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Best Gaming Laptop 2015: MSI GT72 2QE (GTX 980 With 8GB VRAM)

Best Gaming Laptop 2015: MSI GT72 2QE (GTX 980 With 8GB VRAM)

January 18, 2015 3:39 am1 comment

Introduction

In our site we have tested many of the most powerful gaming laptops of each generation. The MSI GT72 2QE today is one of those models and combines new generation storage with the most versatile and powerful laptop graphics ever manufactured. It is a compendium of the latest technologies in a massive format suitable for only the most skilled and toughest gamers.

MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro

Technical performance

Think of any latest gen ideal specs that you want to see on a PC and the MSI GT72 2QE will appear on your list. But don’t be too picky about the weight and dimensions because miracles don’t exist. We can find this model on various settings, with a price that goes from 1900 to 3300 dollars.

The model that we have received for review corresponds to the highest priced model, around 3300 dollars, though if differs somewhat on the embedded processor, in that the official setting is a Core i7-4980HQ (Turbo up to 3.8GHz) to 2.8GHz when the integrated analysis model in this model is the i7-4710HQ Core (3.5GHz Turbo). Thus this difference is clarified. In any case, all are quad-core processors with eight processing threads. Both models also share a power consumption level of 47W TDP.

MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro Cpu

To this processor it is added a RAM capacity up to 32GB in DDR3 SODIMM format of 1600MHz. Four banks of memory are occupied and they are a good support for the processing power of its processor, and certainly also for its spectacular storage platform supported by this machine.

MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro

Between the different variants of the MSI GT72 2QE, there are options that combine SSD and HDD storage. In this case, the most advanced model uses the craziest main storage that I have seen built into a laptop. On one side there’s a 1TB  HDD disk in 2.5’ format that offers auxiliary storage and as the main dish, a set of RAID 0 storage based on four 128GB SSD drives that form the most powerful storage system that has gone through our integrated lab, all into a simple laptop.

Ram

The system uses a M.2 module with SATA connectivity, in order to mount four M.2 Toshiba drives of 128GB. All connected to the same module and supported by the SATA controller of HM87 chipset that gives life to this laptop. This produces an outstanding storage capacity, with over 1600MB/s of read speed and more than 1300MB/s of write speed. This comes in sequential speeds because the processing power, measured in IOPs, is over 200,000, making the load of any application, including the OS, of a breathtaking agility and speed. I can show you its performance in some well-known benchmarks systems.

Ram

These are four Toshiba M.2 units connected by SATA to the motherboard. The chipset is the one that manages the RAID.

Atto Diskbenchmark 2.46

Atto Diskbenchmark

AS SSD

AS SSD

Crystal DiskMark

Crystal DiskMark

The graphics, which we will talk about properly, were just released and it is Maxwell’s incorporation for high-end laptops. The model that incorporates the GT72 in our analysis is a Geforce GTX 980M with 8GB of RAM. Of course it also features integrated graphics for the processor, but MSI graphics, as we shall see later, has eliminated some problems of this combination that we could find that just incorporated Optimus. The integrated model in the processor is an Intel HD Graphics 4600.

MSI GT72

Connectivity in this laptop comes by a wired and wireless solution of KillerNIC Qualcomm processors. It comes with Gigabit connectivity on one hand, with packet prioritization and bandwidth control, and a WiFi-AC + Bluetooth 4.0 capable of speeds of up to 867 mbps on AC networks of 5 GHz.

A very good quality combined solution that we could try with an AC router to match its capabilities with transfer rates constants that exceed 40MB/s, keeping even at considerable distances, a link to 867mbps. The “Double Shot Pro” technology that this network card has allows you to work in “teaming” the Ethernet and WiFI in a certainly unconventional solution that we could try.

Additionally, though I also believe it is important, this model features a Blu-ray optical drive for record and playback. It is an added plus to first-order specifications that we still have much to detail them.

Nvidia Geforce GTX 980M

The Geforce GTX 980M is a transfer of all benefits of the renewed high-end graphics chips from Nvidia. Renovated features such as DSR (Dynamic Super Resolution) that allows to generate games to 4K resolution on smaller native resolution screens, the new MFAA (Multiple Frames Anti-aliasing), the VXGI voxel technology, 4K support, the GPU Boost 2.0, SLI, CUDA, Shadowplay, … everything is present in the same way they are in the new desktop chips.

Geforce GTX 980M

It also has its own innovative elements such as the Battery Boost technology. This technology offers a double-edged approach to improve player experience in portable environments. On one side you can play on battery at adequate FPS and then you can elongate battery life significantly over previous gen models. We will check this later as we test it. This technology integrates Geforce Experience where we can optimize the quality of the game, as we are working with the charger connected to the battery, or with only the power of the battery.

MSI GT72This module MXM, right, is installed the GTX 980M and 8GB of RAM.

