Sometimes replacing a desktop with a laptop does not involve frequent movements of the laptop itself beyond the walls of one’s own home. In such cases, the manufacturer can concentrate on the performance and additional capabilities of the system, rather than looking for solutions for maximum weight savings or extending autonomous operation. MSI Raider GE78 HX 13V does not focus on weight or size but rather focuses on considerable power and various details that should please gamers and demanding users. So in today’s review, we will get to know one of its top versions.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13VI-209UA specifications

Model MSI Raider GE78HX 13VI-209UA
Display IPS, 17”, resolution 2560×1600, aspect ratio 16:10, frequency 240 Hz
CPU Intel Core i9-13980HX
RAM 64 GB DDR5-5600
Storage 2 TB
GPU NVIDIA GeForce 4090 (16 GB)
Ports HDMI 2.1, USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2×USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 4, RJ-45 (2,5), 3.5 mm combined connector, SD
Wireless modules Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3
Camera 1080p
Audio Acoustic system with 6 speakers and a microphone
Keyboard Island type keys with RGB lighting, SteelSeries 
Battery and charging 99 Wh, main power supply unit 330 W
Dimensions 380×298×23 mm
Weight 3.1 kg

MSI Raider GE78 package contents

Opinions on the need for an extended kit for expensive gaming models may differ. On the one hand, when buying a really expensive device, it is nice to get some “bonuses” with it. On the other hand, people who can afford such laptops probably already have all the necessary accessories that fully satisfy their requirements. MSI Raider is the second case because in the box with the laptop, there is only a power supply.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

Among the accessories, however, a couple of things are missing. First of all, if you plan to carry it, then you cannot do without a large backpack for such a laptop. Secondly, due to the specifics of the placement of the USB ports, gamers will be more comfortable with an additional hub (I will explain this idea later). Most likely, experienced players already have everything else. And if you want to preserve the corporate style, the manufacturer offers a variety of game accessories.

Design and usability

With a globally familiar appearance, MSI Raider acquires new accents with updates. These are small changes in the design that add to the appearance of the laptop the typical “aggression” that simpler models usually avoid. Traditionally, they also left an additional zone with illumination on the front edge of the top case, which adds to the recognizability of this particular line. So, in general, at first glance at such a laptop, it can be affirmatively said that it is a gaming model.

This time the Raider was not increased to 18 inches, they left the 17-inch model. And, as a laptop for enthusiasts, it has a huge body (for greater portability with good performance, the manufacturer offers the Stealth line). The dimensions of the test model are 380×298×23 mm, and the weight is 3.1 kg. You can safely add a heavy power supply unit to the weight, which will still be felt with additional things in the backpack.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

The body was partially made of metal and plastic. Metal parts are on the outside of the display unit and on the top of the top case. At the same time, there are various accents on the body, which together add to the appearance of the corresponding status. Among these are some contrasting lines above the cooling in the back and under the display, barely noticeable manufacturer logos in the perforations for the speakers, small accents on the case, etc.

Even the bottom of the laptop has a lot of stylized elements. And if they are not visible while working, when putting the laptop in a backpack or “traveling” with it to different parts of the house you can enjoy having the necessary stylization from all sides. At the bottom, there are large legs (and a red “fulcrum”), which, together with the overall weight, hold the laptop in place during games.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

However, the backlight itself will receive the most attention on the case. In addition to the keyboard, the RGB light is in the logo on the display unit and (most prominently) on the front of the top case. Here, the entire panel is made of transparent plastic, which covers the matrix backlight. It looks quite original and really matches the nature of the gaming laptop. Of course, the backlight has several options, and if necessary, it is turned off together with the activation of the energy-saving mode of the system.

The only question here is the durability of such plastic. For obvious reasons, it is glossy, and such surfaces can often become covered with scratches, rub off, etc. over time, especially if the user has a watch or a bracelet on his hand, which can often touch this part of the top case. Although it is not a fact that it will be very noticeable on a black case. Moreover, such small damages will still not affect the work in any way.

In general, as a laptop for enthusiasts (whether for gaming or other “heavy” tasks), the MSI Raider looks and feels good. It is “confidently” assembled and it is a pleasure to work with it. But to maintain a neat appearance, you should always keep a microfiber cloth nearby, because the metal parts of the case are surprisingly easily covered with handprints.

MSI Raider GE78 ports

The large top case and the features of the components still made it possible to place the ports on three sides, instead of just two. On the left is Thunderbolt 4, a slot for SD cards, and a combined 3.5 mm Jack for a headset; behind are the power port, USB-C 3.2 Gen2, HDMI 2.1, and RJ45; well, on the right side there is another USB-C 3.2 Gen2, USB-A 3.2 Gen2 and USB-A 3.2 Gen1. The set is really good, but there are nuances.

