During the last months we have had the opportunity to analyze several laptops designed specifically to meet the needs of gamers. Of all of them the two most ambitious, and also the most expensive, are the Omen X of HP and the ROG Zephyrus of ASUS. Both feature high-end Intel Core i7 microprocessors, high-quality LCD panels, and, most importantly, one of the fastest graphics processors available today: NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. Precisely, the team to which we dedicate this analysis shares these same characteristics with these two gaming laptops.
As we will see throughout the article, the configuration of the GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro of MSI is one of those that intimidate. And it is because it is clearly designed to offer anyone who can afford to play at 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160 points) to many of the titles that we can find on the market today. All gamers know that the hardware necessary to meet this challenge with guarantees must necessarily be very powerful. Of course, a GeForce GTX 1080 GPU is a very good starting point, but it is not enough to guarantee an optimal experience. Enter into matter and see if this monumental, by size and weight, laptop meets our expectations.
MSI GT75VR 7RF Titan Pro: Technical Specifications
The two components of this laptop on which falls much of the stress imposed by the most demanding games are the CPU and the GPU. And it is clear that MSI engineers have bet on insurance to use one of the microprocessors of Intel and one of the NVIDIA graphics processors most appreciated by players. The first is a Core i7-7820HK chip manufactured with 14 nm lithography and equipped with four physical cores.
The Hyper-Threading technology, which all models of the Core i7 family have, enables it to simultaneously process up to eight threads, so, on paper, its high base clock frequency and multithread capacity should allow it to yield an important performance both when executing applications with a high degree of parallelism and with those that lack it.
As far as the GPU is concerned, I can add little to what we have explained about this chip in other articles and that you do not already know. The graphics processor that MSI has integrated into this device is the portable version of the powerful GeForce GTX 1080 desktop GPU, second only to the GTX 1080 Ti and TITAN Xp versions in the NVIDIA portfolio. Currently this chip is one of the best options to which we can resort if we want to play at 4K with a rate of images close to 60 FPS, or if we prefer to do it at lower resolutions, but with a significantly higher and stronger image rate like a rock.
Another component of this team that is worth paying attention to is its screen. Although it is also available with a 120 Hz TN panel with Full HD resolution, the version that MSI has sent us so that we can carry out this analysis has an IPS 4K UHD panel capable of working at this resolution with a refreshment of 60 Hz. An interesting feature of this screen is that it is capable of restoring 100% of the color gamut of the Adobe RGB space, a quality that should ensure a reliable colorimetry thanks to a gamut superior to the sRGB color space.
As far as the main memory is concerned, MSI has been safe in this team. And it is that the 32 GB of DDR4 memory with an effective clock frequency of 2400 MHz should guarantee a high performance of this subsystem. The actual clock frequency of the memory is 1200 MHz, but the effective frequency is just doubled because the DDR chips are able to perform two operations per clock cycle thanks to their ability to activate before the rising and falling edge of the clock signal.
Another subsystem that is worth paying attention to is the secondary storage. This laptop incorporates a 512 GB SSD drive and a 1 TB mechanical hard drive. Like so many other teams. For this reason, this is nothing really striking. What is really interesting is that the solid state drive is, in reality, two Samsung disks of 256 GB each with NVMe M.2 interface mounted in RAID 0 ( stripping ) configuration .
This RAID mode makes the two units appear to the operating system as a single logical volume of 512 GB. But the best of all is not this. The attractiveness of this technology is that the controller simultaneously accesses both units in both reading and writing operations, so its performance should be very high. We will check it a little later, in the section dedicated to our test bench.
