Stocked with latest hardware
Peak in-class performance
Plenty of ports and features
Heavy and clunky
Poor battery life
About the MSI GE76 Raider
Here are the specs of the laptop we tested:
- Processor: Intel Core i9-12900HK
- Memory: 32GB DDR5-4800 RAM
- Operating System: Windows 11 Pro
- Storage: 2 x 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD
- Display:360Hz @ 1080p display
- Webcam: 1080p @ 30Hz
- Ports: 1 x USB-C 4, 1 x USB-C 3.2, 2 x USB-A 3.2, 1 x HDMI (8k @ 60Hz), 1 x mini DisplayPort, 1 x SD card reader, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x audio/microphone jack
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti GPU (16GB DDR6 memory) @ 175W (overclockable to 220W)
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery: 99.9Wh Li-ion polymer battery
- Weight: 6.39 pounds
- Dimensions: 15.62 x 11.18 x 1.02in
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
The MSI GE76 Raider is a premium gaming laptop with a multitude of hardware options. We tested the company’s highest-end model with an RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, but the lowest-end Raider configuration has an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card. The Raider also comes with two sizable SSDs for storage and DDR5 RAM.
What we like
Its performance outdoes most gaming desktops
The MSI GE76 Raider does not pull its punches. This monster of a machine is faster than most gaming desktops we’ve tested in our labs. If you like the idea of playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider on its highest 1080p graphics settings at 160 frames per second on a 360Hz screen, then you will love the Raider. Esports players will especially benefit from the Raider’s overclockable Intel Core i9-12900HK processor and 220W Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics card.
If you’re more interested in the Raider’s performance for content creation, the laptop is a breeze to work within a range of programs, from Premiere Pro to 3DSMax to Maya. When we encoded a 12-minute 4K film in Handbrake to 1080p, it only took five minutes and one second. The second fastest PC we’ve tested (the NZXT Streaming PC Plus desktop) took six minutes 39 seconds.
Rendering a test scene in Blender took five minutes and three seconds using the graphics processor, and it took just two minutes and 30 seconds using the 16-core central processor. By comparison, the NZXT Streaming PC Plus’s Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card took five minutes and 56 seconds while its AMD Ryzen 5 5600X central processor took three minutes and 56 seconds.
However, even the MSI’s top-tier mobile graphics and central processing unit can’t match the top desktop units available. Intel’s newest desktop CPU, the Intel Core i9-12900K, only took one minute 33 seconds to render the same Blender scene (AMD’s Ryzen 9 5950X was five seconds slower).
For game development especially, the GE76 Raider is phenomenal. It’s important to have hardware that can play suboptimal test code when doing game demos, and this laptop has the power to run even the most intense 3D games with good frame rates. In Cyberpunk 2077, we got 70 frames per second on maxed-out 1080p RTX graphics settings. Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XIV runs at 110 frames per second on the highest 1080p graphics settings when standing at a crowded city hub (sparsely populated areas run at about 200 fps).
Only the top gaming desktops we’ve tested come close to this performance, although a desktop with a 12th generation Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card or equivalent will outperform the Raider.
The features are all cutting-edge
Because the MSI GE76 Raider runs on 12th generation Intel processors, it can take advantage of the latest advancements (and they are massive). With DDR5 RAM, memory callback speeds are incredible, so programs run incredibly fast on high workloads. A somewhat detailed scene in 3D modeling software is not a big deal, and you can upgrade up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM if you need it.
The PCIe Gen 4 SSDs also allow for snappy storage access, which comes in handy for films, games, and file transfers. With 4TB of total internal storage, you may not have to run Premiere while accessing your footage on an external storage drive for once. With Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, wireless connectivity is seamless, as well. If you have gigabit internet or high-end wireless peripherals, the Raider can take advantage of their full speed.
Finally, you can overclock the CPU and GPU if you need even more power. MSI includes a pre-installed program that does the heavy lifting for you, so you can use it to keep the laptop from overloading. However, if you’re confident in what you’re doing, then godspeed and have fun with the BIOS.
Good audio (for once)
The MSI Raider’s speakers provide crisp, clear sound that brings out vocals and upper mids especially well. It’s perfect for podcasts, listening to streams, or playing online with voice chat. It’s fairly loud at max volume, enough to fill a quiet bedroom, making this laptop a good pick to share your creative works with someone else. However, the bass is poor, as is the presence of the sound, so it is not suitable for detailed audio work. If you rely on audio cues for positions in games, you will want to use headphones anyway, since the sound will be muddled by the awfully loud fans.
