Gaming notebooks have skyrocketed in both price and performance this year as we ushered in the age of 13th-Gen, 40-Series devices. The good side of this, if you have the money to spend on these high-priced notebooks, you’re gonna get some real bang for your buck. The bad side, most 40-Series GPU notebooks are just crazily expensive. This MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V, for example, will set you back over R100,000.
Watch The MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V Review Below
But of course, if you’re looking for a notebook like this, you know what it costs and you’re ready to spend it. Thankfully, the MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V packs some serious power. It is likely the most impressive gaming notebook I have ever reviewed… like ever.
Not only does this model pack an Intel 13th-Gen Core i9 13980HX CPU but it also comes with an RTX 4090 with 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and a clock speed of 2040MHz in it too. MSI didn’t skimp on the extras either. It comes with an M.2 PCIe 5.0 2TB SSD, 64GB of RAM which clocks in at 5600MHz and the best possible battery you can get in a notebook – a 99Wh cell.
The display here is also a 2560 x 1600 240Hz panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It is specced out to the very best you can find on the market and there’s no doubt the MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V ticks every possible box. My only issue with the display was the backlight bleed. I spotted quite a number of bleed spots when the display was on a dark image. Not very pleasing to the eyes.
The device also marks a substantial redesign for the Raider GE lineup. There’s RGB everywhere with a SteelSeries-powered RGB backlit keyboard, a front RGB grille that looks mesmerizing and the back logo lights up too. All of this is powered by a 330W power adapter.
But before I get into the performance of this beast, let’s chat about the design. This MSI GE78 Raider is definitely an attractive-looking notebook. Given its internals and 16:10 17-inch display, the notebook is a heavy one. It weighs 3.1 kg without the power adapter. It measures 380 x 298 x 23mm and is made out of a mixture of plastic and aluminium.
The inner of the notebook is metal and the top shell is too. The bottom of the notebook and the frame around the display is plastic. Then there’s this awesome-looking grille thing in the middle. At first glance, you might mistake it for an air vent but in fact, it doesn’t really do anything but look sexy. It is accompanied by a red strip that runs across the top shell.
This weird vent grill thing is basically there to add some design flair to the notebook. Given that most of the ports are at the back of the device, it had to be thicker to include them and MSI used the thicker space to its full potential.
The front also features a new matrix RGB system that looks amazing. It is created with black plastic that has blocks etched into the inside. When the RGB is turned on, it creates this cool 3D effect that looks awesome. I also enjoyed how the plastic blends perfectly into the device when it is closed and you won’t even know there was a strip of RGB plastic there unless it is on.
As for the ports, the MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V follows the same route as the internal specs whereas it doesn’t skimp on any ports. There’s a USB C 3.2 Gen 2 port on the left-hand side alongside an SD Card slot and audio jack combo. On the right, you’ll find a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port with DisplayPort and Power Delivery and two USB A ports (one being 3.2 Gen 1 and the other is 3.2 Gen 2). On the back, there’s a Thunderbolt 4 port, HDMI 2.1 port and 2.5Gigbit Ethernet.
Internally, there’s WiFi 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.3. There’s also a FHD webcam with Windows Hello support. Lastly, the sound includes 2 x 2W speakers and 4 2W woofers. Again, you’re not going to look for anything here because this notebook has it all. All the ports, the best wireless communication and a decent sound set.
Overall, the design of the MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V is impressive. There are some nice finishes on the notebook that make it look super premium. The gold trim at the back is especially stylish and slight fin design on the back of the lid is subtle but makes the display look as if it is curved. There’s a lot of RGB here. Perhaps a bit too much for my liking but it works. MSI has also added a transculent plastic to some of the keys which you’ll use more often on the device such as the WASD keys.
When it comes to the performance on this notebook, it is just incredible. So much so that many of my tests I ran on the MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V outperformed the previous beast notebook I reviewed, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18. Sure, the win wasn’t a landslide but this MSI notebook might truly be one of the best around.
I ran a number of benchmarks across various games. I also tested titles with and without DLSS 3. The combination of the Core i9 and the RTX 4090 delivers some exceptional performance here. All these tests were done on the Extreme profile set on the MSI Center app
Tests Run At 2650 x 1600
- 3DMark Fire Strike
- Graphics – 47921
- Physics – 40432
- Combined – 12101
- Cyberpunk 2077 Ultra – RTX Off
- Average – 92fps
- 1% Low – 62fps
- Cyberpunk 2077 Ultra – RTX On, DLSS Balanced
- Average – 129fps
- 1% Low – 91
- Far Cry 6 Ultra, TAA, RTX Off
- Average – 125fps
- 1% Low – 85fps
- Far Cry 6 Ultra – RTX On High
- Average – 109fps
- 1% Low – 71fps
- Shadow of The Tomb Raider High, TAA
- Average – 161fps
- 1% Low – 104
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider High, RTX Ultra DLSS On
- Average – 125fps
- 1% Low – 69fps
- Returnal Epic, DLSS 3 on Ultra Performance
- Average – 126fps
- Min – 37fps
- Max – 196fps
You can see from the test that this notebook definitely performs as expected – great. However, the thermal throttling was hard to ignore. When the notebook gets hot, I saw frame rates drop as a result. Some games dropped by at least 20%.
When it comes to the system sound, the fans on the MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V are always running. Even when sitting on the desktop with nothing happening, they were spinning. But thankfully, they aren’t a distraction when this happens. They ranged between 25 dBA and 30 dBA. When gaming, and when using the Extreme mode, the fan noise kicked up to almost double that. I measured 57 dBA at max during gaming loads and 60 dBA when using the Cooler Boost profile. That is the fan speed maxed out.
I do need to mention the whining sound I encountered quite often on the notebook. Behind the fan noise, I kept hearing a sort of coil whine sound which was distracting. There was no way for me to get rid of it.
The thermals were also manageable. The case itself heated up to 33C on average during daily use. When gaming, this went to 45C. I measured this right in the centre of the notebook. Thankfully, the palm rests remained cool at around 23C so it won’t get too warm while you’re gaming.
The 99Wh battery is also decent. You’ll get 7 hours of web browsing, and 5 hours of video playback and of course, you can extend this all by decreasing the performance levels and brightness.
I was very impressed with the speaker set on this notebook. The sound output was powerful and punchy. Much better than the majority of speakers you’ll find in most gaming notebooks on the market. Of course, the fans are loud so they will still get in the way here regardless of how great the speakers are.
So what about the downside? Well, I did find the fans to be generally louder than other models I have tested in this price range. I also found that the performance of the notebook dropped when the unit got hot. It also gets hot very quickly too. I just don’t think the fans and cooling system here can keep up with its internals which is not good considering the competition can.
The display is also a letdown. The lack of G-sync and IPS technology means it is an outdated panel. Not something you would expect from a notebook that costs this much money. I think that is my biggest gripe with this notebook. The price and what you’re getting aren’t up to the same value and quality as cheaper models on the market. You can get the same specs with better displays and cooling elsewhere. I can’t fathom why this notebook would cost this much and include a dated display and thermal throttling.
But even with its cut corners, the MSI Raider GE78 is a decent gaming notebook. I thought it looked stylish and the general performance was pretty great. However, it is a tough market with better, more premium notebooks costing less than this model.
The MSI Raider GE78 is available now starting at R101,999
The MSI Raider GE78 HX is an extremely powerful gaming notebook but its dated display and thermal throttling make this premium device a tough buy when the competition offers more value and promise.
The display isn’t great
Thermal throttling affects performance