MSI has officially teased its first handheld gaming PC, dubbed the “Claw Gaming Handheld,” which is set to be fully unveiled at CES 2024. The device is shaping up to be a direct competitor to Valve’s popular Steam Deck.
MSI Enters Handheld Gaming Market
For years, MSI has been a major player in the PC gaming hardware market, producing gaming laptops, desktops, monitors, components, and accessories. However, the company has yet to break into the fledgling handheld PC gaming space.
That’s set to change in 2024, as MSI plans to announce its first handheld gaming system at CES this month. Dubbed simply the “Claw Gaming Handheld,” early leaks show MSI is aiming to take on the Valve Steam Deck with its initial portable offering.
High-End Specs to Rival Steam Deck
According to early reports from outlets like Videocardz and Wccftech, the MSI Claw Gaming Handheld will pack some serious power under the hood:
- Intel Core ultra Processor – Up to an Intel Core i7-155H spec CPU with 14 cores (6 P-cores, 8 E-cores) and 20 threads
- Intel ARC Discrete Graphics – Up to an Intel ARC A770M GPU
- Up to 32GB LPDDR5 RAM & 1TB PCIe SSD
This puts the MSI device on-par with the highest-end Steam Deck model in terms of CPU and GPU power. The Intel processor also supports Thunderbolt 4 connectivity.
|AMD Zen 2 Quad-Core
|Intel ARC A770M
|AMD RDNA 2 8 CUs
|Up to 32GB LPDDR5
|1TB PCIe SSD
|512GB PCIe SSD
With a larger screen and more capable hardware, the MSI Claw seems positioned as more of a high-end alternative to the Steam Deck. This could allow it to better handle intensive modern AAA game titles.
Modern Design with Detachable Controllers
Leaked images show the MSI Claw opts for a landscape-oriented asymmetric design with the controls situated on one side of the screen, akin to the Steam Deck. However, MSI’s controllers appear to detach for more flexible gameplay configurations.
The centered 720p webcam indicates MSI envisions the device as a portable gaming and streaming solution. Additional connectivity like Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 make the Claw suitable for gaming on the go.
Leaked official render of the MSI Claw Gaming Handheld
Targeting High-End Portable Gamers
With its combination of cutting-edge Intel silicon and detachable controller design, the MSI Claw seems tailored for high spenders looking for a premium handheld experience.
The specs should allow playing the latest games at reasonable frame rates, while also providing headroom for tasks like video editing. Thunderbolt 4 also opens the door to external GPU expansion down the road.
Price-wise, expectations are of an $899+ cost given the flagship internals. That would position the Claw more as a secondary portable machine for avid PC gamers. With Valve struggling to meet Steam Deck demand, MSI may see an opening in 2024.
Full Launch at CES 2023
More details on the MSI Claw Gaming Handheld are expected to come next week during the company’s CES 2023 showcase. Along with official specs and pricing, MSI should demonstrate the device running modern games.
It remains to be seen if the Claw has what it takes to carve out a spot for itself in the handheld market. But with Steam Deck inventory still severely constrained, 2023 may be the perfect time for MSI to strike.
The company’s combination of gaming hardware expertise and Intel’s cutting-edge architectures could resonate with enthusiasts. We’ll know more when MSI spills the beans in Las Vegas on January 5th.
Outlook for MSI’s Handheld Efforts
Assuming a successful debut, MSI now faces the challenge of ramping up production and marketing for the Claw Gaming Handheld through 2023. However, early hype seems high among core gamers seeking a high-powered Intel-based portable.
Further down the road, MSI could expand the Claw lineup with additional models at lower prices. Following Valve’s lead by offering different performance and storage tiers could help broaden appeal.
There is also room for future collaboration with Intel as bothArc graphics and Core Ultra processors mature. We may see refreshed Claw models at future tradeshows packing updated internals.
For now, all eyes turn to CES 2023 where the MSI Claw takes its first step in what could develop into a long-running foray into handheld PCs. Capturing even a small slice of Nintendo and Valve’s market would mark a win for this ambitious debut.
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