Review of MSI Titan 18 HX: A Gaming Monster

Review of MSI Titan 18 HX: A Gaming Monster

In 2024, the MSI Titan 18 HX makes a comeback, regaining its position as the top gaming laptop for those willing to spend a lot of money on the most extravagant desktop substitute available. Similar to the MSI GT77 Titan HX, which it replaced in 2023, the Titan 18 HX is a $5,000 desktop computer that passes for a gaming laptop. With a weight of little less than 8 pounds (4 kg), you won’t be able to carry it anyplace for very long, and the majority of backpacks won’t even accommodate it. Thus, this laptop will only be used at your desk and may venture into other rooms occasionally.

It may not be as portable as it could be, but it does have some insane hardware, such as a 175W RTX 4090 mobile GPU, a 95W Intel Core i9-14900HX processor, up to 128GB DDR5 RAM, and up to 4TB SSD storage. One of its three M.2 SSD slots is a PCIe 5.0 interface, so you can get the fastest SSD speeds possible (you’ll need to supply your own PCIe 5.0 drive). With the addition of the first-ever 18-inch 120Hz 4K+ tiny LED display with 120Hz refresh rate and HDR1000 certification, these gaming laptops feature the most luxurious specifications I have ever tested.

Video editors and other creative professionals may also want to note this one. Before you say it, I realize that a micro-LED display isn’t the same as an OLED, but I enjoy mini-LED displays on gaming laptops. This one can capture 112% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum. This laptop’s design improves upon the GT77 Titan HX in several ways, not the least of which is the addition of grey to the chassis to soften the ultra-aggressive black gamer aesthetic (it even adds light blue accent touches to the rear). Other improvements include a smoother trackpad and a more elegantly curved keydeck.

While the smooth trackpad on the Titan 18 HX is sufficient for everyday usage, the mechanical keyboard boasts Cherry MX ultra low-profile switches that are a pleasure to type on. However, as is the case with any laptop intended for gaming, you’ll likely want to use the best gaming mouse you own when you’re playing. Considering the size of the laptop, MSI managed to include some strong speakers that offer a far more immersive audio experience than many other laptops. Naturally, you will need to increase the volume to block out the laptop’s cooling system’s whine, which can become rather loud while it is working hard. This can be changed in the MSI Center, but performance will suffer.

However, you could also be justified in questioning whether this laptop is truly worth the high cost given how much it would set you back. Don’t worry if you’re the kind to ask questions of this nature—the answer is simple: this laptop isn’t for you. If money is not an object and you want the best possible gaming experience in a form factor that is potentially portable? You are just the type of user that this laptop is intended for, and the MSI Titan 18 HX is among the best gaming laptops available.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

The MSI Titan 18 HX is priced at $4,999.99 / £4,379.98 / AU$6,999 and is currently available in the US, UK, and Australia. There are now two variants available in the US, and each option has a 4K+ tiny LED display and an Intel Core i9-14900HX processor. The only distinction between them is that they have 4TB of storage and an Nvidia RTX 4090 mobile GPU. The RAM options are 64GB or 128 GB.

The Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU, 64GB DDR5 RAM, and 2TB PCIe 4.0 storage that the Titan 18 HX starts within the UK is followed by an RTX 4090 with 128GB RAM and 4TB storage. The Titan 18 HX is available in Australia with an RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB RAM, and 2TB of storage as standard, and an RTX 4090 GPU, 128GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage as an option.

This is not a budget gaming laptop in any way, and it’s difficult to find another 18-inch laptop with specs this aggressive. Even the top-of-the-line Alienware m18 R2 with 64GB RAM shy away from a complete 4K display, much less 4K+. Increasing the storage capacity of the m18 R2 to 8TB while optimizing all other aspects does not even approach the initial cost of the MSI Titan 18 HX.




MSI Titan 18 HX

MSI TITAN 18 HX: DESIGN

While retaining the Titan’s overall Decepticon-like design, the MSI Titan 18 HX offers several enhancements over the Titan of the previous year. To begin with, the object is enormous; compared to its predecessor, it is somewhat larger, which is something I never would have imagined. It also increases the weight of the laptop by roughly 0.5 lbs, making it the heaviest one I’ve used in a decade or more.

When you open it up, you’ll see a mechanical keyboard that’s low-profile and equipped with Cherry MX switches for incredibly smooth typing. The trackpad has also evolved smoothly, providing a glossy yet responsive surface for your fingers and hands to move around. The trackpad is rather sensitive and provides good feedback; nevertheless, for more precise work, a gaming mouse or controller is advised.

At least when it comes to laptop speakers, the Titan 18 HX’s four 2W up-firing speakers on either side of the keyboard and its two 2W subwoofers for added bass combine to produce a highly deep sound. With a physical privacy shutter—something you always love to see on a laptop—and an improved resolution of full HD compared to 720p, the IR webcam is also an improvement over the model from last year.

The main attraction here, though, is the display, which has a brilliant, vibrant 3840x2400p tiny LED panel with a quick 120Hz refresh rate. In addition, our testing reveals that it covers 112% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and has earned VESA Display HDR 1000 certification for outstanding color contrast with deep blacks.

PERFORMANCE

With its performance, this gaming laptop easily outperforms some of the greatest gaming PCs. When playing high-end games at their native resolution at maximum settings, the Titan 18 HX’s 2400p resolution understandably strains the hardware, but in games like Far Cry 6, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it easily manages to clear 60 frames per second at 4K on its highest settings—and that’s without even taking into account any graphics upscaling.

Most games allow you to go over the display’s refresh rate constraints if you enable upscaling. However, if you take into account ray tracing, you may achieve 60 frames per second or more with the right amount of upscaling. In games like Cyberpunk 2077, ray tracing is a must if you want to max everything out and achieve a frame rate that’s better than barely playable.

However, when it comes to performance, none of the other 18-inch gaming laptops we’ve tested in our labs this year can compare to what the MSI Titan 18 HX offers. Since all of its rivals can only offer 1600p QHD+ screens, the Titan 18 HX is truly your only choice if you want the best possible laptop gaming experience in terms of a 4K visual extravaganza.

BATTERY LIFE

While it makes sense that battery life is not this laptop’s strongest suit, it would be incorrect to characterize it as a negative. This is not the type of laptop that you will leave unplugged for extended periods, unlike a MacBook Pro or one of the best ultrabooks. You won’t use the Titan 18 HX in this way outside of very unusual circumstances, even though its two hours and forty minutes of battery life while browsing the web is a pretty amusing data point for a $5,000 laptop. This is a desktop replacement. Due to its size, it will be challenging to transport it somewhere, much less somewhere without a wall outlet.

While it makes sense that battery life is not this laptop’s strongest suit, it would be incorrect to characterize it as a negative. This is not the type of laptop that you will leave unplugged for extended periods, unlike a MacBook Pro or one of the best ultrabooks. You won’t use the Titan 18 HX in this way outside of very unusual circumstances, even though its two hours and forty minutes of battery life while browsing the web is a pretty amusing data point for a $5,000 laptop. This is a desktop replacement. Due to its size, it will be challenging to transport it somewhere, much less somewhere without a wall outlet.

Conclusion

We used the MSI Titan 18 HX for daily work at home for almost a month, then after work at night, I used it for gaming. we also utilized it for Adobe Photoshop content creation tasks. Since the primary purpose of this laptop is gaming, we tested it using both our usual set of gaming benchmarks and additional benchmarks that measure CPU, GPU, and system performance. As a lifetime PC gamer, we have reviewed laptops for almost five years. As such, we are knowledgeable about how well games should run on specific hardware and how much that hardware should cost to get the best value for the money.

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