|MSI GT75VR 7RF TITAN PRO|
|SCREEN||LCD IPS LED 4K UHD 17.3 inch, 60 Hz and 100% coverage of Adobe RGB color space|
|RESOLUTION||3840 x 2160 points|
|PROCESSOR||Intel Core i7-7820HK (14 nm, base frequency of 2.90 GHz, maximum frequency of 3.90 GHz, 4 cores, 8 execution threads and 8 MB level 3 cache)|
|GRAPHICS||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5X)|
|RAM||32 GB DDR4-2400|
|SSD||Samsung 512 GB NVMe M.2 RAID 0|
|HDD||HGST 1 TB SATA600 7200rpm 32 MB cache|
|SOUND||DAC ESS Saber 32 bits / 384 kHz, Nahimic 2+ 3D sound and Dynaudio speakers|
|SO VERSION||Windows 10 Home|
|CONNECTIVITY||WiFi 802.11ac Dual Band / Bluetooth 4.2
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C, 5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x HDMI (4K @ 60 Hz), 1 x mini-DisplayPort, 1 x SD card slot, 1 x microphone jack, 1 x headphone jack, 1 x line-in jack, 1 x line-out jack and 1 x Kensington lock
|DIMENSIONS||428 x 314 x 31 ~ 58 mm|
|BATTERY||8-cell lithium ion and 75 Wh|
In a team like this, a 4K UHD screen does make sense
Nowadays it is perfectly plausible to play 4K UHD, but to achieve this, if we stick to the NVIDIA portfolio, we need to have at least a GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. A little later we will check with what solvency it is able to move the graphics to this resolution the hardware of this team, but the GeForce GTX 1080 graphics processor that incorporates should be able to do so with average rates exceeding 30 FPS. Very superior in some games. So yes, it makes sense that this laptop has a panel with 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160 points).
However, the resolution of a screen just tells us nothing about its image quality beyond the relationship between the size of the panel and that of each pixel. To test the capabilities of the panel, I used the WhiteDisplay.com tools, and, above all, the Lagom LCD Monitor Test. The depth of the black color and the level of detail in dark areas are very convincing, and similar to those of other medium / high range IPS panels that I have had the opportunity to analyze. Its viewing angle is wide, in fact, it approaches 180 degrees without deteriorating our perception of color, a common feature in IPS panels, but not in VA type.
From the screen of this laptop I also like its anti-reflection cover, which allows it to be used in spaces with a lot of ambient light without appearing those reflections that are often so annoying. And, as far as colorimetry is concerned, I have nothing to object to. The color range is wide enough to perform well when viewing photographs or playing movies, so with games, which make it much easier, the result is very convincing.
The only reasonable “hit” I can put on the screen of this equipment, and that most of the IPS panels suffer from, is that their response time is usually significantly higher than that offered by the TN panels. And this feature, as you know, is important when we use them to play. The TN panel that uses MSI in Full HD version of this device has a response time of 3 ms, which is low enough to avoid any motion blur appears (motion blur).
I have not been able to find out what the response time of this IPS panel is, but it is very likely that it will be above those 3 ms. Honestly, I have not perceived any kind of motion blur, but perhaps a player more advanced than me and with a greater capacity for visual perception can do so, especially in first-person action titles.
Of course, what the IPS panels lose compared to TN, which are widely used in gaming machines, as regards the response time can be compensated by the superiority with which the first restore the color. And also because of its greater viewing angle, a field in which they usually excel TN and VA panels. The ideal is that you have all this present so that you can choose that laptop equipped with the panel that best suits your preferences.
A keyboard to play without restrictions
I will not beat around the bush: the quality of the keyboard that MSI has integrated into this notebook is outstanding. Without a doubt, it is one of the best keyboards that I have tried on a gaming machine. Of course, it is mechanical, and, in addition, the keys have the path that I personally like the most (3 mm). Its touch seems to me a delight, and even the sound that the keys emit when pressing them is very pleasant. No matter how many laps I give, this keyboard I cannot put a single hit.
A note more than some users may like: the keys have individual RGB backlight, so it is possible to program their behavior completely independent of the adjoining keys.
The touchpad of this team has not surprised me as much as the keyboard has done, but even so, it perfectly fulfills its function. It is wide enough to be used comfortably, it responds well to the touch and the two keys it incorporates have the appropriate sensitivity. So it does not clash, but it does not shine as much as the keyboard.
Refrigeration: At the height of the circumstances
The image that you have below these lines clearly reflects the extent of the cooling system implemented by MSI in this equipment. Maintaining at all times a graphic processor as ambitious as the GeForce GTX 1080 GPU below its maximum temperature threshold requires evacuate the hot air from the inside of the computer effectively, and to achieve this it is essential to resort to fans capable of moving a flow of important air. The heart of the refrigeration system of this laptop is constituted by two fans with 29 blades each, a figure higher than usual that a priori should ensure an efficient renewal of hot air inside the equipment.
