MSI is poised to shake up the handheld gaming market with the leak of its upcoming Claw gaming PC this week. Details and benchmarks of the device have emerged from various sources just days before MSI plans to officially unveil the Claw at CES 2024 next week.
Claw Leak Reveals Impressive Intel-Powered Specs
The most striking revelation from the Claw leaks is the hardware that will power the new gaming handheld. Rather than an ARM-based chip like the Steam Deck, the Claw will feature a full-fledged Intel Core processor according to reports.
Specifically, benchmarks indicate the Claw packs a Core i7-155HX from Intel’s new Meteor Lake family. This chip offers impressive performance with 14 cores (6 performance + 8 efficiency cores) and support for hyperthreading on the performance cores. Early Geekbench tests of the engineering sample unit show strong single and multi-core performance:
The Core i7-155HX has a 65W TDP, which is very impressive to squeeze into a handheld design. Of course, we’ll have to see how MSI handles thermals and cooling once the device is running intensive games.
As for graphics, leaked images confirm the Claw leverages Intel’s latest Arc discrete GPU paired with the Core i7. Exact specs are still unknown but hopes are it can match the performance found in higher-end laptops for a compelling handheld package.
Dense Spec Sheet Includes Anti-Ghosting Keyboard
In addition to the processors, tentative leaks cover many other areas of the Claw design:
- Display – Either a 1080p or 1440p resolution screen up to 8 inches. High refresh with HDR support. Customizable performance profiles.
- Memory – Geekbench reports show a full 32GB of RAM included. Clearly overkill but should ensure good multitasking capabilities.
- Storage – NVMe SSD storage up to 2TB for installation of multiple games.
- Controls – Full-size mechanical keyboard with customizable RGB backlighting. Anti-ghosting technology. Textured analog sticks and D-pad. Advanced force-feedback haptic triggers. Customizable control profiles.
- Connectivity – WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. USB 4 support with Thunderbolt. HDMI output connection.
- Audio – Quad speaker setup with DTS:X Ultra support. Dual noise-cancelling array microphones.
- Battery – Hopefully at least 2 hours under heavy gaming load but no details yet. 65W fast charging capability teased.
- Design – An angular but grippy design for good ergonomics. RGB lighting accents. Opening mechanism for access to storage and memory upgrades.
If MSI can deliver on all of these promises, the Claw could shape up to be a very capable handheld system, albeit likely targeting a higher price tier than the Steam Deck based on the leaked specs.
Mixed Reaction Across Gaming Industry
The leak ahead of CES 2024 has already garnered lots of reactions both positive and negative. While some are excited to see innovation in the handheld PC space:
“This is exactly the type of competition we want to see push the capabilities of handheld gaming forward.”
Others worry MSI may struggle to balance performance, battery life, thermals, and cost into one device:
“Those specs seem too good to be true in that form factor and price range.”
And with a full Windows environment some also caution that MSI should optimize the software experience:
“Delivering a console-quality UI and software ecosystem right out of the box will be key.”
But if MSI manages to pull it off, having a handheld capable of running the latest games at high fidelity, while also providing general productivity would be groundbreaking.
What Happens Next?
All eyes turn to CES 2024 next week where MSI is confirmed to be holding a gaming innovation keynote on Tuesday January 10th. The invite explicitly teases a “Get a grip on PC gaming” announcement that all but certainly involves the Claw handheld unveiling.
We can expect MSI to confirm the final specifications, pricing, availability timeline and real-world performance demonstrations. And perhapsaddress concerns around some of the more unbelievable rumors.
One thing is clear – if the leaked details prove accurate, the Claw will shake up the handheld gaming landscape in 2024. With Steam Deck demand still high, this level of competition can only benefit gamers looking for premium on-the-go experiences. And we may see other manufacturers follow suit if MSI finds success blending productivity and gaming for consumers.
But for now, the full picture will have to wait until CES next week when MSI CEO Charles Chiang takes the stage to show us what the company’s R&D labs have cooked up. The potential seems high, let’s see if the execution matches.
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