Written by @Julia_V
The arrival of NVIDIA 40 series laptops has been incredibly exciting for me. Knowing the potential of desktop 40-series GPUs, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of performance mobile 40-series GPUs could bring. The latest MSI Titan GT77HX 17-inch Gaming Laptop is one of the pinnacle examples of mobile performance. I got a chance to test it for a week and I'm blown away by what it can bring to both the creative and gaming scenes.
The MSI Titan features a mighty 13th Generation Intel i9-13980HX processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card with 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM. Out of the box, the laptop is equipped with 64GB of DDR5 memory, and a total of 2TB of PCIe Gen 4 NVMe Solid State Storage. A wide range of connectivity options and ports can be found throughout the laptop: high-speed ethernet, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, SD Card Reader, two high-speed Thunderbolt 4 ports, and many more. The battery inside of the Titan is 99.9Wh, which is the biggest battery TSA will allow to fly on a plane. On top of all the incredible specs, the Titan features a gorgeous UHD Mini LED IPS display at 144Hz. This laptop screen won over my heart. I love it so much that it got a dedicated section in this review.
I have been a huge fan of Intel’s 12th Generation Hybrid Architecture since its release. The 13th Generation Intel Processors are new, improved versions of what came previously of it. The Titan allowed me to experience the highest-end possible version of the mobile processor, delivering only the best of the best. The Intel i9-13980HX has 24 – Twenty-four! – cores. That’s 8 Hyper-Threaded Performance Cores and 16 Efficiency Cores, capable of running at 5.60GHz at Max Turbo Frequency. Just how amazing is that? In terms of power, the CPU can draw up to 157 Watts. As with many Intel processors with integrated graphics, the laptop is capable of Intel Quick Sync Video for faster video encoding and editing.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 mobile version draws up to 120 watts of power. The chip supports DirectX 12 Ultimate, ensuring all contemporary games will run on the laptop. For performance, I like to compare and contrast gaming and rendering performance with UserBenchmarks. As it compiles data from users with the same type of hardware in their systems and summarizes it to compare relative performance, it’s easy to wrap my head around. Comparing the laptop 4090 against the highest-end mobile GPU from the last generation, the Mobile 3080 Ti, we see a whopping 65% increase in performance. What really shocked me was the comparison between the mobile 4090 and the last-generation flagship desktop GPU, the GeForce RTX 3090. I knew that desktop GPUs had the advantage of performance at the cost of mobility, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but behold: the mobile 4090 is actually faster than the Desktop 3090. This means 4K gaming, high-end 3D editing and processing, as well as simulations and AI learning are all made possible on a mobile platform with incredible performance. This is insane potential from a single laptop.
Unboxing the MSI Titan, it does not lack presentation. Nestled in a custom box, MSI very proudly lets you know exactly the caliber of experience you're in for. Once I got the Titan out of its cradle and into my hands, I was immediately impressed by its amazing build quality and sturdy chassis. I noticed the MSI Dragon logo is RGB-capable, and there is also a large heatsink behind the screen hinges. They were not kidding when they called this laptop a “Titan”. The weight is hefty but downright reasonable when you consider the raw power it is capable of. Later, I discovered the Titan actually has four slots for RAM and three slots for NVMe SSDs (1 Gen 5, 2 Gen 4). Meaning we can expand the memory to up to 128 GB and add up to three SSDs if we want to. Now, that’s a heck of a workstation we can create.
When the Red MSI logo appeared on my screen, I noticed how bright and vibrant the red was. This might sound like an exaggeration, but compared to the hundreds of laptops I have booted up here at Micro Center, I knew this one was going to have something unique about it. Then, I was prompted to set up Windows Hello as a part of the initializing process. I like that an IR Camera is built into the webcam since that allows me to skip entering my pin every single time I use it.
And then I got to experience the Steelseries Cherry MX Low-Profile Mechanical laptop keyboard. I am a big fan of tactile keyboard switches, so being able to use this keyboard for this article was a more-than-pleasant experience. The out-of-the-box RGB was configured in a way where you can clearly tell that there is per-key RGB available. The heatsink and the MSI logo on the back of the laptop screen were also glowing in sync with the keyboard.