Another interesting fact is that the heat pipes responsible for ultimately transferring the energy dissipated in the form of heat by the CPU and the air GPU by convection are independent for each of these chips. Undoubtedly, in principle it seems a good idea, but it is the figures that must reveal whether this cooling system fulfills its purpose effectively. Or if, on the contrary, it does not. So we go with them.
Under a load of work that oscillates between 40 and 50% the CPU stays at a temperature of about 45 degrees Celsius, while the GPU works at about 42 degrees. As you can see, they are two fairly measured figures, so for the moment we are doing well. When the stress increases until a 100% workload is reached, the temperature of both components increases sensibly, reaching the CPU 78 degrees, and the GPU 83 degrees. These values are far from being exaggerated, and, in addition, they are clearly below the maximum temperature threshold of both components, so we can conclude that, in effect, the cooling system of this portable computer is well dimensioned.
Of course, the high air flow that is capable of moving has a cost if we stick to the noise that it emits as a result of the high rate of rotation of the fans. To measure it I used my usual sound level meter, a Velleman DVM805, with which I could verify that, when the workload is 50%, the noise oscillates around 43 dB, a value that is quite acceptable in a computer with these characteristics. The problem appears when stress increases sensibly, something that happens whenever a fairly demanding game is played.
In these circumstances the noise reaches peaks of 58.7 dB, a very important value that, honestly, is annoying. The best way to get away from it is to use headphones that isolate us well from the environment, but this solution does not allow us to enjoy the sound of this equipment, which, incidentally, uses Dynaudio speakers of quite high quality and a DAC Saber from ESS Technology highly respected by fans of high fidelity.
Connectivity: Well resolved, despite its unique USB-C port
As you can see in the following photo, the left side of the laptop picks up three USB 3.1 Gen 1 type A ports and four jack connectors that we will use not only to connect a headset or a microphone, but also to enter or extract a signal from line of equipment.
In the previous photo, which shows the rear nozzles of the cooling system, you can see that on the rear panel of the equipment reside an RJ-45 port, a mini-DisplayPort output, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 C-type link, an output HDMI capable of transporting signals with a resolution of 4K UHD and a refresh of 60 Hz, and, finally, the relevant power connector.
To conclude, on the right side profile we can find two additional USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an SD card slot and the Kensington-type lock slot. As you can see, the range of options is wide, so it seems to me that the connectivity is well resolved. Although, in my opinion, it would have been a good idea to include some USB 3.1 Gen 2 type C ports, given the flexibility that makes this high-performance link available to us.
Too many pre-installed applications, but at least some add value
Most computer manufacturer’s abuse pre-installed software. The crapware, which we also call bloatware, is that set of applications that users do not ask for, and that brands give us pre-installed, although they hardly add value. Or, even, they do not contribute at all. This team of MSI is not an exception, although, fortunately, among all the tools that incorporate pre-installed there are several that are worth paying attention because they can improve our experience.
One of them is Dragon Center, a repository in which we will find useful information about the instantaneous temperature of the CPU and the GPU of our PC, the percentage of occupation of the main memory or the rate of rotation of the fans, among other parameters. And these data are useful in a gaming computer that we often subject to a considerable workload.
Another interesting tool included by MSI in this laptop is Per Key RGB Keyboard, which is none other than the utility to which we must resort to customize the backlighting of the keys. In this area it is worth remembering something that I advanced a few paragraphs above, when we spoke of the keyboard: each of the keys incorporates independent RGB backlight (you can see it clearly in the detail photograph in which we show you the keyboard).
A last utility included by this manufacturer in their laptops that I also think well thought out is Battery Calibration, which is specifically designed to allow us to calibrate the battery of our equipment. As we have explained in other articles , the batteries work with less stress when their load level is between 40 and 80%, so it is usually preferable that we do not discharge them completely, and also that we do not load them at 100 %.
