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MSI's GT80 shows that you can have the best of both worlds

By Salehuddin Bin Husin - on 5 Jan 2015, 12:09pm

MSI's GT80 shows that you can have the best of both worlds

The MSI GT80 Titan in all its glory.

MSI is on a roll. Just a few scant months after releasing their GT72 Dominator Pro, they've upped the ante yet again with their newest entry in the notebook market and this one's a machine that even the Dominator Pro would have trouble keeping pace with.

Dubbed the GT80 Titan, everything in this behemoth's top of the line. It's an 18 inch notebook that's packing two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M in SLI, with a maximum  32 GB RAM (four SO-DIMM slots) capacity, an Intel Core i7-4980HQ, Killer Network for LAN and WiFi four M.2 SATA slots for SSDs and a 2.5 inch bay for HDDs or SSDs. To cap it off, the system has a 1080p display.

Interestingly, apart from the SLI graphics and the bigger display, the specs for the machine are relatively similar to the GT72 2QE Dominator Pro. Take a look.

MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro Specs
  MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro
  MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro
Processor and Chipset
  • Base:- Intel Core i7 4720HQ Processor
  • Tested:- Intel Core i7-4980HQ Processor
  • Intel HM87 chipset
Operating System
  • Windows 8.1
System Memory
  • 16GB DDR3L (4 slots) @ 1600MHz
Video & Display
  • 17.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080), Anti-glare
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB DDR5
  • 256GB (2x 128GB SSD) Super RAID 3
  • 1TB HDD 7200rpm
Optical Drive
  • Blu-ray Writer
  • Killer DoubleShot Pro Gb LAN
  • Killer DoubleShot Pro 11ac Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth v4.0
  • Dynaudio 2.1-channel speaker system
  • Supports 7.1-channel S/PDIF output
  • Exclusive Audio Boost 2 technology
  • Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 2
I/O Ports
  • 6x USB 3.0
  • 1x HDMI (1.4)
  • 2x Mini-DisplayPort
  • 1x Headphone
  • 1x Microphone
  • 1x SD (XC/HC)
  • 1x Line In
  • 1x Line Out
  • Full-color backlight SteelSeries keyboard
Battery Type
  • 9-Cell Lithium Ion (83wHr)
  • 428(W) x 294(D) x 48(H)mm
  • 3.78Kg (w/ Battery)

Doesn't that seem eerily familiar? The GT80 is pretty much a carbon copy of the GT72, though obviously the chassis is different. Internally though, the majority of the guts are similar. The only downside to the GT80 with its overwhelming power, is also one that's shared with Aftershock's Titan V2.1 notebook. Both notebooks are packing the the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M in SLI, but both of them have only 1080p screens. To take true advantage of the power and run games on higher resolutions, you need to invest in a quality monitor. But we digress, this isn't the time for nitpicking, it's time for ogling the new hardware.

As we mentioned earlier, the GT80 uses a completely different chassis than the GT72. There's a reason for that.

This is what the GT80 looks like from a top down perspective. Note the dragon print on the chasis. That's just not for show.

The Dragon part of the chassis is removable, giving users easy access to the machine's hardware. Also, notice the W,A,S,D keys having a weird color? That's because they're metal.  Image Source: Gizmodo

While the chassis is new, the fact that a MSI notebook can be upgraded isn't. The MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro also had similar feature. Using MXM design, that notebook allowed the upgrading of older GT72's to have the newer NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M instead of the 800M series they originally shipped with. Whether MSI is planning to make this a staple of all their notebooks from here on out is anybody's guess but we'd say it might be a possibility (at least for their high end gaming notebooks) to see this feature in future products.

The most noteworthy feature of the GT80 isn't the hardware inside it though, it's the one outside. We're talking about the keyboard. Unlike normal chiclet based keyboards found on nearly every notebook out there, the one on the GT80 is mechanical, featuring Cherry MX Brown keys. If you're one of the millions to wish for a notebook to have a mechanical keyboard, your wish has just been granted. The metal caps for the W,A,S,D keys are just icing on the cake.

We would've have blamed MSI if they decided to call it a day right there and then. After all, we have powerful hardware and the mechanical keyboard. What else can you expect? Turns out MSI have one more surprise.

Notice something different from the other images? Hint: Look at the right side of the keyboard. Image Source: PCPer

Did you manage to figure out what's the difference? Yup, the Numpad on the keyboard is also the trackpad. Not only is that incredibly cool, but also ingenious. It saves space, while also packing all the features you'd expect from a typical keyboard. We don't know how well it might work (what if you have to use both the trackpad and numpad at the same time?) but we're intrigued by the feature.

We can't wait till we get our hands on the MSI GT80 so we can take it for a spin. With all the unique features in it, we're practically salivating at the prospect.

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