The MSI Raider series of devices is positioned well in the hard-core gaming segment. Today we are going to look at the 17.3-inch GE73VR 7RF which has a pretty slim form factor for a machine that houses a GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. It also boasts the almighty Core i7-7700HQ and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. Ok, so far nothing special because every self-respecting gaming device with a GTX 1070 would have the same parameters. MSI, though, has got you covered with two M.2 slots with RAID 0 support for connecting more than one super fast NVMe SSD.
The GE73VR 7RF is also equipped with a playful RGB keyboard that supports different modes via the dedicated utility app found on the disk with drivers. All of this is great but it’s simply not enough to compete with rivals of the class of ASUS ROG Strix GL503VS and its 144 Hz display. MSI themselves give you an interesting display option with this device, and we are reviewing exactly this model – 120 Hz TN panel. At first glance it sounds like they are joking, placing a TN panel in a device like this one. However, you will see later what exactly the reason behind that is, and believe us, you won’t even notice this is not an IPS display with your naked eye.
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/msi-ge73vr-raider/
MSI GE73VR technical specifications table Also known as MSI GE73VR Raider-045
What’s in the box?
The box contains a couple of manuals and guides placed in a small plastic bag, where MSI was kind enough to also include a disk with drivers and utilities. The MSI GE73VR 7RF itself is located in an antistatic bag, and to the right of it is placed the huge 230W charger.
Design and construction
All of the manufacturers are looking to make their product design more and more appealing, but some of them go to extents that make the device look childish and unfinished. That’s deffinitely not the case with the MSI GE73VR 7RF. It has an aluminum design that has a slim form factor, which is impressive for a machine that includes a GTX 1070. The laptop measures at 419 x 285 x 29 mm (16.50″ x 11.22″ x 1.14″) and weighs 2.8 kg – again impressive for a 17-inch gaming laptop. When looked from above, the computer resembles a BMW E38’s hood, while the drills on the back make for the aggressive look of the device.
Opening the lid, which is held in place by strong and sturdy hinges, discloses the view of a nice large RGB keyboard. In addition to the full-size layout, it is also pleasant to type on. Nice key travel, combined with a clicky response and tactile feedback, make it close to the desktop-grade keyboard. The touchpad beneath it is also nice and the dedicated buttons prevent it from sinking when pressed. On the right of the keyboard are located the power button and the two utility ones, which are shaped in accordance with the design lines of the device.
The bottom of the MSI GE73VR 7RF has a lot of vents that not only give room for air intake but also reveal a good part of the internals of the notebook. Here is also located the super loudspeaker system, which consists of two 2W speakers and two 3W woofers that make the sound a lot deeper.
Next, we move to the sides of the device. Here the two top corners are dedicated to heatsinks, so there is no way of getting away from the hot air during gaming. Anyhow, on the right, there are two USB ports – one Type-A 3.0 and one Type-C 3.1. They are accompanied by an RJ-45 connector and two aux jacks for headphones and microphone respectively. On the video side, you have an HDMI port, supporting 4K @ 60Hz, and a Mini-DisplayPort. On the right, you can see the charging connector, as well as two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and an SD card reader.
Disassembly and maintenance
The MSI GE73VR 7RF is super easy to disassemble – you just need to remove the 12 Phillips head screws and you’re done. Keep in mind that in order to access one of them, you have to break through the “factory” seal, which voids your warranty, so do it at your own risk.
Once inside, we were astonished by the size of the cooling system on this device. It’s a real heat pipe maze with a total of four pipes cooling the GPU only. Two of them are meant for the Ryzen 7 2700U, and there is one for the CPU VRM’s and GPU RAM modules.
As you can see from the image above, the 51Wh battery unit on the MSI GE73VR 7RF lacks any branding, and not only that, but the 6 cells are clearly visible.
One of the key features of the GE73VR 7RF is that it has two PCIe NVMe M.2 slots and supports RAID 0 connection of two SSDs, enhancing the speeds of transfer. On our device, only one of them was taken, and you also have to remove a mysterious PCB to be able to access the slots. This circuit board controls the RGB backlight of the separate keys.
Here is how a pair of the “Giant Speakers” looks like.
In the following picture, you can observe an HDD cuddling with the Wi-Fi adapter.
The MSI GE73VR 7RF comes with a Full HD (1920×1080) TN panel with 17.3-inch diagonal, 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm pixel pitch and 127 ppi. The panel is manufactured by Innolux with a model number N173HHE-G32 (CMN1747) and can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from at least 69 cm.
Viewing angles are quite uncomfortable, as seen from the images below.
