MSI GT80 Titan review

The world's most powerful gaming laptop is more like a foldable desktop

MSI GT80 Titan review

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The MSI GT80 Titan is, without a doubt, one of the heaviest laptops I've ever reviewed, weighing in at a impressive 9.9 pounds (4.49 kg). Add in its enormous 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93-inch (455 x 330 x 49 mm) dimensions, and you'll be glad it comes with an included bag specifically made to carry this 18.4-inch gaming beast.

Comparatively, the Alienware 17 weighs in at a considerable 8.33 pounds (3.78 kg). However, as a 17.3-inch gaming laptop, you'll still probably need to pick up a new bag that can handle the laptop's substantial 16.93 x 11.49 x 1.35-inch (430 x 291 x 34 mm) dimensions. The same goes for the 16.85 x 12 x 0.9-inch Aorus X7 Pro, which thankfully is the lightest laptop in this grouping at just 6.6 pounds (2.99 kg).

MSI GT80 Titan review

Here is the MSI GT80 Titan configuration given to TechRadar for this review:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.6GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: 2 x Nvidia GTX 980M SLI (16 GB GDDR5); Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3L (1600MHz)
  • Screen: 18.4-inch WLED FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare Display
  • Storage: 256GB SSD; 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
  • Optical drive: Blu-Ray Burner
  • Ports: 5 x USB 3.0, HDMI, 2 x mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, headphone jack, microphone jack, SPDIF
  • Connectivity: Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac + Bluetooth 4.1
  • Camera: Full HD type (30 fps, 1080p)
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds (4.49 kg)
  • Size: 17.95 x 13.02 x 1.93 inches (W x D x H) (455 x 33 x 4.9 cm)

Considering its massive frame, it's not surprising to see the MSI GT80 Titan comes packing a ton of hardware, even with the base configuration as seen above. That said, this setup comes with a fat sticker price of $3,299 or £2,573 (about AU$4,165). Gaming laptops are almost universally expensive, but MSI is asking for a few more hundred bucks compared to most other options, including the Alienware 17 and Aorus X7 Pro.

Just in case you want a beefier option, you can customize the Titan with an even faster, 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-4980HQ processor, 24GB of memory for $3,699 or £3,500. Readers living in Australia, meanwhile, only have the option of picking an even more decked out configuration, with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage for AU$6,299.

MSI GT80 Titan review

For roughly the same $3,399 (£3,096, AU$4,547), you can instead build a sweet Alienware 17 sporting the higher-end Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor paired with a single Nvidia GTX 980M. Going with this option also includes the accompanying Graphics Amplifier and a desktop-grade Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card to give the system an even bigger gaming performance boost.

The Aorus X7 Pro stands in as the cheapest option in this trio, and it only comes in one configuration for $2,599 or £2,099 (about AU$3,320). Despite having the lowest price, buyers shouldn't feel swindled, as this machine comes packing a speedy 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4870HQ CPU plus dual Nvidia GTX 970M graphics chips. The Aorus rig also comes standard with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and yet another 1TB hard drive for even more storage.

MSI GT80 Titan review

Upgrading to the max

The MSI GT80 Titan is a uniquely simple-to-upgrade laptop, thanks to an easily accessible upgrade panel that sits just above the keyboard. By undoing two screws on the machine's underside, users can really dig into their system, adding more RAM and SSD storage or remove the optical drive, if they so wish.

On top of this, you can also send the Titan back to MSI to be retrofitted with Nvidia's next graphics card. It's an upgrade path that's simply not available to the Aorus X7 Pro, since both machines come with GPUs permanently soldered to the logic board. The same goes for the Alienware 17, though, you could arguably keep the machine up to date by continually inserting new graphics cards inside the Amplifier.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.