MSI Sword 16 HX B14V review – A Capable Gaming Laptop for Content Creators

If you think that the MSI Sword 16 HX B14V is just a smaller version of the Sword 17 HX B14V, you are actually (almost) right. We have already reviewed the 17-ich version and yes, both machines look, feel, and perform nearly the same. This means that with the 16-incher you get a 20-core Intel Core i7-14700HX (or an i7-14650HX) alongside 115W NVIDIA RTX 4000 graphics cards. The upgradability is good and even one of the M.2 slots is for Gen 5 NVMe drives. The port selection remains decent at best.

The base display is a 1200p unit with a 144Hz refresh rate. If you can stretch your wallet, you can get the optional 1600p 240Hz variant, just like we did. Littery all other features that we saw in the bigger laptop are also on board here – an RGB Gaming Keyboard, a MUX switch, a Web camera with a privacy shutter, a huge Cooler Boost 5 thermal system, and Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth v5.3 for connectivity.

On the flip side, the power adapter is again the modest 200W model. This results in not-so-high CPU clocks for the 17-inch model and perhaps this will be the case with the device in front of us since it has the same hardware under the bonnet.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-sword-16-hx-b14vx/

Contents


Specs, Drivers, What’s in the box

MSI Sword 16 HX (B14Vx) - Specs

  • Innolux N160GME-GTB (CMN162F)
  • Color accuracy  1.7  1.1
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 5.0 x4 + 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro
  • Battery
  • 65Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Plastic / Polycarbonate
  • Dimensions
  • 359 x 266.4 x 21.8 - 27.7 mm (14.13" x 10.49" x 0.86")
  • Weight
  • 2.30 kg (5.1 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 3x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • 2.1 (8K@60Hz / 4K@120Hz)
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.3
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • HD with 3D Noise Reduction (3DNR)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W Stereo Speakers, Nahimic 3D Audio, Hi-Res Audio
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/Sword-16-HX-B14VX/support

What’s in the box?

The box contains the laptop itself, a couple of manuals, and a 200W barrel plug charger.


Design and construction

When the lid is closed, the look of the MSI Sword 16 HX B14V isn’t too gamer-ish. There is just one Dragon logo on the lid. The latter is more stable than the one of the 17-inch version and the same applies to the sturdier solid base. The only section that can be slightly pressed down is the zone above the touchpad. This laptop is made of plastic and it weighs 2.30 kilos. The profile is a bit on the thick side – 21.8 – 27.7 mm but that’s fine since you get a hefty cooling solution.

The lid opens with one hand and you’ll feel a small amount of resistance while doing so.

The bezels around the IPS panel are thin except for the lower one. Still, the device looks like a modern gadget.

The lid opens at almost 180 degrees and that is something impossible for the 17-ich model.

The top bezel houses a  720p@30FPS Web camera that has a privacy shutter and the unit also supports 3D Noise Reduction.

The effects of the RGB keyboard can be controlled with the aid of the MSI Center software.

The 24-Zone RGB Gaming with a translucent WASD section is superb! The keycaps are quiet on press. They offer great travel and nice clicky feedback. The board has a NumPad, big Arrow keys, and a shortcut for MS Copilot. The accurate touchpad has a smooth surface that registers clicks in the top corners. On the other hand, the pad teeters while tapping on it and you can also hear some slight rattle sounds simultaneously.

The aggressive design of the bottom plate is typical for a gaming laptop. It features a lot of different ventilation grills, and nine feet in total – the two in the center have segregations. We can also spot two speaker cutouts and a battery reset hole. The heat is being exhausted via two vents on the sides and four on the back.

Ports

On the left, you get a 10 Gbps USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port with DisplayPort and 100W charging capabilities and a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port. On the back, we can see another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an HDMI 2.1 for up to 8K@60Hz external displays, a LAN, and a power plug. One more USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port and an Audio combo jack are placed on the right.


Display and Sound Quality, Get our Profiles

MSI Sword 16 HX B14V is equipped with a WQXGA (Wide Quad Extended Graphics Array) IPS panel, model number Innolux N160GME-GTB (CMN162F). It comes with a 240Hz refresh rate. Its diagonal is 16.0″ (40.6 cm), and the resolution – 2560 x 1600p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:10, the pixel density – 189 ppi, and their pitch – 0.13 x 0.13 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 46 cm (this is based on the pixel density and the typical viewing distance at which individual pixels cannot be distinguished by the human eye).

