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MSI GE76 Raider review: Alder Lake and RTX 3080 pack a serious punch

Meet MSI’s latest gaming beast

MSI GE76 Raider review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Laptop Mag Verdict

Boasting Intel’s new 12th Gen processor and Nvidia’s latest RTX 3080 Ti GPU, the MSI GE76 Raider is bursting at the seams with power.

Pros

  • +

    Incredible overall and gaming performance

  • +

    Comfortable keyboard

  • +

    Solid battery life

  • +

    Blazing fast transfer speeds

Cons

  • -

    Cost prohibitive

  • -

    Display could be brighter and more vivid

MSI GE76 Raider Specs

Price: $1,599 (starting) $4,199 (reviewed)
CPU: Intel Core i7-12900HK
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 
RAM: 32GB
Storage: dual 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD
Display: 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Weight: 8.9 pounds
Size: 15.6 x 11.2 x 1 inches

It might be a gaming laptop, but the MSI GE76 Raider is not playing any games when it comes to specs. The desktop replacement is an absolute ringer bringing Intel’s new 12th Gen Alder Lake H-series chips to the fray. But it doesn’t stop there, it’s also got one of Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 Ti GPUs to the mix and the result is an unstoppable beast of a machine. Throw in some ridiculously fast SSDs and decent battery life and you’ve got the newest entrant to our best gaming laptops club. However, the $4,199 price tag might give many a budget-restrained gamer pause.

MSI GE76 Raider pricing and configurations

Whew, all this power doesn’t come cheap. The MSI GE76 Raider I reviewed is $4,199 and is decked out with a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK processor with 32GB of RAM, a pair of 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU with 16GB of VRAM and a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display with a 360Hz refresh rate and a 3-millisecond response rate. 

The base model costs $1,599 and features a 3.5-GHz Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with 6GB VRAM and a 1080p panel with a 144Hz refresh rate. 

For $2,999, you get a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU with 16GB of VRAM and a 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 with a 240Hz refresh rate and a 3-millisecond response rate. 

MSI GE76 Raider design

As usual, the Raider is a beautiful beast, striking an imposing yet alluring figure in an anodized aluminum chassis colored Titanium Blue. The MSI coat of arms sits proudly near the top of the lid with Lucky, the company’s dragon mascot gleaming in pewter gray chrome. The glossy bottom edges of the laptop that hold the hinges flair dramatically, giving the feel of a stealth bomber with the large vents in the rear only amplifying the look. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Opening the laptop gives us more of that seductive shade of black that is cool to the touch and surprisingly fingerprint resistant. The palmrest is centered below the G and H keys accentuated by a shiny diamond-cut finish. The full keyboard resides in a fairly deep deck surrounded by a speaker on each side. The panoramic aurora lighting lining the front lip of the laptop is a fun bit of flair that easily captures the gaze.

At 8.8 pounds, the 15.6 x 11.2 x 1-inch Raider is undoubtedly a heavyweight, especially compared to the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition which weighs 5.1 pounds and measures 14.1 x 10.8 x 1 inches, but keep in mind that it’s a true 15-inch system. Still the Raider is also bigger than the Razer Blade 17 (6.1 pounds, 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches) and the Alienware x17 R2 (7.1 pounds, 15.7 x 11.8 x 0.8 inches) as well.  

MSI GE76 Raider ports

You want ports? The MSI GE76 Raider has ports and then some. Starting along the right, you have a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports sitting on either side of the SD card reader. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On the left, there’s a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, a headset jack and a secure lock slot. Take a look around back and you’ll find a Thunderbolt 4 port, a full HDMI 2.1 port, Gigabit Ethernet, a mini DisplayPort and MSI’s proprietary power port. 

