Review: MSI GE65 Raider – Giant Sound That Delivers Gaming Goods
8.3Overall Score
DESIGN8
PERFORMANCE9
VALUE8

Recently announced ESL gaming partner MSI is finally bringing its next-gen gaming notebook, the powerful GE65 Raider to Australia from $3,199.

Debuted at Computex 2019, MSI’s latest gaming notebook promises incredible fast refresh rates, ray tracing, and giant speakers, all in a thin-bezelled aluminium chassis, but does it live up to its own hype?

DESIGN

GE65 1 Review: MSI GE65 Raider – Giant Sound That Delivers Gaming Goods

Although ostensibly a gaming laptop, MSI wants to appeal to all kinds of consumers with this notebook, including gamers, students, and designers.

That said, the design should appeal to traditional gaming laptop lovers with its sleek black chassis with 3D dragon spines, and vibrant full per-key sRGB lighting.

Its thin bezel is only 5mm with 82% screen to body ratio and anti-glare display which makes for captivating gameplay.

MSI claims the GE65 Raider is 11% smaller than its competitors at 248mm x 357.7mm which provides a slight edge in terms of portability.

The GE65 Raider has all the trappings of a modern gaming laptop but what MSI is hoping will set it apart from the other 2019 gaming notebooks is the new addition of the appropriately named “Giant Speaker”.

The speaker is 5 times bigger than its predecessors with 2 x 2W speakers, 2 x 3W woofers and 5x Chamber space.

It takes up a large portion of the laptop’s undercarriage with a striking thermal intake design dubbed “Dragon Armor”.

The speaker offers incredibly loud audio, although tinny and sharp at higher volumes.

However, as an occasional gamer, I fail to see the benefit of the speakers on a gaming laptop.

Yes, they are powerful, but I rarely, if ever, crank up the volume while gaming.

I usually rely on a pair of good quality headphones, preferably with noise cancelling for a fully immersive gaming experience.

MSI themselves offer a great range of gaming headphones, so unless you are going to be using your laptop to provide the tunes at your next shindig, it’s not the “giant” benefit it is attempting to be.

PERFORMANCE

GE65 3 Review: MSI GE65 Raider – Giant Sound That Delivers Gaming Goods

Like all MSI gaming notebooks, it comes pre-loaded with its “gaming rig” MSI Dragon Centre.

The Dragon Centre provides system monitoring to enable users to keep track of CPU, GPU, Memory and Disk usage and status as well as providing all the relevant info on the notebook itself.

The model being reviewed runs on Intel Core i9880H CPU at 2.30 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with an impressive 16GB RAM, with expandable SSD of just over 900GB.

Via Dragon Centre, gamers can select pre-set enhanced gaming modes for tournament and league titles like Counter-Strike, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, Overwatch, and more.

It also shows two icons for the device’s fans. During regular usage, only one fan came on generally hovering around 2400 RPM give or take 50RPM.

It also offers a “System Tuner” where one can change up various settings like fan speed (Auto, Basic, Advanced, Cooler Boost which bumps the fans up to 6400 and 6000 RPM respectively).

The GE65 features the latest Cooler Boost 5 Upgrade which provides a reason for the giant speaker.

The Cooler Boost 5 features 7 heat pipes, 3 exhausts, a whopping 37 fan blades.

It instantly cools down the notebook in the middle of intensive gameplay, but with the trade-off of incredibly loud noise.

Thankfully the giant speaker can drown out the noise of the fans, but it makes for a very loud and distracting affair.

Again, offering an argument for a good pair of headphones so you can continue gaming without interruption.

Battery life is a major focus of the laptop, paramount for a portable gaming notebook and it does pay off.

Even with the powerful innards of the machine, in the short time I enjoyed this laptop it easily handled a couple of hours of minimal use, then over four hours of gameplay after downloading Tomb Raider: Shadow of the Tomb Raider from Steam.

Once the Dragon Centre is launched, users are greeted by Lucky, the MSI dragon mascot who allows users to set the laptop to their preferred performance mode (improved performance, improved battery, or a balance), battery life (at what battery level to enter ECO mode), and for what use is the laptop intended.

The six “uses” of the laptop included are “Play Games”, “Watch Movies”, “Listen to Music”, “Design Things”, “Do Work” and,“ Do Voice Call”.

Each mode claims to enhance that particular experience however, this can always be altered.

The laptop also offers MSI Gaming Mode for “the best gaming experience”.

Right-clicking on the desktop reveals an option for MSI True Colour which enables the user to tune the display to their fancy, including “Gamer”, “Anti-Blue” (everything appears in a reddish haze), “sRGB” (deeper colour saturation more brightness), “Designer” (deeper blacks, and saturation with less brightness) “Office” and “Movie” (which appeared identical).

The biggest draw for this notebook, for me, is the 240Hz refresh rate IPS level display offering rapid refresh gameplay.

Expect to see this feature rolled out on all high-end 2019 gaming notebooks.

VALUE

GE65 2 Review: MSI GE65 Raider – Giant Sound That Delivers Gaming Goods

With a gaming rig like the 2019 GE65 Raider, it will come down to what the consumer wants from their notebook.

Boasting narrower bezels than the outgoing GE63 plus additional power balancing abilities, increased portability and impressive refresh rates, it makes a strong case for itself in the competitive gaming market.

Gaming laptops with 240Hz refresh rates are set to be a trend in this year’s line-up across all the major gaming brands. Expect high prices, vibrant RGB lighting and amazing graphics.

MSI is attempting to pull ahead with the baffling but powerful giant speaker, sleek design, and compatibility with Wi-Fi 6 – readying its notebook for the oncoming onslaught of game streaming.

The MSI GE65 Raider will be available in the coming months from msi.com.au and major electronics retailers starting at $3,199.

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