First, only two USB-A may not be enough for everyone (for example, a gamer needs to connect a mouse, microphone, and headphones, and they all need a free USB-A port). Secondly, both USB-A ports are on the right, which in most cases will mean a “mess” of wires at hand with a mouse during games. This is where the USB hub I mentioned in the configuration section may be needed. So, in the case when the laptop is used as a desktop replacement with the use of external manipulators and a monitor, there should be no inconvenience. But in “laptop mode” this arrangement of important ports for accessories is still not the most convenient.

MSI Raider GE78 display

Where are enthusiast models without a large display, right? The test MSI Raider has a 17-inch screen with a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10. Many game models are now moving to this aspect ratio, so there is nothing surprising about it, and getting used to it is a quick matter. The frames around the screen can hardly be called fragile, but again, we have a model that should be productive, not small.

It is also a fast panel that has a refresh rate of 240 Hz. This indicator can be reduced to the standard 60 Hz, but it is unlikely that anyone will ever want to do this. What’s more, looking ahead, FPS indicators in some games with such components are already catching up with the matrix, and sometimes even ahead of it.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

The proprietary MSI True Color utility provides several options for color profiles for different usage scenarios. But as our colorimeter measurements showed, the Gamer profile should be suitable for most cases. For example, in sRGB or P3, the user will receive a too “cold” image, while in Gamer the temperature corresponds to the standard. And although the utility provides wider settings, it is unlikely that the average user will be interested in making unnecessary adjustments when there is a ready-made profile with a large color coverage and other parameters that meet the needs.

Gamer profile values:

sRGB profile values:

There will be no problems with illumination. The maximum that our colorimeter saw is 500 cd/m². Taking into account the matte coating of the screen, this is enough even for working next to a window on the sunny side of the house. In the evening, you can reduce the backlight to 25 cd/m², which is a little too much for complete darkness, but not critical at all. What I would still like to have is a light sensor and automatic backlight adjustment, because an expensive laptop could do this for the user. Unfortunately, most Windows laptops still lack this functionality.

MSI Raider GE78 security

I really like it when laptops have additional means of authenticating the user, which allows you to bypass the routine entry of passwords. For some reason, many manufacturers ignore such points in gaming models. But the Raider still has an infrared scanner of the owner’s face.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

During the testing of the laptop, it never once refused to work and was practically not disturbed by, for example, large headphones or a chin supported by a hand (with a sleepy face). Support for Windows Hello also involves some third-party applications, which in general greatly increases comfort when, for example, long passwords are needed during operation, which can be accessed by scanning the face.

Manipulators and multimedia

MSI is experimenting with some laptops, and collaborating with various manufacturers of accessories (for example, there are models even with Cherry MX). Raider received a keyboard with the SteelSeries logo. And, of course, together with the illumination of each individual key, various effects can be synchronized with other devices of this manufacturer. The accented WSAD block also looks good.

The keyboard itself turned out to be surprisingly pleasant in games and everyday use, even taking into account the minimized NUM lock with the unusual location of the Enter key. Neither in games nor in “blind” typing, I did not have to adapt to it in any way. What is also convenient is the accented lighting of the functional keyboard when pressing Fn, which at the beginning of use better helps to find the right setting.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

The large glass trackpad did not disappoint either. Its dimensions are 131×82 mm, and the location allows you to leave the trackpad on during games – I didn’t have any accidental pressing situations. Everything is good when working with it: even with standard settings, it was not necessary to get used to the sensitivity, and the gestures worked as they should.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

MSI Raider can also surprise with sound. The system consists of two tweeters and four subwoofers, which together work better than the vast majority of gaming laptop speakers. It’s unfortunately not the most detailed sound you can get, but for the basic needs of dubbing movies, internet videos, podcasts, etc., these speakers are quite enough. However, it will still be more comfortable to play in a headset due to the high noise level from the cooling system, and the music will still sound much better either in headphones or through external audio systems.

A 1080p webcam can best be described as okay. Its capabilities are quite sufficient for normal communication in video chats, although there is still a lot of noticeable digital “noise” in the picture under home lighting. But at the same time, it has a separate “curtain” to increase privacy.

Built-in microphones, even with standard noise reduction enabled, still “hear” a little more than necessary. Therefore, an external microphone or headset will remain the best choice for communication during games. But in a quiet room, it is more or less possible to communicate, but you will have to try to minimize the use of the keyboard or other actions near the laptop. This is a fairly classic situation for most such microphones.

