MSI Flaunts 18” Gaming Laptop With Mechanical Keyboard

Keyboards with fully mechanical switches are all the rage these days. Mechanical switches provide more satisfying feedback than the more common rubber domes, at the expense of being louder, thicker and heavier. Such is the reason why laptop keyboards have long used domes or scissor switches.

However, MSI is readying an 18” gaming laptop, first teased in October and then shown off at CES, that bucks that trend.

 

 

Indeed, the SteelSeries-designed keyboard in MSI's Titan GT80 boasts Cherry MX Brown mechanical key switches, providing a tactile “bump” while producing less noise than its Blue counterparts, plus red backlighting. Flanked by a number pad that looks to double as a touchpad, the keyboard sits where the palmrest is in most normal laptops.

Shifting the keyboard to the front of the laptop is probably what allows MSI to boast that the GT80 is “17% thinner and weighs 22% less” compared to “its closest rival”. A thickness of 49.1mm and weight of 4.7kg are given. SteelSeries Engine software is loaded for configuration of the keyboard, and n-key rollover is supported.

 

 

Within the space behind the mechanical keyboard lie potent hardware. Intel's Core i7-4980HQ, a quad-core, eight-threader of a chip with a 4Ghz maximum frequency, is flanked by a pair of Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M GPUs in SLI. 32GB of RAM is doable, plus up to four M.2-form factor SSDs with RAID support.

The 18.4” display boasts a 1920x1080-pixel resolution. There's a 2.5” drive bay, an optical drive, and the WiFi and LAN are handled by controllers from Killer. Possibly the best part? MSI boasts easy user access to most of this hardware. Even the GPUs are mounted on MXM cards for potential future upgrades.

 

 

All of that said, it's no surprise that the GT80 Titan will be expensive. $3299 is the starting price, and that's with a slightly slower CPU than what was mentioned above (you'll pay $200 extra for a 4980HQ, plus some extra RAM). Availability is still up in the air, but the demo units at CES suggest retailers won't have to wait much longer to start selling these things.