MSI Titan, Raider + Stealth Pro (2017) gaming laptop hands-on
MSI launches 'Titan' gaming notebooks with mechanical keyboard, and 'Raider' with new audio tech; meanwhile 'Stealth Pro' models get a GTX 1070 upgrade.
On the first day of Computex 2017 in Taipei, Taiwanese manufacturer MSI, took the wraps off two new gaming laptops, while also giving one of its other models a significant GPU upgrade. As Derek Chen, MSI's head of global notebook marketing explained, the company has a long history of gaming laptop firsts in the past decade, and with its new machines, it's hoping to stay ahead of the curve.
At the head of the pack is the new GT75VR Titan, with a bold red-and-black design drawing inspiration from performance automobiles and... well, something out of Battlestar Galactica. MSI isn't alone in using this aesthetic or this color scheme, but even in the over-the-top, aggressively futuristic world of gaming portables, the Titan stands out.
This model takes the mechanical keyboard of the completely ridiculous GT83VR and shrinks it down into something more closely resembling a laptop keyboard, thanks to a partnership with SteelSeries. The keyboard has the responsiveness you'd expect from gaming-centric mechanical keys, but without having to live in a machine as massive as the GT83VR. What's more, each key has an individual RGB LED, letting you customize your layout any way you like.
To complement the new keyboard setup, there's also an arrow-shaped palm rest designed for added wrist comfort on long gaming sessions — a feature targeted at professional (or aspiring) eSports players.
The spec sheet for the GT75VR is as awesome as you'd expect, with the choice of a single NVIDIA, GTX 1080, single GTX 1070 or dual 1070s in SLI. That's backed up by a seventh-gen Intel Core i7 7820HK processor, with overclocking possibilities in advance of 4GHz thanks to MSI's new Cooler Boost Titan tech, featuring 12 internal heat pipes and two fans.
Other key specs include up to a whopping 64GB of RAM, and storage options combining a single HDD and up to two SSDs in MSI's "Super RAID 4" config. And the display is no slouch either with the option of a 120Hz 1080p panel with 5ms response time, or IPS level panels at 1080p or 4K resolution.
If you're looking for the best of MSI in a less extravagant form factor, the new "Raider" models — GE63VR and GE73VR — may be for you. They're 15- and 17-inch notebooks respectively, and this year's models have a refreshed design drawing from the same sci-fi and sports car aesthetics as the Titan.
Sure, it looks a bit more normal next to everything above it in MSI's product line, but this design will still turn heads out in the wild. And it's also a good deal weightier than a more traditional notebook in this size range. Nevertheless, they are slimmer than you might be expecting, and a little bit more businesslike from certain angles.
The Raider models also boast their own version of MSI's cooling system from the Titan, with two fans and seven heat pipes to help keep its GeForce GTX 1070 GPU nice and cool, along with per-key LEDs in a similar SteelSeries-designed gaming keyboard, this time a more traditional chiclet-based affair. These models also focus on audio quality, with MSI's whimsically-named "Giant Speaker" system promising 2-3X larger integrated cans, and a 50% improvement in audio quality. It's tough to get a feel for that in a noisy demo environment, so we'll have to wait and see how it measures up in a more realistic setting.
Other specs include a familiar loadout of top-end gaming hardware. The Raiders are powered by seventh-gen Intel Core i7s, with up to 32GB of RAM, and 120Hz 1080p displays with 3ms response times — crucial for shaving extra milliseconds off your reaction times.
Meanwhile, MSI's GS63VR and GS73VR "Stealth Pro" models re-emerge with an upgrade to NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPUs, up from the GTX 1060 that was powering these 15- and 17-inchers after their recent Kaby Lake CPU refresh. The outer hardware of these portability-centric gaming laptops doesn't appear to have changed, and MSI still says the smaller GS63VR is the lightest gaming laptop in its class.
There are no specifics on availability for MSI's new gaming laptops just yet, however, we'd expect the refreshed GS63VR and GS73VR to line up around the same $1500 and $1600 price points as their predecessors.
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