MSI GT73VR Titan SLI 4K Gaming Laptop Review

Gaming Benchmarks

Alien: Isolation

The systems in our comparison are the cream of the crop, so it's no surprise that they can deliver high frame rates in a less taxing game like Alien: Isolation. The MSI GT73VR Titan SLI gains a noticeable 17 FPS performance boost over a single GTX 1070-based system like the EVGA SC17. Unfortunately, the performance gain is just slightly below that of a single GTX 1080, as evidenced by both the Titan Pro and Eurocom Tornado F5.

However, the roles are reversed at UHD, where the Titan SLI exceeds the Tornado F5, Titan Pro, and SC17 by 4%, 10%, and 22% respectively. It should be noted that even at UHD, all four of these systems deliver 60+ FPS, so if you don't need the extra power, a single GTX 1070-based laptop will be adequate.

Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity is much more demanding than Alien: Isolation, so only the most powerful systems can play it at high settings without hiccups. Despite this, the benchmark results illustrate a similar story in that the MSI Titan SLI's dual graphics setup provides a small boost in performance, but not to the extent of beating a single GTX 1080-equipped laptop (notably one with a desktop CPU). In fact, the performance gains only amount to 5% over the SC17, whereas the Tornado F5 and Titan Pro enjoy 10% and 16% higher frame rates, respectively. Once we raise the resolution to UHD, the results favor the Titan SLI, which squeaks out an extra frame compared to the laptops with the GTX 1080s.

Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite finally provides an example where the dual graphics setup isn't hindered. Here the Titan SLI takes a 14% lead over the Tornado F5, despite the latter possessing both a GTX 1080 and a desktop-class i7-7700K. The difference is highlighted even more at UHD, with the Titan SLI holding a 25% lead over the Tornado F5. Also note the EVGA SC17's performance, which dips below 60 FPS on average at UHD, whereas the GTX 1080 systems deliver more than enough frames.

DiRT Rally

Similarly, the MSI Titan SLI takes first place in DiRT Rally, although not by as big of a lead as it does in Bioshock Infinite. Here, the Titan SLI holds a 24% performance gain over the SC17 and only holds a 7-9% performance gain versus the GTX 1080 laptops. At UHD, the performance gap widens to 12-13% better than the GTX 1080s, and the Titan SLI builds a 22% gap against a single GTX 1070. The SLI configuration is the only laptop capable of delivering 40+ FPS at highest settings at this resolution.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V has several benchmark scenes that stress systems with a variety of effects and workloads. The Titan SLI outshines the competition in almost all of the scenes, particularly the infamously demanding Vinewood Sign scene, which renders quite a few distant landscapes and objects; the Titan SLI takes first place by a 19% margin and scores just shy of 60 FPS, while maintaining 60+ FPS in all of the other scenes at FHD.

At UHD, every gaming laptop we've tested so far dips well below unplayable frame rates, but the Titan SLI manages to maintain 30+ FPS in three out of five scenes.

GRID Autosport

GRID Autosport's demands a bit more of a balanced overall platform and therefore gives preference to the Eurocom laptop and its i7-7700K. However, the performance gap is only about five frames, and at 110+ FPS those frames means little. Fortunately, higher resolutions require more GPU horsepower, so the Titan SLI upends the Eurocom at UHD, this time with a 9% performance lead. It should be noted that the EVGA SC17 maintains 60+ FPS average at UHD, but the more powerful systems never dip below 60 FPS.

Hitman

During our Digital Storm Velox gaming desktop review we found that SLI negatively impacts performance in Hitman, and we encountered similar problems with the MSI Titan SLI. The Hitman benchmark consumed the resources of a single GTX 1070, and as you might imagine, performance suffers. At FHD, the Titan SLI scores about 8% lower than the similarly configured SC17 (minus one GPU, of course), while the two GTX 1080-based laptops perform much better. At UHD, the Titan SLI perform slightly better than the SC17 and can at least contend with the Titan Pro, but still not at the level you would expect from an SLI configuration.

Metro: Last Light Redux

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming....The Titan SLI doesn't suffer from poor SLI performance in Metro: Last Light Redux. If anything, it thrives thanks to the additional horsepower. The Titan takes a massive 24% lead, or about 28 additional frames, over the Eurocom and its GTX 1080. Meanwhile, the SC17 delivers 73.33 FPS, which is a 38% difference to the negative.

At UHD, the Titan SLI is the only system capable of delivering playable frame rates at high settings. In fact, it delivers just shy of double the average frame rate of the EVGA laptop, and at this high resolution, even 30 FPS is a welcome sight.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an incredibly demanding game, even at just 1080p. Luckily, all of the systems in today's roundup are more than capable of delivering a good frame rate. Ideally, you want to maintain at least 60 FPS, and the dual GTX 1070 Titan SLI configuration is plenty capable. A GTX 1080 laptop is a viable option as well, although these fall behind the Titan SLI by a handful of frames. A single GTX 1070 laptop is an excellent choice for FHD, but you'll have to tweak a few settings to bring the average frame rate up to 60 FPS.

