Earlier this year, MSI announced the GE76 Raider, an updated, full-featured 17-inch laptop, and the larger GE66 Raider model we reviewed last year with a 17-inch screen and full keyboard, and more powerful hardware.

It is one of the few laptops that can be equipped with an RTX 3080 GPU with a maximum power of 155W and one of the few laptops with a MUX switch. Combined with a smart thermal design and an i9 processor, the GE76 Raider is the fastest gaming laptop we’ve tested so far and one of the fastest laptops you can buy today.

The GE76 also inherits the clean lines and rugged construction of the GE66 and an improved keyboard and audio performance.

At the same time, it is based on Intel hardware rather than the Ryzen 5000 all-in-one platform, which may be an obstacle for some of you. Therefore, I would recommend keeping an open mind and overlooking this aspect unless you primarily want a 17 laptop for certain workloads that would benefit from these AMD processors. I’ll explain why in this in-depth article that outlines all the important aspects you should consider before spending the money MSI is asking for this series (and it’s a lot).


2021 MSI GE76 Raider 10UH
Screen 17.3-inch IPS panel, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 300Hz 3ms, 16:9, non-touch, matt, AU Optronics B173HAN05.1
Processor Intel Comet Lake-H Core i9-10980HK, 8C/16T processor
Video Intel UHD + Nvidia RTX 3080 16GB GDDR6 (155W Max-P with Dyn Boost, GeForce 461.92), without Optimus
Memory 64 GB DDR4 3200 MHz (2x DIMM)
Storage 1x 2 TB SSD (Samsung PM981) – 2x 80mm M.2 NVMe slots
Link Wireless 6 (Intel AX210), Bluetooth 5.2, 2.5 Gigabit LAN (Killer E3100x)
Ports 2x USB-A 3.1 gen1, 1x SUB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C 3.2 gen2 (one with DP, no charging), HDMI 2.0, miniDP, LAN, SD card reader, mic/earphone, slot
Battery 99.9 W, 280 W block power, no USB-C charging support
Size 397 mm or 15.62 inches (W) x 284 mm or 11.18 inches (D) x 25.9 mm or 1.02 inches (H)
Weight 2.97 kg (6.55 lb) + 1.01 kg (2.22 lb) feed bricks and cable, EC model
In addition, front-illuminated RGB keyboard, HD webcam + IR, four speakers

MSI offers the GE76 Raider in various configurations, from 8Core Intel i7-10875H processors and RTX 3060/3070 graphics to the 8Core i9-10980HK configuration with the RTX 3080 dGPU laptop we have here.

All Nvidia GPU options run at a higher clock and performance than most other options, with support for Dynamic Boost 2.0. At the same time, none of these configurations offer Optimus, which has a significant impact on battery life when disabled, nor do they offer any of the universal QHD 165Hz and 4K 120Hz display options offered by the competition (only FHD 240/300Hz and 4K 60Hz panels are available).

However, these panel options could become available later this year, along with a chance at Intel’s 11th-generation hardware, which should also address some of AMD hardware’s IPC and general performance shortcomings for demanding workloads.

Design and construction

MSI designed the GE76 Raider as a major update to the 2020 GE66, following the same design and build lines and completely moving away from the GE75 models of the past.

As a result, the GE76 is a laptop with a much better finish and polish, but it’s also a bit heavier, as all metal is now used for the exterior and a large 99.9-watt battery inside. That’s about 3 pounds, plus another brick. I would like to see MSI revise the design to align with what the competition offers in terms of size and weight.

The GE76 is also bulkier than the previous GE75 series, as it now has a hump behind the display to leave enough room for heat and I/O since most of the ports are also placed there. This makes the GE76 Raider series better suited for use on a desktop computer than on the go.

The materials chosen for the main deck and cladding were thick metal parts that are strong to the touch and do not deform even under high pressure. MSI has also implemented sturdy hinges and ensured that the screen does not twist or bend when laid on its side. But it only goes to about 145 degrees.

The plastic used for the screen bezel seems to be of high quality, and I appreciate that this laptop has a rubber gasket all over the screen bezel to protect the bezel when you carry it in a backpack.

Despite the generally solid feel of the GE76 Raider, I noticed a slight creaking sound that also occurred with the GE66 when I touched the laptop or put my hands on the palm rest. They’re not as bad as with older MSI products, but they’re still there and detract from the quality of this laptop.

MSI has polished up the design of this updated Raider series. It now has a clean silver exterior and a slightly darker blue interior. I love the new dragon shield on the cover; it’s beautiful. The interior still shows some stains over time, but not as much as other dark laptops.

The GE76 also has the huge front light bar we saw on the GE66, located behind a shiny piece of plastic. It blends perfectly into the metal chassis, with no gaps or sharp edges, and despite the shine, still no dents or scratches on such an unpolished test laptop. I wore the watch all the time, and the buckle didn’t leave any scratches.

The lighting may seem a bit large at first, but I got used to it over time. It can be configured in the Steelseries app (which still feels outdated and unintuitive but works once you understand it), and you can turn it off if you want.

