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MSI GT80 Titan SLI Review

MSI GT80 Titan SLI Review

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Selected tests vs MSI GS70 Stealth (i7-4710HQ/GTX970M) and XMG P505 (i7-4710HQ/GTX980M).

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MSI GT80 Titan SLI Review – Conclusion

msi-gt80-titan-sli-review-full-on

Starting with the build quality of the system it is pretty clear from the moment we unbox the GT80 Titan SLI that it is a sturdy system. Yes the majorty of the external surfaces are plastic but they are thick enough to ensure no noticable flex and aluminium panel on the lid adds a nice level of quality overall. Upon lifting the lid we find another brushed metal area behind the keyboard however it is the front section we most care about. The mechanical board offered by MSI (and SteelSeries) is excellent. It works and feels exactly like a desktop mechanical gaming keyboard with nice clear LED lighting, minus the num pad. That of course is provided by the touch pad on the right and while we appreciate the effort involved in adding it, the experience isn’t quite as good as traditional keys. Maybe MSI should have had a modular block here allowing us to switch between hardware keys or touchpad when using an external mouse.

msi-gt80-titan-sli-review-led

Elsewhere on the build front we have a decent set of internal components. Quality drives from Toshiba for example, mixed with Killer Wireless-ac, Hitachi optical/mechanical drives and Hynix based memory. The speakers offer a decent audio experience, though we would still opt for standalone speakers/headphones and the screen is bright, detailed and offers good viewing angles. The “mouse” buttons are also nice and sturdy with a solid click when actioned. All good so far.

Turning to the design we have a system which could not be considered sleek, but certainly will draw attention. We like the easy access to the insides. The top panel slides off after removing a couple of screws and the base, a few more screws. The main components are all then within easy reach and available for upgrade. MSI are more than happy for users to do this themselves but with the UK spec system already being maxed out for the most part, it may be an unlikely scenario for some time. Elsewhere on the design we were pretty happy. The air vents still function when on our lap. The amount and location of the feet provide a stable surface. The ports are positioned appropriately, for example the surround capable displays all being back mounted. The USB ports on the sides and the headphone connector front corner close to us. Our only minor niggle about the whole system is the corners used at the left edge of the keyboard and right edge of the touch pad. For anyone who rests their hands on the corners of the system when typing, or during a break, the corners here will dig into the palm a bit so some adjustment of hand position will be required.

msi-gt80-titan-sli-review-led-2

Before we talk about performance, a few words on value. Quite simply this is a VERY expensive system. Would you expect anything else though from something so unique, with 32GB of memory, 1TB or RAID SSDs, dual 980M’s etc? Probably not. So MSI have done a bit to soften the blow… we get a nice backpack. The mouse, rest, pad and extra keys/keyring and mascot are a nice touch and the X-Split licence also a valid inclusion. That said, maybe some extra software would have helped… or up to date software. The PowerDVD version for example is years old now. Given the price, surely MSI could have sorted out the latest, or even 2nd to newest version for their consumers? (As a side note, MSI also need to work a little on their main build. We don’t mind the inclusion of drivers, control panels and the like but bundling bloated Anti-Virus etc isn’t great on a gaming system for enthusiasts. That consumer group will have their preference already and so one of the first steps of ownership will be removing the software that isn’t needed/wanted which is a shame).

And so to performance… on that the MSI GT80 Titan SLI excels. Pretty much every aspect was exceptional. The CPU based tasks showed the system to outperform the more common gaming configurations based around the i7-4710HQ CPU. Memory bandwidth was competitive. The same can be said of USB and the mechanical drive. Past that though things get crazy. The SSDs for example offer industry leading performance, simply outstanding. Then we have gaming on the GTX 980M in SLI. This system can handle everything thrown at it using the native res of 1920×1080. There was one quirk in DOTA (driver related it seems) where the SLI config sat capped at 60fps even when forced off everywhere, but that was a solid 60fps throughout which is fine for that game. Alien Isolation averaged over 240fps and the latest Call of Duty, over 160fps. Fantastic. Down sides? This system can get loud. Pop the fans on full and its like a small hovercraft… that said, in non gaming tasks it does remain quiet most of the time. The temps remain well in check with the fan profiles used by MSI and battery life is decent. 3-4hours on the Intel GPU, a bit over an hour for the GTXs in SLI.

Summary: Just a phenomenal spec with performance and price to match. The MSI GT80 Titan SLI is one of the few products to be worthy of our Diamond Award.

diamond

Available to pre-order here.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

7 Comments

  1. jackjackduank

    WOW MSI GT80 TITAN SLI is the BEAST!! I love it!
    Excellent review Stuart!

  2. i dont see point of this laptop … great ahrware whit 2x 980m in SLI and then only 1080p … it sould be atlest 1440p if not 4k one … pointless

    • janon

      Dota on max already is below 60fps min at 1080P
      People that don’t care how far below 60fps drops are happily running 4k on even 780s and watching a slideshow.
      Those of us who actually care about sustained *minimum* fps would rather a nice 1080p and “overkill” GPU. Sub 54fps on DOTA shows that even this monster cant sustain 60fps with vsync on under *any* condition. So no, not pointless.

  3. Bruce Albrecht

    Excellent review. Do you know any stores where I can see the machine and feel the keys? I use an external IBM M model keyboard with the old clicky keys on my system. Are these keys similar? I was considering the Alienware 18 but this one looks superior and does not have those strange eyes looking at anyone across the table from you!

    • I’d imagine the best thing you could do is watch out for a big event/LAN in your area that MSI are attending and they will likely have one on display there.

      • Bruce Albrecht

        I looked at GITEX Dubai this week but no MSI. In Abu Dhabi the 70 is readily available but no 80 as I was told it was not released yet in the UAE – might be true. I will try in the UK and the USA in the summer. Any idea where in London the machine could be touched?

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