MSI GE76 Raider Review

this is the msi raider ge76 for 2021 a 17.3 inch gaming laptop that is currently the fastest gaming laptop we’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 probably a little bit more thermally challenged because of the smaller chassis but i won’t worry about it but this thing this is an upper but not the highest in configuration which has the nvidia rtx 3080 gpu inside the 16 gigabyte version often you see the eight gigabyte version and 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 msi does however and this is a 150 watt gpu which is the highest wattage most powerful that you can get oh with dynamic boost 2.0 to 155 watts a little bit higher so if you’re expecting good things you’re not wrong we’re going to look at it now so this is a redesigned chassis last year we saw the ge 66 the 15 inch size get the redesign but cover delayed the redesign work for the 17 inch and we now have that so that whole brushed black metal look is that love fingerprints is now gone and obviously we have what they call i think it’s titanium blue is a very subtle blue it’s angular 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 and the chassis the top and the keyboard deck are aluminum and very rigid very sturdy so that’s nice you know msi often because they want to make things as thin and light as possible as long as you hear some creaks here and there not so much here the bottom panel has been redesigned and whereas it used to be like one big screen door honestly and now they have sort of a honeycomb thing hello alienware design 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 and now a shout out to our sponsor blinkist they bring you some of the best non-fiction books in 27 different categories and everything from finance to health to nutrition to learning more about science and technology and it’s bite-sized 15-minute reads see so you can do it that way or you can even listen too audible style if you want to do that they also have something called shortcasts which think of it as educational podcasts that are actually quite entertaining and again informative lately i’ve been into philosophy so i’ve been checking out some of the philosophy books they have and they got some of the big names there like michelle foucault very cool but say you want to learn about business you don’t care about philosophy that’s fine they have get doing the mba your way basically learning how to be a better business person but then there are things like cooking and improving your health through better and more tasty meals the first 100 people to go to forward slash mobile tech review will get it for a week to try out and you’ll get 25 off if you decide you want a subscription the trial is completely free so be sure to check it out and now back to our video 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 are going to be doing boom rising no rising and i i hear you you know i mean amd’s cpus are just really rocking but nobody else is making a laptop right now in the big laptop manufacturers there might be some the smaller manufacturers who are doing this but it’s over mainstream now pairing some of the really high wattage versions of these gpus with ryzen so and for games the gpu is the most important and you have your choice of several different cpus inside a core i7 or core i9 basically so there’s a six core i7 at the very base model there are two different eight core i7s we have an eight core i7 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 and 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 we’ll talk about that in detail soon enough and there’s also the elephant in the room which is intel 11th gen cpus are coming for laptops probably by june so if you’re leisurely about it and you’re curious to see what intel does next we don’t expect to see huge performance gains there might be some thermal improvements though as they switch down to a 10 nanometer kind of design there well it might be worth waiting just for that the displays on this are good but there are some disappointments here not in the quality of the displays that are offered for example we have the full hd ips 300 hertz 5 millisecond refresh display so 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 and color gamut is pretty good now you get full srgb coverage and decent on the adobe and the p3 so it’s a nice display really good black level so the contrast is nice on it the base model is 144 hertz ips display full hd again too but 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 why do i say it’s a disappointment well because look at what asus is doing with the rogueline and offering qhd displays you got your 1440 nice displays there because these gpus are so strong they’re kind of wasted on 1080p at this point in most cases some it would have been nice to see from the get-go the msi releasing with that 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 the machine has two ram slots you can get with 16 or 32 gigs of ddr4 3200 megahertz ram from the factory you can upgrade it to 64 gigs yourself and there are two m.2 ssd slots compatible with sata and nvme and ours has a fast nvme boot ssd so for those who are thinking about other gaming laptops with high watt gpus inside there would be 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 because well this is very upgradable and very easy to take apart too we’ll show you the internals later but yes 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 minute 