MSI GT83VR Titan review: $5,000 gets you legit mobile PC gaming

Sure, you can choose a budget or mid-range laptop for all your gaming needs while on the move, but the GT83VR from MSI showcases what kind of experience you can get by spending more than $5,000.

MSI GT83VR

In order to offer the best in terms of gaming when it comes to laptops, MSI decided it was time to make some serious headway in the performance tables by throwing together the GT83VR, which offers not only a GTX 10 series card but the latest Intel processor, insane amounts of RAM, and even a full mechanical keyboard with CherryMX switches.

About this review

MSI supplied the GT83VR SLI-212 for this review. Our unit in particular features an Intel Core i7 processor, 64GB of RAM, 1TB solid-state drive (SSD), 1TB hard-disk drive (HDD), and a Nvidia GTX 1080 in SLI configuration. This laptop would set you back a cool $5,399.

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Insane tech specs

First, we'll kick things off with the specifications. This is where MSI invested to really ramp things up and create something special. This Titan laptop series can be purchased in different configurations, including a GTX 1070 GPU or GTX 1080 in SLI. Prices vary between them, starting at $3,499.

MSI GT83VR

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CategoryMSI GT83VR Titan
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7920HQ
Internal storage1TB SATA HDD
Optional 1TB PCIe SSD
RAM16GB or 64GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM
Display18.4" FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit, IPS
GraphicsNVIDIA GTX 1070 16GB GDDR5 SLI
GTX 1080 16GB GDDR5 SLI
PortsFive USB Type-A 3.0
Thunderbolt 3
One RJ45 LAN Ethernet
HDMI
Mini DisplayPort 1.2
3.5mm jack
Audio jack
Microphone jack
SD reader (XC/HC)
SpeakersFour Dynaudio Tech Speakers and one subwoofer
WirelessKiller N1535 Combo (2*2 ac)
Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFHD (30FPS at 1080p)
BatteryEight cell (75Wh)
Dimensions428 mm x 314 mm x 42-64 mm
16.85 inches x 12.36 inches x 1.66-2.52 inches
Weight11.59 lbs (5.2 kg)

Big, bad and bold design

The GT83VR is a stunning beast. Wrapped in brushed aluminum, this giant makes even the Razer Blade Pro look like a yapping Chihuahua in comparison. This size is the result of packing so much potential inside the chassis, but it proves to be a concern when one actually desires to use this laptop as ... well ... a laptop.

What I appreciate about the GT83VR is how subtle the touches are. There are some cool glow effects on the lid and rear of the laptop itself, but nothing's over the top or looks unnecessary. This is likely due to MSI believing the sheer enormity of the device boasts to gamers just how serious this laptop is.

Even the two rear vents look aggressive, with sharp angles and styling. Everything feels solid, even when holding the laptop at an angle or with only a single hand. There aren't any unwanted creaking or stress sounds from the parts, so kudos to MSI there. The main issue I have with the color and design is how easy it is for the laptop to pick up finger marks.

The GT83VR looks premium, and the design overall reflects the asking price.

Colorful display

The display sported by the GT83VR isn't 4K, nor is it 1440p, but this isn't a deal breaker. and it means the two GTX 1070/1080 GPUs will be able to pump out more frames each second, leading to a more responsive and enjoyable gaming experience. You get a mere 1920 x 1080 IPS screen, reproducing great colors and — as expected — showcasing some solid viewing angles.

MSI GT83VR

It manages to reproduce 114 percent of the sRGB, which means games should look as developers intended them to. Nothing will "pop" out of the screen but nothing appears washed out or dull-looking. The one area that is a slight letdown (aside from the resolution) is the brightness. Even at maximum settings, it's still nowhere near that of the Razer Blade Pro.

This will cause issues when used outside in sunlight or a bright day. There are HDMI, Thunderbolt, and miniDisplayPort ports at hand for hooking up an external display.

