A premium machine for a premium price, the MSI Raider GE78 HX is a high-performing gaming laptop with a sense of style. If you’re serious about having fun, this might just be the ultimate gaming laptop.
Table of Contents
REASONS TO BUY
- Gorgeous design
- Super-powerful specs
- High build quality
REASONS TO AVOID
- A little loud when gaming
- Undeniably expensive
When you drop four grand on a gaming laptop, that comes with some pretty high expectations. You’re expecting something that looks, feels, and performs like something from Cyberpunk 2077 – and with the MSI Raider GE78 HX, that’s the case.
This monster machine is for sure going to have some of our list of the best gaming laptops trembling in their cases, but exactly how far up the ladder should it go? Keep on reading this review for the full story – the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens.
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX: PRICE & AVAILABILITY
You read the intro right, this is a laptop that costs almost four grand. For that kind of money, you could glue 10 PlayStation 5 consoles together. To be more precise, the model I tested with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU costs £3,599 in the UK.
There’s an RTX 4090 version for £3,799 too. Other pricing varies, and outside of Europe I can’t locate an MSI model that matches, so there’s no USD or AUD equivalent pricing for our friends over the oceans.
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX REVIEW: DESIGN
This laptop is not going to win any awards for subtlety. With a strip of lights on the front of the base, multicolored keys, and a dragon logo that pulses between different hues, you get the sense that when the designers were asked how many RBG lights they wanted, they just replied “Yes”.
In my mind though, that’s exactly the right design ethos for a laptop of this price. You want something that stands out, that demands attention, and the Raider does that.
That’s not to say that MSI has foregone build quality for the wow factor, however. Yes, the underneath may be plastic, but the keyboard and surrounding bodywork (and the outer lid) are made of premium-feeling metal.
This does, however, bring with it added bulk, with the laptop weighing 3.1kg (6.6lbs) in total, while the power brick is the size and weight of a chunky Chihuahua.
To put it simply, this is the best-looking gaming laptop I have seen in a long time. It fits the bill.
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX REVIEW: DISPLAY
The 17-inch screen on the Raider is another one of its strengths. The QHD+ panel features a 2560 x 1600 resolution that’s perfect for playing games on a 16:10 aspect ratio.
A 240Hz refresh rate isn’t the highest I’ve seen, as some others such as the Razer Blade 15 Advanced can go up to 360Hz, but it’s a solid option, still responsive, and if you can run a game at 240fps then what more do you need?
Laptops with 16-inch displays have been trendy recently and while the extra inch of the Raider does make it a bit more cumbersome, when stationary it’s wholly appreciated.
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX REVIEW: PERFORMANCE
It’s all well and good being beautiful, but if your date can’t hold a conversation it’s not going to work. And the same applies here, it’s time for the Raider to put its money where its mouth is and justify its hefty price tag.
Knowing its impressive spec sheet with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB of RAM (expandable up to 64GB), and a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, I was determined to throw some of the most graphically intense titles at the Raider.
First up was a personal favorite of mine, Deathloop. A drop-dead gorgeous game, with all the settings, cranked up to the max (and ray-tracing on), I couldn’t get the Raider to waiver from 90fps. A feast for the eyes. The newly released Exoprimal also has ray tracing and often features dozens of dinosaurs fighting for space on the screen at once, a great performance test if ever there was one. It proved to again be no match for the Raider with 90fps throughout.
Interestingly gaming laptops normally struggle when not plugged into the charger but with the Raider, I was able to get a stable 40fps on Deathloop, which is decent for this lower-power mode. However, I was only able to achieve 15fps on Exoprimal without the laptop being plugged into power.
While putting it through its paces, the Raider had no problems with overheating, but it was pretty loud, even when not really under much stress. It’s not enough to drown out game audio, but noticeable.
There are no guarantees in gaming but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that this machine will continue to munch through the top games for a good few years to come.
If you’re a specs enthusiast then you’ll be interested to know that the Raider performed well on our Geekbench benchmark tests with a CPU single-core score of 2749 and a multi-core score of 13,503, while the GPU scored 171,541. As I said these are both good scores but interestingly not exceptional, behind the Acer Predator Helios 16 for instance.
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX REVIEW: FEATURES
Using this laptop as well… The laptop is of course no issue, the SteelSeries keyboard in particular is a joy to type on. Streaming fans should be particularly happy with two speakers, four woofers, and that lush screen acting as a great offering for movie buffs.
|CPU:||13th Gen Intel Core i9-13950HX|
|Graphics:||Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080|
|RAM:||32GB DDR5 SDRAM|
|Display:||17” QHD+ (2560×1600), 240Hz, Mini-LED|
|Storage:||2TB M.2 SSD|
|Webcam:||Full HD 1080p|
|Ports:||1x Thunderlot 4 USB C, 2x USB C, 2x USB A, 1x HDMI port, 1x SD card reader, 1x Ethernet, 1x power cord, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack|
Aside from pure gaming power and bold styling, the biggest selling point for this laptop is likely the plethora of ports on offer. There are no less than 10 connections on the base of the machine, albeit only one Thunderbolt 4 option. If the 2TB M.2 SSD storage somehow isn’t enough, there’s even an SD card reader.
As for the webcam, it’s a quality 1080p effort that even comes with a nice privacy slider – which might not be a system seller but saves you a sticker. Here’s a full rundown of specs:
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX REVIEW: BATTERY LIFE
Battery life is never something to write home about on any gaming laptop. With a 99.9Whr battery (the largest any laptop is permitted to have), you would still expect a little better than the around 3 hours of general use I was getting.
It was similarly disappointing when playing intense games, as I could only really manage an hour or so before being warned about battery life. Again, though, this is not unusual for gaming laptops of any price.
This further cements the Raider’s place as a desktop challenger rather than a machine to use anywhere and everywhere. The 330W charger is at least pretty speedy, although it does feature an irritating green light that might keep you awake at night.
MSI RAIDER GE78 HX REVIEW: VERDICT
Yes, it’s pricey, but the MSI Raider GE78 HX is a stellar bit of craftsmanship. A true premium feel and standout design are joined by similarly excellent performance to create a package that’s a real challenge to beat.
With the absurd amount of RGB lighting and translucent WASD keys, there’s a sense of fun appropriate for a machine that’s meant to bring you the joy of your favorite games.
If you’ve fallen out of love with PC gaming, this machine will be enough to hook you back in… if you can afford it, of course.
Check this out: Top 15 Multiplayer Horror Video Games of All Time
There is no shortage of great gaming laptop options out there and if you want something with equally amazing performance and a slightly more reasonable price you could opt for the Acer Predator Helios 16. The screen is a bit smaller and it doesn’t have the same sense of style but it’s still a great choice. The same goes for the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16. If you’re keen to get into PC gaming but don’t have the cash to burn, try the HP OMEN 16 as a mid-range marvel.
Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 review
- CPU and GPU performance is quite decent for the laptop’s low price
- The keyboard is large, flashy, and with an excellent selection of keys
- The port selection is extremely good – it includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports
- The speaker’s audio is quiet and tuned mostly for the mid and high-frequency sounds
- My display’s 165Hz refresh rate didn’t do a lot to prevent stuttering
- The off-center positioning of the trackpad isn’t ideal
The Acer Predator Helios Neo 16 is a great option for gamers on a budget, delivering decent performance, gamer-centric styling, and plenty of port options for a fraction of the price of a premium laptop.