MSI Titan Review GT77 12UHS

MSI Titan GT77 Review (12UHS)

MSI has been knocking it out of the park with its high performance laptops this year. Models from its Raider and Stealth ranges have topped our Best Laptop ratings for most of 2022. But, now here’s the new, top-of-the-line MSI Titan which is MSI’s bona fide flagship. While we’re perhaps a little disappointed that it’s not got dual GPUs like the Titans of yore, this big boy is one of the most imposing laptops we’ve seen in a very long time. So, how good is it and will we have a new number one? Our MSI Titan GT77 review will reveal all…

Related: Check out the latest MSI Titan GT77 HX 13V review.

MSI Titan GT77 12UHS specs

Screen17.3-inch, matte, 120Hz, 3,840 x 2,160, IPS display
Processor3.6-5GHz Intel Core i9-12900HX CPU
Memory64GB DDR5-4800 RAM
Graphics16GB Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU
Hard drive1 x 2TB PCIe NVMe
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.2
2 x Thunderbolt 4
1 x 2.5 Gbe Ethernet
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x Mini DisplayPort
1 x HDMI 2.1
3.5mm audio
SDcard reader
Speakers2 × 2 Watt
SecurityFingerprint Reader
WebcamHD
Battery99.9Wh
Dimensions397 x 330 x 23mm
Weight3.3 KG
SKUTitan GT77 12UHS-039AU
Full details, here.

Design, Handling & Features

The MSI Titan is a big, black beast. But! Opening it up breathes life into the (very solid) chassis with some judicious RGB. It appears across the rear exhaust, within the dragon logo on the lid and under the (individually lit) keyboard. It will look awesome at a LAN but could also hide in a stuffy office, if required.

MSI Titan Review lid
From above (and when turned off) the recessed-hinge backside looks like something Sir Mix-a-lot might approve of. Note too, that it can be a bit of a fingerprint magnet.

The large lid moves a little (as expected for a 17-inch laptop) when a twisting force is applied but it’s still solid and should protect the screen adequately. The main chassis, on the other hand, will seriously injure someone if used as a weapon or dropped on a foot. It is solid with practically no flex anywhere.

MSI Titan Review RGB rear
If some people encountered the GT77 and its fluxing RGB exhaust ports they might welcome their new overlords and worship it.

On top of it sits a Steelseries mechanical keyboard with ultra-low-profile, Cherry MX switches. It’s one of the very best we’ve used on a laptop. The MSI Titan’s Scrabble-tile keys have just the right amount of travel and require just the right amount of pressure to comfortably activate them for long periods of typing and achieve effortless accuracy when gaming.

MSI Titan Review RGB keyboard
We like a good RGB keyboard almost as much as we don’t like trying to take photos of them.

Each key press comes with a quiet click, as we’d expect from a mechanical keyboard, but other models are much louder and this shouldn’t annoy other people unless you’re sharing a completely quiet room with them. To the right is a reduced size number pad (with similarly sized arrow keys) which is will be very usable too all except those who rely heavily on number-pad-focused tasks. We’re nit-picking though.

The Titan’s trackpad is large, smooth and accurate with a well-weighted, responsive click.

MSI Titan Review front
A great mechanical keyboard, but some may lament the reduced-size number pad and arrow keys.

The MSI Titan’s has a full 4K, 3,840 x 2,160 IPS screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. The bright, 17.3-inch display provides plenty of real-estate for a crisp and clear Windows Desktop. Colours are well-produced and the matte coating banishes reflections.

Multimedia performance is impressive with better-than-average colours adorning content which is rendered smoothly on the fast screen. Contrast is very good with impressive levels of detail remaining present in dark and bright areas alike. If we wanted to get pernickety we’d say that the blacks are some way off true black – but that might be because we’ve been reviewing a bunch of OLED laptops lately.

Colour transitions are smooth with almost no banding visible. Monochromatic transitions are among the best we’ve seen, with practically no banding or blocky artifacts blighting them. Designers will like that the MSI Titan supports 100 per cent of the demanding DCI-P3 colour space too.