As a novelty for this large 17-inch model, MSI has installed a set of four speakers on the GE76, two on the sides and two through thin grilles on the sides of the keyboard. The sound quality is a step up from the GE66 series but still not comparable to the older GE75 models. Unfortunately, dirt and dust also easily accumulate in the perforated holes around the keyboard, so you will need to use a vacuum cleaner to clean them.

On the other hand, MSI didn’t change the bottom panel design of the GE66 series, and I wish they had. They always put little rubber feet with hard plastic pieces in the middle that can scratch delicate surfaces. Also, the rubber feet don’t provide enough support and barely push the laptop onto the desk, crushing the fans. This aspect somewhat negates the excellent open back-end inputs and negatively impacts CPU and GPU temperatures, as you’ll see in the performance section of this article.

As for the inputs and outputs, most are conveniently placed on the rear bezel to hide cables when connecting peripherals. Only a pair of USB-A, USB-C, the audio jack, and the card reader are on the sides. You’ll find most of the ports you need on this laptop, but I still don’t understand why MSI dropped support for Thunderbolt 3. You still get DP video via USB-C, but not the ability to connect or charge TB3 devices via USB-C.

Keyboard and touchpad

The GE76 Raider keyboard is an upgrade from the keyboard used in the GE66 and GS66 models.

The layout includes a full row of main keys and a tight NumPad area with full arrows, but they’re rather irritatingly wedged in between everything else. MSI also has irritating features, such as the large left CTRL-key that return the Fn key to the right. The power button is also a button in the top right corner and contains a permanently lit orange light, which makes no sense to me. It’s small but still visible in the darkroom.

I did surprisingly well with this GE76 raider keyboard since it’s not as flat as the 15-inch model keyboards. It’s still a rubber dome keyboard, so it’s quiet, and the key travel is still quite limited (1.5mm), but overall the feedback is good now, not too soft and not too hard either. I’m sure most of you will like this keyboard once you get used to the layout.

The RGB lighting on each key is carried over from previous generations, with LEDs of medium brightness, good uniformity, and almost creeping light under the keys. The design also includes a physical key lock indicator (CapsLock), and MSI laptops also have this clever trick that marks functions that are only available when the Fn key is pressed.

On the other hand, MSI’s Steelseries engine software is functional for the most part. Still, it looks and feels dated once you understand how it works, with outdated graphics and miniaturized interfaces. As mentioned in our previous reviews, I still feel that the entire MSI software suite would benefit from a complete upgrade.

For the mouse, MSI relies on the same central clickpad it uses in the GE66. It is a glass surface with precision drivers, and it is suitable for everyday use; the gestures are smooth and reliable, but I find it rather small and awkward to gesture with.

At least in this version, it is rigid and no longer rattles when tapped regularly, as was the case with the GE66. Admittedly, this change makes physical clicking quite difficult, but I don’t mind; plus, I expect most of you to connect an external monitor with this type of laptop anyway.


MSI offers the GE76 Raider series with several different screen options, including 240/300 Hz FHD IPS panels and a 60 Hz UHD panel that supports a wider color spectrum, making it a potential option for creatives. But, unfortunately, there’s no 165Hz QHD or 120Hz UHD panel like you’ll find with the competition these days.

Our unit is FHD 300Hz, a good choice for gaming, excellent for general use, and just OK for professional use. It’s still 100% sRGB with medium brightness, deep blacks, and good contrast, so it should be fine for most of you, especially if you use your laptop indoors.

This is what we got during our tests with the X-Rite i1 Display Pro matrix:

  • Panel HardwareID : Optronics AUO348E1 (B173HAN05.1);
  • Coverage: 96.4% sRGB, 72.4% AdobeRGB, 75.2% DCI-P3 ;
  • Measured Gamma : 2.13 ;
  • Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 328.37 cd/m2 per power supply ;
  • Minimum brightness in the center of the screen: 15.21 cd/m2 at mains voltage ;
  • Contrast at maximum brightness : 1316:1 ;
  • Period: 6300 K ;
  • Black at maximum brightness: 0.25 cd/m2 ;
  • PWM: No.
  • Feedback: 5,5 GtG (source)

The panel comes pre-calibrated, and we don’t see any significant color uniformity or brightness issues. However, there is bleeding at the lower edge, with the edge pinching the plate in some places. In addition, there are some differences between the panels. Therefore, make sure that your panel is properly checked for hidden defects.

I’m not happy with the lack of either of the two modern 17-inch screens on the GE76 Raider, 165Hz QHD with 100% DCI-P3 color or 120Hz 4K, both of which are available on the competition. FHD at 300Hz is great for gaming but makes no sense in an RTX 3080 150+W configuration like this, which only really shows its power in QHD or 4K resolution games. Hopefully, MSI will add the GE76 models, which will be available in the second half of this year.

