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Review of MSI Raider 18 HX: a heavy-duty but powerful device

Review of MSI Raider 18 HX: a heavy-duty but powerful device

Sometimes all you want is a powerful laptop that is truly “all-in-one” for gaming. Furthermore, it makes no difference how big, how loud, or even how long the laptop’s battery lasts. All that matters is that you can throw anything at it and still have an amazing gaming experience. The MSI Raider 18 HX is here to help you decimate—especially your wallet—in those situations!

Since the MSI Raider is primarily intended for gaming, it has various shortcomings compared to other laptops. Its battery life is short, its fans are noisy, its typing is not very good, and it weighs so much that it is nearly absurd to call it a laptop. But since it is a gaming laptop, many of those shortcomings are “givens”; instead, what counts is how well it performs when playing AAA games with a heavy load. Most of the time.


Now let us pull off one band-aid. This specific MSI Raider 18 HX costs $3,400, which is a ridiculous amount of money. You should receive something with all the top specs for that type of pricey pricing, and fortunately, MSI mostly delivers. Its screen is enormous, and it contains more RAM, storage, and processor cores than many desktop computers. Thanks to future-proof Wi-Fi 7 functionality, you are getting a lot for your money in terms of next-generation features and top-tier tech. The display refresh rate is the only area where you might consider it a miss. It is an enormous 18-inch screen with a stunning 3840 x 2400 resolution, but if you are a purist about refresh rates, the fact that it is set at just 120 Hz may disappoint you.

  • Intel Core i9-14900HX as the CPU
  • 64 GB DDR5 Memory; NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU; 12G GDDR6 Graphics; 18′′ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) 120Hz Mini LED HDR 1000 100% DCI-P3 Display;
  • 2TB NVMe SSD Gen4x4 for storage
  • IR Full HD webcam
  • Two ThunderboltTM 4 w DP (one with PD3.1), three USB 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI v2.1, an SD card reader, a 3.5mm audio connector, and other connections
  • Networking: Bluetooth 5.4, Wi-Fi 7.
  • Biometrics: Reader for fingerprints
  • 99.9 watt-hours of battery capacity; dimensions: 15.91 x 12.09 x 1.26 inches
  • Weight: 7.94 lbs.
  • List price: $3,399

Build quality and looks

Imagine the ideal laptop for gaming. You probably have an image of a huge screen with lights all over the place, ostentatious but needless lettering, and splashes of red to contrast with the overwhelming black. The MSI Raider is that. This laptop has undoubtedly crossed your mind millions of times. The weight is the one item that you most likely misenvisioned. I understand what you are thinking now. It must be heavy because it is a gaming laptop. No, it is not that heavy at all. This laptop weighs a little less than eight pounds. It is not a laptop, let us face it. This enormous laptop is too heavy and too hot to carry about on your lap; more on that later. With nicer lights, the MSI Raider is an all-in-one desktop that is marginally more portable.

You can indeed choose the keyboard font, but many gaming laptops offer similar options. What counts is that MSI made use of ventilation requirements to improve the overall appearance and feel, and it is a well-constructed product. I enjoy all of the accents on the fans. A drawback is the jagged edges. Typing on a laptop that causes your arms to frequently brush the front edge may get a little unpleasant after a time.

Keyboard and trackpad

I am not sure how I feel about the trackpad and keyboard. Both are good technically when disassembled. The full-sized keyboard comes with a numeric keypad, and the laptop-friendly keys have decent travel. I do not get pain when I type, which is always a major thing for me because I have problems with keyboards that are not ergonomic. Additionally, MSI packed the keyboard with a ton of goodies. Aside from the new Copilot button that the majority of contemporary laptops will have, you also get tons of features and elegant RGB backlighting on each key. You can activate a crosshair by combining the function key with the down, and you can blast the fans with a cooler boost by using the up key.


When it comes to benchmark testing, the MSI Raider 18 should be considered a beast, at least when compared to standard laptops. It does have a 2 TB NVMe SSD, an i9 processor, 64 GB of RAM, and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 laptop-grade GPU. Should that fail to translate into performance, the laptop’s extremely loud fans can be attributed solely to heat.

Battery life

The MSI Raider is powered by a 99.9-watt-hour battery, which is the largest size that is compatible with carrying a laptop on an aircraft. I have a suspicion that half of the reason this Raider weighs so much is because very few computers host anything nearly this enormous. You could be tempted to believe that the Raider might achieve all-day battery life with this massive juice pack. Nope!

We loop a 4K version of the Tears of Steel movie continuously until the laptop dies, lowering brightness to 50% and testing battery life in this way. After a mere 234 minutes, this MSI Raider succumbed to its demise. That is somewhat more than half the time as HP Omen and 30 minutes less than the other MSI Raider in our comparison chart. And here’s something to consider: in the “best case scenario,” turning down the brightness and putting the Raider in airplane mode Gaming consumes more energy than even looping a video.


I have some conflicting emotions after leaving. The standards match my emotions exactly. Unorganized and jumbled. This laptop kills it when it performs well. The display is stunning and has the potential to go so bright that you could pull off Shutterstock’s beloved “hacker in the dark” appearance. You know the one where the one monitor in the pitch-black room appears to be as bright as the sun for some reason. This exhibit is that. Really?

Additionally, there are many wonderful details for gamers. The RGB is everything a gamer could ask for—everything a business casual wearer would detest—and the customizable glowing logo adds the icing on top. The trackpad positioning is something I could get used to, or better yet, turn off in favor of a gaming mouse.

However, other things hinder me. The noise level of the fans is so high that I would advise getting something with active noise cancellation (ANC) in addition to headphones. For this pricing, there is a part of me that wants better FPS performance (and a display to match). It is also considerably too heavy and has a much too limited battery life to be a viable option for mobile gaming. This is an all-in-one that, at best, you might readily replace in a friend’s place. This gaming PC is designed for a certain consumer who wants to purchase only a laptop, mouse, and headset. And this will work for that individual. It could be worthwhile for everyone else to check out the competition.

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