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Unlimited Power Comes at a Price

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MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Gaming laptops are trending towards mobility, with smooth notebooks just like the Asus Zephyrus G14 and Alienware X15 punching effectively above their weight class by way of gaming potential. However each millimeter you’re taking away results in compromises, typically in the best way of efficiency and cooling. Enter the MSI Raider GE76 12U, a monstrous laptop computer that claims to hell with portability in favor of uncooked energy, sustained efficiency, and a beautiful assortment of ports.

If the Raider had been a automotive, It’d be American muscle. What it lacks in finesse is made up for with untamed may. It’s large, heavy, and appropriately brash—the kind of factor you’d count on from a gaming laptop computer that guarantees to be the “pinnacle of efficiency.” I’m completely satisfied to report that, after utilizing the Raider GE76 (we’re dropping the 12U for the remainder of the overview) as my each day laptop computer and gaming rig for the previous a number of weeks, it largely lives as much as the billing.

I can’t introduce the Raider with out mentioning its declare to fame as one of many first techniques to make use of Intel’s twelfth Gen Alder Lake processors. Let’s keep in mind, although, that whereas the GE76 was the showcase machine for Intel’s newest chips, it’s not the one gaming laptop computer utilizing them. That mentioned, the aim of this overview isn’t solely to disclose how effectively twelfth Gen Intel chips examine in opposition to their rivals, however to see the place the MSI Raider GE76 lands amongst a crowded discipline of gaming rigs.

MSI Raider GE76 value and configurations

Let me cease right here. When you don’t have $3,000 to spend on a gaming laptop computer, then be at liberty to shut this overview— I gained’t take it personally. The unit MSI despatched me comes outfitted with a 17-inch, 2560 x 1440-pixel show, an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU. Prepared for the value? Grasp your pockets tightly, as a result of this config will run you $3,500.

In fact, there are cheaper fashions accessible. One mannequin with a Core i9 CPU and an RTX 3070 Ti with 8GB of VRAM goes for $2,900. Consider it or not, it additionally will get costlier. Pairing that Core i9 CPU with the RTX 3080 Ti will price you $4,100 or so—the value of a used automotive in a daily market.

twelfth Gen Intel meets RTX 3080 Ti

Usually, I begin by speaking about design, however this MSI is all about energy. Underneath the hood is a twin-turbo engine consisting of an Intel twelfth Gen Core i7-12700H CPU mated to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU with 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM. These beefy parts are paired with 32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a wholesome 1TB NVMe SSD on the overview unit MSI despatched me.

Earlier than I get into the numbers, we have to chat about CPUs. The twelfth Gen Alder Lake chips discovered within the GE76 signify a basic shift for Intel to a brand new structure that makes use of a mixture of efficiency and effectivity cores. This hybrid course of isn’t solely new to Intel, having made its debut on the corporate’s Lakefield processors, however that is the primary time it’s going mainstream. Basically, it duties large, high-powered P-cores with heavy, single-threaded duties, and leaves background processes and multi-tasking to smaller E-cores. In idea, this permits for extra energy-efficient cores to dump low-priority duties from these muscular efficiency cores.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Primarily based on our benchmarks, it really works, as long as you aren’t anticipating these effectivity cores to work any magic on battery life (extra on that later). Armed with the very best from Intel and Nvidia, the Raider GE76 is a juggernaut. It blasted via every of our efficiency benchmarks with out a lot as a whimper. On the Geekbench 5 total efficiency benchmark, the MSI scored a whopping 12,561, crushing each laptop computer we’ve examined to this point moreover the MacBook Professional 14 (12,663), which it narrowly did not overtake. You possibly can assume the Core i9 mannequin will shoot forward of the MacBook.

It took solely 2 minutes and 40 seconds to render a 3D picture in Blender. This time, the MSI acquired the very best of the MacBook Professional 14 (4:57), which wanted just a few extra minutes to finish the identical process. The one laptop computer that acquired near the GE76 is the Zephyrus G14 (3:03), a extra compact system additionally operating on Intel twelfth Gen. The ROG Stream Z13 (3:51) additionally did job.

