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Decent CPU performance

Interesting design with plenty of flair

Comfortable keyboard and trackpad


Lackluster GPU performance

The display lacks brightness

Audio produces less-than-stellar bass

Our Verdict

While the MSI GF76 Katana’s powerful Intel 12th-gen CPU is up to the task, its RTX 3050 Ti GPU lacks performance in some newer games. Nevertheless, for gamers on a budget, this is a decent option.

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The MSI Katana GF76 has decent CPU performance for a budget 17-inch gaming laptop thanks to its 12th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU. Plus, its Japan-inspired chassis exudes plenty of flair. However, the laptop’s 3050 Ti GPU performance may underwhelm some gamers. On the one hand, it lets you enjoy games with cinematic ray-tracing graphics at an affordable price, but on the flipside it’s quite underpowered, even when performance sliders are pushed all the way to the right in MSI Center.

That being the case, recommending this laptop is horses for courses. If you don’t mind modest performance in some newer games, the MSI GF76 is a decent option. On the other hand, if nothing less than super quick framerates will do, you might want to consider one of the step-up models with RTX 3060 or RTX 3070 GPUs.

MSI GF76 Specifications

You can find seven configurations of the GF76 Katana listed on the MSI website. All feature 12th-generation Intel Core i7-12700H CPUs, but different RTX 30 series GPUs or storage capacities. Only four were available at the time of writing this review: two configurations with RTX 3050 Ti starting at $1,250 (currently $1,099) and two with RTX 3060 starting at $1,399. A configuration with RTX 3070 and another with RTX 3070 Ti have been marked ‘coming soon,’ as has a third configuration with RTX 3060. Pricing is yet to be revealed for these units. The specification for our review unit is as follows:

CPU: Core i7-12700H

RAM: 16GB DDR4/3200MHz

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti

Display: 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080), non-touch, IPS-Level panel, 144Hz refresh rate, 45 percent NTSC

Storage: 512GB PCle 4 SSD

Ports: 1 x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen1, 2 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen1, USB Type-A 2.0, HDMI 2.0 (4K @ 60Hz), 3.5mm Combo jack, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet

Networking: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2×2), Bluetooth 5.2

Dimensions: 15.67 x 10.75 x 0.99 inches

Weight: 5.73 lbs (2.25kg); the power brick weighs 0.9 lbs (400g)

Operating system: Windows 11 Home

Color: Black

Battery capacity: 53Whr

Design and build

Those familiar with the 2023 GF76 Katana will notice that the design hasn’t changed much in the 2023 edition. The GF76 Katana still has a hint of samurai about it, like an instrument of war or well-made suit of armor from medieval Japan. It sports a distinctive all-black chassis, red illuminated keys, and raised curved edges. We’re told this design is the brainchild of Japanese illustrator Tsuyoshi Nagano, who has gained some notoriety for his work as the original cover artist for the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games.


Design pedigree aside, the samurai katana theme makes it a real looker and one I was happy to play on at any opportunity. The laptop’s most prominent feature is a solid spine with curved edges, located at the base of the display which, from the back at least, resembles the blade of a katana. This feature makes it quite easy to carry. The front of the base has convex curves that resemble a katana as well. These match corresponding curves on the top of the lid to fit snugly down like a clam shell. This compactness makes the laptop easy to clean.

Looking at the build quality, the 2023 GF76 Katana feels mostly plastic but not the kind of flimsy plastic you’ll see in some other budget gaming laptops. Make no mistake, this is a robust laptop with a solid feel around the keyboard and base where it’s likely to see the most battering in fast-paced games. Measuring 15.67 x 10.75 x 0.99 inches, it’s quite large, so you’ll need plenty of space to set it down.


The hinges, which are metal, hold the display tightly in place at any position you might choose. However, the top’s slenderness means you’ll still see some flex if you apply pressure. It also wobbles a bit if you bump it, but it won’t bounce in a light breeze, which makes the GF76 suitable for gaming al fresco.

All the plastic in the chassis means the GF76 is on the light side for a 17-inch gaming laptop. It weighs just 5.73 lbs. In comparison to rivals, it’s lighter than the Asus Rog Zephyrus (6.06 lbs) and Gigabyte Aorus 17G (5.95 lbs), but heavier than the Dell XPS 9710 (5.34 lbs). This makes it a little more portable than some. Still, it’s heavy enough that you won’t want to carry it around everywhere you go.

Eyeballing the 16:9 display reveals very thin left and right bezels. The top bezel takes the shape of the aforementioned front lid, but doesn’t distract from your viewing experience.

Despite its distinctive curved edges, the GF76’s styling is understated. There are only two logos and they’re both quite small – an elegant black-on-black MSI Dragon appears on the top front of the lid like an engraving. The other, grey MSI lettering, sits on the lower bezel beneath the display. It replaces the black-on-black version in the 2023 edition, which looked a bit like an erased word.

While most laptops feature utilitarian undersides, MSI has made a style statement there. Flipping the unit over reveals an array of honeycomb-shaped air vents that, judging by the lack of heat we noticed while playing, are as practical as they are stylish.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

Four large rubber feet located at the front and back give it plenty of lift off a tabletop, so you can rest assured its fan blades are ventilated.

Keyboard and touchpad

MSI has kept the keyboard and trackpad positioning roughly the same as last year. However, one noticeable change is that some keys that previously had just symbols on them now have text on them. This looks better and should make them easier to locate.

Some might bemoan a single red color for the backlighting, but I found it gave the keyboard a fierce appearance that looked impressive when the lights went out. You could even say it helps rev you up a little, subtly encouraging you to stay fierce in your game.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

MSI has ensured you can toggle through three brightness levels or turn backlighting off completely if you want to save power. Doing this removes the illumination, but for better or worse, the keys still look quite red with the backlighting off.

An occasional hang up with typing is the keyboard font, which is quite different to what we’re accustomed to. It threw me off for a while, even though I’m a confident touch typist. It confuses you for just a split second when you peek down at your hands and find yourself thinking… Did I just hit a G or an O? It can be a little distracting at times, as some keys just look too similar.

Display and audio

The MSI GF76’s 17-inch FHD display provides you with plenty of visual real-estate to really get immersed in your games. It also has a key element that I look for in a gaming laptop – a decent refresh rate. In this case, it’s 144Hz.

For the most part, the fast display kept games and video looking quite smooth without any observable micro stuttering. There was just the mildest hint of ghosting visible when the pixel rate struggled to keep up with fast moving images.

Looking at the color and contrast, it’s perfectly fine for a budget laptop. You won’t see the kind of color depth you might find in a more premium panel and some images appear a little washed out, especially if you’re accustomed to 4K. But the display does only have a 45 percent NTSC color gamut. For a sub-$1300 laptop, this is perfectly reasonable coverage. If you’re not doing photography or design work, you’ll barely notice.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

The biggest drawback is the display’s brightness. We measured 270 nits peak brightness, which isn’t great these days even for a cheaper unit. It’s enough for decent viewing indoors, but you’ll probably want to avoid playing outdoors in sunlight.

In regards to the GF76’s audio, the two 2 watt speakers are located beneath the front left and right of the laptop’s base. Despite being on the underside, they produce sound with surprisingly good mid and high range tonal fidelity. That said, the bass range is lacklustre, particularly for a laptop of this size.


The GF76 provides you with a good complement of ports, including both USB Type-A and Type-C ports. A HDMI 2.0 port allows you to hook up an extra display or TV and stream 4K images at up to 60 frames-per-second. It also has an ethernet port for gamers that want the fastest network speeds.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

Unfortunately, the MSI GF76 Katana isn’t equipped with a Thunderbolt 4 port, which is a useful feature that lets you transfer hefty game files at data speeds of up to 40Gbps. Despite this, the laptop does support the latest Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6 technology for fast connectivity unplugged.

IDG / Dominic Bayley


The GF76’s Katana’s performance really is a double-edged sword (pardon the pun). It packs plenty of CPU power thanks to its 12th-gen Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, which proved too quick for older chipsets in our test group. However, its RTX 3050 Ti GPU showed lackluster performance at times, especially in newer 3D games. It stood in stark contrast to the laptop’s CPU performance.

