I just wrapped up testing on the amazing MSI GE76 Raider gaming laptop. This is a high- performance laptop with a massive 17.3-inch display and an NVIDIA RTX 3070Ti graphics card. It’s big, it’s powerful, it lights up, and it delivers a first class PC gaming experience.
Unboxing reveals an unapologetically huge laptop
If it wasn’t already obvious by the size of the box, unpacking the GE76 Raider reveals a mammoth laptop. Just look at the photo below of the Raider beside a typical 13.3-inch laptop. It absolutely dwarfs it. The reason for the size is the 17.3-inch display and the space needed for high-performance components like the graphics card. MSI did some sculpting to add visual interest and make the laptop seem less bulky, but it’s not particularly aggressive.
Looking around the edges of this laptop shows plenty of ventilation cutouts, screws to access the memory and storage, and all the regular ports you would need. Included in the box is a hefty, 280W power adapter. The power cable terminates in an unusual connector that almost looks like a USB, but is not. The only place to plug in is the back of the laptop so you’ll need to leave at least a little space between the GE76 Raider and a wall.
17.3-inch Full HD display offers wicked fast 300Hz refresh rate
Some gaming laptops are offering 4K, or more commonly, 1440p displays. The GE76 Raider is equipped with a 17.3-inch IPS panel at 1080p (Full HD) resolution. That means it’s not as crisp as some, especially with text. However, you don’t buy a gaming laptop like this to read documents.
While gaming and even when streaming video, I never found myself wishing the resolution were higher. A big part of that is how buttery smooth the action is thanks to its ultra-fast 360Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time.
Powerful Intel Core i7 CPU paired with NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti graphics
Inside the MSI GE76 Raider you’ll find all the high-end components that make it such a high-performance gaming machine. The stars of the show are its processor and graphics card.
My review unit has a 12th generation Intel Core i7-12700H processor at 2.7GHz. It also has 32GB of DDR5 RAM to work with. On the graphics side is an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti with 8GB of DDR6 RAM.
When my gamer kids figured out the GE76 Raider was in the house and that it was equipped with an RTX 3070 Ti, it was gone. Their gaming laptops are several years old and lack the RTX 30 series ray tracing capabilities. They reported Fortnite was running near 360fps (200 fps on battery power). Cyberpunk 2077 could run at a solid 60fps on Ultra settings, including Ultra ray tracing. Switching to battery, it dropped to 30fps at those settings, but could still do 60fps on Performance setting. In short, it delivered and in a big way—especially when plugged into power.
Importantly, everything is kept as cool as possible with Cooler Boost 5 technology. It looked pretty impressive in action and the fans never really got bad—unlike their laptops which really struggle to stay cool under load.
MSI GE76 Raider specs (as tested)
So much RGB lighting!
The Raider GE76 is equipped with SteelSeries per-key RGB backlighting. This means that each key can be individually coloured. There is also a Mystic Light band capable of displaying 16.8 million colours that extends along the entire front edge of the laptop. I’m a fan of RGB lighting so all this made a great first impression. I left it on its default settings, but you can fine-tune and customize the lighting effects using MSI Center or SteelSeries apps on the laptop.
While the keyboard was responsive and brilliant with its RGB backlighting, I will say that I’m not a fan of the font MSI used. It may not bother you at all—you may prefer it over a more traditional choice—but I found myself double-checking keys a few times. The trackpad is functional, but it can get quite warm during intense gaming. Warm enough to cause sweating. But, gaming is better with a mouse anyway.
Laptop audio is often underwhelming, even on a gaming laptop. There’s only so much space to put drivers and to give them the space to work. The GE76 Raider is far from underwhelming—it’s impressive. The laptop is equipped with a Dynaudio sound system including stereo 2W drivers plus a duo-wave woofer. Game sound is crisp, with plenty of low-end power to capture the rumble of explosions. And it can get loud. This laptop puts many portable speakers to shame.
Battery life: mobile gaming on a short leash
The appeal of a gaming laptop is mobile gaming. That means a self-contained system you can plunk down anywhere. With the GE76 Raider, MSI accomplishes that goal. However, if you want to take it to the extreme of gaming on-the-go with no access to a power outlet, it will be a short trip. When testing gaming using the battery, the laptop struggled to make it to the one hour mark. You could eke a bit more out by being aggressive with turning down graphics settings and the display brightness, but this laptop is much more at home on a desk or table, plugged into a power outlet.
Take gaming out of the equation and there is a marked improvement in battery life. Streaming 1080p video with the display brightness about halfway, I saw just under four hours on a charge. That’s not good compared to traditional laptops, but this is a gaming laptop, and one with a massive display.
It has a webcam
Most gaming laptops lack a webcam. The MSI GE76 Raider is equipped with a webcam, a 1080p webcam at that.
The image wasn’t great (it seemed to have trouble with sunlight), but it’s there. I suppose you could use this laptop for Zoom calls if you wanted.
Should the MSI GE76 Raider be your new gaming laptop?
The MSI GE76 Raider is a lot of laptop. If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that offers the power of a desktop, with a big display (and plenty of RGB backlighting effects), this one makes a pretty strong case. If battery life and actual portability (i.e., carrying it around) are a concern, you might want to go with something a little less extreme.
However for the ultimate laptop gaming experience—while plugged into a wall outlet—the GE76 Raider is a very compelling option. I had a hard time wrestling the review unit away from my gamer teenagers.
Shop gaming laptops, including more MSI options, online at Best Buy.