MSI apparently has a gaming handheld in a similar vein to the host of Steam Deck rivals that have appeared in recent times, and it’ll launch imminently at CES 2024.
Content creator CameronRitz shared a purported image of the inbound MSI handheld on X (formerly Twitter) – feast your eyes on that above – and followed up that tweet with some rumored specs which come with an interesting twist.
More info for the MSi “CLAW”• 32GB of LPDDR5X ram (2x what’s in the Ally, Legion Go, & Deck)• Intel 16 Core Meteor Lake APU (6 P-Cores, 8 E-cores, 2 LP-cores) • 8 Xe-Core GPU • Price TBD (Reveal @ #CES 2024) https://t.co/uW4IuwkpO6 pic.twitter.com/pPIhwFfM6yJanuary 5, 2024
Unlike the existing big-name portable gaming PCs (Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go, and so on) which use AMD silicon, MSI is the first to use an Intel CPU. (The first high-profile vendor, mind, as there are obscure Chinese offerings that were revealed late last year, for example, an Emdoor handheld with a Meteor Lake chip, though it isn’t out yet.)
MSI is supposedly giving the Claw a Meteor Lake engine with 16 cores (6 performance, 8 efficiency, and 2 low-power cores), and the APU sports integrated graphics with 8 Xe Cores. It’s also going heavy on the system memory with a mighty 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM.
Initially, CameronRitz wasn’t sure about the authenticity of the leaked press image, but later said it’s now been verified, before adding those rumored specs into the mix.
So, it seems this device is really happening, considering that MSI has been dropping heavy hints about ‘getting a grip’ on a new breed of device set to be revealed at CES 2024, and Intel has too.
Analysis: A mighty swipe from a Dragon’s Claw?
What we don’t have yet is any rumored price for the MSI Claw, but we haven’t got long to wait to find out, as CES 2024 is just around the corner. (Is it us or does the MSI Claw name make it sound like something that’ll eventually result in serious hand cramps, giving you claw-like appendages? We’re not sure if we’re massively sold on the name if it turns out to be this, but hey, it’s not like ROG Ally is particularly catchy either).
The big twist as mentioned is using an Intel rather than AMD APU, but from what we’ve seen, Meteor Lake looks like a sound choice, and promising on the integrated graphics front (very promising, in fact). What could be key here, though, is Intel’s drivers, and where the performance weak spots still lie with the Arc for some games – though Team Blue has been making major strides with improving its graphics driver with every release throughout last year, pretty much.
As noted, while there are some lesser-known brands with plans for Intel-powered gaming handhelds, an outfit like MSI has a much better chance of coming up with a compelling Steam Deck rival (presumably Windows-powered) that makes good use of Meteor Lake silicon.
As the leaker comments, the MSI Claw does look pretty similar to the ROG Ally, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – and CameronRitz notes that the screen is from the same supplier as the Asus handheld.
Roll on CES 2024, as those keen on Windows-powered gaming handhelds could be looking at a real contender here, with that Meteor Lake performance backed up by a chunky 32GB of system RAM. What kind of battery life the Claw achieves with an Intel APU will be something that’ll be keenly anticipated, too, though we can’t expect miracles.