And since the GE76 Raider is specifically designed for gamers, I had hoped for GSync support or something like ActiveSync, but for some reason, MSI didn’t take that into account. I don’t know if it matters much with a 300Hz screen since tearing isn’t really an issue at that refresh rate, but it’s odd because other laptops offer GSync with that same screen. Unfortunately, GSync support is only available with an external DP/HDMI-compatible monitor.

Equipment and power

Our test model is the MSI GE76 Raider’s top-of-the-line configuration with an Intel Core i9-10980HK processor, 32GB 3200MHz DDR4 RAM, 2TB fast SSD storage, and dual graphics cards: an Nvidia RTX 3080 dGPU and an Intel UHD in Intel platforms. In addition, the laptop has a MUX switch and can be switched between hybrid and discrete modes via the software switch in the MSI Control Center application, with the ability to reboot in between.

Before proceeding, we should keep in mind that our test unit was provided by MSI for this review and used software available as of mid-March 2021 (BIOS E17K2IMS.109, Dragon Center, GeForce Game Ready driver 461.92).

MSI offers the GE76 in several different configurations. Currently, the processor can be upgraded to the i9-10980HK, an 8C/16T processor that requires a lot of power to run at full speed with proper heat dissipation. In addition, generation 11 processors will be available in this laptop later this year.

For the GPU, our configuration brings the Nvidia RTX-3080 laptop chip to 150W and up to 155W with Dynamic Boost 2.0 in supported applications. Recoverable BAR is supported. Instead, lower-end configurations use the RTX 3070 (up to 140 W) or RTX 3060 (up to 130 W) graphics chip.

Inside, two memory slots can be equipped with up to 64 GB 3200 MHz DDR4, which is also the case with this laptop. Two M.2 SSDs are also available, and our device is equipped with a 2TB Samsung PM981 SSD.

Remove the rear cover to access the components held in place by multiple Phillips screws. Expect MSI to continue to put a warranty sticker on one of the screws in some regions. Therefore, you should check the warranty terms in your area if you plan to open this device. I hope MSI stops using warranty stickers like this that keep users from upgrading, especially on laptops like this. This alone may be enough to steer some potential buyers towards more upgradeable brands.

The plastic back panel can only be removed with some difficulty, as it is quite fragile and held in place by strong clamps. I suggest you start with the sides and front, around the light bar, and work your way to the back with a curious tool. Take your time and don’t pull too hard, or you may break the plastic hooks.

As mentioned earlier, MSI’s software is quite functional but outdated in design and interfaces. For example, the Dragon Center application manages basic power, fan, display, and battery settings, while separate applications control sound and keyboard. There is also a switch between hybrid and discrete GPU modes in Dragon Center >> General Settings, and we ran all our performance tests in discrete mode and only used hybrid mode for some battery tests.

MSI also needs to update its performance profiles. For example, I don’t see the point of silent and super battery modes; one should be enough for low power consumption. I also don’t understand why MSI doesn’t default GPU overclocking to the highest level, especially since a more powerful implementation would allow it, as you’ll see in our manual settings. Finally, the balanced profile helps keep the noise down, but it is unlikely to be used in games due to high CPU/GPU temperatures, as this profile does not affect component power distribution.

Switching between Balanced Performance and Extreme Performance on this laptop only affects fan speed, which is too little for our time.

The GE76 is first and foremost a high-performance laptop, but it can also handle everyday multitasking, web browsing, and video while running cool and nearly silent (see below, in hybrid and silent mode). Actually, the fans run idle with video and other basic stuff, but the CPU fan starts to multitask.

We first tested CPU performance for more demanding workloads by running the Cinebench R15 test more than 15 times per cycle, with a 2-3 second delay between each run.

The i9 processor in our configuration only stabilizes at about ~48W at the default extreme performance settings, which is significantly lower than the same processor tested in last year’s GE66 chassis. This results in lower frequencies and a score of only about 1400 points, which is bad for an 8Core i9 processor. On the other hand, the fans make about 44-45 dB at head height, which is slightly quieter than the GE66.

The limiting factor here is thermal throttling, where the CPU quickly overclocks to 95+ C despite the low power consumption.

Undervoltage is disabled by default but can be enabled in the BIOS. To do this, reboot into BIOS mode and press Right Ctrl + Right Shift + Left Alt + F2 to unlock the advanced BIOS features, then scroll down to the overclocking settings, enable overclocking, and XTU support, then reboot Windows. You can now set the voltage offset in the XTU (which you will have to set manually, it does not come standard on the laptop).

Our sample worked well at -100 mV, but we reduced it to -80 mV to avoid stability problems. We used this reduced voltage in all our tests. Based on previous experience with 10th generation i9 processors. However, in the 3rd generation, a reduced voltage of -80mV may cause errors in some devices, and you may need to reset the processor too -50mV.

However, with this extremely low voltage profile, the processor runs at around 50W, with more stable clock speeds and scores. Thermal power remains a limiting factor, as the processor operates at 95+C.

Surprisingly, switching to the balanced profile limits the processor’s power to around 45W, while the fans remain quieter and reach almost the same values as in Extreme Performance mode. It’s a strange thing. Going further into the Quiet profile, CPU power is limited to 30W, but the fans are quiet at less than 35dB.

Finally, CPU power is limited to just 20W on the battery (in Extreme Performance mode), resulting in mediocre performance. Details below.

I’ve added some other 8Core configurations from Intel and AMD to put these results in perspective. The AMD Ryzen 5000 is in a class of its own, but it’s interesting to note that the same i9 did better in the smaller GE66, as it could get away with more power. For comparison, the i9 in this GE76 only runs on par with the Intel 8Core i7s due to the thermal throttling we saw here.

We then tested our results with the longer Cinebench R23 grind test and the dreaded Prime 95 on the Extreme Performance profile. In both tests, the CPU stabilizes at 52+ watts at around 95 degrees C and fan noise of 44-45 dB.

We also ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests with this laptop. The latest 3DMark runs the same test 20 times per cycle, looking for variations in performance and degradation over time, and this unit passed with flying colors.

We then ran all tests and benchmarks using the default extreme performance profile in Dragon Center.

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 23581 (Graphics – 32205, Physics – 19215, Combined – 8841) ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike Ultra DX11 4K : 7995 (Graphics – 7954, Physics – 19547, Combined – 4329);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal : 7624 ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 11894 (Graphics – 12696, CPU – 8760);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy Extreme DX12 4K : 5624 (Graphics – 6228, CPU – 3631);
  • Uniengine Overlay – 1080p Extreme: 7957 ;
  • Uniengine overlay – 1080p environment: 22849 ;
  • Manual brake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 40.88 fps on average;
  • PassMark10: Rating: 7822 (CPU: 16395, 3D graphics: 20873, HDD: 24523);
  • PCMark 10 : 6750 (Fundamentals – 9921, Productivity – 8383, Digital content creation – 10305) ;
  • GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1273, multi-core: 7270 ;
  • CineBench R15 (best mileage): Processor 1553 kb, single core 199 kb ;
  • CineBench R20 (best mileage): CPU 3605kb, single core CPU 478kb ;
  • CineBench R23 (best mileage): 9374kb processor, 1252kb single-core processor;
  • x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 39.22 sec.

Excellent GPU results, but below-average CPU results for the 8Core i9.

The default extreme power profile does not affect the GPU, so we repeated some tests with -80mV under CPU voltage in XTU and overclocking the GPU in MSI Afterburner +150MHz clock and +300MHz memory. Next, we call the Tweaked profile, which proved to be absolutely stable in our example. Finally, GPU overclocking is also available in a customizable user profile in Dragon Center.

Here’s the modified profile:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 24798 (Graphics – 34275, Physics – 19848, Combined – 9187) ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike Ultra DX11 4K : 7995 (Graphics – 7954, Physics – 19547, Combined – 4329);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal : 8034 ;
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 12380 (Graphics – 13281, CPU – 8945);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy Extreme DX12 4K : 5884 (Graphics – 6528, CPU – 3774);
  • Uniengine Overlay – 1080p Extreme: 8281 ;
  • Uniengine overlay – 1080p environment: 23606 ;
  • Manual brake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 40.57 fps on average;
  • PCMark 10 : 6835 (Fundamentals – 10010, Productivity – 8507, Digital Content Creation – 10180) ;
  • GeekBench 5.3.1 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1303, multi-core: 8135 ;
  • CineBench R15 (best mileage): Processor 1589 kb, single core 202 kb ;
  • CineBench R20 (best mileage): Processor 3781 kb, single core processor 505 kb ;
  • CineBench R23 (best mileage): CPU 9571 kb, single core CPU 1275 kb ;
  • x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 38.16 sec.

The results show a fairly significant increase in GPU performance in tests like Uniengine and 3DMark, coupled with a 3-7% gain in multi-core CPU tests. However, the CPU gains are mostly due to shorter workloads like Geekbench or Cinebench. In comparison, longer workloads, such as X265 or Handbrake, show negligible performance gains because the CPU in this design is always thermally constrained, both in storage and in operation, as explained in the previous section.

We also ran some workloads related to workstations with the Extreme and Extreme Tweaked profiles:

  • Blender 2.90 – BMW car scene – CPU calculation: 4m 13s (extreme), 4m 14s (modified extreme) ;
  • Blender 2.90 – BMW auto scene – GPU calculations: 35s (CUDA), 15s (Optix) ;
  • Blender 2.90 – cool scene – CPU: 11m 56s (Extreme), 11m 39s (Extreme tweaked);
  • Blender 2.90 – Cool Scene – GPU calculation: 2m 0s (CUDA), 56s (Optix) ;
  • Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL Evaluation CPU + GPU : CPU not recognized;
  • SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax : 213.14 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Katia : 155.95 (Extreme) ;
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 219.74 (extreme) ;
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Energy : 27.17 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 329.74 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Medical : 73.42 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase : 147.3 (Extreme) ;
  • SPECviewerf 13 – SNX : 20.55 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 102.13 (extreme).

