Gaming laptops might sometimes get a bad rap, especially when compared to custom desktop gaming PC rigs. These custom home desktop beasts usually rep some of the most top of the line components that are only rivaled by whatever the next mad gaming enthusiast genius is able to craft next. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to pass up on the MSI GT83VR as anything but a gaming desktop replacement. Thanks to Xotic PC, we got a chance to check out this new MSI gaming laptop and it’s certainly a beast, in more ways than one.
Notable Technical Specifications
- Display: 18.4″ FHD (16.9) 1920×1080
- Processor: 7th Generation Intel i7-7920HQ
- Hard Drive: 2x 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD
- Hard Drive: 1TB 7200RPM HDD
- Graphics: Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
- Memory: 64GB DDR4 2400MHz
- Audio: Dynaudio Premium Sound Technology
- Audio: 4x Built-In HD Dynaudio Speakers + 1 Subwoofer
- Network: Bigfoot Killer E2500 Gaming Network LAN
- Network: Bigfoot Killer N1535 Wireless-AC LAN
- Battery: 8 Cells – Smart Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
- Keyboard: Mechanical Cherry MX Silver Switch
- Size: 16.85″ (w) x 12.36″ (d) x 1.66~2.52″ (h)
- Weight: 11.8 lbs (with 8-cell battery)
There are a number of different aspects we can start off with, but I think it’s fitting to go off directly for the design factor. This is a massive laptop and it really needs that bulk because of the hardware supporting this rig underneath, but we’ll go into that in more-depth later on.
Coming from MSI and Xotic PC, it’s what you could expect from a gaming laptop. The fine detailed edges curves, visual red designs, and LED lights make the GT83VR standout from the rest of the pack of normal everyday laptops, though it doesn’t offer too much differentiation to other gaming laptops of this caliber. There’s a slight curve upward which honestly made me instantly think of a slight typewriter effect, but by all means doesn’t make the laptop look as if its an oddity. Where we see a slight difference between other gaming laptops in terms of design is when crack open the lid and unveil a mechanical keyboard. Again, this is an aspect we’ll discuss later on in the review.
Of course you’ll find your various ports along the sides and rear of the laptop, which includes such connectivity as USB 3.0, mini display, HDMI, LAN, Optical SPDIF out, and Thunderbolt. Speaking of Thunderbolt, this is Thunderbolt 3 which supports remarkably fast 40GBps data transfer rates. Connecting to the internet shouldn’t be a problem thanks to Bigfoot Killer E2500 Gaming Network LAN and N1535 wireless-AC LAN.
Luckily you’ll be met with plenty of USB 3.0 ports readily available. This will certainly come in-handy if you opt to enjoy virtual reality gaming as there’s enough ports to get you going with whatever VR headset option you decide to roll out with.
Upon raising the lid and you’ll be greeted with a SteelSeries mechanical keyboard with speed silver switches. This is a welcoming aspect to the gaming laptop as mechanical keyboards are more of a hot commodity for gamers though they are often only found as a standalone purchase for a gaming PC rig.
Giving gamers a bit more control, the mechanical keyboard backlit LEDs are able to be customized for a particular liking. Unlike other common laptops and even gaming laptops for that matter, the touchpad was moved over towards the right where it also functions as a number pad display.
This may be a gimmick, but I definitely enjoyed the setup as a quick tap on the designated number lock key display turns the touchpad into a fully functional number pad. As for your viewing pleasure, you’ll find an 18.4” FHD 60Hz matte 1080p display.
Powering this beast of a machine are some very high-end components. You’ll find a Kaby Lake i7-7920HQ CPU, 64GB of DDR 4 RAM, two 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD along with a 1TB HDD, an 8 cell smart lithium-ion battery pack, four built-in HD Dynaudio speakers with one subwoofer, and two, yes two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 running in SLI.
By far this may be the most eye-catching specification as it’s not often you’ll find dual GPUs in gaming laptops, though as mentioned earlier, it does come as a double-edged sword.
The most demanding video games won’t be a problem on this system and of course, you’re ready to go with VR, though it comes at a cost of quick battery drains and the lack of a portable gaming laptop. The GT83VR comes in at a whopping 11.8 pounds which mean you’re not going to find portable gaming all that easy to handle. This is not a gaming laptop that can be tossed easily into a bag for on-the-go gaming with how hefty this system is, but also for the mere fact that the battery life is quick to drain. Powering these components up and playing a demanding title will see a quick discharge in just a few short hours.
One of the biggest hassles I found with the GTVR83 was the power cords to charge the battery. It takes two power bricks, that connects into a Y connector that will plug into the laptop. Unless you have enough room to store your power bricks and a connection behind this behemoth of a gaming laptop, you’ll quickly find yourself in frustration. Not to mention, the amount of cords and plugs that will be required for a dedicated VR headset and controllers.
All-in-all, the GT83VR is a brilliant gaming laptop though it’s powerful components and features may be too power hungry and bulky to sway some gamers away. Likewise with a price tag that nears $5,000 might instantly cut down interested consumers in what may already be a niche market to begin with. However, if you’re able to look past the few downsides that cast a shadow over MSI’s gaming laptop and if the budget will allow it, I think you’ll find this system to be a more than suitable gaming desktop PC alternative.