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MSI GT73VR Titan SLI 4K Gaming Laptop Review

Price Analysis & Conclusion

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When considering a powerful SLI laptop configuration, you should weigh the compromises that come with it. There will be massive power requirements, meaning additional cables and poor battery life. You also need a chassis big enough to cool and house the dual GPUs. This makes for a thick and heavy laptop that isn't particularly portable.

However, the MSI GT73VR Titan SLI 4K seems to balance these trade offs well with its outstanding performance. Synthetic performance is a mixed bag, with certain tests favoring the MSI Titan SLI's dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 configuration, and others unaffected by the second card. For example, 3DMark benchmarks exhibit the Titan SLI's outstanding graphics performance, especially in Fire Strike Extreme and Time Spy, which are rendered at 1440p. On the other hand, the graphics-based CompuBench workload doesn't recognize the second GTX 1070, so the Titan SLI's score is as good as a single GPU laptop. CPU performance is great, but it never quite matches the Eurocom Tornado F5, which has a much more powerful desktop CPU (the Intel Core i7-7700K). Finally, storage speeds are outstanding, with the Titan SLI's RAID 0 configuration taking first place in both random and sequential speed tests.

During our gaming tests, the Titan SLI proved its worth thanks to its second GTX 1070. At FHD, the Titan SLI finished at the top, or just slightly behind gaming laptops with single GTX 1080s. The biggest outlier is Hitman, which refused to cooperate with the Titan's SLI configuration, effectively gimping its performance to just one GTX 1070.

At UHD, the Titan SLI's advantages are exercised even further. For example, demanding games such as Grand Theft Auto V or Metro: Last Light Redux consistently drop even GTX 1080-based laptops below 30 FPS, whereas the Titan SLI can maintain at least that much. In less demanding games such as Thief, the extra GTX 1070 separates the Titan SLI from the pack, maintaining well over 60 FPS, whereas in Hitman, the ineffective GPU lets a lot of the Titan SLI's potential go to waste.

There's no question as to why thermal dissipation is a primary concern in gaming laptops. You're packing powerful, heat-generating components into a limited enclosure, so fans can only be so effective. Introducing a second graphics card to the mix just exacerbates the problem. Luckily, this doesn't impact the Titan SLI too heavily, and both graphics cards remain relatively cool after a 15 minute Furmark stress test, so it's safe to say that the Titan's fans are effective enough.

If you're investing in a gaming laptop, you have to live with the fact that battery life isn't going to be spectacular. Even single card laptops like the EVGA SC17 last little more than 1 hour and 30 minutes while gaming. If you were to add a second GTX 1070, you get the Titan SLI's score. First off, Nvidia's Battery Boost technology doesn't accommodate SLI configurations, which means that frame rate cannot be easily limited. As a result, both GPUs are left outputting as much power as they can, which drains the Titan's battery faster. With both GPUs enabled, the battery life falls below an hour, which is the lowest we've seen in a laptop to date. Even with SLI disabled, the battery still lasts less than one hour and 30 minutes

The Titan SLI features a UHD display, and it also comes with G-Sync, which is especially useful on those rare occasions where the dual GTX 1070s can't maintain 60 FPS. The display exhibits decent contrast, but this needs some improvement. The gamma levels stay fairly consistent almost across the board, but dip in certain areas, creating under-saturation. The overall average color error is a bit higher than what we're comfortable with; in particular, red and magenta levels are too high, while green and cyan are prevalent at higher brightness settings. On the bright side, the grayscale inaccuracies are just low enough to be unnoticeable.

The MSI GT73VR Titan SLI 4K shares the same chassis as the Titan Pro, so you can expect outstanding build quality and heft. The Titan's aggressive color scheme and angles give it an aura of power, which is fitting for the performance it provides. In contrast, the brushed metal edges and chrome MSI logos add a sprinkle of refinement so that the Titan's looks aren't all bark. The top lid's accents light up for additional gamer flare, and coupled with the RGB backlit keyboard, the Titan certain looks the part of a gaming laptop. The only downsides are its massive size, hefty weight, and the need for two power adapters.

One GTX 1070 makes a laptop pretty expensive. Two of them? Even more so. But what happens when you cram them into a laptop with a UHD display? MSI's answer: $3,600. This is one expensive laptop, the likes of which we've barely encountered. At the time of publishing, the Titan Pro and Tornado F5 were priced at $3,500 and $3,100, respectively. Because the Titan SLI and Tornado F5 outdo the Titan Pro almost across the board, you can safely eliminate the latter from your consideration. The competition for now is between the Titan SLI and Tornado F5. You can save yourself the hassle of lugging around a heavy laptop and two adapters by sticking with the Eurocom, but you'll be sacrificing performance, although not always by that much. On the other hand, the Titan SLI has a much bigger screen, higher resolution, better build quality, and a faster, more plentiful storage solution.


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  • AgentLozen
    Double post.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • daglesj
    Yay another laptop I would be embarrassed to use in public.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    19795162 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.
    Reply
  • deadsmiley
    19796212 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.
    Reply
  • ema21del9
    19796212 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...
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply