MSI Raider GE78 13V gaming laptop review

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The MSI Raider GE78 13V is now available in major stores, promising top-tier gaming performance, even surpassing that of TITAN models. The latest update in 2023 includes a new design with a matrix RGB front panel and improved rear area, featuring a 17-inch 16:10 QHD+ 240 Hz display. The laptop is equipped with top-of-the-line hardware, including an Intel i9-13950HX processor and an Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU, although higher-end versions with the 13980HX processor and RTX 4090 GPU are also expected. These hardware components work together to deliver optimal performance for gaming. This review will delve deeper into the laptop’s features and capabilities.

Exterior design

After maintaining the same design for two years, the MSI Raider GE78 13V has undergone a significant external redesign for 2023, changing several details while maintaining the same black matte color, which is a fingerprint magnet. The laptop is made of aluminum for the lid and keyboard base, with plastic for the bottom cover.

Starting with the screen lid, the laptop has a minimalist grey and silver illuminated RGB dragon logo when not in use. A unique feature of the redesign is an additional area behind the screen with a red line and 3D curved cover, giving the device a retro-inspired appearance. The front edge is straight and slanted inwards, with two small cuts in the corners for easy opening of the screen, which is robust and torsion-resistant. The most significant change is the bottom edge, which includes a futuristic-looking RGB SteelSeries area with a transparent cover and internal matrix.

These design changes provide a fresh look for the MSI Raider GE78 13V, with the laptop’s RGB lighting providing a futuristic feel. The redesign also includes retro elements that are both noticeable and evoke positive sensations. The laptop’s construction materials are also durable, with the aluminum lid and keyboard base providing a premium look and feel.

Moving to the back of the MSI Raider GE78 13V, two large diffusers have been placed to expel hot air, which complements the two on the sides. Some ports have been placed in the central area, with a gold line at the top that combines interestingly with the red screen border. When the laptop is open, the retro feel mentioned earlier transforms into a futuristic, powerful design.

The laptop base has also undergone significant modifications, featuring larger grilles for air intake and small holes to prevent dirt from getting in. Rubber feet are located longitudinally on the front and back, while the speaker openings are on both sides instead of facing the ground.

Opening the laptop reveals a keyboard with a numpad, with enough free space on the sides to accommodate sound output grilles for additional speakers. The touchpad has increased slightly in size but still leaves room on the edges to be even wider, like the Razer Blade’s. However, the touchpad surface is prone to fingerprints, which is its biggest downside.

The previous generation of MSI Raider laptops had hinges located at the top of the screen, but in this updated model, the hinges are anchored at the base to position the screen in line with the rear edge, making better use of the laptop’s dimensions. As a result, the screen has been expanded to a 16:10 aspect ratio, with a narrow 7 mm bezel on the sides, a 14 mm bezel at the top that includes the webcam, and a 35 mm bezel and hinge gap at the bottom.

Ports and connectivity

The MSI Raider GE78 13V has a wide range of ports located on both the sides and back of the laptop. The available ports are:

On the back:

  • 2.5 Gbps Ethernet
  • HDMI 2.1
  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C with Power Delivery
  • DC-In port

On the right side:

  • 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery
  • 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A

On the left side:

  • 1x Thunderbolt 4 DisplayPort 1.4
  • SD Express card reader
  • 1x 3.5 mm combo audio and microphone jack
MSI Raider GE78 13V gaming laptop ports and connectivity.

The two USB-C ports that are not Thunderbolt support Power Delivery, although the maximum power for each port is not specified. Additionally, the laptop has three video interfaces connected to the dedicated GPU.

In terms of networking, the MSI Raider GE78 13V features two top-of-the-line chips: the Killer E3100 2.5 Gbps LAN and the Intel Killer WI-Fi 6E AX1690i wireless card, which offers triple-band coverage at 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz, and an additional load-balancing function through the Killer Control Center.

Audio and screen display

The 17-inch MSI Raider GE78 13V also adopts the 16:10 aspect ratio, and its LCD IPS AUO B170QAN01.2 panel delivers a balanced combination of image quality, resolution, and gaming features. The panel has a native QHD+ resolution of 2560×1600 pixels, providing a high pixel density per inch.

While UHD resolution is not necessary for a sharp and perfect image for work and play, the MSI Raider GE78 13V provides an impressive 240 Hz refresh rate to achieve a high frame rate with the Nvidia RTX 4080 and 4090. The panel’s response time is 3 ms, and it also implements Adaptive Sync technology to prevent screen tearing.

Details about the basic specifications of the MSI Raider GE78 13V’s panel are not provided, but based on the model, we know that it offers a typical contrast ratio of 1000:1 and a maximum brightness of 300 nits. The panel has full coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, although it does not appear to have calibration validation like some other versions. However, the laptop features MSI True Color, which allows users to adjust the color profile from the operating system.

The laptop’s audio system has been significantly improved, featuring a 2-speaker and 4-woofer system, all 2W and signed by Dynaudio and Nahimic 3. The speaker placements on both the sides and top create a good surround sound effect, with high volume and excellent quality. The presence of bass is noticeably better this time around, and the balance between mids and highs makes for an enjoyable gaming and multimedia experience.