On the Handbrake check, the Raider GE76 wanted 5 minutes and 22 seconds to transform a 4K video to 1080p decision. That’s quick. Virtually as fast because the MacBook Professional (4:51) and a full second forward of the Alienware x15. The Zephyrus G14 wanted solely 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

The rationale you purchase the Raider GE76 is for body charges. The entire fps. On the Far Cry 5 benchmark at 1080p on Extremely settings, the GE76 hit 139 frames per second, effectively forward of final 12 months’s Alienware x15 (106 fps), although that competitor had an RTX 3070. At native decision (2560 x 1440), the laptop computer dropped solely 11 frames.

All different video games we examined had been at 1080p, as we had been primarily occupied with seeing how excessive body charges may get on this factor. Our configuration got here with a 240Hz display, so it’s clear a excessive fps is the purpose right here.

After I ran Whole Struggle: Warhammer II, the Raider GE76 hit 129 fps, which flat-out embarrasses anything we’ve examined up thus far. The Zephyrus G14 with a Radeon RX 6800S GPU notched 68 fps, although we’re evaluating David in opposition to Goliath right here.

On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark, the Raider GE76 boosted to 150 fps, sufficient to get essentially the most out of a 144Hz monitor. Alienware’s x15 acquired fairly shut at 127 fps. I’m to see how the upgraded twelfth Gen model of that laptop computer fares.

And eventually, the MSI ran Metro Exodus at a brisk 96 fps, topping the Alienware x15 (75 fps), the Zephyrus G14 (56 fps), and the Stream Z13 (78 fps) when linked to its RTX 3080-touting eGPU. Keep in mind, the MSI is the primary gaming rig we’ve examined with a twelfth Gen CPU, so count on a more in-depth race in opposition to refreshed rivals down the road.

These are spectacular numbers, even when they don’t get essentially the most out of a 240Hz show, however the MSI’s battery life isn’t so good. This beastly rig lasted for less than 2 hours and 44 minutes on our battery check, which consists of video playback with the display set to 200 nits. It goes with out saying: that is likely one of the shortest runtimes we’ve seen from any laptop computer. Then once more, it isn’t utterly unusual for gaming laptops with these specs to sacrifice battery life.

Quick, massive show

Like we acknowledged above, video games are showcased on a 17-inch, 2560 x 1440 IPS show with a 240Hz refresh fee. No less than, that’s the panel gracing our overview unit. It’s a high quality one, however definitely nowhere close to best-in-class. The matte end does job of dissipating glare so your view is undisturbed whereas gaming in a shiny room. I simply want it acquired brighter, as a result of the 298-nit score we clocked is correct on the edge of what I think about enough.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

This isn’t essentially the most vivid panel both, however the colours are correct and punchier than a typical matte display. I loved watching Queen of the South and enjoying Halo Infinite on the MSI—the display is big, quick, and colourful sufficient.

In order for you extra pixels, MSI choices a 4K at 120Hz display, or you will get sooner refresh charges with the 1080p at 360Hz panel. Personally, this QHD display is the one I’d select.

MSI boasts about its bigger twin followers and widened warmth pipes, and for good purpose: the GE76 acquired scorching however by no means reached regarding temperatures throughout my testing. I didn’t expertise any throttling, and it’s good to have fan controls simply accessible by way of a devoted key.

Huge, bland, and exquisite

For such an intimidating system, the Raider GE76’s design is somewhat restrained. There are some aggressive slanty angles and cutouts within the corners and rear bumper to present the laptop computer a extra aggressive stance. In any other case, it’s all fairly extraordinary, particularly the silver aluminum lid (MSI calls it Titanium Blue) with a color-matching MSI dragon emblem.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

A considerably bland exterior is aided by some dazzling RGB lighting. Rainbow hues glow from a lightweight bar that runs throughout the underside entrance edge, a placing design factor that offers the Raider spaceship vibes. Opening the deck reveals a per-key RGB illuminated keyboard with distinctive pastel colours that offers off a retro arcade vibe. These can, in fact, be custom-made in infinite methods by way of the MSI Middle or a SteelSeries key on the shortcut row.

