In the past, DELL, was the one offering a wider range of gaming notebooks. Yet, more and more brands have emerged.
MSI has stood out among these brands in recent two years and has launched notebooks in various sizes for more gaming or especially dedicated for workstations.
Besides the GT Series which is a bit heavy yet with the optical drive embedded, MSI offers the light and thin model such as GS Series.
The GS30, for example, is a 13.3-inch notebook. The look of the laptop is very similar to an Ultrabook, but the whole system is equipped with high performance GPU with Docking.
The MSI gaming notebook series with the highest performance has always been the GT Series. As 17.3-inch notebook was once considered the notebook with the biggest screen size.
The previous GT70 or the latest GT72 comes with a 17.3-inch display and many advanced hardware for ultimate efficiency and performance.
In 2015, MSI further upgrades its panel and capacities, featuring the GT series a 18.4-inch display.
The A side of GT80 remains similar of the GT72, metal brush and aesthetics lines inspired by matte black racing style.
The streamline cover design, decorated by few red liners, creates the sense of speed of the overall look.
The MSI logo and Dragon Gaming badge, illuminating white lights in the center of the cover, and the red liners at the two sides enhance the product quality and form the iconic look of the MSI gaming notebook.
The backpack bundled with GT80 is the same as the one bundled with GT72. The backpack is very spacious and the thickness is ideal for notebook protection.
The backpack is a bit too heavy and too thick for me when using with the GT72, however, it suit perfectly well with the GT80.
Moreover, MSI applies the vacuum package on the backpack this time. The overall packing size has been reduced a lot.
The bottom case design of GT80 is also similar to that of GT72, using one-piece large bottom plate.
The battery is non-removable and offers a large capacity of 75.24Wh (8 cell), a bit lower than the 83Wh (9 cell) of GT72.
The speaker of GT80 uses 2.1 channel sound systems, with 2 speakers at both channel of the notebook (one on each side).
The red block in the photo is where the woofer cover placement.
GT80 - bundled accessories
Drivers and utilities disc, user quick guide, user manual, two-year warranty leaflet, MSI professional gaming mouse, MSI gaming mouse pad, professional wrist rest for the keyboard, MSI Dragon Doll.
And the special MSI gold caps kit for mechanical keyboard.
Inside the MSI gold caps kit, there are four WASD and one ESC special golden caps.
Gamers can now playing games more fluently. Golden color of the key caps set and the dragon image imprinted on the ESC cap increase the overall quality.
Moreover, these caps are made of metal, ensuring the endurance of the product.
The Delta 330w adaptor and power cord.
Even this adaptor is a slim model, but the overall look and size are still big. The GT80 is powered by so far the most powerful GTX980M SLI, therefore, demands an adaptor that provides wattage as high as 330W.
The B side of the GT80 is a 18.4-inch FHD vivid display, with a Full HD of 1920 X 1080.
The non-glare display provides a more comfortable environment for users eyes, permitting a longer usage whereas considerably reducing eye fatigue.
The primary design of the GT80 on the C side.
The upper side of this part is bigger and there is a dragon tattoo imprinted on it.
The lower side embedded with a full size mechanic keyboard (the worlds first mechanic keyboard on a gaming notebook).
There are also three blue indicator lights.
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14.05.2015, 15:18 #1
[ENG]MSI GT80 Titan SLI, the gaming notebook with mechanic keyboard and GTX 980M SLI
14.05.2015, 15:19 #2
Details on the right section of the C side
Signal lights at this section are red. There are three short-cut bottoms, the power bottom, the GPU switch bottom and the Cooler Boost bottom.
With the GPU switch bottom, users may switch the mode between the chipset integrated graphics and the discrete graphics card. GT80 is geared by Cooler Boost 3 technology. Users may switch between two different cooling modes.
MSI combines the touch panel and the numeric keypad together. One touch on the upper left corner of the pad, the whole touch panel shall switch to the numeric keypad mode.
The Rear I/O
From the left to the right: 2 x mini-DisplayPort \ HDMI \ DC in \ RJ45 jack
Large set of blood-red vents on both sides. Red touch here and on the cover lid increases the sense of speed of this gaming notebook.
In fact, the case design of GT80 is quite similar to that of GT72, yet the shape and the look of GT80 is more upgraded and advanced with aerodynamic style.
The Left I/O
From the left to the right: BD-Writer \ a wide section of exhaust \ NB-Lock \ SD (XC/HC) \ 3 X USB 3.0 \ SPDIF-Out \ Mic-in \ Headphone-out
The Right I/O
From the left to right: 3 X USB 3.0 \ a wide section of exhaust
GT80 offers up to 5 USB 3.0. The capability of expansion becomes one of GT80s advantages.
