The MSI GT75 Titan Laptop Review: Hex-Core DTRby Brett Howse on September 13, 2018 9:00 AM EST
MSI does offer the GT75 Titan with the NVIDIA GTX 1070, but most of the lineup features the much faster GTX 1080. NVIDIA’s Pascal cards are very well understood at this time, with the Pascal notebook lineup launching over two years ago, but Pascal was a great launch for NVIDIA, and even today the GTX 1080 is a stout performer. Although NVIDIA has recently announced the successor to Pascal in their Turing based RTX lineup, they’ve not yet announced mobile versions yet for notebooks, so the GTX 1080 still rules the roost here.
What does change is that the MSI GT75 Titan offers the fastest CPU we’ve yet seen in a laptop, so it will be interesting to see how it compares to other laptops we’ve tested with the GTX 1080. Certain games like DOTA 2 are generally CPU bound, and the extra grunt of the Core i9-8950HK may allow it to pull ahead.
MSI also offers a 1920x1080 120 Hz display with G-SYNC on most of the GT75 Titan lineup, so the extra framerate won’t be wasted, and the other option is a 3840x2160 model which will certainly bump into the limits of a single GTX 1080.
As usual, we’re starting off with a couple of synthetics before moving on to actual game benchmarks. 3DMark offers sliding levels of complexity, with Fire Strike at the top, and Ice Storm Unlimited something that’s available to run on low-end devices like integrated GPUs and tablets.
On Fire Strike, the single GTX 1080 can’t quite surpass the SLI GTX 1080 in the GT83VR Titan, but it does outperform the Clevo with the Core i7-6700K and single GTX 1080. Some of that might be down to drivers, since NVIDIA has had a lot of time to tweak Pascal, but as we’ve already seen, the Core i9 in the GT75 Titan is plenty fast.
In fact we can see that in the easier tests, since all of them tend to be CPU bound on high-end GPUs. All of the other 3DMark tests other than Fire Strike offer better performance on the GT75 Titan than any other laptop we’ve tested.
GFXBench isn’t the most relevant test around since it’s built on OpenGL for the desktop, but it doesn’t take long to run it, so here it is. All of the results are based on the 1920x1080 offscreen results, and all of the tests fall into ridiculous range on a laptop with a big GPU.
As mentioned earlier, Dota 2 can quickly become CPU bound once you get a large GPU involved, and that’s the case here. The Clevo’s 95-Watt Core i7-6700K was the quickest at this test previously, but the GT75 Titan has just squeaked by. You can see that the SLI in the GT83VR Titan has no affect at all, since it’s completely CPU bound, and possibly not very good with SLI.
We’re in the middle of transitioning away from some of our older gaming tests, and Tomb Raider is one that’s on the way out, although it can still be punishing on medium range GPUs. This is a game that does very well with SLI, and the GT83VR Titan still dominates, but on single GPU systems the GT75 is at the top.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
The newer sequel is an even more demanding game, and offers DX12 as well. Running on the Very High settings also requires at least 4 GB of VRAM. It’s also not well suited to SLI, with the GT83VR Titan only ahead by a small amount.
This is another game that tends to be CPU bound, and it also appears to appreciate extra cores and threads made available to it, since the GT75 Titan is well ahead of any previous laptop we’ve tested.
Another game that will be phased out is Bioshock Infinite, but it’s almost a tragedy since we have such a backlog of devices tested on this game. Even today it can bring even laptops with GPUs to their knees, but not laptops with the GTX 1080. The combination of GTX 1080 and Core i9 has once again set a new standard for this test.
Shadow of Mordor
Unlike some of the other games, Shadow of Mordor is mostly GPU bound at our enthusiast settings, with the GT75 right in line with other laptops offering a single GTX 1080.
Shadow of War
Shadow of War will be replacing Shadow of Mordor, and as this is the first laptop we’ve tested on it, we have just the one result. The benchmark is much more demanding than the previous game though, with scores down quite a bit even at just a 1920x1080 resolution.
With an even newer version of this game launched, this may be the only result for F1 2017 to appear in a review, but the GT75 Titan has no issues with this Codemasters racing simulator.
Far Cry 5
The latest in the Far Cry franchise is also a new test for us. The GTX 1080 can’t quite average a framerate which exceeds the 120 Hz refresh on the display, so G-SYNC will be welcome here.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Finally, we have the latest in the Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The GTX 1080 can't quite achieve the native refresh of the panel on this game, coming under under 100 FPS average, so the G-SYNC capabilities of this display will be of benefit.
The GTX 1080 is definitely a known commodity at this point, and will remain the fastest laptop GPU available until NVIDIA refreshes it. The Core i9-8950HK in the GT75 does help out on some games, with a couple of them significantly higher thanks to the six-core CPU.