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.
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.
|Category||MSI GT83VR Titan|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7920HQ|
|Internal storage||1TB SATA HDD|
Optional 1TB PCIe SSD
|RAM||16GB or 64GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM|
|Display||18.4" FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit, IPS|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GTX 1070 16GB GDDR5 SLI|
GTX 1080 16GB GDDR5 SLI
|Ports||Five USB Type-A 3.0|
One RJ45 LAN Ethernet
Mini DisplayPort 1.2
SD reader (XC/HC)
|Speakers||Four Dynaudio Tech Speakers and one subwoofer|
|Wireless||Killer N1535 Combo (2*2 ac)|
|Camera||FHD (30FPS at 1080p)|
|Battery||Eight cell (75Wh)|
|Dimensions||428 mm x 314 mm x 42-64 mm|
16.85 inches x 12.36 inches x 1.66-2.52 inches
|Weight||11.59 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
As expected, running various synthetic benchmarks resulted in the laptop beating out other portable gaming solutions.
Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (higher is better)
|Laptop||Single core||Multi core|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||4,596||14,903|
|Razer Blade 2017||4,277||13,597|
|Razer Blade 2016||3,774||12,638|
|XPS 15 (9560)||4,503||13,587|
|Razer Blade Pro||3,660||12,325|
|Spectre x360 15||4,098||8,022|
PCMark - 10
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)
|MSI GT83VR||GTX 1080 (x2)||15,240|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||GTX 1050 Ti||6,623|
|Razer Blade Pro||GTX 1080||12,976|
|Dell XPS Tower SE||GTX 1070||12,315|
|Razer Blade 2017||GTX 1060||9,278|
Time Spy brought about some staggering figures, decimating the competition.
3DMark - Time Spy (higher is better)
|MSI GT83VR||GTX 1080 (x2)||10,741|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||GTX 1050 Ti||2,491|
|Razer Blade 2017||GTX 1060||3,639|
|Dell XPS 15 (9560)||GTX 1050||1,789|
|Surface Book||GTX 965M||1,531|
|Spectre x360||GT 940m||613|
CrystalDiskMark HDD (higher is better)
|MSI GT83VR||147 MB/s||136 MB/s|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||119 MB/s||67 MB/s|
|CHUWI Hi13 eMMC||295 MB/s||141 MB/s|
|CHUWI 14.1 LapBook eMMC||265 MB/s||118 MB/s|
|Surface Book 512||782 MB/s||573 MB/s|
|Dell XPS Tower SE (HDD)||133 MB/s||150 MB/s|
|Kangaroo Notebook||128 MB/s||43 MB/s|
Now witness the power of PCIe SSD storage.
CrystalDiskMark SSD (Higher is better)
|MSI GT83VR||3,136 MB/s||2,974 MB/s|
|Lenovo Legion Y520||1,838 MB/s||1,151 MB/s|
|Razer Blade Pro||2,571 MB/s||2,467 MB/s|
|Razer Blade (960 EVO)||2,079 MB/s||1,809 MB/s|
|MacBook Pro 13 (2016)||1,549 MB/s||1,621 MB/s|
|Spectre x360 512||1,332 MB/s||589 MB/s|
|Surface Studio 1TB||1,327 MB/s||512 MB/s|
|XPS 13 (9360) 256||1,287 MB/s||794 MB/s|
|Surface Book 1TB||1,018 MB/s||967 MB/s|
Synthetic tests are great for producing benchmark figures, but they mean very little when it comes to actually playing games. Thankfully, the GT83VR doesn't disappoint.
The two GTX 1080 GPUs running in unison easily handle everything we threw at the laptop. Games like Hitman, GTA V, and The Rise of the Tomb Raider ran near or above 100 FPS on average, which was an excellent result with high settings enabled. Going all the way up in Hitman dropped numbers down to around the mid-40s.
Sporting two GTX 1080 GPUs in SLI configuration means the GT83VR more than meets requirements for Virtual Reality (VR). MSI makes sure you are aware of this with the inclusion of VR in the product-line branding.
Loud sounds and heat
Again, much like the dimensions and weight of the laptop, the noise due to cooling and heat dissipating from the chassis is considerable thanks to the amount of power housed inside. At idle, the fans are barely noticeable, but fire up a game to utilize the CPU and both GPUs and suddenly you've boarded an Airbus.
We recommend using headphones when gaming on this laptop. But while noise levels are rather high, the efficient cooling system used by MSI means temperatures are within acceptable limits.
|Intel Core i7-7920HQ||81 C (178 F)|
|GTX 1080 (1)||82 C (180 F)|
|GTX 1080 (2)||85 C (185 F)|
The ambient temperature was 24 C (75F) at the time of readings. Again, we must stress that some noise and heat is to be expected when you throw these components inside a compact chassis. The above readings reflect the commendable effort made by MSI to keep temperatures low.
Also, because a total of 15 heat pipes are used, with a total of 52 blades across two fans to keep everything cool, there's no thermal throttling. Only just though.
Double the storage
The unit we received has a 1TB SSD (2x 512GB in RAID 4) and 1TB mechanical drive. Other configurations include this setup or a single 1TB HDD.
Overall, the GT83VR has some killer storage to match its networking cards. Even using the HDD for game storage once the 1TB SSD configuration is at maximum capacity allows for fast gaming with low load times.
Conclusion: GT83VR is top dog in portable PC gaming
There are a number of gaming laptops that suit most consumers, but should you require something with a little bit more oomph, you really cannot go wrong with the GT83VR. With the option of GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, as well as different RAM configurations, it's also possible to save a few pennies but still get a capable gaming experience.
The main highlights of this laptop, in particular, are the design, internal components, and keyboard. A few downsides to the PC include the heat and fan noise, bulkiness and weight. Oh, and that price tag.
Bottom line: I'd absolutely pick up the GT83VR for gaming on the go if money were no issue. LAN events and hotel stays would never be the same again.
- Insane levels of performance.
- Mechanical keyboard with CherryMX switches.
- Great sound system.
- Isn't the most portable laptop.
I recommend the MSI GT83VR series of laptops for those who have large budgets to invest in powerful, yet capable and somewhat portable laptops. You're not going to want to carry this thing around for very long, but sitting down on a flat surface with an outlet at hand turns the black slab into a monster gaming rig.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.