We pitted the $1,250 GF76 Katana against a selection of gaming laptops from a line-up of recent PCWorld reviews. These laptops vary in size and hardware configurations, but most have older CPUs and all of them have more powerful RTX 30 Series GPUs. That list included other 17-inch gaming laptops like the Gigabyte Aorus 17G, the Dell XPS 17, and the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17. The line-up also included the 16-inch HP Victus 16 with a Core i7-11800H CPU. Although this last laptop is smaller in size, its starter configuration sits within the same budget gaming category as our review unit.

First up, we ran Maxon’s Cinebench R20 benchmarks. The single-threaded benchmark provides us with a metric of real-world processor performance and the multi-threaded score indicates how fast the CPU handles multi-processing tasks like rendering and encoding.

As you can see in the graph for our single-threaded test below, the GF76 Katana ranked the highest among our competitor laptops, proving too good for even the premium Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 with its sporty 11th-gen Core I9 processor.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

Similarly impressive performance was recorded when all 14 Cores of our GF76’s i7-12700H chipset were put to the test, proving that this laptop is suitably powerful for a range of CPU intensive tasks like 3D gaming and encoding.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

Our next test utilizes the free HandBrake 0.9.9 utility software to encode a 30GB 1080p MKV file to MP4 using the Android Tablet Preset. Once again, the MSI GF76 Katana proved a capable performer, finishing the task faster than two of its 17-inch rivals. This result shows us that the GF76 has the legs to keep working under heavy CPU load before it gets too hot and needs to throttle performance.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

Both CPU test results also demonstrated the superiority of Intel’s new 12th-gen CPU chipsets over some of the older Intel and AMD chipsets. These feature both Performance and Efficiency Cores that Intel Thread Director splits tasks between to optimize performance. In the case of our GF76’s Core i7-12700H, it has 6 Performance cores and 8 Efficiency Cores, giving it a performance edge over some of the older Intel CPUs with just Performance Cores.

Gaming performance

When it came to gaming performance, the GF76 Katana performed consistently well in older 3D games but its RTX 3050 Ti GPU set to 60W Total Graphics Power (TGP) underperformed in newer AAA games that rely heavily on the laptop’s GPU. This scenario played out in our gaming benchmark results below.

To get a general idea of 3D gaming performance, we ran the 3DMark Time Spy 1.2 benchmark. Our review unit’s score was quite a bit off the pace set by rival laptops with more powerful GPUs – including the MSI GE76 Raider equipped with 12th-gen i9 CPU and RTX 3080 Ti GPU, which isn’t a budget laptop but we added just for comparison (in green).

IDG / Dominic Bayley

In our (circa 2023) Rise of the Tomb raider benchmark, the MSI GF76 showed respectable performance, beating even the Razer Blade 14 with Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU and GeForce RTX 3080 set at 100W TGP.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

The story was very different when we ran the newer and more GPU dependent Metro Exodus benchmark. Our review unit came in behind the rest of the field.

IDG / Dominic Bayley

Switching to Performance Mode in the MSI Center and turning on the CoolerBoost fan setting raised the Katana’s fps in both of these benchmarks. During the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, it jumped to a respectable 96. Running the Metro Exodus benchmark produced a result of 24 fps. However, referring back to the Metro Exodus chart, this score wouldn’t have changed the positioning of the MSI GF76 Katana among our comparisons.

So, what does this last result mean? It means we need to take some perspective on the hardware capabilities of this laptop’s GPU. The MSI GF76 is a budget gaming laptop and the RTX 3050 Ti is positioned second from the bottom in the RTX 30 Series line-up chart and with less power than the GPUs in our test group. This makes a big difference in GPU-skewed games.

The RTX 3080 has 6144 Nvidia CUDA cores, 192 Tensor Cores, and 48 Ray Tracing Cores. The RTX 3050 TI has only 2560 CUDA Cores, 80 Tensor Cores, and 20 Ray Tracing Cores. If you want better performance and have a larger budget, you could always opt for an MSI GF76 with an RTX 3060 or 3070 GPU.

Our review unit is still a respectable option, though. Nvidia estimates its GeForce RTX 3050 Ti is 40 percent faster than the older GeForce GTX 1650 Ti and 20 percent faster than the RTX 3050, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Battery life

The MSI GF76 Katana comes with only a three cell 53Whr battery, which seems a little small for a laptop of this size. However, it did manage to last more than 5 hours in our lightweight battery test. Our benchmark ran the battery down from 100 percent to standby by playing a 4K video on repeat. This result suggests you could expect approximately 3 hours battery life for an unplugged gaming session, which is about on par with other similar laptops.

IDG / Dominic Bayley


The MSI GF76 Katana is a budget 17-inch gaming laptop with decent CPU performance. The RTX 3050 Ti GPU is a little underpowered for the latest AAA games, but you can still enjoy RTX graphics at a fraction of the cost of a more premium laptop. Although we expected better gaming performance, this laptop is still worth considering, especially if you’re on an inflexible budget.

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Laptop Gaming: Optimize Performance On Portable Pcs

Sales of laptop PCs are outpacing those of desktop systems, even as PC gaming has undergone something of a revival in the past couple of years. So it’s natural that laptop owners would be playing games on their mobile PCs. Gamers want to have their favorites on the go, whether those titles are casual games such as Plants vs. Zombies, strategy games such Civilization V or Starcraft 2, or first-person shooters like the Call of Duty franchise.

How do you get robust gaming from current-generation laptops of reasonable size? It’s actually pretty straightforward, with a little knowledge and the willingness to give up a few features that you’ll never really notice on the small screen.

Laptop Gaming: Understanding the Limitations

First, it’s worth exploring the limitations you need to live with. As it turns out, those limitations seem more severe than they really are.

Processor, Memory, and Storage

On the other hand, the Core i5 540M is a dual-core CPU that runs at 2.53GHz–but also supports a turbo-boost of 3.06GHz. Performance under many games will be very similar for these two CPUs, but you’ll pay a premium for the 820QM. Those extra cores become useful if you’re heavily into photo or video editing, but they don’t add much to the performance of many games, particularly at the lower clock speed.

Whether you have a dual-core CPU or a quad-core one, the processor isn’t the biggest player in holding back gaming performance–the graphics component is.

Perhaps the biggest roadblocks to robust gaming on a laptop are limitations in graphics hardware. Integrated graphics–3D hardware built into either the chipset or the processor itself–is particularly limiting.

What users often don’t realize is that giving up a little graphics eye candy can help game performance improve substantially. Remember, you’re playing on a small screen–as small as 11 or 13 inches in some cases. Even a 15- or 16-inch laptop screen isn’t large when compared with affordable 22- to 27-inch desktop displays. If you dial back some of the intense graphics settings on smaller laptop LCDs, you may not notice much difference.

Audio hardware isn’t as limiting a factor as graphics hardware is, but the tiny speakers built into most laptops won’t generate the powerful sound effects that many games can produce. If you want immersive game audio, what you should really get is a good set of in-ear or over-the-ear headphones.

Related Video: Discover tips on buying the right laptop.

Although carrying a small, cordless mouse isn’t too onerous, lugging around a keyboard is usually out of the question. While the keyboards built into many laptops are somewhat cramped, many games often allow you to reconfigure keyboard controls. Reconfiguring allows you to use keys that may be more suitable: If the arrow keys are too tiny, for instance, reconfigure their action to the PgDn key or a function key.

Rules of Thumb: Hardware Driver Configuration

Now that you have a basic understanding of the hardware limitations, let’s talk configuration. First, you need to configure your hardware. You do that through driver configuration–in most cases, graphics drivers. The discussion below applies to AMD, nVidia, and Intel driver control panels. In truth, you can make only limited changes to driver controls, and those tweaks will have only small effects on performance; most of the real gains will be in game configuration. But every little bit helps.

One key item is vsync. This feature is a throwback to the era of CRT monitors, when games would try to synchronize the display of a frame of animation to coincide with the refresh rate of the monitor. Most LCDs, however, set the refresh rate to 60Hz–if vsync is on, your game will never run faster than 60 frames per second.

When you disable vsync, the game can paint the frames as fast as they’re rendered. The downside: If the frame rate is lower than the vertical refresh rate, you may see visible tearing in the image. But the trade-off may be worthwhile to get an acceptable frame rate.

Disabling Crapware

It’s amazing how much performance-sucking junk comes preloaded into retail laptops. Going through your notebook and uninstalling anything that may affect performance might be worth your time. Some apps, such as OS X-like menu bars, don’t really eat into performance, but they do take up memory. Look through your system tray and use the system configuration utility to minimize the number of apps your laptop runs in the background.

