The MSI GE66 Raider sits atop a beautiful RGB bar, and that’s just the start of its premium build. Gaming framerates are competitive or better than slightly pricer rivals, and the 300 Hz screen is great for esports.
- Great gaming performance
- 300 Hz display
- Well-executed RGB light bar
- High-end build
- Cramped keyboard
- Tinny audio
If you’ve ever wondered, “Why aren’t gaming laptops flashier?” the MSI GE66 Raider is for you. With an RGB light bar and keyboard, aluminum build and trim design, it’s as beautiful as its price suggests — $1,899 to start, $2,999 as tested.
Packing an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics card and 10th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, The GE66 Raider proved it’s ready to make ample use of its mind-blowing 300 Hz display, too.
MSI GE66 Raider Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i9-10980HK|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q (8GB GDDR6)|
|Storage||1TB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080 resolution @ 300 Hz, 3ms|
|Networking||Killer Ethernet E3100 LAN, Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2*2ax), Bluetooth 5.1|
|Ports||2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (DisplayPort 1.4), HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, SD card reader, 3.5mm headphone/mic jack|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions(WxDxH)||14.1 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches (358.1 x 266.7 x 22.9mm)|
|Weight||5.3 pounds (2.4kg)|
|Price (as configured)||$2,999|
Design of MSI GE66 Raider
How does a laptop manage to look more mature and more wild than your typical gaming clamshell? A cool and classy chassis underscored (quite literally) by a stunning RGB bar, that’s how. The GE66 Raider isn’t the only laptop to incorporate colorful LEDs on its deck. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 G732 has a light bar on three sides. However, I’d argue that the GE66 Raider does it best. The boldness of the light bar and its beveled glass encasement make for a crystalline vibe that goes galactic with the right color scheme. The default settings (a combination of fuchsia, blue and green) is enough of a show to cross the Aurora Borealis off my bucket list. (Okay, not quite). But with those same default settings on the keyboard, it’s one prismatic phenomenon that’s probably as showy as RGB can be without inducing nausea.
Speaking of the keyboard, this one is from SteelSeries and offers per-key programming via SteelSeries’ Engine 3 software, as is the RGB light bar. But only the default setting was cosmic enough for me to warrant this level of RGB spectacle.
The aluminum lid is a royal shade of gray, fitting for the dragon shield that tops it. The logo’s raised silver outlining is the sort of attention to detail that makes company logos more forgivable. Plus, a dragon emblem is way cooler than someone’s last name in a circle (for example). Sadly, silver only lives on the lid; the rest of the laptop is black, which, perhaps, helps the RGB pop.
On the left side of the GE66 Raider’s black deck is a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C port (20 Gbps), a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (10 Gbps) port, plus a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack. The right side has a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports (5 Gbps) and, surprisingly, an SD card reader. There are more ports on the laptop’s spine, namely HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort 1.4, and RJ45 Ethernet port and a port for MSI’s proprietary charger. MSI really has all the bases covered here.
The underside of the laptop has what MSI calls “Dragon armor carving,” which is really a bunch of stretched out hexagons. Overall, this feels like a solid machine with only a small amount of flex in its thin, 15.6-inch screen. MSI says it increased the torque on the hinge by 14% over the last generation (the MSI GE65 Raider) and widened it 9%.
The sleek black deck is smooth with a very subtle hint of shimmer. Combined with the 5mm thin bezel around the display, 82% screen-to-body ratio and, again, the mesmerizing effect of the RGB keyboard and light bar, you’ve got a machine that seems premium where needed and fun where wanted.
The GE66 Raider stacks up averagely when it comes to 15-inch gaming clamshells. The Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550, for example, is 14.1 x 10.6 x 0.8 inches and 5.3 pounds, while our MSI review unit is 14.1 x 10.5 x 0.9 inches and the same weight. You can get sleeker though. The MSI GS66 Stealth, as its name subtly suggests, is slightly lighter at 4.6 pounds and trimmer at 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches.
MSI GE66 Raider Gaming Performance
With an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q graphics card, our review unit of the GE66 Raider easily hit 60 frames per second (fps) in most games. I enjoyed Battlefield V at ultra settings typically in the 80-90 frames per second (fps) range. During intense battles, it’d drop to roughly 73-76 fps, and when I crawled through some grass it climbed as high as 130 fps. After I added ray tracing into the mix, framerates stayed around the 70-80 fps range, hitting 99 fps during calm moments and the low 70s in heavy battle.
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
When it came to running the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1080, highest settings), the GE66 Raider averaged 75 fps. That’s 6 more fps than the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 GX550 and greater than the MSI GS66 Stealth’s 66 fps average. Both laptops use the same GPU as our review unit. Meanwhile, the Alienware m17 R3 with a Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080 Super came close to matching the GE66 Raider at 74 fps.
Our review unit outperformed its sibling MSI machine and the ROG Zephyrus Duo when it came to Grand the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (1920 x 1080, very high) as well. However, the Alienware bested the MSI by 7 fps.
The Far Cry New Dawn (1920 x 1080, ultra) benchmark ran at 99 fps on our GE66 Raider. That’s 10 more fps than the Asus and Alienware and 14 more fps than the GS66 Stealth averaged.
The GE66 Raider also comes out on top when looking at Red Dead Redemption 2 (1920 x 1080, medium). Our configuration ran the benchmark at 58 fps, which is slightly faster than both the Zephyrus Duo and m17 R3 and 9 fps quicker than the other MSI machine here.
To stress test our review unit, we ran the Metro Exodus 1080p RTX benchmark on a loop 15 times to simulate 30 minutes of gaming. During this time, the game ran at an average framerate of 51.9 fps. The RTX 2080 Super Max-Q ran at an average clock speed of 1,360.4 MHz and temperature of 64 degrees Celsius (147.2 degrees Fahrenheit). The CPU, meanwhile, was running at 4.4 GHz average clock speed and 76.5 degrees Celsius Average (169.7 degrees Fahrenheit).