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 now 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 and you get the idea 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 are saying oh i go with ryzen but i need that thunderbolt well this isn’t the solution there either it’s interesting to see how a lot of gaming laptop manufacturers have backed away from it maybe because gaming laptop folks are not business users who want docs on the desktop for example and you have enough ports on board so if you need thunderbolt no go but it does have usbc 3.2 gen2 so you’ve got fast usb c ports at least and you can use usbc docks or monitors and so on speaking of using external monitors we have hdmi and mini display ports hdmi 2.0 b mini displayport 1.4 or you could use the usbc output too and the built-in panel and all of those are connected directly to the dedicated gpu so for those who are worried about you know switchable graphics and the hit then it can take well less of a concern there but beyond that there’s a mux switch it’s software controlled in dragon center so you can set it to d gpu mode only if you want to gain some frames now in benchmarks i actually didn’t see appreciably different numbers by switching between optimus and dedicated graphics mode only so there’s that in some games like cyberpunk i saw about three four frames gained so it’s not huge here it’s not exactly like we saw with the asus rug zephyrus g15 with amd that does route through the igpu so continuing on with that gpu msi has done it right here if you look at the nvidia control panel you can see all the features there available to you they’re new for the 3000 series which are backported to 2000 but we have dynamic boost 2.0 we have whisper mode 2.0 and so on so it’s nice to see a very good straight shall i say vanilla implementation where all the features of the new gpu are available to you along with all of the watts so what about performance and thermals benchmarks are great on this really very nice numbers as you can see gaming performance wow i mean you know this laptop is really overkill for the 1080p panel a lot of the time but when it isn’t overkill is for something like cyberpunk 2077 which is so graphics intensive when you’re running ray tracing a feature that a lot of us tend to turn off even if it does look kind of pretty right see those nice reflections oh look my face in the puddle that sort of thing because it was such a burden on the the frame rate well here it’s not so i was averaging around 60 frames per second at 1080p using the ultra ray tracing setting and that’s what basically all the bells and whistles turn on so this gaming laptop is for those of you who want to have it all turned on and turned up to the max now when it comes to other games that are not as heavy on ray tracing yeah you can play at 1440p or even 4k if you have an external monitor that you want to hook up say assassin’s creed valhalla for example which is it hits the gpu it also hits the cpu it’s a more balanced thing there we’re not doing ray tracing so much and it’s almost like overkill with this laptop at 1080p that’s for sure for things like competitive esports kind of tiles sailing apex we’re going near 200 frames per second in the frame right here and that’s what the settings all you know on the maxed out to the high end so if you’re doing competitive stuff you’re going to absolutely love this you could still do it even at 1440p and really not see much of a frame drop versus the 1080p so i’m going to harp on that because i really can’t wait to see this with a 1440p panel built in now games like far cry 5e that one is really much more cpu intensive and at this point a little bit older title so we’re playing far cry 5 new dawn essentially the mega expansion pack for far cry 5. and that plays perfectly fluidly and smoothly and again you could play this at 1440p or even 4k because it’s up to the cpu here and even ain’t no amd ryzen the a core i7 is more than up for the task in terms of the cooling on board when you look inside you’ll see that most of the heat pipe love is really on the gpu and not on the cpu which and this generation of nvidia gpus actually do use more watts and generate more heat so before that would have seemed like a foolish thing to do because intel cpus tend to run hot but i get while they’re doing it but the cpu will be the one that’s more thermally challenged so in some games like running cyberpunk with the ultra ray tracing going on there and dlss and all that sort of thing we did see the gpu hitting like 86 which is pretty much where it’s set as it’s thermal max and most games you’re going to see it in the 70s which is pretty chill the cpu well yeah it’s conservative now we’re running this in extreme performance mode at all times mostly because that ramps up the fans a bit it really doesn’t change the power output so much so you don’t want to just toast the thing right and you’ll see cpus hitting into the 90s and sometimes thermal throttling like by 92. so msi has something conservative set in bios there but does does it spend a lot of time being that hot no it does not most of the time the cpu is in the 70s to the 80s in games but again it’s intel the cooling solution is beefy they’ve done well here again that’s going to be a step ahead of alienware who’s always more thermally challenged because to be fair they make a thinner lighter chassis that’s more like going after the gs 66 kind of line of laptops that said i did replace this