There’s a great range of ports
With a Thunderbolt 4 port, an extra USB-C port, an HDMI 2.1 port, a mini DisplayPort, 2 USB-A ports, ethernet, and even an SD card reader, you probably won’t need a dongle wherever you go. It’s a refreshing change from the recent trend of only including USB-C ports to help keep the laptop bulk down. It would have been nice if the charging cable used a standard connector, but the laptop can draw up to 280 Watts—way too much for a USB-C connector.
What we don’t like
The screen could be brighter
At 300 nits, the screen feels a little dim in office lighting. It isn’t a bad screen—it gets 95% of the standard RGB color gamut—but it might not be versatile enough for creative professionals who want to make HDR content. We would have liked to see an option for a screen that supports the HDR color gamut. However, the Raider does have an HDMI 2.1 port, so it is possible to stream HDR images to an external monitor up to 8K 60Hz.
The Raider’s monitor makes more sense for gaming. The 1080p screen runs at 360Hz, making it buttery-smooth to play just about any game on the market. Even the 4K model runs at 120Hz–well above the usual 60Hz. The hardware is more than capable of pushing the limits of the screen, so games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Horizon: Zero Dawn are a delight to play. Shooters like Halo: Infinite and Apex Legends feel especially responsive with the high refresh rates.
The trackpad is small and the keyboard is mushy
This is a bleeding-edge laptop with what feels like a budget keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard is a mushy, full-sized Steelseries board with unusual key bindings for function and media keys, but perfectly usable once you get used to it.
The trackpad is small and awkward to use, surrounded by plenty of chassis space that could have been cut to accommodate a larger trackpad. The mouse acceleration never feels right, always either too fast or too slow to sync with your finger. Considering this laptop is made for a crowd that demands high performance from their gear, the mediocrity of the keyboard and mouse are a huge disappointment.
It’s hot, loud, and heavy
Getting desktop-grade performance in a laptop-shaped machine is difficult, and doubly so if the laptop tries to slim down into a sleeker form factor that will impair its cooling performance. The Raider does not play with aesthetics, instead opting for an inch-thick, six-pound heavy chassis that’s unapologetically loud when running even more basic tasks like web browsing.
If you are looking for a laptop you can take anywhere, you are in the wrong place. Apart from the size and loud operation, you'll want to be cautious if using it on your lap. While the bottom of the chassis can reach up to 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) during light browsing tasks, gaming will push the temperature to 46 C (115 F) around the keyboard, which I personally found to be too hot. The bottom of the chassis gets even hotter while gaming, so you really shouldn't put this thing on your lap if you're gaming.
Its battery life is poor for casual tasks
The Raider gives you three hours to find a power outlet before your screen goes black. There are gaming laptops with worse battery life out there, but considering how much more juice newer gaming laptops (like the Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage Edition) have been able to squeeze from their hardware, it leaves us wondering if MSI could have done more to optimize the Raider’s battery life, especially since MSI claims this laptop can get six hours of battery life out of web browsing.
The reality is that the Raider’s massive 99WHr battery is just not that large if you’re running hardware as demanding as the RTX 3080 Ti graphics card or the overclockable Intel Core i9 processor.
Should you buy it?
Yes, as long as you need performance more than portability
This $4,000 laptop comes with a lot of tradeoffs, but it is ultimately worth the hassle for those who need top performance. The MSI GE76 Raider features the best hardware you can find in laptops at the moment, from DDR5 RAM, PCIe Gen 4 storage drives, and HDMI 2.1 ports to an overclockable 12th gen Intel Core i9 processor and a mighty 220W Nvidia RTX 3080Ti graphics card. MSI went all-out on this laptop, and it shows in its performance. If you need the highest-end laptop you can find for gaming or creative work, you will struggle to find one that can deliver better performance.
However, its uber-powerful hardware holds the machine back on portability. If you need a laptop that can last longer than three hours unplugged or easily fit into a backpack, you will have to look elsewhere. The MacBook Pro 14 or 16 with an M1 Max processor provide a prime balance between top tier performance and excellent portability. Their dedicated video encoding engines make them well suited for filmmakers in particular. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 with a 5th generation Ryzen 9 processor and RTX 3080 graphics card is almost as powerful as the Raider, but it’s much lighter at about five pounds and draws less power. You will have to decide how much weight to give to portability and performance, regardless of price, when choosing between the Raider and its competition.
Overall, the Raider is a niche product that does its job exceptionally well at the cost of good marks in other categories. Portability, usage on multiple surfaces, and battery life take major hits in order to accommodate the monstrous hardware and the intense cooling solutions it employs within the chassis. It’s really more of a portable desktop than it is a laptop, but if you can’t afford to leave your workstation rig at home while you travel to conferences or expos, then the Raider will bring desktop-grade performance wherever you go.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.
Checking our work.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.Shoot us an email