MSI GT77 Titan laptop review: a hot, expensive gaming monster

MSI GT77 Titan

MSRP $5,000.00

“The MSI Titan GT77 is powerful, however it’s also overly hot, loud, and expensive.”

Pros

  • Chart-topping CPU performance
  • Incredible port selection, including Thunderbolt 4
  • Excellent speakers
  • High-end gaming performance
  • A great deal of shiny RGB flare

Cons

  • Lackluster display
  • Loud and hot
  • Expensive
  • Keyboard gets stuck from time-to-time

When Intel launched its first 16-core laptop CPU, one query reverberated throughout the world of high-end laptops: why? MSI’s 17-inch workstation alternative, the GT77 Titan, is among the many first machines that try to reply that query. It features the 16-core Core i9-12900HX, and even though it provides some advantages, they aren’t value gunning for.

Multi-core performance is off the charts, but most applications are only nice with Intel’s non-HX offerings, especially considering that this can be a gaming laptop, firstly. The GT77 Titan takes advantage of the brand new chip with an additional high price tag, as well, making it a foul value even in comparison with MSI’s other high-end offerings. The MSI GT77 Titan can go toe-to-toe with one of the best gaming laptops as a result of its 16-core CPU in performance, however it’s too expensive for that advantage to matter.

Price and configurations

A Destiny 2 raid on the screen on the MSI GT77 Titan laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however the GT77 Titan is an expensive laptop. A top-end model will run you around $5,000 for an RTX 3080 Ti, certainly one of Intel’s recent Core i9-12900HX processors, 64GB of RAM, and a 4K screen at 120Hz. For $1,800 less, you’ll be able to get a Core i7-12800HX, RTX 3070 Ti, 32GB of DDR5, and the identical 4K screen.

I wasn’t capable of track down my exact configuration being sold online. It’s the $5,000 model, but mine got here with a 360Hz 1080p screen. I’m undecided if MSI is definitely offering this screen, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If any laptop justifies 4K, it’s the GT77 Titan. You likely won’t find a way to benefit from 120Hz at 4K within the vast majority of games, but 360Hz is simply useful for highly competitive esports titles.

The GT77 Titan is within the range of ridiculously expensive — in case you’re buying a laptop around this price, there’s no sense mincing words on $100 or $200. Still, it feels too expensive. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 comes with equivalent specs for $1,500 lower than the highest model, and MSI’s own Raider GE76 is $1,000 less in case you don’t mind the 45W HK version of the Core i9-12900.

For configurations, the RTX 3070 Ti/Core i7-12800HX model is where you need to be. The Core i9-12900HX rarely reaches its max boost clock, and the i7 comes with just as many cores. The RTX 3080 Ti is a slight boost, however it’s definitely not value an $1,800 upcharge.

Design

RGB lighting pouring out the back of the MSI GT77 Titan laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The MSI GT77 Titan is a large laptop — but the entire “Titan” bit type of gives that away, doesn’t it? It’s big even by the standards of 17-inch workstation replacements, though. It’s over 7 kilos, making it a pound heavier than the MSI GE76 Raider, and it’s big, measuring 15.6 inches wide and 13 inches long. It’s not as thick as I anticipated, though, clocking in at 0.9 inches thick.

An enormous a part of the dimensions comes right down to the vents within the back, which aggressively jut out of the back to maintain the 55W Intel processor and RTX 3080 Ti cool. MSI and Intel need to bill this as a workstation alternative, however the design makes it clear: This can be a gamer’s laptop with shiny RGB, aggressive angles, and enough cooling potential to place the Razer Blade 17 to shame.

You won’t be taking the GT77 Titan out and about with you, especially with the large power brick in tow. However the machine looks excellent arrange on a desk. The back vents spill out customizable RGB lighting to match the MSI shield on the highest lid, and you may have full control over the lighting on the SteelSeries mechanical keyboard while you open the machine up. The lid is a little bit of a fingerprint magnet, though, as evidenced by the photo above.

Ports

Ports on the MSI GT77 Titan laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

An enormous laptop means loads of space for ports, and MSI takes advantage. You could have two USB-C ports able to DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 4, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a full-size Ethernet jack, an SD card reader, a mini DisplayPort connection, and an HDMI 2.1 connection able to 4K at 120Hz. These are all situated on the side of the device, somewhat than on the back as some gaming laptops have begun doing.

