To refer to the MSI GT80 2QE Titan as a monster would be the biggest understatement since the words, ‘Houston, we have a problem’ were uttered.
It’s a Lamborghini crammed into a debatably portable plastic and aluminium case, and at first glance everything from the edgy backlit dragon logo on the lid to the backlit keyboard screams ‘gamer’.
MSI have long been on the bandwagon of making their laptops look like mini-fighter jets and the GT80 Titan SLI is no exception. Weighing in at 4.5kg, it’s more of a foldable desktop computer, and could only be considered a laptop if you didn’t mind ending up with a crushed lap.
But don’t let the size of it be a deterrence, gaming laptops seem to be veering more towards acting as desktop replacements, and it can be moved around if need be. Plus, it can’t be denied that an 18.4in screen is a feature that grants the GT80 Titan the true feeling of being a battlestation.
Tap into the power
The addition of a SteelSeries mechanical keyboard is what stands the MSI GT80 Titan out from the competition. It feels great, it offers increased durability for keyboard mashers, and allows you to get that split-second advantage over membrane keyboard users whilst giving the satisfying ‘clack’ sound when pressed. However, the placement of the keyboard being so close to edge means that without adequate space for you to rest your wrist, it can be somewhat awkward to use. Realising this, MSI have included a wrist rest with the laptop.
The GT80 Titan also possesses a track pad positioned to the right of the keyboard, offering a more natural-feeling hand positioning as opposed to standard centred track pads. It also doubles as a light up touch-screen number pad when needed.
The GT80 Titan was undeniably fast. We immediately had Crysis 2 with the sliders up running more smoothly than a Johnny Bravo pick up line, and without a hint of a stutter.
With not one, but two GeForce GTX 980M SLI graphics cards, it made running Crysis 2 on ultra settings feel like you’re running Minesweeper - the game didn’t drop below 60fps once. Even Witcher 3 on ultra dropped no lower than 50, averaging out at a cool 55fps.
The processor is no joke either. The GT80 2QE comes kitted out with one of Intel’s most serious mobile processors, the quad-core i7 4980-HQ (2.8GHz, 6mb cache). Joined by a phenomenal 32GB of DDR3 RAM there is very, very little the GT80 Titan couldn’t handle.
One fault we did find was that when you game, it’s noisy. Next to the power switch is an option to ramp up the fans to turbo for the more graphic-intensive games. However, one hour into test running Witcher 3 on ultra, the fans were blasting so hard that if you flung the laptop like a Frisbee it could’ve probably taken off. Despite the multiple fans giving it all they had as well; the underside still got pretty warm, and without propping it up could prove a problem for long gaming sessions.
I used to be a gaming laptop...until i took a Far Cry 5 to the knee
MSI have made the top panel of the GT80 removable, allowing you quick access to the inner workings of the laptop.
Although nearly all laptops provide some way of being able to switch out the parts, MSI have made it just that little bit more easily accessible. This allows you to be sure that your rig won’t become obsolete in the next few years after buying it once more graphics-intensive games get released.
Where my 4k at?
Unfortunately for such an impressive laptop, MSI have opted for a 1920 x 1080 resolution on a Full-HD matte display. However if you fancy 4k, the GT80 Titan does offer the ability for ‘Matrix Display’, allowing you to plug in multiple 4k (or less) displays for surround view gaming.
Live and unplugged
Although the titans were mighty, it seems they lacked stamina. Whilst gaming on battery power, the GT80 Titan only lasted for around 50 minutes. For normal purposes such as internet browsing and work, the GT80 Titan threw in the towel after around 1h 40mins. For such a powerful laptop we would’ve expected more. However, the GT80 Titan is considered more of a ‘desktop replacement’ and the chances of you whipping it out on the fly are probably somewhat minimal.
The sound of music
The GT80 Titan comes fitted with speakers from Dynaudio, with a 4+1 speaker soundsystem, 2 speakers for each channel coupled with Audio Boost 2 technology. The maximum volume was enough to fill the room, and overall sound quality was rich and balanced when playing games or listening to music.
We’d be lying if we said our time spent with the GT80 Titan was anything less than awesome. It handled all of our favourite titles on it on the highest settings possible, and it didn’t even flinch. The ability to easily switch out the parts meant that it would be a solid purchase for the next few years, but with the specs it already has, you probably wouldn’t need to for a good while.
With regards to the noisy fans, in all honesty, the noise could be somewhat overlooked. Whilst playing games without headphones, we found our brains could somewhat tune it out as white noise. Similarly, the relatively poor battery life shouldn’t prove too much of a problem for serious gamers looking to purchase it as a desktop replacement as opposed to your standard ‘laptop that can handle games’. Also despite its size, it can be moved around with relative ease to take to LAN parties or friend’s houses.
Overall, the MSI GT80 Titan is a solid purchase for those willing to fork out the cash. But we can’t help but think that the high price tag will act as a deterrent for most until later on when it gets reduced.