with icy diamond seven i know some of you are not so keen on icy diamond some of you like it i do like it for laptops because it’s very viscous it fills in the typically not really great contact between the cpu die and the heatsink and it lasts like forever anyway i repasted it and i dropped my cpu temperatures by about five degrees centigrade so that’s certainly a worthwhile proposition the other thing you can do is under bolt it and yes you can it’s just not enabled by default you’ll have to go into bios by hitting the dell key and then when you’re in the advanced menu or you can go to the advanced menu later but anyway you hit the right shift right control left alt and f2 at the same time briefly if you hit it too long you might cycle it on and off that brings up the advanced option so you can go to overclocking and then enable intel xtu mode now our particular copy did not actually undervolt real well even something as conservative as a negative 70 millivolt still we’d see occasional crashes not consistent but it could be something as weird as every time we ran crystal disk mark benchmark it would crash or 3d marks benchmarks wouldn’t run to completion that sort of thing so anything anything below negative 70 millivolts just probably not even worthwhile but if you get a copy and you can undervolt it more power to you the steel series keyboard on this is definitely a go now for some of msi’s smaller chassis i haven’t been real fond of what they’ve done with the keyboard but this perky rgb keyboard has really good tactile feel and key return in spring 1.5 millimeters of travel it’s not like ultra deep or something but then this is about an inch thick we’re not talking a super thick laptop right it feels nice to type on i’m so glad it has a number pad obviously because this is the 17 inch of the 15 inch will not have the number pad the track pad on this is glass it’s microsoft precision relatively speaking by today’s standards it seems kind of on the small side other than that it works fine obviously it doesn’t have dedicated clicker buttons for those who like that but i think most people are gaming are going to be using a mouse or a controller sound on this is also quite good again gaming laptops in general are often a disappointment and the raiders have always had really good speakers and we’re getting there again we got four speakers we have two normal speakers and two what they call woofers two and we’re firing up from the keyboard and the other two are firing from the front sides and the sound is pretty nice and full like i didn’t want to run and put my headphones on and speaking of headphones if you’re playing in extreme performance mode which i would suggest for gaming because you’re going to have some better cooling there it’s a nice balance without using the cooler boost cooler boost 5 or up to now function it really blasts the fans and even in extreme performance mode i didn’t have to use headphones when gaming with those aaa titles at ultra settings so that’s pretty good but for those of you who do wish to use wired headphones you’re in for a treat because you know msi makes a big deal about their high quality audio deck and it was noticeably better i was using a set of sound core headphones and i was like oh wow i didn’t realize the game sounded that good listen to that bass so that’s a pleasant experience there so what about battery life this is a 6.39 pound 2.9 kilogram laptop and part of that weight is the fact that it’s a 99.9 watt hour battery which is the highest you can use and still be allowed to take it on an airplane sounds promising right it’s not bad using nvidia optimus switchable graphics mode doing light productivity work a little streaming video the usual kind of stuff at 200 nits of brightness i was getting between five and six hours which i suppose for something that’s so powerful that msi has decided not to make the titan line of desktop replacements anymore that’s pretty good but given the size of the battery it’s not amazing i guess you get a 280 watt charger with this which is your usual 280 watt gaming laptop charging brick so it’s another probably 1.1 kilograms of carry weight to bring along with you if you go with the six core i7 and an rtx 3060 i bet you’d get a smaller charger i’m not sure though and it uses the rectangular style connector much like lenovo thinkpad so i’m actually fine with that it’s a pretty robust connector compared to the barrel pin this requires way too much power to actually charge over usbc so that’s not an option so first is the competition i think you know how i feel about the alienware comparison the lack of upgradeability the hotter thermals but in return you do get a thinner machine and a lighter machine too so what about the asus rogue strix and strix scar 15 and 17 those have the amd ryzen the zen 3 architecture really exciting cpus but they don’t have the really high watt gpus which is a shame right if we can only glom all these things together we can come up with the perfect laptop wouldn’t you like that if we could build one right the way we would like it to be so it’s going to depend on what you want to do with it obviously you’re going to have cooler temperatures i mean xen3 in a gaming laptop still can get kind of hot but not as hot as intel less thermal throttling going on but if you’re going to be using this for productivity work for compiling code or working on premiere blender that sort of thing then ryzen has a strong edge at this point but