Viewing angles are good. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

The maximum measured brightness is 510 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 487 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 7%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6540K (average).
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 45% Brightness (White level = 141 cd/m2, Black level = 0.12 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1160:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows MSI Sword 16 HX B14V’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976 and 98% of DCI-P3, ensuring a super vibrant and attractive picture.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of the MSI Sword 16 HX B14V with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right) compared to Display P3 color space.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions. The default settings are decent.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa обратно (these terms refer to the time it takes for pixels to change from one color to another (black to white and back to black in this case), a shorter time reduces picture blur with fast moving images).

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 9 ms. Short pixel response time is a prerequisite for a smooth picture in dynamic scenes. Gamers should be happy.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.

Health Impact: PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

MSI Sword 16 HX B14V’s display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. This makes the screen pretty comfortable for long periods of use.

Health Impact: Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Health Impact: Gloss-level measurement

Glossy-coated displays are sometimes inconvenient in high ambient light conditions. We show the level of reflection on the screen for the respective laptop when the display is turned off and the measurement angle is 60° (in this case, the result is 63.2 GU).

Sound

MSI Sword 16 HX B14V’s speakers produce a sound of very good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for MSI Sword 16 HX B14V configurations with 16.0″ Innolux N160GME-GTB (CMN162F) (2560 x 1600) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected].

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Performance: CPU, GPU, Storage

All benchmarks and tests were conducted with the “Extreme Performance” profile activated in the MSI Center. Also, the “Discrete Graphics Mode” is turned on and the “Performance mode” is applied in the BIOS in the “User Scenario” section. In addition, the “Best performance” preset is activated in the Windows “Power & Battery” menu.

CPU options

You can find this laptop with Intel Core i7-14700HX or Core i7-14650HX.

We bought a device with a 14700HX.

GPU options

Three GPU options with 115W TGPs are available – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050, GeForce RTX 4060, and GeForce RTX 4070.

Our machine is with an RTX 4070.

Gaming tests

Metro ExodusFull HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
Average FPS229 fps117 fps37 fps

Borderlands 3Full HD, V.Low (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
Average FPS220 fps186 fps139 fps110 fps

Far Cry 6Full HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average FPS191 fps148 fps130 fps

Gears 5Full HD, Low (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average FPS284 fps213 fps180 fps149 fps

It seems that the 115W TGP of the optional GeForce RTX 4070 is enough for high FPS even on Ultra details.

Storage performance

Our device has a 1TB WD PC SN560 SDDPNQE-1T00-1032. Below you can see some benchmarks of this Gen 4 SSD. Its temperatures during benchmarking are good – 60°C.

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🛠️ GPU Modifications: vBIOS, Overclocking, Undervolting
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💻 Hardware upgrade tips for best results
🖼 Display enhancing
💾 OS Optimization for best performance

Temperatures and comfort, Battery Life

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

Intel Core i7-14700HX (55W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
MSI Sword 16 HX B14V2.74 GHz @ 2.13 GHz @ 55°C @ 80W2.74 GHz @ 2.14 GHz @ 58°C @ 80W2.74 GHz @ 2.14 GHz @ 72°C @ 80W
MSI Sword 17 HX B14V2.73 GHz @ 1.89 GHz @ 55°C @ 80W2.72 GHz @ 1.93 GHz @ 59°C @ 80W2.67 GHz @ 2.04 GHz @ 72°C @ 80W
Alienware m18 R23.54 GHz @ 2.92 GHz @ 78°C @ 159W3.69 GHz @ 3.05 GHz @ 84°C @ 163W3.34 GHz @ 2.70 GHz @ 81°C @ 125W
HP OMEN Transcend 16 (u1000)3.47 GHz @ 2.83 GHz @ 76°C @ 130W3.42 GHz @ 2.79 GHz @ 88°C @ 129W2.96 GHz @ 2.47 GHz @ 81°C @ 90W
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (16″, Gen 9)3.73 GHz @ 3.28 GHz @ 82°C @ 179W3.57 GHz @ 3.19 GHz @ 87°C @ 164W3.34 GHz @ 2.91 GHz @ 83°C @ 130W
Acer Nitro 16 (AN16-72)3.73 GHz @ 3.09 GHz @ 72°C @ 157W3.69 GHz @ 3.04 GHz @ 85°C @ 157W3.24 GHz @ 2.68 GHz @ 74°C @ 100W