The technical specifications of the Geforce GTX 980M are quite remarkable but not like the Geforce GTX 980 for desktops. Nvidia has not given specific consumption data and detailed specifications, but we know that this card has 1536 shader engines, nominal work frequency of 1038MHz and a memory bandwidth of 160GB/s. This translates into 66-70% of the power of a Geforce GTX 980 for desktop.

Display and Video Connectivity

The MSI GT72 2QE screen is not at all exceptional. MSI has opted for a dull TN panel of latest generation with high contrast, but with some loss of color fidelity and, of course, less perfect angles than those found in other panels, such as the IPS. In contrast, the TN will give us a higher pixel rate and though it is a conventional 60Hz panel, it remains the best choice for a gamer. The screen resolution is 1920×1080, which for me it’s appropriate to enjoy high FPS rates with the integrated hardware. It is powerful, fast and its next-generation graphics introduce new levels of performance for the laptop world, but make no mistake, and this is not a desktop GTX 980.

Monitor

If you want a quick panel, there’s no other choice but to go through one with TN technology. This is from the latest generation and completely matte.

Depending on the game, we could try to access higher resolutions and a 3k screen. Without a doubt, this would be interesting for some games and surely many of us will think that a 3300 dollars computer should have the most cutting-edge features, but I sincerely believe that MSI has done a good job balancing this screen’s speed and number of pixels to reach a perfect graphical achievement.

Furthermore, we can always make use of its multiple graphics ports. Though this laptop doesn’t have Optimus technology, I think that’s the best decision MSI could have made. The Optimus is useful on other machines, but on this one it’s a hindrance. It’s a hindrance because on an Optimus machine, the graphics that have connective control are those integrated with the processor and the Intel HD Graphics 4600 processors has two problems. First, it doesn’t support 4k at 60 Hz even through Displayport; second, it makes it impossible for Nvidia’s graphics to use technologies like 3D or GSYNC. On this laptop the selection is manual and the results are perfect.

Keyboard

The second button, from above, lets us pick what graphics card we want to use: the integradated one or the dedicated one, but there’s a “but”: you have to restart the system for the change to take effect.

You can also connect 4k screens(Best Gaming monitor), including GSYNC, and take advantage of some exceptional power for work purposes. I’ve tried Diablo 3 in 4k, which you can also do with DSR technology, on a native 4k monitor; the game looks good and the quality is exceptional. It’s an example of what we an do with this laptop thanks to its good internal equipment and connections. The three video connectors also let us connect up to three screens, creating an ultra-panoramic, 5760×1080 system. We can have an entire work or game station in a much smaller space and with a notable performance.

Design and format

The MSI GT72 is a laptop with few complexities regarding its size and weight. 430 mm thick, 294 mm long and around 50 mm high. These dimensions don’t aid its portability and its weight of 3.78 kg (battery included) hardly helps either. It’s not a PC you can lug to the office or to school each day, or at least it’s not recommended if you don’t want to end up spending more time in the chiropractor’s office than using the PC itself. Plus you’ll have to deal with the 230w charger, which isn’t exactly small.

MSI GT72 Design

Volume is important but it’s also important to highlight that the MSI GT72 2QE is a well-made laptop. Shaped plastic in a solid chassis, without any weak points and with a nice finish and an area of support in brushed and tapered black aluminum. Quality hinges, careful finishing touches, a quality keyboard, good LEDs and a frontal tilt to make increase the comfort of the user’s hands. It’s evident that its height above all doesn’t help make it a very comfortable laptop, but I don’t know any laptop with a 17.3-inch screen that has this many quality ergonomic features.

MSI GT72 Designhttp://gaminglaptopunder1000.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/MSI-GT72-2QE-Dominator-Pro-%2020.jpg

Something I don’t like is keyboard’s numeric area, whose existence seems like an affront to the laptop’s comfort (given that it forces you to de-center yourself in front of the PC). The numeric area has smaller keys than the rest of the keyboard and makes it unpleasantly surprising and disagreeable to the touch. Apparently the laptop can accommodate a big touchpad and direct buttons, but not number keys which are they same size as the rest, which perplexes me since there’s more than enough space for that and more.

MSI GT72 keyboard

I like some details, like the illumination of its enormous Touchpad, or the status LEDs separated from the main body and encrusted on the laptop’s surface, or even the red frontal LEDs that mark laptop’s sharp frontal profile. On one of these red LEDs there are also activity LEDs such as those for the power, disc drive, battery, and so on. The direct-function buttons on the lateral left side are useful and well positioned. They’re of good quality and have their own activity LEDs.

MSI GT72 Design

The laptop’s connectors can be found on three of the laptop’s four sides. On the back are the most important ones used when we’re using the laptop normally. There, we can connect the charger, the Ethernet cable, and the main video plugs like the mini Displayport and an HDMI 1.4, both of which we’ve discussed earlier. This is the ideal position for these connectors given that we can better see the fixed-line connectivity behind the screen.

