MSI Cyborg 15 Review: Budget RTX 4050 Gaming

MSI Cyborg 15 gaming laptop with translucent accents on a desk

MSI Cyborg 15 Review: Translucent Gaming Laptop With Cloudy Performance

The MSI Cyborg 15 stands out as one of the most affordable ways to get your hands on an Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series gaming laptop. This entry-level model features a basic 15.6-inch, 1080p, 144Hz display powered by a 13th-gen Core H-series CPU with RTX 4050 graphics. While it offers playable frame rates and a unique design, its limited performance and lackluster display may leave some gamers wanting more.

Pros and Cons


  • Playable frame rates for a low price
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Funky design with translucent accents


  • Limited performance from 45-watt RTX 4050
  • Dull display
  • No RGB lighting
  • Grainy 720p webcam
  • No Thunderbolt 4 ports

Also Read:- Lenovo LOQ 15 (2024) Review: Worth the Investment

Overview of the MSI Cyborg 15

The MSI Cyborg 15 is designed for gamers on a tight budget who still want to experience the latest in Nvidia’s RTX 40-series graphics. Priced as low as $869 on Amazon (and occasionally dipping closer to $800), it’s one of the cheapest ways to get an RTX 4050-equipped laptop. However, this affordability comes with trade-offs, particularly in performance and display quality.


  • Price as reviewed: $869
  • Display size/resolution: 15.6-inch 1,920×1,080 144Hz
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-13620H
  • Memory: 16GB 5,200MHz DDR5
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU @ 45 watts
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x combo audio
  • Networking: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and Bluetooth 5.2
  • Operating system: Windows 11 Home

MSI offers a variety of configurations for the Cyborg 15, mixing 12th- and 13th-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 and 4060 graphics. However, there’s only one display option: a 15.6-inch, 16:9 display with a 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate.

Performance Analysis

RTX 4050 at 45W

One of the key issues with the Cyborg 15 is its RTX 4050 GPU, which is set to run at a much lower power limit than other laptops in its category. The Total Graphics Power (TGP) of the RTX 4050 GPU can be configured between 35 and 115 watts, with an additional 10 to 25 watts added via Dynamic Boost from the CPU. The Cyborg 15, however, is limited to a maximum of 45 watts, well below its full capacity.

Thermal concerns might explain why MSI chose to set the GPU to a lower TGP. Lower TGP results in less heat output, which helps prevent the laptop from overheating. Despite not being particularly compact or thin, the Cyborg 15 has only a single cooling fan, likely a cost-saving measure to keep the laptop affordable.

Also Read:- Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (2022) Review

Benchmark Tests

We tested the Cyborg 15 alongside four other budget gaming laptops with RTX 4050 graphics. Its GPU’s lower power limit resulted in performance that lagged behind competitors. On our application and graphics tests, it consistently finished last or near-last, except for Geekbench 6, where it placed third.

In gaming benchmarks, the Cyborg 15 managed to squeak past the Lenovo LOQ 82XT on our Guardians of the Galaxy benchmark, averaging 100 frames per second at 1080p with quality settings on High. However, it finished dead last on The Riftbreaker GPU and Shadow of the Tomb Raider tests, with a considerable margin on each test. Despite this, it still averaged a playable 75 fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p at the highest settings.

Battery life was also disappointing. The Cyborg 15 barely cleared the five-hour mark on our online streaming battery drain test, the shortest runtime in its group by more than an hour. The single fan kept noise levels low, and the laptop’s rear half became warm during extended play but never uncomfortably hot.

Design and Build Quality

Icy Blue Translucence

The Cyborg 15’s design is characterized by its translucent accents. Ten keys on the keyboard, the display hinges, and the bottom panel are made from translucent plastic. The WASD keys, four arrow keys, spacebar, and power button feature icy blue translucence, creating a unique look. The translucent keys combined with the funky font on the keyboard give the Cyborg 15 an edgy aesthetic.

The bottom panel is also translucent, but the effect is muted due to a thin coating of silver paint inside the panel. Instead of a clear view of the internal components, you see large lettering spelling out “MSI TRUE GAMING” in the venting. Through these vents, some copper heat pipes and motherboard circuitry are visible. The bottom panel wraps around the sides of the laptop, providing a partial view of the internal workings.

The Cyborg 15’s keyboard deck and bottom panel are plastic, but the top cover is aluminum, adding durability. There’s no lighting on the top panel, just a subtle MSI dragon logo. Translucent plastic edges add contrast to the matte-black aluminum, enhancing its visual appeal.