Nvidia Hits Gaming Milestone: True Desktop Performance In A Laptop With Geforce Gtx 980

Nvidia said Tuesday that it has hit a true milestone for portable gaming with its new GeForce GTX 980 laptop GPU—true 1:1 performance with its desktop counterpart.

Why this matters: Never before has single-GPU performance ever been at parity between laptops and desktops. That meant consumers who needed to take their gaming on the go have always had to compromise. That era ends with the new GPU.

Nvidia says it has essentially stuffed this GPU into a laptop.

How Nvidia did it

So how do you take a ginormous GPU like the desktop GeForce GTX 980 with its 165-watt thermals and power requirements and jam it into a laptop? Very carefully.

Kaustubh Sanghani, a general manager with Nvidia, said to pull off such a feat, the chips are first sorted for power requirements. Known as “binning,” chips can be sorted like diamonds for certain characteristics. Sanghani said the chips with the best power characteristics make the GeForce GTX 980 what it is.

You might think this approach means it’s a limited-edition vapor part that vanishes once the cream of the crop is exhausted, but Nvidia said it’s not. The company, in fact, is going out the gate with no fewer than six laptop models from partners including Aorus, Asus, Clevo, and MSI.

Besides the binning, Sanghani said cramming a desktop GPU into a laptop also took an enormous amount of engineering to shrink down the board. One issue Nvidia said it had to solve was the trace routes, or the path of the wires that run between the GPU and the RAM. For the utmost in performance, graphics cards use very wide parallel memory buses, which means cramming identical-length wires into a tiny amount of space. This can lead lead to interference that can kill performance, but Sanghani said the new card can hit the same exact same memory bandwidth of the desktop card.

You want overclocking, you get overclocking

Sanghani said the other engineering feat in the new GeForce GTX 980 is supplying enough power to run it. While the GeForce GTX 980m uses three-phase power, he said, the GeForce GTX 980 was designed to be built with four to eight phases.

Normally this wouldn’t matter that much, but Nvidia also intended for the new GPU to be very overclocker-friendly and overclocking usually requires access to a very clean, stable power source. Overclocking implementation can be decided by the notebook builder and will be dependent on the capabilities of the platform, but one demonstration showed the card running with about a 200MHz boost overclock.

Overclocking is unlocked on the new GeForce GTX 980 too. Well, except for voltage.

VR capable, and surround gaming as well

Nvidia said the new laptop GeForce GTX 980 is the first mobile GPU capable of running VR. The company demonstrated an Oculus Rift Crescent Bay running several games and demos.

That’s something the GeForce GTX 980m can’t hack, but the new GeForce GX 980 can, the company says. For the record, the minimum GPU for the the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay is a GeForce GTX 970. (Correction: We originally misnamed the Oculus Rift version as DK2 rather than the Crescent Bay. PCWorld regrets the error.)

Nvidia says the new laptop GeForce GTX 980 is the first GPU capable of supporting VR. 

A single laptop with a GeForce GTX 980 is shown here running Project CARS on three FHD monitors. This Clevo actually includes a desktop Skylake CPU.

Read on to see the lineup of GeForce GTX 980 laptops and their performance.

Msi Mag B760M Mortar Wifi Review: Smaller, Cheaper Next


Good balance of features for a $199 Micro-ATX motherboard

Two onboard M.2 slots, eight USB ports

Nice networking and decent audio 

Clean design, integrated I/O shield


B760 means no CPU overclocking 

The 4 USB 2.0 slots should be at least USB 3.0  

No heat sink on the second NVME slot 

Our Verdict

Overcoming its Micro-ATX format limitations, the MAG B760M Mortar WiFi from MSI provides most next-gen features users want while managing to keep the price budget friendly. It lacks the potential for CPU overclocking and the lack of USB 3.0 slots are disappointing, but overall it’s a great motherboard with solid baseline features for budget builds.

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Intel CPUs have been maturing nicely in the PC building space, with both 12th-gen and 13th-gen offerings well received. This makes Intel more flexible for gamers looking to build more niche setups—such as Micro-ATX. 

Coming in shorter than a typical ATX motherboard, mATX allows for smaller, compact case options. Even better, you can often find performance and features with minimal compromise within that size. CPU overclocking is a moot point here because of the B760 chipset, but can motherboards in this chipset class still be “just right”?  

The MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi joins the fray as an under-$200 option for small form-factor builders. While not as tiny as Mini-ITX motherboards, Micro-ATX retains more space—and thus more features for the price. With a value-focused package, can it still be a viable option for a serious PC gaming rig? 

We’ll go over the features, the design, and the performance. Combining that with the value you’re getting for its price, is going mid-sized really worth it? The MAG series of motherboards from MSI have been well-priced options thus far, so we’ll see if the B760M Mortar continues this trend. 

MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi specs

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Micro-ATX form factor (243.84×243.84mm)

Supports Intel 12th- and 13th-gen CPUs 

12+1+1 Duet Rail System with 75A

DDR5 RAM, dual channel up to 4 DIMMs (up to 128Gb)

2x onboard M.2 slots (PCIe Gen 4)

2x PCIe 16x slot (PCIe Gen 5 and Gen 4) 

1x PCIe X1 slot (Gen 3)

HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort out 

8 USB ports on back (including 1x 20Gb/s)

Realtek 2.5Gbe LAN with Bluetooth 5.3

Intel Wi-Fi 6E 

RGB headers for Mystic Light

4 SATA 6Gb/s ports 

6 PWM fan headers 

Preinstalled I/O shield 

Realtek 7.1 ALC 897 Audio

MSRP $199

The MSI MAG B760M Mortar Wi-Fi will come in at $199, which puts it on cheaper footing when compared to MSI’s AMD B650M Mortar WiFi version, which we looked at recently. Thanks to Intel supporting both 12th and 13th generations, you could also use an older CPU such as an Intel i5 12600 here, too. 

Mentioned in this article

MSI MAG B650M Mortar WiFi

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The B760 chipset from Intel differs from the Z790 chipset in some important ways. The most vital thing to know is in CPU overclocking: You’ll need Z790 if you plan to tweak your CPU above stock. This can be an issue for some, especially if you’re planning to use an unlocked “K” Intel CPU for maximum performance. For most gamers, non-overclocked performance will still be more than capable. Another distinction of the B760 motherboards, is that you’re typically getting less-capable VRMs, too. 

Other important differences in B760 come down to fewer PCIe lanes, USB ports, and SATA ports. Keeping in mind that Micro-ATX motherboards already have fewer of these onboard due to size constraints, so the chipset’s limitations shouldn’t be an issue for most. 

With support for both 12th- and 13th-generation Intel CPUs, you’ll have a vast variety of CPUs to choose from.

Everything included in the MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi box.

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The unboxing experience is basic but has the essentials. You’ll find SATA cables, M.2 accessories, and some neat stickers. The Wi-Fi antenna is here too, as Wi-Fi is standard on this motherboard.  

CPU choice

With support for both 12th- and 13th-generation Intel CPUs, you’ll have a vast variety of CPUs to choose from. Given the fact that B760 doesn’t offer overclocking like Z790, we’d recommend staying away from the highest-end “K” SKUs such as the i9 13900K. You’re much more likely to pair a i5 13600 or even a last-generation non-K CPU to save some cash here. An i7 13700 can also work great here for even more performance. 

DDR5 RAM and PCIe Gen 4/5

You have the option of DDR4 with this motherboard, but this unit is DDR5. You’re getting some of the best speeds, and overall performance will be within a few percentage points of more expensive motherboards. Combining this with the non-K CPUs can result in some nice price savings for a still competent build. 

You are getting PCIe Gen 5 for the 16x slot, but the other slot will be Gen 4. (And the 1x slot, useful for minor add-ons, will be Gen 3.) 

The M.2 slots will also be PCIe Gen 4, which is fine as Gen 5 is barely just arriving and still not saturated. 


We’d expect at least two NVMe slots on a motherboard of this size, and it delivers. While many larger ATX motherboards can have four or more, due to size and chipset limitations, two should be a good number for most builds. 

Both NVMe slots will be “Lightning Gen 4 X4,” with one having an M.2 “Frozr” shield for better thermal performance. We’d love to see both covered here, however. 

