The MSI GE75 Raider Laptop Review: Core i9 and RTX 2080 Performanceby Brett Howse on July 12, 2019 8:00 AM EST
MSI went heavily into developing gaming products several years ago, and although the company’s laptop lineup isn’t exclusively gaming, that is by far the biggest portion of their portfolio, and as such we’ve seen some impressive laptops from MSI that offer both performance and quality ahead of their competition. Today we are looking at the latest in their “enthusiast” level of laptops with the MSI GE75 Raider. The GE range isn’t quite at the top end of MSI’s lineup – a spot that is occupied by the GT series – but it still offers prodigious portable performance without being as tied to the desk as a typical GT laptop would be.
The GE75 Raider lineup is a pretty wide range of prices and performance in the 17.3-inch gaming laptop class, offering three GPU choices with the NVIDIA RTX 2060, RTX 2070, and RTX 2080 scaling up the pricing and performance, and CPU ranging from the hex-core Intel Core i7-9750H up to octa-core Intel Core i9-9880H depending on the model. MSI offers up to 64 GB of DDR4 RAM and 2 TB NVMe storage as well. There’s no shortage of choices here with enough range to please anyone in this market.
All the GE75 Raider models ship with a 17.3-inch IPS display. Although the resolution is just 1920x1080, the refresh rate is 144 Hz. Some may lament the lack of a UHD option, but in the laptop space, even the mighty RTX 2080 can still struggle to game at UHD without turning down some of the settings, and for those that haven’t had a chance to try gaming on a high-refresh display, the added smoothness makes for a better experience than higher resolution, at least in my experience. If you really prefer UHD, MSI would be happy to have you step up to their GT range with the GT76 Titan offering such a display.
|MSI GE75 Raider|
Model Tested: Core i9-9880H RTX 2080 32GB DDR4 1TB NVMe
|CPU||Intel Core i7-9750H
|Intel Core i7-9750H
|GPU||NVIDIA RTX 2060
1920 CUDA Cores
6 GB GDDR6 192-bit
|NVIDIA RTX 2070
2304 CUDA Cores
8 GB GDDR6 256-bit
|NVIDIA RTX 2080
2944 CUDA Cores
8 GB GDDR6 256-bit
|Memory||16-64 GB DDR4-2666
2 SODIMM Slots
Optional 1TB HDD
Optional 2 x 1TB NVMe
|Display||17.3-inch 1920x1080 IPS
144 Hz Refresh Rate
|Networking||Killer N1550i 2x2:2 802.11ac Wireless
Killer E2500 Ethernet
|I/O||USB Type-C Gen2 x 1
USB Type-A Gen2 x 2
SD Card Slot
SPDIF (ESS Sabre HiFi)
|Keyboard||SteelSeries per-Key RGB
|Speakers||3W x 2 Woofers
3W x 2 Subwoofers
180W AC Adapter
280W AC Adapter
280W AC Adapter
|Dimensions||397 x 268 x 27.4 mm
15.63 x 10.57 x 1.08 inches
|Weight||2.61 kg / 5.75 lbs|
The GE75 Raider packs all of this performance into a 17.3-inch chassis that weighs 5.75 lbs, which by no means makes it an Ultrabook, but still provides a level of portability that makes it easy to move from desk to desk. As part of this tradeoff for portability, MSI has chosen to provide NVIDIA Optimus support, meaning the NVIDIA GPU can be turned off when not needed and the laptop runs off the integrated Intel GPU, but the downside to that is the lack of G-SYNC, because G-SYNC requires the display be direction connected to the NVIDIA GPU. There is a solution to this which Acer outfitted in the Predator Triton 500 we reviewed, which is a user-selectable multiplexer to choose which GPU the display connects to, and giving the user the choice of G-SYNC or Optimus, but unfortunately MSI has not gone this route.
