Starting Price Configuration
Extreme gaming performance. Mechanical keyboard. Reasonably quiet.
Really needs 4K display. Bulky. No programmable macro keys.
- Bottom Line
The MSI GT83VR Titan SLI is a tour-de-force gaming laptop with all the power and features you'd expect out of a $5k price tag, save one. It really needs a 4K display.
The GT83VR Titan SLI (starting at $3,499; $5,099 as tested) is MSI's maxed-out flagship gaming laptop, featuring an 18.4-inch screen, dual Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics, and a mechanical keyboard. This laptop, an update to the MSI GT80 Titan SLI from a couple of years ago, is certainly capable of playing any current game at full HD resolution, but considering its internal components, we wish that it had a native 4K display.
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Systems like the GT83VR Titan SLI have few rivals, particularly for this top-of-the-line model. It measures 2.72 by 18.1 by 13.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 12.2 pounds, dwarfing 15- and 17-inch gaming laptops. It needs to be so large because its chunky chassis contains an overclocked Intel Core i7-7920HQ processor, two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs in an SLI configuration, 64GB of RAM, a pair of 512GB M.2 solid-state drives (SSDs) in a RAID 0 configuration, and a 1TB 2.5-inch internal hard drive. Your wallet will certainly become much lighter with purchasing this sort of configuration, though comparable systems like the Origin EON17-SLX also have lofty price tags.
Games look great on the system's 18.4-inch full HD display, but the power packed here feels a bit silly, considering that the midrange Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 would have no trouble driving this monitor. Dual GTX 1080s have enough power to drive 4K monitors smoothly, but that's not an option on the GT83VR at this time. Thinner and less-expensive gaming notebooks like the HP Omen 17 feature 4K displays, but so far they're rare in high-end gaming laptops.
A mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX Silver switches is another unique feature on the GT83VR and GT80 laptops. Some hardcore gamers prefer them to thinner membrane keyboards with scissor switches, since they are more durable and tend to respond quicker during gameplay. There is no physical numeric keypad on the laptop. Rather, a section on the large touchpad lights up and works as a touch-sensitive keypad. It's not an ideal solution, but it will still let you enter numbers into a spreadsheet or use them for in-game navigation. Unfortunately, there are no separate programmable macro keys, something you do get on the Acer Predator 21 X and Alienware 17.
You can check out the full review of the MSI GT83VR Titan SLI on our sister site, Computer Shopper, for all the benchmark numbers, but suffice to say that the system had no trouble playing 3D games at full HD resolution with all of the quality settings set to Ultra. Essentially you need an external 4K display to use the full potential of this gaming behemoth, which is the main drawback keeping it from earning our top accolades.
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Joel Santo Domingo is the Lead Analyst for the Desktops team at PC Magazine Labs. He joined PC Magazine in 2000, after 7 years of IT work for companies large and small. His background includes managing mobile, desktop and network infrastructure on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms. Joel is proof that you can escape the retail grind: he wore a yellow polo shirt early in his tech career. Along the way Joel earned a BA in English Literature and an MBA in Information Technology… More »
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