For years, the MSI Raider GE76 has been a great gaming laptop for showcasing what the latest mobile hardware from Intel and Nvidia is capable of. And now, in 2022, with the launch of the Intel 12th-generation Alder Lake processors and the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, we have a laptop that's basically on the level of a full-fledged gaming PC, but fits in a (large) backpack.
While the high power of this gaming laptop means it doesn’t have the best battery life in the world – only reaching about five hours – it is one of the first gaming laptops we’ve used that we would genuinely call a '4K gaming laptop'. In fact, with DLSS, this laptop should have no problem playing even Cyberpunk 2077 with high settings at 4K with ray tracing enabled. But because this is a 1080p gaming laptop with a 360Hz display, all that power is instead directed to providing an incredibly smooth gaming experience.
However, this much power comes at a price. The configuration we reviewed, with an Intel Core i9-12900HK, 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, will set you back a whopping $3,999 (about £3,000, AU$5,600). That’s a lot of cash to throw at a gaming laptop, but at least you're getting something that’s both incredibly powerful and fits in your bag.
Price and availability
Here is the MSI Raider GE76 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK (20 cores, 16MB cache, up to 5.0GHz Turbo)
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Screen: 17-inch LED, 360Hz, 3ms
Storage: 2 X 1TB M.2 SSD
Optical drive: N/A
Ports: 3x USB-A,1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-C with DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x MiniDisplayPort, SD card reader, audio combo jack
Connectivity: Killer WiFi 6E AX1675 (2x2 ), Bluetooth 5.2
Camera: FHD 1080p Webcam
Weight: 6.9 pounds (2.5 kg)
Size: 15.63 x 11.18 x 1.02 inches (397 x 283 x 25.9mm; W x D x H)
The MSI Raider GE76 will be available in early February 2022, and will start at $1,599 in the US. The spec that’s going to be available at that price hasn’t been announced yet, so we can’t speak to whether or not it’s going to offer good value.
However, the price goes all the way up to a whopping $4,199 (about £3,120, AU$5,900), for which you're getting an absolutely overkill spec sheet. We didn’t review quite the top-end configuration, and the configuration listed to the right will cost you $3,999 (about £3,000, AU$5,600).
That’s about $500 more expensive than the top-end spec for last year’s model goes for in the US right now, though that’s likely due to the fact that it includes a more-powerful RTX 3080 Ti, rather than its non-Ti equivalent. But due to the chassis design, you’re getting no-compromises gaming performance, which may be worth the large price increase, especially if you really want to play the latest and best PC games without having to worry about upgrading anytime soon.
One look at the MSI Raider GE76 and there's no mistaking that it is a gaming laptop. There are plenty of sharp angles, a gunmetal-gray lid, and more ports than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and there’s the giant RGB light bar on the front of the keyboard deck that we can’t figure out how to turn off.
The laptop looks like a tank, and it’s kind of built like one too. The entire chassis is made from metal, from the lid to the bottom of the laptop where all the ventilation is found. The MSI Raider GE76 is definitely a laptop that can withstand a beating, although that does mean it’s quite heavy.
The laptop is about an inch thick and weighs 6.9lb, which means it’s definitely noticeable when it’s in your bag. To add to the weight, you’ll need to carry the charger around with you, which is also quite heavy and bulky. So while this is definitely more portable than a gaming tower, it’s still not something you’re going to want to carry with you as you commute to work every day – unless you really want a workout.
But thanks to the size of this laptop you do get a full keyboard with a numpad. There are some compromises to fit it in this chassis, with the buttons on the numpad being quite narrow. It takes some getting used to, especially if you don’t want to accidentally hit the right arrow key when you’re going for the 0 key, but that’s something that will come with time.
The keyboard is also quite comfortable to type on, with plenty of travel. They’re still chiclet keys, but they feel much more substantial than on most laptops. However, we do notice that sometimes the spacebar will repeat, and we’ll have to hit backspace a few times to get back to where we were. It’s a small issue, but something that does get annoying after a while.
Perhaps more impressive, though, is that even with that full-sized keyboard, MSI was able to fit top-firing speakers. They sound incredible for a laptop, and listening to Tear You Apart by She Wants Revenge we could clearly hear the bass guitar, even when all the other instrumentation (and even the vocals) are bassy themselves. As for games, Guardians of the Galaxy sounds more clear than on many gaming laptops, and loud enough to render the fans inaudible.
The display, meanwhile, looks incredible. While it is just a 1080p panel, the colors here are bright and accurate. Everything looks absolutely vibrant, whether you’re blasting aliens in Guardians of the Galaxy or digging around the colorful new menus in Windows 11, and you don’t have to worry about compromising on image quality just to get that 360Hz refresh rate.
