There are slim and light laptops for the "gaming lifestyle" that can actually be taken with you every day, and there are "muscle book" models that are designed exclusively for power supply, without weight or mass taking precedence. MSI's latest flagship, the GT76 DT-9SG Titan, clearly falls into the latter category without apology. It weighs over 4 kg (without the two enormous power modules) and uses an Intel Core i9 desktop CPU and a GPU from the Nvidia GeForce RTX series with all the cooling devices you can imagine for these components. Laptops like this should only be used when connected, but do not take up as much space as a normal gaming desktop PC and can be taken along if necessary.
If you don't have a lot of space at home or need a very powerful yet portable PC, the MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan is the right choice for you. But should it be on your shopping list? Let's find out.
MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan Design
According to MSI, the design of the GT76 DT-9SG Titan is inspired by modern sports cars, which is often the case with gaming laptops. The exterior is made of black plastic with the exception of the silver aluminum lid. There's a carbon fiber pattern on the floor and around some of the vents that you may not see if you don't look closely. While the lid and the rear hump have a few angular folds, the overall impression is surprisingly calm. No red stripes or LEDs can be seen here.
As we noticed, this laptop is very big and chunky. It's up to 42 mm thick and wide enough for a 17-inch screen and a full-size keyboard with a number pad. The large hump behind the hinge of the lid makes the GT76 DT-9SG Titan lower than most ordinary laptops.
Through the massive ventilation slots on the sides and on the back you can see banks of copper cooling fins. The bottom of this laptop has a huge mesh panel that exposes the four fans and a huge network of copper heat pipes. Hot air is drawn in from below and extracted from behind and from the sides.
At the bottom there are RGB LEDs that shine a light on your table around the device. The lid rises and shows a 17.3-inch screen with surprisingly narrow edges at the top and on the sides. There's still room for a webcam, but overall this gives a modern look. The panel is not reflective, and we will shortly reach its specifications and performance.
MSI chose a standard keyboard rather than a mechanical keyboard that we saw on some previous Titan series models. However, it was still developed by Steelseries. The keyboard has plenty of room to breathe, and the first things we noticed were the full-size keypad and the arrow keys. We would have liked to see a better distance between these keypads so that they could be hit more easily. The Windows key has been moved to the right of the spacebar, which, according to the MSI, helps prevent game interruptions from being accidentally pressed.
You get a per-button RGB backlight with multiple preset effects and intensity levels. One touch we really loved was that when you press the Fn key, all possible combination keys light up red, so you can quickly find shortcuts. This is so useful that we will miss it on all other laptops from now on.
There is a fairly large but not clickable trackpad. The dedicated left and right click buttons are a little difficult to use because they are narrow and close to the edge of the laptop. The trackpad is otherwise comfortable and perfectly aligned with the home row of the keyboard.
On the left side of the lower half of the laptop are the power input, a Gigabit Ethernet socket, a Thunderbolt 3 Type-C connector that supports DisplayPort video output, two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A connectors as well as individual 3.5 mm headphones and microphone sockets. On the right side there is a microSD card slot, two further USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A connectors and a Type-C connector and finally a Mini-DisplyPort and an HDMI video output. That's a very generous selection, but we're wondering why MSI chose a microSD slot rather than a standard one.
As already mentioned, the GT76 DT-9SG Titan requires two heavy and bulky 230 W power stones. These are individually packaged, but their cables fuse into a single junction box with two outlets, which means they're always attached to each other, making wrapping them a pain. For some reason, the junction box is plugged into a separate large dongle, which is then connected to the laptop with a single small plug. That just means that there is another unnecessary thing to carry around with you. We have seen far more elegant solutions from other companies, e.g. B. the clean packaging of both components in a single caddy.
MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan specifications and software
Due to its price and niche status, the MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan is only imported to order in India with a lead time of several weeks before your device is shipped. The advantage of this approach is that you can choose your specifications from a variety of options. The basic configuration with a mobile Core i7-9750H CPU costs from Rs. 3,29,990.