for those who are mostly looking at gaming then intel is actually fine and you’re going to want the higher wattage gpu most definitely so there’s that to take off the bottom cover by msi standards is less traumatic than it used to be maybe they listened to all my moaning about all the plastic clips and how hard it was to get it off you still need to use a guitar pick or something to pry around the edges but it’s not so difficult and the clips don’t all break off and subsequent removals become easier just phillips head screws they’re all visible they’re all the same size there was a tamper-proof seal here or a factory seal as it’s labeled by msi that always makes people worry about not being able to open it up to do upgrades but they claim it’s there at least in the united states just so you know nobody has stolen parts of the laptop before giving it to you i don’t know why they do that anyway honeycomb ventilation as you can see here replaces the old big screen door that they used to use and this is what the underside looks like and the light bar you don’t have to worry about that it’s not like some of the asus rogue strix uh the the connector for that is down below so you’re not connected to the bottom section or for the light cables so inside it’s delightful a giant battery over here you have some particularly large speaker drivers and these would be the so-called woofers and they do well woof they have some bass going on but what’s delightful here is the fact we have our two ram slots and we have two 16 gig samsung ddr4 3200 megahertz modules that came with ours and two m.2 ssd slots so this is the boot ssd right here and you know one thing i will say is it’s awful close to this heat pipe right and in fact the ssd does run a little toastier than on average plus it’s a pretty fast western digital ssd nothing alarmingly hot but just yeah proximity devil is the proximity there and you could put a second one in there if you wanted we have a socketed intel wi-fi card that new ax210 like i said wi-fi 6e car going on with bluetooth so yeah that our pch right there exposed which is fairly typical and look at all these heat pipes going on here so the gpu gets most of the heat pipe love as i mentioned and our cpu over here we have some shared heat pipe going on some independent and tripod heatsink for the cpu you know me i always like to see four corners better contact but i see diamond help with that and there’s that your fans very easy if you want to take this apart to replace it it’s nice old school stuff no inverted motherboards no tricky business so you just basically unscrew all the numbered screws and the fan screws and they’re actually numbered too to make it easy and then lift it off and you can repaste it and so on so very easy to do there and the fans exhaust out the back and the sides as is typical for msi the intake happens at the bottom so don’t put it on your lap when you’re gaming don’t strangle it by the way one thing i will mention is i elevate the back a bit or the bottom of the laptop when you’re gaming it makes a big difference because the rubber feet on this bottom cover are not very tall so it really helps even if you’re not using a laptop cooler or something like that just giving it a little more room for airflow really helps so that’s the msi raider ge76 the 2021 edition with rtx 3000 series high wattage gpus and in the plus side you got the idea this is going to be one of the fastest laptops probably of the year unless intel pulls off something absolutely incredible with 11th gen which i can’t doubt or amd manufacturers of start actually putting in higher watch gpus with their laptops and we’re really going to get interesting i do wish for a qhd display you know that or a faster refresh 4k to take advantage of all the horsepower inside of here without having to plug in an external monitor but the rest of it they’ve done a pretty good job with and the cooling given the hot cpu that we’re talking about inside is pretty well done

MSI GE76 Raider Intel 11th Gen Review

this may be the fastest gaming laptop of 2021. this is the msi ge76 raider 17.3 inch for those who like it a little smaller they do have the ge66 raider which is a 15.6 inch so we reviewed the intel 10th gen version of this several months ago and again it was one of the fastest gaming laptops but with intel 11th gen tiger lake inside and an overclockable core i9 and an rtx 3080 16 gigabyte with a 165 watt tgp i you get the idea this is going to be fast how fast we’re going to find out now so the raider has become the top of the line for msi and also their biggest chassis on board so we do expect performance here and pricing starts around 2600 with the core i7 and rtx 3070 and the 360 hertz full hd display there will be an rtx 3060 option that will cost well obviously less money i don’t know the pricing because it’s not out yet we have the top dog which has a core i9 11 980 hk overclockable cpu inside the rtx 3080 like i said with 16 gigs of vram and that 165 watt power limit it’s actually initially they announced it as 155 watt but they just released a v bios right on their website that brings up to 165 watts i guess they’re finding the thermals are just fine enough to allow that so that’s powerful stuff and our maxed version which isn’t yet shipped in the united states but actually intel sent it to us as an example of a showcase really for their top dog laptop intel tiger like h45 cpu this one’s going to cost like 3 400 so we’re talking a