rich smooth tracking and gliding experience. The trackpad is extremely responsive to all the gestures as well. This average size trackpad lacks the left and right dedicated mouse buttons and the clicking mechanism just feels a little forced.

MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review
Full sized keyboard & Trackpad on the MSI Katana

MSI Katana GF66 Ports and Connectivity

On the right side of the laptop we get an RJ-45 input for internet connectivity and LAN. Other than that you will also get to see an HDMI Port, a USB Type C Port, a USB Type A Port and a headphone microphone combo jack. While on the left you will get one USB Type A 3.2 & one USB Type A 2.0 along with a Laptop power port.

Display

MSI Katana comes in two variants. the GF66 & the GF76. Both feature identical panels although the both come in different sizes. The GF66 is a 15.6″ Display with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Although the 60Hz variant is also available in this laptop segment. On the other hand The GF76 Gaming Laptop features an IPS 144Hz Gaming Display but with no options for 60Hz. Though these laptops doesn’t enjoy the benefits of color calibrated displays but the screen is very vibrant and colorful and it gives an amazing experience while watching movies or playing games.

The laptop’s display has comfortable viewing angles with an average of 233nits brightness. While the display is slightly on the warmer side with 6400K Color temperature. Which is a 100K than the optimum standard of 6500K for sRGB. The display covers about 53% of the sRGB.

Talking about the response time of this laptop, from Black to White and White to Black we were getting a response time of 23ms while the Gray to Gray method gave us a response time of 34ms.
So it will be a great laptop for Gaming but the display might disappoint you if you wanted a laptop with a better color accuracy. But considering the price point, MSI is offering more than it should be.

MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review
MSI Katana GF66 in action (Source : Laptopmedia)

Sound & Drivers

MSI uses Dynaudio speakers for their Gaming range of laptops. These speakers are located at the bottom of the laptop. The sound is relatively loud but not of a very good quality. You will be better off using a Headphone for an excellent sound experience using Nahimic.

For the Drivers, just click here to download the latest drivers for MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop.

Battery

The MSI Katana laptop features a 53.6Whr battery on it with more than 5 hours of Web Browsing and more than 4 hours of video playback on it which is pretty impressive for a gaming laptop of this caliber.

MSI Katana GF66 Performance

These laptops are powered by the latest generation Intel Core 11th Generation H Series processors and Nvidia RTX 3000 Series Graphics. These laptops will be available in both i5 & i7 11th Generation variants. It will feature MaxQ Graphics cards from RTX 3050, RTX 3050Ti & RTX 3060. These laptops will be capable enough to run all the latest demanding games at ease. It would also serve as a great laptop for online competitive games like Valorant, CSGO, DOTA, Rainbow Six Seige, etc.

The RTX 3000 Series laptops make use of 3rd Gen MaxQ Technology to make the laptops more thinner and lighter but being more powerful at the same time. The Resizable bar technology which allows the CPU to access the full GPU memory to enhanc the performance, Dynamic Boost 2.0 which increases GPU clocks for better performance, whisper mode 2.0, DLSS 2.0, Nvidia Reflex and Battery Boost.

CPU Performance (MSI Katana GF66)

CPU3D Rendering
Intel Core i5-11400H3457
Intel Core i7-11800H4450

More tests on the MSI Katana GF66 Gaming Laptop.

ApplicationsIntel Core i7-11800H Scores
Cinebench Single/Multi1522/8938
Blender787
Source : Hexus

GPU Performance (MSI Katana GF66)

ApplicationsRTX 3050RTX 3060
3D Mark Firestrike1254018872
Uniheaven Benchmark29654343
Engine Superposition27294357

Gaming Tests

These are the performance metrics when an i5 11400H processor is paired with an RTX 3050 GPU.

Far Cry 583 FPS (FHD/Normal)78 FPS (FHD/High)72 FPS (FHD/Ultra)
Rise of Tomb Raider115 FPS (FHD/Normal)96 FPS (FHD/Medium)53 (FPS/Very High)
Shadow of Tomb Raider82 FPS (FHD/Lowest)70 FPS(Full HD/Medium)64 FPS (Full HD/High)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands76 FPS (Full HD/Medium)59 FPS (Full HD/Very High)36 FPS (Full HD/Ultra)

So now lets check some performance analytics of the MSI Katana GF66 when an RTX 3060 MaxQ is matched with an Intel Core i7 11th Generation Processor.

All the in-game settings were maxed out.

Grand Theft Auto 558 FPS
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege253 FPS
DOTA 2126 FPS
Counter Strike Global Offensive362 FPS
Rocket League344 FPS
Assassins Creed Valhalla65 FPS
Witcher 388 FPS
FIFA 21213 FPS
DOOM Eternal161 FPS
Cyberpunk 207757 FPS
Call of Duty Modern Warfare90 FPS

Thermals

The MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 laptop features the Cooler Boost 5 Technology with their newly designed copper heat pipes with thinner internal diameter for more heat transfusion. The CPU runs hot at 95 degrees while maintaining a 3.30Ghz clockspeed at 52W during the 15 min run test. In real life Gaming tests we get to see the GPU core temperatures reaches around 78 degrees even after 30 mins of Gaming while maintaining 1660Mhz clock speed at 60W.

MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review
Source – Laptopmedia

The newly designed honey comb vents at the bottom of the MSI Katana GF66 along with the radiators at the back of the laptop does help in cooling. However it is my recommendation to apply an after market thermal paste on the CPU to reduce such high temperatures. The stock thermal paste that comes pre-applied is not enough to keep up with heat. So do make sure you change that when you get your hands on the MSI Katana GF66 or the GF76 Gaming Laptop in 2021!

MSI Katana GF66 & GF76 Gaming Laptop Review

Conclusion

The MSI Katana GF66 and GF76 Gaming laptops will provide an excellent value-for-money laptop that will serve you for years to come. We will see that finally the most popular GTX 1060 Gaming laptops to retire and the new RTX 3050 or the RTX 3060 laptops will take up its place. The 2nd Generation RTX 3000 series would deliver impressive performance when DLSS 2.0 is turned along with all of its features and since the RTX 3000 series are coming shipped in MSI Katana GF series, you can expect the price to be much more affordable.

We saw that the RTX 3050 is a true entry level beast and it will handle pretty much any game or tasks you throw at it. Even at highest graphics settings this laptop wont disappoint us. Except for the fact that you need the thermal paste change to get more out of your laptop to prevent the thermal throttling. The keyboard does warm up because of this heating issues but overall MSI Katana GF66 a very nice laptop for Gaming and content creation as well.


Thank you for reading
Until next time…

A 29 year old avid gamer by choice dabbles in all things tech. Whether be it spending hours in single-player narrative-based games or going through the latest innovation in technology and chip manufacturing he prefers to stay on top of things. In the other times, you'll find him tucked away drumming and headbanging to Rock and Roll Classics.

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