MSI reveals new Pascal-powered laptops, and they’re pretty serious

MSI announced its new range of GTX 10-series laptops at a glitzy media event in Taipei this week. The launch – punctuated by twirling performances and models toting the new gear – was themed around MSI’s new promise: to shatter desktop cliches.

What this means in plain speak is that the new range is capable of matching – even outperforming – desktop systems with matching hardware. Nvidia announced its mobile Pascal processors a week earlier, at a Bangkok event, but MSI is the first laptop maker out of the gate with a range of these powerful new systems. The new machines feature GTX 1080, 1070, and 1060 GPUs, and even feature two laptops with SLI hardware. And top to bottom, each one of the new machines is VR ready.

At the very top of the line is the rather monstrous GT73VR Titan, boasting either a single GTX 1080, or dual-SLI GTX 1070s. These power one of three display options: a very fast 17.3in (1920×1080) 5ms, 120Hz display; a similar sized IPS panel capable of 100 per cent RGB colour calibration; or a 3840×2160 IPS display. The GT73VR has up to 64GB of RAM, and a baseline 2.5in HDD, with an optional two M.2 SSDs in RAID 4. All of this is built around a 6th gen Core i7 processor, up to a 6820K capable of some serious overclocking.

With all that power not a only can it drive its own monitor, and VR hardware, but the GT73VR can also be hooked up to a three-monitor setup for desktop gaming.

The GT73VR – like the rest of the 10-series-powered range – is kept cool by MSI’s powerful new cooler designs. On the top of the range Titan, this means 12 heatpipes and three fans with a special blade design to push as much cool air as possible of over the CPU and GPU. Having seen this in action, it really is quiet, and keeps temperatures impressively down.

The next model, the GT83VR Titan also comes in single and dual-card options, but its big trick is the built-in Steelseries mechanical keyboard, featuring Cherry Brown switches. This machine is huge – like, old school desktop replacement huge, except that it can actually replace your desktop. Another neat trick is in the placement of the GT83VR’s trackpad – this is to the right of the keyboard, and single tap on the Num icon turns it into a number pad – effectively giving you a full size keyboard on a laptop chassis.

The GT72VR and GT62VR Dominator laptops are a little more… Affordable? These feature either a single GTX 1070 or 1060, and a choice of IPS or TN displays, or a 4K panel, and feature a single M.2 SSD.

Probably the most attractive of MSI’s entire range is the GS63VR Stealth Pro. Despite its GTX 1060 graphics and Core i7 6700HQ, the Stealth Pro is only 17.7mm thick And weighs only 1.9kg. It’s a thin, elegant design that makes gaming truly mobile, and as the two-letter appellation suggests, even it is VR-ready. The next model down – the GS73Vr – is even lighter.

Finally, there are three mid-range gaming machines built around a 14in chassis – the GS43VR Phantom, and the GE72VR & GE62VR Apache machines.

The entire range comes with Steelseries keyboards (only the GT83VR has a mechanical one, the rest are classic chiclet designs), Nahamic audio no Dynaudio speakers, MSI’s one-click VR Dragon Center, and a range of other gaming and LAN hardware.

Top points for slipping in the Titan and Stealth brand names, which we’re sure that Nvidia and Razer won’t mind. All’s fair in love and high-end mobile computing.

We’re waiting on local pricing and release dates, but we understand that two models will be releasing at the end of this month (there’ll be a local event shortly where that will all be made clear) and the rest of the range rolling out up to October. When asked about possible supply issues with the new Nvidia parts, an MSI rep said that “We don’t see any issues at the moment. We have the full support of Nvidia, and can’t see any issues moving forward.”

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