And of course, because this is a thick gaming laptop in 2022, there are plenty of ports on offer. You get two USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt 4, three USB-A, an Audio Combo jack, a dedicated charger, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, and an SD card reader. Basically, you don’t have to worry about a dongle further weighing you down here; MSI has all of its bases covered.
Here's how the MSI Raider GE76 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Night Raid: 53016; Fire Strike: 27515; Time Spy: 12615
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 16345 points
GeekBench 5: 1847 (single-core); 13451 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home test): 7892 points
PCMark 10 Battery life: 4 hours and 39 minutes
Battery life (Techradar movie test): 4 hours and 54 minutes
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p, Ultra): 104fps; (1080p, Low): 310fps
Metro Exodus (1080p, Ultra): 92fps; (1080p, Low): 187fps
The MSI Raider GE76 reviewed here is packed with an Intel Core i9-12900HK, 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. So, in essence, it’s a behemoth of a gaming laptop.
This thing absolutely tore through our benchmark suite, blowing away every other laptop we’ve reviewed, and even came within reaching distance of some of the most powerful gaming desktops we’ve reviewed. The Core i9-12900HK is just 48% slower than the desktop version of the Core i9-12900K. That sounds like a huge difference, but we’re talking about a desktop chip with a PL1 (power level 1) that’s 2.7x higher than the 12900HK. Intel knocked the scaling out of the park, basically.
But it’s not just the CPU that’s impressive. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is capable of some blisteringly fast speeds, too. In Metro Exodus with Ultra settings, this laptop was 41% faster than the Razer Blade 15 with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, and was only 19% slower than the Alienware Aurora R13 – a desktop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090. This is truly desktop-level gaming performance.
Even in Guardians of the Galaxy, with the graphics absolutely maxed out – including ray tracing – we're constantly seeing framerates hovering around 120 fps. And that's without any form of DLSS or FSR running. This laptop is that powerful.
There isn’t a game out there, especially with a 1080p or 1440p panel, for which you won’t be able to just crank the graphics preset up to maximum and let it ride. Yes, this is an expensive laptop, but if you want no-compromises gaming performance, and you don’t mind dropping a small fortune on a gaming laptop, the MSI Raider GE76 is the device for you.
While battery life in gaming laptops has come quite a long way in the last few years, you’re still going to take a massive loss when you’re running components that are this power-hungry.
The MSI Raider GE76 falls just short of five hours in both of our battery tests. That would be appalling performance if this was an Ultrabook, but really it’s about what we expect out of a gaming laptop of this caliber.
You won’t be able to take it with you to work without the power cable and just forget about it, but it should be able to get you through a short Netflix binge without dying on you. Yes, that charging cable is a bit heavy, but you’re going to want to pack it if you’re going to be carrying this laptop around with you.
Features and software
As far as modern gaming laptops go, MSI doesn’t pre-install a lot of software on the Raider. MSI center does come pre-installed, but you can go through and manually pick which optional programs you want, rather than them all being shoving onto the SSD out of the factory. That’s the way we'd like it to be with more laptops.
On the other hand, it does come with Norton Antivirus preinstalled, which is something that’s absolutely unnecessary on such an expensive device in 2022. You do get a bit of a free window before it starts begging you to buy an expensive subscription, but our advice is to just uninstall it and get one of the best free antivirus programs instead.
Webcams are more important now than they’ve ever been, but the one in the MSI Raider GE76 is just, you know, there. It’s a 1080p sensor, but images look sort of flat, and it doesn’t pick up lighting super-well.
Then again, as this is a gaming laptop you’re probably not buying it to be in video meetings all day, so it probably isn’t a deal-breaker. You’re still going to be able to show up in a Zoom call relatively well – just don’t go thinking it’s going to use any kind of software to enhance the image, as the latest laptops from Lenovo or Apple are doing.
Buy it if…
You want no-holds-barred performance
The MSI Raider GE76 is packed with the fastest laptop hardware on the market right now. So, whether you’re looking to play the best PC games or just get some creative work done, there's nothing that will be faster than this.
You want lots of ports
Because of the size of this laptop, MSI has been able to fit pretty much every port you can think of into the MSI Raider GE76. You should have no problem connecting all your peripherals and displays here.
You want something solid
In short, the MSI Raider GE76 is built like a tank. It’s a giant block of metal that plays games really well, and probably won’t break unless you throw it off a buildingg. (Please don’t actually try this).
Don’t buy it if…
You’re on a budget
While the MSI Raider GE76 may not be as stylish as some other laptops on the market, it’s still very expensive. This is not by any means a budget gaming laptop.
You mostly play esports
Seriously, just buy something with an RTX 3060 and a Core i7 processor. You’ll thank us later.
You don’t like RGB
We’re fans of RGB lighting here at TechRadar, but there are plenty of people who aren’t. This gaming laptop is absolutely packed with it, and the front RGB light bar is an absolute pain to disable. RGB haters, stay away.