MSI GT76 Titan Gaming Laptop Review – 9900K + RTX 2080 Power!
That MSI claim can run up to 5GHz and RTX 2080 graphics. It should be able to run anything we throw at it. So lets find out what compromises weve got to make for crazy levels of performance and who something like this is for in this detailed review. Ive got the 9SG configuration here, meaning its got: Intels 8 core overclockable, i9 9900K desktop CPU, 200w Nvidia, RTX, 2080. Graphics. Definitely no Max Q, here and 32gb of memory in dual channel., Its got a 17.3 1080p 4K screen and for storage. There are two 512GB NVMe M.2 SSDs in a RAID 0 array, along with a 1TB hard drive. For network connectivity, its got 2.5 gigabit ethernet WiFi, 6 and Bluetooth 5.. There are a few different configurations available, such as with 1080p high refresh screen, RTX 2070 or i7 CPU. You can find prices for different specs linked in the description.. The GT76 has a black and silver colour scheme. The lid and back section are silver, while the interior is black plastic.. Despite this, the build quality seemed decent and its built. Like a tank, I guess, because it kind of is. The weight is listed as 4.2kg on the MSI website, which was spot on with what I got. When you include the two 230 watt power bricks and call cables for charging the total weight rises to 6.6kg. So its not exactly portable, however, it would of course be easier to transport compared to a desktop PC, monitor, keyboard and mouse, so keep that in mind.
. The dimensions are '.7cm in width 33cm in depth and 4.2cm in height at the thickest point, not actually too much larger compared to other 17 inch laptops. The main difference is in the thickness.. This smaller footprint allows for thin screen, bezels, which I measured at around 8mm on the sizes., The 17.3 4K 60Hz IPS level screen has a matte finish and good viewing angles. However, theres no G, Sync here and no option of disabling Optimus., Its also available with a 1080p 144Hz or 240Hz option too, which is honestly probably a better match for these specs. If youre focus is gaming., Ive measured the colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro and my results returned 99 of sRGB, 91 of NTSC and 96 of AdobeRGB. At 100 brightness in the center. I measured 470 nits with an 11301 contrast ratio so well above average. In all regards, but expect different results from the 1080p panels. When it came to backlight bleed. There were some glow areas, mainly down the bottom, and I did occasionally notice this while viewing darker content, but the results will vary between laptop and panel.. There was a little screen flex as the lid is on the thinner side. However, with the hinges being out towards the corners, it felt quite stable., As youd expect from such a heavy machine. Opening it up. One finger is no problem, however. Despite the larger size, it still felt well balanced on my lap just a bit heavier than usual.
, Although its got thinner bezels. The 720p camera is found above the display in the center.. This is what the camera and microphone look and sound like on the MSI GT76. Heres. What typing sounds like, and this is what it sounds like when we set the fan to maximum speed, so you can still hear me over the fan, even though its quite loud., The keyboard has per key RGB backlighting, which can be controlled through the included Steelseries software.. Its got 4 levels of brightness, which can be adjusted with the function and plus or minus keys on the numpad., Unlike the previous GT75 theres, no mechanical keyboard. Here, however, I thought it was still offering a good typing experience. Heres, how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect.. There are plenty of lighting effects built into the software and theres lots of room for customization.. Despite the overall thick and heavy build, there was still some keyboard flex in the plastic interior when pushing down hard. However, this was never noticeable during normal everyday use.. I found the letter keys to need 58 grams of force to actuate. Weve got the power button above the keyboard in the center on the left, theres a shortcut to enable coolerboost mode which sets the fan to max speed. While the button to the right opens the MSI Dragon Center software, which is the control panel for the laptop., The precision touchpad worked. Alright, it doesnt actually press down as its got dedicated, left and right click buttons, underneath.
. The usual gestures are on offer and I thought it was of adequate. Size. Fingerprints show up fairly easily on the matte interior, but as a smooth surface, they were easy to clean. On the left from the back theres, an air exhaust, the rectangular power input and it doesnt matter which way you plug the cable in 2.5, gigabit ethernet port. Usb 3.2 Gen2 Type C port, with both DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3, two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type, A ports and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. On the right from the front theres a micro SD card slot not sure why they couldnt fit a full size slot. In such a big machine, two more USB 3.2 Gen2 Type, A ports, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C port mini DisplayPort and HDMI 2.0 outputs, followed by another air exhaust vent.. The back is just all air exhaust vents. However, it does stick out quite a bit as well see later theres a lot of cooling, inside. Theres, also some subtle red lighting here, which I wasnt able to customize and could only turn off. If I turn off the front light bar. Speaking of the front theres, an RGB light bar that runs along the bottom and theres some status LEDs in the middle., There are also smaller RGB light bars on the left and right sides towards the front of the machine.. The steel series software allows us to customize the lighting effects.. The front bar is broken up into 24 separate zones, so you can get quite granular.
However, the sides are just a single controllable zone. Each. There are plenty of built in effects available or you can turn all lighting off. If you prefer., The lid is just smooth silver metal with a clean silver MSI logo near the top. No lighting here. Underneath theres a lot of air ventilation, space which is great to see and the two two watt speakers are located towards the front left and right corners.. They sounded above average. There was some bass thanks to the 3 watt subwoofer. They got quite loud when playing music at maximum volume and the Latencymon results were looking good.. The bottom panel can be easily removed by taking out just 6 screws with a Phillips head screwdriver.. The whole back half is basically just cooling theres, a single 2.5 drive bay down the front left two empty memory slots in the middle. The other two which Ive got populated are on the back of the board so 4. In total for up to 128gb of memory.. The battery is down the bottom WiFi 6 card towards the right just below the fan and three M.2 slots on the bottom right.. Only the top two drives come into contact with the metal heat spreader, two of the M.2 slots support both NVMe PCIe or SATA storage. While the third is NVMe PCIe, only. Youre, probably wondering about upgradeability like most laptops, you can replace the storage and memory no problem.. The GPU is soldered to the board, so no chance of an upgrade there.
However, the 9900K is a desktop CPU.. This means the Z'0 motherboard uses a standard desktop socket. In theory. If you bought a 9700K model, you could probably upgrade to 9900K later., Considering that the 9900K is the best chip for the socket at the moment. The fact that its not clear whether or not Intel will offer newer CPUs for this socket in the future and that we have no idea if MSI would offer support through BIOS update. I wouldnt buy with an upgrade path in mind, but it could be possible depending on what Intel and MSI do. The Z'0 chipset only seems to be offered with the DT models of the GT76. It seems that its also available with a standard i7 9750H, so thatd likely soldered to the board as usual.. The laptop is powered by an 8 cell 90 watt hour battery. It looks small physically, but 90wh is still up. There. Ive tested it with the screen brightness. At 50 background apps, disabled and all RGB lighting off., While just watching YouTube videos, it lasted for 4 hour and 43 minutes a fair result, considering the specs due to Optimus., While playing the Witcher 3 with medium settings and Nvidias battery boost set to 30 FPS. The battery lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes in total. However, 49 minutes in with 28 charge left the frame rate dropped down to 13 FPS until the end.. The battery is on the larger side, but with desktop grade hardware, dont expect good battery life in gaming.
. Unfortunately, we arent, given the option of disabling Optimus, for better performance in games at the expense of battery life.. For such a high end machine like this, I think allowing us the choice would have been better. Im, a little surprised. They didnt just use the Nvidia graphics. Only and maybe give us G Sync, I dont think anyone was expecting a beefy desktop replacement like this to have good battery life, so its a little strange that theyre forcing Optimus.. It also appears that you dont have the option of just taking one power, brick with you for light use, as both bricks are connected to an adapter by cable.. This then gets plugged into to an additional component that connects to the actual laptop, so youve got to take a lot of cables with you. If you want to use wall, power. Lets move onto the thermal testing as youd expect. With this level of hardware. Weve got some pretty serious cooling with massive heatpipes and the CPU and GPU each have their own separated sections.. There are 11 heatpipes and 4 fans from the inside. We can only see the larger of the two fans. However, there are another two just below these air intake vents found above the keyboard heres. What those look like from the other side, as shown off in a display at Computex in June. MSI, are also using CNC polished, copper blocks. The smoother surface should help improve contact between the dies and the block.
