PC & Hardware

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

With a well-designed chassis, The MSI GP76 Leopard is a real powerhouse and comes packed with good features. However, the GP76 is more of a portable desktop replacement rather than a laptop for gaming on the go.

The 2021 MSI GP76 Leopard comes with upgraded hardware and an overhauled design, although it is a bit more on the heavy side compared to the other gaming laptops we’ve reviewed.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

Our test unit for the review is the GP76 Leopard 10UG variant. The all-new display is a IPS 1920×1080 144Hz panel with a 100% SRGB color coverage and a brightness rated at 300 nits. The upgraded hardware offers good performance with an Intel Core i7-10870H Processor, Nvidia RTX 3070 with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM with a TGP of 140 watts, 16GB DDR4 3200MHz SDRAM and a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD M.2

Specifications

CPUIntel Core i7-10870H Processor
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
2 Slots, Max 64GB
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6
Storage1TB M.2 SSD (NVMe PCIe Gen3)
Display17.3″ Full HD (1920×1080), 144 Hz Refresh Rate, IPS-Level thin bezel
Ports1x RJ45 1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI 3x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1 1x Type-C (USB3.2 Gen2 / DP 1.4) 1x Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
ConnectivityGb LAN (Up to 2.5G) Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 Wi-Fi 6 Bluetooth v5.1
CameraHD type ([email protected])
Audio2x 2W Speaker
Battery4-Cell Li-Polymer 65Wh
230W W adapter
Dimensions397 (W) x 284 (D) x 26 (H) mm
Weight: 2.9 kg

Packaging

The MSI GP76 Leopard comes in a standard brown cardboard box. Inside is another MSI branded box in which the laptop and the accessories are protected by foam. In the box you will find:

  • The MSI GP76 Leopard laptop itself
  • 230W power brick
  • Power cable
  • User guide and warranty

Design & Build Quality

The MSI GP76 Leopard comes in a sleek, matte-finish, dark gray color with a subtle MSI logo on the lid. The logo is all-black this year, staying away from MSI’s traditional red. In terms of design, the GP76 has a low-key and unassuming exterior without much of the aesthetics of a gaming laptop except for the sharp angles at the back. It looks more of a sleeper and is well-designed gaming laptop without being over-the-top.

The housing is made of aluminum and high-quality matte plastic. The body and the display panel are sturdy and well-built and there is no flex, however it’s a finger-print magnet and can be easily smudged.

The hinges hold the lid firmly and the lid can be opened with a single hand without any issues. The 17” matte display has thin bezels and houses a HD webcam and microphones.

The MSI GP76 Leopard is equipped with a good set of ports on either sides, the rear body features two large openings for cooling and a central area with several ports. The speakers are on the left and right side of the laptop and at the base are wide ventilation grills.

With dimensions of 397 (W) x 284 (D) x 26 (H) mm and a weight of 2.9 kilos, the GP76 is not the easiest laptop to carry around, but it’s understandable considering its purpose. It is more of a portable desktop replacement rather than a laptop for gaming on the go.

Ports

On the left, we find a Type-A USB3.2 Gen1 port, and a combo headphone/microphone jack.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

On the right are a pair of Type-A USB 3.2 Gen1 ports. There is no SD reader on this laptop and considering it’s size, it would have been good to see it here.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

The remaining ports are located at the back, between the two airflow vents are the mini 1x Type-C (USB3.2 Gen2 / DP 1.4), 1x Ethernet RJ-45 port, HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz) port and the proprietary DC-in port that resembles a USB connector. There is no support for the Thunderbolt 3 interface.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

Wireless connectivity is powered by an 802.11AX module (Wi-Fi 6) and there is Bluetooth 5.1 on board.

Display

The FullHD (1920 x 1080) 17″ screen uses an IPS panel with a refresh rate of 144 Hz and color coeverage of 100% sRGB which makes it great for gaming as well as content creation. The display features thin bezels and on the top bezel is a full HD webcam capable of recording at 30 FPS. Although there is noise in poorly lit environments, the camera quality is generally good.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

The display offers a brightness of 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 1200:1. The screen displays good colors and the maximum brightness is good enough for well-lit rooms but rather difficult in bright outdoor environments. The viewing angles are glare-free and comfortable.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The MSI GP76 has a per-key, RGB LED backlit, chiclet keyboard from SteelSeries. The RGB can be customizable via SteelSeries Engine application and the intensity is adjustable.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

The keyboard layout is standard and comes with a dedicated numpad. The typing experience is good and the keys are soft and have a long travel. It offers a very quiet typing experience when working in office spaces or cafes. Even though there are no dedicated buttons for quick access, the function keys can be used for this with combinations of the Fn keys.

Under the keyboard and slightly to the left is the touchpad and has separate physical left and right clickers. The trackpad is smaller than standard but comfortable, precise and easily identifies multi-touch gestures.

Performance & Benchmarks

In terms of performance, our test model is equipped with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 10870H processor with 8 cores and 16 threads and a maximum clock frequency of 5GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM and 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM which can be further upgraded to 64GB. For storage, there is 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD onboard with an additional M.2 expansion slot.

