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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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