The open angle of GT80 reaches around 120 degrees. Its not outstanding.
The color and the viewing angle of the SAMSUNG PLS panel is a lot better than most of the TN panels.
However, the major purpose of GT80 is for gaming. With the non-touch panel display, GT80s open angle is appropriate and suitable for gaming environment.
GT80 2QE Titan SLI is powered by Intel Haswell platform. With 4x DDR3-1600L 8GB, total of 32GB.
The CPU is Intel Core i7-4980HQ: 2.8GHz (100 x 2, L3 6MB, Quad Cores with HT technology, lithography: 22nm,
TurboBoost permitting auto-OC up to 4GHz, chipset: HM87, the current highest class in Notebook CPU (4th generation Intel Core i7 processors), and the GPU is the latest Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200.
At the bottom right-hand side, you may see the app on the toolbar. It can show or you may setup some most commonly used functions conveniently.
MSI DRAGON GAMING CENTER
Users may monitor the system instantly. Moreover, it supports to add on utility shortcuts, instant play and device settings.
XSplit Gamecaster supports video recording or live streaming up to 1080p. It is an extremely useful function to live streaming or recording your whole gaming process.
The game running in the system only drops 2~3 fps when the Gamecaster is on, recording video or live streaming simultaneously.
Sound Blaster Cinema2 software
There are 5 different audio modes for setup. Under each mode, you may choose among five different sound effects.
14.05.2015, 15:23 #3
Look a bit lower from the monitor hinge, you shall find a row of small round holes where the speaker lies underneath.
There is a sticker on the upper-right corner, covering this section partially. I would personally suggest removing this sticker to the upper left-hand side.
The size of this notebook is 45.6 x 33 x 4.9 cm with a weight of 4.5Kg (battery included). To compare with any other 18 notebooks, the weight of GT80 is pretty light and its slimness is surely above average.
Partnering with the top audio brand Dynaudio, the famous Danish audio equipment brand, the speaker of GT80 2QE Titan SLI remains the top-notch ones.
To compare the sensory experience created by the in-built notebook speaker and the Dyaudio one, here were my subjective / personal feelings:
High frequency: No high pitch sound had ever occurred. Detailed sound performance was high quality above average.
Medium frequency: The sound clarity was outstanding. But there was still room for improvement in terms of the vocal thickness.
Low frequency: The best performance among the three. The woofer bass was perfect and clear.
You shall get a great and outstanding sound experience when watching movies or playing games.
When listening to the music, you may still have good sensory experience even though the sound quality in medium frequency is not top level.
Different to Alienware 18, whose sound performance in medium and high frequencies are better, GT80 has outstanding and above average audio performance in low frequency.
Both 18 notebooks have their own advantages in their audio performances and room for improvements.
It is a pity that GT80s sound performance is not as good as that of GT72. But still, the overall performance remains a high-standard one.
CrystalMark 2004R3 => 436192
The total score was pretty much the same as that of GT72. This might result from the fact the software I used here didnt support 3D SLI mode.
However, the score was 10-thousand points higher than performance of most of the notebook.
Nuclearus Multi Core => 286416
Fritz Chess Benchmark => 27.73/13311
CPU => 671 cb
CPU(Single Core) => 151 cb
Running Time => 5m 00s
x264 FHD Benchmark => 21.1
PCMARK8 - 4959
Intel Core i7-4980HQ reaches 2.8~4.0GHz, a bit lower than 4940MXs 3.1~4.0GHz whereas the power consumption of the former chipset is 47W, a lot lower than the 57W of 4940MX.
Moreover, Intel Core i7-4980HQ possesses the built-in Iris Pro Graphics 5200.
CPUs on these two models both have their pros and cons, none can claim to possess an absolute advantage.
All tests above were the overall system and extreme CPU performance of 4980HQ for your reference.
The keyboard is also one of the unique feature of GT80. It is the worlds first notebook to equip a Cherry MX switch of mechanical keyboard.
The LED backlit illuminates red light from the back of the cap and from the keyboard.
There is a red LED liner on the upper-hand side of the keyboard, increasing a speedy sports cars tone and feeling.
Replace the WASD and the ESC caps with the special golden metallic key caps to enhance the durability, improve the tactile feeling of the keyboard and to transform the GT80 into a cooler look.