You’ll also get four SATA ports for other hard drives and SSDs, filling up your small form factor case with ease! 

USB ports

You are getting eight rear USB ports, with an interesting mix. Four of them will be the ancient USB 2.0—which while fine for some peripherals, certainly falls short of USB 3.0. You do get USB 3.0—and even a single 3.2 Gen 2×2 with 20Gb/s speeds—to balance it out. Not perfect, but certainly a fair selection for a smaller motherboard under $200.  

DisplayPort and HDMI 2.1 also are here if your CPU supports the iGPU function. 


Connectivity is great here, similar to most ATX motherboard offerings. Wi-Fi 6E and 2.5GbE LAN are both standard, along with Bluetooth 5.3. That’s as good as we can expect for this size and price range, no complaints.  


Audio is capable, with a 7.1 ALC 897 codec. You’re getting a good selection of inputs in the back, but keep in mind that “audiophiles” may need to fish out their separate external solution for the best sound. Gamers and most users should be more than happy, however.  

Other features of note

An integrated I/O shield continues to be a party favorite on newer motherboards, and we’re glad to see it here. The screwless M.2 drives are also nice, saving some headaches with small screws. Debug LED is also here, but you won’t find BIOS flashback. 

MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi design 

The MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi has a simple monochromatic silver design.

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The MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi follows in the tradition of similar MSI motherboards, such as the “Tomahawk” series, when it comes to design. You’re greeted with a mostly monochromatic silver, with various shading offering contrasting points. 

While it lacks much RGB or gamer aesthetic, this is a clean design that can work great in almost any environment. The I/O cover area follows this same design metric, with some nice visual accents in black outlining the almost industrial-looking silver. The integrated I/O shield is another great design feature that we’re happy is becoming more prevalent on all classes of motherboards. 

VRM heatsink and “Frozr” M.2 thermal cover on the MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi.

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While the VRM heatsink area does not look quite as imposing as on Z790 motherboards of a higher ilk, it fits in perfectly here. Continuing down the PCIe slot areas, you’ll find the top M.2 slot with a “Frozr” thermal cover. Sadly, the lower M.2 remains exposed—it would be nice for it to also be covered for visual continuity and thermals. This area is mostly blocked by the GPU, so it’s a minor quibble. (Do note that the previous MSI MAG B660M Mortar WiFi motherboard—with a similar design to this—does have that second NVMe slot cover.)

For the $199 price, the fit and finish feel high-quality and durable. Since you’re not paying for overkill RGB effects or fancy OLED screens, this simple design approach helps to keep the cost down. 

MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi (backside).

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The back of the motherboard is what you’d expect—no need for a fancy backplate here. Overall, given the small form-factor size and lower price, the design across the entire motherboard is very fitting for what you’re getting. 

MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi: Performance, software, and BIOS 

The MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi is not geared towards maximum performance. The B760 chipset forgoes CPU overclocking for cost savings, but this doesn’t mean that you’re not still getting capable performance. 

With its 12+1+1 Duet Rail System VRMs, this board is more than capable for most CPUs. While we’d avoid most of the “K” SKUs, you’ll find a perfect pairing with something like an i7 13700 or similar. There’s a hidden benefit to this, too. While some may be sad over the loss of CPU overclocking, using these more efficient CPUs may be a great boon when building a small form-factor PC. Lower power will mean lower heat output, making smaller air or liquid coolers easier to implement and keep under control. 

When you remember that CPUs such as the i9 13900K often require a 360mm liquid cooler to keep it under control, it’s easy to see how that can be difficult to properly implement in a small PC case. (From our experience, Micro-ATX supporting cases usually top out at 240mm or 280mm for radiator support, with some exceptions.) 

PCIe Gen 5 is here for the 16x GPU slot, which currently is not saturated by modern GPUs. It’s still nice to have for future possibilities, however. You’re not getting Gen 5 for the NVMe slots, but you’re getting Gen 4 and that is likewise more than capable at this point. 

Let’s talk about the BIOS—which may be a less-frequent destination for most users of this motherboard. As with the B760 chipset, you’re going to be limited when it comes to CPU tweaking compared to Z790. That’s fine for most users, and the BIOS will still give you access to most other items you may be used to. You can set the XMP profile for the DDR5, and various other configurations of drives and boot priorities. The BIOS is generally easy to navigate and use, but after setting initial profiles, it’s unlikely you will spend much time in here. 

If you prefer to keep some tweaking to Windows itself, MSI offers its MSI Center software. Motherboard manufacturers have been on a trend lately of integrating as many elements as possible into one piece of software. 

MSI Center software

Thiago Trevisan

You’ll get access to MSI’s Mystic Light RGB control for attached devices, along with some items such as hardware monitoring and driver updates. While we still recommend that certain taks be done in the BIOS, for these items, it’s much easier to do them in Windows. 

Overall, the MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi performs as expected for its size and price class, with some good software and BIOS support. Aside from CPU overclocking, you’re not missing much here. 

Should you buy the MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi?

The MSI MAG B760M Mortar WiFi starts out with a few challenges: First, it’s a Micro-ATX motherboard, meaning that right off the bat it will have some built-in limitations due to its size versus larger ATX options. Secondly, it comes wrapped in the B760 chipset, further limiting its CPU overclocking and some features like PCIe lanes. 

For $199, how does it add up? It does so very well, navigating those limitations in a compelling package for those wishing to remain under $200 with a small design. You’re still getting access to the latest Intel CPUs, with fast DDR5 RAM support. You do get a single 16x PCIe slot, flanked by two onboard Gen 4 NVMe slots. Robust networking and good audio support round out the features—making it as capable as most ATX motherboards. 

Sure, some users will be disappointed in the lack of CPU overclocking support—but we’d argue that that’s not this motherboard’s target. Most users will be far happier with the $199 price point for Micro-ATX, which typically has less selection in the marketplace due to its “niche” size. You can even find a DDR4 version if that suits your needs better. Keep in mind that higher-end small form-factor motherboards also dramatically increase in price for more features, easily doubling what we have here cost wise. 

For this price, you’re not losing much in the way of compromises, and that’s great news. With newer motherboards often exhibiting higher pricing, it’s nice to see something with good baseline features that won’t break the bank or skimp on the essentials.

Review Lenovo Ideapad 5 Gaming Chromebook


Pantalla grande y brillante de 2560 x 1600

Excelente conectividad inalámbrica y por cable

Altavoces potentes

Rendimiento sólido


Diseño sin destacar

Teclado y touchpad mejorables

Calidad de la webcam

Nuestro veredicto

Puede que Google haya acabado con Stadia, pero los Chromebooks para juegos siguen existiendo, y el IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook de Lenovo demuestra que la plataforma merece la pena en el área gaming.

Mejores precios hoy: Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook




Ver oferta

La decisión de Google de asociarse con fabricantes de portátiles para crear Chromebooks para juegos no podría haber llegado en peor momento. Los primeros modelos se lanzaron a finales de 2023, sólo unos meses antes de que Google cancelara Stadia, su servicio interno de juegos basado en la nube.

Esto podría parecer el fin de los Chromebooks para juegos antes de que hayan empezado. Pero el IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook de Lenovo demuestra que la idea todavía tiene recorrido. Desde la excepcional pantalla, hasta los potentes altavoces, este dispositivo tiene mucho que ofrecer. Aquí tienes nuestro análisis completo.

Diseño y construcción

Diseño sencillo y minimalista

Construcción ligeramente endeble

Buena selección de puertos

El IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook está construido para jugar con sólo mirarlo. El portátil está dotado con un exterior de material de plástico gris simple, confiando únicamente en una tira mate de contraste para animar un poco las cosas.

Tiene un diseño atractivo, pero tampoco llama demasiado la atención. Lenovo podría haberlo etiquetado fácilmente como un portátil educativo o de negocios sin ningún cambio en el diseño.

A juzgar por su aspecto, nunca sabrías que el IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook está hecho para jugar”

Aparte de su aspecto, el IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook es un dispositivo relativamente moderno. Presenta unos biseles impresionantemente finos alrededor de la pantalla, lo cual ayuda a mantener el tamaño general relativamente bajo para tratarse de un panel de formato 16:10 de 16 pulgadas.

El portátil mide poco más de 355 mm de ancho, 254 mm de profundidad y 20 mm de grosor. No es pequeño, pero sí más compacto que muchos de los portátiles de 15,6 pulgadas que salieron al mercado hace unos años.

