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  • Soon Kai Hong

CES 2023: The Most Powerful Gaming Laptop From MSI

What's there to say? This is arguably the most powerful gaming laptop ever and with MSI at the helm, it is so apt. They always say that the best is best saved for last and so we're taking a look at both the Raider GE78 HX as well as the Titan GT77 HX. Two laptops that are just beasts among beasts.

If you've taken a look at what we shared about MSI previously, you'll know that there's been plenty of new laptops from them that are just superb based on our first impressions. The all-new design for the Stealth 14 Studio, the Prestige 13 Evo and even the Creator Z16H or Z17H with that unique MSI Pen 2. But the Raider GE78 HX and the Titan GT77 HX really take it to the next level.

Raider GE78 HX

We first take a look at the Raider GE78 HX and this is basically a beast. Sporting up to the latest Intel Core i9-13980HX with up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU alongside plenty of RAM and SSD storage, it will certainly plough through games with little to no effort at all. 4K gaming at Ultra settings while achieving 60fps or even 120fps? No problem.

This can do it and even more. But perhaps the most interesting thing here is that with the particular model, we've had a chance to have a brief hands-on with, MSI has actually included an M.2 NVMe PCIe 5.0 SSD in it. This is a proper Gen 5 SSD drive and the results are nothing short of amazing.

We're looking at a read speed of over 12,000MB/s and a write speed of over 8,000MB/s.

That is insane, literally. The latest PCIe 4.0 SSDs max out around 7-8,000MB/s, which in itself is already really impressive but Gen 5 takes it up a notch. Just for context, if we were to take internet connection speeds out of the equation and just solely focus on the raw read and write speeds, you can download a huge game such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in a matter of seconds.

That's just how fast it is. But of course, it's not with a catch.

The Issue with PCIe 5.0 SSD

At the moment, this specific unit here in CES 2023 is the only unit to be equipped with a PCIe 5.0 SSD in it and MSI has confirmed that initial shipments of the Raider GE78 HX will only come with a PCIe 4.0 SSD and not a PCIe 5.0 SSD. Through our discussions with the spokesperson and the various staff, the are three main challenges when it comes to implementing PCIe 5.0 SSDs in a laptop.

The first is cost. Straightforward enough, this is as easy an answer as it can really be. Just like with DDR5 RAM pricing, PCIe 5.0 SSDs are extremely costly and should MSI bring it to the market at its current value per se, the laptops are just going to be incredibly overpriced for not much reason at all except for the fact that you can brag you have a PCIe 5.0 SSD laptop.

Secondly, it would be the demand. This works hand in hand with cost and certainly, it is a major factor. Not that many people are looking at a PCIe 5.0 SSD at this stage in time. Most of us are actually still simply transitioning from PCIe 3.0 to PCIe 4.0 SSDs. Given the market's proliferation with regards to PCIe 4.0, there just simply isn't much demand for PCIe 5.0 at the moment.

Additionally, while PCIe 5.0 is indeed faster, how much can one justify the cost to exchange for the performance? The graph isn't linear that's for sure.

But perhaps most lastly and most importantly, it would be cooling.

PCIe 5.0 SSDs run hot, extremely hot. It's to the point where with this specific GE78 Raider HX at CES 2023, the CrysalDiskMark benchmark can only really be run every few minutes or so. Should you run the benchmark back to back, the performance would decrease drastically.

This is the single most challenging issue that MSI is facing right now. Unlike a desktop, where manufacturers can simply just slap a thicker heatsink for the M.2 slot, there simply just isn't any space in a laptop. In this case, MSI has equipped the Gen 5 SSD with thick thermal pads on both sides, touching both the chassis and the motherboard for the best possible heat dissipation. Even then, this is the current situation.

So while PCIe Gen 5 sounds and is amazing to have, it just doesn't make sense at the moment. But sooner or later, we should be getting laptops with PCIe Gen 5 drives, we're sure of it.

Titan GT77 HX

On the other hand, we have the flagship Titan GT77 HX and this is arguably the most powerful gaming laptop right now.

The Titan series has always been the flagship for MSI and it's where they just throw everything out the window in favour for more performance. This is one hell of a gaming laptop.

We're taking a look at up to a Core i9-13980HX and up to an RTX 4090 Laptop GPU. Of course, plenty of RAM and SSD storage to your liking. The Titan GT77 HX is a true desktop replacement in every sense of the word. MSI tested Cinebench R23 with this very configuration and the laptop managed a multi-core score of over 32,000.

That puts it in line with the Ryzen 9 7950X or the Intel Core i9-13900K, which is extremely performance. Basically the same amount of performance but just with a much more efficient power draw.

But that's not all.

The laptop features a brand new chassis with a projective mystic light bar for added RGB effect and a Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile mechanical keyboard. There's also a total of 4 fans and 8 heat pipes to cool those powerful components. The icing on the cake however is the display.

This comes equipped with a 17.3" 4K 144Hz MiniLED display with over 1,000 local dimming zones. What can we say apart from that, it's amazing. Seriously it is. Arguably the best display ever and with such high-end components, 4K 60fps or even 120fps on Ultra settings is no longer just a dream but an actual reality.

But of course, with either of the two laptops, do be prepared to have a hefty wallet.

In any case, that was a slightly more in-depth look into the ultimate gaming laptops from MSI. We're still here at CES 2023 so do definitely watch out for more content!

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