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Hands-On: MSI GE63VR Raider Gaming Laptop

MSI has been making red and black laptops since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, and there’s a reason they’ve been able to keep doing it.

The GE63VR Raider (Raider going forward) is a great example of what MSI does best; flashy, heavily branded laptops with good specs and a reasonable price.

This is a gaming laptop in every sense of the word, so we were excited to put it to the test to see if it lives up to the MSI name.

You can pick up the MSI Raider here for $2,299.

MSI All The Way

MSI laptops have never really been subtle, and the Raider is no exception. It’s got the trademark red and black styling, with a brushed metal design highlighted with red accents, and an unmistakable MSI logo on the back of the display. They’ve kept this aesthetic sensibility for so long because it works. It’s a good looking, well built machine, and it’s very identifiably a gaming laptop.

The Raider isn’t running a 4K panel or a touchscreen, but the 15.6 inch HDR 1920x1080 screen is pushing a very smooth 120Hz refresh rate, along with a wide viewing angle.

MSI addresses this issue with Cooler Boost 5, a system of vents, fans, and heatpipes that they claim improves heat dispersal over other setups.

Steelseries is on keyboard duty for another Newegg laptop, with a full RGB setup controlled by MSI’s Mystic Light software. There’s also a button on the right side of the keyboard that allows you to switch up the lighting effects if you don’t want to go through the software.

There's a red outline around the stellar trackpad that adds some color and definition, so it doesn’t blend in and get lost in the black like we see with some modern laptops.

It’s not the lightest or thinnest gaming laptop we’ve seen, but at under five pounds, it’s still remarkably small given how much power the Raider is packing.

Specs

Put simply, the Raider we got in the studio is a beast. You can get different specific hardware if you want to modify the price, but this Raider is packing some pretty serious power.

The brains of this operation is an i7-7700HQ, backed up by 32GB of RAM. For storage, the Raider has 500GB SSD, along with a 1TB HDD, so space shouldn’t be an issue, though it is a shame that the SSD is SATA and not M.2.

But the real star of the show here is the 8GB 1070 GPU. Considering the Raider’s sporting a 1920x1080 screen, you’ll be able to run just about anything you can think of at upwards of 100 FPS.

We were getting 200+ frames in Overwatch, and a solid 110-120 for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, which is a very graphically demanding game.

Forget smart phones, this is real mobile gaming.

Cooling

But all that GPU action means lots of heat right? It’s just science.

MSI addresses this issue with Cooler Boost 5, a system of vents, fans, and heatpipes that they claim improves heat dispersal over other setups. We didn’t use this laptop out in the sun or anything, but in our testing we found that it never overheated and that the keyboard never became uncomfortable to use, even after extensive gaming. You can hear the fans as they push hot air out of the vents on the sides, but they aren’t excessively loud, and it seems like the cooling system implemented on the Raider gets the job done.

Get Connected

There seems to be a trend in modern gaming laptops toward smaller being better; lots of power in itty bitty bodies. One way to accomplish that is by eliminating connections.

The Raider does not go down that road. It’s got everything you’d expect and then some. HDMI of course, but also mini DP. It’s got an ethernet port if you’re interested in wired connections, and a USB-C. 

The laptop also has some surprisingly decent DYNAUDIO speakers, that sound much bigger than they actually are. You’re still going to want headphones, but these get the job done if you’re headphone-less.

Raid On

The Raider is MSI at its finest. It’s got the style you’ve come to expect, and it’s a fairly straightforward, high specced machine. No gimmicks here, just functional cooling, powerful hardware, and tons of RAM and storage.

It’s an unapologetic gaming laptop that’s not trying to be anything else, and I like that.

The MSI Raider is available on Newegg now.