We’ve recorded a peak brightness 287 nits in the center of the screen and 290 nits as an average across the surface with a maximum deviation of just 5%. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is a little colder than the standard 6500K at 7150K. Things get even worse when going along the grayscale, but worry not – it’s fixable by our profiles. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (74% brightness) in the image below.
The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. The contrast ratio is excellent, and rarely seen on a TN panel – 1200:1 before calibration and 1190:1 after calibration.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
This display is able to show 100% of the colors used in the Internet and HD television. Not only that but it is able to display 97% of DCI-P3 in CIE1976, providing gamers with rich and saturated colors.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 nits luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile. Here you can see a vast improvement in the profile – a drop form dE 9.8 to dE 2.1.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 8 ms. This panel is one of the fastest we ever tested!
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
The brightness level of MSI GE73VR 7RF is PWM-adjusted until 75 nits, although it does it with a very high frequency and hence it is not of major concern and can be used for extended periods of time without a problem.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
We can confidently say that the display of MSI GE73VR 7RF is one of the best gaming screens we’ve ever tested. It has exceptionally high contrast ratio for a TN panel and displays vibrant and punchy colors, extending to the DCI-P3 gamut. Again due to the TN nature of the panel it is one of the fastest responding out there. In addition to that, we didn’t detect PWM in brightness adjustment. The only drawback of this display is the poor viewing angles but in this case it’s inevitable.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for MSI GE73VR 7RF configurations with 17.3″ Innolux N173HHE-G32 (CMN1747) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) TN screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
MSI GE73VR 7RF is equipped with super loud speakers, which in some case can eliminate the need of external speakers, and although there are some deviations in the low specter of frequencies the mids and highs are crisp and clear.
Our review unit came with preinstalled 64-bit Windows 10. If you decide to buy the machine “clean” or you need to reinstall your system, here you can find all the drivers and fancy utilities MSI has for you: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/support/GE73VR-7RF-Raider
As always, the battery tests were run with Windows power saving setting and Wi-Fi turned on, and the screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits. Although a true gaming device won’t rely on battery life, it is definitely a bonus. Well… that’s clearly not the case with the MSI GE73VR 7RF, considering that it was given a battery with mere 51Wh of juice in it. That’s not enough, not only because of the hardware but also because of the 120 Hz refresh rate of the display. We got around 1 hour and 40 minutes of web surfing and video playback. The battery was enough for just an hour of gaming, making the notebook not suitable for work/gaming away from the charger.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
CPU – Intel Core i7-7700HQ
The Core i7-7700HQ is Kaby Lake’s top-shelf direct successor to the Skylake Core i7-6700HQ offering slightly higher clock speeds on the almost identical architecture and TDP. While Intel markets Kaby Lake’s architecture as “14nm+”, the Core i7-7700HQ is still on the same 14nm node with the only significant update being in the iGPU department. That’s why the slightly altered clock speeds (2.8 – 3.8 GHz vs 2.6 – 3.5 GHz) bring not more than 10% increase in performance compared to the Core i7-6700HQ. We still have the supported Hyper-Threading technology with 4/8 – core/thread design, the same 45W TDP, and 6MB cache.
However, the Kaby Lake generation boasts an updated video engine for the iGPU, although, its performance is just about the same. Branded as Intel HD Graphics 630, the GPU offers slightly higher clock speeds (350 – 1100 MHz vs 350 – 1050 MHz) compared to the Intel HD Graphics 530 and support for H265/HEVC Main10 profile at 10-bit color depth and the VP9 codec for full hardware acceleration. In addition, the HDCP 2.2 is also supported allowing Netflix’s 4K video streaming.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5)
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 is the second fastest mobile GPU after the GTX 1080. It’s part of NVIDIA’s Pascal generation of GPUs and unlike previous releases, the company finally closes the gap between mobile and desktop graphics processors and that’s why there’s no “M” in the branding of Pascal GPUs. All thanks to the 16nm TSMC manufacturing process of the GPU, which allows better thermals and overall performance in a smaller form factor. That’s a big technology jump compared to the 28nm Maxwell generation.
Compared to its desktop counterpart, the GTX 1070 doesn’t differ too much. They share an identical number of ROPs (64) and identical memory – 8GB GDDR5 with 256-bit bus clocked at 8000 MHz. However, there’s a minor difference in clock speeds – the laptop GPU ticks at 1443 MHz and can go up to 1645 MHz while the desktop variant is running at 1506 MHz – 1683 MHz. To compensate to some extent, the laptop 1070 carries more CUDA cores (2048 vs 1920) and slightly more TMUs (170 vs 120).
