The MSI GE66 is the latest from MSI’s “Raider” series of gaming laptops. Successor to last year’s GE65, the GE66 comes with a refreshed design, powerful hardware and a flashy RGB light bar in a glass shell across the front of the chassis.
Our review model is 10SF, which comes with a Core i7-10750H, RTX 2070, 1TB SSD, a 240 Hz Full HD panel and a massive 99.9 Wh battery – the maximum allowed by flight regulations.
The high-end variant can be configured with upto a Core i9-10875H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER and a 300Hz IPS-Level 1080p or UHD (3840×2160) display panel.
The GE66 Raider is a portable machine and gets a lot of things right for a 2020 gaming laptop, read on to find out more.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-10750H|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM|
2 Slots, Max 64GB
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB GDDR6|
|Storage||1TB M.2 SSD (NVMe PCIe Gen3)|
1x M.2 SSD Combo slot (NVMe PCIe Gen3 / SATA)
|Display||15.6″ FHD (1920×1080), 240Hz, IPS-Level|
1x SD (XC/HC) Card Reader
1x (4K @ 60Hz) HDMI
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
1x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2
1x Type-C (USB3.2 Gen2 / DP)
1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen2x2
1 Mic-in/Headphone-out Combo Jack
|Connectivity||Killer ax Wi-Fi |
|Camera||FHD type ([email protected])|
|Audio||2x 2W Speaker|
|Battery||3-Cell Li-Polymer 99.9Wh|
230W W adapter
|Dimensions||358(W) x 267(D) x 23.4(H) mm|
Weight: 2.38 kg
The model we’ve received for this review is the GE66-10SF
The GE66 comes in a standard brown cardboard box. Inside is another MSI branded box in which the laptop and the accessories are protected by foam. In the box you will find:
- The MSI GE66 Raider laptop itself
- 230W power brick
- Power cable
- User guide and warranty
Design, Build & Ports
The MSI GE66 comes in a matte-finish dark gray color with a subtle MSI logo on the lid. In terms of design, the GE66 has a low-key and unassuming exterior without much of the aesthetics of a gaming laptop. It looks more of a sleeper and is well-designed gaming laptop without being over-the-top.
The housing is made of aluminum and high quality matte plastic. The body and the display panel are sturdy and well-built. The hinges hold the lid firmly, while allowing it to be tilted to almost 135 degrees.
With dimensions of 358(W) x 267(D) x 23.4(H) mm and a weight of 2.38 kilos, the GE66 is compact for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop.
The MSI GE66 Raider is equipped with a solid set of ports on either sides and at the back.
On the left, we find a USB 3.2 Type A Gen.2 connector, a single USB 3.2 Type C Gen.2×2 (20 Gbps), a combo headphone/microphone jack and a connector for the Kensington lock.
On the right are a pair of USB 3.2 Gen1 ports and a SD / SDHC / SDXC / MMC memory card reader.
The remaining ports are located at the back, between the two airflow vents are the mini DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.2 Type C Gen.2 compatible with DisplayPort 1.4 standard, Ethernet RJ-45 network, HDMI 2.0 port and the proprietary power connector that resembles a USB connector. Unlike the GS66 Stealth model, there is no support for the Thunderbolt 3 interface.
Wireless connectivity is powered by an 802.11AX module (Wi-Fi 6) and there is Bluetooth 5.1 on board.
The FullHD (1920 x 1080) 15.6″ screen uses an IPS panel with a refresh rate of 240 Hz and color gamut of 100% sRGB which makes it great for gaming as well as content creation. While the 300Hz variant might be overkill and is better suited for competitive Esports gamers, the 144Hz and the 240Hz are definitely an upgrade over the standard 60Hz displays.
The display features 5mm bezels and an 82% screen-to-body ratio. Located on the top bezel is a Full HD webcam capable of recording at 30 FPS. Although there is noise in poorly lit environments, the camera quality is generally good. However, it doesn’t seem to be compatible with Windows Hello.
The display offers a brightness of 300 nits and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The screen displays beautiful colors and the maximum brightness is good enough to play in a well-lit room but rather difficult in bright outdoor environments. The viewing angles are glare-free and satisfactory.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The MSI GE66 has a per-key, RGB LED backlit, chiclet keyboard from SteelSeries. The RGB can be configured via SteelSeries Engine application and the intensity is adjustable by the key combination of the Fn + F10 / F11.
The keyboard layout is standard and does not come with a numpad. The keyboard is probably one of the main drawbacks of the GE66 Raider. While the typing experience is good and the keys are soft and have a short travel of 1.2mm, they are also easy to miss because of the compact design.
On the other hand, It offers a very quiet typing experience when working in office spaces or cafes.
