When most people think of gaming, it’s usually on a console or a PC. A desktop PC, specifically. At least that’s what I thought. But now gaming laptops are becoming more powerful, more user-friendly, and most importantly, more affordable. I had the opportunity to try out the GE76 Raider Gaming Laptop, and I left quite impressed. Years and years of experience with sub-par laptops and desktops gave me preconceived notions that were soon squashed by this portable gaming beast.
After the GE76 Raider booted up, I was immediately drawn to the Lightbar, which spans the entire front of the laptop. And it’s customizable. Not going to lie, it’s a nice touch. After staring at it for a few minutes, I then signed into my Steam account and downloaded a few games to try out. Even though I have very fast Internet at home, I was still impressed with how quickly the games downloaded with the built-in WiFi 6E. I was ready to play in seconds in some cases. Plugging in a third party controller was easy as well as it was recognized by the Raider almost instantly. I fired up a fighting game and was playing right away. Being a console gamer for the longest time, there’s something to be said about playing on a gaming laptop and having it play and look...gulp...better than playing it on my television thanks to the FHD 360hz display.
I spoke with a few different gamers about their first gaming laptops and how much better they have become over the years. Literally game-changing strides have been made in the field of gaming laptops. Dave Kinney, a comedian, used a laptop years ago as he was getting into sim-racing. “I really wanted to try VR [virtual reality] racing. The laptop I was using was able to run VR at the bare minimum settings. But I was still able to get it to run.” Said Kinney, “I was amazed at how much better gaming laptops have become. It used to be that laptops were terrible for gaming and if they were any good they would weigh a lot.”
When I first took the GE76 Raider out of the box with the help of three of my friends, it was in fact heavy. But as soon as it booted up I realized why it’s necessary to have these gaming laptops weigh more than your standard laptop: They are stuffed with features and most importantly power, like the latest 11th Gen. Intel Core i9 processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. Gaming laptops of the past have always looked like “gaming” laptops — like if an energy drink and some dollar store sugary soda had a baby that called you ‘bro’ all day. They now look like a laptop you can work on during the day, and then get your clan raids on at night. With super-fast built-in wi-fi, a great screen, and an affordable entry price, gaming laptops are on the rise.
Jackson Perry, an eSports participant, recalled his first gaming laptop. “The first gaming laptop I ever used really only handled flash games. Anything else caused it to shut down. Fast forward to using a proper [gaming laptop] now and it’s essentially a portable gaming PC.”
Marissa Esposito, a streamer, says, “I use different things for different moods. In order to game on a laptop you need to have a pretty beefy one. I’m not big into hardware, but I had a cute, little, adorable laptop I bought just because it was pink. That thing could barely run a farming sim. But then you get a bigger gaming laptop and they’re heavier and have a large screen. I’m surprised how well it runs things. The only issue is that occasionally the fan gets loud.” This is true especially with last generation’s consoles, but in my time playing around with the GE76 Raider, I barely heard the fan.
Pricing is always important when choosing a laptop. Neil Charles, an L.A. based actor, said, “We’re getting to the point where the high-end machines are more affordable. I used a low-end gaming laptop eight years ago. It could run your average game, but when it came to the top tier games, it couldn’t. If I wanted a high end laptop to compete with a PC, I’d have to drop like $1400.” You can spend a reasonable amount of money and have a great gaming laptop like the GE76 Raider that’s packed full of the features gamers need and want.
Podcaster Kyle Lewis likes the customization of a gaming laptop. “I made a ‘Frankenstein’ gaming laptop. I wanted to build one that would be good for everything, like gaming, editing, and streaming. So I chose a laptop because I didn’t have room for a desktop [laughs]. It’s just more convenient. I know how powerful desktops are, but I can take the laptop with me anywhere.”
I can second that, because I wrote this while on a mini-vacation hours from New York City. Packing up a console to take with you on vacation just doesn’t make sense anymore. Being able to take this laptop outside while sitting on a porch bench does.
While the Raider certainly has that ‘gaming laptop’ vibe to it, it’s not so blatant about it. Sure you can tell right away that it’s used more for gaming than spreadsheets, but you won’t get any weird stares on the subway. Everyone I spoke with also usually has more than one option to play games. Lewis uses his laptop uniquely with his new console. “I use remote play on my PS5 and stream to my laptop. It actually looks better on my laptop because the TV is old.”
The GE76 Raider isn’t the only laptop MSI makes that will keep you gaming all day. Their Pulse GL66 and Katana GF66 models are also top of the line, both with high-end processors and brand new design. For those worried about a laptop overheating, the Pulse GL66 has a dedicated thermal solution with two fans and six pipes to keep that processor running. And the Katana comes with MSI Center, which allows you to customize your laptop almost anyway you want by optimizing many of the features already built-in.
With gaming laptops becoming more powerful and affordable, the days of building a huge expensive desktop PC (or waiting months for the newest consoles to be in stock) are dwindling. Being able to do pretty much everything you wanted to on a gaming laptop is a huge advantage to today’s gamer. With a sleek design, fast wifi, affordable pricing, and excellent features inside, the GE76 Raider should be on every gamer’s radar.
Brian McGuinness is a comedian, voice actor, and writer and also the host of the Playable Characters Podcast where he interviews a different video game character each week.