MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI-023UK Review - Performance, Heat, Noise and Battery Life Review

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MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI-023UK: Performance

We rarely see

notebooks with dual graphics, let alone two of the fastest mobile graphics cores available. This GT80 locks and loads two GeForce

GTX 980M cores that use the

same architecture found inside the firm’s beefiest desktop cards.

The

hardware has been cut down a little to squeeze the chips inside

laptops, but each GTX 980M still has 1,536 stream processors clocked to

1,038MHz – only a little behind the GTX 970, from the desktop range.

In

other areas, each GTX 980M outstrips most of Nvidia’s desktop cards.

Each GTX 980M has 8GB of memory, which is double the amount of the

desktop GTX 980. That means there’s a dedicated 16GB of graphics memory (although as with all SLI systems, only 8GB can be addressed at once).

The

monster GPUs have a devastating effect on our benchmarks. Fire Strike

is 3D Mark’s toughest test, but the MSI scored 13,552 points. The MSI’s

nearest rival, the Schenker XMG U505, could only score 8,302 points. The

GT80 was even more impressive in Unigine Heaven’s Extreme 1080p test,

where its average framerate of 87.7fps was forty frames ahead of the

U505.

The insane benchmark results translated to real-world

performance. In Battlefield 4 at 1080p the MSI averaged 118fps, which is

streets ahead of the Schenker’s 64fps pace, and in Crysis 3 the GT80

averaged 104fps. In that test the U505 scored a lowly 58fps.

The GT80 is, quite simply, the fastest gaming notebook we’ve ever reviewed.

Its

processor is no slouch, either. The Core i7-4980HQ is Intel’s top

mobile Core i7 part, which means it’s got four cores, a 2.8GHz clock and

a mighty 4GHz Turbo Boost speed. It’s paired with 32GB of memory – the

most we’ve ever seen in a laptop. The MSI tore its way through the PC

Mark 7 test to a table-topping score of 6,808, and its Geekbench 3

result of 14,626 is similarly dominant.

The boot drive is formed

by a quartet of 256GB Toshiba HG6 M.2 SSDs in RAID 0. That provides a

formatted capacity of 952GB, but be aware of a lack of security –

there’s no mirrored data, like with RAID 1 so any failure will result in complete data loss. Elsewhere, there’s a 1TB

hard disk.

The four SSDs provide stupendous pace, with results of

1,507MB/s and 1,095MB/s in our sequential read and write tests. That’s

better than the Schenker and every other machine we’ve mentioned here,

and it means games on the SSD array will load rapidly, to say the least.

MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI-023UK: Heat and Noise

Slimmer

gaming laptops struggle with heat dissipation and noise, but the GT80’s

gigantic chassis helped it cope well despite the monster components.

When

stress-tested on its own the processor topped out at 77 degrees, with

the graphics cores four degrees chillier. When both parts were tested

simultaneously, they reached 89 degrees and 84 degrees – hotter, but no

cause for concern.

The noise wasn’t anything to worry about,

either. The GT80’s fans did spin up during intense games, but it’s not

enough to prove distracting. It’s on a par with the noise churned out by

larger gaming laptops like the Alienware, and quieter than many slim,

cramped rivals.

The heat doesn’t make it through to the

exterior, either, so there’s no chance of uncomfortably hot plastics and

metals on your lap, and MSI even includes a button to ramp the fans up if

necessary.

MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI-023UK: Battery Life

The GT80’s eight-cell battery sees this otherwise-barnstorming machine fall into familiar gaming laptop territory when it comes to life away from a plug socket.

Our

standard test loops a web browsing and video-call simulation with the

screen at 40% brightness Here, the MSI lasted for two hours and three

minutes – less than the other MSI machine and the Gigabyte laptop, and

less than half the longevity of the Alienware 17.

When gaming the

situation isn’t much better, with the GT80 lasting a few minutes short

of an hour. If you want to play games, make sure you’re near a plug.

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