Under the keyboard and slightly to the left is the touchpad with the integrated left and buttons.The trackpad is smaller than standard but comfortable, precise and easily identifies multi-touch gestures.
Performance & Benchmarks
In terms of performance, our test model is equipped with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 10750H processor with 6 core and 12 threads, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM and 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM which can be further upgraded to 64GB. For storage, there is 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD onboard with an additional M.2 expansion slot.
CPU, GPU & RAM
The Core i7-10750H performs on par with other laptops in with the same processor while being slightly slower than the competing Ryzen 5 4600H. The 10750H has 6 cores and 12 threads, 12 MB of L3 cache and a frequency of 2.60 GHz that goes up to 5 GHz and a TDP of 45W.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 is based on the same TU106 core as the desktop model, it has 2,034 CUDA Cores that reach 1,455 MHz in Boost mode, as well as 8GB of GDDR6 memory.
In Cinebench R20 tests, the i7 10750H scored 408 in single core benchmark and 2,326 in multi-core benchmark. In PCMark 10 Benchmark, the Strix G15 scored 5,925. 3DMark benchmarks does not disappoint either, you can find the results in the table below.
|Cinebench R20 single core||408|
|Cinebench R20 multi core||2,726|
|PCMark 10 Benchmark||5,925|
|3DMark Time Spy||7,287|
|3DMark Fire Strike||17,117|
|3DMark Sky Diver||38,446|
Storage is handled by an excellent high-performance 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. However, depending on the region, they may be different. The SSD offers read speeds of up to 3,399MB per second and write of up to 3,039MB.
Looking at the benchmark scores, the GE66 10SF can easily take on modern games without even being the top-of-the-line model. While The RTX 2070 wont be able to achieve 240 fps in most games with the settings turned on to ultra, on medium settings, it can easily render 140+ fps.
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||118||96|
In terms of cooling, MSI GE66 Raider uses the most extensive version of the Cooler Boost 5 technology. There a total of 6 copper heatpipes that distribute the heat through the two fans. Two of them focus on the CPU while four others on the GPU.
A couple of the drawbacks are the temperature and fan noise for all the bells and whistles that the GE66 offers. The compact form factor causes some problems on heavy load; the fans get very loud and the laptop has a tendency to heat up quickly.
Fortunately the palm rests and the keyboard area remain relatively cool while most of the heat is contained on the sides and at the back of the laptop.
In terms of upgradeability, the MSI GE66 can be equipped with an additional M.2 SSDs and upto 64GB of RAM.
Access to RAM, SSD and battery is easy. To get inside the MSI GE66 Raider laptop, the bottom cover needs to be removed by unscrewing a total of 11 Philips screws.
There are two SO-DIMM slots for DDR4 RAM and two M.2 slots for SSD drives – one is occupied by default, but the other is available to expand.
Battery & Audio
The GE66 Raider G512L has a 99.9 Wh 4-cell Li-Polymer battery.
Depending on your settings, the battery will last between five to seven hours thanks to the massive 99.9 Wh battery that MSI managed to fit into the laptop, 100 Wh is the maximum allowed as hand luggage on an airplane.
|Idle (one third brightness, no WiFI)||7h 20 min|
|Web Browsing (one third brightness)||5h 54 min|
|Video Playback (one third brightness)||4h 42 min|
|Gaming (50% brightness)||1h 34min|
Given the large amount of RGB lighting and powerful hardware, the battery life is sufficient. For longer battery, you can turn off the RGB lighting.
In terms of audio, there are 2x 2.5W Dynaudio Duo Wave speakers powered by Nahimic software and is Hi-Res certified. The sound quality is average and as with most gaming laptops, we recommend using a headset.
Most of the performance and display settings can be controlled via the MSI Dragon Center. With MSI Dragon Center, you can monitor and optimize your system performance, change user profiles, switch between display color modes, adjust charging preferences and more.
There is also the Steelseries Engine app for configuring the keyboard and the light bar on the front, Nahimic software for audio settings, the Killer Control Center for Wi-Fi management and the third-party app Overwolf for in-game overlays
With a minimal and well-designed chassis, The MSI GE66 is a real powerhouse and comes packed with great features: A beautiful 240Hz screen, powerful GPU and CPU options, plenty of ports and upgradeability.
Some of the drawbacks are the flat keyboard, average speakers and the heating and fan noise on load.
For the best bang for buck, we recommend choosing the GE66 equipped with the Core i7-10750H and RTX 2070 as the chassis and screen remains the same while you get 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and 1 TB of SSD. In our opinion, this one of the best configurations available.
The MSI GE66 is a future-proof gaming machine and a good investment for the hardware it provides.