The connectivity rivals loads of desktops, minus a number of USB-A ports. Should you ever end up in need of more (doubtful), you’ll be able to at all times hook up a Thunderbolt 4 dock to certainly one of the spare ports, too.

Performance

Adobe Premiere Pro running on the MSI GT77 Titan laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Now for what matters: the 16-core Intel Core i9-12900HX behind the GT77 Titan. This HX processor boasts a 55W power limit and two more cores than the Core i9-12900HK, making it essentially the most powerful mobile processor you’ll be able to buy without delay. At the very least, on paper.

Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) PugetBench for Premiere Pro Geekbench (single/multi)
MSI GT77 Titan (Core i9-12900HX / RTX 3080 Ti) 56 1,833 / 20,007 883 1,838 / 15,655
Razer Blade 17 (Core i7-12800H / RTX 3080 Ti) 73 1,697 / 13,218 969 1,808 / 11,843
MSI GE76 Raider (Core i9-12900HK / RTX 3080 Ti) 72 1,872 / 16,388 1,120 1,855 / 13,428
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro (Core i7-12700H / RTX 3070 Ti) 63 1,805 / 18,417 957 1,712 / 12,882
Gigabyte Aero 16 (Core i9-12900HK / RTX 3080 Ti) 73 1,907 / 12,969 1,115 1,915 / 13,482

It does manage to beat the previous i9 Intel has offered, in addition to the i7 options lower down the stack. Nonetheless, the advantages are limited to apps that may benefit from loads of cores. In Handbrake, for instance, the additional cores helped finish the render 22% faster than the Core i9-12900HK within the Gigabyte Aero 16. That’s impressive.

Then again, though, it didn’t provide any profit in Premiere Pro. And as you’ll be able to see from my Cinebench and Geekbench results, the single-core performance is in keeping with the remaining of Intel’s current-gen offerings. The Core i9-12900HX is one of the best, but not by much and only in certain applications.

Performant because it is, the Core i9-12900HX appears like an unhinged beast. It immediately shot to 95 degrees Celsius in a run of Cinebench R23 and never went below 85 degrees. And that’s despite the GT77 Titan sounding like a jet engine, attempting to maintain the chip anywhere near cool.

It’s normal for gaming laptops to run loud and hot, however the GT77 Titan is concerningly loud. Should you’re running an intense game or application, you’ll probably need noise-canceling headphones on to not hear the fans. And if you may have anyone else nearby, prepare to bother the hell out of them.

Gaming performance

The GT77 Titan could also be a workstation, however it’s a gaming laptop firstly. I used to be curious how the HX processor would push gaming performance, if in any respect, when paired with the powerful RTX 3080 Ti. Unfortunately, the reply shouldn’t be much.

Sythentic gaming performance for MSI GT77 Titan.

3DMark showed the Core i9-12900HX in motion essentially the most, which weighs the processor’s performance heavier than loads of real games. Over the MSI GE76 Raider, which has the identical GPU, you’ll be able to see an 8% and 4% uplift in 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike, respectively.

The Razer Blade 17 with its Core i7-12700H isn’t far behind, though, and truly managed to beat the Raider in Time Spy. It’s an ideal illustration of how thin the margins are for gamers on the high end.

Gaming performance for MSI GT77 Titan.

Stepping into real games, there’s nothing selling the HX processor. In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the GE76 Raider actually outperforms the GT77 Titan, and each laptops manage the identical frame rate in Fortnite. My tests were limited to 1080p as a result of the screen on my GT77 Titan, but I still pushed the GPU with Ultra graphics settings.

That doesn’t mean the Core i9-12900HX doesn’t provide any profit. In CPU-intensive games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Cyberpunk 2077, the additional cores and boosted clock speed provide an actual boost in performance. Those advantages will disappear at higher resolutions, though, and the GT77 Titan is built for greater than 1080p.

The Core i9-12900HX is lots just like the desktop Core i9-12900KS in relation to gaming. It ekes out some leads in certain titles, but you’re largely getting the identical experience as you’ll with the lower-powered option.

