We recently covered Intel’s new 12th generation Core-H series laptop CPUs which are built on the Intel 12th generation Core architecture. Now it’s time to see what it can do in the real world using the MSI GE76 Raider high-end Creative or Gaming laptop.
This laptop is an excellent representation of the top-end performance users can expect from Intel’s latest offering. As you’ll see, it’s pretty much the highest speed money can buy, but the value-proposition is exciting too.
As we said, the GE76 Raider unit is powered by the Intel Core i9-12900HK processor (w/ 32GB of RAM), a chip with a 45W base TDP, but it can go as high as possible 115W and as low as 35W. For comparison, your typical productivity thin & light laptop goes from 15W to 25W.
The i9-12900HK’s 14 (6+8) cores setup is a considerable improvement over the previous octa-core Core i9-11980HK, and you’ll see performance numbers reflect that.
This laptop is designed as a desktop replacement for top-line performance above all. The MSI GE76 Raider can also be ordered with a more affordable Core i7-12700H CPU and exists in many different configurations, but we have one of the more expensive models, estimated at $3999.99.
The graphics processor is an NVIDIA GeForce 3080Ti with 16GB of video memory and a maximum power of 175W. The wattage is critical as it might significantly affect performance in different laptop models using the same “3080 Ti” specs, so keep an eye out for that.
Typically, the cooling system determines how high the wattage can go, as all that computing power generates a lot of heat.
Let’s go over the system performance right away since that’s the whole point of this computer. All numbers point to excellent gains across the board, just look at the benchmarks:
We’re not surprised by the enormous gains because they mirror what we’ve seen with the desktop CPU models. The same Intel Alder Lake architecture is doing wonders and significantly lifts performance for both Single-core and Multi-core mobile applications.
The improvements are quickly revealed by synthetic benchmarks such as Geekbench. However, more practical tests like Cinebench (3D offline rendering) offer similar insights.
“NOTHING STANDS IN INTEL’S WAY WHEN IT COMES TO SHEER CPU PERFORMANCE”
It’s possible to run tons and tons of different benchmarks, and they will almost all correlate and show the same type of performance differences. If you need to check on a specific application’s speed, do more research, but the expectations are clear.
When running on Intel’s latest platform, any heavily multithreaded application will experience very appreciable gains. At the moment, nothing stands in Intel’s way when it comes to sheer CPU performance.
We can use numbers gathered from our Acer Predator Triton 500 SE review (i9-11900H, RTX 3080) to compare how a high-end Intel 11th generation high-end laptop performed. The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 (Gen2) workstation we reviewed is also an excellent reference. Both laptops were equipped with an RTX 3080 (non-TI) equivalent.
CPU-wise, the numbers show a rather extraordinary performance evolution from the 11th-gen Intel Core processors such as the i9-11900H and i9-11950H.
The graphics performance of this laptop is also out of this world, and that comes from two factors. First, applications that were somewhat CPU-limited and ran at 1080p resolution will exhibit higher graphics performance, thanks to the CPU boost.
Secondly, this MSI GE76 Raider comes equipped with NVIDIA’s latest GeForce RTX 3080Ti (freshly announced at CES), which is faster than its RTX 3080 (non-Ti) predecessor.
Historically, the GeForce Ti (Titanium) models are the generational “peak” of any given NVIDIA architecture, where all the possible tuning was done (# of cores, frequency, clock path, etc.) and what could be the “perfect GPU” of that generation.
Despite the similar name, the RTX 3080Ti features 7,424 graphics computing cores, while the 3080 (non-Ti) has 6,144 of them. That’s 20% more cores, and you could consider this a rough baseline for increased graphics performance.
“IT’S INCREDIBLE TO GET THIS TYPE OF GENERATIONAL PERFORMANCE LEAP”
The combined improvement in CPU and GPU performance leads to mind-blowing benchmark results. This MSI GE76 Raider is significantly faster than the otherwise excellent Predator Triton 500SE with the i9-11900H and an RTX 3080. It’s incredible to get this type of generational performance leap, but keep in mind that the Predator 500 SE is also half the weight of the GE76 Raider.
Note that these graphics benchmarks are more akin to video-games workloads designed to stress the GPU. Workstation-type work should stress both CPU and GPU to the maximum and yield even higher performance deltas.
Something that charts don’t show is the potential power-draw of the system. Laptops such as the Predator Triton 500 SE shipped with a 230W power supply, but this GE76 Raider comes with a 330W power supply.
We also look at the performance “for the price” as laptops like this aren’t cheap. We estimate our configuration costs about $3999.99 (priced to be confirmed by MSI).
Intel’s new platform has good performance/value despite the relatively high price tag, which means you’re getting performance proportional to what you pay.
Whether you’re a creative professional or an avid gamer, the top-line performance is incredible. Intel’s 12th-generation CPU is the de-facto platform to consider, even from a value point of view.
Such a speed boost can easily translate into productivity gain that can (hopefully) be billed to clients and leveraged during the lifetime of your new computer.
If price is not a factor, what about the performance relative to size and weight? Our data shows the MSI GE76 Raider offering some of the best speed/weight ratios, especially when it comes to CPU performance. Yes, you might be carrying a few more Lbs in your backpack, but each pound packs even more performance, so it’s easier to justify.
The new Intel Thread Director combined with Windows 11 seems to produce better perceived responsiveness as it’s supposed to send background tasks to one of the efficiency cores.
In our battery life tests, we ran office productivity tasks with the laptop set for “best battery life” and a display brightness of 110 NITs. As a reminder, this laptop has a 99Wh battery capacity.
