Laptop with a panoramic RGB edge? Count me in.
MSI Raider GE66 10SFS
In our hands today is the MSI Raider GE66 , which proudly defies the current trend of modern gaming laptops attempting to transition into a more toned down business-like aesthetic. The GE66 is like hell no, I'm staying true to my gamer spirit and I'm gonna deliver all the trimmings of a traditional gaming laptop, from ostentatious RGB lighting to chunky hinges and bold shapes.
The review unit we received is the MSI Raider GE66 10SFS, which is equipped with beastly specs, including an Intel Core i9-10900HK processor, RTX 2070 Super Max-P (non Max-Q) graphics, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.
Among its selling points are its massive 99.9Wh battery and buttery smooth display - ours is a speedy 240Hz, but you can opt for configurations up to 300Hz.
As mentioned above, the GE66 is definitely not a laptop that would blend into office settings - not by a long shot. RGB enthusiasts will definitely be excited about the "Aurora" lighting strip located at the front, facing the user. This strip can be customised with the built-in SteelSeries Engine 3, and offers a bunch of presets if you're too lazy to customise each and every one of the discrete lighting zones running along the length of the strip. It can also be turned off completely if you're not a fan - it looks like a regular glossy black strip when not illuminated.
The lid is a nice metallic gray, which helps it stand out from its plain black counterparts. The logo protrudes upwards, giving it a nice bit of tactility, while the hinges are boldly shaped. Personally, I prefer a cleaner aesthetic, so the chunky hinges don't really speak to me - but they certainly are very sturdy, allowing me to lift the lid single-handedly in a smooth motion, without any flex on the screen or having the base lift off the table.
240Hz buttery smooth goodness - what else can I say? It looks great for gaming and watching movies. There was no noticeably light bleed at all, which is a great plus - however the brightness is pretty average, so take note of this if you're planning to work under bright sunlight. However, I believe a good majority of gamers (at least those hardcore enough to get such a high-end gaming laptop) abhor sunlight, so it shouldn't pose an issue most of the time.
The bezels are nice and slim, which is almost an absolutely given with modern high-end laptops (chunky bezels begone!) However, they still managed to fit in an 1080p webcam in there, which is a plus for us poor homebound souls bouncing in and out of work-from-home situations on our government's whim.
The quality of the webcam is pretty okay for a laptop - you won't be using it to become a full-time camgirl any time soon, but it will definitely suffice for Zoom calls.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Now on to the keyboard. As expected, it has a distinctly "gamer"-like font - squarish with sharp edges and an inability to differentiate between upper and lower case. Apart from that, they are clearly printed in white and are easily legible whether the backlight is on or not.
In terms of typing experience, the keyboard is reasonably tactile with a decent travel distance for a laptop, but the nested arrow keys and the choice to put the control and function key together as conjoined twins may be a hindrance to those unused to the layout. There also isn't a numberpad.
The function keys provide a decent amount of functions, including a lighting toggle, on-screen crosshair, and more.
As for the touchpad, it is well-sized and roughly centered on the keyboard, not the entire typing area. I had no issues with it, though it isn't nearly as slippery smooth as some other laptops I've tested before.
The I/O selection on the GE66 is extremely robust, to say the least. It has both a full-sized HDMI port and a Mini DisplayPort for you to hook it up to an external monitor, and it has a full-sized SD card reader, which is great for content creators and creatives.
Best of all, the most commonly used ports are located on the back of the laptop, which is one of my favourite design choices in a laptop. The power jack, LAN port, MDP, HDMI port, and a single USB-C port (supports DisplayPort 1.4) are all located neatly at the back, allowing for easier cable management on office desks. It also ensures that pesky wires are never in the way of your mouse hand, which is a common annoyance while gaming.
Apart from the aforementioned ports, the GE66 also has two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a USB-C 3.2 2x2 port, as well as a headphone jack.
Audio and sound output
Amazing display, great I/O, huge battery; you must be wondering - "there must be SOME downside to this laptop right?"
Alas, it is true that nothing is perfect. The side-mounted speakers on the GE66 is hilariously bad for a laptop of this price range - it's not even the mediocre audio you'll usually find on your average laptop. It's outright tinny with no bass to speak of whatsoever. You'd probably have better luck buying a cheap set of speakers on Shopee.
Either way, you probably won't use it much. Although the maximum volume is decent, the sound of the fans on this monster will completely drown it out. When maxed out - it's almost laughably loud - it legitimately sounded like a hairdryer being turned on in front of you. I could probably hold the laptop above my head and dry my hair if I had enough persistence.
It's good to know that the fans are doing their job, but you definitely won't be able to sneak in a game or two at the office without your colleagues hearing a jet engine roar to life.
So yeah, anyway, get a pair of headphones. You'll need it.
Performance, temps, and battery
When it came to performance, the GE66 excelled as expected.
The GE66 scored consistently high on synthetic benchmarks, and performed just as admirably in games.
It scored an average of 108 and 116 fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5 respectively, while it netted a respectable 66 fps on Ultra High settings for Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
The 1TB SSD was also blazingly fast, netting read and write speeds above 3,000MBps.
Despite the great performance, the laptop still remained impressively cool, no doubt thanks to its Cooler Boost 5 technology which comprises 2 large fans and 6 heat pipes.
There are also ample vents on the bottom in what MSI dubs the 'Dragon Scale' design, which is basically a fancy way of describing the usual honeycomb design.
Even while gaming, the palm area remained around room temperature in the mid-30s. The bottom of the laptop heated up a bit but still remained with a respectable temperature of ~50°C.
Battery life was also amazing, thanks to the hefty 99Wh battery which takes up nearly half the internal space of the laptop. As a result, the GE66 lasted over 7 hours on idle, while it eked out nearly 2 hours while gaming. It also has Optimus tech to prolong your battery life even further.
This is great, especially since the power brick is absolutely massive, weighing in at nearly 1 kg. So unless you want to do some serious gaming, you can bring the GE66 out and about with peace of mind.
Buy or no buy?
The MSI GE 66 Raider 10SFS is an absolute beast in performance. For gaming and other heavy tasks, it packs more than enough power to breeze through it. The massive battery is also a plus for those who constantly need to work on the go, and the 240Hz screen is definitely a treat for the eyes.
Aesthetics-wise, it's rather subjective - the Aurora light strip is a non-intrusive addition in that it can be turned off if you're not a fan. However, the overall chassis is rather flashy in my opinion - the colour is nice and the build quality is great, however it still leans too far into the gamer aesthetic to comfortably fit into a professional workspace. The I/O layout is great for cable management on your desktop though.
The cooling system works extremely well, albeit with a very loud operating volume. Either way, you'll still need a headset as the audio quality is no gucci at all.
Overall, it's a great machine with few downsides. If you're not bothered by the aesthetics and have a shit-ton of money to spare, it's definitely a machine worth considering.
The MSI Raider GE66 10SFS retails for RM11,999 on MSI's official Shopee and Lazada stores, though the former is currently having a 9% discount, so I suggest you head over there if you want to purchase it now.
For more info, head on over to the official product page here.