Display and audio

Destiny 2 running on the MSI GT77 Titan laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The 1080p display on the GT77 Titan is nice. I never expected a show-stopping display, especially at that resolution, however it would’ve been nice to see given the high premium MSI is charging for the machine. It’s decently color accurate but not particularly shiny at 313 nits, and the black levels are good, however the contrast isn’t quite high enough for them to make a difference. It’s a well-calibrated display, though, with a measured Delta-E of 0.8.

It’s a shame there isn’t a brighter screen just like the one available on the MSI Creator X16P or perhaps a mini-LED option just like the MacBook Pro 16 offers. The value definitely calls for a more premium screen. The plus of the display is its size. I used to be capable of arrange the GT77 Titan on my coffee table and lean back to play games with a controller as a result of how large the screen is.

The speakers are great they usually get super loud.

Audio is a lot better because of two large upward-firing speakers situated across the keyboard. Dynaudio lead the design, and the speakers never distorted even once they were uncomfortably loud at full volume. MSI includes software from SteelSeries called Nahimic, as well, which permits you to tune EQ and configure virtual surround sound.

The speakers are great, but I’m undecided how much use you’ll get out of them. They get super loud, but they’re at all times fighting against fan noise when playing games. Headphones are the approach to go here, however the speakers are a very good alternative for watching movies or browsing the web.

Keyboard and webcam

MSI GT77 Titan keyboard with RGB lights.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Certainly one of the more unique points of the GT77 Titan is its mechanical keyboard. It comes with Cherry’s ultra low-profile switches, which give it a rather more satisfying typing experience than a conventional laptop. At the very least in theory. After using the keyboard for a number of weeks, I still prefer the normal design on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro.

The travel distance and click on are each satisfying, however the keys just aren’t consistent. That is an Apple Butterfly keyboard situation. Dirt, hair, and mud can easily travel under the keys and cause them to hold, forcing you to press down harder for an actuation. This issue got here up after only a number of days of using the laptop, and although keys only occasionally stick, it’s still annoying for such an expensive machine.

The trackpad is large and worked perfectly with Windows Precision Drivers, however the webcam is a bit behind. It’s only 720p and liable to get grainy in case you’re in a dark room. The difference is notable, especially because the MSI GE76 Raider contains a higher resolution 1080p webcam. Videoconferencing definitely isn’t the main focus of the GT77 Titan, though, and it’s large enough which you can strap an external webcam on the screen in case you need.

Battery life

MSI GT77 Titan power brick sitting next to the laptop.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Let’s be honest: you’ll rarely use the GT77 Titan aside from a charger. The battery life is decent, with the machine lasting for 4 hours and 25 minutes in my web browsing test. That’s a few half-hour greater than the Razer Blade 17 and a number of minutes greater than the MSI GE76 Raider, however it’s removed from the heights you’ll find on ultra-portable laptops from Apple.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the GT77 Titan comes with the utmost battery capability you’ll be able to carry on a plane (99Whr), however it appears like a downright puny capability in comparison with the hardware contained in the machine. All-day battery life isn’t an option for laptops in the category of the GT77 Titan, however the laptop can still last for a number of hours away from an outlet given you aren’t gaming or running intense applications.

Our take

The GT77 Titan is a monster laptop that may rip through games and intense applications alike. Still, I don’t think it is best to buy it. The HX processor provides only modest gains in certain applications, and the value is much above other 17-inch laptops with similar specs. And that’s true even for other laptops from MSI.

It’s not a foul machine by any metric, but I’m struggling to see where the premium goes. There are some upsides like a second Thunderbolt 4 port and more room for DDR5 memory, but those benefits only apply to a small variety of users. They don’t justify a $1,000 (or more) premium.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes. Probably the most direct alternative is MSI’s own Raider GE76, which can be available with a Twelfth-gen Intel HX processor. The ROG Strix Scar 17 also comes with the identical HX processor and is considerably cheaper.

The Razer Blade 17 can be an alternate for around $1,000 less, though it doesn’t have an HX processor and is targeted more on portability than raw power.

How long will it last?

With the hardware inside, you’ll be able to expect to make use of the GT77 Titan for several years before replacing it.

Must you buy it?

No. Although the GT77 Titan is definitely a robust laptop, you’ll be able to get something that performs just as well for significantly less. The GT77 Titan is all about over-the-top abundance, and it comes with a price tag to match that goal.

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