MSI GE76 Raider display

The MSI GE76 Raider has a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display with a 360Hz refresh rate, a 3ms response rate and a 16:9 aspect ratio. Needless to say, it’s ideal for gamers and movie lovers alike. I couldn’t help but be in awe as I fought Hraezlyr in God of War. The massive beast’s pinkish-brown scales had a near iridescent quality. And as I dodged yellow peals of lightning to slash at the dragon’s talons, details were sharp enough that I could count the many cracks left in the ground from the impact of its attacks. 

Watching the trailer of Death of a Telemarketer, I was immediately taken with the magenta dress worn by actor Alisha Wainwright as well as her rhinestone earrings which caught every tinkle of light in the darkened office. The screen also did a good job with the different skin tones of the three actors, ensuring no one looked ashy or washed out. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Given how good everything looked, I was surprised to learn that the Raider at 74.5% failed to meet the 85.8% premium gaming average on the DCI-P3 color gamut test. However, it was on a par with the competition as the Alienware reached 76% and the Strix G15 hit 76.7% while the Blade 17 notched 83.9%.

The Raider also fell short of the mark on our brightness test, only averaging 259 nits compared to the 328-nit category average. Both the Blade 17, Strix G15 and Alienware proved brighter at 277, 280 and 325 nits, respectively. 

MSI gives picky viewers the ability to adjust the color temperature and squeeze a bit more vividness out of the system with its True Color utility. Each of the five presets (Gamer, Anti Blue, sRGB, Office and Movie) is designed to deliver optimal viewing depending on the lighting situation. As with the previous model, the Gaming preset quickly became my favorite as it gave the best pop of color.

MSI GE76 Raider audio

They’re loud, I definitely can’t take that away from the MSI GE76 Raider’s pair of top-mounted speakers. I almost jumped when DJ Khaled’s star-studded jam, “All I Do Is Win” blared through the speakers. The synthy keyboards were a bit boomy, but each rapper’s vocal and T-Pain’s auto-tune assisted chorus rang true. The bass was a bit weak, but better than you’ll find on most systems. The laptop easily filled my dining and living room area with loud, fairly clear audio. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Playing God of War on the Raider is exhilarating. Fighting a horde of fire draugr, Kratos’ impassioned war cries rang through the air. I heard a swoosh of wind as I threw the Leviathan Axe into one of their bodies only to be rewarded by a meaty crunch as I brought the titular god of war’s fist down on its now vulnerable torso. 

MSI once again teams with Nahimic, bringing the latter’s audio software to the mix. Offering five presets (Music, Movie, Communication, Gaming and Smart), plus an equalizer, the utility offers a solid mix of options. For music, I defaulted to the Music preset, but for gaming and watching movies, I prefer Gaming as it launches surround sound, which creates the illusion of 360-degree audio. The software also has helpful settings for the mic, which should come in handy during any video chats or streaming. 

There’s also Sound Sharing which lets two sets of headphones (wired or wireless) listen to the same content simultaneously. However, the best feature continues to be Sound Tracker, which generates a HUD that signals the direction surrounding audio is coming from. It’s particularly handy when an enemy is creeping up, trying to get the drop on your position. 

MSI GE76 Raider keyboard and touchpad

They aren’t the clickiest keys my fingers have engaged with, but the MSI GE76 Raider’s island-style keys are definitely bouncy with nice travel. The backlit keys are generously spaced with full-sized keys despite featuring a full num pad. I was missing the left Fn key, but for many it’s a minor quibble. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I hit 75 words per minute on the 10fastfingers test, surpassing my normal 70 wpm. And writing my review on the keys was a comfortable experience as my fingers never bottomed out as I put my thoughts to digital paper. 

But it wouldn’t be a gaming laptop without a light show of some sort and MSI uses SteelSeries Engine 3 software to bring the sparkle to its customizable per-key setup. The software has 11 presets at the ready in case you don’t want to create your own custom color cavalcade. This is also where you’ll tweak the panoramic Aurora lighting and it’s 30 individual segments. 

Compared to the massive touchpads that I’m used to seeing on the MacBook Pro and Dell’s XPS line of laptops, the Raider’s 2.6 x 4.3-inch touchpad seems small. But it handled all of the Windows 11 gestures with agile aplomb, including two-finger scroll and three finger tap. 

