MSI’s GE66 Raider Dragonshield review: beautifully extra gaming laptop

MSI’s GE66 Raider Dragonshield review: beautifully extra gaming laptop
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MSI’s GE66 Raider Dragonshield review: beautifully extra gaming laptop

MSI’s GE66 Raider Dragonshield overview: superbly additional gaming laptop computer

If you happen to’re in the marketplace for a transportable gaming laptop computer that serves the twin functions of working demanding video games and making everybody round you jealous, look no additional than the MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield Version. This rig has a flashy head-turning design, a 300Hz display screen, a complete port choice, distinctive construct high quality, and a few of the finest gaming efficiency you may get from a 15-inch laptop computer. It’s not excellent, and $2,899 is greater than anybody must spend for excellent gaming efficiency. However if you wish to be the particular person with the good laptop computer in no matter room you occur to be in, you gained’t be upset.

The common MSI GE66 Raider has a reasonably customary gaming-laptop design with a grey aluminum lid and a black deck. That’s why I waited to overview the DragonShield version, which accurately seems to be like a part of a spaceship. It was designed by veteran artist Colie Wertz, who labored on the upcoming Dune, The Mandalorian, and the current Star Wars motion pictures. You’ll be able to see that affect throughout this laptop computer; each the lid and the keyboard deck are a vibrant orange and black, emblazoned with a sci-fi rendering of MSI’s emblem and an intricate grid of panes and parts.

There’s a narrative behind this Raider. Wertz designed it to appear to be a panel that’s fallen off a spaceship. (It really comes with a mannequin ship, so you may see precisely the place it got here from.) It’s clear that he put quite a lot of work into the Dragonshield’s artwork — for those who look carefully on the lid and deck, you may see the numerous geometric segments that may make up a spaceship’s panel, and the nuts and bolts that fasten all of them collectively. I like seeing this type of artistic design on a laptop computer, despite the fact that it’s clearly not appropriate for each setting. It simply exhibits how a lot is feasible when firms and designers are prepared to attempt.

You can also make the remainder of the laptop computer your personal. There’s an RGB keyboard with per-key customizable lighting. (My one gripe with the keyboard is that MSI caught the brightness and quantity controls onto the arrow keys, and the Fn key you want to press to make use of them is half the scale of the remainder of the keys and wedged between the backslash and management buttons.) To high it off, a beautiful LED bar runs alongside the entrance edge, which provides 16.7 million customizable colours. Common Raiders have this, too.

Clearly, a kooky design gained’t influence your gaming efficiency or each day utilization in any way. The remainder of this overview will provide you with an correct image of what to anticipate from the common GE66 Raider as nicely, and that’s clearly the extra pragmatic buy for most individuals (you may get one with a 2070 Tremendous for as little as $2,199.99). However for those who’re seeking to splurge on an eye-popping design, the Dragonshield is about as distinctive as they arrive.

Open this up, and also you’ll discover a Core i9-10980HK, Nvidia’s RTX 2070 Tremendous, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and a 15.6-inch 300Hz 1080p display screen. If you’d like one of the best body charges the Raider can supply, you’ll wish to go as much as an RTX 2080 configuration (at the moment, these are solely listed on MSI’s web site in non-Dragonshield kind). However the take a look at system can nonetheless deal with nearly any sport at its highest settings (although “deal with” is subjective, and I’m utilizing it a bit loosely right here).

Diving into the efficiency, I used to be impressed to see how nicely the Raider ran Horizon Zero Daybreak — it averaged 80fps on Final settings. Movement was silky clean as I ran round Meridian, and colours regarded pleasantly shiny. The laptop computer additionally held its personal on the extremely taxing Pink Useless Redemption 2, averaging a gentle 50fps and by no means dipping beneath 45 all through the built-in benchmark. These outcomes edge out the RTX 2070 Razer Blade 15 and and beat Asus’ smaller Zephyrus G14 by a major margin.

The RTX 2070 put up 70fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s highest settings with ray tracing on extremely. That’s playable — it’s barely higher than the RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q GS66 tends to attain and significantly better than the G14. It’s really not too far off of what we’ve seen from the RTX 2080 Tremendous Max-Q Blade 15.

You’ll must play much less demanding titles if you wish to see the total glory of the 300Hz display screen. Rocket League averaged 250fps on its highest settings (the identical consequence because the Blade 15 and about one of the best you may anticipate, since that sport caps out at 250). The Raider additionally breezed by Overwatch on epic settings, averaging 124fps and by no means dipping beneath 112.