Unfortunately, not even the mighty dual graphics setup can handle RoTR at UHD. The frame rate dips below 30 FPS, so unless you dial back the graphics settings, you'll feel like you're watching a flip book.

The Division

The Division's engine relies heavily on GPU horsepower, but it isn't a VRAM hog like Rise of the Tomb Raider. All you really need is a GTX 1070-based laptop to maintain 60+ FPS at FHD. The SC17, the lowest end system in our roundup, is capable of this, and the overpowered Titan SLI is even more so. To better utilize the Titan SLI's resources, you need to raise the resolution to UHD. Here, The Division nearly brings the Titan SLI to its knees; it can't even maintain 40 FPS. Meanwhile, the GTX 1080-based laptops trail behind by a few FPS, but are still capable of a solid 30 FPS. Unfortunately, a singule GTX 1070 won't cut it at UHD.

Thief

Thief tops off our gaming benchmarks with a relatively light, platform-based workload. Because of this, the Eurocom Tornado F5 has an edge over our Titan SLI thanks to its desktop CPU, beating it by a fraction of a frame. Comparatively, the similarly equipped Titan Pro scores around 11% slower than the Titan SLI because of its mobile CPU. At FHD, you can't go wrong with any of the systems in this roundup, however; even the SC17 can be considered overkill.

When we ramp up the resolution, however, the MSI Titan SLI very clearly takes the lead. At UHD, the Titan SLI's additional GTX 1070 pushes the framerate well above 60 FPS, which none of the lower-spec'd systems are capable of. Even the Tornado F5 scores nearly 20 frames below the Titan SLI's average. Feel free to ramp up the settings to max here.

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21 comments
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  • AgentLozen
    Double post.
  • AgentLozen
    Who is this laptop built for? I'm curious. It seems so cumbersome to carry around and use that the laptop form factor is lost on it. There is a 4K display built into it but even those 1070s on SLI can't hold 60fps in most cases. Who would buy this and what would they do with it?

    If I had $3000 to burn and I wanted a somewhat portable computer, I would buy a desktop and stick it in an ITX case and purchase a 4K monitor separately. A GTX 1080Ti would hold up much better in 4K than two 1070s do. A big laptop might be a little more portable but it's so unweildly that the convenience is ultimately lost.

    Anyway, I'm serious about wanting to know who this laptop is meant for and why just building a small desktop wouldn't be better.

    One more thing, there is a spelling error near the top of the first page. I'll look that up in a second for you.
    EDIT Power consumption is spelled wrong in the first paragraph. I want to see this article as polished as you can get it.
  • daglesj
    Yay another laptop I would be embarrassed to use in public.
  • deadsmiley
    @ 16.85" x 12.36" x 1.76" 8.59 lbs. it's about 3.5 lbs. lighter than my Alienware M18x R2. Heck even the M15x is a tad heavier. Both my daughter and my daughter-in-law love their M15x's.

    Although I do think that a single 1080 or SLI 1080 would be much better. Can't push 4k with this machine. My preference for screen resolution would be 1440p on a laptop this size.
  • drajitsh
    Could you PLEASE add gamut testing & results after calibration. Most of the boutique sellers offer calibration services, so this does matter. Also, colour accuracy, including gretag-mac Beth would be appreciated.
  • John Wittenberg
    I own the 6820HK, not 7820HK, version with a 1080P screen, not 4K. Other specs were the same.

    The first one was DOA out of the box - no video out.

    The brand new replacement was DOA after a half day of use. While copying files overnight the screen turned off, and when I woke the screen up the next morning it shows an all white output. Restarted and had no video out.

    The replacement is now going to a MSI repair depot. I couldn't send it back to Newegg, again, since I had sent out a rebate on it (removed the UPC label).

    This experience has soured me on MSI laptops.
  • dstarr3
    496490 said:
    There is a 4K display built into it but even those 1070s on SLI can't hold 60fps in most cases. Who would buy this and what would they do with it?


    I think the problem is just marketing. If MSI stuck a 1080p or 1440p display on this thing, John Doe would look at everybody else with their 4K screens and go "Pft, I want the best, I want 4K," oblivious to the fact that it's just going to be a worse experience.
  • deadsmiley
    1603347 said:
    I own the 6820HK, not 7820HK, version with a 1080P screen, not 4K. Other specs were the same. The first one was DOA out of the box - no video out. The brand new replacement was DOA after a half day of use. While copying files overnight the screen turned off, and when I woke the screen up the next morning it shows an all white output. Restarted and had no video out. The replacement is now going to a MSI repair depot. I couldn't send it back to Newegg, again, since I had sent out a rebate on it (removed the UPC label). This experience has soured me on MSI laptops.