However, by executing this strategy repeatedly we can cause the operating system not to correctly inform us of the state of charge of the battery of our laptop. To correct this application is responsible for synchronizing the actual battery charge status with the information we receive. However, we should only resort to it once every two or three months, depending on how often we use our laptop.
Our test bench
And, finally, we come to one of the most appealing sections of the analysis: the one that helps us determine how this laptop has performed on our test bench. In the capture that you have below these lines you can see that in the multi-threaded test of Cinebench R15 the Intel processor that incorporates this equipment has been positioned as expected: very close to other “micros” of Intel that incorporate the same number of cores, are able to process the same threads and work at a similar clock frequency. A good result, in any case.
In the following graph you can see that in PCMark 10 the MSI team has produced an almost identical result to the Aero 15 of Gigabyte, a very attractive laptop for gamers governed by an Intel Core i7-8750H microprocessor of eighth generation. A value so close to 5,000 points in this synthetic test reflects that the machine we are analyzing is capable of facing the scenarios of office use, multimedia reproduction and content creation with guarantees.
The result obtained by this laptop in the Home Conventional 3.0 test of PCMark 8 is in line with what we have seen in PCMark 10. In fact, once again this Titan Pro has produced an index very similar to that of the Aero 15 of Gigabyte, which, as we have seen, has an Intel Core i7 microprocessor of eighth generation. Further evidence that this team is comfortable in a use scenario that combines the execution of office applications, multimedia and content creation.
In the Creative Conventional 3.0 test of PCMark 8, the MSI laptop has produced a very convincing result, surpassing not only the Gigabyte Aero 15, and in a very clear way, but also the HP Omen X, another ambitious gaming device that It has the same processor as the Titan Pro : an Intel Core i7-7820HK. Of course, the MSI machine has been clearly behind in this test of the Omen 15 of HP, a balanced gaming device that incorporates an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU.
In 3DMark’s demanding Fire Strike v1.1, this gaming device has proven to be a “fish in the water”. And its powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU has been crucial in allowing it to reach the top position in our ranking, beating teams as powerful as the Omen X of HP or the ROG Zephyrus of ASUS, which have the same graphic processor than the Titan Pro.
And we come to the most important test of all to the extent that it is what allows us to determine how this PC performs when faced with the execution of real game graphics engines. In the graph below these lines you can see that at 1440p (2,560 x 1,440 points) and 1600p (2,560 x 1,600 points) the average rate of images per second is practically always significantly higher than 60 FPS , regardless of quality chosen graphics, which shows that the GeForce GTX 1080 GPU can with these resolutions “without messing up”.
Let’s go now with the real test of fire: the rendering of the graphics at 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160 points). As you can see in the graph, the average cadence of images is always above 30 FPS (even in Final Fantasy XV with the highest image quality), so with this equipment it is possible to play at 2160p. Of course, in some games especially demanding, such as the mentioned Final Fantasy XV or The Witcher 3, sometimes the rate of images falls below 30 FPS, so that “jerks” can occur. Even so, the experience to this resolution in general is quite good.
Come now with another test the sea of interesting. CrystalDiskMark allows us to test the subsystem of secondary storage of the equipment, which in this Titan Pro is constituted by a mechanical disk of 1 TB and two SSD units of 256 GB each configured in RAID 0 ( stripping ). The first, the mechanical disk, has surrendered slightly below other similar units, reaching a sequential read speed of 146 MB / s, and a sequential write of 143 MB / s. But the most interesting numbers are those of the two SSD units mounted on RAID 0. And in sequential read operations the speed they reach exceeds 3,350 MB / s, approaching much to 3000 MB / sin sequential write operations. Fantastic figures, of that there is no doubt, in which the RAID 0 has a lot of weight.
Our last test has helped us determine what autonomy we can expect from this team. And, as is usual in machines for gamers with such an ambitious configuration, their autonomy is reduced. In a scenario of use with a load that oscillates between 50 and 70%, and that combines office applications, multimedia reproduction and creation of contents, the autonomy oscillates around one hour. And, if we stick to the execution of games, this figure can be reduced significantly, depending on the stress that the graphics engine submits to the GPU. For this reason, if we are going to play, it is necessary that we have a nearby outlet, because otherwise our leisure session will not last long.
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