The MSI Dragon Center. Software allows us to swap between four modes which, from lowest to highest, are ECO Comfort, Sport and Turbo.. Ive tested all modes and Ill note that, when running on battery, the top two Sport and Turbo are not available. In Turbo mode were also given the option to easily overclock the CPU and GPU up to 5GHz on the CPU and 150MHz on the GPU core and 250Mhz on the GPU memory.. We can of course, tweak these further with third party tools, though, but these options are quickly available through MSIs interface. So, even if you dont know what youre doing you can easily boost performance. In terms of fan, speed, Ive tested, either with the default automatic speed or with coolerboost enabled, which basically sets the fan speed to maximum for best cooling. Thermal testing was completed in an ambient Room temperature of 21 degrees Celsius so expect different results in different environments. At idle. The CPU was fine and the GPU was a fair bit warmer comparatively.. The rest of the results are from combined CPU and GPU workloads and are meant to represent worst case scenarios, as I ran them for extended periods of time.. The gaming results towards the upper half of the graph were tested by playing Watch Dogs 2. As I find it to use a good combination of processor and graphics., The stress test results shown on the lower half of the graph are from running the Aida64 CPU stress test, with only the stress, CPU option checked and the Heaven GPU benchmark at max settings at The same time to fully load the system.
In ECO and Comfort modes, whether gaming or under stress test, the GPU was thermal throttling at around 91 degrees Celsius.. This is expected, as these modes are designed for quieter operation, so the trade off is extra heat.. The main limitation for the CPU in the multicore stress test was thermals. We can see it was throttling at 97 degrees Celsius. In most of these tests., The GPU gradually lowers in temperature as each mode increases the fan speed.. The gaming results, on the other hand, arent bad at all in sport or turbo mode theyre within reason. Given the specs., These are the clock speeds for the same tests. Just shown. CPU performance was the lowest in ECO mode as this caps. The power limit of the CPU to 55 watts, but its worth calling out that these speeds, even in this worst performance mode, are better than most 6 core i7 9750H laptops. I test. With comfort mode, the CPU clock, speed rises, however, the GPU speeds stay the same. If you recall in the last graph, it was still thermal throttling in comfort, mode., The GPU speeds rise up in sport mode. As this increases the fan speed. Likewise, CPU performance increases for the same reason. More fan, speed helps reduce the thermal limitations. Turbo mode, improved upon this a little more, and then there were some extra CPU improvements with undervolting and adding a cooling pad, as these also help address the thermal throttling.. The GPU speed is the highest in these two modes.
As Ive also got the GPU overclocks enabled through Dragon Center. In this particular game were also hitting MSIs 5GHz claim after some basic tweaks, the cooling pad wasnt needed either, though it helps. However, this will of course, vary by game.. These are the average TDP values. During these same tests., We can see the RTX 2080 was approaching its 200 watt limit in turbo mode when under stress test, this particular game isnt heavy enough on the GPU to demand more than 160 watts. I guess. Anyway. These are pretty crazy results. On average, with the GPU sitting at 195. Watts weve also got the CPU around the 120 mark, so that explains the temperatures.. Ive got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks from the different available modes, so we can get an idea of CPU only performance. its worth considering an i7 9750H best case scores around 3000 points in multicore, so were getting a nice boost from both higher clock speeds and those two Additional cores., Despite thermals being the limitation in this specific workload, the cooling pad and undervolt hardly made much extra improvement. Just for comparison, heres. How the best results compare against some other 8 core machines that Ive recently tested. Ive, also tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider with the games built in benchmark tool just to show average frame rates from each mode.. The results were interesting, even in the lowest ECO mode. Were still getting exceptional performance from a laptop, and this was while the fans were on the quieter side as youll hear shortly so quieter.
Gaming is definitely possible.. As for the external temperatures, where youll actually be putting your hands at idle in eco mode, the keyboard was around 30 degrees Celsius, pretty normal stuff., With the combined CPU and GPU stress tests running and still in eco mode, its now around 40 degrees. But as youll hear soon, the fan is hardly going.. Moving up to comfort mode its about the same. No major changes. Sport mode increases the fan speed. So, although were now getting higher performance, the external temperatures are a bit better. Again in turbo. Despite now delivering higher levels of performance, its even cooler due to the faster fans. Heres, what it looks like playing an actual game for an hour with the same turbo mode and fans on auto again no issues at all. Heres how the fans sound with these different Modes in these same tests. At idle in the lowest eco mode, the fans were still audible, though my noise floor is between 34 and 35, so its still quiet., I actually found when just browsing the Internet on battery. It was even quieter. In the stress tests, with eco, its still on the quieter side and comfort mode was basically the same, which is honestly quite impressive when you consider that you can still play games with well. Above average, levels of performance. Quieter operation with good performance is a real possibility at the expense of thermals of course.. Sport mode rises, the fans up quite a bit its about 11 decibels, higher now.
