In this article, I give you my MSI GE76 Raider review with specs included. This is a 17,3-inch gaming laptop for 2021 and it is the fastest gaming laptop I’ve ever tested. For those who prefer a smaller size, there is also the GE66 which is the 15,6-inch version which is a very similar motherboard layout design and a similar array of specs are available to it too.
GE66 is probably a little bit more thermally challenged because of the smaller chassis but I won’t worry about it. But, MSI GE76 Raider is an upper but not the highest in the configuration which has the Nvidia RTX 3080 GPU inside, the 16-gigabyte version.
Often we see the eight-gigabyte version of this GPU in laptops. So, that’s pretty exciting but as you’ve no doubt learned already with Nvidia GPUs for this generation they don’t call it Max-P and Max-Q anymore they just ask that the manufacturers tell you which watts they are (which to most people is probably a lot of gibberish sadly enough) and a lot of manufacturers don’t.
However, MSI does list all specs and this is a 150-watt GPU which is the highest wattage, most powerful that you can get with dynamic boost 2.0 to 155-watts. So, if you’re expecting good things you’re not wrong.
This is a redesigned chassis. In 2020 we saw the GE66, the 15-inch size, get the redesign but they delayed the redesign work for the 17-inch and we now have that. So, that whole brushed black metal look is that loves fingerprints is now gone and obviously we have what they call the titanium blue. It is a very subtle blue.
It’s angular look, it’s kind of masculine but not like grotesquely so. It’s gamery but not wildly gamery. I think it’s a reasonably good design so i leave that up to you. Beauty’s in the eye beholder.
The chassis, the top and the keyboard deck are aluminum and very rigid, very sturdy. There is no creaky sounds here, everything is solid and fits flawlessly.
The bottom panel has been redesigned and whereas it used to be like one big screen door now they have sort of a honeycomb design like in Alienware going on and not as much of the bottom is open. Why that is? I don’t know other than to prevent dust from getting in but that is what it is.
Inside we have Intel 10th generation CPUs, the H-series, which you would expect to see in a gaming laptop. I know some of you prefer Ryzen but nobody else is making a laptop of the big laptop manufacturers (there might be some the smaller manufacturers who are doing this) by pairing some of the really high wattage versions of these GPUs with Ryzen.
For games the GPU is the most important and you have your choice of several different CPUs inside. Core i7 or Core i9 are the only options.
There’s a six Core i7 at the very base model. There are two different eight-core i7s. I have an 8-core i7 and I would totally recommend that for the best performance. You don’t want your CPU to be a bottleneck which it would be with the six-core in some games.
And then there’s the Core i9, also an eight-core. I don’t recommend that so much because the thermals are just too limited for that really to be worth it.
As ever with Intel CPUs, their heat and the cooling is an issue. And there’s also the elephant in the room which is Intel 11th gen CPUs are available for laptops.There are some thermal improvements as they switch down to a 10 nanometer kind of design but not much noticeable gain overall.
The displays on this are good but there are some disappointments here, not in the quality of the displays that are offered. For example, I have the full HD, IPS, 300 hertz, 5-millisecond refresh display. For those who play esports titles where you really want to go as high as you can with refresh rate, well, you’ll be thrilled with that.
Color gamut is pretty good too. You get full sRGB coverage and decent on the Adobe and the p3. So, it’s a nice display, really good black level, the contrast is nice on it.
The base model is 144-hertz, IPS, full HD display. Also there’s a 4K and that’s a 60hz, IPS panel, wide gamut. So it’s there for content creators and not for gamers.
So then, why do i say it’s a disappointment? Well, because look at what Asus is doing with the Rogue line and offering QHD displays. You got your 1440 nice displays there. These GPUs are so strong they’re kind of wasted on 1080p at this point in most cases.
It would have been nice to see from the get-go the MSI releasing this with 1440p or with a 4K 120-hertz display, at least for those who are gaming. I want to make use of higher resolutions. I mean, it’s possible, that’s how powerful this thing is.
MSI GE76 Raider has two RAM slots. You can get it with 16 or 32 GB of DDR4, 3200 megahertz RAM from the factory. You can upgrade it to 64 GB yourself.
There are two M.2 SSD slots compatible with SATA and NVMe and mine has a fast NVMe boot SSD.
For those who are thinking about other gaming laptops with high-watt GPUs inside, you can consider the Alienware m17 R4 for example or the m15 R4. And those also are supporting high-wattage GPUs inside.
But, here’s where MSI has the leg-up. Well, this is very upgradable and very easy to take apart too. You have RAM slots, you have a socketed wifi card. In fact, it’s the new intel wi-fi 6e card it’s the ax210 with bluetooth 5.2 on board. And that’s a big selling point for a lot of laptop enthusiasts.
Let’s talk about the pricing for a moment. It starts at a very approachable fifteen hundred dollars and that gets you the six-core i7 and an RTX 3060 and it goes obviously up from there.
I don’t even know what the Core i9 with the 4K display and an RTX 3080 16 gigabyte cost but it’s got to be over three thousand dollars.
And then there’s the mid-tier ones. There’s again RTX 3070, which is a pretty good value proposition honestly, and an eight-core i7 for the mid $2000s. You get the idea about what to expect for prices.
So yeah, it can get expensive but given the amount of performance and the specs that you’re getting for it it’s pretty good.
Despite the fact that this is an intel product there is no Thunderbolt on board. So for some of you who think of going with Ryzen but need that Thunderbolt, well this isn’t the solution either.
It’s interesting to see how a lot of gaming laptop manufacturers have backed away from Thunderbolt. Maybe because gaming laptop folks are not business users who want docs on the desktop for example and you have enough ports on board.
If you need Thunderbolt, no-go. But it does have USB-C 3.2 Gen2. So you’ve got fast USB-C ports at least and you can use USB-C docks or monitors and so on.
Speaking of using external monitors, we have HDMI and mini Displayports (HDMI 2.0b, Mini Displayport 1.4) or you could use the USB-C output too. The built-in panel and all of those are connected directly to the dedicated GPU. So, for those who are worried about switchable graphics and the hit it can take, well, less of a concern there.
MSI GE76 Raider