I was lucky enough to be on-hand when MSI launched the GT80 Titan at CES. It was a big event for them, and all of the MSI people were quite excited about the unique device they had come out with. Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of traction in the enthusiast market for mechanical keyboards, and MSI decided it was time to put a fully mechanical keyboard into a gaming laptop.

MSI turned to SteelSeries for the keyboard, and wedged one of their Cherry MX Brown keyboards into the GT80 Titan, creating one of the more uniquely designed laptops in quite some time. The keyboard is placed right at the front since a mechanical keyboard requires a lot more vertical depth than traditional notebook keyboards. This poses a slight problem for the standard trackpad placement, so MSI shifted it off to the right side and have made it both a trackpad and number pad. The layout works better than you might suspect, but since this is a desktop replacement, using it with a mouse would likely be the preferred option.

What’s behind the keyboard is equally as important, since this is first and foremost a gaming laptop. Here MSI has not disappointed either. Intel has finally released quad-core Broadwell parts, and MSI has shipped us the just recently updated version sporting the Intel Core i7-5700HQ processor. This is one of the new breed of 47 watt processors on 14 nm, with a base of 2.7 GHz and a turbo of 3.5 GHz. MSI pairs this with 16 GB of memory, and not one but two GTX 980M GPUs in SLI.

This plentiful processing power pushes polygons to a 1920x1080 pixel panel with proportions past the purview of most portable PCs (and try saying that five times fast). Alliteration aside, the display is right at the upper bounds of a notebook computer, with an 18.4-inch diagonal, making this one of the largest laptops around. It seems like the push for high PPI displays has been slow to come to the larger 17-inch panels, and the even rarer 18.4-inch one like in this device likely means sourcing one is even tougher. This display size at 1080p only results in 120 pixels per inch. At a point we hope that MSI might look into a 4K display at this size, although sourcing 18.4-inch 4K displays might be tricky. The device also does not support NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology, but at least there should be fewer worries about frame rates dropping under the refresh rate of the panel.

MSI GT80 Titan
  As Tested, Core i7-5700HQ, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 1920x1080 PLS display
Processor Intel Core i7-5950HQ (4C/8T, 2.9-3.7GHz, 6MB L3, 14nm, 47W)
Intel Core i7-5700HQ (4C/8T, 2.7-3.5GHz, 6MB L3, 14nm, 47W)
Memory 16GB-24GB DDR3L-1600 MHz
Graphics 2 x NVIDIA GTX 980M 8GB each
2 x NVIDIA GTX 970M 6GB each
2 x NVIDIA GTX 965M 4GB each
Display 18.4" 1920x1080 PLS Matte
Storage 128GB SSD x 2 (RAID 0) boot drive
Networking Killer e2200 Gigabit Networking
Killer N1525 Wireless-AC plus Bluetooth (2x2:2 866 Mbps max)
Audio Dynaudio Premium Sound Technology
Four Speakers plus subwoofer
Battery 80 Wh Battery
330 Watt A/C Adapter
Right Side 2 x USB 3.0
Left Side 3 x USB 3.0 Ports
Headphone Jack
Microphone Jack
SD Card Reader
Blu-Ray Burner
Line-in Jack
Rear 2 x Mini DisplayPort v1.2
HDMI 1.4
A/C In
Dimensions 456 x 331 x 49.0mm (17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches)
Weight 4.50 kg (9.90 lbs)
Extras 1080p Webcam
Backlit Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches
Pricing $2500-$3800, as tested $3400

There are a couple of different configurations available, with the processor, memory, GPU, and storage options determining price. On the low end, you can get it with SLI GTX 965M GPUs, SLI GTX 970M or just a single GTX 980M card. All of the upper tier models though are SLI GTX 980M. Memory is 16 GB as the base and 24 GB on the top model, but the laptop can support up to 32 GB if you want to add it. Ultimately the versions that end up for sale will be determined by the SIs that decide to stock the device. For our review, we have the Core i7-5700HQ processor, 16 GB of RAM, and GTX 980M SLIs graphics cards.

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  • Laststop311 - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    Man imagine if they would of put a 120 or 144hz panel on this thing. That woulda just rly took it to another level considering it's easily hitting 120 fps+ on games.
  • dali71 - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    I'm considering getting a Eurocom X8 for exactly that reason. It's ridiculous to give a laptop that much GPU power, only to cripple it with a 60Hz display.
  • meacupla - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    "MSI includes a wrist rest in the box which mounts on the front."

    Are there any pictures of said wrist rest being attached to the laptop?

    I mean, I know it's an accessory and all, but if it's a laptop that comes with external accessories, it'd be nice to see the size of all accessories that come with the retail box the laptop came in.

    For example, the power brick that came with the initial Xbox 360 was MASSIVE and that added a lot of bulk to the entire package, especially if you wanted to take it over to a friend's house.
  • JKflipflop98 - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    I think the power numbers are quite misleading. Why don't you try doing what this laptop is built for and see how long the battery lasts? I didn't see any charts with battery life while actually using those two Titans. I'd wager you get 20 minutes of battery life before you need to plug in again.
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    Having had a string of DTR machines to my name, I can say that gaming tends around the 60 minute mark on battery.

    The battery ends up being a UPS to most of the machines I've had, but the M18xR2 I have has HD4000 graphics, and I can run for hours using that, but annoyingly, it requires a reboot to activate, and thus gets little real world use.
  • bennyg - Sunday, June 28, 2015 - link

    Most gaming notebooks downclock on battery, too much current draw will overheat the battery. You just do not bother gaming on battery. The strength of this is that you're not tethered to your desk. Though... while not less hassle, it is probably a lot cheaper to just buy 2 desktops of similar power :o
  • SirGCal - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    If this had G-Sync to the monitor and an M2 PCIe slot for faster still performance storage, I'd buy it in a second... So close though!
  • Laststop311 - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    Does this laptop use pci-e ssd's? I have a feeling it doesn't since the 2 gpu's will be eating up 16 pci-e lanes. We have to wait for skylake for the 4 extra pci-e lanes from the cpu before we can have sli graphics and pci-e ssd's.

    Even so I am extremely impressed with this laptop. I truly hope MSI keeps this design going when skylake is released. If MSI releases this exact laptop with skylake and uses the extra pci-e lanes from skylake for pci-e ssd's I will be buying this to replace my m18x. Nothing beats a large 18 inch laptop for portable lan gaming. With this laptop since the keyboard is so nice you don't even need to pack a keyboard and monitor with you when you go. I currently have to carry a keyboard and 24 inch monitor with me as well as the notebook and mouse. With this design all I need is the notebook and mouse.

    My wish is they keep this exact same design when skylake comes out and add the option of a XM overclockable skylake flagship mobile cpu so I can overclock it to a solid 4.3-4.5ghz similar to how i overclock the 2960xm to 4.2ghz in my alienware. And use the 4 extra pci-e lanes to make one of the m2 slots a pci-e 3.0 x4 slot and the other one a normal sata slot. If they make this simple tweak I will be buying on day 1.
  • dominiqueovalle - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    when will the anandtech review for the 1080p razer blade come out? if ever
  • MamiyaOtaru - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    would have preferred a physical numpad. What about cursor control? eh, trackpoint maybe? I'd expect an external mouse to be in use most of the time, and a trackpoint would be fine for backup

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