In turbo mode. With the fan on auto its quite loud, then, with the fan at max speed in coolerboost, its very loud youll definitely want headphones for that.. The results from the Titan are quite impressive when you consider that it was possible to hit 5GHz on average, sustained over 8 cores, at least in these workloads with some tweaks.. Yes, it does run hot if you stress it hard in turbo mode and thermals were the main limitation, even once undervolted and with a cooling pad in use, but honestly thats always going to be expected when you stick a 9900K in a laptop. The fact is, the performance is still there despite this.. The RTX 2080 also runs up to 200 watts, which is also fairly crazy.. Lets see how well it actually does in some games. Next. Ive tested the games with all CPU cores overclocked to 4.9GHz. However, as we saw in the thermal testing, it will really depend on the workload as to whether or not this ever gets hit.. That said, I had to drop down to this from 5GHz, as some games were, crashing. Ive also got the graphics overclocked to the maximum. The Dragon Center lets you easily set along with coolerboost enabled. Ive tested games at 1080p and 4K resolutions, 1440p wasnt tested as it wasnt a default resolution of the machine, and I couldnt easily add it as a custom. Resolution. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign. Mode. Ive got RTX on shown by the green bars and RTX off shown by the purple bars.
At 1080p. It was still quite playable, even with RTX, on at ultra settings, where I was able to average above 60 FPS. However, we could get much higher than this. With RTX off. At 4K, it was still playable with RTX off where almost 60 FPS averages were reached at ultra settings. However, 4K RTX wasnt going so well to the point where my frame recording software kept failing to record 1 low data and Ive never seen that before. Control was tested by running through the start of the game and again Ive tested both RTX on in green and Rtx off in purple. RTX was playable at 1080p and it actually looks good in this game were just under 60 FPS with all settings maxed out, however, as you can see, much higher is possible with RTX off. At 4K. Rtx is basically unusable, while low settings played ok again near 60 FPS. However, with medium and high presets at this resolution, there were noticeable issues due to the lower frame rates. Wolfenstein Youngblood was also tested playing through the start of the game.. This game doesnt yet have RTX available, but its meant to be coming soon.. This one uses Vulkan and the performance was nothing short of excellent. At 1080p. I wasnt really seeing any noteworthy differences between the different setting levels at this resolution. There was hardly any change between minimum and maximum, so might as well just max it out so that it looks its best.
. This is definitely a title that would benefit more from the 1080p 144Hz or even 240Hz screen options. At 4K. The results are honestly still excellent and much better than I was expecting. If youre using the 4K screen, like Ive, got here its limited to 60Hz, and I was seeing above this for the 1 low, even at maximum settings. So not only is it looking great but its playing perfectly smoothly, while doing it. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was tested with the games built in benchmark tool and as expected due to the specs. These are some of the best results Ive seen with this title, so far. At 1080p, even ultimate settings was averaging well above 60 FPS granted the 1 low was down quite a bit. Ultra looks much better in that regard. At 4K. The results are hit hard. However. 60 FPS was still possible with the very high setting preset. So still some fair results. Fortnite was tested using the replay feature and the results were a bit lower than I was expecting. However, this is my first time testing these specs with the new chapter 2 map. So it could just be a bit more resource intensive. In any case, there's. Absolutely no problems playing with max settings. At 4K, epic settings was still quite usable with 60 FPS averages. However, we could more than double this just by dropping down to medium settings.. If you want to see the results from more games check the dedicated gaming benchmark video in the top right corner, where Ive tested way more titles.
Lets, also take a look at how this config of the MSI GT76 Titan compares with other laptops. Use these results as a rough guide only as they were tested at different times with different drivers. Ive tested Battlefield 5 with ultra settings and Ive got the GT76 highlighted in red near similarly specced machines. In this test. Its taking the lead in terms of average frame rate, although it was only just ahead of the ASUS Mothership, but its worth, considering that costs more too., The 1 low was lower, though, and slightly behind the Alienware 51m. However, its still higher than the average FPS from our 1660 Ti machines down the bottom. So an impressive result. Here are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark.. This time the Titan was a little behind the other 2080 machines. In average frame rate, however, the 1 low is right up there with the best result from the ASUS Mothership. So again, pretty crazy results compared to most others.. These are the results from Shadow of the Tomb raider, with the built in benchmark at highest settings.. The Titan was in between the Alienware 51m and ASUS Mothership. Basically, these machines are on a completely different level compared to the others. Due to the high end specs. As weve seen, MSIs GT76 Titan is offering serious levels of performance, which is to be expected. Its a thick machine with an overclocked 8 core desktop 9900K CPU and RTX 2080 graphics capable of running up to 200 watts.
