Gaming

Desktop power in a laptop

Included in the Titan is a monitor utility that lets you adjust the colour temperature of the display.
Included in the Titan is a monitor utility that lets you adjust the colour temperature of the display.PHOTO: MSI

The Titan also costs more than a top desktop gaming PC

Many high-end gaming laptops aspire to replace the desktop computer by packing powerful processors and graphics chips. But a desktop gaming PC is not just about the performance. You are also free to use your own monitor and keyboard.

For many gamers, this probably means a mechanical keyboard and a gaming monitor supporting variable refresh-rate technologies such as Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync.

The new MSI GT83VR 6RF Titan SLI gaming laptop lacks such a display. What it does have is a proper mechanical keyboard. Its SteelSeries-branded keyboard uses Cherry MX brown switches that feel light and tactile, with excellent key travel.

My only grouse is that the keyboard backlight is red and not the multi-coloured RGB backlighting system found on the latest high-end keyboards.

Because the keyboard extends to the edge of the laptop, the touchpad has been relocated from its usual spot below the keyboard to the right, where the numeric keypad is usually found.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $7,399

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6820HK (2.7GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 SLI 8GB GDDR5X

    RAM: 32GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 18.4 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C with Thunderbolt, 5 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks

    BATTERY: 75 watt-hour


    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 1/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 1/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

You still get a numeric keypad, as the touchpad can also function as one. Press the NUM key at the top left corner to switch between touchpad and keypad modes.

Despite not having a variable refresh-rate feature for smooth, stutter-free gaming, the Titan's 18.4-inch display is very good. This IPS screen has a standard 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution and wide viewing angles.

MSI has included a monitor utility that lets you adjust the colour temperature of the display.

This utility can be accessed via the Dragon Centre app, a one-stop software control panel that lets you manage everything from the Wi-Fi to the speed of the cooling fans. It can even connect to the MSI Dragon Dashboard app (available for iOS and Android) so you can monitor and tune the laptop with your smartphone.

Driving the display are two of Nvidia's flagship GeForce GTX 1080 graphics chips. They provide performance that is as good as that of their desktop counterparts. With two of these graphics cards running in tandem, the Titan probably has more graphical horsepower than the average gaming desktop PC.

In Crysis 3, the Titan scored on average 154 frames per second (fps) at 1,920 x 1,080 and Very High setting - lower than the 183fps managed by the Alienware Aurora R5 desktop PC, which has two GTX 1080 graphics cards and a beefier CPU.

Similarly, in Doom, the Titan's 137fps was lower than the 155fps achieved by the Aurora.

Because of its bulk and weight (5.5kg), the Titan is not easily transported, especially seeing as it requires two power adaptors.

While MSI bundles a backpack for the Titan, I do not see anyone lugging it around on a daily basis.

Unsurprisingly, the price tag for the Titan is sky-high. It costs more than a top desktop gaming PC like the Alienware Aurora R5 ($4,999) or last year's model ($6,599).

• Verdict: A huge and pricey gaming laptop that comes close to offering a true desktop gaming experience.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'Desktop power in a laptop'. Print Edition | Subscribe