MSI GE73 Raider and GE63 Raider laptops offer a fine balance

I am not generally a fan of gaming laptops, but even I have to admit that thanks to ever-more-efficient graphics chips, the notion of a "gaming laptop" is a lot less oxymoronic than it once was. When folks ask me for a gaming laptop recommendation I often go straight for MSI, and machines like those in the company's new GE73 Raider and GE63 Raider series are why. These laptops boast beautiful displays, powerful speakers, and fast hardware wrapped in sleek aluminum casings.

The GE73 Raider has a 17.3" display, while the GE63 Raider has a 15.6" screen. Besides that difference, the laptops are very similar. Both machines include mobile Intel Core i7 CPUs as standard, on up to the Core i7-7700HQ, plus GeForce graphics cards ranging from the GTX 1050 to the GTX 1070. Display options on offer include a 3840x2160 IPS display or a 1920x1080 display with a 120-Hz refresh rate.

MSI talks up the creature comforts on these laptops. The keyboard is designed by SteelSeries and offers per-key RGB LED backlighting. That's an improvement over the zone-based lighting offered by most RGB LED-lit laptop keyboards. MSI's also apparently put some work into the machine's sound output. The company refers to the audio system as "Giant Speaker" and says that the speakers were designed by the audiophiles at Danish speaker vendor Dynaudio. To help take advantage of those fancy speakers, the laptop includes ESS Sabre DACs on the signal path.

Owners can buy a GE63 Raider with an M.2 SSD and a 2.5" hard drive, while the larger GE73 Raider can have those devices plus a second M.2 SSD. The GE73's dual M.2 drives can be set up in a RAID configuration, too. Peripherals can hook up to the GE Raider laptops through a USB 3.1 Type-C connector or a trio of USB 3.0 ports. Those with a penchant for multi-monitor action can connect external displays to the Mini DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0a outputs, or the aforementioned USB Type-C port. Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity are are both powered by Killer chips.

MSI offers its laptops in a multitude on configurations. A quick look at product listings tells us that prices for the currently-available MSI GE63 Raider variants start at $1699 (Newegg shopping link here) for a machine with a GTX 1050 graphics card, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. The bigger GE73 Raider doesn't cost a whole lot more. Prices start at $1799 (at Newegg too) for a machine with GTX 1050 Ti graphics card and those 16 GB of RAM and the 1 TB SSD.

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