Weight and Portability

The Cyborg 15 is relatively lightweight at 4.5 pounds, nearly a full pound lighter than the 15.6-inch Lenovo LOQ 82XT, which weighs 5.4 pounds. The Acer Nitro 16 and Acer Predator Helios Neo 16, with their larger 16-inch displays, weigh 5.7 pounds each. Impressively, the 16-inch HP Victus 16 weighs only 5.2 pounds.

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User Experience

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the Cyborg 15 is standard fare with quick, shallow travel keys. Some gamers might prefer deeper travel with a more satisfying response. The four arrow keys are full-size, which is preferable to half-height keys. The keyboard offers three-level backlighting, but only in icy blue with no option for customization. While RGB lighting is becoming more common in budget gaming laptops, a single-color option at this price isn’t unusual.

The touchpad feels undersized but is sufficient for navigating Windows. It has a smooth, matte surface and a firm click response.


The display is where the Cyborg 15 shows its entry-level status. The 144Hz refresh rate is faster than the standard 60Hz, and games look sharp and smooth at 1080p. However, colors appear dull due to the panel’s lack of brightness. Peak brightness measured only 266 nits, significantly lower than competing models like the Lenovo LOQ 82XT (343 nits), Acer Nitro 16 (424 nits), and Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 (442 nits).

Webcam and Audio

The webcam is a grainy 720p camera that struggles with image balance even in decent light. The Cyborg 15 is equipped with a pair of 2-watt speakers, which provide tinny sound with minimal bass response. Headphones are recommended for an optimal audio experience.

Also Read:- HP Omen Transcend 14: Gaming Laptop

Ports and Connectivity

The laptop includes a variety of ports: one USB-C, two USB-A, one HDMI, one Ethernet, and a headphone jack. However, it lacks Thunderbolt 4 support, and the USB-C port is USB 3.2 Gen 1, offering only 5Gbps transfer speeds. This is a small fraction of the 40Gbps available with Thunderbolt 4. While the absence of Thunderbolt 4 isn’t uncommon at this price, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port would have been a nice upgrade for doubled transfer speeds.


The MSI Cyborg 15 is a mixed bag. While it offers a funky design with translucent accents and a lightweight build, its performance is hampered by a lower-wattage RTX 4050 GPU. The display is disappointingly dull, and the webcam and speakers leave much to be desired. The lack of Thunderbolt 4 ports is another downside.

However, if your budget is tight and you like the Cyborg 15’s unique look, it might still be worth considering, especially when it’s on sale. If the Cyborg 15 saved you $200 compared to better-performing RTX 4050 laptops, then it could be a good buy. The Acer Predator Helios Neo 16, frequently available at Best Buy for $850 or $900, offers a larger, brighter display and superior 3D performance thanks to its RTX 4050 running at 140 watts.

As with any budget laptop, corners are cut to reduce the price. In the case of the Cyborg 15, the trade-offs might be too significant for some gamers. However, if your budget doesn’t stretch beyond $800 and you find the Cyborg 15 appealing, the RTX 4060-based model at Best Buy is the better buy when you can find it on sale. It has been seen as low as $750 with a massive $350 discount, offering better performance for a similar price.


What is the MSI Cyborg 15?
The MSI Cyborg 15 is an entry-level gaming laptop featuring a 15.6-inch, 1080p, 144Hz display, a 13th-gen Core H-series CPU, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics.

What are the key specifications of the MSI Cyborg 15?

  • Display: 15.6-inch, 1920×1080, 144Hz
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-13620H
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 @ 45 watts
  • RAM: 16GB DDR5
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Price: $869

How does the Cyborg 15’s RTX 4050 perform?
The RTX 4050 in the Cyborg 15 is set to run at a lower power limit (45 watts) compared to other laptops in its class. This results in lower performance in benchmarks and gaming tests.

What are the design features of the MSI Cyborg 15?
The Cyborg 15 features translucent accents on the keyboard and bottom panel, giving it a unique look. It has an aluminum top cover for added durability and weighs 4.5 pounds.

Also Read:- Logitech G Pro X Review: Pro Gaming Headset

What are the display and audio quality like on the Cyborg 15?
The display has a 144Hz refresh rate but suffers from dull colors and low brightness (266 nits). The speakers provide tinny sound with minimal bass, making headphones a better option.

Is the MSI Cyborg 15 worth buying?
The Cyborg 15 is worth considering if you’re on a tight budget and find it on sale closer to $800. However, better-performing RTX 4050 laptops like the Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 might offer more value for a slightly higher price.

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