1080p gaming was of course, no problem at all if youre using it primarily for gaming, youd probably be better served by the 1080p 144Hz or Even 240Hz option. With the 4K screen Ive got here. 1440P would also likely be fine with these specs, based on my experience with other laptops that have similar hardware, while native 4K was hit or miss depending on the game and setting level. But for the most part Id say, these specs are 4K capable for a laptop.. Now, for the benchmarking tools, Ive tested, Heaven Valley and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike Timespy and Port Royal from 3DMark just pause. The video, if you want a detailed look at these results. Ive, used Crystal Disk Mark to test the storage and the 1TB RAID 0 array, which contains two 512GB M.2 NVMe SSDs, was performing quite nicely.. The 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive was also performing well as far as spinning rust is concerned.. Unfortunately, I dont have a Micro SD card to test with, so I havent been able to test the speed of the slot. For updated pricing check. The links in the description as prices will change over time. At the time of recording in the US with the 9900K RTX 2080 4K screen. But double memory is about 4600 USD.. Alternatively, you could get it with 240Hz screen same RTX, 2080 graphics, but 9700K CPU. Instead, for 1100, less and honestly in games, the 9700K will give pretty similar performance anyway.
So depends if youre going to be running CPU heavy workloads.. You could even go 9700K and RTX 2070 for 2500, so quite a bit less still. There are a few options. Here in Australia with the same specs Ive tested here were looking at 6900 AUD, which seems like a bargain compared to the ASUS Mothership I recently reviewed., So who is MSIs GT76 Titan for Rather than your typical laptop, its definitely more of A desktop replacement that also happens to be somewhat more portable. I know Id prefer to do a trip with this than a mini ITX system. For the high levels of power in this form factor. The trade off is, of course, a higher price, a thicker machine, high temperatures and loud fan. Noise, assuming you want the best performance as we saw it, can still blow away other high end laptops while running much quieter in comfort or eco modes. But I digress.. You could, of course, build a mini ITX system with same specs for far less and then even add on a mid range laptop. So it really depends how badly you want. The one portable unit with battery screen keyboard and touchpad included. For most people, a more mid range laptop with decent GPU, would be a lot cheaper. But if you want one of the best options available, then it could be for you. Its unfortunate that there doesnt seem to be a planned upgrade path like the Alienware 51m, though, as I mentioned in that review, we dont actually know how that will go yet.
. So to conclude, youre getting desktop level performance in games from this desktop replacement machine. The high end, specs, put it far above most high end laptops.. There was more screen bleed in my unit than Id like at this price point, but that will vary by unit.. With this hardware, its pretty much a given that the machine will be larger, heavier hotter and have poor battery life while gaming, it is what it is. Im a little disappointed that MSI didnt give us the option of disabling Optimus for better performance instead were stuck with It enabled which also prevents the possibility of G Sync or fast sync.. I think people buying such a large machine, like this arent planning on using it for the battery life youd, be buying this for the high levels of performance which needs wall power, so at least having the option of using the discrete GPU with a MUX switch would Have been nice., The two power bricks need to both be brought along when you travel, unfortunately, theyre connected by the cables, so you dont have the option of only taking one for lighter workloads which could have helped improve portability.. I wasnt personally a fan of the 4K screen here, at least for gaming., Although it can definitely play many games well, at 4K, 60Hz is a bit limiting.. You could instead opt for the 1080p 144Hz or 240Hz option, though hopefully MSI update it once 4K 120Hz panels are more widely available.
. The 4K panel was above average in terms of colour, gamut, brightness and contrast. It looked great and Id happily use it for tasks like photo or video editing.. Otherwise, the only other thing I didnt personally like was the Micro SD card slot its a huge laptop. Why not just give us a full sized slot, Theres lots of RGB lighting here if thats your thing, all of which can be customized quite a bit with the software, though that will be subjective, but it does definitely make it. Stand out. Im very interested to hear what you think about MSIs GT76 Titan gaming laptop slash, desktop replacement down in the comments based on the price, its definitely more of a niche product. So is it something youd consider getting? Let me know down in the comments and, if youre new to the channel consider getting subscribed for future tech.