lot of money here obviously it competes with things like the alienware x17 which is also a pricey piece and also pretty powerful i do look forward to comparing it to this when we get a hold of that unit too so the new 11th gen architecture brings some pretty cool things here thunderball 4 which is nice more pcie lanes which means potentially faster gpus and also faster ssds you can use a pci 4.0 ssd which in fact our unit has i believe intel put that in i’m not sure if msi ships it with that though good speeds that means i don’t think the ssd speeds mean that much to mere mortals between a fast pcie and a fast pci e4 but hey it’s nice to have right and intel tiger lake is particularly interesting because it’s their first 10 nanometer cpu so they’re finally starting to catch up with amd which means a smaller process is usually more power efficient means better battery life means potentially less heat to the chassis which are good things because we know that intel’s older architecture has been around forever and was not great for battery life and was not great for heat at all now this chassis is the same as the one that we looked at several months ago that was a major redesign so ms9 is not going to change it again within the same year and did you know that this is supposed to resemble a spaceship according to msi a bit of an angular look you get the idea so other than the inclusion now of thunderbolt for instance just usbc you’re looking at an identical chassis identical steel series keyboard which is a good thing because it’s a very nice keyboard you get the idea the display options have changed a little bit the 300 hertz three millisecond display full hd was the higher end option for the intel 10th gen one and now with this one we have a 360 hertz still full hd there is also a 144 hertz option on the cheaper models and there seems to be two variants of that according to msi one which has pretty much full srgb and one of which has lower so i don’t think i would go with that while we’re talking about the displays for about 360 hertz full hd is great if you’re a highly competitive esports player and you need those really high frame rates cs go or whatever it is right for people like me who tend to play more rpgs or tomb raider kind of games and all that sort of thing i would have preferred having a qhd 165 hertz display because it does look sharper folks but i believe there’s a shortage of those kind of displays right now we can only hope right now asus is the only one who’s really rocking that any volume with their strix scar 17 model will there be a 4k option like we’ve seen in the past with msi i don’t know we’ll find out in the coming months won’t we the display while we’re talking about now i don’t know that this is particular to us reviewers received one from intel and some software got a little munge but at first the display seemed inordinately damn measuring below 200 nits which is obviously not going to happen with this kind of machine that’s not right so i had to fuss with msi center which has replaced dragon center you’ll be happy to he happy to hear because most people really didn’t like the outdated dragon center software and switching between d gpu and dedicated graphics mode and then playing with the msi true color and finally i got it working right so if you have a dim display out of the box fuzz with the software and get it working and then maybe disable msi true color once you get it where you want it to be so it doesn’t get into any more mischief so speaking of that switchable graphics yes of course we have that here because this is all about performance i know everybody this year is obsessed by mux switches or switchable graphics so this one you’ll use msi center and you can switch between hybrid switchable graphics mode and d gpu mode only that does require a reboot this is not advanced optimus where you can do it on the fly without a reboot but it is there for you in 1080p games and in some games like cs go it can make a difference in frame rates but once you’re moving up to qhd resolution i typically plug it into a lg ultra gear qhd gaming monitor for example and then the frame rates are not so different it also depends on the game cyberpunk really doesn’t matter as much but anyway it’s there you’ve got that mug switch yeah enthusiast go the internal architecture is the same as the last generation which means you have two ram slots you can go anywhere from 16 to 64 gigs of ddr4 3200 megahertz ram rs had pretty good timings it was good ram i know that’s become an issue in 2021 thanks to ram shortages and again you have two m.2 ssd slots one is populated typically with a one terabyte nvme ssd so you’ve got another slot available if you wish to add one and it’s the normal 2280 height we have killer wi-fi 6e onboard which is really an intel car we have killer e 3100 ethernet 2.5 gigabit ethernet as well and ports on this of course it’s a fairly large chassis it’s going to have plenty of ports you got three usb a you have a thunderbolt 4 port and a usbc 3.2 gen 2 port both of those are available and of course a headphone jack hdmi 2.1 yay that so you can do your 4k at 120 hertz and mini displayport 1.4 and a full-size sd card slot and the ports even though it’s less same as last gen chassis let’s talk about that but i really like what they’ve done here you have ports along the back and you have ports on the side okay what’s so great about that well the ports that should be on the back are on the back the