MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review

MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review

The new MSI Raider is here and we’re a bit excited. It retains the gamers-first look of the previous model – rather than the older, please-everyone, gun-metal grey livery of the past – but, there are a few, new design flourishes, it sports the latest-gen silicon inside and it has a swanky, mini-LED screen. So, can the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V once again lead the industry by being the most desirable laptop?

Specs

Screen16-inch, matte, 120Hz, 3,840 x 2,400, mini-LED, HDR, IPS display
Processor1.6-5.8GHz Intel Core i9 processor 14900HX CPU
Memory64GB DDR5-5600 RAM
Graphics16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
Hard drive2TB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 7
Bluetooth 5.4
1 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
HDMI 2.1
SD card reader
2.5GbE LAN
Speakers2 x 2-Watt Tweeters
2 x 2-Watt Woofers
Extra SecurityN/A
WebcamFull HD
Battery99Wh
Dimensions357 x 284 x 28mm
Weight2.82KG
SKU14VIG
Full specs here.

Features, Ergonomics and Design

The MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V has all the looks you’d want from a flagship gaming laptop. Its black chassis is augmented by a plethora of stylised vents, design flourishes, red and gold stripes plus its RGB keyboard, RGB Dragon logo (on the lid), translucent WASD keys and a [checks pictures] a massive sparkly disco bar at the front.

MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review RGB front view
The signature RGB of the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V makes it one of the most recognisable laptops around.

And yet, if you turn off all the lights, you could just about get away with it in an office… it’s just the WASD keys that might blight the disguise. It looks great and our only reservation is that it’s still a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

Screen

Opening it up reveals the 16-inch screen which is very bright (1,000 nits) and very colourful. It’s got a matte finish which banishes the reflections that blight OLED displays but the mini-LED backlights can get very near the same true-black performance, which is excellent. It also works with Windows HDR which doesn’t just reveal details in bright and dark areas, but ensures bright lights pop out of the screen for extra immersion and banding is banished in both colourful and monochromatic transitions. The result is excellent multimedia performance and a sharp and clear Windows Desktop.

MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review RGB front
MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review RGB front

The screen also has a 120Hz refresh rate. That’s not the fastest but it’s not uncommon for such a high-resolution screen (3,840 x 2,400). While it does keep fast-moving objects relatively blur free, it’s some way from being the fastest screen on the laptop market, but only the most demanding FPS players might grumble. It’s excellent.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The keyboard is a low-travel, Scrabble-tile affair. It’s very comfortable and accurate to both type and game upon for extended periods and we’re impressed at all the short-cut functions and the existence of the (albeit slightly reduced-size) number pad. The arrow keys are also reduced in size but they’re fully usable and not squished.

The trackpad is large, smooth and has pleasant, quiet button actuations.

Speakers

The speakers are very impressive. There are twin, two-Watt tweeters and twin, two-Watt woofers. They emit a loud well-rounded sound with great, all-round fidelity and punchy bass.

Web-conferencing

The Full HD webcam is also very good. It fends-off grain impressively and there’s a hardware-based slide for assured privacy. The supporting microphones do a very good job at capturing clear vocals in noisy environments for both conferencing and streaming.

All in all, it’s a great laptop to look at and interact with.

Connectivity and Ports

The MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is literally littered with ports.

MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review right view
On the right are three USB 3.2 ports: a Gen 1 USB-A, a Gen 2 USB-A and a Gen 2 USB-C (with DisplayPort and Power Delivery 3.0 charging).
At the rear is a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, HDMI 2.1 port and another USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port (with DP).
MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review left view
On the left is a Thunderbolt 4 port, SD Card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. This image also shows the extent to which the lid opens.

It’s got pretty much every flavour of wired connector you might need but, it’s also got cutting-edge wireless connectivity – Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4. We were particularly keen to run our (other job’s) Wi-Fi tests which see large video files downloaded from a fast, NAS that’s connected to the router by a 10Gbps Ethernet cable: we hit a best-we’ve-ever-seen, 161MBps! That’s faster performance than you’ll see on many wired connections and it means you can work on massive media files across a wireless network.

  • Features, Ergonomics and Design Score: 4.8/5

MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V Review: Photo Flourish

The Diplodocus in this MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review is from a school trip to London’s Natural History Museum in the 1980s.

Performance

Inside the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is the same, tweaked, “14th-Gen” Intel Core i9-14900HX processor that we saw in Asus’ giant ROG Strix SCAR 18, recently. It doesn’t have Intel’s new-fangled Neural Processing Unit which appears in the new Meteor Lake architecture. Instead, it’s a refreshed version of the 13th-Gen ‘Raptor Lake’ Core i9-13900HX processor. This means that it has eight Performance cores and 16 Efficiency cores which run across 32 threads and it operates between 1.6 and 5.8GHz (which is slightly faster than its predecessor).

MSI also ensures that this desktop-grade processor gets maximum power when plugged in with 175-Watts going to the GPU and 65-Watts going to the CPU.

Our review unit also had a generous 64GB of fast, DDR5-5600 RAM and a fast, 2TB NVMe hard drive.

We ran our regular and our new, expanded set of benchmarks on the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V. Our resulting performance scores are mathematically calculated and range from one to five where one is the lowest score we’ve seen and five is the fastest.

General Computing Benchmarks

In the PCMark 10 general-computing test, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 8,839 which is very fast indeed and only beaten by larger, 17-inch and 18-inch gaming laptops. Score: 4.5/5.