Other notable features of the MSI GE75 Raider are both Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac wireless in the form of the Killer E2500 and Killer N1550, the latter of which is based on the Intel 9260 and therefore features wide-channel support and up to 1.73 Gbps maximum connection speed, assuming your router supports the wider channels. MSI also outfits the GE75 Raider with speakers they brand as “Giant Speakers” which offer two 3W speakers with two 3W subwoofers. There’s the typical selection of USB ports with two Gen 2 and one Gen 1, as well as a USB Type-C with Gen 2 support, but somewhat surprisingly no Thunderbolt 3 support.
MSI offers some interesting aspects in their design, so let’s dig into that now.
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MattL - Monday, July 15, 2019 - linkAs it turns out I just upgraded from an OLED 1440p Alienware 13" laptop to this exact ge75 i9 9880h 2080 laptop.
I was concerned about going from 13" 1440p (on that beautiful OLED screen) to 17" and 1080p.
I can say absolutely it's not a problem. 17" at 1080p is perfectly fine. Basically it's almost the same pixel density as my 34" Ultra Wide 3440x1440p (120hz IPS) display which is pretty high res itself (the max you'd want for gaming).
4k gaming would be horrible.... you'd get no FPS. getting closer to 144hz (at least 80-100+ FPS) is far more important.
On the best games even this top notch 2080 can struggle to get 100 fps at 1080p in some cases if you have your settings set high....
1080p is exactly the appropriate resolution for a modern gaming laptop.
Zanor - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - linkIt's a laptop very focused on gaming. Gamers don't want 60hz.
DanNeely - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link"Second, this keyboard has a slightly strange layout, with the Windows Key being on the right side of the keyboard along with a duplicate backslash key."
Half of this is apparently due to MSI using an international mechanical layout with an extra keycap rather than a different piece of hardware for the US model. The second half which has always baffled me is that they put a pipe on the extra key instead of a right click key; which although increasingly rare would map back towards the original 104 key layout.
cgeorgescu - Saturday, July 13, 2019 - linkFN and Win keys can be swapped (physically and in BIOS), then the somehow strangely-placed keys can be re-mapped with that Steelseries software.
On mine (an older MSI GS), I have Del instead of Pause and AltGR instead of that second |\ right of the spacebar.
Now unrelated to keys: all MSI laptops can be bought in wildly customised configuration, there are tons of small shops (online) who sell these with any combination of SSDs, memory, etc.
eva02langley - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link280W power supply!!!!?
How much does that thing cost by its own, 150$!!!???
Anyway, I am waiting for my Zen 2 APU laptop with Navi cores.
ads295 - Friday, July 12, 2019 - linkAgreed. I think it may be possible to have 1080p eSports gaming for 3-4 hours on battery with an APU.
DanNeely - Friday, July 12, 2019 - linkprobably. I couldn't find MSIs model as a replacement, but the equivalent ASUS model is $149 direct.
Vitor - Friday, July 12, 2019 - linkHoly sheet, those display numbers are incredible. Basically a gaming notebook that can be used for professional edition.
Duncan Macdonald - Friday, July 12, 2019 - linkGiven the position of the air intakes - this is not suitable for laptop use. If used on a lap much of the airflow will be blocked and there will be nasty temperatures near some sensitive bits. This device is a lightweight Desktop Replacement - not a laptop.
In my opinion if you want a portable gaming system (especially with a high end GPU like the 2080) then you should get a system with good cooling which implies a thicker chassis with better airflow, larger heatsinks and fans and a higher weight.
Two things that "laptop" reviews should do are show the bottom temperatures after an hour of heavy use and also see if the cooling system can stand up to being used on a lap without cooking the laptop or the user.
nevcairiel - Saturday, July 13, 2019 - linkIs it really that common to actually use a laptop in your lap directly? That has always been exceedingly uncomfortable for me, no matter if gaming or working. Would always grab a table or perhaps one of those laptop lap stands that gives it more height and a flat surface to keep it's vents free