September 26, 2022

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MSI Titan GT77 Review: Desktop-Class Core i9-12900HX Tested

4 min read

MSI is synonymous with gaming notebooks, and the company’s Raider range is one of the best gaming rigs on the market. But MSI has always held back a bit, reserving their most interesting ideas and most powerful configurations for their Titan range.

MSI’s Titan series always offers something special. Something different. Something unique. Take a look at the insane MSI GT80 Titan from 2015, which featured a full desktop keyboard mixed into an 18.4-inch notebook. The MSI GT76 Titan packs in a full desktop Core i9-9900K processor in a more traditional 17-inch form factor.

Today we’re looking at the latest iteration from MSI; Titan GT77. Featuring a desktop-inspired Core i9-12900HX processor and an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU, the GT77 is one of the most powerful notebooks on the market today.

Intel’s latest product for powerful notebooks is the Alder Lake HX series of processors, which are part of the 12th generation Core family. And although the naming of these chips is similar to Intel’s traditional H-series, the new HX platform is significantly different. Intel’s HX processors are repackaged desktop processors, not the laptop-focused H range. Compared to the Core i9-12900HK, the Core i9-12900HX offers an additional two P-cores, for a total of eight, and offers the same eight E-cores. This brings the Core i9-12900HX to a total of 24 threads, with 16 performance threads and eight efficiency threads.

Being a desktop processor, the maximum supported memory has also been increased from 64GB to 128GB. MSI offers four DDR5 slots for users to upgrade their memory in the Titan GT77. The review sample came with 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 system RAM for a total of 64GB running at DDR5-4000 speeds in a 2 DIMM per channel configuration.

Intel has also increased the base TDP from 45 watts to 55 watts, and the maximum turbo power level is a staggering 157 watts, up from 115 watts in the normal H range. For multitasking, assuming the laptop cooling solution can handle it, it should be a significant performance boost.

The only downgrade from the i9-12900HK is that the i9-12900HX offers Intel’s much less powerful UHD graphics configuration (32 EUs) as opposed to the more powerful Iris configurations (48 – 96 EUs) in the H-series. However, since this processor will always be paired with discrete graphics, this won’t be much of a hindrance.

The new HX-series is not an indispensable replacement for the H-series, so laptop vendors will have to incur additional costs to create custom motherboards. Not only is the packaging different, with the HX using the FCBGA1964 package compared to the FCBGA1744 found in the normal H series, the HX also reverts to a two-chip package as there is no built-in PCH in this desktop product processor. The high-end nature of the platform also means that laptops will also want to pack four memory slots where possible (for maximum memory capacity), compared to just two on normal H-series laptop designs.

Packing a desktop processor into a notebook isn’t a new concept and we’ve seen and reviewed several examples of it in the past, but offering a proper option for Intel notebooks really changes the equation and allows notebook makers to make fewer compromises if do choose to go this route. They will need a unique motherboard for the HX-series, but the FCBGA package will allow them to reduce the Z-height of the system as they won’t need to include a CPU socket. The downside of the new HX platform is that costs will be significantly higher than traditional H-series processors due to the unique motherboard as well as the additional memory slots. But as we always see, there is an insatiable thirst for more productivity, especially with the rise of demanding workloads for video creation, engineering and of course gaming.

MSI Titan GT77 12UHS
(Engineering Sample)
Component As tested
processor Intel Core i9-12900HX
8 x P-Core, 8 x E-Core, 24 threads
125 W TDP
7424 CUDA colors
16GB GDDR6 (16Gbps)
RAM 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800
Display 17.3-inch 1920×1080 360 Hz
Storage 3 x Samsung PM9A1 1TB NVMe PCIe 4.0
Networking Killer AX1675 Wi-Fi 6E
Killer E3100G Ethernet
I/O 2 x Thunderbolt 4
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.4
SD card reader
Headphone jack
Keyboard Steelseries on RGB Anti-Ghost key
Low profile mechanical
Cherry MX switches
Audio/Video 720p webcam with Windows Hello
2 x 2W speaker + 2 x 2W speaker
Battery 99 Wh battery
330 W AC adapter
Dimensions 397 x 330 x 23 mm
15.63 x 13 x 0.90 inches
Weight 3.3 kg / 7.3 lbs
Price (USD) Starting at $3100 USD
As tested ~$4900 USD

On the graphics front, MSI has equipped this Titan GT77 with the fastest graphics card available for a notebook computer right now: the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU (hereafter known as the 3080L Ti). The 3080L Ti sits between the desktop RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 in terms of available hardware and is paired with 16GB of GDDR6 connected via a 256-bit bus.

On the networking side, MSI opted for the killer combination of Wi-Fi and Ethernet. The Killer AX1675i Wi-Fi network solution is a Wi-Fi 6E product, which means it supports 6 GHz bands if your access point is new enough to have them. Killer is built on Intel’s industry-leading Wi-Fi stack, and if you don’t want to use the software features that Killer provides, you still get the best and most reliable Wi-Fi option as a base. Ethernet is a Killer E3100G 2.5 Gbps offering. On the network side, there is nothing to complain about.

As for storage, our review sample from Intel was equipped with three 1 TB Samsung PM9A1 PCIe 4.0 SSDs.

MSI’s Titan series is truly a premium device, and MSI has packed the Titan GT77 with absolutely everything they could think of. There’s even a Windows Hello IR camera and fingerprint reader. All of this is packed into a (relatively) compact package. Let’s take a closer look at this first.

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