Red MX switch has been quite popular in the PC market in recent years. However, GT80 choose the brown MX switch instead of the red one.
This decision might result from the fact that the tactile feeling of the brown switch is heavier than the red one, has a bit more tactile bump feeling, yet it is much quieter than the blue switch.
I personally use the brown switch for years. I am highly fond of the Cherry MXs high durability. Moreover, its tactile feeling results in lower tiredness.
As usual, MSI GT80 cooperates with SteelSeries for its SteelSeries Engine 3 special software, combining application setup software of the keyboard, the mouse and the headset all together.
Users may quickly set up hotkeys through drag and drop small icons or by selecting functions from a menu.
Keypress macro is a very useful software, allowing users to program unlimited sets of macros.
3D performance is the most wanted feature of GT80, the MXM module designed of the nVIDIA GTX 980M SLI, 8GB GDDR5 (single card).
I have run some tests on the Intel integrated graphics - Iris Pro Graphics 5200 in the GT72 review. Therefore, I will focus on testing the most enthusiast level nVIDIA GTX 980M SLI in this article.
3DMark11 => P16806
Compared with GTX 980M single card, the total score on 3DMark11 improved only by 40%.
But when we went back and checked the graphic score, SLI had 22235 points compared to the 12721 points with simply a single card.
It proved that the performance had improved 74.8% under SLI mode, achieving the performance standard that the SLI mode should have reached.
14.05.2015, 15:27 #4
Heaven Benchmark 4.0
DX11 1920 X 1080 => FPS 176.1
The 3D performance of GTX980 SLI was 88.05% higher than that of a single card mode (GT72).
GRID Autosport Ultra mode
AVEGAGE FPS => 137.46
When playing GRID Autosport, the overall performance only improved 25%.
It seems that this game does not fully support SLI. I hope there will be an upgrade version in the future since this would be a great help for both NB and PC gamers.
FAR CRY 4 remains so far one of the heavyweight 3D games in the world, demanding the highest hardware configurations.
The test was done at 1920 X 1080 resolutions and 3D effect was pushed all the way to Ultra mode. At the menu screen, there was 281 FPS.
During the game opening cinematic, there was 117 FPS.
When using only a single graphics card to play FAR CRY 4, the performance improved up to 99.3%.
The overall test result did fulfill our expectation towards the latest heavyweight 3D game. There remained a 72% improvement when playing the game.
3D images were extremely exquisite and it highly supported by SLI.
Here you may see that the overall performance shall have a roughly 70~88% improvement as long as the game fully supports SLI.
This is exactly the advantage of GT80 with GTX980M or GTX970M SLI.
Both GT80 and GT72 have the highest configurations on the storage device, featuring 256GB SSD X4 + 1TB HDD 7200rpm, powered by the MSI exclusive technology, the Super RAID 3.
The SSD uses the latest M.2 interface, TOSHIBA THNSNJ256G8NU 256GBB
The ATTO DISK Benchmark reached a maximum read speed at 1669Mb/s and a write speed at 1296 MB/s when the storage was above 256k.
Seq Read - 1610 MB/s Write - 857.3 MB/s
AS SSD Benchmark - 2019
Seq Read - 1507.20 MB/s Write - 1109.20 MB/s
4K - 64Thrd Read - 691.13 MB/s Write - 562.12 MB/s
Both GT80 and GT72 adopt Super RAID 3 Technology, equipped with the latest M.2 SSD up to 4 slots.
The advantage of M.2 lies in a much smaller size than mSATA, moreover, its maximum bandwidth reaches to 1GB/s.
For those who want to upgrade storage capacity or efficiency in the future, M.2 will be much more flexible than SATA 600B/s.
The M.2 SSD brand on the GT80 is TOSHIBA, of which the efficiency performance was much higher than the KINGSTON one on GT72.
The maximum read speed reached above 1600MB/s, a surprisingly powerful transmission capability.
I also ran a temperature test on GT80s CPU, with an indoor temperature around 25 C, nVIDIA GTX 980M SLI mode ON, under Comfort power management mode.
When shutting down the Cooler Boost 3 function, the system temperature was around 45~51C under standby mode.
When turning back on the Cooler Boost 3 function, the system temperature was around 31~44C under standby mode.
When shutting down the Cooler Boost 3 function, running LinX 0.6.5 and setting the CPU at full speed, the system temperature was around 80~89C.
14.05.2015, 15:35 #5
When turning back on the Cooler Boost 3 function, running LinX 0.6.5 and setting the CPU at full speed, the system temperature was around 78~86C.