thunderball port because most likely you’re either going to connect that to a dock maybe an egpu though given how performant the gpu is here you probably won’t be thinking about that this year anyway the power connector is in the back those things that need to get out of the way and on the sides we do have usba and usbc ports and the headphone jack accessible so you don’t have to reach around the back for those things you normally have to access you do have rgb lighting their mystic lighting board they call it now in the front and you can program that and the steel series back lighting is programmable per key rgb as well so you can have fun with that the trackpad on this is microsoft precision it’s kind of small by today’s standards and it’s okay it’s fine it’s not as enjoyable i find as what soos is putting on their rogue laptops right now the republican gamers line and the razer blade but it’s it’s not like the msi track pads of old it’s not a horror it’s okay it’s fine and obviously you do have a number pad on the keyboard which is pretty normal for a 17-inch laptop by the way there is no mechanical keyboard option here i know that alienware has started to do that we’ve reviewed as strict scars that have it so it’s your normal quiet membrane keyboard but it doesn’t have that clicky clickity feel for those of you who like that there’s no option for that here in this chassis speakers on this again same as the immediate previous generation four speakers two are woofers the others are full range stereo sound and really good especially by gaming laptop standards which for some reason become more pathetic than some of the competing ultrabooks on the market i’m not saying 16-inch macbook pro necessarily but it does give the best asus rogue zephyrus six speaker system audio a run for its money plenty loud has bass in the hemich3 audio and you can set the parameters for that your bass your treble how much voice clarity comes through for those who are playing games and the music is drowning out the voices you get the idea it’s pretty well done and you have a 1080p webcam on board so it’s a little less sucky than your average webcam all right so what about performance that’s the important stuff here for a gaming laptop right yes there is an improvement in intel 11th gen yes we expect it as much and compared to the the last time we reviewed this cpu in a very thin msi z creator chassis which couldn’t really there was no way you could have adequate cooling it’s appropriate here and we’re seeing up to 20 improvement compared to intel 10th gen looking at the overclockable i9 from that generation so that’s good they’re also up there with amd ryzen 9 5900 hx which is a good accomplishment hey intel finally what does that mean in benchmarks the numbers are better duh what does that mean in terms of thermals the benchmarks it runs hot but oddly in games it doesn’t even though it’s keeping the clock speeds up high and the gpu is using plenty of watts so whatever magic they’re doing with the balance and dynamic boost and between the cpu and the gpu power and thermals really well handled in games and you’ll see the gaming gaming footage running across most of which is a qhd resolution and you’ll see those thermals are nice in games but when running benchmarks you can still hit the upper 90s centigrade now one thing i want to note is the unit that we had the the gpu was running way too hot like in the upper 80s which shouldn’t happen right so i opened it up and somebody was a little out to lunch when they were putting this together at the factory because the gpu actually only half of it had thermal paste on it well that would be a problem and the cpu was okay it was kind of like more around the edges and not so much in the middle so i just wipe that off as conventional paste that they use and put some icy diamond seven on there which is my go-to for laptops fills in the spaces really well the laptops have between the heatsink and the cpu and that fixed the problem there so quality control these days in 2021 it is what it is among a variety of laptop manufacturers for all the benchmarks that you see on screen by the way i did not apply any overclock just left it as it was since the cpu was a little on the toasty side did not under vault so it’s going to be just as you get it out of the box and running on msi’s extreme performance setting in msi center in terms of the cooling design inside it’s pretty at this point i would call it traditional almost retro right we’re seeing vapor chambers we’re seeing liquid metal or whatever fancy name alienware wants to give basically using liquid metal there here we have traditional paste and very traditional heatsink design and tripod heatsinks which could be a recipe for disaster but again the thermals in games are actually excellent so it works i won’t complain about it imagine if they do move on to better cooling what would happen but again like i said the thermals and the performance and the clock speeds are there fine cooler boost is still here that’s an msi feature if you want to max your fans out happily i didn’t find it necessary playing games at qhd on ultra settings not needed i will say just like with the last generation uh the balanced mode is i wouldn’t use that one i would use the extreme performance mode or you can do your own manual tuning you can see on screen what i went with basically i just took the fan curve and upped it a little bit you know it it was too conservative so adding 10 