MSI Claw’s $749 model is ‘out of stock’ ahead of release – and it’s clear why

MSI Claw

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There’s only two days between you and the hotly anticipated Arc-powered handheld as the MSI Claw ships out on March 8 in the US. To be in with a chance of being first in line, we highly recommend checking out where to buy MSI Claw pre orders for the latest information in your country with regards to availability.

Prices for the MSI Claw start at $699 up to $799 with a total of three different models available rocking slightly different specs. However, the mid-range $749 appears to be sold out in territories such as the US. The throughline for all is a 7-inch Full HD 120Hz display with Intel Arc graphics baked into the Core Ultra CPU. It’s a departure from its AMD powered rivals with a price tag on the upper-end of the spectrum. MSI has the full specs.

But that’s when we get into exactly what that $50 difference gets you. The $699 model is rocking a weaker Core Ultra 5 chip with the $749 variant pushing things up to a Core Ultra 7. Specifically, the Ultra 7 155H features a total of eight P-cores and eight E-cores which is quite the flex for the form factor. In contrast, the Ultra 5 has eight P-cores but only six E-cores meaning the potential for less performance. This extends to the Intel Arc graphics, too, with the former having eight Xe cores compared to the latter’s seven clock slightly differently. It’s easy to see why spending a bit more can net you a solid jump in performance.

The Taiwanese manufacturer has wasted little time from reveal to release as the MSI Claw was speculated to appear at CES 2024 at the beginning of the year where it stole the show as a potential competitor to the excellent Steam Deck OLED and Windows-based devices such as the Lenovo Legion Go and ASUS ROG Ally which have varying levels of competitor success.

Can Intel Arc push the handheld gaming PC needle?

The biggest flex that the MSI Claw has over its competitors is that it’s powered by the all-new Intel Ultra Core (Meteor Lake) processors which will feature integrated Intel Arc graphics. That’s a departure from the custom RDNA 2 chipset found in both the Steam Deck and Steam Deck OLED models, and the Ryzen Z1 / Z1 Extreme built on AMD RDNA 3 architecture in the Go and Ally. The push is made more towards power efficiency and could deliver strong graphical performance when sustained at 1080p.

More specifically, that means the implementation of Intel XeSS AI upscaling as opposed to the more rudimentary versions of FSR available on the AMD-powered handhelds, further bolstered by Meteor Lake’s NPU (neural processing unit). We could see AI play a massive part in not only the power efficiency (and general battery life) but also in how far games can be pushed to higher average framerates as well.

Aleksha McLoughlin is Hardware and News Editor for PC Guide and she oversees buying guides, reviews, news, and features on site. She was previously Hardware and Affiliates Editor at VideoGamer.