Exterior of gaming, efficiency is simply fantastic. The i9 and 32GB of RAM are greater than enough for working quite a few browser tabs, apps, and streaming with none slowdowns or uncomfortable warmth. The system’s twin followers (53 0.25mm blades) did a fantastic job of cooling the CPU all through testing, although the keyboard was nearly (however not fairly) too scorching to be comfy in the course of the extra taxing video games.

The MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield Edition half closed from above.

MSI’s iconic dragon image will get a sci-fi makeover.

Nonetheless, there are higher choices for those who’ll be doing any picture and video work. For one, this display screen is optimized for gaming somewhat than coloration accuracy (its brightness maxed out at 269.6 nits and it solely lined 86 p.c of the sRGB gamut and 64 p.c of AdobeRGB). However I additionally wasn’t really capable of run our conventional export take a look at in Adobe Premiere Professional — the export failed each time I attempted. MSI insisted that this was an issue on Adobe’s finish, however I’ve by no means had a problem working this take a look at on a gaming laptop computer earlier than. I’ll replace this overview if the problem is resolved sooner or later, however within the meantime I might avoid this product for those who’ll want to make use of Premiere Professional.

I noticed different glitches that I’d actually want to not see in a $2,899 product. The Dragon Middle app crashed a pair instances whereas I used to be attempting to alter settings; I as soon as needed to reset the laptop computer after an replace triggered the display screen to start out flickering; I typically acquired notifications saying my drivers weren’t updated, even once I’d downloaded all the things obtainable; and Dragon Middle initially wasn’t switching between energy profiles accurately, and solely started doing so after MSI remotely tapped into the laptop computer and redownloaded the software program.

The Raider accommodates a 99.9Wh battery, the largest cell a laptop computer can have. The battery life (after the power-profile difficulty was resolved) was not horrible, however not nice. I acquired 4 hours out of my each day load of workplace work (together with multitasking in round a dozen Chrome tabs and apps and a few downloading and file copying, with the display screen round 200 nits of brightness, Battery Saver on, and MSI’s Tremendous Battery profile chosen). You may get extra juice for those who flip off the RGB keyboard and LED bar — however why purchase this laptop computer for those who gained’t be benefiting from its coolest options?

The MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield Edition sits in front of a bookshelf, facing slightly to the right.

The sunshine bar and the RGB keyboard mix actually properly into the Raider’s coloration scheme — they weren’t distracting in any respect.

The ultimate factor I wish to name out right here is the port choice, which is without doubt one of the finest I’ve seen. On the left is one USB Kind-C 3.2 Gen 2×2, one USB Kind-A 3.2 Gen 2, and one audio jack. On the appropriate are two extra USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, in addition to a full-size SD card reader. Then there’s much more on the again: one USB Kind-C 3.2 Gen 2 that helps DP 1.4, one Mini DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0, and one RJ45 Ethernet port, in addition to a port for MSI’s 280-watt charging brick. These accommodate every kind of gaming peripherals and will cowl all the things most individuals want. They’re additionally spaced out such that you just gained’t need to get artistic along with your accent placement or really feel such as you’re squeezing stuff in. The one notable absence is Thunderbolt, however I’ll forgive that given the myriad alternate options right here.

The GE66 Raider is a formidable gaming laptop computer that delivers in regards to the body charges we’d anticipate from a system with these specs and dimension. On nearly all video games, 60fps is in attain, with solely small tweaks required for the heaviest titles. The Raider gained’t be beating greater rigs like Razer’s Blade Professional 17, nevertheless it’s definitely among the best 15-inch gaming laptops cash can purchase. However extra importantly: the place else are you going to discover a luminous, colourful laptop computer that appears like a part of a spaceship?

The MSI GE66 Raider Dragonshield Edition half open from above.

The best (however not the coldest) laptop computer within the room.

With all that stated: That is $2,899. It’s a luxurious product, and the mind-blowing design is not going to have a lot of an influence in your each day expertise — however the inconvenient keyboard and the unlucky the software program glitches I skilled definitely do. If you happen to don’t suppose the Dragonshield’s panache is one thing you want, try to be simply fantastic with a daily GE66 Raider, a GS66 Stealth, or a Razer Blade 15, which ought to ship comparable body charges with higher battery life and (in Razer’s case) extra dependable software program.

But when your high precedence is having a cooler laptop computer than all your pals, then go forward and splurge on the GE66 Raider, as a result of it undoubtedly shall be. I hope extra firms attempt distinctive design stuff like this as a result of it makes the entire thing extra enjoyable — and on the finish of the day, most individuals are shopping for gaming laptops to have enjoyable. And if I see you utilizing this in a espresso store, I shall be very, very jealous.

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