The DT variant of the GT76 Titan, which we test, costs from SFr. 3,79,990. The DT in its name tells us that it has a 95W desktop processor, in this case the top-end core i9-9900K. MSI states that the CPU on all eight cores has been overclocked to 5 GHz, and we hope all fans and heat pipes can handle this type of heat.
While the configurations offered are all of high quality at the beginning, according to MSI, buyers can choose between an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 and a GeForce RTX 2080 and receive up to 128 GB RAM. There are three PCIe M.2 slots for SSDs and an additional 2.5-inch bay for SATA hard drives or SSDs. For the screen there is a choice between a 4K 60 Hz panel and a full HD 144 Hz panel with a potential full HD 240 Hz option for the future. Unfortunately, there is no option that supports Nvidia G-Sync and can use the powerful GPU.
For the astronomical price of the DT variant, you get the Core i9-9900K, GeForce RTX 2080, a 4K 60 Hz screen, 16 GB DDR4 RAM on two channels, two Samsung PCIe SSDs with 512 GB in RAID0 (striping ) for additional speed and a 1 TB hard drive for additional storage. Our test device was equipped with 64 GB RAM, which increases the price, but was otherwise exactly as described.
All configuration options are equipped with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Gigabit Ethernet, both of which are connected via a killer controller optimized for gaming. Other technical data include Bluetooth 5, an 8 cell battery with 90 Whr, a 720p webcam with 30 fps and two 2 W speakers with a dedicated 3 W woofer. The keyboard was developed by Steelseries, while the speakers have Dynaudio branding and the sound itself has been improved with Nahimic software.
In MSI's own Dragon Center, you can check system resource usage, performance, fan speed, VoIP improvements for in-game voice chats, and battery status. You can set up profiles and by triggering them you can switch between the Turbo, Sport, Comfort and Eco performance modes using hotkeys. The profiles can also be set to trigger actions such as changing the Nahimic audio profile and DPI scaling of the screen, as well as automatically launching certain games or programs.
Unfortunately there are several other apps for other functions. All RGB LED controls, including those in the case, are included in the Steelseries keyboard app for some reason, and there are several other small utilities for things like the killer network, updating drivers, configuring display color profiles, creating backups, and more.
MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan performance
Before we get to play, let's look at general usage and life with a laptop like the MSI GT76 DT-9SG Titan. First, the screen is a huge pleasure to work with. Because the panel is not shiny, the colors are not overly pronounced. Thanks to the 4K resolution, even with a UI scaling of 175 percent in Windows 10, everything was sharp, making it even more convenient.
The keyboard is good, but there is some flex in the middle, and you may find the action a bit mushy when you type. Particularly noteworthy are the speakers, which are not only loud but also very open and produce a rich sound. This makes the GT76 DT-9SG Titan a great entertainment device. We only wish there was an easy way to turn off the distracting RGB LED light strips on the front and sides when you want to watch a movie.
One thing that may prevent you from enjoying a movie or music is the fan noise of this laptop. It really sounds like a jet engine, and you can hear it halfway across a fairly crowded office floor. The noise can be a huge distraction, and there's no telling what can stop fans from doing it – sometimes downloading a file or clicking a link while surfing the web can make them nervous – and we still haven't once started playing.
When something really stressful happens, the fans turn to the fullest, and the hot air is expelled vigorously from the back and top of the GT76 DT-9SG Titan. The body, including the palm rests and the area around the keyboard, gets very hot, sometimes to the point where we didn't want to touch it. For very long gaming sessions, an external keyboard and mouse (as well as a very well padded headset) are highly recommended.
That brings us to a general benchmark performance. Our tests were all performed with the GT76 DT-9SG plugged in, which allowed the components to run at full speed. We used the standard sport profile, not the overclocked turbo profile, except to see what difference it made.
PCMark's standard and extended test runs gave values of 6,085 and 8,136, respectively, which are astronomical for laptops. With the Cinebench R20, we achieved single-core and multi-core scores of 485 and 4,462. The POVRay render benchmark ran in just 1 minute and 4 seconds, and the VRAY benchmark took 1 minute and 12 seconds. The extensive Blender benchmark ran through all of its scenes in 17 minutes and 30 seconds. Compressing a 3.24 GB folder with different files using 7zip took 2 minutes and 9 seconds. Converting 1.36 GB AVI video to H.265 took only 41 seconds.
