MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI Review: A Gaming Beast at a Premium Price
Bridging the gap between gaming laptops and gaming desktops, the MSI launched the GT80 2QE Titan SLI to even out the playing field. With a fantastic mechanical keyboard, a couple NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M SLI GPUs and a rock-solid Intel Core i7 processor, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI is the desktop replacement that every gamer craves for. Check out our full review of MSI GT80 2QE-014AU below.
Design and Build
MSI went all out with the GT80 2QE Titan SLI, equipping it with a gorgeous design that resembles a mini jet plane in every way. Adding the best of aluminium and high-grade plastic to its build quality, this gaming laptop surely plays the part of being the powerful beast it truly is.
The Titan comes with a head-turning razor-sharp lid with the iconic dragon logo at its heart, crafted out of the black brushed-aluminium for added style. The laptop certainly is huge in every aspect, but MSI has done an excellent job of making this behemoth gaming machine as sleek and cutting edge as physically possible. The subtle linings of red on the lid and the sides stand out when the lid is lifted and the beautiful red color-lit mechanical keyboard is unveiled.
The beautifully carved dragon above the keyboard is a clear reminder of MSI, making the GT80 2QE Titan SLI is trend-setting gaming laptop. While most laptops come with accessible panel to upgrade the hardware of the system when needed, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI takes it one step further with the removable top panel. The top panel ensures that each aspect of this pricey gaming laptop can be easily upgraded in the future, apart from its processor.
The Keyboard and Touchpad
It would be a crime to not highlight one of the most noteworthy aspects of the GT80 2QE Titan SLI – its brilliantly designed mechanical keyboard. For any gamer who has avoided gaming laptops for the lack mechanical keyboard capability, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI makes the decision of switching to a portable gaming system that much easier.
Living up to the hype it created as one of the first gaming laptops to sport a mechanical keyboard, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI SteelSeries mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches feels and sounds great in every way. The keys have been crafted with highly durable materials with the keyboard mashers in mind, while the satisfying “clank” of the keys makes the entire gaming experience spectacular.
Since the GT80 2QE Titan SLI’s keyboard has been positioned downwards to accommodate the access panel, MSI provides a separate wrist rest for added comfort. Another differentiation in the design is noticeable in the form of its touchpad, which has been positioned at the right ride of the keyboard. The position makes it feel more natural (for right-handed gamers, of course), and a couple clicks turns the touchpad into a touchscreen number pad, making it useful when used with a dedicated gaming mouse.
The GT80 2QE Titan SLI boasts a gigantic 18.4-inch PLS display with a standard full-HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. While some of us would have wanted such a powerful gaming laptop to boast the latest 4K display, its full-HD resolution and quality display panel does not disappoint. The anti-glare matte finish screen does a fine job of replicating vibrant hues, sharp details and wide viewing angles.
When the display of the GT80 2QE Titan SLI was put to test, it delivered 97.2 percent of the Srgb color gamut, which is below the preferred 10 percent mark, but well above the average of 94.9 percent in its category. With a display brightness of an impressive 303 nits, it outshines the desktop replacement average of 275 nits with ease, and the 279 nits score of its competitor, the Eon 17-S as well.
Under the Hood
The reviewed version (2QE-014AU) of the GT80 2QE Titan SLI is the highest-end model, with specs that would make any tech geek squeak with excitement. The Intel Core i7-4980 HQ Quad-Core processor rests at the heart of the GT80 2QE Titan SLI, which clocks at 2.8GHz (4.0 GHz with the Turbo Boost Technology) and a massive 32GB DDR3 RAM to keep your system super-fast at all times.
The GT80 2QE Titan SLI is more than just a mean gaming machine, it is a desktop replacement in every way there is. In terms of storage capacity, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI 2QE-014AU comes with 1TB of SSD storage and an additional 1TB of Hard Disk Drive storage, which should keep the data hoarders satisfied as well. The average transfer rate of the SSD was recorded to be 318 MB/Sec, cruising past the average of 268 MB/Sec.
Another factor that makes the GT80 2QE Titan SLI a suitable desktop replacement is the number of Input/Output ports it comes equipped with. The laptop comes with 5 x USB 3.0 ports, a tray-loading Blu-ay burner, 3-in-1 card reader, mic and headphone jack, as well as a pair of mini DisplayPorts, an HDMI port and Gigabit Ethernet port at the rear end.
The massive 18.4-inch PLS display and the high octane Intel Core i7 processor sets the stage for the GT80 2QE Titan SLI, but its two NVDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPUs steals the show. The SLI configuration brings 16GB of VRAM between the two powerful processors when linked together for ultra-setting gaming takes the visual experience to a whole new level.
No matter what game title you play, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI will play it with ultra settings without flinching for even a moment. The Playing games such as Far Cry 4 on ultra settings delivers an average frame rate of 121, rendering the visuals beautifully, and gliding through the mountainous terrain without a hiccup. However, the GT80 2QE Titan SLI also comes with Intel HD Graphics 4600 GPU, which is intended to help you play casual games and work with graphical applications without unleashing the beast every time.
• Heavy duty desktop replacement with an elegant design.
• Beautifully constructed mechanical keyboard for optimum gaming experience.
• Digital touchpad which doubles up as a number pad.
• Removable and replaceable components which facilitate upgrading the machine.
• Poor battery life compared to the standard gaming laptops.
• Can be considerably louder during intense gaming sessions.
• A bit pricey.
The Final Verdict
The MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI is a god among gaming laptops, with more hardware, software and graphical capabilities than most can imagine. Undoubtedly priced in accordance to the value it offers, this premium desktop-replacement gaming machine with its pair of 980M GPUs stand out at the top when put against any current generation game title.
The powerful hardware does come up to 4.5Kg of weight, which is justifiable in most ways. The battery life is poor even by the gaming laptop standards, and the laptop may require a stand to facilitate ventilation in a long run. Nonetheless, when it comes to selecting a gaming laptop which replicates the outstanding experience of desktop machines in every way, the MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI is among the obvious choices.
Review date: November 26, 2015
Price at the time of review: $6299
Buying advice: MSI through their local Aussie distributors strictly control the selling price of its laptops, so you won’t find much (if any) price competition between the retailers. However, there should be no reason why you can’t negotiate $200-$400 lower price on this model as retailers generally have a 10% margin on these highend gaming laptops.