CPU

MSI has stayed true to Intel and the Core i7-10870H is a slightly downclocked version of the Core i7-10875H. The Core i7-10870H is a beast in gaming and comes with 8 cores and 16 threads, 16 MB of cache and a frequency of 2.60 GHz that goes up to 5 GHz and a TDP of 45W.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

GPU

Graphics is powered by a dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU, the second fastest Ampere graphics card for laptops so far with improved raytracing and tensor cores. Built on the 8 nm process, the RTX 3070 offers 8 GB GDDR6 graphics memory with a 256 Bit memory bus and based on the GA104 core with 5120 shaders at a frequency ranging from 780 MHz to 1250 MHz.

With the new Ampere cards, there is no more Max-Q variant (the energy-efficient version specially designed for thin and portable laptops for longer battery time) but every OEM can choose to implement Max-Q technologies such as Dynamic Boost, Whisper mode etc. The same 3070 GPU can differ in performance on different laptops based on the thermal design offered.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 on the The MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG has a TGP of 140 watts, the maximum configurable power consumption, and should be able to fully utilize its performance.

RAM

The MSI GP76 Leopard is equipped with 16 GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM in dual channel in the SO-DIMM slots. It can be further upgraded to 64GB maxium.

STORAGE

Our review unit came with a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. However, depending on the region, there may be different SSDs. The SSD offers standard performance at read speeds of up to 2,230MB per second and write of up to 1,970MB/s.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

BENCHMARKS

In Cinebench R20 tests, the Intel Core i7-10870H scored 476 in single core benchmark and 4,198 in multi-core benchmark. In PCMark 10 Benchmark, the GP76 Leopard scored 5,936.

Cinebench R20 single core476
Cinebench R20 multi core4,198
PCMark 10 Benchmark5,936
3DMark Time Spy10,607
3DMark Fire Strike22,197
3DMark Night Raid46,047

GAMING

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 in combination with Intel Core i7-10870H provides an excellent gaming experience with FHD resolution at maximum quality settings in most games. It can run most modern games easily above 100fps on very high settings with zero stuttering or lagging.

TITLESCORE
Shadow of the Tomb Raider130
Far Cry 5120
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla92
Borederlands 3113

Temperature & Noise

In terms of cooling, MSI GP76 Leopard uses the most extensive version of the Cooler Boost 5 technology. There a total of 6 copper heatpipes that distribute the heat through the two fans. Two of them focus on the CPU while four others on the GPU.

The cooling system of the MSI Leopard 10UG works well. Temperatures are never too high even on load; while some spots can get as warm when gaming, these spots are located towards the back, away from the keyboard and palm rest.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

Fortunately the palm rests and the keyboard area remain relatively cool while most of the heat is contained on the sides and at the back of the laptop.

Fan noise is quiet on idle but audible even on slight load. During gaming, the fan noise is tolerable than other laptops in this category.

Upgradeability

In terms of upgradeability, the MSI GP76 can be equipped with an additional M.2 SSDs and upto 64GB of RAM.

There are two SO-DIMM slots for DDR4 RAM and two M.2 slots for SSD drives – one is occupied by default, but the other is available to expand. The WLAN module is also accessible.

Battery & Audio

The MSI GP76 Leopard has a 65Wh 4-cell Li-Polymer battery. On a full charge, based on the usage and screen brightness, the laptop lasts about four to fivehours. When browsing the internet, you can expect around four hours of battery time.

Idle (one third brightness, no WiFI)5h 34 min
Web Browsing (one third brightness)4h 14 min
Video Playback (one third brightness)3h 35 min
Gaming (50% brightness)0h 45min

In terms of audio, there are 2x 2.5W speakers powered by Nahimic 3 software and is Hi-Res certified. The sound quality is of decent quality but as with most gaming laptops, we recommend using a headset.

Software

Most of the performance and display settings can be controlled via the MSI Dragon Center. With MSI Dragon Center, you can monitor and optimize your system performance, change user profiles, switch between display color modes, adjust charging preferences and more.

There is also the Steelseries Engine app for configuring the keyboard and the light bar on the front, Nahimic software for audio settings, the Killer Control Center for Wi-Fi management and the third-party app Overwolf for in-game overlays

Conclusion

With a well-designed chassis, The MSI GP76 Leopard is a real powerhouse and comes packed with good features: A 144Hz screen, powerful GPU and CPU options, plenty of ports and upgradeability.

2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review
2021 MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG Review

Some of the drawbacks are the average speakers, the lack of SD and Thunderbolt ports and the upgraded hardware is let down by the use of last-gen Intel processors.

The main highlight is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 that runs at 140 watts in maximum mode and provides slightly more graphics performance compared to throttled variants. The MSI GP76 Leopard is more of a portable desktop replacement rather than a laptop for gaming on the go.

The MSI GP76 Leopard is available for purchase from Jumbo.ae for AED 7,699.

8

MSI GP76 Leopard 10UG

With a well-designed chassis, The MSI GP76 Leopard is a real powerhouse and comes packed with good features: A 144Hz screen, powerful GPU and CPU options, plenty of ports and upgradeability.

THE GOOD
  • Sturdy chassis
  • Good display
  • Good keyboard
  • RTX 3070 GPU with a maximum 140 TGP
  • Upgradeable
THE BAD
  • No Thunderbolt
  • No SD reader
  • Bulky and heavy
  • Below-average battery life
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