Review – MSI Pulse GL76 11UEK (i7-11800H | RTX 3060 (85W Max) | 2x8GB DDR4-3200 | 1TB NVMe SSD | 17.3″ 1080p 144Hz)

MSI has been on its naming scheme update spree since earlier this year, after the MSI Katana GF66, the next MSI laptop series to receive a name is the GL series – enter the MSI Pulse GL76. I can understand why the GF series is given the Katana name since that series is meant to combine both mobility and aesthetics into the laptop’s design. The GL series, on the other hand, is emphasizing more on offering the best value and performance in a single package. And… I don’t get it why they have chosen the word “Pulse”.

Even their official tagline – “Pulsating Power” only adds more question marks to my head. If you know the story behind the new naming scheme, please leave your comment down below.

Video Review

Specifications – MSI Pulse GL76 11UEK

  • Intel Core i7-11800H
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 85W
  • 2x8GB DDR4-3200
  • 1TB NVMe SSD
  • 17.3 1080p 144Hz

Brand New GL76 Design

Just like the MSI Katana GF66, the MSI Pulse GL76 adopts the new chassis design language.

While the overall build material is still plastic, however, the surface finish is now resembling sand-blasted texture instead of fake brushed aluminium. To be honest, this is the better finish as it doesn’t catch your fingerprints that easily. Even if it does, cleaning is also easier. The overall build is solid.

IO

The IO is pretty decent but for a laptop of this size, I hope they could’ve at least provide additional USB ports or an SD card reader.

  • 3.5mm combo audio jack
  • USB-A
  • USB-C
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet

  • Charging port
  • 2x USB-A (black port is USB 2.0 speed)

Display

The 17.3-inch display is a 1080p Full HD IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate. Pretty standard specifications for a gaming laptop. It has 97% sRGB coverage which is great for entertainment and casual editing works such as video & photo editing.

Keyboard & Trackpad

For a laptop of this size, they are rather stingy with the keyboard layout. I know MSI has kept the layout standard across their laptops, but at least make good use of the larger laptop footprint so that the keys don’t feel so cramped, especially with the numpad zone. In terms of the typing experience, it is decent. The travel distance and the actuation feedback is reasonably good.

The trackpad tracks all your gesture without any hiccups, just that the clicking mechanism is a little bit stiff, then again, you won’t be using the trackpad for gaming so it doesn’t really matter much.

Performance

Synthetic Benchmark

Now let’s talk about the performance.

Starting with Cinebench R23, even after we have set every available setting into the highest performance mode. For some reason, the CPU multi-core score is not as high as the GF66. The gap is about 7% which is rather far apart for margin of error. In actual real-life usage, we can’t really tell them apart.

PCMark10 shows a rather close score but overall the GL76 comes with a better package.

What really sets them apart is the graphical performance. The RTX 3060 is clearly the baseline to go with if you’re interested to enjoy ray tracing in games.

Gaming Benchmark

The GL76 is doing really great when it comes to games. In some older games, the frame rate is comparable with RTX 3070 which we believe is partly contributed by the newer game update as well as more powerful CPU.

In modern games such as Control, the RTX 3070 pulls ahead but the RTX 3060 is still miles better than the RTX 3050 Ti.

The same applies to Cyberpunk 2077. We manage to get almost similar frame rates when turning on Ray Tracing and DLSS.

Thermal

Plenty of ventilation under the laptop.

The cooling performance is quite reasonable in real-life gaming situations. The GPU hovers around 80c while the CPU stays around 85-100c. Most of the time the CPU would linger at 90c but during performance spikes, it will momentarily jump to 100c. It is a perfectly normal occurrence and you shouldn’t worry about it too much.

Conclusion

At the official price tag of RM6999, I can’t say this is the cheapest 17-inch gaming laptop you can get with RTX 3060. In fact, the 17-inch gaming laptop market is so niche that only a few models are available from other gaming laptop brands. Naturally the price competition won’t be that intense. After a quick browse through the marketplace, I couldn’t help but notice that how some other brands are offering 10th gen Intel CPU with RTX 3060 at cheap. If you’re solely looking for a gaming machine, then those would be a best bang for the buck choice. Otherwise, if you want a completely new package, the MSI Pulse 11UEK is the ONLY option (at the time of review) you can get with 11th Gen Intel and RTX 3060.

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IntelIntel Core i7-11800HMSIMSI Pulse GL76NvidiaRTX 3060