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What $5,000 Gets You
The MSI GT83VR 7RF Titan SLI is an expensive gaming machine, but it's also very powerful. If you have the money to spend and you want top-end hardware in a semi-portable form factor, look no further than this.
The use of a Core i7-7920HQ processor provides around 13 better performance than the more commonly used Core i7-7700HQ on average. Thanks to an easy overclocking utility provided by MSI, you can squeeze out an additional 13% more performance with very little difficulty, leading to a significant performance advantage over the 7700HQ.
Obviously the main selling point of the GT83VR are the two GeForce GTX 1080s. Across all the games we tested, every title ran above 60 FPS at Ultra quality settings at 1080p, with many pushing into the 100 FPS zone. Even punishing titles like Watch Dogs 2 needed to be run at 4xMSAA to make this SLI solution sweat at 1080p.
The dual-GPU solution wasn't mind-blowing at 1080p though, with many games showing only a 10 to 20 percent performance improvement over a single GTX 1080. This begs the question as to why MSI included a 1080p display on the GT83VR when this laptop could easily handle 1440p or 4K. At these resolutions, I expect the two GTX 1080s to really shine and provide much better performance than a single GPU, so for the best experience with the GT83VR, you'll need to plug in an external display.
It's no surprise to see the GT83VR tipping the scales at 5.5kg. This is not a particularly portable laptop, though compared to an equivalent desktop PC, it's easier to transport even when factoring in the two massive power bricks it requires. I liked the selection of ports found here, including the four audio connectors (including optical SPDIF) and Thunderbolt 3.
The mechanical keyboard included with this laptop is fantastic. It provides an excellent gaming experience through class-leading tactile feedback and travel distance, equivalent to a good desktop keyboard. I enjoyed messing around with its RGB functionality as well, particularly some of the effects provided in the SteelSeries software utility.
The biggest issue that will stop most people from buying the GT83VR is price. This laptop starts at $4,400 for a base model without an SSD, and to do this laptop justice with proper fast storage, you'll need to spend more like $4,800. That's a lot of money to spend on a single system, putting the GT83VR out of the reach of most consumers. We'd have found the price more palatable if a 4K or G-Sync display would have been part of the package. But ultimately, if you want the best possible hardware in a laptop form factor, I guess you need to pay a hefty premium.
Pros: The most powerful laptop we've ever tested. Excellent mechanical keyboard with RGB customizability. Hefty solid build.
Cons: Includes just a 1080p 60Hz display when two GTX 1080s in SLI can comfortably game at 4K