MSI GE76 Raider gaming and graphics

And now the fun part. The MSI GE76 Raider is one of the first laptops I’m seeing with Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 Ti GPU. Nvidia claims that its mobile line of Ti chips can keep pace with its RTX Titan desktop chips (something I plan to put to the test very soon). But one thing I can say with certainty is that the Ti chips are using 16GB of GDDR6 16Gbps memory which is twice the capacity of regular 30-series chips. 

No slowdowns, no mercy. I engaged in battle with a mountain troll backed up by a squadron of draugr during God of War. Rolling out of the large foe’s icy foot stomp, I proceeded to slash at its other foot, while using Atreus for crowd control with a volley of light arrows. The Raider kept the action hot and heavy at 118 frames per second on ultra settings. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Raider also kicked ass on our synthetic benchmarks, scoring 112 fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It crushed the 84-fps premium gaming laptop average along with the Strix G15 (AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU) and the Blade 17 (RTX 3080 GPU). Only the Alienware with its own 3080 Ti came close at 107 fps. 

Running the Grand Theft Auto V test, the Raider continued to dominate at 139 fps, overshadowing the 103-fps average. It also kept the competition at bay with the Alienware hitting 117 fps while the Blade 17 and Strix G15 obtained 102 and 98 fps, respectively.

In no mood to relinquish its lead, the Raider achieved 91 fps on the Metro: Exodus DirectX 11 Ultra benchmark. The Alienware was a close second at 85 fps with both systems defeating the 70-fps category average. The Blade 17 and Strix G15 were in a dead heat at 71 fps. 

When we switched to the RTX version of the Metro: Exodus test, the Raider put up  83 fps. The Alienware hit 88 fps while the Strix G15 notched 54 fps. The Blade 17 tied the 61-fps average. 

We saw the Raider reach 113 fps on the Far Cry New Dawn benchmark, stomping the 90-fps premium laptop average. The Alienware actually eked out the win with 117 fps. Meanwhile, the Blade 17 and Strix G15 pulled 89 and 81 fps. 

During the Borderlands 3 test, the Raider got 106 fps while the Alienware earned 97 fps. The Strix G15 and Blade 17 found themselves in a three-way tie with the 79-fps average. 

The Raider secured another win on the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark with 82 fps, surpassing the 65-fps category average. The Alienware hit the mark with 78 fps followed by the Strix G15 and Blade 17 evenly matched at 70 fps. 

MSI GE76 Raider performance

The GPU isn’t the only new specs the MSI GE76 Raider’s sporting. The gaming laptop is also one of the first to reach me with Intel’s new Alder Lake chips. The new 12th Gen H series chips offer a hybrid design with a mix of performance and efficiency cores, kind of like what Apple’s doing with its M1 chips. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Raider is outfitted with a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK processor, which Intel has dubbed “the fastest mobile processor ever.” The company is claiming 28% faster gaming performance over the chip’s predecessor, the Core i9-11900HK CPU. Take it with a grain of salt as you’ll see the biggest gains in older titles with moderate advancement in new titles. Intel’s also promising big improvements in productivity tasks. But there’s only one way to find out for sure. 

I started by launching my usual workload of 70 tabs (don’t judge me). It’s a mix of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides with several tabs of Laptop Mag, Google Analytics, Tweetdeck and Google Drive in Google Chrome. And just to really push it, I had a few YouTube videos playing and a Twitch stream. The MSI and its 16GB GDDR6 RAM ran with it with not a bit of stutter. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Okay, now for the synthetic tests. The Raider got off to a promising start on the Geekbench 5.4, which measures overall performance with a score of 13,456. It decimated the 6,922 premium gaming laptop average as well as the Strix G15’s (AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU) 7,746. However, the Alienware with its own Core i9-12900HK processor performed just a bit better at 13,710.