Keyboard, trackpad and webcam

The keyboard of the MSI Raider GE78 13V has undergone some design modifications rather than functional ones. However, the keyboard membrane quality is still very good and provides short travel distance, making it suitable for gaming. The keyboard is also signed by SteelSeries and features Per-Key RGB backlighting and software management.

MSI Raider GE78 13V gaming laptop

The keyboard’s layout has been optimized for improved space utilization, and while the numeric keypad has been retained, it has been reduced to a minimal expression by removing the last column of keys on the right side and moving the Enter key down. Additionally, the arrow key panel features larger-sized keys with dates printed on them, and the WASD keys and the power button are transparent, making them easier to locate.

The MSI Raider GE78 13V’s keyboard maintains the same layout design with square, 16×16 mm island-style keys that work well for typing. As usual, there is a row of F keys with dual function. The typing experience is fantastic, and the keyboard does not seem to overheat excessively. However, there is a small sinking in the central zone that was not present in the previous generations, which appears to be a minor issue that has worsened.

As for the touchpad, there do not seem to be any significant functional changes. It is a smooth panel with soft, silent, and perfectly installed integrated buttons. The design has been improved by relocating it to the center of the base and increasing its size to 131 mm in width and 82 mm in depth, substantially improving its ease of use.

The webcam’s quality has also been improved, as it now features an FHD sensor with a resolution of 1920x1080p and a frame rate of 30 FPS. There is also a small cover that can be activated with the switch located on the right side. Additionally, there is another IR sensor for facial recognition in Windows Hello, and a dual-microphone array with a far-field capture pattern.

Hardware and internal features

The MSI Raider GE78 13V has limited access to the hardware due to the plastic base that covers the sides and back completely up to the edge of the top cover. However, once carefully unscrewed, the powerful hardware configuration can be found inside.

The laptop comes with Intel Core i9-13950HX CPU, which is the second fastest processor in the Raptor Lake series for laptops. It is built with 8 P-cores at a boost frequency of 5.5 GHz, 16 E-cores at 4.0 GHz, and 36 MB of L3 cache. The PBP is set at 55W by default, with an Eco mode at 45W. However, this unit can reach up to 157W in PL2. Additionally, it includes integrated Iris Xe graphics with MSHybrid function for low power consumption.

The laptop is powered by the Nvidia RTX 4070 Laptop GPU, which features an AD104 chipset with 58 SM, consisting of 7424 CUDA Cores, 232 Tensor Cores of 4th Gen, and 58 3rd Gen RT Cores at a frequency of 2280 MHz. This version is configured to its maximum capacity with TGP of 175W, and it allows overclocking up to +200 MHz in VRAM and GPU through MSI Center. The GPU has a primary memory configuration of 12 GB GDDR6 at 2250 MHz or 18 Gbps effective on a 192-bit bus, generating a bandwidth of 432 GB/s.

MSI has not skimped on memory, completing its two SODIMM slots with 64 GB of DDR5 at 5200 MHz, and neither on storage, with a 2 TB Gen4x4 SSD. It features a second Gen4x4 slot for us to install an additional SSD and the possibility of creating a RAID 0 with both.

MSI Raider GE78 13V gaming laptop room setup

The cooling system equipped in this laptop is designed to support a maximum TDP of 250W between the combined CPU and GPU. The type of thermal paste compound used is not specified, but we do see that it has 2 fairly noisy turbine-type fans and 7 copper heat pipes that are evenly distributed between the two cold plates that cool the main chips. These also cover the VRMs of the board and GDDR6 chips of the GPU.

Battery autonomy

The MSI Raider GE78 13V retains a 4-cell Lithium Polymer battery with a total capacity of 6578 mAh and a power output of 99 Whr, just like its predecessors. It is one of the most powerful batteries on the market even in 2023, and it will be powered by an enormous 330W adapter that weighs a lot. We have seen how other devices like the Razer Blade offer the same 330W capacity with a smaller adapter.

In battery life tests, under the most favorable conditions, the estimated battery life was 5 hours. The conditions for the test were a 30% screen brightness, eco mode activated, and dedicated graphics disabled, while editing a document on Word and using Wi-Fi. This figure is lower than in previous years, and it will drop significantly as we demand more power from the device.

Final thoughts about the MSI Raider GE78 13V

MSI has updated its GE78 laptop with a new design and hardware to remain a top gaming laptop in the market, just below MSI’s GT Titan series. The laptop features a 17-inch 16:10 display with a QHD+ resolution and 240 Hz refresh rate, making it perfect for gaming and multimedia consumption. The new design includes an RGB front panel and a unique back panel, while the keyboard and touchpad have also been improved for better handling. The sound system has also been upgraded to include six speakers, putting it in close competition with the best laptops from Asus.

In terms of performance, the GE78 is expected to deliver one of the highest TDPs for both the CPU and GPU, thanks to the good cooling system. However, the battery life in power-saving mode is less than five hours, which may be a concern for some users. Overall, the MSI Raider GE78 13V is a powerful and stylish gaming laptop that offers an impressive display, high-quality sound, and top-notch performance.

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