A laptop computer sits triumphant on a desk.

Specs at a look: MSI Summit E14, as examined
OS Home windows 10 Professional
CPU 3.0GHz 4-core Intel i7-1185G7 (4.8GHz turbo)
RAM 32GB LPDDR4
GPU Nvidia GTX 1650Ti MaxQ
SSD 1TB Western Digital SN370 NVMe
Battery 52.4Wh 3-cell LiOn
Wi-Fi Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6
Show 14-inch 1080p IPS
Digicam 720p, high bezel mounted
Connectivity
  • one USB-A 2.0 port
  • two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C 4 ports (energy supply assist)
  • 3.5mm cellphone/mic combo jack
  • one microSD card slot
  • fingerprint reader
Worth as examined anticipated retail ~$1,800

Final month, we received a have a look at certainly one of Intel’s engineering prototype laptops for its new Tiger Lake CPU household. We nonetheless have no manufacturing Tiger Lake laptops to check, however as of at present we’re one step nearer with an MSI Summit gross sales/engineering pattern. MSI offered the pattern to us largely for a “picture alternative,” however IT graciously allowed benchmarking so long as we clearly marked the exams as being on a preproduction pattern unit.

This mannequin, marked as a gross sales pattern, appears to be a prototype of what would be the Summit E14-087. Our MSI consultant warned us that some {hardware} tuning and particulars might change between now and launch however confirmed that the chassis itself is strictly as it is going to be in manufacturing. Particularly, we count on the ability tuning to vary—MSI promotes the laptop computer as having a 10hr+ battery life, which we suspect is not going to be doable with the 28W cTDP our pattern shipped with.

This isn’t an affordable laptop computer—we managed to search out an early retail itemizing for this mannequin, and it appears to be like like it would promote for $1,800. Nonetheless, the gadget is jampacked with high-end components, together with however not restricted to Intel’s latest i7-1185G7 top-of-the-line processor and an Nvidia GTX 1650Ti MaxQ discrete GPU. The laptop computer additionally has a definite, daring type that stands out from its rivals.

Overview

By the requirements of gaming laptops, the Summit E-series’ styling is downright restrained. As enterprise laptops go, nevertheless, it is daring and funky. Probably the most instantly noticeable styling standout is the font MSI used to label keys on the keyboard. Though it is nonetheless sans serif, the font is noticeably lighter and extra “inventive” than most keyboards’ labels, with just a few different touches comparable to shift-labels (e.g., the @ on the two key) being offset diagonally quite than using instantly above the primary label.

Along with the brightly backlit keys, an attention-grabbing bronze trim rings across the touchpad. The remainder of the laptop computer is a matte, light-drinking carbon black, with solely a small grey MSI emblem to alleviate it; this makes the bizarre keyboard and touchpad stand out much more.

Functionally, the E14’s standout design function is a 180-degree hinge. This angle additionally serves to raise the keyboard (and supply room for cooling airflow) at a cushty angle, even in a “regular” open place.

The final uncommon notice in regards to the E14’s design is the one one we actually don’t love—the underside panel, which can be the supply of airflow for the E14. As a substitute of conventional vent openings, the E14 depends on heavy perforation within the tough form of a metropolis skyline to permit air to stream out and in of the laptop computer.

The underside panel is skinny plastic, and it feels arduous and brittle when faraway from the laptop computer itself. We’ve considerations in regards to the larger “open” space uncovered to potential spills as in comparison with conventional designs, and we now have considerations in regards to the long-term sturdiness of the panel itself.

Though the Summit E14 is lengthy on type, it is desperately brief on ports—there isn’t a video out, no Kensington lock slot, and no devoted energy jack. The left facet options two Thunderbolt 4/USB type-C ports; the best facet has a single USB 2.0 type-A, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. We count on most customers to contemplate a small USB type-C dock to be a necessity with this laptop computer—for video out, if for nothing else.

Though the NVMe SSD and Wi-Fi 6 card are correctly M.2 socketed and upgradeable, the RAM for the E14 is soldered to the motherboard. This is not a lot of an issue with the mannequin we examined, which got here with 32GiB onboard—however it might show extra of a sticking level for customers who go for the opposite Summit E14 mannequin, which encompasses a 4K show however solely 16GiB RAM.