SteelSeries and CherryMX keyboard

Move aside Razer. MSI packed in a full SteelSeries keyboard with CherryMX Brown switches. As is the case with any keyboard with CherryMX switches, the one inside the GT83VR feels really good to use. It's also a welcome break from CherryMx Blues, which I usually deploy in the office. It's also fully RGB-enabled for incredible light effects, because why not?

The keyboard is not only designed for great gaming performance, with tactile feedback and fast response, but also general typing.

Appearing next to the keyboard is a trackpad and number pad, alongside two trackpad buttons. Hitting the number lock button will switch between trackpad functionality and the number pad. It's an interesting way of making use of space, touch technology and incorporating a full-size keyboard without having unnecessary keys. The trackpad itself is responsive, though you'd likely want to use one of the five USB ports for a mouse.

Dynamic audio

Just in front of the hinge for the display are two front-facing Dynaudio speakers. There are a further two available, as well as a subwoofer. Overall, the sound produced by the laptop is excellent. Playing some music at high volumes surpasses my Creative PC speaker setup, which was slightly surprising.

MSI GT83VR

Entering into a game without headphones will produce some excellent levels of immersion, thanks to the choice of positioning, as well as the additional subwoofer. The volume goes super loud. Compared to most laptops, the sound system in the GT83VR is a huge advancement.

You get deep bass, great highs, and satisfactory mid-range playback.

SLI decimates battery life

It's a laptop, yes. It should be portable and last some time on a single charge, but it should be reiterated that we're not only talking about a Core i7 here but two Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs, which drain a lot of power.

We got just over two hours of use on a full charge while browsing the internet and opening a few programs. You should expect to see even less time before warning lights show in-game with the two GPUs pushed to the max.

And two power bricks are required to provide juice to the laptop, which is understandable with what's inside the chassis. Just remember that you'll need two outlets should you wish to top-up when out and about.

The GT83VR is a portable PC, but the sheer amount of power housed within means it's more a portable desktop PC than an actual notebook.

Massive array of ports

MSI included a large number of ports in the GT83VR, allowing for numerous devices to be hooked up.

You get a total of five USB 3.0 ports, two on the right and three on the left. The three video output ports are on the rear, alongside Killer LAN and AC input. Unfortunately, there's no Type-C.

Lastly, there's an SD card reader, which is ideal for any professional who also happens to be a serious gamer. It's nice to see Ethernet included for LAN events where Wi-Fi is usually either unavailable or unreliable.

Unlimited gaming performance

An Intel Core i7-7920HQ coupled with two GTX 1080s in SLI configuration is an insane amount of power. Add in 64GB of RAM and you now have a serious beast of a gaming PC. Do all this inside a laptop chassis, and you're talking about black magic, man!

MSI GT83VR

As expected, running various synthetic benchmarks resulted in the laptop beating out other portable gaming solutions.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (higher is better)

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LaptopSingle coreMulti core
MSI GT83VR4,74716,208
Lenovo Legion Y5204,59614,903
Razer Blade 20174,27713,597
Razer Blade 20163,77412,638
XPS 15 (9560)4,50313,587
Razer Blade Pro3,66012,325
Spectre x360 154,0988,022

PCMark - 10

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LaptopScore
MSI GT83VR5,399

GPU

And now it's the turn of the GPUs. As expected in 3D Mark, the GTX 1080 SLI configuration offers increased levels of performance over single GPU-sporting laptops.

3DMark - Fire Strike (higher is better)

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LaptopGPUScore
MSI GT83VRGTX 1080 (x2)15,240
Lenovo Legion Y520GTX 1050 Ti6,623
Razer Blade ProGTX 108012,976
Dell XPS Tower SEGTX 107012,315
Razer Blade 2017GTX 10609,278

Time Spy brought about some staggering figures, decimating the competition.

3DMark - Time Spy (higher is better)

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LaptopGPUScore
MSI GT83VRGTX 1080 (x2)10,741
Lenovo Legion Y520GTX 1050 Ti2,491
Razer Blade 2017GTX 10603,639
Dell XPS 15 (9560)GTX 10501,789
Surface BookGTX 965M1,531
Spectre x360GT 940m613

SSD/HDD

CrystalDiskMark HDD (higher is better)

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