Today we're looking at one of the most powerful laptops you can get in a reasonable form factor at a reasonable price, the MSI GE75 Raider 9SF.
If we say sensibly, that's because you can get more powerful components like octa-core CPUs in large, animal systems like MSI's own GT76. But many players tend to avoid this type of clunky system, as evidenced by the popularity of these lighter mid-tier designs with a more manageable footprint.
The MSI GE75 Raider is a 17-inch notebook with a 1080p 144Hz display as standard. This latest model is included in the new Intel Core i7-9750H, the full version of the GeForce RTX 2070 GPU and 16 GB dual-channel DDR4, as well as a decent piece of SSD storage. It costs $ 2,000, which is standard for these specs in mid-2019. More on this if we carry out a complete breakdown and discussion of the values after our performance section.
Design and functions
The design of the GE75 Raider is nothing special that we have to admit. With a weight of 5.3 lbs and a thickness of 1.08 inches, it's not the largest laptop there is, but it's also not a sleek slot machine like the GS75 Stealth that cuts almost a full pound and is slimmer overall. But the GS75 is a more expensive system and for many users, the GE75 continues to offer the portability you are looking for.
We welcome the use of narrow bezels around the display. While this is no longer the only function it once was, it helps reduce the overall footprint of the system and provides the largest possible display within the available space. Like the other designs with a narrow front panel from MSI, the camera is located above the screen, so there are no problems with nostril vision.
MSI made most of this laptop from black metal (for the lid and keyboard area) and black plastic (for the bottom and the display case). It's a simple but sturdy construction that focuses on functionality and looks. There are a few red highlights and a few stitching that you wouldn't get from MSI's flagship line, but overall, we think the design does not feel cheap while remaining as user-friendly as possible.
The choice of decent ports includes three red-lit USB ports of type A, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 type C port, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, two audio jacks, a mini DisplayPort and an SD card reader. All ports are on the sides, but none block the vents, unlike some other MSI designs, where the power cord can easily restrict airflow from a side vent. There are some ventilation slots on the edges of the laptop to maximize the cooling potential.
The best way to describe the keyboard and trackpad is "OK", nothing out of the ordinary, but maintainable gaming laptop peripherals. The tactile feel of MSI's SteelSeries gaming laptop keyboards has never surprised us, but the layout is acceptable, the number pad is basically a requirement for a 17-inch device, and you get RGB backlighting per key.
We should also mention the two buttons just below the power button, one is used to change the keyboard backlight profiles and the other activates the Cooler Boost function from MSI, which brings the fans to maximum when you need this extra power or cooling power.
Performance is the main feature of this laptop. Starting with the CPU, we've already done a full review of the Intel Core i7-9750H (read here), but the key finding is that this new 9th generation six-core CPU is not significantly faster than the previous Core i7 – 8750H. So if you switch between a new 9th generation model and an older 8th generation model and the latter is much cheaper, you won't lose anything if you choose the last generation. While the 9750H is clocked higher on paper, a higher clock speed in real workloads does not lead to better performance.
That doesn't mean the MSI GE75 is slow. It remains one of the fastest laptops you can get in this size class, and the 9750H is a very powerful CPU, but it's only 3-4 percent faster than the best 8750H laptops out there.
The GE75 impressed us more than the performance of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070. Note that the RTX 2070 for laptops is not the same as the desktop GPU. In fact, we did a full test to compare the two, where the desktop PC wins around 20 percent.
However, what impressed us here was the raw power output to become the fastest laptop GPU we've tested so far. Granted, we haven't tested the RTX 2080 (Max-Q only), but considering that this is an additional $ 600 to $ 800 just for the GPU upgrade, this is unlikely to be considered by most and does not offer great value. Instead, for around $ 2,000, the RTX 2070 is faster than the GTX 1070, faster than the RTX 2070 Max-Q, and even faster than the RTX 2080 Max-Q. It packs a lot of punch.
RTX 2070 laptop vs. RTX 2080 Max-Q
Let's work through some performance issues and we'll start with this impressive result compared to the RTX 2080 Max-Q. This shows how underclocked the RTX 2080 Max-Q is, since even the faster 90 W version in the MSI GE75 loses against the RTX 2070 and the 2070 has an average of five percent lead.
This also shows the difference and the advantage of getting a medium-sized device like the GE75 over a slim and light device like the GS75 from a performance point of view: there is simply more space for cooling, which means that the laptop has a higher GPU Can record TDP which leads to better performance.
Slim and lights are basically used to a maximum in a current generation 2080 Max-Q, while systems such as the GE75 offer more headroom. Not to mention a 2080 Max-Q system that brings you ~ $ 650 more than the GE75 with a 2070. So if you get slim and light, you'll have to ask yourself again how much you need for that extra portability .
RTX 2070 laptop against GTX 1070
A more relevant comparison is the RTX 2070 with the GTX 1070. Previous laptops with a chassis like the GE75 were often equipped with the GTX 1070 and delivered impressive performance. However, the RTX 2070 in the GE75 is on average 15 percent faster than our overall results for the previously tested GTX 1070 laptops. Even compared to the Acer Predator Helios 500, one of the fastest GTX 1070 laptops I've tested, the GE75 with an RTX 2070 inside is still 12 percent faster.
