The MSI GT80 Titan Review: The Broadwell Gaming Laptop Your Desktop Enviesby Brett Howse on June 26, 2015 8:00 AM EST
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
1 TB HDD
|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
SD Card Reader
|Rear||2 x Mini DisplayPort v1.2
|Dimensions||456 x 331 x 49.0mm (17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches)|
|Weight||4.50 kg (9.90 lbs)|
Backlit Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches
|Pricing||$2500-$3800, as tested $3400|
There are a couple of different configurations available, with the processor, memory, GPU, and storage options determining price. On the low end, you can get it with SLI GTX 965M GPUs, SLI GTX 970M or just a single GTX 980M card. All of the upper tier models though are SLI GTX 980M. Memory is 16 GB as the base and 24 GB on the top model, but the laptop can support up to 32 GB if you want to add it. Ultimately the versions that end up for sale will be determined by the SIs that decide to stock the device. For our review, we have the Core i7-5700HQ processor, 16 GB of RAM, and GTX 980M SLIs graphics cards.
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drzzz - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkThe article title is misleading. While this laptop can be equipped impressively it has several short comings as well. Over all the people that drop 3400$ (as tested or 3800$ max) on a gaming system get a much more powerful desktop than this laptop for same money. That is why I think the title is misleading. This is a niche product for a group of people that are willing to spend huge amounts of money to have the fastest of a specific thing.
The lack of a 2560x1440 screen or even better 3840x2160 screen at this price point is a real let down. Not having 2560x1440 as the base screen is a real missed chance.
The 128GB raided drives (raid 0) do offer 256GB of fast access storage but for the price point I would have preferred to see the raid be 500GB to 1TB SM951's with NVM support and the HDD just dropped. Another really big missed opportunity. Really big one.
Also totally insulting that highest end model provides only 24GB of memory yet support for 32GB exist. Again like the screen and SSD components you can really see where they are short changing you for the keyboard and SLI mobile graphics.
My experience with MSI is that there is always a clearly visible set of areas that they cut corners to give you some great thing(s) and base the price on those things vice building a truly well rounded device. It comes down to the price point for me. At over 3000$ for a laptop I expect certain things like 32GB ram. Large SSD storage only. 1440p+ screen when the system clearly has the power to push that level of resolution.
Overall not impressed by this MSI offering. I would by the GT72 first and have money left over for a steak dinner and some good booze.
Notmyusualid - Wednesday, July 1, 2015 - linkPLEASE... can we have an end to the 'you could build a faster desktop for less' argument. It is not a desktop, it is a laptop. Some of cannot own desktops, due to frequent travel.
mlambert890 - Monday, August 24, 2015 - linkLarge laptop panels above 1080p dont exist. Period. No one is making them.
So what should they do? Not release it at all? Sorry but no.
People always find things to nitpick but the screen issue is NOT something an OEM can control.
PulloDimo - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkI really want one badly. I wish I could trade in my Lenovo Thinkpad W541 for one of these babies. I have always been looking for a competent gaming laptop that could play all games with a real keyboard. This is it right here :-D
AllanMoore - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkCinebench results are quite impressive! http://picoolio.net/image/Tnw
geek005 - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linksRBG setting shown in here with regard to msi gt72 dominator pro ...is it according to the newest model with ips screen(talking about msi gt72 dominator pro g-14 series)..or older with TN panel...??
siberus - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkMsi for the love of god can you please stop using killer nics technology. Their drivers are so terrible.
On my gt70 if i switch in and out of airplane mode my Bluetooths funtionality is lost untill I uninstall the driver and reinstall it >.>
Notmyusualid - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkWorry no longer my friend.
I've written to them, and got little help, and no resoultion from them whatsoever, with my Killer issues.
The solution is, given that their hardware is always other manufacturers, is to find the original wireless-chip type, and install the driver for that.
Killer 1103, 3x3 mimo card, is MADE-BY Atheros, and the original chip is an AR9380.
Using the Atheros driver, all is well. However, I got so fed up, I changed both machines with Killer 1103s to Intel 6300, and 5300.
odedia - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkI find it amazing that a LAPTOP this powerful has such a better temperature handling compared to my iMac 5k. The iMac easily gets to 92 degrees CPU and can even reach 104 degrees GPU (on the M295X model).
DanNeely - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - linkThats because your iPride is optimized to look thin not for sustained performance.