The only good kill is overkill, especially in the case of gaming notebooks. It’s not for nothing that MSI’s GT80 gaming notebook bears the moniker ‘Titan’. But it didn’t stick, the moment it arrived at the Stuff offices everyone took to calling it The Beast.
The capital letters are justified as well, for a selection of reasons. Its size, noise (this is kinda optional) and specs all contribute to its new nickname but mostly it’s the size that got everyone mentioning the Beast. Little did they know how prophetic their assignation of title was to be.
Some Kind Of Monster
The Beast is bigger than it has any right to be. Weighty and bulky, this isn’t something that you can slip into a backpack and tote around for a day walking… anywhere, really. It’s portable enough to transport but you’re going to want to put it down and set it up as soon as possible when you’re moving it.
The GT80 Titan’s looks are fairly ugly, from a purely aesthetic perspective. Unless you’re a gamer, in which case the central MSI logo, oversized vents and angular lines will be one of the best things you’ve ever seen.
The build is a combination of metal, notably on the lid and generous panel above the keyboard, and tough plastic, with enough ports to make the Titan a viable gaming desktop alternative. There’s an optical drive on the left, HDMI-out on the rear and then there’s the keyboard. That lovely, backlit, and utterly pleasurable mechanical keyboard, which came with metal WASD and Esc key replacements for those serious gamers.
MSI have also saved some space on the right of the huge and amazing-to-use keyboard, by combining the trackpad with the number-pad. As default, you’ll use this to navigate (not in-game, use an external mouse) but a simple touch turns the trackpad into a number-pad. Nice touch.
The GT80’s display falls short compared to what you’d expect it to be, considering the rest of the Titan’s specs. It’s a large 18.4-inch panel but the display is capped at HD – missing a perfect opportunity to install a 4K screen and have it work properly, for once. For all that, whatever you’re looking at is going to be pleased with the results. The Beast’s screen is bright and clear throughout.
ALL The Specs!
I’ve been calling this one The Beast and alluding to all sorts of power but have not stopped gushing about the external features yet. But the specs in the review model we had here are worth waiting for.
Let’s do a quick roll-call, shall we? There’s a 2.8GHz Core i7 4980HQ, 32GB of system memory and 1.5TB (split between a 1TB hard drive and an SSD boot configuration) of storage. The final piece of the power puzzle comes in the form of a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M cards in SLI.
I could give you benchmarks and figures and performance stats but what you really need to know is that the Titan is fast. From cold boot to fully loaded in under ten seconds (I swear it loaded up in three seconds at least twice) and there’s almost nothing that you cannot run fully maxed on the GT80. Except Batman: Arkham Knight, likely, but everyone’s having an issue there.
You’re going to be paying for that speed. You can opt for a silent-ish mode where the fans are generally dormant but at the cost of performance. Or you can hit the dedicated fan button and turn on ALL the fans, which sounds like a Harrier taking off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. Okay, not that bad, but still.
MSI have at least given users enough speaker power to override the fan noise. Enough speaker power to fill a room, come to that, and certainly enough sound to surprise an unsuspecting reviewer. So there’s that.
Not All Roses
A gaming notebook has its drawbacks, though there are fewer hassles with this one. It chomps battery life, which is to be expected, so I’m not going to complain about that. But then there’s the cost. Official pricing wasn’t supplied but we’d expect you to pay no less than R50,000 for this setup, with the price likely being even higher than that. Such is the cost of a desktop rig-beater.
If you’re any kind of gamer, you’re salivating despite the wallet-depleting price. As well you should be, the performance and features of the GT80 Titan justify the drool. If you were in the market for something that could annihilate most any desktop while being easy enough to transport from place to place, you’ve found what you were looking for.