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Last Updated : Aug 08, 2019 06:25 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

MSI GE75 Raider review: An RTX powerhouse that packs a punch but falls short of its less expensive successor

Overall, the MSI GE75 Raider 8SG is a great machine, only outdone by the GE75 9SG.

Carlsen Martin

MSI sent us the GE75 8SG Raider for a review recently and the chunky machine did manage to leave an impression. The machine we received was equipped with an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU coupled with 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU – No; this isn’t the Max-Q variant.

The GE75 is not only a great laptop but it also debuted as one of the cheapest laptops with an RTX 2080 mobile graphics card. But the GE75 has been out for quite a while now, so we thought it’d be best to put the Raider through its paces once more and see how it fared.

Design

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The GE75 Raider embraces a heavy yet marginally thick design that sits comfortably in the middle of slim and hefty. The GE75 rocks a pretty solid build quality with a black aluminium lid with two raised red stripes and a 3D MSI (Dragon) emblem, which add a dash of cool to the ‘classy’. The one bad part about the lid is that it’s a fingerprint magnet, even the logo attracts fingerprints very quickly.

MSI_Design

Ports

In terms of ports, the GE75 Raider won’t disappoint. You get an RJ-45 ethernet jack, an HDMI port and Mini DisplayPort, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports, an SD card reader, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, separate headphone and microphone jacks and a security lock. The GE75 Raider has one of the best assortments of I/O you can hope for on a gaming laptop. The only thing missing here is the Thunderbolt 3 port.

Keyboard & Touchpad

The GE75 Raider offers a full-sized SteelSeries keyboard with a Numpad as well. The Steel Series keyboard offers a generous 1.9mm travel distance and only requires 70g of force to register a press. The touchpad on the Raider could have been a little better, but it features Windows Precision drivers and gets the job done in both gaming and typing.

The keyboard is the only area where the GE75 Raider lights up, but we’re talking super-powerful RGB lighting. The RGB lighting on the keys is pretty bright and will undoubtedly be the first thing you notice when you switch the laptop on. The Raider also uses per-key RGB lighting instead of zonal backlighting. While you can customise the RGB lighting with the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, a button on the laptop’s deck also allows you to go through different RGB profiles.

MSI_IO

Although the keys do seem a little cramped, they don’t take much time getting used to, and the wait is entirely worth. The touchpad also offers a smooth scrolling experience.

Performance

It doesn’t matter what type of gamer you are – E-sports, Casual, Professional Streamer; this laptop frankly doesn’t care. It can easily handle any and every title with frame rates ranging from 70 to 200 fps. The combination of a full-fledged mobile RTX 2080 coupled with the Intel Core i7-8750H delivers on its promise. It also gets 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe-PCIe SSD. But let’s take a look at how that translates to real-world numbers.

Firstly, the multiplayer E-sports titles. Apex Legends on high settings offered an average of 159 fps, dropping to as low as 120 fps. PUBG (Ultra) and Battlefield V (High) offered an average of 119 and 133 frames per second, respectively. We noticed that most multiplayer titles really let you take full advantage of the 144Hz display.

MSI_Performance

On the AAA side, Rise of the Tomb Raider on very high settings ran at an average 69 fps, while GTA V hit 94 fps on very high settings. We also tested Battlefield V in campaign mode with ray tracing, and DX12 enabled on high settings.

There was a noticeable drop in frame rates in multiplayer mode from 133 to 68. However, the trade-off is worth it as ray tracing does make the graphics more vibrant. The Witcher 3 and Far Cry both managed to cross 100 fps on average with the former doing a little better averaging at 113 fps.

It’s worth noting that uninstalling Norton Antivirus does improve processor efficiency, adding anywhere between 5 to 10 fps in CPU-intensive games.

Moving on from games to some benchmark scores, and Geekbench 4.1 overall performance benchmark saw the Raider get a 16,219 score. Our 3D Mark Firestrike Ultra managed a 5901 score, while the GE75 Raider earned a multi-core score of 1011 on the Cinebench R15 test. The GE75 Raider couldn’t maintain the 3.8 GHz across all cores in heavy productivity workload.
ProsCons
Powerful gaming performanceRuns hot when gaming
Intuitive gaming softwarePoor battery life
Powerful speaker systemUpgraded  GE75 model available at a lower price
Large 144Hz screen
Great assortment of ports

Cooling

The GE75 Raider just passes on the cooling front. One reason why heavy productivity workload won’t fare so well on the Raider is that CPU temperatures tend to spike, and some of that heat does reach the top left side of the keyboard. You will also notice CPU throttling in games as well as productivity workload. This isn’t a laptop designed to cool the CPU, but that’s the CPU side.

MSI_Speakers

On the GPU side, the GE75 Raider runs relatively cool. The laptop utilises MSI’s Cooler Boost 5+ module, which uses four exhaust vents, two fans, and eight pipes to maintain optimal GPU temperatures. MSI has certainly taken steps to very effectively cool the RTX 2080 inside this beast. What does this mean?

Games that are not CPU bound like The Witcher 3 are going to excel, while CPU-intensive games like PUBG and Apex Legends will yield less-than-ideal frame rates. Overall, despite the noticeable CPU throttling, the MSI GE75 Raider’s still receives a pass in ‘Cooling’ because it does an outstanding job of cooling that fat RTX 2080.

One more thing to note, replacing the regular thermal paste with a liquid metal cooling solution should help you get a noticeable increase in both GPU and CPU performance. However, we advise seeking MSI’s aid in doing so as you could terminate the warranty.

Display

The GE75 Raider gets a 17.3-inch FHD IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time. The screen has a peak brightness of 283 nits and covers 160 percent of the sRGB colour gamut, which is well above average. Most games at high settings will easily hit 144 fps allowing you to take full advantage of the refresh rate.

MSI_Display

Additionally, the MSI True Color software lets you toggle between six settings – sRGB (Default), Anti-Blue (Reduces eye fatigue), Gamer, Office, Designer, and Movie. The downside here is the lack of Nvidia G-Sync support, but that’s the trade-off for better battery life. And there isn’t any noticeable screen tearing because of the high refresh rate.

Audio

The GE75 Raider has two 3W Dynaudio speakers and two 3-watt woofers on the bottom. The speaker system on this laptop is easily one of the best we’ve seen.

The sound can fill a mid-sized conference room on full volume. Moreover, loud fans can do little to drown the audio in games. This is the second gaming laptop we’ve tested that didn’t require any external speakers or headphones while gaming or watching movies. The first was the Alienware Area 51m, and that’s much thicker and heavier than the Raider.

MSI_Keyboard

Battery

The 65Whr battery on the Raider is less-than-ideal considering its demanding configuration. We got little under two and a half hours in our browsing test with screen brightness down to 40 percent. No G-Sync support here is a trade-off for GPU switching, which offers better battery life. However, we’d prefer the G-Sync support as battery life is still quite weak.

Price

The MSI GE75 Raider we received costs Rs 2,49,999, which is quite expensive by today’s standards. Most brands, including MSI, at this price range, often offer the 9th Gen Intel processors at this price point, but the MSI GE75 Raider was released before most gaming laptops.

And when it was released, it promised an excellent price-to-performance proposition. In most scenarios, this laptop would earn a definite recommendation. But you can get an upgraded MSI GE75 9SG Raider with a 9th Gen Intel processor for Rs 6K less on Amazon India, and that machine doesn’t just pass but aces our price-to-performance assessment.

Verdict

The MSI GE75 8GS Raider is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop. On the gaming front, the Raider more-than lives up to expectations. And, while CPU throttling is an issue, it isn’t a significant issue that cannot be resolved.

The GE75 Raider does fall short in heavy productivity workloads, but ticks all the boxes for the overall entertainment experience. The extra effort put into cooling that GPU is worth the trade-off, especially in future use cases as more games embrace real-time ray tracing.

MSI_Verdict

Apart from performance, the RGB lighting on the keyboard is brightest we’ve ever seen, the screen is excellent for gaming and decent for movies, the speakers pack a pretty powerful punch, and the keys feel nice and tactile.

The one area where we felt the GE75 could do better was in CPU performance. The design of the machine isn’t the best we’ve seen, and battery life is sub-par, even for a gaming laptop. But the two shouldn’t be decisive factors when buying a gaming laptop. Overall, the MSI GE75 Raider 8SG is a great machine, only outdone by the GE75 9SG.

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First Published on Aug 8, 2019 06:24 pm
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