The new MSI GE76 gaming laptop with Nvidia RTX 3000 series graphics is here! Think of it like a larger 17 inch version of the 15 inch GE66 that launched at CES last year, but there are also some welcome upgrades which I’ll cover in this article.
The most obvious change is of course the use of new hardware. The GE76 makes use of Nvidia’s latest RTX 3000 series graphics which should mean more performance in games. My model has the RTX 3060 with 8 gig of VRAM, but there are also 3070 and 3080 options too depending on the size of your wallet.
In addition to more GPU power with Ampere over Turing, this brings more Nvidia features including Reflex for reducing latency in games, and should also offer improved ray tracing performance. This is an engineering sample, so the final GE76 may differ a bit from what I’m showing here, and as a result I can’t do detailed testing yet. I will be getting the final model later this month for full review though.
I’ll definitely be comparing the new 3000 series graphics against 2000 series from last generation to see what the differences are.
My GE76 otherwise has a 10th gen CPU, I can only assume that will refresh once 11th gen is available, whenever that is. There’s also WiFi 6e, another improvement over WiFi 6 which became commonplace last year. Like the smaller GE66, there’s also a 4-cell 99.9Wh battery here too, two memory slots, and two M.2 storage slots. The design aesthetic is very similar to the GE66 too, with a nice dark silver finish and of course plenty of RGB lighting, including per key keyboard and RGB bar along the front. Unlike the 15 inch GE66 though, the larger size of the GE76 allows it to fit in front facing speakers on either side of the keyboard, as well as a numpad, both of which were absent on the GE66 due to space limitations. I found the precision touchpad and the keyboard keys to work fine, but again engineering sample, so I won’t go too in depth.
The GE76 is available with up to a 300Hz screen, but there’s also a 4K option which is what my model has. My unit does have a MUX switch, so after a reboot it’s possible to disable Optimus for improved gaming performance.
My engineering sample doesn’t have G-Sync, but I’ve got the 4K option, so I’m not sure if that may be possible with the 1080p panels, we’ll have to wait and see.
There’s a 1080p camera above the screen, so should hopefully offer better than most other 720p alternatives in other laptops. Ports on the left include USB 3.2 Gen2 by 2 Type-C port, so 20Gbps speed, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port, so 10gbps, and 3.5mm audio combo jack. The right has two USB 3.2 Gen1 5gbps Type-A ports, a full sized UHS-III SD card slot for creators, and an air exhaust vent on this side too. The rest of the I/O is on the back, which has a mini DisplayPort 1.4 output, another USB Type-C port, this one is USB 3.2 Gen2 with DisplayPort 1.4 output, but no Thunderbolt with the GE76. There’s also a HDMI 2 output, 2.5 gigabit ethernet, and the rectangle on the far right is the power input.
MSI lists the weight as 2.9kg, though mine was more than 3kg, then of course more with the 230 watt power brick. It’s not super thick for a 17 inch gaming laptop either considering the specs that it’s able to pack. I’m sure you all also want to know pricing and availability defaults. Unfortunately I don’t have that information at this time, but it shouldn’t be too long until I can make the full review then I’ll have all that information.
So far MSI’s GE76 is basically shaping up how I’d expect, that is basically a larger 17 inch version of their GE66. I’m not sure why we didn’t get the 17” version last year too, but it’s here now with new hardware, and i’ll be putting it to the test as soon as I can.