To be clear, this isn’t a conveyable laptop computer, and don’t let MSI attempt to persuade you in any other case. Want one thing you may take to work with on journeys? MSI’s Stealth GE collection is a better option, or you could possibly go together with the excellent Asus Zephyrus ROG G14. This Raider is unashamedly beefy, measuring 15.63 x 11.18 x 1.02 inches and weighing 6.4 kilos. I’ve been carrying the GE76 round my home (with two fingers) simply high quality however wouldn’t think about packing it in my backpack throughout journey, partly as a result of the facility brick is equally enormous.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

The SteelSeries keyboard is as enjoyable to sort on as it’s to have a look at. Key journey is enough and the switches are so springy that my fingers effortlessly bounced between letters as I typed this overview. Wanting being mechanical, the keys have a satisfying “click on” but aren’t any louder than these on an ultra-portable laptop computer. It additionally has a full numpad for further shortcuts or crunching numbers in spreadsheets. I’ll admit, although, that the offset residence row drove me mad for the primary few days of use, and I want the amount and brightness controls had been on the highest row as a substitute of as Fn features on the arrow keys.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

I additionally hope MSI expands the touchpad on the subsequent mannequin to make the most of the Raider’s expansive palm relaxation. This small, offset rectangular floor in opposition to such a large chassis jogs my memory of the small blue cap on Arnold Shortman’s huge football-shaped head. Anyway, the touchpad is clean and exact and responded instantly to my erratic swiping and fast multi-finger gestures.

Nice speaker, all the ports

That further girth permits for an excellent choice of I/O. On the precise aspect of the GE76 are two USB 3.2 Kind-A ports and a full SD card slot. On the other aspect are one other USB 3.1 Kind-A, a USB 3.2 Kind-C enter, and a headphone jack. MSI strategically positioned extra everlasting connections on the rear, together with a Thunderbolt 4, an HDMI 2.1, a Mini-DisplayPort, a LAN port, and an influence jack.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

The remainder of the fixings are all fairly good. There’s a first rate 1080p webcam that’s ok for video chats and can do in a pitch for streaming you probably have ok lighting. It may be shut off to spying creeps with the faucet of a key shortcut. Wi-Fi connectivity is robust due to Wi-Fi 6E help, and Bluetooth 5.2 can be supported.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

I used to be very impressed by the sound of those quad Dynaudio-tuned audio system, which encompass twin 2W tweeters and one other pair of 1W woofers. Head and the Coronary heart’s “Paradigm” sounded crisp and ethereal, filling my room with none distortion after I cranked the amount to 100%. The treble acquired a bit peaky at occasions, however even my delicate ears weren’t too troubled.

Must you purchase the Raider GE76?

When you want essentially the most highly effective gaming laptop computer and don’t thoughts sacrificing portability, the Raider GE76 is an efficient selection. It serves as a succesful mannequin for showcasing Intel’s newest twelfth Gen Alder Lake chips, which outperformed even Apple’s M-series processors on a few of our exams, albeit whereas guzzling extra energy.

I’d warning in opposition to spending this amount of money with out contemplating the alternate options. You will get many of the efficiency on show right here for a a lot cheaper price and in a extra compact, travel-friendly package deal. I’m a fan of the Asus Zephyrus G14. It’s a beautiful laptop computer with a relatively petite chassis and loads of computing muscle to run demanding duties or play most video games at enough body charges—it isn’t, nevertheless, in the identical efficiency league because the Raider.

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)

MSI Raider GE76 (2022)
Photograph: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Right here’s the opposite factor: the Raider GE76 isn’t the one gaming laptop computer with twelfth Gen chips, and it definitely isn’t the most affordable choice in its class nor does it really feel like essentially the most premium. A specced-out Alienware m15 R7 with the identical parts (however a smaller show) prices $2,899, round $600 lower than the MSI. When you can stretch your funds, the Razer Blade 17 goes for $3,999 however is extra transportable and premium than the Raider. And for round $200 much less, you will get a equally specced Asus ROG Strix Scar 17. We haven’t examined the newest variations of those rivals but, however they’re definitely price shortlisting earlier than you plunk down this kind of money.

In any case, the Raider GE76 achieves its purpose of offering avid gamers with sufficient firepower to play essentially the most demanding titles at excessive body charges immediately and for years to return. It’s even highly effective sufficient to be a desktop substitute, and given its measurement, that’s actually the place it’s finest suited.

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