And the new SPECviewperf 2020 test:

  • SPECviewerf 2020 – 3DSMax: 131.49 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Katia: 69.06 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Creo: 84.16 (extreme);
  • SPECVIEWERF 2020 – Energy: 27.24 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Maya: 355.24 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Medical: 33.61 (extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – SNX: 20.32 (Extreme);
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – SW: 237.54 (extreme).

These are solid results in GPU-intensive tests like Maya or Showcase, and the Intel i9 CPU also performs well in this mid-range version. In comparison, the GE66 Raider 2020 (same i9 + RTX 2080 Super 80+W) lags behind in GPU tests but wins in Specviewperf CPU load and in Blender, thanks to a stronger CPU implementation.

As for the ROG Scar 17, which is built on a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and an RTX 3080 115+W, lags in GPU-intensive activity in most of Specviewperf’s combined tests, going head-to-head with the GE76 Raider, and it doesn’t do so in Blender.

However, it is important to remember that the GE76 will soon be available with the 11th generation Core H processors. The generation will work, which should bring it closer to AMD’s variants in some of these tests.

Game performance

Let’s look at a few games. We ran all these tests in a discrete mode in the MSI management application.

We ran some DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles with the standard Extreme and Silent profiles and the Extreme Tweaked profile with a reduced CPU voltage and an overclocked GPU. We also tested the FHD (internal screen) and QHD (external screen) resolution.

Since the internal screen is directly connected to the GE76 Raider’s Nvidia GPU, there is no Optimus affecting performance in high frame rate games. So you get the full power of the RTX 3080 laptop’s GPU to play on the computer’s main screen or on an external monitor, with no noticeable difference between the two modes.

Ideally, I would have also tested 4K gaming performance, where this 150+W 3080 version really shines compared to the more powerful 3080 models. Still, I don’t have a 4K monitor at my disposal anymore, so we only made QHD resolution.

Here’s what we got:

Laptop i9-10980HK +
RTX 3080 155W
FHD Extreme FHD Extremely modified The silence of the FCD Extremely tweaked QHD external monitor,
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
154 frames per second (82 frames per second – 1% low) 156 frames per second (84 frames per second – 1% low) 121 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% low) 134 frames per second (38 frames per second – 1% low)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
79 frames per second (62 frames per second – 1% low) 88 frames per second (67 frames per second, 1% lower) 68 fps (55 fps is 1% less) 58 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% low)
Dota 2
(DX 11, best preselection appearance)
117 frames per second (64 frames per second – 1% low) 117 frames per second (65 frames per second – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
120 frames per second (86 frames per second, 1% less) 125 frames per second (93 frames per second – 1% low) 102 frames per second (74 frames per second – 1% low) 112 fps (87 fps is 1% less)
Metro Exodus
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX AUS)
87 images per second (51 images per second – 1% low) 92 frames per second (52 frames per second – 1% low) 82 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% low)
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
(DX 11, Ultra-preset)
220 fps (139 fps – 1% low) 193 frames per second (132 frames per second – 1% low) 176 frames per second (96 frames per second, 1% less)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra-optimized, TAA)
124 frames per second (82 frames per second – 1% low) 136 frames per second (86 frames per second, 1% less) 89 frames per second (68 frames per second – 1% low)
Tomb Raider Rise
(DX 12, very high preset, FXAA)
125 frames per second (58 frames per second – 1% low) 157 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% low) 132 frames per second (59 frames per second – 1% low)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
(DX 12, highest preset, TAA)
109 images per second (62 images per second – 1% low) 122 frames per second (78 frames per second – 1% low) 93 frames per second (56 frames per second – 1% low) 101 frames per second (38 frames per second – 1% low)
Strange Brigade. (Vulcan, Ultra-presumptive) 238 images per second (161 images per second – 1% low) 248 frames per second (164 frames per second – 1% low) 222 frames per second (162 frames per second – 1% low) 188 frames per second (163 frames per second – 1% low)
Witch 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra preset, Hair Work On 4)
145 fps (86 fps, 1% less) 147 frames per second (84 frames per second – 1% low) 123 frames per second (76 frames per second – 1% low) 123 frames per second (84 frames per second – 1% low)
  • Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recording with Fraps against/in FPS game in campaign mode;
  • Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider Games – registered with benchmark programs enabled;
  • Optimized profile of Red Dead Redemption 2 based on these settings.

Above are the pure grid tests and also some results for RTX games. Metro Exodus crashed with the RTX settings for some reason, so we’re still working on that.

Laptop i9-10980HK +
RTX 3080 150W
FHD Extreme FHD Extremely modified The silence of the FCD Extremely tweaked QHD external monitor,
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
108 frames per second (73 frames per second – 1% low) 113 frames per second (72 frames per second – 1% low) 92 frames per second (62 frames per second – 1% low) 88 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Auto)
70 fps (55 fps is 1% less) 77 frames per second (57 frames per second, 1% less) 61 frames per second (46 frames per second – 1% low) 56 frames per second (34 frames per second – 1% low)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
(DX 12, highest preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)
88 frames per second (48 frames per second, 1% lower) 95 frames per second (49 frames per second – 1% low) 79 frames per second (23 frames per second – 1% low) 70 frames per second (28 frames per second, 1% less)

There are a lot of numbers here, so let’s put them in context.

As far as gameplay goes, it’s a beast. After lowering the voltage and overclocking, it is 10-25% faster than the 115-130W RTX-3080 laptop tested in Scar 15 and Scar 17 configurations. Keep in mind that these models use Optimus and don’t have a MUX switch, so the performance difference drops to about ~10% on an external FHD monitor and then rises again to 10-15% at QHD resolution on an external monitor.

You’ll have to judge whether these differences are important to you, but overall, the GE76 Raider is the best gaming laptop we’ve tested here on the site and one of the fastest on the market under such loads.

Let’s dive into the performance protocols. Below is a summary of CPU and GPU temperatures recorded in a few different games and performance profiles, with FHD resolution and Ultra settings.

First, let’s look at the basic Extreme performance mode, where the laptop is on the table where most of you will use it.

The fans rise to 45-48 dB in this mode, which is normal for high-power settings. GPU temperatures are also stable, fluctuating between the mid and high 70s. Far Cry 5 only registers 68C on the GPU, but that’s because the GPU in this title only runs at 110W in FHD, not 150W like everyone else.

On the other hand, in most titles and all titles, the processor is very hot, up to 100C. Cyberpunk does best here and seems to allocate less power and less CPU time, while Red Dead and Witcher 3, on the other hand, allocate the most power and highest frequencies. For more information, see the detailed protocols below.

I’ve mentioned before that the design of the bottom with the little rubber feet dampens the intake ports of this laptop and that raising the back a few inches has a significant impact on CPU and GPU temperatures. However, the CPU spikes are still high.

Quieter fans?

And if you prefer a quieter experience? MSI offers a balanced and quiet profile on this laptop, affecting the fan speed. Therefore, expect 40-41 dB with Balance and 36-37 dB with Silent.

Since these profiles don’t impose performance limitations on the GPU (and CPU), they run fast and hot in most titles. However, FarCry 5 is still an exception, as in this game, the GPU only runs at sub-FHD performance.

In short, the Quiet profile is not suitable for gaming on this laptop, and the Balanced profile can only be used with older, less demanding titles that don’t fully utilize the CPU and GPU.

Compared to other modern laptops, Silent Mode 2.0 is not supported in silent mode. Of course, you can limit the fps with Riva Tuner, and this should result in better times on the Balanced profile and even the practical Silent profile, but I haven’t had time to test this properly yet, so I’ll let you experiment.

Game settings

Back to the Extreme profile. Let’s see what happens if we lower the CPU voltage (-80mV) and overclock the GPU (+150 MHz core, +300 MHz memory) using the so-called tweaked profile.

In terms of performance, the impact between the titles tested is 0-10%, increasing as the GPU load increases.

Clockwise, the temperatures don’t change much, but the GPU tends to run at slightly higher clock speeds and higher temperatures in some titles.

Again, it helps lift the laptop off the desk to improve airflow to the fans so that the airflow is 2-5 degrees away from the CPU and GPU.

Finally, it should be noted that MSI also offers a Cooler Boost fan configuration (a switch in the user’s power profile) that runs the fans at maximum power and provides 52-53dB of noise to the head.

This system, in my opinion, is difficult to use because the sound will be hard to hide even with headphones, but it also helps lower indoor and outdoor temperatures.

However, our tests show that configuring the laptop with Cooler Boost produces similar results to configuring the laptop with the standard Extreme profile. Therefore, I would recommend the latter as a more practical method of controlling CPU/GPU temperatures.

External monitor

The last aspect we looked at was performance when connecting an external display, especially a high-resolution display that would take the pressure off the CPU and put more pressure on the GPU.

However, we only tested in QHD because we didn’t have a 4K monitor on hand. This generally results in lower CPU temperatures and slightly higher GPU temperatures than the default Extreme profile in FHD, where the laptop is on a table.

Again, a push-up on the back helps a little. Closing the lid and placing the laptop on an upright stand also helps by allowing cool air to flow freely through the vents, and CPU and GPU temperatures are 2-8 degrees lower than with a laptop sitting on a table.

Performance Conclusions

With a 155-watt RTX-3080 laptop GPU, the MSI GE76 Raider is designed for gaming and any type of workload that can benefit from this monster graphics implementation. In addition, the Intel i9 processor in this version has ample thermal coverage, even more than the GE66 Raider tested last year, and this can vary from sample to sample. Our device didn’t do well in the processor tests, but it did in the combined load and gaming tests.

However, all of this design is mainly for the graphics processing unit, which causes the processor to heat up and run wild in benchmarks and some games. The small rubber feet on the bottom that block the air intakes don’t help with this, and lifting the laptop results in much lower CPU and GPU temperatures and a cooler exterior of the case. I also recommend lowering the processor voltage.

Despite this, the MSI GE76 Raider is the fastest gaming laptop we’ve tested so far and is a good step up from the ROG Scar 17 with its 115-130W RTX 3080 laptop GPU. Unfortunately, it also has a MUX switch, so Optimus does not compute frames.

At the same time, MSI only offers a 300Hz FHD display with this laptop, which doesn’t do the hardware justice.  Too bad you can’t get 165Hz QHD or 4K 120Hz panels here; those are for 150+W GPUs. Hopefully, these will be added to the semi-annual GE76 update once it is also upgraded to the Intel Core H 11 gen platform. If you want to buy one of these devices, I recommend waiting until this update is available.

Noise, heat, communication, loudspeakers, and other

The MSI GE76 Raider features an advanced cooling system with two powerful fans and multiple heat pipes spread across the CPU, GPU, and VRM.

However, most of that thermal module is for the GPU, and what’s left for the i9 CPU doesn’t seem to be handled well on this machine. This is surprising because the i9 GE66 Raider tested last year had a much better CPU temperature and performance with the same thermal design. I suggest you check out other reviews for more opinions on thermal engineering and processor performance.

One additional note: The wide-open mesh on the bottom provides excellent ventilation when you lift the laptop to improve airflow underneath, but even with this design, dust easily collects inside. I recommend a thorough cleaning with a compressed air canister every 2 or 3 months. Also, when the laptop is placed on a table, the thin rubber feet obstruct the fans, which significantly affects the temperature of the CPU/CPU, as explained in the previous section.

Now let’s look at the noise level and the outside temperature. The laptop is quiet in daily use. Both fans drop out during video streams and the simplest of exercises; the CPU fan starts multitasking and spins up to 35 dB, which is enough to hear in a quiet room. I have not noticed any swirling coils or electronic noise on our unit.

This is what you can expect in terms of sound at head height.

  • Extreme performance, Cooler Boost fans have a level of 52-53dB in-game;
  • Extreme performance, fan on auto mode – 45-48dB on games, 44-45dB on Cinebench loop test ;
  • Quiet – 37-38dB while playing, 0-35dB during everyday use.

The fans reach 45-48 dB at the head on the standard Extreme profile during gaming, which is pretty normal for a high-performance laptop.  Switching the fans to Max Cooler Boost mode increases noise levels to 52-53 dB while switching to Silent mode lowers noise levels to 38 dB during gaming, but with a sharp increase in temperature. As explained above, playing on any of the dampers on Balanced is hardly possible with the existing power profiles.

Everything looks good for the temperature in daily use. However, during gaming, the WASD and arrow areas of the extreme performance profile stay below 40 degrees Celsius, but 40 and 50 degrees Celsius are reached in the middle of the laptop and in parts of the back. Lifting the laptop lowers these temperatures by 5 degrees in the hottest areas. Then, the laptop gets hotter quietly, with some components reaching 50 degrees on the inside and 60 degrees on the back.

We conducted our tests in a controlled environment with the air conditioning set at 24-25 degrees Celsius so that these temperatures may vary in other conditions.

*Everyday Use – Stream Netflix on EDGE for 30 minutes, Super Saver profile, fan on 0-35dB
*Games – Quiet – Play Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fan on 36-37dB
*Games – Extreme Performance Adjusted, fan on auto – Play Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fan on 45-48dB

For network connectivity, this device features Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 via the Intel AX210 chip and 2.5 Gigabit Lan technology. Our review sample showed good WiFi performance near the router and over 30 feet away from obstacles.

The sound is controlled by four speakers, two on the belly and two others that are through the grilles flanking the keyboard. They are loud and powerful, 80+ dB at head height, but the sound quality is weird, over-processed and a bit muffled at the bottom, to the point where I couldn’t hear anything above 50% volume.

The Music in Nahimic profile is selected on the laptop, which does most of the processing by default. However, if you turn off the effects, the sound from the speakers is even worse, much louder, and with very little bass. I suggest you play around with the settings to find something that works for you.

Overall, the sound is a step up from the GE66 and GS66 models, but no surprise. You will probably want to use appropriate headphones.

The webcam is located at the top of the screen with microphones. As a result, the image quality is better than the standard laptop webcams with a wide-angle lens.

Battery life

Inside the GE76 Raider is a 99.9-watt battery, the largest laptop allowed by law.

Note, however, that the system does not automatically switch the screen to 60 Hz when the laptop is turned off, which may be necessary if you want to maximize runtime since 300 Hz operation requires little effort. You’ll also need to turn off the light bar and keyboard backlight and run the laptop in hybrid mode, which allows you to use the Intel iGPU when you want the longest runtime.

You can see here what we have on our device in hybrid, the brightness of the screen is set to 120 nits (60%), and the refresh rate is 60 Hz :

  • 20W (~5 hours of operation)– Google Drive text editing, sleep mode, screen set to 60%, Wi-Fi enabled ;
  • 14.8W (~6+ hours of operation)– Fullscreen 1080p video on Youtube in edge mode, silent mode, screen set to 60%, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 15W (~6+ hours of use)– Netflix full screen in Edge, silent mode, screen set to 60%, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 25 W (~4 hours runtime)– Display in edge mode, balanced mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi enabled.

