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AMD Ryzen 4000 Reinvigorates MSI Modern 14 Laptops With a Base Price of $649

MSI Modern 14 - B4M (Image credit: MSI)

MSI is gearing up to unleash its revitalized Modern 14 laptops with AMD's 7nm mobile Ryzen 4000-series (codename Renoir) APUs. The brand hasn't officially announced the new devices, but hardware informant @_rogame spotted the corresponding product page on MSI's website.

Since it's strictly a hardware refresh, the AMD-powered Modern 14 laptops share the same aesthetics as their Intel counterparts. In order to avoid any confusion, MSI labels the AMD versions with the B4M designation while the Intel models carry the B10R suffix.

The Modern 14's dimensions are 319 x 220.2 x 16.9mm and weighs in at 1.3kg. The laptop features an aluminum chassis, and it's available either in Onyx Black or Bluestone colors. The modern design allows the laptop to have a screen-to-body ratio that's close to 90% and very thin bezels. Nevertheless, MSI was still able to fit a HD webcam (30 FPS @ 720p) up top. 

The 14-inch IPS-level panel displays images at a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. There's no mention of the refresh rate though. The Modern 14 also comes with an ergonomic keyboard with white backlighting so you can work comfortably in dark environments.

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MSI Modern 14 - B4M

MSI Modern 14 - B4M (Image credit: MSI)
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MSI Modern 14 - B4M

MSI Modern 14 - B4M (Image credit: MSI)
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MSI Modern 14 - B4M

MSI Modern 14 - B4M (Image credit: MSI)
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MSI Modern 14 - B4M

MSI Modern 14 - B4M (Image credit: MSI)

There are currently five Ryzen 4000 U-series Zen 2 processors in AMD's Renoir family. MSI offers the Modern 14 with the Ryzen 5 4500U and Ryzen 7 4700U. The first is a six-core, six-thread APU that sports a 2.3 GHz base clock and 4 GHz boost clock, while the latter is an eight-core, eight-thread chip that works with a 2 GHz base clock and 4.1 GHz boost clock.

Previous Modern 14 models employed a combination of Intel's 10th Generation Comet Lake U-series chips and Nvidia's entry-level GeForce MX350 or MX330. The Ryzen 4000-based variants are fine on their own due to the fact that the APUs come with decent integrated graphics power. The Ryzen 5 4500U arrives with six Vega Compute Units (CUs) at 1,500 MHz, and the Ryzen 7 4700U flaunts seven Vega CUs clocked at 1,600 MHz.

The biggest adjustment on the AMD models resides in the DDR4 SO-DIMM memory slots. The Intel version of the Modern 14 only has one slot with support for DDR4-2666 modules and a maximum of 32GB. The Ryzen versions come with two slots, support DDR4-3200 modules, and push the amount of memory supported to 64GB. The renovated design will certainly benefit the APUs and make sure they aren't left starving for bandwidth.

There's only a single M.2 PCIe 3.0 slot for storage, but it's compatible with both PCIe-and SATA-based drives. Internet connectivity will vary on the model. MSI specifies two possible combinations: Wi-Fi 5 with Bluetooth 5 or Wi-Fi 6 with Bluetooth 5.1.

The I/O ports on the Modern 14 include two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, one HDMI port (4K @ 30 Hz) and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port. A microphone and headphone-out 3.5mm combo jack is present as well as an integrated microSD card reader. Audio comes through two 2W speakers.

MSI equips the Modern 14 with a triple-cell 52 Wh Li-Polymer battery. The Ryzen 5 4500U and Ryzen 7 4700U are both 15W APUs so they don't sip a lot of juice. MSI touts up to 10 hours of on-the-go battery life, which seems right in line with other Ryzen 4000-powered devices. The Modern 14 regains its energy through a standard 65W power adapter. For the operating system, you can pick between Windows 10 Home or Pro.

HIDevolution, one of MSI's authorized Build-To-Order (BTO) dealers, have listed the Modern 14 laptops. The Ryzen 5 4500U model with 8GB of DDR4-2666 and 256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD sells for $649, and the Ryzen 7 4700U option with the identical base specifications goes for $749. The estimated time of arrival for the first is early June, and the latter is unknown.

  • mrv_co
    So the h/w has my attention.... how is Linux support on MSI laptops? More specifically Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
    Reply
  • Schattenjaeger
    I'd guess just 60hz refresh from the price point... but since this isn't a "gaming" system, that's not really an issue. Rather, I see this as the literal new standard for an Office/Home Office Ultrabook. Just plug in a USB-C Hub and you're off to the races!
    Reply
  • KaihatsuJai
    Finally!! Been waiting for a decent APU-only laptop since the E-350. That chip powered most games, and the Asus laptop cost only $500.

    MSI's offerings back then were a little more expensive, around this price of $650-750.
    I hope this is the beginning of more discreet-only offerings!
    Reply
  • twotwotwo
    mrv_co said:
    So the h/w has my attention.... how is Linux support on MSI laptops? More specifically Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

    Looks like you can at least be cautiously optimistic. Looks like most stuff just works on the Intel version of the Modern, and a Phoronix review of another laptop using the 4700U says it just took a kernel upgrade to get the iGPU usable.
    Reply
  • Rdslw
    mrv_co said:
    So the h/w has my attention.... how is Linux support on MSI laptops? More specifically Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.
    My friend did used it without major issues.
    I think no fingerprint and make sure you have touch pad disable hardware button, or it will be always on.
    Also usually there is some magic to be done to have HDMI port. (we had problem with 3d printer though, not sure if printer/20.04 or hardware just yet)
    But wait for a review of specific one, as they might have thrown something unique on board. If you want just a daily driver, it should fine.
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    The Ryzen versions come with two slots, support DDR4-3200 modules, and push the amount of memory supported to 64GB. The renovated design will certainly benefit the APUs and make sure they aren't left starving for bandwidth.
    Wow, that's kind of shocking. A mid-range AMD laptop that doesn't have gimped RAM support. You could actually buy a base model and then slap in a couple of 3200 sticks down the road... two real slots, no soldered RAM to get in the way.
    Reply