Games look especially good on the screen. Not only is it large, it manages to wrangle a 120Hz refresh rate out of the 4K UHD resolution (which is difficult). This (and the fast pixel response time) means that the best games look fantastic with both very high detail reproduction and smooth motion performance. It’s one of the very best we’ve seen.

MSI Titan Review backlight bleed
This is a good approximation of the GT77’s backlight bleed. There is some, but you need a totally black screen to show it off.

Above the screen is a bog-standard HD webcam. To be honest, that’s disappointing. Other top MSI laptops have decent Full HD versions. This is mediocre and very grainy in low light too.

The GT77 has two, 2-Watt speakers which is a different configuration than the Raiders’ twin, 1-Watt speakers and 2-Watt woofers and there is a subtle difference. The Titan’s speakers get a bit louder but while there’s decent top-end and low-end performance, it’s a tad hollow in the mid-range and there’s less bass. They’re still very good for a laptop though.

Performance

Inside the MSI Titan there’s almost the very best of everything. The processor is a mighty 3.6-5GHz Intel Core i9-12900HX CPU with its eight Performance cores, eight Efficiency cores and its desktop-grade power draw. It’s partnered by 64GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a 2TB PCIe 4 NVMe drive. Why the almost? ‘Only’ two of the four RAM slots are used and only one of the three (count’em) PCIe 4.0 NVMe slots are used while the additional PCIe 5.0 NVMe slot also lies empty. This doesn’t count as a criticism though – no laptop has a higher spec.

In the general PCMark 10 test the Titan scored 7,133. While this is a very good score, we were targeting The Best score but this trails in fourth place behind its similarly specified MSI Raider cousins and the outlier, lesser-spec’d Lenovo Legion 5i Pro. We ran this test several times with different combinations of fan speed and performance settings but every other run was significantly lower.

In the CPU-intensive Cinebench rendering tests there was significant improvement. Scores of 3,655 in R15 and 20,402 in R23 are the second best we’ve seen – but still a whisker away from our first-placed MSI Raider GE77 HX.

3D performance comes via the mighty Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti GPU plus its 16GB of GDDR6 RAM. In the difficult 3DMark Port Royal ray-tracing test, The MSI Titan scored a mighty 8,559 which is an average of 39.63fps. In the AAA-title-emulating Time Spy test it scored 13,807 (average 83.6fps) while in Fire Strike Extreme it scored 16,193 (average 74.1fps). In all of these tests it (once again) finished in second place – a whisker behind the HX-sporting Raider. Nonetheless, the scores show it can comfortably play any AAA game in UHD and they’ll look fantastic on the excellent screen.

It’s perhaps worth noting that the MSI Titan achieved all this with its fans maxed out and in Extreme Performance mode which produces a robust, constant whoosh. However, if you don’t force them to maximum, it’s significantly quieter and only approaches top volume when under sustained heavy load.

The GT77 has a very efficient cooling system, but much of the time it only runs near-silently in the background. It also always feels very warm underneath, even when only performing basic office tasks. Still, for such a beast of a machine it’s impressively cool and quiet and overclockers will be happy to test the performance boundaries set by the MSI Cooler Boost Titan technology’s immense combination of four fans, seven heat pipes and six exhausts!

3DMark Speed Way

Those who follow UL’s 3DMark benchmarks will like to know that, in it’s new, most-difficult Speed Way test (which uses the latest ray tracing technology) it scored 3,423 which is an average of 32.24fps.

UL Benchmarks describes Speed Way thusly, “3DMark Speed Way is a DirectX 12 Ultimate benchmark for gaming PCs running Windows 10 and 11. Speed Way’s engine is assembled to demonstrate the new features DirectX 12 Ultimate brings to raytraced gaming. Speed Way uses DirectX Raytracing tier 1.1 for real-time global illumination and real-time raytraced reflections, coupled with new DirectX 12 Ultimate performance optimizations like Mesh Shaders.”

