4K Smartphones? Meh! Pencil thin tablets? Idgaf. A gigantic laptop with a mechanical keyboard built right in? You have my attention.
I recently did a piece on Top Three Gaming Laptops in which I reviewed the best 3 Gaming Laptops ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive. However, Taiwanese multinational MSI – not a household name when you talk about gaming laptops, have recently launched the MSI GT80 Titan which, to put as briefly as possible, is a behemoth of a laptop with a (wait for it…) full-fledged Mechanical Keyboard – a first of its kind.
Mechanical Keyboards may have fallen by the wayside in the laptop era, clouded by the now common ‘Chiclet-Style’ keyboard. But there are pockets of devotees that still swear by them, especially gamers. And yes, the Alienware 17 is a powerhouse of a laptop with giant screen, top-of-the-line internals, but with the GT80 Titan, MSI is looking to give fans of the click, a portable option with upgradability options – something rare when it comes to gaming laptops or laptops in general.
Specs and Upgradability
The GT80 Titan is armored with the best hardware available in the market, and then some. This behemoth is powered by an Intel Core i7-4980HQ Processor with a 2.8 GHz base clock, 16 GB RAM for the base model, an unbelievable 4 SSD in RAID mode (for up to 512 GB) coupled with 7,200 rpm 1 TB HDD, and an eye-popping, mouth-watering, hair-nipping dual Nvidia GeForce 980M GPUs in SLI formation with 12 GB of VRAM.
In addition to beefed-up-to-the-limit specs, upgradability has always been almost impossible when it comes to portable gaming machines. To address this problem, MSI has instituted an ‘upgrade program’ to help future proof your investment by allowing Titan owners to take their rigs to an approved partner and swap out older hardware for the newer one whenever Nvidia releases its next-gen GPU.
Meant to be a complete desktop replacement, the 18.4-inch Full HD 1080p Display, two mini-display ports and HDMI out, a bulk of a mechanical keyboard and a massive 350W power brick make it portable only in the most literal sense of the word.
With the GT80 Titan, MSI stayed true to its love for black brushed aluminum, and with a pair of red-backlit strips combined with trade blood-red MSI emblem and chrome logo, this thing is the work of madmen in the possible way, which almost reminds you of a luxury car – powerful and affluent. And despite its large frame, the 9.9 pound Titan is significantly lighter than the 12.2 pound Alienware 18.
The weird-looking setup where the keyboard is shoved all the way to the front, is actually good for two reasons.
- Firstly, to make typing as similar as possible to typing on an external mechanical keyboard
- And secondly, to accommodate that top sheet of metal that can be removed to expose the laptop’s guts for easy upgradability
Despite that beautiful trademark-MSI design, it is the full Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard backlit by red LEDs that really separates the Titan from its competitors. And as if the glowing mechanical keys weren’t flashy enough, MSI includes a special set of shiny, gold colored metal “WASD” keys.
Next to the keyboard is an unusual, two-button trackpad – unusual because it just feels like a normal laptop trackpad rotated by 90 degrees. The trackpad however, with a tap in the top left, doubles up as a haptic-feedback enabled number pad, also backed up by red LEDs.
With the GT80 Titan, MSI has built something than many gamers (including myself) have wanted for ages – a gaming laptop with a Mechanical Keyboard. However, I believe their biggest win is the fact that company wants to help its consumers protect their $3000+ investment with an upgrade program.
Even though most people won’t end up buying something this unprecedented, it’s nice to see such a gesture of fan service for the small group of people that have been looking for an option like this for ages.
By – Raunaq Singh