BETA Efficiency testing

Bear in mind, this Summit E14 is an engineering/gross sales pattern, not a manufacturing unit—and our MSI rep requested us to make very sure our readers know that. Some particulars of configuration and even {hardware} might change between this pattern and last retail models. For instance, we strongly suspect that the manufacturing techniques might be 15W cTDP and never 28W cTDP as our pattern unit was—which can considerably lower efficiency numbers whereas considerably growing battery life.

With that mentioned, this laptop computer appears to be like prefer it must be a reasonably sturdy performer. On the 28W cTDP we see right here, it appears practically even with the Intel reference system—which is not an actual shock, provided that the 2 techniques share a CPU. Nevertheless it does affirm that the E14 would not have any cooling issues that might lower its CPU efficiency. We suspect the ultimate efficiency might be useless even with the Intel prototype’s at 15W, although, not at 28W. As configured, the E14 didn’t even come near its acknowledged 10+ hour battery life.

With single-threaded efficiency, the benefits of the Summit’s Tiger Lake CPU stand out extra clearly—significantly in Passmark and Geekbench 5. Higher but, single-threaded efficiency on the i7-1185G7 would not take a lot of a success when the cTDP is lowered. Though it will probably and does routinely hit the 28W cTDP even on one thread, it spends extra time in single-threaded benchmarking at round 20W TDP.

We will see the Summit’s intent to stay with one foot in every of the enterprise and gaming worlds in 3DMark Time Spy exams, wherein the system’s GTX 1650Ti MaxQ discrete GPU roughly doubles the built-in Iris Xe GPU’s efficiency. It is nonetheless no match for the significantly greater and badder GTX 2060 MaxQ within the ASUS ROG G14 we examined earlier this yr—however its followers do not spin as much as the purpose of questioning if the laptop computer will raise off the desk and fly throughout the room, both.

Within the less-demanding Night time Raid take a look at—geared toward techniques with built-in graphics—the lead between the GTX 1650Ti MaxQ and Iris Xe graphics is much less spectacular. That is largely a testomony to only how stellar Iris Xe is as an built-in GPU. Sadly, we needed to go by the Intel prototype’s numbers for Night time Raid on Iris Xe—the Summit pattern errored out constantly on this take a look at.

Lastly, the Western Digital NVMe SSD performs like an absolute champ, roughly doubling the efficiency of the Samsung P991 NVMe SSD in our Ryzen 7 4700U-powered Acer Swift 3 laptop computer throughout the board.

Conclusions

The Summit E14 is a enterprise laptop computer, however its gaming roots are plain. That features every little thing from its unusually daring styling selections to the discrete GTX 1650Ti MaxQ GPU—which does not appear prone to be helpful for something besides gaming, given how stellar the Tiger Lake Iris Xe built-in GPU’s efficiency is already.

At $1,800 anticipated retail, this can be a expensive system—and whereas we like most of it, we’re casting some critical side-eye at its skinny plastic backside panel. This materials appears much less forgivable in a premium-priced system than it would in a single geared toward decrease budgets. That $1,800, however, does purchase you some pretty critical gaming efficiency with none accompanying twister followers like a extra critical gaming laptop computer burdens you with.

We do not have a last availability date for the Summit collection but, however it is best to broadly count on Summits to point out up in shops and on-line later this quarter.

The Good

  • The Tiger Lake CPU is a robust performer, significantly in single or frivolously multithreaded purposes
  • Fan noise is noticeable however not outrageous
  • We love the stand-out styling cues on the keyboard, and we dig the 180-degree show hinge
  • Good to have an additional Thunderbolt 4/USB type-C port along with the one occupied by the charger
  • We have been pleasantly stunned by the Western Digital SSD’s excessive efficiency
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6

The Unhealthy

  • The value appears a bit of steep—though, for $200 greater than an XPS 13, you get an Nvidia GPU thrown in for gaming
  • The 200-nit show might strike some customers as not being shiny sufficient for a premium laptop computer

The Ugly

  • Though it isn’t one thing most customers will discover, we’re apprehensive about sturdiness and influence/weight resistance of the skinny plastic backside panel
  • Manufacturing tuning might want to accomplish rather a lot to get the system as much as 10+ hours of battery life on the 52.4Wh battery

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