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MSI GE76 Raider Review by Wootdini

I warn you in advance that I tend to be over technical in reviews. That being said, when paying a considerable amount of money for any technology, you need to do your research and trust what a reviewer says about it. I found this laptop quite frustrating, as I wanted to find massive flaws especially as it's my first review that will be posted. Did I find any? Read and see. I hope this review gives you the insight to see whether this notebook is the one for you. 

MSI-GE76-laptop-front

Design:

Like a child on christmas, the design experience started for me when unboxing the laptop. Unboxing a laptop is much like the excitement seen in my cat when a tin of tuna is opened - there is a palpable air of anticipation of things to come.  The laptop weighs in at 2.9kgs which is slightly ‘over average’ for a 17 inch gaming laptop. Its chunkier weight is not a negative as it creates a more robust and solid feel. Its composition is that of plastic and metal, but in the right places. The lid and bottom are plastic, while the keyboard panel is a cool metal. The laptop lid is also edged in metal with the most amazing and fluid hinges. When you open and close the lid, there is no jitter when it has been moved. It's perfectly rigid (I opened it and closed it almost for fun at a stage). While this hinge may be a small detail, it was the first thing I noticed and wrote down as something that impressed me. Despite my hardest efforts, I could not find any design shortcuts or cost savings. MSI has definitely put a lot of care into the design of this laptop. Even the front Aurora RGB strip is encased in a hard resin and flows seamlessly into the build. Overall it has all the right lines, aggressive (but still classy) gaming profile and does not have that hollow plastic feel many gaming laptops have.

MSI-GE76-Laptop-front-open

Key Features:

The first key feature this Laptop has is the WiFi6E. In order to take advantage of this you need a WiFi6 Router which fortunately I have. For me there was a noticeable stability on the network performance. It is difficult to quantify stability when gaming, as it's all about relative game play. To put it in perspective, I have another laptop connected to the 2.4hgz output and its constant battles for connectivity while the Raider had no issues. Whilst I will always recommend ethernet, if this is not an option, you can definitely do worse than the WiFi module in this laptop.

 

OK MSI, why did I have to go to RGB settings to discover this was a SteelSeries Keyboard? While that partnership has been a rich one, MSI completely understated this one. The keyboard itself has a nice fluid action and is quiet on keypress. If you have the time, you can also set the RBG per key.

 

Something that makes this laptop great is the built in FHD 240hz display. An issue with anything above 144hz is I fail to see the physical difference in relation to the cost. However, there is a noticeable difference when the FPS is hitting past 144. The only metaphor for the smoothness is, it's like wearing gloves covered in oil trying to catch a frog.

 

OK TIMEOUT. I set out to review this notebook without the use of a headset for good reason. It is important to check that the advertised features are not just gimmicks being passed off as “game changers”, and here MSI grossly undersold. The “Duo Wave Woofer” and sound by Dynaudio is possibly the best on board audio I have ever experienced. You know the sound is good when you are pumping a song and your wife gives you the look and aggressively closes the door because you are making too much noise. I could honestly write a review on the sound itself, but it is something best experienced oneself (Try Greyhound by Swedish House Mafia to wake the neighbors)

 

When I was done with the key features I came across a bonus feature that I used when testing the unit. This feature is the turbo fan function which is activated by pushing Fn + F8. Although it is massively noisy and sounds like your laptop is about to take off, it makes a 4-7 degrees difference on GPU temperatures. When I did eventually put on a headset, I could not hear it at all

 

Software:

This is where many gaming laptops fail to impress and sadly there is little difference here. I say this because no matter which manufacturer, the hype of integration and ability is always oversold. However, there are noticeable improvements in Dragon Center. As a whole there are just too many applications one can install and there are crossovers in functionality. I know all too well that there are tradeoffs by having too many applications run off the same center as it becomes resource heavy - but I hope to see more of the applications being integrated into Dragon Center and for the center itself to shut down non essential functions when gaming.

 

It is not all doom and gloom on the software side as there were impressive features such as “True Colour” which changes the panel configuration depending on the application. MSI also has made life easier in Dragon center with being able to adjust how your laptop performs from gaming to balanced and silent. One extremely positive aspect is the built-in updater as well as the customer support functionality within Dragon Center.

 

Overall it takes a lot to impress me with “all in one” centers, but I can note that MSI is putting huge effort into making this work and is miles ahead of the competition (especially with registrations and customer rewards).

 

One extremely cool function is the “Hey Lucky” function where you speak to your Laptop to change settings. This is only working for ambient link as far as I can tell but I hope MSI grows this into being able to change lighting as a whole, putting your laptop to sleep and so on.