Once I got past the initial setup, the first thing I looked for was how to configure the per-key RGB. SteelSeries GG, which is the software I use for my SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless headset, was surprisingly also for the keyboard RGB. That means that other SteelSeries accessories should pair very well with the Titan as everything is already in one hub. As I explored the laptop, I also found that all the necessary software related to drivers for the chipset, graphics, and even screen color calibration were already there. MSI Center allowed me to monitor the CPU and GPU clock speeds, and temperatures, and also toggle between discrete and integrated graphics. The laptop came in this hybrid mode that picks whether to use the integrated graphics from Intel or the dedicated RTX 4090 GPU. As I was going to have the machine plugged in, I used the laptop in the discrete GPU mode. Overall, the feel of the laptop is definitely that of a flashy gamer one–but in a dominating and elegant way.
While I am not a huge benchmark person, I think that benchmarking software can help us better understand relative performance, as we can quantify power in numerical terms. That being said, the value of a laptop is not contingent on its numerical benchmarks, as there is so much more to a laptop like ergonomics and overall usability.
The first benchmarking test I did on the laptop was UserBenchmarks. The Titan pulled some incredible numbers: Gaming at 264%, Desktop at 117%, and Workstation at 330%. The 3D score, 237% is what they call “record-breaking” and “off the scale”. Meaning this GPU can handle all 3D games at very high resolutions and ultra-detail levels. The Boot Drive SSD score was actually at 463%--making it suitable for heavy workstation use, and fast transfers of multi-gigabyte files.
The next benchmarking test I ran was on Cinebench, for both single-core and multi-core. The Titan had a single-core score of 1,980 and a multi-core score of 28,368 That’s faster than any laptop processor I have personally seen. These numbers are neck-to-neck with high-end desktop processors. While the MSI Titan is not a Desktop, it is definitely reaching new record highs for mobile laptop processing power.
How does the MSI Titan perform and fit into our lives on the daily? This is definitely not one of your small, light, and portable machines meant to be carried everywhere. I mean, I suppose the daily back workout if you were to bring it with you could save you a gym membership...
Jokes aside, the Titan is definitely best suited as a desktop replacement laptop - meant to primarily stay in one place, but can be easily moved if needed. It has an amazing screen, an incredibly comfortable tactile keyboard with number pad, and, of course, a lot of power. In other words, it gives you the power of a desktop, with the added benefit of portability.
Standard laptop speakers and even a set of small subwoofers come with the laptop. Though, I would suggest getting a pair of nice headphones to go with any gaming computer, as it enhances the listening experience quite a lot. One of the SteelSeries Arctis Wireless gaming headsets is my ideal pick. The Wi-Fi 6 is blazing fast, and it only took me 20 minutes to download Destiny 2 on my home Wi-Fi. The wide range of port options allows a multi-monitor set-up with the laptop, but truth be told, this screen makes me not want to use any other monitors with it because it’s already so beautiful by itself. I could consider a secondary for extra screen space, but I would keep the laptop screen as my main. If a stand-alone version of this laptop monitor existed, I would definitely purchase one for myself.
While the hefty Titan and its large 330 Watt power brick are not necessarily easy to carry around, the power and space-saving factor can definitely be worth it. Sometimes, moving around a high-end desktop and a high-end monitor doesn’t make sense for certain people, and would definitely be harder compared to moving a laptop. For a bit of background, I love making 3D environments for games. I’m imagining a situation in which, while making 3D animation and complex photorealistic renders, I need to take my work on the move. If I built a desktop that had the same amount of power as the Titan and paired it with a monitor that is close to the quality of the built-in display as the Titan, it would be a tremendous task to move around that setup. The built-in laptop keyboard on the Titan is also a huge plus for me, as external peripherals will also become part of the packing and moving process. The fact that the Titan can handle up to 128 GB of RAM and three separate NVMe SSD drives is reassuring as well. Even if my needs evolve and change over time, this laptop will keep up with my creative demands. The Titan gives me the flexibility of location while providing the reassurance that I can get the peak gaming and rendering performance wherever I am and whatever I'm doing.
The 4K Mini LED built-in display on the MSI Titan is the highlight of my time with the laptop. With 10-bit color and pre-configured DCI-P3 color space out of the box, it is perfect for photo, video, design, games, and everything and anything that benefits from color accuracy. The MSI True Color app allowed me to switch between the pre-configured color spaces with one click as well as make fine adjustments in the Adobe RGB tab for brightness and individual RGB levels. I have only seen this level of fine-tuning and adjustment on dedicated monitors. Taking advantage of the adjustability, I tested the screen with a colorimeter to find out if I could calibrate it further.