MSI GT72 DesignRear connectors Zone

On the lateral right side we have the optical unit and two USB 3.0 ports. On the left side, which is a little more crowded, there are four additional USB 3.0 ports (for a grand total of six), four entry and exit audio ports, one of them with optical function, and also an SD card reader. I really like the large separation between connectors since it prevents the problems common to using several connectors at once with storage drives and so forth.

MSI GT72 DesignConnectors on the left.

MSI GT72 DesignConnectors on the right.

The GT72’s design is a notable improvement compared to this company’s previous 17.3-inch models, more meticulously designed even on its inferior side, more accessible and with a more modern but more aggressive look. I think it’s also important to add that its inferior apertures and dual-turbine vents (CPU and GPU separately) keep the user from being affected by the heat generated by the system and also allows for quieter ventilation even when we put pressure on the system on the CPU as well as GPU level.

MSI GT72 Design

Keyboard and Touchpad

Most of the MSI gaming models are well known and recognized for their SteelSeries keyboards. Those which incorporate the GT72 are an evolution that includes various automatic and configurable profiles, which can be changed with one of the dedicated multimedia buttons on this notebook. We can configure the color in zones and the tactile feel is of high quality for being a membrane keyboard. Vivid colors with advanced effects that can be configured from the dedicated panel.

MSI GT72 Keyboard

The keyboard allows you to program each and every key and supports advanced programming similar to the best keyboards from this manufacturer. It comes with a NKRO system and is a full keyboard with a numerical pad. The keys, for the most part, are large chiclet type keys, the cursor is well defined, and the overall size is very generous. As I have described in this analysis of its general design, it is a great keyboard, and these qualities would make it popular in my opinion. By the way, it does continue to suffer from not including a Windows key, which usually is done to avoid having clumsy players pressing it.

MSI GT72 Touchpad

The touchpad is huge, really comfortable, and thanks to its size, is perfect in case of emergency. It is multi-touch with external buttons, and has a nice profile illuminated in blue. It really is not very useful in a gaming machine of this size, but we should acknowledge that MSI has taken their time and used their space, to achieve a good pointing device integrated into the chassis.

Performance analysis and battery life

Upon doing our battery of routine tests for notebooks, we must add various tests for battery life, since this notebook supports not only two major modes, with and without dedicated graphics, but also that its dedicated graphics incorporates the new “BatteryBoost” technology, which allows control of the graphics power to achieve greater battery life while playing. We have separated the tests done with PCMark 8, which are varied and fairly intensive, from those done with and without the Nvidia BatteryBoost enabled.

The battery life results are better than expected. We could do better in normal use, navigation and some multimedia use, than the 4 hours of battery life with the integrated graphics enabled. It is quite notable. With the dedicated graphics the battery suffers and cuts the battery life in half.

With the Battery Boost we can spend from 1:30 hours playing Diablo 3, up to 2:20 hours. It is a marked improvement, which also translates into less FPS, but even then still remains very attractive, at these rates, in some less demanding games. The same test using Battlefield 4 gives us an improvement of 30 minutes, slightly less than with Diablo 3, but more or less the same battery life we got with PCMark’s high consumption with dedicated graphics, the keyboard illuminated at half power and the screen brightness also dimmed halfway.

  Battery Boost On Battery Boost Off
Battlefield 4 117 minutes 87 minutes
Diablo 3 140 minutes 90 minutes
  PcMark 8
Battery Boost Off 90
Dedicated Mode 117
Saving Mode 216

Of course you can also see our battery of routine tests, and our long history of gaming machines, where the GT72 shines thanks to its unique storage system and powerful next generation graphics. It is clearly the most powerful notebook we’ve tested so far.

Conclusion

It is a good gaming machine, exceptional, with a new generation of graphics, which combines the efficiency of the Nvidia Maxwell architecture with more processing power than graphics of previous generations. It has more speed while using less battery life, even allowing us to play for more than two hours from the notebook battery. The Geforce GTX 980M is great, but is still far from being the 4k solution for a notebook or desktop, unless we find a notebook that can mount two small ones in SLI and this is not the case.

Its superlative storage system, its solvent processor and graphics make the MSI 2QE GT72 17”gaming notebook the most powerful on the market and the most powerful that has passed through our lab. It’s still not perfect, because many will miss a 3k or 4k screen and the price is quite high.

More choice, please read the article: Best Gaming Laptop 2015

1 Comment

  • RandyM

    Ok, so how does the ASUS G75VW with the following specs compare to the Samsung Series 7 NP700G7C?

    ASUS G75VW
    -Blu-Ray DVD Combo
    -Intel Core i7 3720QM (2.6 GHz)(OClock 3.6 GHz)
    -256GB SSD + 1TB 5400rpm
    -NVIDIA GTX 670M 3GB GDDR5
    -12GB DDR3 RAM
    -$1,999.00 CDN

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