There are plenty of gaming laptops that are trying to be thin, light and inconspicuous but the MSI GT76 doesn’t even try.
This gaming laptop is absolutely massive, weighing in at 8.8 lbs, and is packed front to back with RGB lighting and an aluminum build.
It’s not something you’re going to be carrying around with you.
It’s also packed with incredibly powerful hardware, including a desktop class overclockable processor.
But, the main question is going to be whether the beefy innards and sleek gamer aesthetic will make up for the lack of portability and the high price tag.
lets get started with our MSI GT76 REVIEW with specs.
MSI GT76 SPECS
|Display||17.3-inch, 4K (3840×2160), 60Hz, IPS-level|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-9900K (desktop CPU)|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 (8GB GDDR6)|
|SSD||2x 512GB SSD in RAID0|
|Networking||Ethernet port, Killer Wi-Fi 7 AX1650x, Bluetooth 5|
|Video Ports||HDMI, Mini DisplayPort|
|USB Ports||4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x Thunderbolt 3|
|Audio||2x 2W speakers, 1x 3W woofer|
|Power Adapter||2x 230W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||15.6 x 13 x 1.7 inches / 397 x 330 x 42 mm|
|Weight||9.2 pounds / 4.2 kg|
|Price (as configured)||$4,599 / £4,499|
MSI GT76 DESIGN
The MSI GT76 Titan is a behemoth of a notebook, a tank-like desktop replacement that looks powerful even intimidating whether it’s fired up and flashing, or switched off and closed.
MSI had ditched its usual black-and-red design for a dark gray approach.
The dark-gray aluminum lid has two diagonal lines on it, but is otherwise sparse aside from a silver version of the MSI logo.
In fact, the lid looks much like Alienware’s designs up until 2018.
Behind the lid is an extended rear end with massive vents for cooling. The covering for that section is plastic, not aluminum.
When you lift the lid, the 17.3-inch 4K display is surrounded by narrow bezels. The metal deck has soft touch paint on it, which is comfortable for typing. Out of the box, the RGB keyboard is all rainbow.
Below the wrist rest, there’s an RGB light bar, which bounces light off of your desk, and two smaller light bars sit on either side of the notebook. Both the keyboard backlight and light bars can be adjusted in the included SteelSeries Engine 3 software.
I rarely talk about the bottom of the laptop, but this Titan has a mesh pattern that has plenty of little holes that let you see inside. It effectively looks like a giant dust filter from a desktop, but on the underside of a notebook.
There’s plenty of room for ports on the Titan, and MSI takes advantage of the space.
On the left side sits the power jack (which uses a reversible port that connects to two 230-watt power bricks), an Ethernet port, Thunderbolt 3, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports and headphone and microphone jacks.
On the right side, there’s a microSD card slot, another pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port and, for video out, mini DisplayPort and HDMI.
At 9.2 pounds / 4.2 kg, the Titan is one of the heavier laptops we’ve had in the lab recently, and at 15.6 x 13 x 1.7 inches (397 x 330 x 42 mm), it’s also quite large.
The Acer Predator Triton 900 is slightly lighter at 9 pounds flat and measures 16.9 x 11.9 x 0.9 inches. Alienware’s Area-51m, which also houses a desktop CPU, is 8.5 pounds and 16.1 x 15.9 x 1.7 inches.
Also, consider that the dual power bricks are (yes, there are two), add another 5.2 pounds to the Titan. So you’ll be carrying 14.4 pounds (6.5 kg) in total when you carry the GT76 Titan around
MSI GT76 Titan display
MSI has a history of delivering displays with eye-catching color, and the GT76 Titan doesn’t disappoint.
Details during the Miss Virginia trailer on the 17.3-inch, 4K (3840 x 2160) matte panel were so crisp, I saw several moles near actress Uzo Aduba’s left eye as well as tiny hairs cascading along the fringes of her afro.
Her olive jacket with its dark green, crimson and golden accents brought out the slight sheen in her rose-colored blouse and warm, brown skin.
The gorgeous color cavalcade continued as I played Far Cry New Dawn, where a crimson and black rattlesnake coiled, ready to strike with thin yellow lines accentuating the black diamond patterns on the reptile’s taut body.
The full moon overhead helped bring attention to the delicate scales making up the transfixing pattern.
It also helps that the screen is very bright, averaging 339 nits, which tops the 318-nit average and outshines the Area-51m (284 nits) and the Eon17-X (211 nits).
Msi GT76 speakers
Dynaudio speakers paired with Nahimic’s audio software tend to deliver loud, clean audio. It’s the same on the Titan for the most part. Chloe and Halle’s light, airy vocals came through light and clear on the bottom-mounted speakers.
However, some of the instrumentals, like the keyboard, were a bit muddy, although others, like the percussion, were fairly clean. Not even fiddling with Nahimic’s presets, which can usually fix most audio issues, rectified that.
Out of the four presets (Gaming, Music, Surround and Voice), Gaming delivered the most balanced performance.
When playing through Far Cry New Dawn, I switched over to Surround, which made me feel like I was walking through the forest, complete with different birds calling and winds blowing gently through the trees.
It was all peaceful until I heard a guttural growl that seemed to come from everywhere, letting me know almost too late that a cougar was stalking me as its prey.
A few well-placed shots from my submachine gun further fractured the calm but helped me turn the tables on the wild animal.
Nahimic’s Sound Tracking tech continues to be some of the best I’ve used. It definitely came in handy during Far Cry, preventing some of the more determined Highwaymen from sneaking up on me.