RTX 2070 laptop versus RTX 2070 Max-Q
Interested in an RTX 2070 Max-Q laptop? Well, the full version is 20 percent faster on average. If you're interested in lean and light systems, you really need this extra portability as you lose performance.
RTX 2070 laptop versus RTX 2060 laptop
The gap between the RTX 2070 and the RTX 2060 should also be emphasized, as many laptops of this size, including the GE75, are available with an RTX 2060 inside. In my tests, the RTX 2070 comes away 26 percent faster on average, which is larger than the distance you will see between these GPUs in desktop systems.
But that makes perfect sense. The desktop RTX 2070 is clocked lower than the RTX 2060, but has more CUDA cores, so it's usually up to 15% faster (if it is). However, the RTX 2070 for laptops offers both a core count and a significant advantage for the clock rate. So we have this kind of scope.
These breakdowns don't give much insight into the GPU's performance in real-world gaming. Here are some diagrams. In Metro Exodus, you can clearly see that the system performs well and delivers an average of over 80 FPS with ultra settings at 1080p.
In Resident Evil 2, you see over 130 FPS in this title, making the laptop suitable for high-update games. In Battlefield V, an average of 100 FPS at 1080p again shows the performance of this system. Since the GE75 uses a 144 Hz display, the RTX 2070 uses the additional headroom for the refresh rate.
We should note that we tested the GE75 with the default settings that deliver strong performance. This means you are using sport performance switching mode and automatic fan speed. While you can enable Cooler Boost, which causes the fans to explode 100%, we have found that in most scenarios, the automatic fan setting will start the fans near this level anyway, but unlike Cooler Boost, they will also shut down at idle.
Turbo mode, cooling, battery life
An optional turbo mode offers easy 100 MHz GPU overclocking and 200 MHz VRAM memory overclocking. You'll add a few extra frames to your gaming performance so as not to be much of a disadvantage. We therefore recommend this if necessary. The reason why turbo mode works well is because of the cooler performance data. The GPU is only 75 degrees and a CPU temperature of 85 degrees during a Watch Dogs 2 game session. That's very reasonable for a laptop and right up there with some of the better designs we've tested.
This type of cold room is good for several reasons. First, the GE75 runs fairly loud under load in auto mode, up to 48 dBA. However, since the GPU only runs at 75 degrees, depending on your environmental conditions, you can lower the fan speed and achieve a more enjoyable experience without sacrificing performance. Or you could easily overclock. This also shows that the RTX 2080 variant can be operated at the intended frequencies without any significant throttling, although we have not yet tested this model ourselves.
MSI loaded our test device with a 1 TB Samsung PM981 SSD, although 512 GB is standard. The performance of this SSD is excellent and exceeds the performance required for gaming.
When you look at the display again, it is a 17-inch IPS device with 1080p and 144 Hz, which is quite common in high-end slot machines. It's a good panel, but it won't blow your mind. It achieves a peak brightness of around 270 nits, a contrast ratio of 1060: 1 and an immediately ready-to-use color performance of around a DeltaE average of 3.0 with a slightly wrong white point.
This is an average result among gaming laptops, but the highlight here is the 144 Hz refresh rate, which is great for gaming. There is no G-Sync support. This is a compromise to switch the GPU for better battery life.
Speaking of battery life: The GE75 has an internal 51 Wh battery, which is slightly below average for this machine type and, as expected, lasts ~ 4 hours in our battery test for video playback. Not a terrible result, but not at the level of other portable gaming notebooks.
Overall, the MSI GE75 is a great gaming laptop. It's not a premium premium offering, so the design is a little basic, but it makes up for it with excellent performance, a great 1080p high-refresh display, adequate memory, and most importantly, high-performance cooling. If you want to play games and you want your gaming system to be portable, the GE75 gives you that.
After the dust settles on Nvidia's mobile RTX range, the MSI GE75 is currently offering a price-performance sweet spot. This laptop costs $ 2,000, while we have RTX 2060 laptops for around $ 1,700 and RTX 2080 laptops for $ 2,700.
Given that the RTX 2070 is 26 percent faster than the RTX 2060 when comparing laptop variants, but costs 18 percent more, this is a good place for the 2070. And unlike the desktop line, where the 2060 the better purchase is a value viewpoint.
We haven't tested the laptop variant of the RTX 2080 yet, but it would have to be at least 25 to 30% faster to justify the price increase, which is likely to push it a little. In the meantime, the Max-Q variants are not worth mentioning as they tend to be slower and have a worse value, simply because of their integration in premium laptops, where form and performance take precedence.
Despite all this, older Pascal laptops are still a thorn in the side of the laptop manufacturers of the current generation. Given that the Core i7-9750H doesn't offer any noticeable gains over the 8750H, there are still some decent last-generation purchases. While the MSI GE75 and RTX 2070 laptops are a good buy for the current generation, you'll be pretty happy if you can buy a 8750H GTX 1070 laptop for less than $ 1,600. Needless to say, Pascal laptops won't be available forever and not all of them are great purchases.
The bottom line was that we liked the MSI GE75, and the RTX 2070 used here is the first time that we are more targeting an Nvidia RTX laptop than not. We like the level of performance and the fact that you don't need a large Musclebook laptop to get it – still find it amusing Intel invented the term Musclebook …