Design

MSI has created a cohesive design language that they’ve been using across their lineup for some time now, and they’ve been tweaking it with each generation. The GE75 Raider is unmistakably an MSI gaming laptop though, featuring the familiar black aluminum lid, light-up dragon logo, and red accents. Although theming is a personal thing, MSI does a great job of adding accents and touches without getting out of hand.

The entire chassis isn’t aluminum, but MSI’s use of plastic on the underside doesn’t detract from the feel of the laptop, especially considering as a 17-inch gaming laptop it’s going to be sitting on a desk most of the time. The plastic is also one of the few areas where MSI added a lot of “gamer” design with what MSI describes as “to show the spirit of cosmological warship as the asymmetry shape” and although that meaning isn’t exactly clear, this design is only on the bottom and therefore not something that would normally detract from the device if you aren’t into the outlandish design statements.

Opening the lid we see that MSI offers a thin-bezel design in their large form factor laptop, making the GE75 Raider significantly smaller than a 17.3-inch laptop from just a couple of years ago. The form factor is still larger than a 15.6-inch, but with the reduction in bezel size and therefore overall width of the laptop, it doesn’t feel much larger than many 15.6-inch models, despite the larger display.

But it is of course a bit bigger, and looking at the keyboard makes this obvious, since MSI was able to fit in a number pad on the right without the same sacrifices you’d see on a typical 15.6-inch model. Although the number pad isn’t as full-sized as a desktop keyboard, other than the half-width zero key it is otherwise identical in layout and is a useful addition when there’s enough room on the deck.

The keyboard itself is a treat as well, and once again MSI has added in a SteelSeries keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting. Much of their competition still uses zoned backlighting, which is not even in the same realm as the quality of this RGB backlight. The colors are strong and provide plenty of adjustable lighting through the keys, and although the tendency of RGB everything can be seen as an addon with limited value, per-key RGB backlighting does in fact offer benefits that you’d not be able to achieve with a zoned backlighting system. For instance, I use the Prt Scn button often, but the location on a laptop keyboard can vary, so you can easily set this one key to a unique color and always be able to find it in a second. The typical WSAD key colors can also be changed, and one excellent feature MSI does is that it blacks out all of the keys except those with a function assigned when you press the Fn key, making it simple to find the right key to change the volume, or adjust the brightness.

The feel of the keyboard is good, with nice travel and weight. But despite being a quality keyboard, there are a few issues. First, the key caps are slightly convex, so your fingers can tend to slide around on them, and it is a strange feeling. The best keyboards tend to have concave key caps, providing a solid spot for your finger to rest in. Second, this keyboard has a slightly strange layout, with the Windows Key being on the right side of the keyboard along with a duplicate backslash key. It’s something you would get used to, but as someone who jumps around on lots of devices, it feels strange.

Located to the right of the keyboard are some dedicated buttons as well. At the top is a power button, nicely located away from the keyboard, and below that is a button to toggle the backlighting modes, and finally below that is a button to adjust the fan profile.

Moving on to the trackpad and we have another win for MSI. The size is generous, but fits in well with the larger size of this laptop, and MSI has actual physical buttons at the bottom as well, which are appreciated for gaming. You’d still likely want a mouse for gaming, but the trackpad is smooth and responsive, and works well. The multi-touch gestures work flawlessly, and the physical buttons add options depending on your task.

There’s enough I/O as well, with two USB Type-A ports on the right side, along with an SD card slot and power connector, and on the left is another Type-A port, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, USB Type-C, Ethernet, and the two 3.5 mm audio jacks. It’s well-equipped although the Type-C port isn’t Thunderbolt 3, which is a bit of a strange omission, although it is a Gen 2 port.

Overall the design is excellent, and continues in MSI’s tradition of offering a very well-built laptop in the gaming space. The styling is pure MSI, but without being too over the top. The red accents work really well, and the keyboard is one of the better ones in its class. The GE75 Raider is off to a great start.

Introduction System Performance
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  • MattL - Monday, July 15, 2019 - link

    As it turns out I just upgraded from an OLED 1440p Alienware 13" laptop to this exact ge75 i9 9880h 2080 laptop.

    I was concerned about going from 13" 1440p (on that beautiful OLED screen) to 17" and 1080p.

    I can say absolutely it's not a problem. 17" at 1080p is perfectly fine. Basically it's almost the same pixel density as my 34" Ultra Wide 3440x1440p (120hz IPS) display which is pretty high res itself (the max you'd want for gaming).

    4k gaming would be horrible.... you'd get no FPS. getting closer to 144hz (at least 80-100+ FPS) is far more important.

    On the best games even this top notch 2080 can struggle to get 100 fps at 1080p in some cases if you have your settings set high....

    1080p is exactly the appropriate resolution for a modern gaming laptop.
    Reply
  • Zanor - Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - link

    It's a laptop very focused on gaming. Gamers don't want 60hz. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    "Second, this keyboard has a slightly strange layout, with the Windows Key being on the right side of the keyboard along with a duplicate backslash key."

    Half of this is apparently due to MSI using an international mechanical layout with an extra keycap rather than a different piece of hardware for the US model. The second half which has always baffled me is that they put a pipe on the extra key instead of a right click key; which although increasingly rare would map back towards the original 104 key layout.
    Reply
  • cgeorgescu - Saturday, July 13, 2019 - link

    FN and Win keys can be swapped (physically and in BIOS), then the somehow strangely-placed keys can be re-mapped with that Steelseries software.
    On mine (an older MSI GS), I have Del instead of Pause and AltGR instead of that second |\ right of the spacebar.

    Now unrelated to keys: all MSI laptops can be bought in wildly customised configuration, there are tons of small shops (online) who sell these with any combination of SSDs, memory, etc.
    Reply
  • eva02langley - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    280W power supply!!!!?

    How much does that thing cost by its own, 150$!!!???

    Anyway, I am waiting for my Zen 2 APU laptop with Navi cores.
    Reply
  • ads295 - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    Agreed. I think it may be possible to have 1080p eSports gaming for 3-4 hours on battery with an APU. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    probably. I couldn't find MSIs model as a replacement, but the equivalent ASUS model is $149 direct. Reply
  • Vitor - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    Holy sheet, those display numbers are incredible. Basically a gaming notebook that can be used for professional edition. Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Friday, July 12, 2019 - link

    Given the position of the air intakes - this is not suitable for laptop use. If used on a lap much of the airflow will be blocked and there will be nasty temperatures near some sensitive bits. This device is a lightweight Desktop Replacement - not a laptop.
    In my opinion if you want a portable gaming system (especially with a high end GPU like the 2080) then you should get a system with good cooling which implies a thicker chassis with better airflow, larger heatsinks and fans and a higher weight.
    Two things that "laptop" reviews should do are show the bottom temperatures after an hour of heavy use and also see if the cooling system can stand up to being used on a lap without cooking the laptop or the user.
    Reply
  • nevcairiel - Saturday, July 13, 2019 - link

    Is it really that common to actually use a laptop in your lap directly? That has always been exceedingly uncomfortable for me, no matter if gaming or working. Would always grab a table or perhaps one of those laptop lap stands that gives it more height and a flat surface to keep it's vents free Reply

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