You can get around 5h30 hours by using the “Hybrid Graphics” settings, which uses the integrated GPU for mundane tasks and fires up the NVIDIA GPU when needed.
There’s a minor performance penalty for high-performance graphics as the pipeline would need to go through the integrated GPU regardless. I recommend this setting if you’re working on the go.
The “Discrete Graphics” mode (no integrated GPU) yields only 2h30 of continuous office productivity use, and that’s due to the base power envelope of the 170W discrete GPU.We ran all the benchmarks in “Discrete Graphics” mode.
The Intel Alder Lake architecture has a lot of potential for extended battery life. But we’re unlikely to see proof of this on a gaming laptop, and we’ll have to wait for thin & light laptops with a much lower system power profile.
Despite the 330W power supply, the battery charges relatively slowly, and it would take nearly 1hr of charge to go from 0% to a 50% charge. Again, I expect people to plug this laptop, but a quick top-off at the airport will not happen.
The 17.3” MSI GE76 Raider has a grey metallic body, and its design is friendly to a corporate boardroom as long as you don’t light up all the RGB lights (it’s configurable, don’t worry).
For those who want that “gamer” look at home, it’s perfectly possible, and the light-bar and per-key RGB backlight will do wonders to make your setup look cool. The included SteelSeries app can help you set things up, and your profile can be saved online.
The 6.39 Lbs weight of the laptop makes a desktop replacement or a mobile workstation in my book. It is very similar to the weight of the ThinkPad P15 Gen2. Additionally, you’ll have to carry the massive 330W power supply.
Much space is dedicated to the massive cooling system, which helps this laptop reach its full performance potential. That’s a significant advantage of larger laptops as cooling often comes down to physics: bigger (cooling) is better.
The cooling performance also allows high loads without the laptop becoming too noisy, which is critical in a real-world situation, especially for professionals who need to focus.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The per-key RGB backlighting is great because it lets me configure the laptop’s keyboard lighting the same way I would with my desktop setup. I find it improves my productivity as I see the same visual marks as I transition from one computer to the other.
The tactile feedback of the keys is okay but isn’t much to talk about. The keyboard is not nearly as comfortable as a ThinkPad-style keyboard and isn’t clicky and firm either. It’s a pity because there’s ample internal volume to make things a bit better, especially at that price point.
The lack of “Fn” button on the left side of the keyboard is a bit annoying since it’s something that many people use in conjunction with the F-keys at the top to control mundane things like brightness or volume.
The trackpad is relatively small, which is fine for gaming, but perhaps a bit tight for Creative purposes, depending on how you work.That said, in a “desktop replacement” context, I also expect many people to have a standalone keyboard/mouse combo for maximum productivity.
I like having lots of ports in the back (Power, Thunderbolt, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, 2.5Gb Ethernet) as it facilitates cable management and reduces the likelihood of having cables interfering with mouse usage the left or right side.
On the right, you’ll find two full-size USB ports, along with an SD card reader. There’s one more full-size USB, a USB-C port, and a 3.5mm audio connector to the left.
I wish we had at least one more TB4 port, but I would personally use a TB Docking Station to use this computer as a desktop replacement.Still, there’s sufficient room to include extra USB-C TB4 connectors, and the Intel platform supports it.
The quad-speaker setup of the MSI GE76 Raider works very well and delivers a high-quality sound with great body and bass, although spatialization could have been better (with out-of-the-box settings).
Relative to the size of the laptop, I was expecting the sound to be a bit more powerful. It’s a slight loss of opportunity because the laptop is so big that I think MSI could (should) have found a way to have even better speakers for a perfect audio experience.
That said, gamers are likely to use headphones, and Creative pros might hook it to an external speaker anyway. Yet, at this price, I expect the best of everything.
We got the FHD display on this laptop, and if you need more pixels, MSI has 2560×1440 (my favorite) and 3840×2160 options. Higher resolution displays tend to have higher color accuracy and perhaps higher brightness. However, this FHD display has a 360Hz refresh rate, for the pickiest gamers.
Also, the FHD resolution is the most friendly option to battery life as the 4K option can cut battery endurance by 30% in tests. At least, that’s our general experience with 4K displays as of late.
Our SpyderXElite tests confirm this FHD display has a 100% sRGB color gamut (81% AdobeRGB, 81% P3), which works for Creative work as well.
The maximum brightness is 330 NITs, and while not exceptional, it’s more than enough for indoor or office usage. I mostly used a 60%-75% brightness in a well-lit room during the test.
The MSI GE76 Raider (official page) is an excellent gaming laptop and a great representative of the fastest Core i9-12900HK laptops. It delivers incredible performance and easily surpasses the 2021 champions by up to 30%, which is terrific.
Without a doubt, the Intel Core i9-12900HK (official page) sets the standard for mobile performance.
The GE76 Raider has many display options as a workstation, and RAM can be extended to 64GB at order time. Our unit even came with 2x 2TB of SSD storage.
“THE INTEL CORE I9-12900HK SETS THE STANDARD FOR MOBILE PERFORMANCE”
The GeForce RTX 3080Ti GPU is impressive and delivers top graphics performance well above the previous RTX 3080 (non-Ti). In short, NVIDIA beats itself because no one else will.
We’ve shown that even though the price is high, you’re truly getting what you pay for, and you’re not being overcharged for a little bit more speed and don’t suffer from diminishing returns.
And finally, there is no “deadweight” as each Lbs of this computer brings its share of system performance. The MSI GE76 Raider makes a case for owning a heavier laptop to get unequaled performance.