Laptops

MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (Core i7-12700H / RTX 3070) Short Review

MSI Crosshair 15 R6E (Core i7-12700H / RTX 3070) Short Review

In this review, we are looking at the MSI Crosshair 15 R6E Rainbow Six Extraction Edition. The hardware comes in the form of an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, an RTX 3070 laptop GPU, 32GB of DDR4 memory, a 1TB SSD, and – arguably the star of the show – a 15.6-inch 2560×1440 165Hz IPS-level display. With a fairly hefty price tag of £2,000 right now, but an MSRP of £2,199, let’s take a closer look at what MSI offers for that money.

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Timestamps

00:00 Start

01:05 Intro and specs/interior/slots

03:09 The screen

03:56 Connectivity and concerns

05:24 Camera/Speakers/Trackpad/Keyboard

07:00 Battery

07:12 Price mess

08:07 Test/software states

09:02 Comparison data

09:23 Noise/Power/Time/Freq

12:37 SSD performance

12:54 Battery life

13:20 Test results

15:13 1080p gaming performance

16:25 1440p gaming performance

17:46 Luke’s final thoughts

In terms of design, the Reticle 15 R6E is very similar to the Katana GF66 we reviewed recently – aside from the Rainbow Six Extraction-inspired black and yellow color scheme, of course. I’m not going to comment on my preference (or lack thereof) for the color scheme as it is an undeniably personal choice.

It’s pretty much a generic 15.6-inch chassis and it’s definitely not designed to be sleek and portable. At well over 30mm thick in some areas with the lid closed, and still 26.9mm even with the lid open, it really is a park-it-on-the-table gaming laptop. The 2.47kg weight and chunky 240W power brick backs that up.

What is important, however, for many gamers is the high allocation of ventilation spaces for adequate cooling. Additionally, the thickness means that a solid piece of heatsink can be squeezed inside the MSI unit.

The hardware under the hood starts with the Intel Core i7-12700H processor. This includes 6 performance cores and 8 efficient cores. The maximum rated Turbo speed is 4.7GHz for the allowed TDP range of 35-115W, but we’ll get to what MSI powers this laptop later in the review.

The graphics come in the form of an Nvidia RTX 3070 8GB laptop GPU. This is rated at a maximum power of 140W in MSI’s deployment, according to the spec sheet. 140W of RTX 3070 goodness should be pretty fast, even at this price point where a 3080 is perhaps a wallet stretch.

It’s important to note, however, that the integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU is connected to the display, as standard.

The memory is 2x16GB of DDR4 3200MHz in SODIMM form, so there’s upgradability if you take out the current modules. Opting for a cheaper DDR4 than for a DDR5 suits me perfectly. MSI equips two M.2 SSD slots, one of which is filled with a 1TB PCIe Gen 4 model.

Focusing on the display, we’re treated to a 15.6-inch 2560×1440 IPS-level display. We think the combination of size and resolution is perfect for a laptop at this price and that’s especially true when the impressive 165Hz refresh rate is taken into account.

The screen quality is also good. It’s rated 100% typical DCI-P3, which means color accuracy is a strength and contrast was good for my eyes. Maximum brightness was definitely lacking, so anyone wanting to play outside on a sunny day may struggle.

But the image quality, the pixel density of the resolution, and the smooth motion of the 165Hz refresh rate make for an attractive combination.

Physical connectivity for MSI’s Crosshair 15 R6E is now around £2000-2200 is the same as the often £900 cheaper Katana GF66. I considered this laptop to have poor connectivity even for its affordable £1099 price tag.

Let’s be perfectly honest; Deploying ports for this two-big Crosshair 15 R6E is nothing short of a joke!

You get three 5Gbps USB ports – one of which is Type-C – and one USB 2.0 Type-A to complete the package. That’s right – there’s no 10Gbps or 20Gbps connectivity – let alone Thunderbolt 4 – on a laptop of this price.

The only video output is 4K60 HDMI as Type-C does not support video or power. Gigabyte Ethernet and a combo audio jack are fine. And then there’s the barrel-style power connector.

Single video output, 5Gbps peak transfer rate, no Type-C charging – MSI’s port selection is shockingly poor! If we look at the competing ASUS TUF Gaming F15 laptop as an example, you get Thunderbolt 4, 10Gbps USB-C with DisplayPort and G-Sync capability, and no stupid USB 2.0 ports. And this laptop is cheaper than MSI’s.

Yes, Intel 802.11ax WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 are rolled out, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that MSI’s port offering is terrible.

In terms of peripherals, it is again very similar to the cheaper MSI Katana GF66. So my opinion will be the same.

There’s a 720p30 webcam, but it doesn’t support Windows Hello and there’s no fingerprint scanner. Advanced connection options are therefore limited. The speakers are a pair of 2W units that really surprised me with their decent bass punch, maximum volume and solid ability to maintain decent quality at high volume outputs.

The size of the trackpad is modest for my giant hands, but the responsiveness and flow of the implementation and solid clickable buttons were good.

The keyboard is good for my personal preferences and my large hands. I had very few accidental keystrokes due to the pitch sensitivity of the keys separating neighbors. I also felt that the actuation point of the 1.7mm high keys was clear and firm, which improved comfort. MSI includes a number pad, which I personally find unnecessary, but it’s there.

The keyboard backlight is inspired by the colors of the Rainbow Six Extraction game, with three levels of brightness and an all-off option. MSI uses green for the bottom third, blue for the middle third, and yellow for the top third. The WASD keys, however, are presented in a different style.

I really have no complaints about the keyboard. His style is uniquebut the quality is good, in my opinion.

For the battery, a 90Wh 4-cell unit is deployed and used in combination with the 240W PSU. There’s no USB-C charging even for slow top-ups, which is disappointing.

UK prices for the MSI Crosshair 15 R6E B12UGZ-299UK The model we tested seemed to be around £2200, but that dropped to a more reasonable £1739-1799 at CCL and Laptop Outlet in May. However, at the beginning of June, the actual availability price seems to be around £2000 in the UK, and the MSRP is £2199.

This makes the ASUS RTX 3070, 16GB DDR5 TUF Gaming F15 a direct competitor at around £1700. Or the AMD Ryzen 7 6800H TUF Gaming A15 alternative also at around £1700. Both are £500(!) cheaper than MSI’s MSRP.

There is actually a basically identical Crosshair 15 R6E model that is downgraded to 16GB RAM available for £1500 from Currys (although at £1699 MSRP). Given that a 32GB set of DDR4 SODIMMs can be had for £130, that makes Currys current price a bargain, and MSI 32 GB-RAM-tax a complete and total – ashamed – flight!

So consider that this Core i7-12700H, RTX 3070, 1440p 165Hz laptop costs around £1500-1700 in its 16GB form, or enormously pricier in the 32GB form we have in review.

Let’s move on to testing.

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