Ever seen how sports cars have almost all
of what would make other cars envious. They are sleek and stunning to look at
while they can cut corners and trample the asphalt at insane speeds and with
great efficiency. Taking inspiration for the same breed of machines, MSI has
built their latest GE Raider laptops. So it was only natural that I had an
adrenaline rush when I was given the opportunity to review the GE73VR 7RF!
17.3" FHD (1920x1080),
120Hz, 5ms, Wide-View
Intel Core i7 7700HQ
GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB
DDR4-2400, 2 Slots, Max
M.2 SSD Combo (NVMe PCIe
Gen3 / SATA)
1x 2.5" SATA HDD
The looks of the new Raider gaming
notebooks, as stated above, have been derived from sports cars and the GE73
definitely looks like it is meant to go fast. The brushed metal finish in black
accented by red highlights here and there, especially the two angled stripes on
the top, make this look like a signature MSI product. The material feels good
to touch and look at but also attracts fingerprints easily. So you will have to
keep a cleaning cloth nearby at all times. The MSI Dragon emblem up-front glows
once you switch-on the laptop. The USB ports as well are lit by a dense red
light further complementing the whole design scheme while adding a level of
convenience. All these little touches really make the GE73 a looker. What I
liked most was how thin the laptop is. At just 28.5mm, this laptop looks really
good and is quite portable and relatively light as it weighs about 2.8kgs.
The 17.3 inch wide-view panel is big enough
to enjoy all sorts of games and movies. One could argue that it is not the best
display as it is not an IPS panel and the resolution is just 1920X 1080 pixels.
I, however, can overlook all that, given the 120Hz refresh rate which is
somewhat rare to come across in laptops. The colour representation is pretty
close to accurate thanks to the 94% NTSC panel but I felt that the reds were a
tad bit aggressive. Of course you have the luxury of choosing the display modes
as well but mostly you will find yourself using the sRGB mode. The viewing
angles as well are superb and you can have a large audience viewing the content
on the screen with no problem. There is a webcam on top of the display that
captures video at 720p resolution and while it is there in case you need it, I
reckon that if you are serious about streaming gameplays then you would be
buying a separate high quality webcam. The SteelSeries keyboard found on the
MSI GE73VR is among the first to show-off Per-Key RGB lighting on a laptop.
There is an app that lets you toggle between different presets for lighting,
which include specific presets for FPS games and DOTA, and also lets you
individually map each key with a different colour and behaviour. If you are an
RGB enthusiast then this feature really adds a lot of point in favour of this
laptop. To type the keys are pretty decent but I would still opt for an external
mechanical keyboard when I have to write a long article (much like this one).
Now coming to the all important matter. How
powerful is the GE73VR? The answer is, mighty powerful! There is a quad core
Intel Core i7 7700HQ CPU that has Hyper-threading and Turbo Boost enabled. It runs at a base clock of 2.8GHz but can easily
managed speeds as high as 3.8GHz. You get 2X8GB DDR4 RAM sticks running at
2400MHz and there is space for adding another 16gigs but for most intents and
purposes, 16GB should suffice. The 7RF version that we had for review came with
a powerful Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics card with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. All this
hardware is complemented by a 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD and 1TB SATA HDD running at 7200rpm. MSI has also provided users with an option to
add another SSD in RAID 0 for super fast storage and transfer speeds of up to
3300MBps. In case you still want more from your hardware then the field is open
for manual overclocking of the CPU and GPU. Gaming on this laptop was a
delightful experience as expected. The 120Hz 5ms display only complements the
capabilities of the massive GTX 1070. I tested quite a few games on the GE73
including WatchDogs 2, Mass Effect Andromeda, Dishonored 2, Tom Clancy's Ghost
Recon: Wildlands. All of the games were playing way above 40fps even at the
highest settings. Lower the settings down a bit and you can easily enjoy 60fps.
There are games like Dishonored 2 which run at 100fps and above even when the
settings are maxed out. Apart from this I tried some video editing on this
machine and it proved to be really efficient in that department as well. Rendering a 10 minutes long FullHD clip in
just 7 minutes.
This time around MSI has added an extra
heat-pipe under the hood, which brings the total count to 7. There are two blowers
located at both the edges and they push air out of four vents situated on the
sides . You get the option to control the fan speed as well and that adds
another nice touch of cutomisation and control that you have over this
notebook. While I was largely impressed by the cooling capabilities of this
laptop, it did fail to impress me during long durations of gaming as the heat
started to creep onto the keys making things uncomfortable. The CPU and GPU
temperatures were hovering around the 85 degrees Celsius during gaming but
thankfully there were no throttling issues experienced. So as long as you are
using a separate keyboard or gaming in a cold environment, you will be fine.
One of the things that blew me away at the
MSI launch was the sound that was being produced by the laptops displayed. The
GE73VR gets a pair of Dynaudio speaker and woofer on either sides of the front
end. The sound output is pretty loud and has ample bass considering the slender
frame of the laptop. Being a VR ready laptop you get Nahimic VR sound
enhancement and options to tweak various sound settings using the Nahimic
desktop application. This level of control is surely going to please a lot of
audiophiles and gamers who like to experience full immersion while gaming.
The new MSI GE73VR 7RF is an almost perfect
blend of performance and features. The hardware is rock solid when it comes to
gaming and VR. There are many other goodies such as a 120Hz 5ms display,
Per-key RGB lighting for keyboard, MSI's Dragon Center application and to top
it all the laptop is pretty sleek despite the kind of hardware it packs. While
I think that the typing experience on the keyboard could have been better and
the pricing a tad bit lower, I still feel that this laptop is worth the premium
that you spend on it.
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