How much gaming power does a person really need?

The answer to that question is rather subjective. For instance I am quite content with gaming at 1080p with frame rates hitting 60, but I know one of my colleagues won’t settle for less than 4K.

It stands to reason then that the MSI GT75 8RG Titan which wields an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, 32GB of RAM and an Intel Core i9 processor would be suited for my colleague that loves 4K gaming, but spec sheets only tell one side of the story.

Kind to the eye

The problem with 4K on a 17 inch display such as the one in the Titan is that much of the fidelity that 4K brings with it is lost during gaming. Make no mistake, there is a noticeable difference between 4K and 1080p but once the notebook is at arm’s length you start to lose that finer detail that 4K offers.

There’s also the matter of the power needed to drive a 4K display. While you won’t be hitting 4K at 60FPS you will get between 30 and 55FPS depending on the game. What matters here is that the frame rate is solid throughout your gaming, so long as you have the latest drivers installed.

Title Average FPS (Ultra settings)
Rise of the Tomb Raider 45
F1 2017 50
Ghost Recon Wildlands 45
The Witcher 3 38

 

For those that want higher frame rates you can lower the resolution to 1080p and get buttery smooth 60FPS or alternatively opt for the version of this notebook that boasts a 1080p display rather than a 4K iteration.

Overall performance is great and on the CPU side of things the i9 performs well and is cooled sufficiently. We managed to get a Cinebench R15 score of 1 028cb with test completing in 40.62 seconds.

Hot stuff

While I can come to terms with a lack of 60FPS at 4K, what I absolutely cannot ignore is the noise this notebook kicks out.

MSI’s Cooler Boost tech has been specially adapted to cater for the high thermals the Intel Core i9-8950HK produces together with a beefy Nvidia GPU. As a result internals remain at a balmy 85 degrees Celsius under load but it’s at the cost of peace and quiet.

In a large open plan office I could hear this notebook’s fans ramping up and down while boiling a kettle. It is loud and droning and it will annoy you.

Yes, temperatures remain under control but to be honest with the noise this thing creates makes my desktop sounds like an ultra-thin notebook by comparison.

Mechanical is better, even in a notebook

The star of this notebook is the Steelseries per key RGB mechanical keyboard.

There is a full mechanical keyboard here and the keys have a tactical click to them, and typing on the is a dream come true.

For the first time in years I wanted to game on a notebook and not plug in my own external keyboard. It really is great and it saddens me that I need to point out a flaw, but the notebook is just not comfortable to use.

At 58mm tall, sitting with your hands on the Titan on a low desk is extraordinarily uncomfortable.

It’s also huge and less a laptop and more of a desktop replacement that requires it’s own space on your table.

The power solution is also plain silly. There are two massive power bricks that connect to a turn-around cable which then plugs into the notebook’s power input.

Even sillier than that is that the connector will fall out if you bump it or pull it every so slightly. It’s a small niggle but when prices for the Titan start at R46 499, that small niggle is just not acceptable.

Battery life

The battery in the GT75 is a 90Whr affair but don’t expect to game on it for long. While we didn’t notice any frame dips we were only able to game for an hour before the the battery was exhausted.

This is likely due to the demands of the hardware within the notebook combined with a 4K display.

This makes portability out of the question and aside from the battery life the form factor of this notebook means it won’t be very comfortable perched on your legs.

Conclusion

Last year we praised the GT73 for giving gamers a viable option to upgrade in a time where cryptocurrency miners had scooped most of the hardware in the world.

But pricing for that notebook started at R36 999.

Prices for the GT75 start at R46 499 and go up to R69 999 and, anyway you slice it, that is a lot of money especially when you consider the state of the economy.

Yes you get a 4K display, GTX 1080 GPU and an Intel Core i9 processor, but we’re struggling to see who needs a “portable” solution such as this.

Content creators on the move will value the compute power contained in this notebook and perhaps streamers travelling to events want something like this, but the size and weight of this notebook aren’t winning it any marks in the portability department.

Aside from that, many content creators will tell you there are cheaper, smaller options around that will give them the performance they need.

On paper the specs are really good and performance is right up there with what we expect to see from gaming notebooks but in a South African context this notebook just isn’t a viable option in a space where there are many, many other choices.

How much gaming power does a person really need? The answer to that question is rather subjective. For instance I am quite content with gaming at 1080p with frame rates hitting 60, but I know one of my colleagues won’t settle for less than 4K. It stands to reason then that the MSI GT75 8RG Titan which wields an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, 32GB of RAM and an Intel Core i9 processor would be suited for my colleague that loves 4K gaming, but spec sheets only tell one side of the story. Kind to the eye The problem with 4K on a 17 inch display such as the one in the Titan is that much of the fidelity that 4K brings with it is lost during gaming. Make no mistake, there is a noticeable difference between 4K and 1080p but once the notebook is at arm’s length you start to lose that finer detail that 4K offers. There’s also the matter of the power needed to drive a 4K display. While you won't be hitting 4K at 60FPS you will get between 30 and 55FPS depending on the game. What matters here is that the frame rate is solid throughout your gaming, so long as you have the latest drivers installed. Title Average FPS (Ultra settings) Rise of the Tomb Raider 45 F1 2017 50 Ghost Recon Wildlands 45 The Witcher 3 38   For those that want higher frame rates you can lower the resolution to 1080p and get buttery smooth 60FPS or alternatively opt for the version of this notebook that boasts a 1080p display rather than a 4K iteration. Overall performance is great and on the CPU side of things the i9 performs well and is cooled sufficiently. We managed to get a Cinebench R15 score of 1 028cb with test completing in 40.62 seconds. Hot stuff While I can come to terms with a lack of 60FPS at 4K, what I absolutely cannot ignore is the noise this notebook kicks out. MSI’s Cooler Boost tech has been specially adapted to cater for the high thermals the Intel Core i9-8950HK produces together with a beefy Nvidia GPU. As a result internals remain at a balmy 85 degrees Celsius under load but it’s at the cost of peace and quiet. In a large open plan office I could hear this notebook’s fans ramping up and down while boiling a kettle. It is loud and droning and it will annoy you. Yes, temperatures remain under control but to be honest with the noise this thing creates makes my desktop sounds like an ultra-thin notebook by comparison. Mechanical is better, even in a notebook The star of this notebook is the Steelseries per key RGB mechanical keyboard. There is a full mechanical keyboard here and the keys have a tactical click to them, and typing on the is a dream come true. For the first time in years I wanted to game on a notebook and not plug in…

Tl;DR

Score - 6

6

Too much

While the performance of this notebook is impressive it's too expensive for us to justify a recommendation. Add to that an excess of bulk and we're even less inclined to recommend this notebook. The cooling is sufficient but oh so loud and honestly we'd rather opt for a cheaper notebook that's slightly less powerful.

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Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.