Sin embargo, la calidad de construcción no es tan impresionante. Todas las superficies del portátil son de plástico (aunque la tapa parezca de metal) y hay una ligera flexión tanto en la tapa de la pantalla, como en la parte inferior del chasis.

Nada de esto es una sorpresa dado el precio del portátil, pero los competidores de Lenovo pueden hacerlo mejor. El Acer Chromebook 516 GE, por ejemplo, ofrece un chasis parcialmente de aluminio que a muchos les resultará más lujoso.

IDG / Matthew Smith

Este Chromebook se inclina hacia USB-C con dos puertos que admiten tanto la carga rápida Power Delivery, como el modo alternativo DisplayPort para conectarse a pantallas externas. Cualquiera de los dos se puede utilizar para la carga, la transferencia de datos, o la entrada de vídeo a un monitor.

También se incluyen un par de puertos USB-A para usar con dispositivos cableados más antiguos. Un lector de tarjetas MicroSD y un conector de audio de 3,5 mm completan las opciones. Es una buena oferta a la que tan solo habríamos añadido un puerto HDMI completo.

Teclado y trackpad

Teclado de tamaño completo

Teclado numérico separado

Buen desplazamiento, pero no el más táctil

Trackpad pequeño pero sensible

Lenovo aprovecha bien todo el tamaño del IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook para desplegar un teclado tremendamente espacioso. Junto a todas las teclas normales, tienes un teclado numérico separado en el lado derecho.

Hay mucho recorrido de tecla y espacio para escribir cómodamente, pero las teclas parecen un poco blandas y no particularmente táctiles. Sin embargo, la fila especial de teclas de función de Google Chromebook están todas ahí, proporcionando un acceso rápido a funciones como el volumen, el brillo y la actualización del navegador web.

IDG / Matthew Smith

La retroiluminación del teclado es una característica clásica de los portátiles para juegos, aunque aquí es un poco más limitada. Puedes personalizar el color de la retroiluminación a través de los ajustes de Chrome OS, pero sólo hay un puñado de colores o una opción de arco iris predefinida.

Aún así, es una gran característica dado el precio del portátil. La mayoría en este rango de precios se quedan con una retroiluminación de teclado blanca y sin personalización del color.

Hay mucho recorrido y espacio para escribir cómodamente, pero las teclas son un poco blandas y no especialmente táctiles”

Justo debajo del teclado principal hay un modesto touchpad. Mide 114,3 mm de ancho por 50 mm de profundidad, lo que es definitivamente en el lado más pequeño. Aunque responde bien y nunca parece estrecho, se agradecería un poco más de espacio.

También notarás que el touchpad está significativamente desplazado hacia el lado izquierdo en un esfuerzo por mantenerlo centrado debajo de la barra espaciadora. Los usuarios con manos grandes deben tener cuidado, ya que esto puede significar que su mano izquierda termine fuera del lado del reposamanos.

Personalmente, prefiero el enfoque del Acer Chromebook 516 GE, que prescinde por completo del teclado numérico para centrarse en un panel táctil y un teclado centrados. Tu opinión variará dependiendo de cuánto valoras la presencia del teclado numérico.

Pantalla, sonido y webcam

Sólida pantalla LCD IPS de 16 pulgadas a 120 Hz

Altavoces impresionantes

La calidad de la webcam 720p podría ser mejor

El IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook es uno de los dispositivos ChromeOS más grandes que se pueden comprar, con una pantalla de 16 pulgadas y relación de aspecto 16:10.

Mientras que el modelo básico tiene un panel de 1920 x 1200 con una tasa de refresco de 60 Hz, el que he probado lo mejora a 2560 x 1600 y 120 Hz. Ambos son LCD IPS en lugar de OLED, pero tienen un acabado antirreflejos y sin brillo.

Por desgracia, la calidad de imagen es mediocre. Aunque los colores son atractivos y el brillo máximo es razonable (350 nits), la relación de contraste de la pantalla no es nada impresionante y resta profundidad y dramatismo a la imagen. Las escenas oscuras a menudo se ven ligeramente borrosas, con sombras carentes de detalle.

A pesar de estos defectos, la pantalla del IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook es una mejora sobre la mayoría de portátiles baratos, como el Acer Nitro 5 y el Asus TUF Gaming A15. Los portátiles gaming Windows de este rango de precios tienden a tener una gama de colores peor y apagada, y un ratio de contraste aún más bajo.

La frecuencia de refresco de 120 Hz del Lenovo es otra ventaja sobre la competencia. Se muestra muy fluida en los juegos, pero también mejora la experiencia visual del día a día. El desplazamiento es fluido, mientras que el movimiento por las aplicaciones y las páginas web es muy sensible.

Aunque la pantalla es una ventaja, hay un gran inconveniente: no todos los servicios de juego en la nube admiten una resolución de 2.560 x 1.600 a 120 Hz. Hasta donde yo sé, Nvidia GeForce Now y Shadow Blade son los únicos servicios disponibles que admiten esta resolución y frecuencia de actualización.

El portátil soporta otros servicios de streaming de juegos, pero la imagen en estos puede parecer más suave de lo que cabría esperar.

IDG / Matthew Smith

Aparte de los juegos, la pantalla se ve muy bien al navegar por la web o escribir documentos. Su imagen nítida y brillante reproduce las fuentes finas con una claridad sobresaliente, mientras que la capa antirreflejos elimina los bordes de la luz. El tamaño y la alta relación de aspecto de la pantalla también ofrecen espacio de sobra para la multitarea.

Hay más noticias buenas en lo que respecta al audio: los altavoces integrados del portátil son excelentes para su precio. Están orientados hacia arriba, lo que significa que el sonido no está amortiguado en absoluto, y combinan una buena separación estéreo con una pizca de fuerza en música y películas.

El rango medio todavía puede ser mejorable y el volumen es simplemente adecuado, pero los altavoces están un peldaño por encima de la mayoría de Chromebooks y portátiles Windows de precio similar.

Los altavoces están por encima de la mayoría de Chromebooks y portátiles Windows de precio similar”

Encima de la pantalla hay una webcam básica de 720p. El brillo y los colores son aceptables, pero el vídeo tiende a verse suave y falto de detalle. Sin embargo, aquellos que se preocupan por la privacidad, estarán contentos de ver la inclusión de un obturador de privacidad físico que puede bloquear completamente la cámara.

La calidad del micrófono está por encima de la media, con buen volumen y claridad. Es incapaz de bloquear muchos ruidos de fondo fuertes o consistentes, pero los sonidos menores u ocasionales no son un problema. Sin embargo, merece la pena señalar que el obturador físico no desactiva el micrófono.

Desafortunadamente, el inicio de sesión biométrico (con tu huella dactilar o cara) no es una opción en este Chromebook. Pero eso no es una sorpresa, ya que no muchos Chromebooks optan por incluir esta característica. En su lugar, tendrás que utilizar un PIN o una contraseña a la antigua usanza.

Especificaciones y rendimiento

CPU Intel Core i5-1235U

Mucha RAM y almacenamiento

Excelente rendimiento en juegos en la nube

El IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook está equipado con el procesador Core i5-1235U de Intel, una CPU de la gama de 12ª generación que llegó en 2023. Con 10 núcleos (dos de rendimiento y ocho de eficiencia), es un procesador modesto comparado con los portátiles gaming Windows, pero extremadamente potente para un Chromebook.

Lenovo tampoco ha comprometido otras especificaciones de rendimiento. Tienes 8 GB de RAM y un SSD de 512 GB.

Eso es excelente para un Chromebook, incluso 256 GB deberían ser suficientes para la mayoría de la gente. En mi experiencia, un SSD de 256 GB en un Chromebook es similar a una unidad de 1 TB en un portátil con Windows, ya que el espacio de almacenamiento reducido se compensa con el hecho de que la mayoría de las aplicaciones (incluidos los juegos), se ejecutan en la nube.

Estos son los resultados benchmark del Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook en cinco pruebas de rendimiento basadas en navegadores.