Just like its 17″ version, the power limit of the CPU here is capped at 80W. This means when the chip is loaded at max, you can expect ~ 2.70 GHz / 2.10 GHz P and E-core clock. Still, the notebook always feels fast but the clocks could be higher. However, temperatures aren’t high, especially in short and medium loads.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
MSI Sword 16 HX B14V2373 MHz @ 73°C @ 115W2372 MHz @ 73°C @ 115W
MSI Sword 17 HX B14V2395 MHz @ 73°C @ 114W2388 MHz @ 75°C @ 114W
Alienware m18 R22550 MHz @ 68°C @ 132W2550 MHz @ 72°C @ 133W
Lenovo Legion Slim 5 (16″, Gen 9)2580 MHz @ 81°C @ 130W2580 MHz @ 86°C @ 132W
Acer Predator Helios Neo 18 (PHN18-71)2610 MHz @ 77°C @ 131W2610 MHz @ 82°C @ 134W
Lenovo Legion Pro 5i (16″, Gen 9)2535 MHz @ 74°C @ 129W2535 MHz @ 75°C @ 130W
Acer Nitro 17 (AN17-41) “Turbo” preset2535 MHz @ 66°C @ 121W2535 MHz @ 67°C @ 122W
Acer Nitro 17 (AN17-41) “Performance” preset2475 MHz @ 72°C @ 123W2475 MHz @ 73°C @ 123W

The RTX 4070 is mentioned as a 115W model in the NVIDIA Control panel and the chip here can maintain this TGP whiteout any problems.

Gaming comfort

Just like most gaming devices of this manufacturer, the MSI Center app contains all you need to fine-tune the laptop’s power. This includes four performance presets, an auto AI mode, and a GPU switch. You can also set the fans to their maximum speed thanks to the “Cooler Boost” option. Even during long gaming sessions with the “Extreme Performance” profile applied, the fans are audible but not noisy, At the same time, the WASD section, the NumPad, and the two palm rest zones don’t feel toasty to the touch. Contrary to that, the center of the board feels hot but not in an extreme way.

When the system is in an idle state, the fan speed is around 2400 RPM in both “Silent” or the “Super Battery” modes. However, the “Silent” preset is the right choice for normal tasks since just the GPU fan isn’t working under light loads. Activating the Cooler Boost” function results in ~5500 RPM but even then, the noise is still acceptable for a gaming device.

For heavy CPU-dependant workloads, the “Extreme Performance” preset is the way to go because it offers the highest possible clocks and almost the same fan speed as the “Balanced” mode (3600 RPM vs 3400 RPM). The other two power profiles are more suitable for normal daily or office work – the noise is lower as well as the overall performance.

If you want to unleash the full GPU power for gaming, you have to use the “Extreme Performance” mode which results in ~4900 fan RPM and ~115W GPU TGP. Interestingly, the fans aren’t intrusively noisy even in this scenario. The fan speed is decreased to ~3700 RPM in “Balanced” mode but the GPU TGP hits just 80W which is too low for some demanding games.

We also undervolt and overclock the graphics card. The 115W power limit is enough for a 2505 MHz core clock if the voltage is set to 0.925V.

You can also have a look at the main menu of the BIOS.

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Best Power Efficiency setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 140 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop’s 65Wh battery lasts for 5 hours and 18 minutes of video playback. To achieve that, you have to apply the “Silent” preset and the “Display Power Saver” function in the MSI Center. Also, the “MSI Hybrid Graphics Mode” has to be turned on and the “Balance” mode should be selected in the BIOS in the “User Scenario” section. The “Best Power Efficiency” preset is also activated in the Windows “Power & Battery” menu.

The “Best Power Efficiency” preset is also activated in the Windows “Power & Battery” menu and the “Adaptive Sync Plus” option is turned on in the Intel Graphics Command Center.


Disassembly, Upgrade options, and Maintenance

To open this device, you have to undo 13 Phillips-head screws. When that is done, there should be a visible tiny gap in the front, and start prying the panel from there. Pop the sides until reaching the far end of the exhaust vents. Now, there should be a small gap between the plate and the base in the top two corners. Pry the rear by gliding the plastic tool carefully. Lift the panel on the right and slide it to the left where the Audio jack is.

