MSI combines the fastest CPU with the fastest GPU in the GE76 Raider. Nevertheless, there are criticisms.
There is always more: Intel’s currently fastest notebook processor Core i9-11980HK is in the MSI GE76 Raider 11UH. When paired with a Geforce RTX 3080 with a maximum TGP of 165 watts, the 17.3-inch laptop leaves no doubt that it wants to take the speed crown.
The MSI GE76 Raider proves hard to beat in terms of speed and features. The notebook sets new standards here. However, gaming enthusiasts will have to pay a hefty price for it. The display’s speed is very good, but the image quality is not impressive.
|Incredible gaming speed||Image quality is average|
|Many fast ports||Heavy|
|Huge SSD with PCIe 4.0|
The current chip shortage and the high demand are also driving up prices for gaming notebooks – with the GE76 Raider being a good example: The tested top model actually costs around $4000 but is currently more expensive. Despite the powerful components and the large display, the MSI notebook relies on a restrained design: In the chic blue-gray case with aluminum in the lid and top as well as plastic on the bottom, the GE76 hardly suggests that it is meant for gaming fans.
In the MSI Center tool, there are numerous optimization options: There are four predefined performance modes from “Extreme Performance” to “Super Battery”, for example, which can be adjusted manually. GPU overclocking options for chip and memory invite further optimization experiments. MSI True Color lets you choose a suitable display color profile according to the intended use. For the front panel and the keyboard, you can set color effects, up to the illumination of individual keys.
Phenomenal Speed Thanks To The 8-core processor & RTX-3080
The MSI GE76 Raider 11UH takes the victory in the speed tests as expected: In the 3D Mark Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme, it achieves the highest scores in graphics and CPU performance so far – the advantage is around five percent compared to notebooks in the 3000 euro class with an RTX 3080. Compared to a notebook with an RTX 3070, the difference is 12 to 16 percent.
The GE76 Raider is also ahead in the gaming tests – especially thanks to the Full HD resolution, which provides 20 to 40 fps more compared to WQHD depending on the game. Thus, you can turn up all quality controls without compromises in most games: In Rise of the Tomb Raider, the MSI notebook achieves 155 frames per second (setting: Very High), and in Shadow of the Tomb Raider it comes to 121 at “Ultra High”. It also does not have any problems with ray tracing: The test runs with 93 fps in high ray tracing shadow quality. In Dirt 5, the result is 97 fps with ultra-high details and enabled ray tracing.
The GE76 Raider is also prepared for upcoming games in Full HD and for gaming with higher resolutions on external monitors that can be connected via HDMI 2.1, Mini-Displayport, and Type-C with Thunderbolt 4.
The Core i9 with 8 cores and 16 threads outperforms its predecessor Core i7-11800H with 12,516 points in Cinebench R23 – but only just. Depending on the notebook model, the Core i7 comes within two percent. The CPU performance in Cinebench R23 is very dependent on the cooling performance in the respective laptop model – this is also shown by the comparison with AMD CPUs: A Ryzen 9 5900HX is occasionally ahead, sometimes just behind the Core i9 in the GE76 Raider.
In the system benchmarks, the faster CPU brings almost no advantage at all anymore: In PC Mark 10, the GE76 Raider is just as fast as notebooks with a Ryzen 9 or a Core i7-11800H. The fact that the NVMe SSD is connected via PCI Express 4.0 thanks to the Tiger Lake platform is also not noticeable. The large Samsung PM9A1 with 2 TB can only show its speed advantage in sequential read and write: It achieves almost 7 and 5 GB/s, respectively, while the best PCIe-3-SSDs achieve around 3.5 GB/s.
Fan is average
In games and strenuous system tests, the fans are noise, but no louder than in other high-end notebooks. You can permanently run the fans at full power via “Cooler Boost”: This makes for an annoyingly high noise level, but keeps the processor about three degrees cooler in Cinebench R23, for example, which only provides a two percent speed gain in this test, though.
Network: Wifi-6E and 2.5 Gbit LAN
The MSI GE76 Raider 11UH also features the latest top technology in terms of network capabilities: The LAN chip operates at a speed of 2.5 Gbit. The killer WLAN card is even based on the brand-new WiFi 6E standard, which supports 6 GHz as a third frequency.
Besides the monitor outputs, the GE76 Raider offers plenty of other interfaces: There are three USB Type-A ports for peripherals – on the left with 10 Gbit/s (USB 3.2 Gen2), on the right with 5 Gbit/s (USB 3.2 Gen1). There are also Type-C ports on the left and at the back – Thunderbolt 4 runs via the rear one. MSI even provides an SD card reader as well as a front-facing camera.
Display & Battery Life
The picture quality on the 17.3-inch panel is even more disappointing considering the impressive speed and extensive features: It is also fast thanks to a refresh rate of 360 Hz. However, the brightness is only around 200 cd/sqm2. The GE76 Raider also cannot compete with other high-end laptops in terms of contrast and color space coverage.
Most gaming fans will probably be less bothered by the fact that the battery life is only around 4.5 hours – despite a large battery with 97 watt-hours. After all, 6.61 pounds of laptop and 3 pounds of power adapter are pretty heavy to carry around. Furthermore, the battery is only 53 percent recharged after one hour on the power adapter.
MSI does not use mechanical switches on the keyboard. Also, the arrow keys are not offset and the Enter key only has one line. This is not ideal for gaming, but it is definitely pleasant for typing because the keystroke and the pressure feedback of the keys are great. The keyboard is also comparatively quiet and has a number pad, but its keys are narrower. The touchpad’s mouse click is quite loud, but the pressure feedback is pleasantly clear. It implements multi-finger gestures quickly and precisely.
|Specifications||MSI GE76 RAIDER|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-11980HK (clock: 3.30 GHz, Turbo clock: up to 5 GHz; 8 cores / 16 threads)|
|Memory||32,469 MB (32,768 MB), DDR4-3200|
|Graphics||Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 (16 GB GDDR6; TGP: max. 165 Watt )|
|Display||17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080|
|Hard Drive||NVMe SSD Samsung PM9A1 with PCI-Express 4.0 x 4; 1885.4 GB|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)|
|Ports||2x Type-C (1x left, 1x rear Thunderbolt 4), 3x Type-A (2x right with USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x left with USB 3.2 Gen 2), 1x card reader (right, SD card), 1x LAN (rear)|
|Video Ports||1x HDMI 2.1 (rear), 1x mini display port (rear), 1x front camera|
|Audio Ports||1x audio output/input (left)|
|Speed||MSI GE76 Raider|
|Display||MSI GE76 Raider|
|Size||17.3 inch / 44.0 cm|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080 pixels|
|Refresh Rate||360 Hz|
|Dot Density||127 dpi|
|Mobility||MSI GE76 Raider|
|Battery Life||4 hours, 30 minutes|
|Battery Capacity||97 Wh|
|Laptop Weight||6.7 lb|
|Power Supply Weight||2.3 lb|