We’ve nothing to compare the MSI Titan’s score to… yet. But, we may integrate Speed Way into our testing methodology when we update it early next year.

Connectivity

MSI Titan review ports left
On the left are two, USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, an SDcard slot and a 3.5mm audio jack. Those with elaborate RGB headsets (that use multiple USB-A ports) will appreciate the proximity.

Unlike the Raiders and other beefy, gaming laptops, there are no ports at the rear. This keeps the rear exhaust looking clean and attractive (with its RGB surrounds). But, it does mean the rest of the ports are packed-in on the right.

MSI Titan review ports right
On the right of the MSI Titan is a 2.5 GbE Ethernet port, HDMI 2.1 port, miniDP port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports and another USB 3.2 Gen 2 port.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Ultimately, this represents the latest everything – there’s practically nothing missing.

Portability and battery life

The Titan’s MSI Raider cousin refused to run PCMark’s Modern Office battery test and we were reduced to estimating battery life at around five-and-a-quarter hours – it wasn’t great. However, the Titan made better use of its max-size 99.9Whr battery and ran the test for 7 hours 4 minutes which is almost a day out of the office and very impressive for such a huge machine.

MSI Titan Review underneath
The big PSU is needed to feed the huge demand for power from the GT77’s GPU and CPU.

Build quality is impressive. The chassis is incredibly robust and we expect it to survive life on the road. However, you won’t want to be carrying it around too much. The MSI Titan weighs a whopping 3.3KG and the huge, 330-Watt power adapter (which is needed to supply 250W to the GPU and 75W to the ‘HX’ CPU) adds another 1.51KG to the mix. It’s heavy!

Price

There are a few SKUs of the MSI Titan but they only have subtle differences that concern the amounts of system RAM and GPU RAM. So, be careful to check that you’re getting the variant you want. Our version costs a hefty $7,511 which is what we’d expect for a new, all-singing-all dancing laptop like this. It represents a mediocre value score of 3.9 out of 5 but, to be fair, you always pay a premium for the best, cutting-edge technology. Furthermore, history suggests that the price will come down relatively quickly.

Alternatives to the MSI Titan

The MSI Titan’s alternatives are straightforward: if you want a different 17-inch gaming laptop then you buy either the MSI Raider GE77 Raider or the MSI Raider GE77 HX. We love those laptops but, arguably, the monolithic, black GT77 looks better – eschewing the disco bar at the front for a space-ship’s hyperspace exhaust at the back. In terms of performance, the Raiders are a smidge ahead though.

Should I buy the GT77?

It’s a bit tricky. At this end of the spectrum, if you’re paying this much money you should be getting the very best performance. But, the MSI Titan is beaten by MSI’s own Raiders which even have a few better ergonomics like the webcam and speakers. The GT77’s mechanical keyboard is nice to have but the Raider’s is still excellent. The Raiders are 400g lighter but have a noticeably weaker battery life.

MSI Titan Review back
The GT77 is one of the best-looking gaming laptops we’ve ever seen. When closed, it’s somehow only 23mm thick, too! But is that enough to choose it over an MSI Raider?

There’s not much in it, but if you’ve money to burn and believe you can get more performance from the larger chassis – and if you prefer the looks – then the GT77 is a great choice. However, we can’t shake the feeling that if you’re going to make a genuine Titan, it should have an extra GPU and destroy the joint accordingly.

Giveaway: Titan Gaming Backpack

MSI Titan Laptop bag
Titan Laptop Bag.

Would you like an awesome Titan Gaming Backpack? MSI is giving away three of them to people who sign up to our mailing list. Unfortunately, you need to be in Australia and New Zealand to qualify. Just enter your details, mention this laptop’s name and sign-up to our forthcoming newsletter below!

Pros

Very fast
Great screen
Looks fantastic

Cons

Big and heavy
Should be faster
Expensive

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