Last week we highlighted some of the hardware that will be used to power our Demo Zone at Baselan 28. At the time we knew this was coming, but we didn’t yet have it, so we kept it to ourselves.
Now that it’s here and we’ve been able to actually play with it, we’re pleased to reveal that MSI Canada has generously loaned AYBOnline one of their flagship laptops, the GT80 Titan SLI to show off at Baselan 28.
If you’ve never heard of this laptop, well, listen up. MSI made a huge splash by showing this crazy thing off at CES earlier this year. It made waves across the hardware enthusiast crowd due to the unbelievable hardware packed into this thing.
First up you get an Intel Core i7-4720HQ. Not only is this one of the newest from Intel’s lineup, it is one of the only truly full powered mobile chips available. Boasting 4 cores with Hyper-Threading enabled, you get a full 8 threads running at 2.6Ghz, and a Turbo Boost speed of 3.6Ghz. Most mobile i7’s are actually dual cores.
The laptop comes equipped with 16GB of DDR3 1600, with the option to expand up to 32GB if you need it. Storage is handled by 2 different volumes. The boot volume is handled by one of the fastest hard drive configurations you can get today, desktops included. You get not one, not two, but FOUR Kingston 120GB m.2 SSD drives. These drives by themselves offer incredible throughput already, but MSI has opted for a RAID 0 array to maximize performance. Boot time, and application load times are incredible to say the least.
The second volume is handled by a standard 750GB 2.5” HDD. MSI’s engineers were thinking ahead when it came to the creation of this laptop. RAID 0 is an incredibly volatile setup, and SSD’s aren’t recoverable should anything happen to them. It’s best to keep your important docs and things on the standard drive.
Of course you don’t buy a gaming class laptop for the storage, you buy it for its graphics prowess, and this system has that in spades! It’s hard to find a laptop that has the power to run the hottest games on the panel that it comes with. The GT80 Titan SLI may not have Titan’s installed as the name may suggest, but it may as well have. The system is equipped with two GTX 980M chips running in SLI and sharing 8GB of GDDR5. That’s enough to run a 4K panel if you want, and more than overkill for the 18.4” 1080p display that is included.
Now this right here already sounds like what dreams are made of, but MSI didn’t stop there. Not by a long shot.
Included in the package is a built-in Blue Ray Writer. A Killer DoubleShot Pro Gb LAN card. 1 HDMI and 2 mini-DP port for externals displays. SPDIF-Out optical audio next to the standard headphone and mic jacks. 2.1 speakers built right in. You read that right, there’s a subwoofer in this monster. Powering the audio system is a Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 2 with support for 7.1 audio in case you want to plug in to the home stereo.
And then there’s the keyboard. This right here might be the single most impressive addition to this whole ridiculous concoction. Somehow, the geniuses in MSI’s engineering department figured out a way to put a full 10-keyless mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX Red switches. This isn’t a scaled down keyboard either. This is an honest to goodness full-sized keyboard on a laptop, with full depth keys.
To the right of the keyboard you’ll find a large touchpad. This clever position makes it very easy to use. It feels very natural to have your mouse hand on the right, and not have to worry about where your thumbs are when you type. Even smarter, is the multi-use design of the touch-pad. At the press of an on-screen button, it can be used as a num-pad. Buttons on the keyboard suggest it can be a gear-shift for games as well, though we have not yet tried this out.
MSI really went above and beyond in creating this machine. It truly is a no compromise gaming laptop which is truly amazing. I found myself thinking for the first time EVER “I could get used to this. I could use this as my main computer.”
I’ve never even considered a laptop as useful device for myself, but now I’ve been shown a different view. This is not a typical laptop, and as such is not suited for typical laptop users. But MSI might be on to something trying to entice desktop gamers to the laptop market.
MSI’s GT80 Titan SLI laptop will be available to try out next weekend during Baselan 28 in our Demo Zone. Come down and experience it for yourself, rather than taking my word for it. If you can’t attend the event, stay tuned as we’ll have a thorough review in the near future.
Kevin Carbotte is a Content Editor for AYBonline. He knows a little about a lot, and a lot about a little. The opinions in his columns are his and his alone, but you are free to have them.