MSI GT73VR Titan SLI Gaming Laptop Review
Published: 21st December 2017 | Source: MSI | Price: |
When we decided upon our awards a while ago we wanted one that could be used for those products that had undeniable performance, regardless of any other issues. Almost like how a Top Fuel Dragster is the fastest thing on earth over a quarter mile but you could never pop to the shops with it, or take a corner, or almost anything. The MSI GT73VR Titan tests the reasoning behind our Performance award to the very limits. We'll get to that in a moment.
MSI have really nailed the chassis with the Titan. We've never met an MSI chassis we didn't like and the Titan is no exception. It's surprisingly light given how much hardware gets packed into that confined space. The display has almost no wobble in it at all, even if you lift it by a single corner (as you shouldn't). With any laptop there are always expectations that somewhere it is going to be chucking out heat that could double as the sun in a pinch, but the air out the side of the Titan was never intolerably hot. Sure the underside got really warm during lengthy sessions, but just because it's called a laptop doesn't mean they expect you to put it on your lap. The topside never got hot, which is a problem which we've encountered in high performance laptops before but not here.
The combination of an Intel i7-7820HK and two - count em - GTX 1070 GPUs means that there is more than enough performance under the hood to run anything you can throw at it. The storage is a particular highlight, absolutely blazing fast. One thing is guaranteed, your productivity will never be limited by the speed of your drive. There are three different display types available on the Titan, 1080, 1080 @ 120Hz and 4K. Our came equipped with the 17" 4K display. We've spoken at length about our feelings on 4K displays at this size, but we know that for many people the flexibility they afford is too good to pass up. We'd definitely go for the 1080 120Hz model if we had the choice. At 17 inches a foot away from your nose you just wont spot the improvement that 4K brings, but smoother gameplay is a dish we can all find savoury. Whether as a result of its hard life in places that don't treat their hardware as kindly as we do, or just an issue on this particular model, we have to mention that the display on our review sample had a fair amount of light bleed at brighter display settings. Those seeking deep blacks need look elsewhere. As you could see on the previous page there isn't, even with twin GTX 1070s, quite enough GPU horsepower to run games smoothly at 4K anyway.
When we came to collate our results we noticed that they weren't as good as they ought to be. Much investigating later and all was well, run our suite of tests again, the results were still pants because the power cable had fallen out so we were on battery power. Finally, third time's the charm, we got results which reflected the performance it should be capable of. If you've ever run a benchmark on your system you'll know how it can be the dullest thing, so imagine how we felt having to run umpteen benchmarks umpteen times, benchmarks we've already seen so much there are images of of circling planes, car chases, zeppelins and duelling characters burnt into our mind.
What's all that got to do with you, you ask? Well the fact the GT73VR Titan has two power supplies made moving it around a complete ball ache. Not helped by the fact that the connector which attaches the combiner into the laptop itself falls out if you so much as look at it funny. What that boils down to is that you end up with a laptop that not only isn't portable, but you daren't even adjust it on your desk because the cable falls out, you go onto battery and within half an hour everything has started running slowly to conserve what limited battery life there is. There is absolutely no excuse for needing two packs. We've tested laptops with more grunt than this and it's the first we've ever seen that uses this insane solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
But, and it's a Kim Kardashian after a pie eating contest sized but, when the stars align and all works well it's ludicrously fast. Really, seriously, fast. Which makes the above issues all the more frustrating. The chassis is great, sound quality fantastic, the display is good although at higher brightness levels there is a reasonable amount of backlight bleed, and the components are all extremely high quality. Why exactly MSI chose to make you lug around two power supplies with their attendant cabling, along with a power combiner that has a cable as flexible as a brick, is a mystery for the ages. If you are willing to sacrifice usability on the altar of power then the GT73VR Titan is worth a second look. There is no denying its speed, hence it wins our OC3D Performance Award. As we said at the start though, between the screen and power we'd choose any of the other brilliant MSI models ahead of this.