    I have not owned an MSI. Sorry to hear you are having issues. It sounds pretty shitty actually.
  • ema21del9
    1603347 said:
    I own the 6820HK, not 7820HK, version with a 1080P screen, not 4K. Other specs were the same. The first one was DOA out of the box - no video out. The brand new replacement was DOA after a half day of use. While copying files overnight the screen turned off, and when I woke the screen up the next morning it shows an all white output. Restarted and had no video out. The replacement is now going to a MSI repair depot. I couldn't send it back to Newegg, again, since I had sent out a rebate on it (removed the UPC label). This experience has soured me on MSI laptops.


    I had a bad experience with a Lenovo gaming laptop, that was the end of my experience buying laptops for gaming...
  • Sam Hain
    SLI is bunk/defunct for the most part, so why oh why go in the hole for $3k+ for a ton (literally) of laptop that is going to have little to no SLI support in forthcoming titles?

    As another poster stated, 1440p would be the ideal rez here with a single GPU.
  • lorfa
    That poor laptop looks like it ate too much ;-(
  • John Wittenberg
    1306537 said:
    SLI is bunk/defunct for the most part, so why oh why go in the hole for $3k+ for a ton (literally) of laptop that is going to have little to no SLI support in forthcoming titles? As another poster stated, 1440p would be the ideal rez here with a single GPU.


    Funny you mention that. SLI isn't actually a thing with DX12 games - it's called Explicit Multi-GPU Mode, no longer SLI. And as you may or may not have heard, it does have to be implemented by the game developers - no development by Nvidia (or AMD).
  • matthew_258
    3600...and with limits??? pretty sure 3600$ buys pc gaming with out limits...
  • Gurg
    Perhaps many of you are missing the point or maybe I am. Currently I have a desktop with dual 980s and 5820k powering a 28" 4k monitor ($349). I paid $2930 for the desktop components including W10 and keyboard originally. I also have an MSI laptop with a 970m for traveling at $1400 cost. Now if the MSI 1070sli had the right cabling connections to power/dock with my desktop 28" 4k monitor, the MSI SLI could have replaced the need to purchase both a desktop tower, components, software, keyboard etc. saving money versus purchasing both a desktop and laptop.

    The purpose at this point is to power a 4k monitor system. This laptop is more expensive than a gaming desktop with slightly better performance, but it could be an acceptable alternative and have the added benefit of being travel worthy. While I grant that a desktop can be upgraded and a laptop has very limited upgrade capability, the question becomes how performance do you actually need to acceptably power a 4k system.
  • Sam Hain
    1603347 said:
    1306537 said:
    SLI is bunk/defunct for the most part, so why oh why go in the hole for $3k+ for a ton (literally) of laptop that is going to have little to no SLI support in forthcoming titles? As another poster stated, 1440p would be the ideal rez here with a single GPU.
    Funny you mention that. SLI isn't actually a thing with DX12 games - it's called Explicit Multi-GPU Mode, no longer SLI. And as you may or may not have heard, it does have to be implemented by the game developers - no development by Nvidia (or AMD).


    That's where a lot of "whining" is directed towards concerning lack of "SLI support" especially when new drivers rollout... It's directed at NV and can be seen on their website. As you stated as well as NV themselves (some time ago), no MGPU development on their end.
  • Giroro
    I dislike the marketing on this thing, a lot.
    Writing 'Titan' on the side of computer that only contains 1070s feels misleading.

    Plus that 'Game like a God' tagline comes across as both dated and childish.

    Hasn't the market moved on from the circa 2004 red and black color scheme?
    I bet this is the laptop Fatal1ty will buy for his grandson.
  • dstarr3
    1886042 said:
    I dislike the marketing on this thing, a lot. Writing 'Titan' on the side of computer that only contains 1070s feels misleading. Plus that 'Game like a God' tagline comes across as both dated and childish. Hasn't the market moved on from the circa 2004 red and black color scheme? I bet this is the laptop Fatal1ty will buy for his grandson.


    12-year-old fools and their parents' money are soon parted.
  • Gurg
    I'm 65 and personally like the red and black, as well setting the LEDs to red lights on
    my keyboard mouse and desktop case fans. But then I'm a Buckeye so I like shades of scarlet and grey.
  • jongri
    I'd much rather have the more expensive, much faster, water cooled 18.4" ASUS ROG
    GX800VH GTX 1080 SLI, 4K, mechanical keyboard, etc. notebook. If you're going to drop $3600 on an SLI notebook might as well go all out and buy the best for $5999.
  • abdere
    Why are u getting 38fps at 4k on the division with 2xgtx 1070 is there any problem with gpu usages
  • abdere
    Why are u getting 38fps at 4k on the division with 2xgtx 1070 is there any problem with gpu usages