CrXPRT 2: 184

Velocímetro: 124

Basemark Web 3.0: 1193

Kraken 502.7

Jetstream 2: 211,928

Estas son puntuaciones altas que compiten con otros Chromebooks recientes con procesadores Intel Core i5, como el Acer Chromebook Vero 514 y el Framework Laptop Chromebook. El Lenovo con procesador Intel está un poco por delante del Acer Chromebook Spin 514 con procesador AMD Ryzen en la mayoría de las pruebas, aunque los resultados del benchmark están muy cerca en general.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 no está diseñado para jugar, pero sigue siendo un competidor clave

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

¿Qué hay de los juegos? Los juegos instalados en el Chromebook no se ejecutan bien – o en absoluto. Los juegos de Android están técnicamente disponibles a través de Google Play Store utilizando la emulación de Android, pero los títulos exigentes están fuera de cuestión.

Durante las pruebas, Call of Duty: Mobile se bloqueó inmediatamente y me devolvió al escritorio. Genshin Impact se inicia bien y es vagamente jugable, pero tiene un aspecto terrible y es de todo menos fluido. Asphalt 8 es lo bastante fluido para jugar, pero tiene problemas de tartamudeo que restan valor a la experiencia.

Sin embargo, el juego en la nube es otra historia. El IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook puede transmitir cómodamente casi cualquier título de juego en la nube con una resolución máxima de 2560 x 1600 y una frecuencia de actualización de 120 Hz.

Usando el nivel Ultimate de Nvidia GeForce Now (19,99 € al mes), que proporciona acceso a hardware de clase RTX 4080, ejecuté Cyberpunk2077 a 136 fps. Esto fue con los ajustes Ultra detalle y Ultra trazado de rayos activados, además de DLSS 3 activado.

Y lo que es aún más impresionante, lo hice desde una habitación situada a 15 metros con varias paredes de distancia del router de casa, por lo que dependía totalmente de la potencia de la señal wifi.

IDG / Matthew Smith

Es un resultado asombroso. Habría que gastarse miles de euros para obtener un rendimiento similar en un portátil con Windows que jugara localmente.

También me sorprendió la solidez del adaptador Wifi del IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook en esta situación. Es un escenario difícil, ya que el rango entre el router y el Chromebook resulta en solo 90 Mbps de ancho de banda y latencia irregular, pero el juego se sentía sin problemas.

¿La pega? Tendrás que pagar una cuota mensual para acceder a cualquier servicio de juego en la nube. También estarás limitado a una selección más reducida de juegos compatibles. Pero si puedes hacer frente a estas limitaciones, el juego en la nube en este Chromebook es una experiencia fantástica.

Jugar en la nube en este Chromebook es una experiencia fantástica”

La conectividad es impresionante, ya que el portátil es compatible tanto con Bluetooth 5.1, como con el último estándar WiFi 6E (en el momento de escribir estas líneas). Eso es importante para un Chromebook de juegos – mientras que WiFi 6 es más que capaz de manejar los juegos en la nube, el ancho de banda extra nunca es una mala cosa.

Me alegra saber que el portátil es compatible con Bluetooth 5.1 y WiFi 6E, que es el último estándar. Esto es importante para un Chromebook de juegos. La velocidad de WiFi 6 es capaz de gestionar juegos en la nube, pero un ancho de banda extra nunca viene mal.

WiFi 6E también tiene una banda adicional de 6 GHz que puede mejorar la fiabilidad de la red si tienes numerosos dispositivos conectados. Sin embargo, necesitarás un router compatible para aprovecharlo.

Duración de la batería

Capacidad de 71 Wh

Impresionante duración de la batería

El Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook incluye una gran batería de 71 Wh en su gran chasis. Es una gran capacidad para tratarse de un Chromebook, y merece la pena cuando estás lejos de la corriente de carga durante mucho tiempo.

Usando el test de duración de batería CrXPT 2, registré unas muy alentadoras 15 horas y 56 minutos. Es un gran resultado, superando a portátiles de la talla del Acer Chromebook Vero 514, Acer Chromebook Spin 514 y Framework Chromebook Laptop.

La duración de la batería es un punto fuerte del IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook”

Sigue siendo un gran salto con respecto a los portátiles para juegos de Windows, que a menudo luchan por alcanzar las cinco horas de duración de la batería con una sola carga. La duración de la batería es uno de los puntos fuertes del IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook.

Precio y disponibilidad

El precio del IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook parte de un precio para la configuración aquí analizada de 699 € con procesadores de última generación y la resolución FullHD soportada con el panel IPS antireflectante que integra.

Esto lo convierte en un Chromebook de gama alta sin llegar a ser un portátil caro, pero en uno de los portátiles para juegos más asequibles que se pueden comprar.

Su rival más obvio es el Acer Chromebook 516 GE (desde 999 €), mientras que el Acer Chromebook Vero 514 (más económico) no está diseñado para juegos, pero podrás ejecutarlos a través de la nube.


El IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook es un Chromebook impresionante, tanto para abordar tareas de productividad diaria, como para jugar en la nube. Hay mucho que gusta aquí, incluyendo una pantalla brillante y nítida, buen rendimiento, gran conectividad y excelente duración de la batería.

Lenovo ha hecho algunos sacrificios de diseño, sin embargo, mientras que el teclado y la webcam no son los mejores.

Por muy bueno que sea este dispositivo, el Chromebook 516 GE de Acer ofrece una experiencia de juego ligeramente más completa. Pero la mayoría de la gente será feliz con cualquier dispositivo, y el IdeaPad 5 Gaming Chromebook es una buena segunda opción.


Pantalla de 16 pulgadas y ratio 16: 10

Procesador Intel Core i5-1235U

Memoria: 8 GB

Gráficos/GPU: Intel Iris Xe

Resolución de pantalla de 2560 x 1600

Almacenamiento: 512 GB SSD

Cámara web 720p con IR

Conectividad: 2x USB-C con Power Delivery y DisplayPort 1.4, 2x USB-A, 1x lector de tarjetas microSD, 1x conector de audio combinado de 3,5 mm

Redes: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1

Biometría: Ninguna

Batería de 71 Wh

Dimensiones de 356 x x 252 x 22 mm

Peso de 1,82 kg

10 Tips For Optimizing Mysql Performance

As practitioners in the tech space, we are often expected to deliver consistently under the pressures of data growth, system complexity, and high user expectations. Central to this challenge is the effective management of our databases, which are, in essence, the lifeblood of our applications. MySQL, an open-source relational database management system, is at the forefront of many of our applications, powering the robust and dynamic data interactions that fuel today’s tech ecosystems. However, as we are acutely aware, the success of our endeavors isn’t always about the raw power at our disposal, but rather the finesse with which we wield it.

Every database comes with its own quirks and intricacies, and MySQL is no exception. Even a seemingly well-tuned MySQL environment can often be further refined, resulting in dramatic improvements in response times, throughput, and overall system performance. This article aims to delve deeper into these aspects, providing you with proven strategies and techniques for optimizing your MySQL performance.

We’ll explore the various facets of MySQL optimization, from adjusting server settings and refining schema designs to the artful crafting of SQL queries. Whether you’re dealing with a heavy load database serving millions of transactions per minute or a smaller setup looking to squeeze out every bit of efficiency, these tips should provide a valuable guide on your path to MySQL mastery.

Remember, a well-optimized MySQL database is not just about bolstering performance, it’s about reducing costs, improving customer experience, and ensuring that your technology continues to serve as a solid foundation for your applications in the rapidly changing tech landscape.

1. Choose the right MySQL storage engine for your needs

Optimizing MySQL performance starts with selecting the right storage engine tailored to your specific needs. Storage engines are the underlying components of MySQL that manage how data is stored, retrieved, and manipulated. Each storage engine has its unique features, strengths, and weaknesses that can significantly impact your database’s overall performance.

There are two primary storage engines you should consider: InnoDB and MyISAM. Let’s dive into their key differences and when to use each one.


InnoDB is the default storage engine for MySQL since version 5.5. It offers a robust set of features, including:

ACID Compliance: InnoDB ensures data integrity by following the ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) properties. This means transactions are reliable and can be rolled back if needed.

Row-level Locking: Instead of locking an entire table during updates or inserts, InnoDB allows concurrent access by locking only the affected rows. This improves performance in multi-user environments.

Foreign Key Support: InnoDB allows you to define relationships between tables using foreign keys, which helps maintain referential integrity and simplifies complex queries.

Crash Recovery: In case of a crash or power outage, InnoDB can automatically recover unsaved data from its transaction logs.

In general, InnoDB is best suited for applications that require high concurrency or involve frequent updates and inserts.