These values are only slightly below the values that the Core i9-9900K achieved when it was first checked on our open desktop test bench. This is remarkable for a machine that is so compact according to this standard.
We then focused on overclocked turbo mode, in which the fans run at full speed, and repeated a small subset of the same tests. The Cinebench R20 values rose slightly to 490 and 4,534 in the single and multicore test, but POVRay achieved 1 minute and 7 seconds, which was slightly worse than before.
Of course, we had to put the RAID0 NVMe SSD array through its paces, and the result was very impressive. CrystalDiskMark showed sequential read and write speeds of 3255.7 Mbit / s and 2902.6 Mbit / s, respectively, while more realistic random speeds were 610.4 Mbit / s and 520.3 Mbit / s, which is still very good.
In terms of graphics performance, 3DMark scored 22,065, 11,975 and 6,228 points in the Fire Strike Standard, Extreme and Ultra tests, respectively. The DirectX 12 Time Spy Standard and Extreme tests gave 10,208 and 4,736 points, while the ray tracing-capable Port Royal scene had a score of 5,997. Unigine Valley ran at 1920×1080 with its ultra preset with a respectable average of 128.2 fps.
We did all game testing with the native 4K resolution because if we spent that much on a laptop we would expect the best experience possible. We tried Far Cry 5 in the ultra preset and achieved an average of 54 fps, which is okay, but not great. Metro: Last Light Redux only ran at 31.47 frames per second when the "Very High" preset was activated with all effects and AF was set to 4X. We had to reduce our expectations on quality settings to get over 60 fps.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider also gave us 42 fps in the highest setting with raytracing effects disabled. With the RTX shadow quality set to medium, it dropped to 35 fps. We tried to compensate for this with Nvidia's DLSS upscaling option, which actually reduces the resolution, and tried to fill in the missing details using deep learning algorithms. The average actually jumped to 49 fps. If you want to enjoy ray tracing effects, you need to reduce the resolution or use DLSS. Situations like this would benefit from the 144 Hz Full HD option that MSI offers instead of a 4K panel.
Battlefield V is another game that uses Nvidia's RTX ray tracing hardware. We first went through a fight scene at 4K without ray tracing and observed an average of between 50 and 60 fps with the ultra preset. By activating raytrace reflections we reached 40-45 fps.
Finally, we come to battery life. We don't usually expect much from slot machines, especially those that are not designed for on-road use, but the MSI GT76 DT-9SG surprised us. When the battery is charged, the power-hungry discrete GPU turns off and the power supply is well managed. We have about four hours of casual use, which is decent. The intensive Battery Eater Pro ran for 1 hour and 18 minutes, which also exceeded our expectations.
MSI has created a beast of laptops, but you have to be willing to spend more than a small car would cost if you needed the latest and greatest hardware. Laptops like the GT76 DT-9SG are only meant for games. The volume and noise would make it very difficult to live with this laptop, and that sounds off-putting. Instead, you should consider a more versatile machine that can also handle games.
For this reason, we think the option of a 1920 x 1080 144 Hz screen makes more sense than a 4K 60 Hz screen. The higher resolution is suitable for anything other than games and is therefore somewhat inappropriate here. We also cannot see why MSI could not get by with a G-Sync-capable panel. The rest of the hardware is pretty much perfect.
MSI even did a good job with the design of this machine – with the exception of the cumbersome Power Bricks. This is the type of laptop you can buy when money doesn't matter and you want something that is extremely powerful and doesn't take up a lot of space. Of course, you can buy a hugely powerful gaming desktop for less money, but the GT76 DT-9SG can be taken anywhere or stowed away when not needed. You could even use a large monitor to get an even more intense experience.
You won't find this laptop easily in stores and you will most likely not be able to test it hands-on. Given all of these factors, the GT76 DT-9SG is a luxury and a treat for those who know exactly what they want.