Aside from top-end specifications and thinner form-factors, it seems that RGB is becoming the name of the game in the gaming notebook business. MSI has always strived to be at the forefront of the PC gaming market. In this review, we’ll be taking a look the MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider, MSI’s first notebook with per key RGB illumination.
MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider
|CPU||Up to 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor|
|OS||Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1070|
|RAM||Up to 32GB|
|Display||17.3-inch IPS, 120Hz, 5ms, 1920 x 1080|
|Storage||256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD|
|I/O Ports||1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 1x RJ-45, 1x SD Card Reader, 1x HDMI, 1x mini-displayport, 2x 3.5mm jack|
|Connection||Killer Gb LAN, Killer ac WiFi + Bluetooth 4.1|
|Dimensions||419 x 285 x 28.5mm|
Up close with the MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider
The MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider is a more compact gaming notebook compared to MSI’s GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro. Despite the size difference, the Raider still packs the same sleek design as its contemporaries. The notebook comes with an aluminum chassis that’s smooth and cool to the touch. It also oozes the same aura that you’d get with a sports car, which is the look that MSI has been going for in their gaming notebook division.
The laptop comes in a 17.3-inch form-factor due to its 17.3-inch IPS display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 5ms response time. You can also get a 4K UHD IPS panel with the Raider if you want. Ours, however, did come with a 1080p panel that’s also capable of G-Sync, which will allow the notebook to deliver a tearing-free gaming experience.
Colors on the IPS panel are decent. Colors are well-saturated without being too harsh on the eyes. It also delivers superb viewing angles with the Raider getting no troubles from off-angle viewership. Brightness is decent and since there’s also a bit of anti-glare coating on the panel, you’ll get no trouble viewing the display if there’s light emanating from behind you.
The Raider comes with an NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1070 paired with a four-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ with 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2133MHz (you can also set the Raider up to have 32GB of RAM). It’s all pretty standard here although we have noticed that MSI has used a single stick of DDR4 SODIMM instead of having an 8GB x 2 configuration. We would have liked gaming notebooks to have at least two sticks of RAM to improve performance.
The notebook comes with a 256GB M.2 SSD and a 1TB HDD combo. This is pretty decent storage especially nowadays. You can put all your frequently accessed files and games on the SSD for faster storage while you can offload rarely used games or smaller files on the HDD.
The MSI GE73VR 7RF’s audio is handled by its Dynadio sound system, which is composed of two 2W speakers and two 3W woofers. Notebooks usually have weak speakers in general due to their compact size. This is not the case with the Raider. The speakers are superb. In terms of volume, the match the power of some of the louder portable Bluetooth speakers in the market. There’s aren’t much depth in the sounds coming off the speakers but damn they’re loud.
The Raider’s I/O is composed of two USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and an SD card reader at the right-hand side. Flipping over on to the other side is a single USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, a sole USB 3.1 Type-A port, an Ethernet port, and two 3.5mm jacks for your microphone and headphones.
The Raider has a standard 90% keyboard layout with per-key RGB. This means that you are able to program the lighting on the keyboard for each and every key via the SteelSeries app that we’ll discuss in the Software portion of this review. The RGB lighting on the keys are crisp and clear although the bottom part of the keys are translucent, which allows the lighting to go through. This means that both the bottom and the characters on the Raider’s keyboard are lit.
Despite its superb RGB lighting, the Raider’s keyboard still sticks to a Chiclet style keyboard. This is rather disappointing especially since we’re fresh off from our review of the MSI GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro, which had a mechanical keyboard. We won’t strike down MSI for this since the Raider is positioned lower than the Titan Pro but the Raider’s typing experience won’t separate it from its competitors.
The notebook’s track pad is fairly run-of-the-mill. The gliding action is smooth while the left and right buttons offers just the right resistance to avoid accidental clicking. We have noticed, however, that there are some key blocking happening when we were using the track pad and the keyboard simultaneously in instances when we’re desperately playing an FPS using the track pad. The key-blocking will only happen on the left and right buttons while the keyboard is left unaffected. You probably won’t experience this especially if you bring around a dedicated mouse like any decent gamer.
The MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider uses MSI’s Cooler Boost 5, which consists of 7 heat pipes as well as four air vents (two for intake and two for exhaust). The intakes are located at both sides of the notebook while the exhausts are positioned behind the notebook to blow the hot air away from the user.
Based on our experience, the Raider does still become toasty at times especially if the fans are left to its own devices. In this situation, however, you can use the Turbo Fan button located at the right-hand side of the keyboard to max out the fans. A warning though; it will be loud but it will cool down the notebook to its maximum effectiveness.
There is some bloatware found on most of MSI’s notebooks, the most prevalent of which is Norton Security. Don’t get us wrong, some protection from the Internet baddies is good but Norton does have a habit of being annoying at the worst of times.
MSI Dragon Center
Most of the software installed on MSI’s notebooks are useful such as the MSI Dragon Center, which allows you to customize the performance of the brand’s notebooks to an extent.
MSI True Color
The display can be further tweaked via the MSI True Color app. You can choose from six different presets depending on your preference. If not one of them sufficient enough, you can change the brightness and the color temperature within the app itself. You can also set what preset will load depending on the program you have just launched.
Nahimic allows you to customize the notebooks audio settings in a few simple steps. Of course, you can also precisely tune your audio preference since there is a built-in equalizer. Another feature built-in Nahimic is the Nahimic Sound Tracker. It essentially acts like a compass overlay that points you to the direction of things like gun shots, footsteps, and other sound cues that will help you locate your enemy.
Killer Control Center
The Killer Control Center lets you control the networking settings of the notebook. You can test the speed of your Internet connection with the app as well as monitor the applications running on your notebook and their respective bandwidth usage. If you’re connected to WiFi, there’s a WiFi Analyzer that you can use to connect to the least populated WiFi channel.
The SteelSeries 3 app contains almost all the gaming functionalities you’d want in a gaming peripheral. From here, you can customize the lighting of the keyboard and apply several presets MSI and SteelSeries already included in the program. You can also set your own macros and apply it to the key you prefer.
The Raider uses a 6-cell, 51 Whr battery to power its components while on the go. While it can provide the power you need if you’re just working on some excel files, you’d probably want to go find an outlet whenever you’re playing. In our testing, the Raider only lasted just under an hour and a half on full-blast while gaming, which will lead to an abrupt ending to your game.
We ran the MSI GE73VR 7RF Raider against our usual suite of games and synthetic benchmarks to see what this RGB notebook from MSi is capable of. Games were set to 1920 x 1080 as it is the native resolution of the panel of our notebook that we were supplied with.
Priced at PhP 129,995, the MSI GE73VR 7RF is a strong contender in its price point. For the money, you’re getting top-notch specifications like an Intel Core i7-7700HQ, an NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1070 as well as a 17.3-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate, an IPS panel, and a 5ms response time. The speakers are nothing scoff about as well since they deliver loud and clear audio.
The Raider, however, does have some negative points. The cooling is a bit loud to our liking and if even you ramp down the fans, you still get a high temperature bump in the internals of the notebook. Battery life is sub-par with the notebook only having around an hour and a half of gaming time when on running on its battery.
Despite these negative points, we still believe that the MSI GE73VR 7RF is worth your hard earned cash. It might not be perfect, but it will still deliver a top-notch gaming experience that some of its contemporaries can only dream of. It’s due to these reasons that we are giving the MSI GE73VR 7RF our Satisfying Gaming Laptop award; an excellent choice for the money.