We’ve seen a few MSI Titans in our time. They can be imperious and all-conquering or imperious with a few niggles to the point where many people consider the MSI Raider to be MSI’s true flagship laptop. So, just how good is 2023’s MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V? Will it be the new best laptop that we all hope it will be?
Table of Contents
|Screen||17.3-inch, matte, 144Hz, 3,840 x 2,160, IPS display|
|Processor||4.0-5.6GHz Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU|
|Memory||32GB DDR5-4800 RAM|
|Graphics||12GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080|
|Hard drive||2TB PCIe NVMe|
2 x Thunderbolt 4
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 2.5GbE network port
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x miniDP port
1 x SDcard slot
1 x 3.5mm audio
|Speakers||2 x 2-Watt speaker, 2 x 2-Watt woofer|
|Extra Security||Fingerprint reader & webcam with Windows Hello|
Webcam privacy slide
|Dimensions||397 x 330 x 23 mm|
Features, Ergonomics and Design
The MSI Titan GT77’s black, monolithic chassis doesn’t appear to have changed from the 12th-gen version. Its huge base has an RGB-surrounded, big-bum-cum-Millennium-Falcon, exhaust-port at the rear while the not-insignificantly sized screen looks like a recessed flap on the top… but, in a good way. We’re not wholly convinced by the RGB-backlit dragon logo which is a touch garish in our book, but it also looks fantastic when the lights are turned down.
Opening the MSI Titan GT77 up reveals the 17-inch screen and one of Cherry’s per-key, RGB-lit, mechanical keyboards. It looks how an imperious, flagship gaming laptop should look to the point where you could almost imagine it chasing the good guys across space in whatever space-based fantasy’s your favourite.
The UHD, 3,840 x 2,160, IPS screen shows a very clear and crisp Windows Desktop with decent colour reproduction. Multimedia, meanwhile, generally exhibits good contrast with details showing-up in shadows, but things can get washed out in bright highlights. It supports HDR1000, but turning HDR on in Windows bleaches-out most content.
In addition, colours aren’t the most vibrant we’ve seen compared to some rivals, lately. Plus, there’s some banding in colour gradients which gets worse in monochromatic transitions.
While it’s nice to have such a high resolution, the 144Hz refresh rate isn’t the fastest and it also doesn’t have a particularly swift pixel response time… we can see top FPS players grumbling with a touch-too-much blurring of fast-moving objects. There are other MSI Titan GT77 SKUs available with a 2,560 x 1,440 display resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate and this might appeal more to some buyers.
Despite there being two pairs of 2-Watt speakers and woofers, like last time, they’re just a little off. They get loud and have punchy bass, but a lack of fidelity in the mid-range leaves music feeling just a smidge hollow and lacking body. They’re far from bad, but they’re not the best.
Above the screen, the (disappointingly HD) webcam is back which is still grainy in low light. It does now have a privacy slide, though, plus IR capabilities that make it compatible with Windows Hello facial-recognition sign-in. The fingerprint reader, by the trackpad, is also compatible thanks to a TPM 2.0 module.
The MSI Titan GT77’s Steelseries mechanical, RGB keyboard with Cherry switches is back. We absolutely loved the feel of typing and gaming on this previously and that’s not gone away. Each key-press feels that bit more planted than others, it’s subtle, but it leads an impressive pack, in our view. That said, not everyone will warm to the reduced-sized arrow keys and number pad which feel a smidge too small. The prominent RGB Cherry logo will likely split the field of opinions too.
The very large trackpad is generally smooth and excellent. However, we did have to learn to use it slightly differently compared to other models: it’s so close to the edge of the laptop that our palms kept registering as a multi-touch command. It’s far from being a deal killer, but it’s yet another niggle.
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Ultimately, in terms of ergonomics, it’s not a great step-up from the 12th-gen version. MSI has certainly ticked the boxes and packed everything in, but almost every element on the MSI Titan GT77 has something that stops it being as good as it could be.
Inside the MSI Titan GT77 is a top-tier 4.0 – 5.6GHz Intel Core i9-13980HX processor with its 8 Performance cores and 16 Efficiency cores which operate across 32 Threads. It’s backed-up by 32GB of quick(ish) DDR5-4800 RAM and two, 1TB NVMe drives.
In the general computing PCMark 10 test, it scored 8,877 which is extremely fast. That said, it still trails other flagship gaming laptops, with the same processor.