During the Handbrake benchmark, the Raider transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 4 minutes and 44 seconds, smoking the 7:14 average and keeping the Alienware (4:45) at bay. The Strix and Blade 17 (Intel Core i7-10875H CPU) were an afterthought with times of 6:57 and 10:10.

Armed with a pair of 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, the Raider blew through our File Transfer test, duplicating 25GB of multimedia files at a rate of 1,774.5 megabytes per second. It owned the 984.8MBps average as well as the Blade 17 (512GB PCIe NVMe SSD) and the Strix G15 (512GB M.2 PCIe SSD) which delivered rates of 547.2 and 340.7MBps, respectively. But as impressive as the Raider’s score is, the Alienware (4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) blew it out the water with a rate of 2,268.2MBps.

MSI GE76 Raider battery life

With great power comes short battery life. When we ran our gaming battery test (running PCMark 10’s battery test script on a continuous loop), the MSI GE76 Raider lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes. That seems short, but it’s better than the Strix G15 (0:58) and the Alienware (0:51). 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On our normal battery test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. The Raider lasted 4:57, beating the 4:06 premium gaming laptop average. It also outlasted the Alienware’s 2:58. However, the laptop was no match for either the Blade 17 (5:58) or the Strix G15 which lasted an incredible 10:14. 

MSI GE76 Raider heat

Considering everything going on under the hood, I was expecting the Raider to be an absolute inferno in my lap. The opposite was in fact true. When we ran our gaming test, we measured the laptop in key positions around the chassis, starting with the touchpad which was a cool 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The center of the keyboard registered 94 degrees, which is just below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The system’s undercarriage exceeded the threshold at 116 degrees.

After giving the system time to cool down, we did our regular test which is running a 15 minute HD video. Once again, the touchpad measured 74 degrees while the center and bottom hit 84 and 96 degrees, respectively. 

MSI GE76 Raider webcam

The MSI GE76 Raider has one of the better webcams I’ve seen on a laptop. The 1080p shooter did a great job on color accuracy, capturing the red undertones in my skin as well as the blue in my dress and the myriad of colors in my locs. There is some visual noise, but not enough to blur my couch’s delicate fabric pattern. Still, you might want to invest in one of the shooters on our best external webcams page if you’re planning on doing any serious streaming.

MSI GE76 Raider software and warranty

Goodbye Dragon Center, hello MSI Center. The company’s one-stop shop for gaming and system utilities got a clean-looking redesign that can be viewed in either dark or light mode. You can monitor system diagnostics, perform light maintenance, and switch between fan and power profiles. It’s here you can troubleshoot or backup the system. There are even tools for streaming, network management and lighting customization, provided you download the tools individually. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Other gamer-centric tools include Nvidia GeForce Experience, a software suite that aggregates your games as well as optimizes battery performance. Killer Intelligence Center is there to handle all your network prioritization concerns. 

There is a bit of bloatware however, but not much. The majority comes from Microsoft itself. 

The MSI GE76 Raider comes with a 1-year limited warranty. See where MSI fared on our annual special reports: Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands

Bottom line

MSI has unleashed the beast and I couldn’t be happier. The company gave me everything I want in a gaming laptop –– power and more power. The MSI GE76 Raider tore through nearly everything we threw at it thanks to the latest 12th Gen Intel processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti GPU. And despite its hefty weight, it looks good doing it. But the Raider is more than brute force, it’s wicked fast too, serving up one of the faster transfer rates I’ve seen in awhile. 

However, for $4,199, I would have liked the display to be brighter and more vivid. And if that’s important to you, I’d suggest checking out the new $4,799 Alienware X17. But if you’re looking for power with a surprising amount of endurance, the MSI GE76 Raider is the clear choice. 

MSI GE76 Raider Specs

Display17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
CPUIntel Core i7-12900HK
Price$1,599 (starting) $4,199 (reviewed)
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Weight8.9 pounds
Storagedual 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD
RAM32GB
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.