for the highest temperatures there and it kept things a bit cooler so that’s going to make a difference you can overclock the gpu if you want inside of msi’s center software if you want to overclock the cpu you’re going to have to do the usual multi-key combo to unlock that in bios first and then you can use intel xtu or better yet throttle stop and you can undervolt i did undervolt up to negative 80 millivolts and it did run a little bit cooler but again on this unit it really wasn’t so much necessary but you can do it so performance is notably better than intel 10th generation for those who did watch the last gen raider review and you held off waiting for 11 you can feel good about that now because you do get more performance here and even better thermals in games but how does it compare to ryzen so i’ve got some graphs for you just so you can see so this is not the fairest comparison but with so few models actually available and we’re receiving fewer review loaner units from manufacturers we do have the asus rogue strix scar 15. so a little smaller chassis thermals might be a bit more of an issue in fact they sometimes are and also msi has their 165 watt 3080 and our asus has 130 watt 30 80. so a little difference there so the interesting thing to see there is just sort of like in the benchmarks where they’re neck and neck now between the ryzen 9 5900 hx and the core i9 from 11th gen intel land here in games they’re pretty similar in some cases like valhalla they got identical scores and then we look at tomb raider and actually the asus scored a little bit higher on the exact same settings interesting but in cyberpunk the msi really pulled ahead and i think that’s the most representative of modern demanding games directx 12 it’s ray tracing all of that sort of stuff which we enabled the lss on auto and there was a 10 frame improvement for the msi now i think there’s two reasons obviously it has a more high wattage gpu right 165 watts versus 130 and also it’s a less thermally challenged chassis too so that makes a difference so how about battery life not the first thing most of us obsess on with a 17.3 inch sort of desktop replacement class gaming laptop right well it has a 99.9 watt hour battery just like last generation which is the highest they can use and still you’d be allowed to take this on an airplane so obviously they’re giving you the most they can there which is nice and you have a 280 watt charger which isn’t too bad a carry that’s fine it’s better than the 330 watt charges we’ve seen involved i think intel’s more power efficient 11th gen has something to do with not needing as much juice anyway if you put it in switchable graphics mode and only do light work that doesn’t trigger using the dedicated graphics i mean like you’re doing slack and office and streaming some video that sort of thing you could get up to four hours on this if you kept the display brightness to 150 nits which is what we did in our test so it’s better than the old days when there were only two hours right to take off the bottom cover lots of phillips head screws unscrew those including the one under the factory seal sticker which msi says is there so you know nobody’s tampered with your laptop i guess so anyway you can see what ventilation there is on the bottom this is what the underside looks like pretty easy to take off once you have done those screws work from the front and here are the internals same as the immediate last generation like i said and this is why you know i always have a soft spot for the raiders because look at that traditional simplicity no inverted motherboards no complicated liquid metal to worry about even though i can be a fan of liquid metal as long as the heat sink has nickel rather instead of copper on it so we don’t have chemical mishaps and things going on there but right here heat sink screws unscrew a couple of fan screws and you can take this whole thing off clean it repaste it rolls your oyster other than that normal looking here we have side and rear exhaust vents the fans which are generally speaking not too loud like i said a little on the high-pitched side for a large laptop but nothing annoying there and here is our socketed wi-fi card which again is a killer card wi-fi 6e which is actually an intel card hey and we’ve got two ram slots right here so you can go to your 64 gigs easy peasy that’s just fine and normal too and we have two ssd slots i have actually put a second ssd in there so nvme pci e4 if you want those fast speeds yay and we have the fairly large woofers on the bottom flanking the 99.99 watt hour battery so no doubt this will be one of the fastest gaming laptops for 2021. it isn’t cheap it isn’t lightweight but for those of you who want full performance and what’s still called the desktop replacement class though and you know this weight it’s really nothing compared to a few years ago when gaming laptops weighed right you’ve got thunderball 4 on board besides the fact that you’ve got very powerful gpus with high watt limits you’ve got that switchable graphics mux switch going on pretty decent display options i really do hope that we see a qhd option though because all this horsepower is kind of a waste unless you’re an esports player the thermals of this when gaming are quite good like i said just look beyond the benchmark thermals which are kind of on the high side overall given a very traditional architecture msi 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MSI GE76 Raider