First impressions of the MSI GT83VR 6RF are positive. The red racing stripes are a clear indication of the gaming status of the laptop, and the MSI dragon logo takes pride of place at the top, centre position of the lid.
The laptop measures 456 mm (W) x 300 mm (D) x 49 mm (H). It is a chunky chassis constructed mostly from plastics. I don’t have a problem with the construction quality of the laptop, although a higher mix of metal would have been nice to see (and feel).
That said, the laptop already weighs over 5kg, so MSI have clearly been aiming to hit a specific weight – which makes sense.
LED readouts are visible on the front of the chassis.
This is no super-slim ultra portable. At the rear of the laptop we measured around 5cm thickness. Huge vents are clearly visible on both left and right sides. On the left side is a bluray player, Kensington lock, a hifi audio connector, memory card reader, three USB 3.0 ports, optical, and microphone and speaker connectors.
I tested the GT83VR with a pair of £1200 Sennheiser HD800S headphones (review HERE) and I was very impressed with the output quality via the dedicated high grade hifi connector port (seen behind the card reader slot). Any higher than 40% via the volume output was too loud for my ears so the amplifier section is certainly much better than a generalised headphone port on a laptop. I used this higher grade port exclusively throughout my testing.
On the right side of the laptop are two more USB 3.0 ports, and another huge cooling vent for the second GTX1080.
The rear of the laptop features two angular cooling ports, surrounded with a sporty red bezel. There is a Gigabit Ethernet port, alongside the power connector, HDMI out, Superport (Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1 in Type-C format) and Mini DisplayPort out.
Wifi is covered with the Killer Wireless AC 1535 adapter. This adapter was able to handle the full download speed of my 300Mbit Virgin Media Business connection across STEAM.
The GT83VR 6RF takes two power supplies which are rated at 330 Watts each. Yes that is a potential 660 Watts power output. The GTX 1070 SLI version of this system drops the power demand to 460 Watts (dual 230 Watt supplies).
Each of the power bricks is connected to a proprietary two pin header cable (pic above left) which plugs into a little breakout box (pic above right).
The power connector fully assembled (above left). The cable above right plugs into the back of the GT83VR 6RF laptop.
Sadly, the cable disconnects on very slight movement, which I found extremely annoying during testing.
I appreciate that MSI are ensuring that the laptop won’t be pulled to the floor by someone accidentally tugging on the cables, but a magnetic connector such as those utilised by Apple would be a much better solution.
To be fair, once the laptop is in position on a desk this won’t prove much of an issue. However, if you plan on moving this laptop around at all be prepared to reconnect the power cable frequently.
The MSI GT83VR 6RF is a gargantuan laptop, firmly rooted in the ‘desktop replacement’ category. I wouldn’t say it was ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a chunky, thick, oversized system designed to support the highest levels of hardware and performance.
I was disappointed to see that MSI are reusing the same chassis as before, meaning we are still dealing with a 1080p panel and a simple 60Hz refresh rate. As MSI haven’t updated the chassis, we are stuck with simple red backlighting on the keyboard. Personally I am not that bothered about a lack of RGB lighting, but MSI offer RGB lighting on their latest GT73VR models.
The GT73VR models also feature 120Hz 1080p and 4K panels, so we can’t help but feel the GT83VR should really have been updated in these areas – so the product stack would make sense.
We could forgive MSI a few years ago when they said that there was limited stock of Ultra HD 4K 18.4 inch panels available. However, the new ASUS ROG GX800VH (review HERE) features a GSYNC 60Hz 4K panel.
If we can look past the issues with resolution and refresh- the 1080p panel is actually very capable, delivering solid colour rendition, crisp text and wide vertical and horizontal viewing angles. It measured 280 nits in my brightness test which is what I would consider average. In the real world I would have liked another 1 or 2 notches of brightness available, especially if dealing with a strong light in the room.
The full mechanical Steelseries keyboard on the GT83VR is a strong selling point – I love using it and can work at my full typing speed of 120 words per minute. The keys offer 3.1 mm of travel and they require 75grams of force.
I do feel MSI should include a soft, full length wrist rest with this laptop, as the keyboard falls off quickly at the front of the chassis. I found my wrists would be floating in front of the laptop as I typed, so it is something that MSI should really start considering in future revisions.
The option of using the (red) backlit track pad (Synaptics 2.3 x 3.4 inch touchpad) as an extended NUM Pad is inspired, and it works well in practice.
The Steelseries keyboard is fantastic and takes the mobile typing experience to a whole new level. This is the only laptop keyboard I have tested that I would be happy using daily for work duties.
The Cherry switches offer plenty of tactile feedback and after writing this review on the laptop I left very impressed with the overall experience. The big downside is that with a full mechanical keyboard being adopted by MSI, the hardware underneath is very limited, with most pushed up to the top side.
Onboard audio (courtesy of DynAudio) is superior to almost all other laptops we have tested in the last couple of years with only the Alienware M18x putting in a better showing. The MSI Titan is still only a laptop however, so bass response is limited. Headphones or external speakers are advised for serious gaming or media duties.
I reviewed the laptop using a pair of Sennheiser HD800S headphones connected via the specialised HiFi connector on the left side panel.
Two screws on the rear of the laptop hold the top panel in place. After the screws are removed, the panel can be pushed from left to right and then upwards and off. Underneath we get access to the optical drive and the storage drives.
The main boot drives are run in a RAID 0 configuration and are lighting quick – we test this thoroughly later in the review. Sadly the 1TB 2.5″ mechanical drive lets proceedings down by putting in a slow 100MB/s transfer rate. I did replace this with a Samsung 850 2TB SSD – just to ensure the connector was up to full SATA 3 speeds. I test this later in the review.
Removing the back panel is a fiddly process and we would avoid it if possible. Nonetheless, dusting out the internals once a year is always a good idea – if you have a quality air duster on hand. I bought a X3 Hurricane Canless Air System a few months ago and it is fantastic – there is never any liquid expelled from the nozzle.