Due to its performance, thermals and power consumption, which is believed to be 10W more than the GTX 980M, the GPU is suitable for large 17-inch laptops with the appropriate cooling solution.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Samsung PM871A is the SSD of choice in the configuration we have our hands on, but we have to mention that the choice of an SSD may differ, depending on your region. The current device achieves speeds of 543.3 MB/s and 524.1 MB/s of Read and Write respectively, which is far from flagship speeds, although for gaming this is more than enough.
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||110 fps||69 fps||53 fps|
|Min FPS||55 fps||38 fps||28 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||85 fps||81 fps||77 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||122 fps||72 fps||47 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||87 fps||77 fps||51 fps|
|Min FPS||74 fps||65 fps||44 fps|
The temperature tests go this way. We use Prime95 and FurMark to torture the CPU and the GPU respectively. This won’t give real-life representation but with our methodology, we try to give you the most optimal results.
The first values from the test are from the 30th second of running the Prime95 stress test, which simulates a heavy task run on your computer (usually lighter tasks take from a part of the second up to a couple of seconds). Next, we take the ones from the 2nd-minute mark, which imitates a very heavy task, run on the CPU. The last values we give you are the ones at the end of the test, which is 15 minutes simulating the CPU load when rendering a video, for example.
0-15 min. CPU torture test
MSI GE73VR 7RF’s cooling solution consists of two fans, blowing away the heat through a total of four heat spreaders, which are connected to the CPU and GPU via heat pipes, as the Core i7-7700HQ is connected to the left ones, while the GTX 1070 is cooled by all of the heatsinks.
The CPU of MSI GE73VR 7RF was idling at 37°C, and for thirty seconds the average temperature went as high as 72°C, while the core frequencies maintained a good 3.4 GHz for the first time period.
After a couple of seconds, we saw the frequencies drop to 2.8 GHz, which coincided with the package reaching 80°C. Not long after that, the clock speeds established at 3.1 GHz, while the temperature kept slightly rising.
At the end of the 15-minute torture, the average temperature of the CPU package was around 80°C, with some peaks reaching as high as 88°C. While that seems quite hot, we can assure you that during gaming you’ll never encounter this high of a temperature reading. The frequencies of the cores were fluctuating until the end of the session but were relatively stable, sustaining a 3.2 GHz average clock speed for the whole period.
0-30 min. GPU torture test
Moving to the GPU stress test, we have to first note that the GeForce GTX 1070 has a TDP of 110W, which needs a cooler with a big capacity. Here, the MSI GE73VR 7RF proved that it has the guts to cool down this kind of a graphics card. While idling at 42°C, the temperatures never exceeded 74°C, while the average clock speed was 1473 MHz – a hair over the base frequency of 1443 MHz.
Given the hardware, the surface temperatures were at a decent level, with the hottest place being the top middle section. The temperatures are decreasing towards the bottom part of the device, so the palm rest remains cool, even under extreme conditions.
First, we have to note how stylish this device looks for a gaming laptop, combining aluminum and plastic to achieve the look of a wild beast, waiting to unleash its power over its victim. Of course, the looks are just a bonus in the category the MSI GE73VR 7RF resides. Of much higher importance in this imaginary realm is the hardware, where the GE73VR 7RF also comes well equipped. However, in the 17.3-inch size segment there is good competition in the face of Lenovo Legion Y920.
Comparing it to the latter, we found the GE73VR 7RF to underperform a little, both in raw benchmarks and in gaming test. Of course, the difference is not crucial, nor will it make any difference while playing but it’s worth mentioning that the Legion Y920 has the edge. Also, for around the same price, the Lenovo is equipped with the unlocked Intel Core i7-7820HK, while the GE73VR 7RF “only” has a Core i7-7700HQ.
However, while it fails in some areas, it excels in others. One of them is the overall size and weight of the device – MSI GE73VR 7RF weighs just 2.8 kilos and has a 29 mm profile, which makes it feel like a prima ballerina compared to the bulkiness and the 4.3 kilos of the Lenovo Legion Y920. It’s worth mentioning that despite being with a TN panel, the more expensive option on the GE73VR 7RF comes with one of the best displays for gaming out there, given the wide color gamut and fast responsiveness of the panel. By default, the colors of this screen are far from the optimal, although when our profiles are present, it was able to drop to the edge of the dE 2.0 mark.
Another factor that would tip the scales in MSI’s favor is the adequate touchpad and cool temperatures during extremely high loads, especially for such a form factor. Adding the possibility of maxing out the fans with one button boosts the thermal effectiveness even further, although you should hold the GE73VR 7RF close, as there is a high possibility of it taking off from your desk.
- Sleek design for a gaming device of this size
- Support of RAID 0
- Vivid screen with great responsiveness
- RGB keyboard
- No aggressive PWM-adjustment
- Hardware is easy to upgrade
- Unacceptable battery life
- Poor viewing angles