This laptop has been expected by AMD fans (definitely entry-level). The MSI Alpha 15 Gaming Laptop (starting from $999.00, $1,999.00 as reviewing) has an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor and an AMD Radeon RX 5500M 7 nm GPU. The performance is mediocre without removing alpha from the list of the best gaming laptops, but MSI is trying to replace it with a good SteelSeries keyboard and a bright screen.
- Lots of ports
- Brilliant display
- Satisfying keyboard
- Mediocre performance
- Bad speakers
- SSD is difficult to upgrade
I thought it would never happen, but it did; The dragon was rejected by MSI. Alpha 15 has a green bird with red eyes on a black aluminum lid. Like many other MSI laptops, the cover has two edges that provide some texture, otherwise, it’s just black.
When opened, Alpha looks a bit like a laptop. It has a sleek dark gray bezel on the sides of the 15.6-inch screen. The MSI logo is on the thicker underside and the base is silver-colored. The only gift played on a laptop is the RGB lighting around the buttons.
The Alpha 15 is 14.1×9.8×1 inch (358.1×248.9×25.4 mm) and 5 pounds (2.3 kg) as tall as its competitors, but slightly lighter. The Dell G3 15 weighs 5.4 pounds and 14.4x10x0.9 inches, while the Lenovo Legion Y545 weighs 5.3 pounds and 14.2×10.5×1 inch.
Alpha has a wide range of ports. On the left side are the locking slot, Ethernet port, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.2 Gen 1 type A port, USB 3.2 Gen 1 type C port, and dedicated headphone and microphone ports. On the right side are two more USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, an SD card slot, and a chassis connector for power.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 3750H|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon RX 5500M|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 2666MHz|
|SSD||512GB M.2 PCIe-NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6 inches, FHD, 144Hz|
|Networking||2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 5.0; Ethernet jack|
|Ports||3x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A; 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C; Mini DisplayPort; HDMI; Ethernet; Headphone jack; Microphone jack; SD card reader; Lock slot|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Size||14.1 x 9.8 x 1 inches / 358.1 x 248.9 x 25.4mm|
|Weight||5 pounds / 2.3kg|
|Price (As Configured)||$1,099.00|
Gaming, Graphics, and VR
The MSI Alpha 15 is the first gaming laptop we tested that has Radeon RX 5500M. It is an entry-level GPU, so you can’t play with the highest settings. When playing Control, the game ran at about 45 frames per second (fps), with random divisions in the 1930s.
In most cases, the Alpha 15 numbers were the same as the two laptops with the proven GTX 1650 GPUs: the Dell G3 15 and the Lenovo Legion Y545. Dell has the Intel Core i5 processor, while Legion uses the Intel Core i7.
In the comparison of Rise of Tomb Raider with FHD resolution and very high settings, the game was 28 fps lower than the average of a normal game, 46 fps and both the Dell G3 and the Legion. It is also below what we think is playable (at least 30 frames per second).
Hitman’s 2 benchmark in Miami (FHD, ultra) was 56 frames per second with an average of 68 fps and one legion (78 fps), but it surpassed the Dell G3 (51 fps).
In Grand Theft Auto V (FHD, very high), the game ran at 41 fps below average (56 fps) and Legion (62 fps), but a few frames above Dell.
To test the Alpha 15, we ran Metro Exodus 15 times with a high preset. The MSI laptop ran the test at an average of 39.3 frames per second, which was largely consistent between executions. The CPU reached an average clock frequency of 3.3 GHz and an average temperature of 69.1 degrees Celsius. The GPU operated at an average temperature of 55.9 degrees Celsius.
With the AMD Radeon 7 3750H processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of M.2 SSD, Alpha 15 offers not just games, but enough power for easy productivity.
In the overall performance of the Geenburgch 4.3 benchmark, Alpha 15 scored 13,980 points, below the gaming average (20,171), as did the Lenovo Legion Y545 (23,868, Intel Core i7-9750H and 16GB RAM). , But it has a higher score than the Dell G3 15 (16,650, Intel Core i5-9300, 8GB).
Alpha copies a 4.97 GB file at 484.7 Mbps in 11 seconds, faster than Dell G3 and Legion, and average (417 Mbps).
Alpha took 14 minutes and 51 seconds to encode a 4K resolution video to FHD in our Handbrake test. This test is slower than the average (10:45), as is the G3 and Legion.