Out of the box, the brightness of the screen clocked at 735.98 nits with excellent color temperature and accuracy. Ideally, we want the color temperature to be at daylight (around 6500K) and have an as low as possible measured Delta E value. Delta E, in short, is a measurement of the difference between a displayed color from its input color. A lower Delta E means better color accuracy. A Delta E under the value of 1 means that the color difference is not perceivable by the human eye. The color temperature was at 6755K, and the Delta E of the MSI Titan hovered between 0.3 and 0.6 without any calibrations done to it. Talk about detail! Even without a colorimeter, the end user is already getting something that is basically 100% accurate. We measured that the monitor has an extremely high color gamut volume at 151.5% sRGB, 104.1% Adobe RGB, and 107% DCI-P3. We were able to get the screen to 99.8% sRGB accuracy, and 99.1% Adobe RGB accuracy.
I am more than confident to say that the laptop, combined with such an amazing screen, makes the laptop absolutely capable of professional work in the game or film industry. As end users, we also get to experience the most accurate versions of content produced today – we can play the latest and greatest games in their most original and beautiful forms.
Gaming performance on the MSI Titan is truly unrivaled. I personally am a big fan of first-person shooter titles and open-world MMORPGs. My favorite title of all time is Destiny 2, followed closely by Guild Wars 2. The point of reference for gaming performance for me is my Desktop with an RTX 3080 on QHD.
Destiny 2 is a game that has impeccable environments, designs, textures, and gameplay. The Titan checked all the boxes for me when I was playing on 4K. This was my first time playing Destiny in UHD, and it was truly an experience. Not only were the colors more vibrant than I remember, but the game ran at a consistent 180+ frames. I did not experience any frame drops or hiccups, even in busier areas with more players around. I could hear the fans working before I put on headphones, but I did not feel any heat near where I had my fingers placed on the keyboard. With headphones, all I could hear was the game anyways, so there's little to worry about when it comes to noise
The other game I ran was Guild Wars 2. There is a game mode where up to 300 players can be present on the screen all at once, with all the 3D particles and VFX that come with them. My game continued to run smoothly while other players were typing in chat that their game was running like “a slideshow ''. Getting to see so many people showing off their finest armor and accessories without hiccups or hitching was definitely the highlight of my GW2 testing. I found the environmental open-world details were sharper, and the colors were more vibrant. Even after playing for 4 hours straight, I experienced no issues like thermal throttling or overheating. Overall, I was very pleased with the laptop’s gaming performance. I only wish I had the opportunity to test some newer games with RTX capability to truly see how far this laptop can push performance.
The most I pushed the laptop was with Blender, using the Cycles render engine. This render engine uses real-world calculation for light bounces and realistically renders materials such as glass. I imported one of my .blend files into the laptop and ran a test to see how it performed. Since Blender uses both the CPU and the GPU to render, it was a great piece of software to test the overall power of the machine. Using Cycles in the live viewport, the laptop is essentially calculating complex light bounces as one moves around the camera every step of the way. Not only did the camera move smoothly thanks to the laptop’s fast rendering capability, but I also found myself waiting around a lot less. With the 16GB of VRAM on the mobile 4090 GPU, I was able to render a file that was too large for my 10GB desktop 3080 card to handle. While I don't have an exact speed comparison between my desktop and the Titan, I can say that I definitely felt an increase in render speed when I moved to the Titan.
Its even Cat Certified!
Overall, the MSI Titan GT77HX 17-inch Gaming Laptop definitely lived up to the hype. The laptop achieved what I thought was impossible for a mobile system to achieve, and I can’t wait to see how technology will develop and push the boundaries of gaming and creative performance.
Great information and review! Still can't get over the fact there's 4090s in laptops...
This is very detailed information on the laptop not just for gaming, but for anyone who will use it for professional productivity.
great in depth review!
Ooo fancy! Wish I could get my hands on one of these!
(Still want to get one of those 17-inch screens as a stand alone monitor)
This is great! Definitely enjoyed reading.
By any chance is the laptop in the hybrid mode/using the dedicated graphics card? Maybe it will work if it's only running on integrated graphics? Since the TDP on both the CPU and GPU are so high, it might not be enough wattage to keep it charging with a 100W charger while it's on. That's my theory, at least. :/
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