And for streamers, the Static Noise Suppression feature will be a favorite, especially if you’re recording in a noisier environment.
MSI GT76 Titan keyboard and touchpad
It’s not mechanical, but the Titan’s island-style keyboard feels great nonetheless.
The keys are large and generously spaced and offer bouncy feedback without a hint of bottoming out. I scored 72 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is slightly above my typical 70 wpm.
The keyboard makes use of SteelSeries’ Engine 3 software to deliver per-key customizable lighting making use of 16.8 million colors.
If you don’t feel like meticulously designing your own RGB creation, the SteelSeries button along the side of the number pad lets you cycle among eight dazzling preconfigured profiles.
Want more functionality? Try the GameSense feature, which syncs up the lighting for certain games to blink or flash when something important happens.
For instance, in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you can map certain keys to react to getting kills and scoring a headshot, in addition to keeping tabs on your health and ammo.
You also can map several macros to one key. And all your settings are saved to the cloud with the CloudSync feature for use wherever you go.
The 5.4 x 2.5-inch touchpad is absolutely massive. It’s also really fast and accurate.
Summoning Cortana, scrolling between open apps and zooming in or out on an image were nearly instantaneous.
The two discrete mouse buttons are almost as springy as the keyboard.
MSI GT76 Titan Performance
Just because the Titan goes hard on the gaming performance doesn’t mean it takes its foot off the gas during regular tasks.
On the contrary, the laptop’s desktop 3.6-GHz Intel Core i9-9900K processor with its 64GB of RAM, is a multitasking, productivity dynamo.
The notebook ably streamed an episode of Disenchantment on Netflix with 25 open Google Chrome tabs, some running Twitch, YouTube and Tweetdeck, with Far Cry running in a separate window.
The Titan kept that same energy on our synthetic benchmarks, scoring 32,500 on Geekbench 4.3 which measures overall performance, easily defeating the 25,040. With their own 9900K CPUs, the Eon17-X and Area-51m scored 27,544 and 32,591, respectively.
When we ran the HandBrake transcoding test, the Titan took 5 minutes and 51 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, blowing past the 9:23 average.
The Area-51m was hot on its tail at 6:00, with the Eon17-X trailing with a time of 6:53.
During the File Transfer test, the Titan’s pair of 512GB NVMe PCIe SSDs in Super RAID 4 configuration (with a 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive) duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files for a transfer rate of 1,454.1 megabytes per second, roasting the 782.4 MBps average and the Eon17-X (2TB SSD) 565 MBps.
The Area-51m with its own dual 1TB NVMe PCIe SSDs came the closest to the Titan with 1,272.3 MBps.
It’s rare that I’m surprised at how long a gaming laptop lasts on a charge, but the MSI GT76 Titan delivers on that front.
It lasted 3 hours and 45 minutes on our test, which constantly browses the web, streams video and runs OpenGL benchmarks at 150 nits of brightness.
And that’s despite its desktop CPU. The premium gaming average is 3:17, and both the Alienware and Predator fell below that.
MSI GT76 Titan heat
Besides battery life, cooling tends to be a longstanding problem with gaming laptops. MSI employs a three-pronged attack, using 11 heat pipes, four fans and an undercarriage that’s more vents than anything.
The heat pipes are made of high-polished copper to get as much heat dissipation as possible. It’s a necessary measure if you want to maintain your overclock for longer than 5 minutes.
For the first test, I liberated an outpost in Far Cry for 15 minutes.
After which I tested strategic points on the laptop (touchpad, center of keyboard and undercarriage) and saw temperatures of 96, 112 and 129 degrees Fahrenheit. All of which are above our 95-degree comfort threshold.
We ran the test again when the system cooled down, running a 15-minute video. Temperatures for the touchpad, middle and bottom reached 83, 92 and 104 degrees, respectively.
Software and Warranty
MSI’s suite of preinstalled software has become familiar at this point. Dragon Center lets you see CPU, GPU, memory and disk performance and change performance profiles.
True Color lets you change the color temperature of the display based on your use case. MSI Help Desk is good in theory, but its warranty checker and contact support option just link you to the company’s web site.
But MSI also adds a lot of junk, including Norton Studio and Evernote. The rest of the bloat, like two different versions of Words with Friends, Fitbit Coach and Spotify come in every build of Windows 10.
MSI sells the GT76 Titan with a 1 year warranty.
The 720p camera on the MSI GT76 Titan is a disappointment. A photo I took sitting at my desk was blurry, with my face bordering on being an impressionist painting.
My hair all blurred together and my skin had more of a red shade than it does in real life. I suggest using an external webcam.
Msi GT76 Pros
- Incredibly powerful
- Better aesthetics than last year
- All the RGB
MSI GT76 Cons
- Thick and heavy
- Very expensive
The MSI GT76 is a massive gaming laptop with desktop-class power thanks to an RTX 2080 and full-desktop-class Intel Core i9-9900K CPU paired with loud speakers and a bright 4K display. But it’s also very expensive, starting at $3,599 and $4,599 as tested.
If you’re looking for something slimmer, Acer’s Predator Triton 900 is cheaper and may do the trick. But you’ll have a laptop CPU and half the RAM of the maxed out Titan.
If you’re specifically after a 4K monitor and desktop power, the Titan performs well (though not as well as some actual desktops), as long as you’re willing to pay the price and bear the weight.