MSI GE76 Raider 2022 review: Sexy screen, but seriously expensive
- 360Hz capable display is lovely
- Serious gaming power on offer
- Heaps of connection ports for any need
- Battery life is poor
- It costs a lot of money
- No Windows Hello support for easy unlocking
Big gaming laptops command big prices, and that's absolutely true of the MSI GE76 Raider. At over $4,000 depending on configuration, it's a serious investment in a gaming-specific system. However, if your budget can meet that price point, what you'll get is a superb gaming experience – at least for as long as the battery lasts.
MSI GE76 Raider review: A different angle on gaming laptop design
Gaming laptops, especially larger gaming laptops, don't tend to be subtle. It's hard to be demure when you're packing in a larger screen, for a start.
MSI's take on this for the MSI GE76 Raider is still a little different to the pack. Yes, it's a big laptop, measuring 397x284x25.9mm at 2.9kg. Only bodybuilders will be carrying this monster around with ease.
However, those measurements aren't entirely for a rectangular laptop. MSI has shaved angles off the top edges of the screen, a small design step that I find curiously charming. It doesn't affect the bezel size and it's not a functional design difference. It just exists to look different and that's just a little bit cool in my view.
Slightly less cool are the weird angular bulges around the top hinges, which have a definite "cheap 70s sci-fi" vibe to them. If you're a fan of gaming laptops with lots of RGB ornamentation, you're likely to be disappointed too, with a single RGB bar at the front of the laptop as well as individually backlit keys. Of course, if you dislike RGB lighting, that might be ideal for you.
Open the MSI GE76 Raider up and you're greeted with a 17.3-inch full HD (1920x1080) IPS display. For the MSI GE76 Raider's asking price, you might expect 4K, but the trick here is that it's capable of an impressive 360Hz refresh rate. You can get 4K gaming laptops, but not with refresh rates at this level right now. For the MSI GE76 Raider's target market, that refresh rate is likely to be far more appealing.
The MSI GE76 Raider's keyboard is… fine. It's not up there with the best mechanical keyboards and key travel is on the lighter side, but it's entirely useable. There's a full number pad at the side and a slightly offset trackpad, but it's hard not to imagine most gamers opting instead for a good gaming mouse to go with it.
You certainly get plenty of connectivity with the MSI GE76 Raider, with Intel Killer Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6E, USB-C (USB/DP/Thunderbolt 4, USB-C (USB 3.2 gen 2/DP), 3 USB-A ports, SD card reader, HDMI and mini DisplayPort and combo mic/headphone ports to hook up to.
The included webcam is 1080p-capable and reasonable in day-to-day use. One truly odd omission here is any kind of Windows Hello support. A 1080p webcam should be able to meet the grade, but it's not supported. There's no biometric unlocking capability either.
MSI GE76 Raider performance: 12th gen Intel plus NVIDIA 3080 brings the power
The variant of the MSI GE76 Raider supplied for review is built around a 12th gen Intel Core i7-12700H Processor with 32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD. That's no slouch, although it does appear that an even more powerful Core i9 variant is available in some markets. Expect to pay even more for that, bearing in mind that at the time of writing, the model tested would run you about $4,399 outright.
What does all that power look like in performance terms? Here's how the MSI GE76 Raider compares against a range of gaming laptops using 3DMark's Time Spy benchmark and PC Mark 10's more general performance benchmarks:
The only laptop that's bested the MSI GE76 Raider in our recent test labs is Asus's Zephyrus Duo 16, a laptop that sells itself mostly on its secondary screen features. The trade-off that you'd get out of the Raider is that 360Hz-capable display, as well as the full number pad not on the Duo.
For everyday working purposes, there really wasn't much I could throw at the MSI GE76 Raider that would make it sweat too much, although heavier gaming did lead to the somewhat noisy fans kicking in.
To give that a specific gaming perspective, here's how the MSI GE76 compares using Forza Horizon 5's in-built benchmark tool.
That's a very solid victory to the MSI GE76 Raider, highlighting the value of that high refresh rate display. Sure, a racing game isn't the ideal arena for high frame rates, but for FPS gamers, this is the system to buy – if your budget can handle it.
Battery: Big battery, but predictably poor battery life
The MSI GE76 Raider ships with a 99.9Whr, 4-cell lithium-ion battery. A big lad, in other words, but then one of the benefits of a larger chassis is that you can pack in more battery capacity.
Like so many other gaming laptops, it needs it too, because the demands of a 360Hz-capable screen and that tasty NVIDIA GPU sure does chew at the battery in a non-subtle way.
Most gaming laptops fall short on battery endurance, especially behemoths like the MSI GE76 Raider. Here's how it compared using PC Mark 10's gaming battery test, as well as Finder's own video streaming test. The former is deliberately brutal, the latter much lighter. Between them, the truth of relative battery life typically lies.
The MSI's results here aren't entirely surprising. While it bests the crowd in PC Mark 10's gaming test, it's only by a few minutes, so your dreams of on-the-go-heavy-duty gaming will have to remain dreams. That larger display certainly does sap the battery power and it was surprising to see the Asus Zephyrus Duo 16 best it in our video test, given that's a laptop with not 1 but 2 display screens.
The supplied 280W charger is a chunky beast of a thing, again in line with what most larger gaming laptops opt for. I can't imagine using it and the charger in a lap gaming situation, but on any desk, it's fine, if a little bulky.
Should you buy it?
- Buy it if you need that fast refresh rate screen.
- Don't buy it if you need a more portable (or cheaper) gaming system.
The asking price of the MSI GE76 Raider is likely to be the sticking point for most because there's no way of getting around the fact that $4,399 is a lot to pay for just one laptop, even a gaming system.
Where its value proposition lies is in the mix of performance and that 360Hz-capable display. If your gaming ambitions lean more towards Minesweeper than Call of Duty, then it'd be poor value and overkill for your needs. For those with more serious ambitions and the buying power to match, it's a great system.
MSI GE76 Raider: Pricing and availability
The MSI GE76 Raider retails in Australia from $4,399.
How we tested
I tested the MSI GE76 Raider over a 3-week period, running it through industry standard benchmarks and an awful lot of gaming because it is ultimately a gaming-specific laptop. The unit used was loaned to me for the purposes of review.
I've been working as a tech journalist and product reviewer for more than 2 decades now. I'm a multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.
You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:
- Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
- finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
- We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
- Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked