MSI GE66 Raider Review – Heavyweight Gaming

MSI is one of those gaming laptop brands we’ve been wanting to review for years. We almost lost hope, but a few weeks ago we received an offer to review the MSI GE66 Raider. We are so happy to experience our first MSI gaming laptop, so here it goes!

MSI GE66 RAIDER REVIEW UNIT SPECS:

CPU10th Gen Intel Core i7-10870H
RAM16GB 2933MHz DDR4-3200 (2 slots up to 64GB)
GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6
Storage1TB PCIe SSD (2 slots)
Display15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 240Hz IPS-Level
Ports1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C/DisplayPort ; 2 x USB 3.2 Type-C; 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A; 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A; 1x HDMI 2.0; RJ45 Ethernet; 1x 3.5mm headphone jack; 1x Kensington lock
ConnectivityWiFi 6E AX210; Bluetooth 5.2
WebcamFHD
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home
SRPP159,995

THE LOOKS AND FEEL

Dimensions of the MSI GE66 Raider are measured at 358mm x 267 x 23.4. Quite big for a gaming laptop, and quite thick too. It weighs at 2.38kg, slightly heavier than my first gaming laptop back in 2017. I can bring the GE66 Raider to a coffee shop but would rather leave it in my office.

The GE66 Raider doesn’t have any loud or crazy designs, nor was it colored in the usual black. It sports a grey color with a silver MSI logo placed in the center. Simple, but menacing! Non-gaming graphic artists who need a gaming laptop may appreciate this type of design. Lid feels sturdy and hinges have no signs of breaking easily. The rear end of the laptop have ports for a Mini-Display Port, Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2, RJ-45 LAN, HDMI 2.0 and a power brick.

While it doesn’t have a loud design outside that screams of a gaming laptop, the front part of the GE66 Raider has an RGB LED strip that can be customized via MSI Dragon Center.

The keyboard has some nice touch and we were able to type well with it. RGB lights can also be adjusted via the MSI Dragon Center software. My complaint here is the location of the touchpad. Instead of placing it dead-center, MSI placed it a bit more to the left side, causing it to interfere with my left hand resting on that area. This messed-up my mouse pointer since my left hand touches the touchpad.

The left side of the GE66 Raider has some more ports for a Kensington lock, Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2, Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 and a 3.5mm headphone.

And the right side has even some more ports! two USB 3.0 ports and an SD Card reader.

THE DISPLAY

The display of the MSI GE66 Raider is a 15.6″ Full HD resolution IPS-Level technology. There are two variants under Full HD: a 240Hz refresh rate and a 300Hz refresh rate. There’s also another variant with 4K display. Our review unit comes with 240hZ refresh rate and personally, this is good enough for me. As expected, I experienced fast refresh rates on my favorite FPS games. I appreciate the GE66 Raider’s display and used it sometimes to binge-watch Netflix shows. Color reproduction is on point and vibrant.

THE PERFORMANCE

Equipped with an Intel Core i7-10870H processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, the MSI GE66 Raider is very capable to play all the latest and popular AAA games! Here are our benchmark scores with the gaming laptop:

Benchmark scores has just proved that NVIDIA’s RTX 3000 series are definitely worth an upgrade over its predecessors. These scores further convinced me that my next gaming laptop should have this type of GPU.

I had a pleasurable time playing on the GE66 Raider during my two-week evaluation period. True enough, MSI’s 240Hz refresh rate was in effect and thank goodness it was supported by most of the games I have installed. On Overwatch, I averaged 159 fps on Epic settings, 211 fps on VALORANT and 132 fps on Rainbow Six Siege.

Thanks to its RTX 3070 GPU, the GE66 Raider supports ray-tracing on certain games. Battlefield V was one of those games and it was awesome to play on MSI’s refreshed laptop.

For years, I’ve heard that MSI has one of the best thermal managements among gaming laptops. This made me excited, and was eager to find out if the GE66 Raider can play cool in the middle of a heated game. I was able to average 75 degrees Celsius in VALORANT, Rainbow Six Siege, Battlefield V and The Witcher 3 in an air-conditioned studio. Not bad if you ask me, as I’ve had worse in the same environment with other gaming laptops I’ve tested which usually reach 80 degrees Celsius. Looks like MSI is really doing something right with its thermals.

While I enjoyed the gaming on the MSI GE66 Raider, the gaming laptop can also be used for productivity. Graphic artists and Video editors would certainly appreciate this machine’s raw power. It comes with a 1TB SSD with an extra slot for another drive, and 16GB of memory upgradable up to 64GB. The expandability options are great news for GE66 users who want to maximize the storage capacity and power of the laptop.

The MSI Dragon Center provides information about the machine’s status from CPU and GPU usage to its temperatures, settings and performance tweaks. I always set its performance to Extreme whenever I play games then set to Balance for my usual office and blogging work. I wish MSI would consider making a shortcut key for the Dragon Center so users can easily open it.

THE BATTERY LIFE

Our MSI GE66 Raider review unit came with a large 99 Whr battery – the largest capacity in a gaming laptop. With its performance set to Super Battery Mode, I used the GE66 Raider unplugged for my usual office and blogging work. I had this setup for three days and averaged 5-6 hours. Compared to other gaming laptops, 6 hours is quite good, but personally, I expected better. I was hoping it could reach 9 hours with its large battery capacity. I don’t usually recommend gaming when the power cord is not plugged, but if you have that itch, then it would last less than 2 hours.

DR’S CONCLUSION

The MSI GE66 Raider is one powerful beast that can do serious work or gaming. Being a mobile person, I don’t think I can carry this heavy piece of machinery all the time. Since most of us will be working and gaming from home due to the pandemic, the GE66 Raider’s size and power can be a desktop alternative in your household. It’s a bit pricey, but I think it’s worth it for its built-quality and performance.

PROS:

  • Silver coated minimalist design.
  • Well-built
  • High-refresh rate
  • Excellent performance

CONS:

  • Chunky and heavy
  • Awkward placement of trackpad keeps interfering with mouse movement.
  • Expected more than 6 hours of runtime when unplugged

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