Performance and software

As mentioned more than once, MSI Raider is a replacement for desktop PCs for enthusiasts, so the system should be as good as possible. The model traditionally has several equipment options, and in our case, it is one of the most expensive options. Thus, the top case included: Intel Core i9-13980HX (8 productive cores with a frequency of up to 5.6 GHz, 16 energy-saving cores at 4 GHz, 36 MB cache, up to 75 W), NVIDIA GeForce RTX4090 (16 GB GDDR6, up to 2040 MHz, up to 175 W), 64 GB of RAM DDR5-5600 and 2-terabyte PCIe 4.0 NVMe.

If desired, the user can expand the drive by combining it into a RAID array, for which another slot is allocated. There are practically no major changes left for such a configuration. For wireless connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi 6E or a 2.5-gigabit Ethernet port for physical network connectivity. And support for wireless accessories will be provided by Bluetooth 5.3.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

There are four operating modes: Extreme Performance, Balanced, Silent, and Super Battery. At the same time, the laptop can independently switch between them depending on the current tasks. The user can also independently choose the switching mode of video accelerators, among which there is the option of working only with a discrete card – already a standard option for new laptops. So far, to change the behavior of video cards, you have to reboot the system every time, so it is much more convenient to choose the hybrid mode, with which, admittedly, you can lose a little extra FPS in games.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

But it will definitely not be a problem. With such performance indicators, the MSI Raider is the leader among the laptops that have been in our editorial office. And it is not surprising that it is MSI products that are used for demonstrations of capabilities from Intel, because synthetic tests really showed considerable numbers (as for portable PCs). And in part, this is the price for not the most modest dimensions and weight. However, with such a margin of productivity, the laptop balances such shortcomings.

However, if the user still wants to take a laptop and work on the go, the energy-saving mode and the absence of an outlet will bring performance to the level of much simpler systems. But for basic work with the browser, e-mail, office programs, or media playback, the power is more than necessary.

  Mains Battery
3DMark (TimeSpy) 21 234 875
3DMark (CPU Profile, max threads) 12 998 3 047
CineBench R23 (single/multi core) 2 028/28 981 838/5 809
PCMark 10 12 067 3 272

Great impressions were also left from the game tests. MSI Raider was able to show the highest FPS among the laptops that managed to get into the Mezha reviews. Average values at high graphics settings and full resolution can be seen below. And here I would like to note that in some games the laptop showed numbers that I have not seen so far. For instance, in PUBG – not the best example of optimization of such games – you could see more than 400 FPS in places. And even if it is not a stable indicator on all possible maps, the “jump” is still very pleasant.

MSI Raider GE78HX 13V gaming laptop review

As always, in this mode, you will have to play in headphones because the COOLER BOOST 5 cooling system is loud. Along with six heat pipes, two fans are used. For all this, considerable openings in the case are provided, including a large “transparent” area in the lower cover of the top case. Therefore, the noise level remains high. Under load, the system heats up to 95°C, which is noticeable on the work surface only in some parts of the keyboard. At the same time, you can see a slight throttling of several percent, which does not affect the gameplay in any way. And during normal operation, the temperature in the system is kept at the level of 45°C, which is practically not felt on the case, but at the same time, the cooling system works more than it turns off (you should not count on absolutely silent operation).

There were no problems with Windows 11. But with the number of additions, the manufacturer went a little overboard. Yes, there are separate programs for managing the system, image, sound, backlight, etc. Some of them are always in the taskbar. It would be much more convenient if all this control were collected in one place and design, especially since other manufacturers have examples of such programs. MSI went the other way, and subjectively, it is not so convenient.

MSI Raider GE78 battery life

Working in the position of a desktop, such laptops do not have such fundamental battery life. But this is not a reason for producers to give up. Therefore, some attention is paid to this point. New models are already more capable of lasting several hours without an outlet, but only for simple work. So, our standard battery life test in game mode showed a result of 1 hour 14 minutes, and in the office mode – 5 hours 32 minutes. At comfortable sound level and backlight settings, watching a two-hour movie took 40% of the charge, and during normal operation, the laptop consumed 15-20% of the charge per hour.

However, models such as the MSI Raider will most likely require a power supply, leaving the usual workplace. And here it is quite large. With a standard block, the backpack will become heavier by almost 1.4 kg. At the same time, with its power of 330 W, it is possible to fully charge the battery with a capacity of 99 W•h in a little more than 3 hours. You can additionally purchase a smaller and weaker PSU and power the laptop via USB-C/Thunderbolt, but in this case, you will not be able to count on maximum performance.