Full-text Indexing: MyISAM supports full-text indexing for efficient text-based searches in large datasets.

Table-level Locking: While this may be a downside for some use cases, table-level locking can be beneficial for read-heavy applications with minimal concurrent updates.

2. Optimize MySQL queries and indexes for better performance

Optimizing MySQL queries and indexes is a crucial step in enhancing the performance of your database. By fine-tuning your queries and strategically creating indexes, you can significantly reduce the time it takes to execute queries and retrieve data. Here’s how you can improve the performance of your MySQL queries and indexes:

Refine your SQL queries

Limit the number of retrieved rows: Use the LIMIT clause to fetch only the necessary number of rows, minimizing the amount of data returned by a query.

Avoid using wildcard characters: Instead of using SELECT *, specify only the columns you need to reduce data transfer.

Use proper join operations: Opt for INNER JOIN over OUTER JOIN whenever possible, as it tends to be faster.

Minimize subqueries: Replace subqueries with joins or temporary tables when feasible, as they can be resource-intensive.

Create efficient indexes

Choose appropriate index types: Understand the differences between primary keys, unique keys, and regular indexes to select what works best for your specific use case.

Index frequently used columns: Columns that are often used in WHERE, JOIN, or ORDER BY clauses should be indexed for faster query execution.

Avoid over-indexing: While indexes can speed up searches, they also slow down insertions and updates. Strive for a balance between indexing important columns and maintaining write performance.

Optimize existing indexes

Analyze index usage: Tools like MySQL’s built-in EXPLAIN statement or third-party applications like Percona Toolkit can help you evaluate how effectively your current indexes are being used.

Remove redundant or duplicate indexes: Review your existing indexes and eliminate any that are unnecessary or overlapping to save storage space and improve write performance.

Consider covering indexes: A covering index includes all columns required by a query, allowing the database to retrieve data from the index itself, rather than accessing the table.

Monitor and adjust

Track slow queries: Enable MySQL’s slow query log to identify queries that take longer than a specified time to execute. Analyze these queries for potential optimizations.

Test different approaches: Experiment with different indexing strategies and query structures to find the most efficient solution for your specific use case.

By following these guidelines, you can optimize your MySQL queries and indexes, resulting in better overall database performance. Remember that optimization is an ongoing process; continue monitoring and adjusting your strategies as your application evolves and grows.

3. Use proper data types to reduce storage and improve query efficiency

Using proper data types in MySQL is essential for optimizing storage and improving query efficiency. By selecting the most suitable data type for each column in your database, you can significantly reduce storage requirements and improve the overall performance of your queries. In this section, we’ll discuss how to choose the right data types and offer some tips for making the best use of them.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that MySQL offers a variety of data types to store different kinds of information. These include numeric types (such as INT and DECIMAL), string types (like CHAR and VARCHAR), date and time types (such as DATE and TIMESTAMP), and more. Each type has its own characteristics, storage requirements, and performance implications.

To make the most out of these data types, you should:

Be specific with your numeric data types: Instead of using a generic INT or BIGINT for all your numeric columns, consider using smaller numeric types like TINYINT, SMALLINT, or MEDIUMINT when possible. This will help reduce storage space while still providing enough range for your values.

Use variable-length string columns wisely: VARCHAR columns are great for storing strings with varying lengths since they only use as much storage as needed for each value. However, be cautious not to set excessively large maximum lengths for your VARCHAR columns; doing so can lead to unnecessary storage overhead.

Consider the trade-offs between CHAR and VARCHAR: While CHAR columns have a fixed length and can be faster than VARCHAR in some cases, they may also waste space if you’re storing short strings in a long CHAR column. Assess the nature of your string data to determine which type is more appropriate.

Optimize date and time columns: Use DATE or TIME columns when you don’t need both date and time information in a single column. This will save storage space compared to using DATETIME or TIMESTAMP columns.

Choose appropriate ENUM and SET types: These special data types can be efficient for storing a limited set of distinct values, but they may not be suitable for columns with a large number of unique values or frequent updates.

By carefully selecting the right data types, you can optimize your MySQL database for storage and query efficiency. This will not only help reduce the amount of storage required but also improve the performance of your queries, leading to a more responsive and efficient application. Remember that it’s always a good idea to review your data type choices periodically as your application evolves and its requirements change.

4. Configure MySQL server settings to match your hardware and workload

Optimizing MySQL performance requires fine-tuning server settings to align with your hardware and workload. By adjusting various configuration parameters, you can achieve better performance and resource utilization. In this section, let’s explore some key aspects of configuring MySQL server settings.

First, assess your hardware capabilities, such as memory (RAM), CPU, and storage (disk space). Knowing the limitations of your hardware helps you make informed decisions when configuring MySQL settings. For instance, if you have ample RAM available, you can allocate more memory to caching mechanisms like the InnoDB buffer pool.

Here are some essential MySQL settings to consider:

InnoDB Buffer Pool Size: The buffer pool is where InnoDB caches table data and indexes in memory. A larger buffer pool allows more data to be cached in memory, reducing disk I/O operations and improving query performance. Set the innodb_buffer_pool_size parameter according to your available RAM and workload requirements.

Table Open Cache: This setting controls the number of open tables that can be cached by the server. Higher values for table_open_cache reduce the need for opening and closing tables frequently, which can improve performance on systems with a large number of tables.

Query Cache: Enabling query cache stores the result sets of SELECT statements in memory so that identical queries can be served faster without re-execution. Configure query_cache_size based on your available RAM and query patterns.

Sort Buffer Size and Read Buffer Size: These settings determine the memory allocated for sorting and reading data, respectively. Adjusting sort_buffer_size and read_buffer_size can improve performance for specific query types, such as large JOIN operations or complex sorting tasks.

Remember that every environment is unique, so it’s crucial to test and monitor the impact of configuration changes on your specific system. Tools like MySQLTuner or Percona Toolkit can provide valuable insights into your server’s performance and suggest configuration optimizations.

5. Implement caching mechanisms like query cache, buffer pool, and key-value stores

To optimize MySQL performance, implementing caching mechanisms is an essential step. Caching can significantly improve the efficiency of your database by reducing the need to perform expensive operations repeatedly. In this section, we’ll discuss three types of caching mechanisms: query cache, buffer pool, and key-value stores.

Query Cache

Query cache is a built-in feature in MySQL that stores the results of frequently executed SELECT queries. By caching these results, MySQL avoids executing the same query multiple times and reduces the load on your database server. To enable query cache, you need to set the query_cache_size configuration variable to a non-zero value.

However, it’s important to note that query cache may not always be suitable for all scenarios. For instance, if your database has frequent write operations or if your data changes often, query cache could lead to stale data being served. In such cases, you might want to disable it or fine-tune its settings using variables like query_cache_limit and query_cache_min_res_unit.

Buffer Pool

InnoDB storage engine uses a memory area called the buffer pool to store frequently accessed data pages and index pages. The buffer pool helps in reducing disk I/O operations by keeping frequently used data in memory. You can configure its size using the innodb_buffer_pool_size configuration variable.

To get optimal performance from your buffer pool, consider allocating as much memory as possible without causing swapping on your system. Additionally, monitor metrics like buffer pool hit rate and page read/write ratio to fine-tune its configuration.

Key-Value Stores

Key-value stores are external caching systems that can be used alongside MySQL for faster data retrieval. Popular key-value stores include Redis and Memcached. These systems allow you to store frequently accessed data in memory with an associated key for quick lookups.

Using key-value stores can offload some workload from your MySQL server by serving cached data directly from memory instead of querying the database. To implement key-value stores, you need to modify your application code to read and write data from the cache before accessing the database.

6. Monitor performance metrics using tools like MySQL Performance Schema, InnoDB Monitor, or third-party tools

Monitoring performance metrics is a crucial aspect of optimizing MySQL performance. By keeping an eye on various metrics, you can identify bottlenecks, diagnose issues, and fine-tune your database for better efficiency. In this section, we’ll discuss the use of tools like MySQL Performance Schema, InnoDB Monitor, and third-party tools to monitor performance metrics.

MySQL Performance Schema

Performance Schema is a built-in feature in MySQL that collects detailed performance data about your database server. It helps you understand the internal workings of the server and provides insights into query execution, resource usage, and other vital information. Some key benefits of using Performance Schema include:

Low overhead: Performance Schema has minimal impact on server performance.