The tested Alpha 15 was equipped with a 15.6-inch FHD display with a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a response time of 3 ms. It is brighter than many of its competitors and reasonably alive at its price. The red lights in the Oldest Room control were impressive. The wooden walls were light brown.
When I saw the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer, the blue far of Sonic was bright and clear, but the wooded area where Dr. Robotnik was first introduced was somewhat dull.
The MSI panel has an average brightness of 311 nit, which is greater than 278 nit and brighter than the Dell G3 and Legion Y545.
Keyboard and Touchpad
MSI continued its partnership with SteelSeries with the alpha keyboard. That’s good because the buttons are clicky and bouncy. At the 10fastfingers.com test, I achieved 101 words per minute with a 2% error rate, which is fine with me.
In the SteelSeries Engine 3 application, you can adjust the RGB lighting using the keyboard.
The 2.4 x 4.3 touchpanel is big enough for everyday productivity and surfing the web. It feels a bit cheap, but with the Windows 10 precision drivers, even the three- and four-finger gestures worked smoothly.
Alpha has two 2W speakers, which is disappointing. When I heard Incubus’s “Drive”, the song screamed in the highest places, and the whole track, including guitars and drums, was not clear. It was strong enough to fill the lab, but it didn’t sound good to do so. None of the Nahimic audio programs included helped at all.
It wasn’t that bad when I played Control, which has less high pitchy, but the sound was still grainy.
To access MSI Alpha 15, you need to remove 12 screws with a Phillips screwdriver (one of which is under the “Factory Seal” label). After that, you will need a spudger to remove the bottom cover. This requires a bit of patience but it is pretty easy after you turn it on.
After opening, you will see an SSD, RAM (under a thin heat shield) and a Wi-Fi card.
Upgrading the SSD would be difficult as the screw is to hold under the radiator heat pipes. To change this, you must remove the entire radiator, replace it, re-apply the thermal paste to the CPU and GPU, and then replace the radiator.
On the positive side, there is room for the 2.5-inch hard drive on the left, which was empty on our model.
Two RAM modules are located on the left side of the SSD and can be easily replaced.
Gaming laptops are reputed to have a low battery and Alpha 15 does nothing to repair it. It took 3 hours and 55 minutes for our battery test, which scanned the Internet, transmitted videos and ran OpenGL tests over Wi-Fi with a brightness of 150 nits. It is exactly the same as the average in conventional games.
The Y545 Legion score was slightly worse at 3:38, but the Dell G3 15 beat the others at 6:41.
We measure skin temperature while performing Metro Exodus stress tests. It measured 28.7 degrees Celsius on the touch screen and 38.4 degrees Celsius between the G and H keys on the keyboard.
The hottest point on the bottom of the laptop was 44.9 degrees Celsius (112.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Alpha 15 720p webcam takes grainy photos, so I would only use them for video chats with friends or family. My black and gray flannel shirt was light gray and blue, while my blue eyes were gray. Some webcams have all the colors of my beard, but not this time.
Software and Warranty
MSI offers Alpha 15 a little more software than other vendors. The main application is MSI Dragon Center, a unique center that logs system statistics and configurations and checks for updates.
But there are also many bloats like AudioDirector, ColorDirector, PhotoDirector and Music Maker Jam. Also questionable is the MSI App Player, with which Android mobile games can be run. But without a touchscreen, you do not have the right controls for many of them.
Windows 10 also has standard edemas like Candy Crush Friends, Hulu, and Spotify.
MSI sells Alpha 15 with a one-year limited warranty.
We have an Alpha 15 comes with AMD Ryzen 7,370H, AMD Radeon RX 5500M (4GB), 16GB RAM, 512GB M.2 with PCIe NVMe SSD and 144Hz FHD display that costs $10,99.
For $999 you get the same processor, GPU, and the same memory, but with 8GB of RAM and a lower refresh rate of 120Hz.
Compared to the price, the MSI Alpha 15 offers sufficient but mediocre gaming performance, a bright screen, multiple ports, and a comfortable keyboard.
If you are the exclusive type of AMD user, this is for you. There is nothing like it in space. If you are open to Intel and Nvidia, the Lenovo Legion Y545 offers more power for the same price of $1,099. But you get less space unless you pay extra for space. Some Dell G3 15 models offer the same performance for less cost.
If you prefer extra space and a brighter display for better gameplay, MSI Alpha 15 is worth a sacrifice for some.