AMD revealed its new Radeon RX 5500 series graphics cards on Monday 7th October, bringing the cutting-edge features found in its Radeon RX 5700 series to the masses with a focus on 1080p gaming. In an unusual twist, AMD’s new GPU is debuting in prebuilt PC systems first, including an intriguing all-AMD gaming laptop also introduced: MSI’s Alpha 15.
The Alpha 15 packs Radeon RX 5500 graphics, obviously, along with the Ryzen 7 3750H processor and a blazing-fast 15.6-inch 144Hz FreeSync panel for stutter-free, buttery-smooth mobile gaming. Better yet, this notebook clocks in at a very attractive price, costing just $999 for a version with 8GB of RAM, or $1099 for a 16GB model.
That’s pretty aggressive considering that laptops packing Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 graphics can sometimes sell for around the same price, and AMD claims that the mobile Radeon RX 5500 is considerably faster than its rival. No independent testers have verified the claim yet, however.
Here’s the full spec sheet for the MSI Alpha 15:
Processor: Up to AMD Ryzen 7 3750H
Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5500M 4GB GDDR6
Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080), 144Hz IPS-Level Thin Bezel Display, support AMD Radeon FreeSync technology or 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080), 120Hz IPS-Level Thin Bezel Display, support AMD Radeon FreeSync technology
Keyboard: Per-Key RGB keyboard by SteelSeries (optional)
Storage: 1x M.2 SSD Combo Slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / SATA) 1x 2.5-inch HDD
Audio: Hi-Res Audio, Giant Speaker (2 x 2W), Nahimic 3
Dimensions: 14.08 x 9.76 x 1.08-inch 5.07 lbs
Since this is an all-AMD laptop, it also integrates the company’s Ryzen 7 processor lineup, with a choice of up to Ryzen 7 3750H in the maxed out model. This is paired with up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM (2 slots), but the base model only comes with one 8 GB module. The Alpha 15 has enough room to house one M.2 SSD and a 2.5 inch HDD, so you can get the best of both worlds.
MSI is using a 7-heatpipe cooling module that should hold decently under long gaming sessions. Despite the fact that the Alpha 15 is slightly more compact than other 15-inch gaming laptops, the company filled 25 percent of the space inside the chassis with “giant” speakers. However, that only left enough room for a 51 Whr battery, which will likely only give you a few hours of backup power.
The Alpha 15 has one USB Type-C port but no Thunderbolt and 3 regular USB ports, along with the usual assortment of microSD card reader, mini-DisplayPort, and audio jacks. You also get Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 and Killer Ethernet. It’s worth mentioning the keyboard features per-key SteelSeries RGB lighting and there’s also a distinct dragon logo on the back of the display.
You should expect the MSI Alpha 15 to drop in stores later this month. The base model will cost $999 with 8GB of RAM and a 120 Hz display, and $1,099 for 16GB of RAM and a 144 Hz panel. The laptop is also part of AMD’s Raise the Game promotion, which means you can get Borderlands 3 or Ghost Recon Breakpoint for free with your purchase.
MSI seems to be aiming to compete against the popular Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop that also prioritizes gaming capable hardware and starts at $1,000.