 

Tech Specs:

The specs on this PC are impressive as you would expect from a gaming notebook.

 

Question to the reader: When you buy a car or house, do you not scrutinize every aspect from the bathrooms to safety? Why do we not do this when buying a gaming notebook? For example if I offered any gamer a Seagate or Western Digital versus a OEM (basically your no name brands built to demand), they would take the brand because it's trusted and reliable. But for some reason when it comes to laptops, this investigation stops and we only take a helicopter view of the components.

 

CPU: Intel i7-10870H: Most see Intel 10th Generation i7 and that is enough for them. There are different classes in generations containing huge differences. For example many current gaming notebooks will have a 10850H (which is a 6 core processor), while the Raider has a 10870H which is an 8 core processor. The difference of 2 cores makes a world of difference if you want to run multiple applications like streaming while gaming.

 

RAM: 32GB DDR4 dual-channel 3200mhz: Again we can't look at surface level. We would have comments on G-Skill vs OEM but we don't look at a huge aspect of ram which is CAS timing in RAM generally. This was the largest disappointment in an altogether perfect gaming laptop. The CAS timing is CL22-22-22-52 which is wholly unimpressive and something I hope will be remedied. The die is samsung which is a small redeemer for its 51ns performance. In reality this impact will not be as massive as I am making it sound, as the 32GB’s of ram will go far to undo any bottleneck.

 

SSD: 1TB nVME: Now as you will see from the CPU, you can safely assume this is PCIE-3 and not PCIE-4. If this is a deal breaker for you, I encourage you to actually check the differences. Upon further investigation MSI didn't cut a corner, as the SSD is actually a Samsung with a read of 3500MB’s and write of 3000MB’s (General 2.5 inch will do 500/500 or less). The speeds of the SSD are massive and will ensure you have 0 issues with data transfer.

 

Graphics: GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6: I think we are all washed out with reviews on graphics cards so I will leave it at saying it's a real GeForce with real GeForce power.

 

Performance:

Ok the cool part! So I tested this machine for around 8 hours of gaming for about 4 hours at a time. Please note the conditions

  • HWInfo was open at the time so you can add about 3-5FPS compensation factor.
  • I played Call of Duty Warzone which is an extremely intense game especially on the CPU (Yes CPU which is noted in temps).
  • Turned off Nvidia Highlights as it tends to be resource heavy.
  • Turbo Fan was on which makes a 4-7 degree difference.
  • Ambient Room temperature 21 degrees
  • When testing DLSS it was set to “Quality”

 

Test 1 Ultra settings DLSS off

FPS Range: 61-109

FPS Average: 72

GPU Temperature: 73-74 degrees

Notes: Smooth game play (Render Resolution was 175)

 

Test 2 Ultra settings DLSS on

FPS Range: 120- 192

FPS Average: 100

GPU Temperature: 74-75 degrees

Notes: Noticeably blurred but not so much to make game play less enjoyable (Render Resolution was 175)

 

Test 3 Competitive settings DLSS off

FPS Range: 140- 201

FPS Average: 151

GPU Temperature: 67-68 Degrees

Notes: I had to test this 3 times more after testing DLSS on as the results were oddly better with DLSS off on competitive (lower) settings.

 

Test 4 Ultra settings DLSS on

FPS Range: 139-210

FPS Average: 145

GPU Temperature: 67-68 Degrees

Notes: It seems DLSS only pays dividends on very high settings.

 

I will insert links so you can see the physical performance.

 

Performance summary:

Overall this laptop performed phenomenally. I was worried about the temperatures on the CPU reaching close to 100 overall (1 core did hit 100, which is on the max temperature of 100 set by Intel). I don't think, however, that this is a problem stemming from the cooling, and I say this because the temperature fluctuation was immense. When closing Call of Duty it dropped to 50 almost instantly. As it is a mobile CPU and Intel is pushing 14nm chips super hard to squeeze every last bit of performance out of it, the temperature does not worry me too much. However, it is something I would keep my eyes on. A top tip for any gaming machine is to have it in a cool room and elevate it to ensure good air circulation.

 

As technology is always improving, naturally every new gaming laptop should be better than the last BUT with that being said, and I hope I don't regret my words, this is the best gaming laptop I have ever experienced. A definate buy if you are in the market.

 

WOOTOMETER

Design: 9.5/10

Features: 8/10

Software: 6/10

Specs: 8/10

Performance: 9/10

Overall: 8.1/10

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