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MSI GE76 Raider Review – RTX 3080/i9-11980HK

Rating: 7.0.

The MSI GE76 Raider is a high-end gaming laptop, featuring flagship mobile silicon from both Intel and Nvidia. That means the 8-core i9-11980HK, alongside a 165W RTX 3080 16GB Laptop GPU, so you can bet this machine will be churning out high frame rates in the latest games. Those components are joined by 64GB DDR4 memory, a 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD and a blazing-fast 360Hz display. Priced at £4200, will the Raider sink or swim?

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Specifications:

  • Screen Type: 17.3″ FHD 360Hz, Thin Bezel, 1920 x 1080 Resolution
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i9-11980HK Processor 2.60 GHz – 5.00 Ghz
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3080 Graphics (16GB GDDR6 dedicated)
  • Storage: 2TB NVMe PCIe Gen3x4 SSD
  • Memory: 64GB DDR4 3200mhz (2 x 32GB)
  • Operating System: Windows® 10 Home
  • Ethernet: GB LAN
  • Wireless: WiFi 6E . Intel AX210 (2×2)
  • Bluetooth: 5
    • 1x Type-C Thunderbolt4 / PD
    • 1x Type-C USB 3.2 gen 2
    • 1 x Type-A USB 3.2 gen2
    • 2 x Type-A USB 3.2 gen1/
  • Display Ports: 1x HDMI 2.1 (4K @ 60Hz), 1 x Mini Display Port
  • Dimensions: 397 x 284 x 25.9 mm
  • Weight: 2.9 Kgs
  • Warranty: 2 Year
  • Battery: 99.9 Whr

Taking a look at the design of the GE76 Raider, as you’d expect from a high-end 17-inch laptop, the chassis is fairly chunky by modern standards, coming in at 3.3cm thick (when measured from the desk) while weighing 2.9KG. It’s not an absolute brick, but it’s hardly a thin-and-light machine. It is well built though, with very little flex to the body and just a bit in the screen, but I’d have no worries about travelling around with this in a backpack.

The styling is also fairly relaxed as gaming laptops go, with the most obviously area of ‘gamer’ flair being the large RGB light strip at the front, but the rest of the machine looks quite smart in my opinion.

Opening up the lid we get a look at the full size keyboard, so it does include a numpad, and this is another collaboration with SteelSeries, with per-key RGB lighting. It’s not a mechanical keyboard though which I do find a bit disappointing considering the price – the action on the keys is fine for a standard scissor switch, but it’s nothing special and I would’ve liked to see low-profile mechanical switches used here instead.

Similarly for the trackpad, it’s serviceable for basic tasks, but it does look a bit on the small side to me when you consider how much space there is around it. The integrated click is also a bit spongy, and while it will get the job done, for any half serious use a dedicated mouse will be best.

There’s plenty of ports to connect a peripheral or two as well. Starting on the left side we find a headphone jack, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A, and another 3.2 Gen 2 Type C. On the back there’s the power input, a Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, Mini DisplayPort and Ethernet, while the right side is home to two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports and a full-size SD reader.

We also need to touch on that 17.3in display. It’s an IPS-type panel, with a 1080p resolution and a whopping 360Hz refresh rate. Before touching more on that though, it is a quality panel, reporting 100% SRGB coverage and 81% Adobe RGB coverage, with peak brightness hitting 336 nits and a contrast ratio of 1240:1. Arguably most impressive is the average DeltaE of just 1.13, so you’re getting a high level of colour accuracy there.

My main concern is about the 360Hz refresh rate. While I really like using high refresh rate screens, I’m just not sure whether 360Hz on a laptop is worth it. In my view, if you’re such a competitive gamer where you need 360Hz over a 240Hz or 165Hz display, are you really going to be gaming on a laptop in the first place? Especially at this screen size – with a 165W RTX 3080 16GB no less – a 1440p high refresh rate panel would make more sense in my opinion. MSI’s global site does list a 1440p model as an option on the spec sheet, but the MSI UK spec suggests the 360Hz FHD model is the only one to come to the UK, which is also backed up by the models listed for sale online.

We also popped off the underside panel and can note a few things, including two M.2 slots, only one of which is populated by a 2TB Samsung PM9A1 PCIe 4.0 SSD. That does mean you have a spare M.2 slot, but do be aware that one is only PCIe 3.0 and not PCIe 4.0 – but credit to MSI, it is still an easy way to add more storage. There’s also two SODIMM slots, both occupied by 32GB Samsung DDR4 3200 modules, giving total memory capacity of 64GB. The battery is rated at 99.9 WHr, while there’s also a Killer AX1675 WiFi 6E M.2 module.

To confirm the specifications, the CPU is the Intel Tiger Lake i9-11980HK, an 8-core and 16-thread mobile CPU, rated for up to 5GHz Turbo clock on a single core. Intel’s HM570 chipset is is used for the motherboard, while the 64GB DDR4 memory is clocked at 3200MHz, with 22-22-22-52 timings. Lastly, the GPU is Nvidia’s RTX 3080 16GB Laptop part, and this is the ‘full-fat’ version, not the Max-Q part. It is rated for 165W, right at the upper end for this GPU. It features 6144 CUDA Cores and has a rated boost clock of 1710MHz.

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