Here’s how the bottom panel looks on the inside.

This notebook has a 65Wh battery. If you want to remove it, detach the connector from the motherboard and undo the 4 Phillips-head screws that fix the unit to the chassis. The capacity is enough for 5 hours and 18 minutes of video playback.

The memory area is protected by a metal shroud which has a rubber foot on top that makes contact with the bottom panel to enhance the internal structural support. You can lift the metal cap with a lever tool.

According to MSI, the two SODIMMs can handle up to 96GB of DDR5-5600MHz RAM in dual-channel mode. However, since the CPU can support up to 192GB, this laptop likely wouldn’t have issues running a larger amount of memory than the official manufacturer’s specified limit.

The top NVMe slot is compatible with Gen 5 SSDs while the lower one is for Gen 4 units. We can spot a big thermal pad for each M.2 slot which is good. The Wi-Fi card is positioned below the right fan.

The cooling is called Cooler Boost 5 and it’s impressively big! It comprises two fans and four long and thick heat pipes shared between the CPU and the GPU – the fifth one is solely dedicated to the graphics card. The thermal system offers four heat sinks, a heat spreader for the processor, and one huge metal plate for the video card that also covers its memory and VRMs and makes contact with the chipset as well.


Verdict

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there isn’t a big difference between the MSI Sword 16 HX B14V and the 17-ich model that we have already tested. Still, the smaller device has its advantages – its bottom plate feels way more solid while opening the laptop for servicing or upgrading. The whole chassis also seems sturdier compared to the Sword 17 HX B14V. Last but not least, the lid of the 16-inher goes back fairly far and it almost reaches the 180-degree mark while the max angle of the opening of the bigger sibling isn’t that wide.

The noise levels under full CPU or GPU loads are under control – the fans aren’t too noisy despite the high RPM values. Regardless of the huge cooling system, the 20-core Intel Core i7-14700HX can’t show its full potential because of the modest 200W power adapter. The CPU power limit is hard capped at 80W – some laptops with the same chip can offer an extra 50W in long processor loads. This doesn’t affect the gaming performance which is on point.

The optional 1600p 240Hz display (Innolux N160GME-GTB (CMN162F) is a very good unit for all kinds of usage. It has snappy pixel response times for an IPS panel (9 ms), impressively high max brightness of 510 cd/m2, and 100% sRGB coverage. The PWM-free unit is color-accurate, especially when our “Design and Gaming” profile is applied – the content creators should be happy.

For future upgrades, you get a pair of SODIMMs and two M.2 slots – one for Gen 4 and one for Gen 5 SSDs. The port selection sounds okay with its four USB connectors but unfortunately, three of them are just Gen 1 ports. The battery life is decent considering the high-res display and the snappy hardware. At the end of the day, despite its cons, the MSI Sword 16 HX B14V offers good gaming performance alongside decent noise levels, a great display, a comfortable keyboard, and a MUX switch.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-sword-16-hx-b14vx/

Pros

  • Good gaming performance
  • 2x SODIMMs + 2x M.2 slot (one is for Gen 5 SSDs)
  • 1600p resolution + 240Hz refresh rate (CMN162F)
  • PWM-free (CMN162F)
  • Full sRGB and 98% DCI-P3 coverage + accurate color with our “Design and Gaming” profile (CMN162F)
  • High max brightness (510 cd/m2) and fast pixel response times (9 ms) for an IPS panel (CMN162F)
  • Superb 24-Zone RGB Gaming keyboard with long key travel, NumPad, and big Arrow keys
  • Solid build quality
  • High GPU clocks (~2400 MHz) under gaming given the 115W TGP
  • The MSI Center offers plenty of customizations
  • 4 USB ports + HDMI 2.1
  • Decent battery life for a 65Wh capacity
  • Quality audio
  • MUX switch
  • The fan noise isn’t intrusive in “Extreme Performance” mode


Cons

  • Bulky
  • Low CPU clocks (~2.70 GHz / 2.10 GHz for the P and E cores) and power limit (80W) under any kind of load
  • Plastic chassis
  • No G-Sync or NVIDIA Advanced Optimus support
  • Three Gen 1 Type-A ports

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