We also ran our new, real-world Procyon benchmarks. We’ve not a huge amount of comparative data for these yet, but we’ll be updating our recent laptop reviews once we’ve established how these numbers compare. As such, in the Photo Editing benchmark which uses Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom Classic to perform image retouching and batch processing tasks, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 7,204 which reflects a total of 110.6secs.

That’s 12-13 seconds behind Asus’ larger ROG Strix SCAR rivals. For more context, an ultraportable laptop with a two-Performance-core-wielding Core i7-1360P processor, scored 4,240 and completed all the tasks in 320 seconds. We’ll add more comments here once we flesh out the range with more scores from more laptops.

In the Procyon Video Editing test, which edits and exports four different videos, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 45,674. This meant it completed all tests between 20.9 and 56.7 seconds. The SCAR 18 (score 46,222) did them between 22-62 seconds while the AMD-based SCAR 17 X3D (score 49,303) did them in 20.3-50.2 seconds. The ultraportable, mentioned above, scored 2,744 which is a range between 159.7 seconds and 3,664 seconds. So, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is very good for video editing.

2D Performance

In our older Cinebench CPU-based rendering tests, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 4,778 in the rapid R15 test. That’s a bit down on the SCARs but still quick in the world of laptops. In the longer R23 test it scored 28,129 which is similar level of result. Score 4.4/5.

3D Performance

The MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V’s 3D performance comes via Nvidia’s top-tier GeForce RTX 4090 GPU.

In the tricky 3DMark ray-tracing tests which ape the quality of the latest-and-greatest, eye-candy-rich games, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 5,787 (an average of 58fps) in Speed Way and 14,202 (average 66fps) in Port Royal. These are a hair’s breadth away from being the fastest scores we’ve seen in these tests and demonstrate that it will have few issues playing the best-looking games.

In the AAA-game-mimicking 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme tests, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 21,763 (average 138fps) and 24,517 (average 113.7fps) respectively. The former is the fastest score we’ve seen from a laptop and the latter isn’t far behind.

In the lesser, 3Dmark Night Raid test, which mimics casual and competitive games, the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V scored 83,303 which is an average of 900.5fps. Again, it’s a smidge behind the fastest score we’ve seen.

All in all, the benchmarks demonstrate that the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is generally the fastest laptop for gaming on the market. Impressive!

  • 3D Performance Score: 5/5

Cooling

The MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V uses MSI’s mature Cooler Boost 5 technology which is based around two fans and six, broad heat pipes. It’s powerful and does a good job at keeping the powerful components cool, but it still gets very warm (not quite too hot to touch) and you wouldn’t want it on your lap. However, it can still get rather loud when under load with a strong, mid-pitched whoosh.

MSI’s Ai Engine helps keep everything running quietly most of the time and you can manually set it to Silent mode in the MSI Center app. The latter will dial the fans right down into a very quiet whirr that will get a little louder when under load (and also very hot).

Portability and Battery Life

We don’t expect beefy gaming laptops to be too portable – they need to be plugged in to reach their gaming potential. Nonetheless, having recently being dealing with larger, monolithic SCARs we were hoping for some improvement.

The MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V’s chassis is very solidly built and has robust hinges (which don’t let the lid go back very far) and we expect it to survive life on the road. It’s not the thinnest laptop – it’s flared backside is 28mm thick – but it doesn’t look oversized for a 16-inch laptop.

MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V review underneath
The well-ventilated MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V even has design flourishes underneath.

It weighs a hefty 2.82KG, mind, and you’ll feel that if you’re carrying it around all day. At least MSI has gone to the effort of reducing the size of its power brick as it now ‘only’ weighs 976g with cables – it was much bigger and uglier before.

You’ll need to carry it too as the maximum-sized, 99.9Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for 6 hours and 57 minutes. That’s not quite a day out of the office. It also ran our new, MS Office-based Procyon Battery test for 7 hours 10 minutes. This is despite it being simple to force the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V to use the more-power-friendly graphics processor embedded in the Intel CPU while disabling the discreet, Nvidia GPU. However, we’ve come to expect this from laptops with power-hungry mini-LED screens which require significant power and don’t get very dark at their lowest setting.

Price and Availability

Our review model of the MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is available now and in various other SKUs which have less memory and lower-spec’d GPUs. Our top-end review unit’s spec (SKU 14VIG-424AU) has a hefty RRP of $6,999 but, if you’re quick, you can get it at a $500 discount. Considering the performance and features on offer, that’s decent value.

It’s also worth noting that a model with Nvidia 4080 graphics and 32GB RAM (SKU 14VHG-427AU) is down to just $5,199, if you’re quick. That’s very good value.

Conclusion

This new MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is almost everything we hoped it would be. It’s great to use, it’s incredibly powerful and it looks awesome. It’s very expensive, but it is on sale and less-overpowered versions are readily available. It’s the fastest gaming laptop on the market and much faster than any non-desktop replacement gaming laptop we’ve tested. We’re very happy to recommend it.

Pros

Very powerful
Great features and ergonomics
Looks awesome

Cons

Very expensive
Not very portable
Fingerprint magnet

Award

Highly Recommended Gaming Laptop Award
MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V Scores
  • Price
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Features, Ergonomics & Design
  • Portability
  • Value
4.7

Summary

The MSI Raider GE68 HX 14V is the fastest gaming laptop we’ve ever tested. It’s expensive and there are a few foibles, but they are minor when compared to all the winning features.

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