In the Cinebench rendering tests it scored 4,349 in the quick R15 test and 28,943 in the longer R23 test. The latter is very fast, but a bit behind Asus’ similarly CPU’d rival SCAR 18, while the former is slower than what we’d expect. MSI makes a big deal about its MSI Overboost Ultra technology applying maximum power to Boost all the CPU’s Performance cores but, even though we ran the test multiple times with various configurations checked and tweaked, it just didn’t seem to kick in here. We’ll go back to MSI to ask what happened.
While the MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V is available with a top-end, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, our model sported a one-step-down 4080.
In the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests, it scored 12,234 in Port Royal, which is an average of 56.7fps and 3,041 (average 30.4fps) in Speed Way. While the former is in-line with expectations, the latter is behind the previous Titan’s score which had a last-gen 3080 Ti. Hmm.
In 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme, which ape the performance of AAA-gaming titles, it scored 18,672 (average 120.3fps) and 21,697 (average 103.1fps). These are excellent scores and match expectations.
In the lesser, Night Raid test the MSI Titan GT77 scored a massive 84,216 which is an average of 898fps. That’s the fastest score we’ve ever seen although this test goes a big kooky when the latest-gen monstrous GPUs attack it.
Finally, we ran our CS:GO test which stresses the whole system. It average 233fps which dropped to 42fps in the 1% Low test which looks at the slowest one per cent of framerates (when smoke grenades are going off). These scores are simply too low. There’s a performance bottleneck somewhere on the MSI Titan GT77 and, again, we’ll go back to MSI to see if there’s an issue.
Meanwhile, the ‘MSI Titan’ cooling system (with its four fans, eight heat pipes and six exhausts) is generally impressive. It keeps the whole system cool and only ramps up occasionally. It’s not totally quiet all the time though and gets loud when the fans are maxed-out. Still, there’ll be a lot of headroom for overclocking… assuming the bottlenecks can be ironed out.
Wireless connectivity manifests in the form of Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. This is all the cutting edge of everything.
At 3.45KG the MSI Titan GT77 is one of the biggest and heaviest laptops on the market, though you can tell that just by looking at it. What we’re a little disappointed with is the old-school, house-brick of a power supply which, along with the cables, add another 1.44KG to the weight. Other manufacturers have now slimmed-down and stylised their top-end PSUs, so we’d like to see MSI abandon and move on from the OEM lump that the Titan still relies upon.
Meanwhile, the 99Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for 7 hours flat. That’s the same as its predecessor and doesn’t seem to reflect the expected power-vs-performance benefits we’ve been promised in next-gen, high performance laptops. It’s still not terrible for a gaming beast, though.
The MSI Titan GT77’s build quality remains impressive with the matte, black, plastic chassis, strong lid and robust hinge feeling like they’d survive a life of being lugged between LANs. MSI suggests it may have been certified for MIL-STD 810G robustness but that not all units are tested and so cant guarantee it.
Price and availability
The MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V retails at $6,999 but, if you’re quick, you can take advantage of the sale price of $6,399!
Our unit also came with a Lucky Dragon keychain, an RGB gaming mouse and a dual-drive USB key.
Alternatives to the MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V
Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 – Asus’ rival is one-inch wider and slightly better in almost every area. However, it’s a bit more expensive too.
Lenovo Legion Pro 7i – It’s one-inch smaller but there are few faults on Lenovo’s versatile flagship gaming laptop.
Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 – Asus’ updated flagship, 17-inch rival has an AMD processor that wipes the floor with the competition. It’s also got Nvidia 4090 graphics, better ergonomics and is cheaper too.
Pioneer DreamBook Power X370 RTX 4090 – Pioneer’s 17-inch monster holds up very well against the big-brands’ big boys. It’s more powerful than the MSI Titan GT77 and retails for less.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 – Asus’ sleek and bonkers Zephyrus offers outstanding performance and eye-catching looks at a much-lower price.
Once again, we’ve wanted to love the MSI Titan GT77 but, once again, it’s not quite delivered. For every element of performance, design and ergonomics there’s a niggling caveat to the point where this review has more buts than a Victoria’s Secret runway. It’s still a very good laptop, but as the nominal flag bearer for MSI it should be the best. UPDATE: There are currently massive savings to be had on various specs of the MSI Titan in MSI’s EoFY sale.
Niggling ergonomic issues
MSI Titan GT77 Scores
MSI’s notional flagship gaming laptop is a powerful beast indeed. But, a few minor issues still prevent the MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V from being the best on the market.