There are so many wonderful things about this system, but balancing those are a few we wish were different. Let’s start with the best parts.
While it wouldn’t beat a desktop 11th Gen Core-i7 processor, the Intel i7-1165G7 is a powerful mobile chip, and with four cores and eight-thread processing, it can crunch some numbers very effectively.
And, with the screen only being 1080p resolution, the Iris Xe GPU looks less like the usual Intel slideshow and more like something that could be useful to those who occasionally do 2D or even 3D design work. It’s not discrete GPU good, but it's certainly a notch up from the horrendous UHD specification GPUs that Intel has belligerently churned out for years.
When the CPU and GPU combine with pre-installed Windows 10 Pro, the user experience is generally a good one. The system is very responsive, and the NVMe storage delivers applications to the desktop reasonably smartly.
The IPS screen isn’t exceptionally bright or amazingly colour accurate, but it's more than adequate for office tasks and large enough to be readable from a comfortable distance.
We’d of preferred that Thunderbolt had been used for the USB-C connections giving the flexibility for even more extra displays and even faster external drives, but at this price point, we can rationalise why it wasn’t included.
Where the AM271P is let down to a degree is in the Windows installation, with two choices that we didn’t like at all.
The first is that the review system came with a 500GB NVMe that had been partitioned into two 250GB logical drives, with the OS on C drive, and the D drive labelled as ‘data’.
While this is exactly how we’d configure a Linux machine, but Windows has never fully embraced the notion of keeping applications and data separate, making this a mistake.
When the user realises that they have no space left on C drive, but plenty on drive D, they’ll start down a weary road of reorganisation with a live system already burdened with data.
That’s not user friendly, and neither is the amount of bloatware that MSI burdened this machine with.
Within ten seconds of powering up a machine Norton leaps onto the screen with its Chicken Little impersonation telling the user that the sky is falling, but they can hold it up for the cost of a yearly subscription.
And Norton isn’t the only uninvited software guest. MSI put many applications on this system few users will genuinely be happy to see them.
These included Skype, Spotify, MS Office Web Editions, multiple Xbox apps, Music Maker Jam, LinkedIn, Mix reality Portal and five multimedia apps from MSI. Out of these, the only ones that justify being here are the MSI created apps, in our opinion.
That system makers do this makes little or no sense. Because business systems are invariably rebuilt before deployment, removing all traces of this bloatware and home users will make it a priority to remove them at the very first opportunity.
And, one final complaint. When the system is being worked hard during a simulation, game or benchmark, the fan noise doesn’t take long to become noticeable and is louder than we’d expected. For those using office applications or surfing, they’ll probably not experience it, but for those with more demanding tasks, it might soon become annoying.
Here's how the MSI Modern AM271P 11M scored in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark Wild Life: 10,280; Fire Strike: 4,132; Time Spy: 1,578
Cinebench R20 CPU: 2,089
Cinebench R23 CPU: 1472 (single-core); 4,737 (multi-core) GeekBench 5: 1,573 (single-core); 5,293 (multi-core) CrystalDiskMark: Sequential Read: 2,485MB/s; Sequential Write: 1810MB/s; 4KiB Q32T1 Random Read: 757.43MB/s; 4KiB Q32T1 Random Write: 557.65 MB/s
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 5,137 points
Many laptops that used 10th Generation Intel processors had mediocre performance, but thankfully the 11th Gen hardware in this system offers significant improvements.
Comparing this machine to prior Intel mobile machines we’ve covered, the difference in power between this machine and one using the 10th Gen i7-1065G7 processor is significant.
Using the HP Spectre x360 (2020) as a classic example of that platform, the GeekBench 5 single-core score has improved from 1,259 to 1,529 and on multi-core from 4,442 to a whopping 5,293. That’s roughly a 20 percentage points increase on both those scores.
Overall, this is a much better platform and the Iris graphics a marked improvement over the UHD Graphics that most Intel CPUs are saddled.
If there is a weakness here, the component budget didn’t have enough in it to include a better NVMe drive. The one used is a Western Digital PC SN530 NVMe SSD, a device designed to provide power efficiency on laptops, but that’s not a priority here.
In testing, the SN530 only managed 2,485MB/s reads and 1810MB/s sequential writes, making it one of the slower NVMe available. It’s still quick in comparison to a SATA SSD but hardly a standard-bearer for this storage technology.
It’s best to think of this system as a static laptop than a desktop regarding upgrades, as it has no accessible PCIe slots for video cards and the like.
And, upgrading the RAM or NVMe drive likely involves dismantling the entire system as it has no access panels to reveal these locations.
That’s a bit disappointing for those that might want to enhance their systems. However, you do get an access panel to a 2.5-inch SATA drive tray to add additional storage via either HDD or SSD of that form factor.
Therefore, upgradability isn’t a strong point of this design.
Leaving aside the way Windows 10 was made even less palatable than it already is on this system, the MSI Modern AM271P 11M is fundamentally a decent solution that is more platform than most people need to work from home.
For many users, the Core i7 processor has plenty of power. MSI makes cheaper 24-inch models, some with Core i5 class processors, for those who only need lower-intensity tasks. There is some easy method to add extra storage, but those wanting 1TB of NVMe probably need to specify the installation of that device at the point of purchase.
Considering how expensive some of the laptops are that use the Intel i7-1165G7 processor, the price is very competitive. And a bargain, when comparing it to a 27-inch Apple iMac with the same memory and storage.
The AM271P might not have a 5K display like the iMac, but it’s almost half the price.
We can see this design doing well with those businesses that are employing home-based staff and want to send out a single box that contains a complete system ready to use.
Once the IT staff have built a work-specific drive image with all the junk removed and business applications pre-installed and applied to this hardware, it shouldn’t take long for users to get a newly delivered system operational.
And, unless they need workstation levels of performance, this platform should more than cover their requirements.