And here you can see what happens in discrete mode when the screen refreshes to 300 Hz:

  • 60W (~1+ hrs usage)– Google Drive text editing, sleep mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 30 W (~3+ hours of use)– Fullscreen 1080p video on Youtube in edge mode, silent mode, screen set to 60%, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 30W (~3+ hours of use)– Full-screen Netflix mode in Edge, silent mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi ON ;
  • 40 W (~2-2.5 hours of use)– Screen in Edge mode, balanced mode, 60% screen, Wi-Fi enabled.

MSI delivers this laptop with a thick and heavy 280-watt power supply, which in the European version weighs about 1 kilo with the included cables. I wish they would make a more compact charger than the competition offers. Unfortunately, there’s also no support for charging via USB-C, which means you’ll have to take the clunky brick with you on the go.

Price and availability

The MSI GE76 2021 Raider is now available worldwide.

The top version tested here, equipped with an i9-10980HK processor, 64GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and Nvidia RTX 3080 laptop graphics card and a 300Hz display, costs $3399 in the US and around €4000 in Europe. Configurations with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage are available for a few hundred dollars/euros less.

Mid-range versions with 8Core i7 processor and RTX 3070 GPU (up to 140W) are available from $2,300/€2,500; RTX 3060 models should also be available shortly but are not yet available.

Final Thoughts

I said it before in this test, and I’ll repeat it: This high-end configuration of the MSI GE76 Raider is the fastest gaming laptop we’ve tested so far and one of the fastest on the current market. The 155W of internal power from the 3080 and i9 provide the performance, combined with a good thermal solution, a MUX switch, and a fast screen.

Add to that a great design and construction, good inputs and outputs, and an excellent battery, and you have a laptop you won’t soon forget. However, the devil is in the details. You should carefully consider some of the specifics mentioned in the article above, especially for a product that requires a premium over the competition. We’ll get to that soon enough.

First of all, this laptop is based on 10th generation Intel hardware. Generation built, and with the expected May-June hit of 11. This year’s generation is not expected, I think. On the one hand, this may improve IPC, overall performance, and possibly CPU temperature, and if not, these early SKU-2021s will be available at a retail price upon release.

And I’m not even going to talk about the choice between AMD and Intel right now because it’s pretty clear that AMD has a competitive advantage in efficiency and multithreading, which will change with the 11th generation. But unfortunately, AMD models with such powerful GPUs have limited capabilities, at least for now.

Secondly, I don’t think the 300Hz screen on this laptop does the hardware justice. MSI is expected to offer 165Hz QHD or even 4K 120Hz panels for this GE76 series, especially in RTX-3080 laptop configurations, which really come into their own at these high resolutions.

Add to that poor battery life even when the laptop reboots into hybrid mode, no biometrics or USB-C charging, a clunky power adapter, and immature power profiles that require manual configuration to get the most out of this type of hardware, and the GE76 Raider may not be a good choice.

And that brings us back to the fact that it’s no longer just about the competition, like the Asus ROG Scar 17, Eluktronics Prometeus XVII (and the likes of XMG, Schenker), or the Dell Alienware m17. The former is AMD-based and not as fast in games, but cheaper, more efficient, faster in CPU usage, and available with a 165Hz QHD display as standard. Also, AMD-based barebones with up to 150W 3080s and 165Hz QHD displays are usually very cheap and cheaper than A-brands. Finally, the last one is still Intel-based with a similar 150+W RTX 3080, available with optional GSync or 360Hz display, and still cheaper at the core, especially with the rare sales that Dell is making time and more for runtime.

All in all, I think the MSI GE76 Raider should be on your list, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.

If you’re looking for a powerful, feature-packed 17-inch laptop that you occasionally use offline or take to work, this may not be your product. But as a slot machine that spends most of its time on a table, it’s hard to beat. However, I would recommend waiting a few more months and buying a mid-year upgrade instead, especially if you are interested in the 3080 models. A faster, more controlled processor and higher resolution screens will really make this game great if you can afford it because it’s already expensive, and these screens will push the price even higher.

Related Tags

msi ge76 raider 10uh review,msi ge76 raider 3080,msi ge66 raider review 2021,msi ge76 raider rtx 3080,msi ge76 3080,rtx 3080 laptop reviews,Privacy settings,How Search works,msi rtx 3000 series laptop,msi gs66 2021

You May Also Like

6 Best Intel Core i7 Desktop PCs

Do you need a desktop computer that can build a firewall, program…

Best CPU Cooler for i9 10900k in March 2022

Looking for a new processor cooler for your new i9 10900k processor,…

Razer Blade Pro 17 2022 Review

The Razer Blade Pro 17 2022 is the first “gaming laptop” with…

10 Best MTG Black Commons 2022 Edition

This article was originally written in March of 2019. It was revised…