Flexibility: You can enable or disable specific instruments or consumers to focus on the data you need.

Rich data: It offers a wealth of information about various aspects of your server’s operation.

To get started with Performance Schema, ensure it’s enabled by setting the performance_schema system variable to ON. Then, use SQL queries to access the data from its tables.

InnoDB Monitor

InnoDB Monitor is another built-in tool specifically designed for monitoring InnoDB storage engine performance. It provides valuable information about InnoDB internals such as buffer pool usage, transaction status, and lock contention. To use InnoDB Monitor:

Enable the innodb_status_output system variable by setting it to ON.

Query the information_schema.innodb_metrics table to access InnoDB-specific performance data.

Third-party Tools

There are numerous third-party tools available that can help you monitor MySQL performance metrics more conveniently. Some popular options include:

Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM): An open-source platform for managing and monitoring MySQL and MongoDB performance.

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA): A commercial tool that offers detailed analysis and optimization recommendations for various databases including MySQL.

VividCortex: A cloud-based monitoring solution that provides real-time insights into database performance.

These tools typically offer user-friendly dashboards, alerting mechanisms, and in-depth analysis features that make it easier to monitor and optimize your MySQL server.

7. Optimize table structures by normalizing or denormalizing data when appropriate

Optimizing table structures in MySQL can significantly improve the performance of your database. This process often involves normalizing or denormalizing data, depending on the specific requirements of your application. Let’s dive into the details of these techniques and explore how they can enhance your database operations.


Normalization is a technique used to eliminate redundancy and improve data integrity in your database. By breaking down complex tables into smaller, more manageable ones, you can reduce the amount of duplicate data and ensure that each piece of information is stored only once. This approach not only saves storage space but also makes it easier to maintain and update your data.

To achieve normalization, you’ll need to follow a series of steps known as normal forms (1NF, 2NF, 3NF, etc.). Each normal form imposes specific rules on how data should be organized within tables. As you progress through these forms, you’ll create a more efficient and reliable database structure.

However, keep in mind that normalization can sometimes lead to increased complexity in queries and decreased performance due to the need for additional JOIN operations between tables.


Denormalization is the process of intentionally introducing redundancy into your database by combining multiple tables or adding calculated fields. While this may seem counterintuitive at first, denormalization can actually boost query performance by reducing the number of JOIN operations required to retrieve data.

By carefully considering which parts of your database would benefit from denormalization, you can strike a balance between storage efficiency and query speed. It’s essential to analyze the specific needs of your application and weigh the trade-offs before deciding whether to normalize or denormalize certain aspects of your table structures.

Finding The Right Balance

Optimizing table structures in MySQL involves finding the right balance between normalization and denormalization based on your application’s requirements. To make an informed decision:

Analyze query patterns: Identify frequently executed queries and determine whether they would benefit from a more normalized or denormalized structure.

Assess data update frequency: If your data is updated frequently, normalization can help maintain consistency and reduce the risk of update anomalies. On the other hand, if updates are infrequent, denormalization might be more suitable for improving query performance.

Evaluate storage constraints: Depending on your hardware and storage limitations, you may need to prioritize reducing redundancy (normalization) or minimizing JOIN operations (denormalization).

8. Utilize partitioning and sharding techniques for large databases to improve query performance

Utilizing partitioning and sharding techniques for large databases is an effective way to improve query performance. These techniques allow you to manage and store data more efficiently, ultimately leading to faster query execution times. Let’s dive into the details of partitioning and sharding, their benefits, and how they can be implemented in MySQL.


Partitioning is a technique that divides a large table into smaller, more manageable pieces called partitions. Each partition is stored separately and can be accessed and maintained independently of the others. This means that when you execute a query, MySQL only needs to search within the relevant partition(s) rather than scanning the entire table.

To implement partitioning in MySQL, you’ll need to define a partitioning scheme based on one or more columns in your table. Commonly used partitioning methods include range, list, hash, and key partitioning. The choice of method depends on your data distribution and access patterns.

For example, if you have a table containing sales data with a timestamp column, you might choose range partitioning based on the date. This would create separate partitions for different date ranges (e.g., monthly or yearly), allowing queries that filter by date to only search within the relevant partitions.


Sharding takes the concept of partitioning one step further by distributing data across multiple database instances or servers. Each shard (or server) contains a subset of the data and is responsible for handling queries related to that subset. This helps distribute workload evenly across all shards, resulting in better performance.

Sharding can be achieved through various strategies such as horizontal partitioning (splitting rows), vertical partitioning (splitting columns), or functional segmentation (based on business logic). The choice of sharding strategy depends on your application’s requirements and access patterns.

To implement sharding in MySQL, you’ll need to set up multiple database instances or servers and configure your application logic to route queries to the appropriate shard. This can be done using built-in MySQL features like the MySQL Fabric framework or third-party tools like Vitess.

Benefits of Partitioning and Sharding

Both partitioning and sharding offer significant performance improvements for large databases:

Reduced query execution time: By dividing data into smaller chunks, queries can be executed faster as they only need to search a subset of the data.

Improved maintenance: Smaller partitions or shards are easier to manage, backup, and optimize.

Increased parallelism: Multiple queries can be executed simultaneously across different partitions or shards, leading to better resource utilization and faster response times.

9. Regularly perform database maintenance tasks such as defragmentation, index rebuilding, and data archiving

Maintaining a well-performing MySQL database involves performing regular maintenance tasks, such as defragmentation, index rebuilding, and data archiving. These activities help ensure that your database runs smoothly and efficiently. Let’s dive into each of these tasks and explore how they contribute to optimizing MySQL performance.


To defragment a table in MySQL, you can use the OPTIMIZE TABLE command. This command reclaims unused space and reorganizes the table’s data to improve performance. For example:

OPTIMIZE TABLE my_table_name;

Keep in mind that running this command on large tables may take some time and could temporarily lock the table. Therefore, it’s essential to schedule defragmentation during periods of low database activity.

Index Rebuilding

Indexes are crucial for speeding up queries in a MySQL database. However, just like with table data, indexes can become fragmented over time due to frequent updates or deletions. Rebuilding indexes helps maintain their efficiency by updating their structure based on the current data distribution.

To rebuild an index in MySQL, you can use the ALTER TABLE command with the FORCE option:

ALTER TABLE my_table_name FORCE; Data Archiving

As your database grows over time, it accumulates historical data that might no longer be relevant for day-to-day operations but still needs to be preserved for reporting or auditing purposes. Archiving this old data helps reduce storage requirements and improve query performance by keeping only the most relevant data in your active tables.

To archive data in MySQL, you can create separate tables for storing historical data and periodically move old records from active tables to these archival tables. Alternatively, you can also use MySQL’s built-in partitioning feature to automatically manage the separation of historical and current data.

10. Keep MySQL version up-to-date with the latest stable release for improved performance and features

Keeping your MySQL version up-to-date with the latest stable release can significantly improve performance and offer new features that help optimize your database. By regularly updating, you ensure that you’re benefiting from the latest improvements, bug fixes, and security patches.

Why Update MySQL?

MySQL developers are continuously working to enhance the performance of their product. Each new release typically includes optimizations to the query execution engine, storage engines, and other components. These improvements can lead to faster query times, better resource utilization, and overall better database performance.

Additionally, new features introduced in recent releases can simplify tasks or provide more efficient ways of handling specific use cases. For example, MySQL 8.0 introduced support for window functions and common table expressions (CTEs), which can greatly improve the efficiency of complex analytical queries.

How to Update Safely

While updating your MySQL version is essential for optimal performance and access to new features, it’s crucial to do it safely to avoid potential issues:

Backup your data: Before updating, create a backup of your entire database. This ensures that you can quickly restore your data if something goes wrong during the update process.

Read release notes: Familiarize yourself with any changes or known issues in the new version by reviewing its release notes.

Test in a staging environment: Set up a staging environment that mirrors your production setup as closely as possible. Update MySQL in this environment first and thoroughly test its functionality before deploying it into production.

Monitor performance: After updating in production, keep a close eye on performance metrics to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Staying Informed

To stay informed about new MySQL releases and updates:

Subscribe to the MySQL Community Server Announcements mailing list.

Follow MySQL’s official blog for news on updates and best practices.

Regularly check the MySQL Release Notes for information about new features, improvements, and bug fixes.

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