Above tests were done to compare system temperature differences when the exclusive MSI Cooler Boost Technology was on and off.
A 7~13C temperature difference was discovered when the system was under standby mode whereas a 2~3C temperature difference exited under full speed.
Based on these test results, the Cooler Boost 3 function is very helpful under both circumstances.
When system configurations were i7-4980HQand GTX 980M SLI, running at full speed, temperature difference was not as obvious as that of GT72,
However, since the system temperature remained under 90C, it proved that the thermal design of GT80 was very efficient and powerful.
Noise might became louder, emitting low frequency noise when spinning at full speed.
Therefore, I suggest turn on Cooler Boost 3 function only when playing games at high or very high settings.
There is no need to enhance this function when doing general word processing works or watching movies online.
Finally, windwithme opened up the GT80s D side to inspect and share its interior designs and configurations.
Doing so will damage the warranty sticker, please do not take this step unless necessary.
Dual set of 3 heat pipes are designed for each GTX980M, located at both the right and the left hand side, whereas two heat pipes are dedicated to the central for CPU.
These two heat pipes transmit heat generated from the central CPU to the two active fans.
There are two SO-DIMM DDR3 slots.
You can easily open the metal cover on the C side by removing two screws from the bottom D side, a great design for DIY users.
Here you may see speakers, optical drive, SSD, HDD, DDR3, network card and etc.
Battery life, set Windows 8.1 power settings at Balanced mode
Turned on nVIDIA GTX 980M SLI and played DVD after 2 hours and 10 minutes, there remained around 10% battery left.
Turned on CPU integrated Iris Pro Graphics 5200 and played DVD 3 hours and 10 minutes longer, there remained around 10% battery left.
The battery performance of GT80 was very satisfying since it needed to power and run such advanced and high-end configurations.
Conclusion MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI
Unique Features and Advantages
1.GT80 is more muscle and aerodynamic shape than GT72. Moreover, the GT80s ID quality also outstands that of GT72.
2.Equipped dual nVIDIA GTX 980M GPU with SLI, the highest level in the market in terms of its 3D performance
3.Killer DoubleShot Pro technology: both LAN and wifi are powered by Killer Gaming LAN/WiFi chipset
4.Perfect balance between data read/write speed and storage capacity: Super RAID 3 using four M.2 SSD and an 1TB 2.5 HDD
5.SHIFT: Switch among 3 modes, Sport for extreme performance, Comfort for balanced on performance and noise and Green for silent mode with using Fn+F7
6.Equipped with a mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX switches (the worlds first gaming laptop to do so) and the SteelSeries Engine 3
7.Distance between each key cap is 27mm. On the right-hand side of the keyboard, users may transform the touch panel into numeric keypad mode with just a simple touch
8.Full HD non-glare display reduces eye fatigue, permitting users to play games or watch movies for a longer period of time
9.Audio Boost 2 by Dynaudio with 3 independent AMP delivers best sound stage for all experience
10.Matrix Display Technology: HDMI supports up to 4kx2k resolution and up to 3+1 monitor outputs
Points to Improve in the Future
1.The metal brush case design gives a high quality impression. However, it is much easier to leave finger prints on the laptop
2.There is still room for improvement for the audio quality in medium and high frequencies
3.If there is a SKU adopting a IPS panel on GT80, it would be more flexible for consumers
4.It is much better if the mouse in the bundled accessories pack is a SteelSeries Gaming version.
The primary advantage for a notebook is the portability, a quality that cant be achieved by a PC.
If you need to travel around a lot with a laptop and if you use only some basic word processing functions, then a 12.5~14 Ultrabook could be a good option.
If you dont need to travel around with your laptop, yet you do need advanced configurations for gaming, a 15.6~17.3 notebook might suit you better.
Some believe that both a general and an advanced notebooks cost a lot more than PCs with similar configurations. However, mobility is the trend in current market.
Quite a few friends insist on buying laptops without considering whether the C/P value of PC is higher, simply for the potential yet comparably rare need to use the laptop outside home or to carry it around for a business trip.
The MSI GT80 is an advanced gaming notebook with powerful performance and high portability.
DELL launched 18.4 advanced gaming notebook, too. However, with similar configurations as the DELL one, the GT80 has a much better price, offering another 18 advanced gaming notebook option to end-users.
In the end of article, windwithme would like to share the file (color adjusted by Spyder) to MSI GT80 users.
windwithme - MSI GT80 2QE Titan SLI
This article is also posted on my personal blogWIND3C. You are welcome to come and visit.