MSI GT72 Dominator Pro featuring nVIDIA GTX980M graphics review

Dec 1, 2008
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MSI Computers have shifted to Gaming market and gotten more and more attention in recent years.
Couple years ago, I found out that expanding MSI product line not only enhance various products but also elevate MSI repute in users mind.
Recently, MSI has published a high end 18” Gaming Laptop featuring mechanical backlit Keyboard which catches eyes .
The original 17” GT70 has been replaced by whole new GT72 since last quarter, 2014.

Today’s major character is new GT72, which separate into two editions due to market segmentation.
Featuring nVIDIA GTX 970M along with 256GB SSD: GT72 2QD Dominator
Featuring nVIDIA GTX 980M along with 512GB SSD: GT72 2QE Dominator Pro
There are several editions of GT72 2QE Dominator Pro:
GT72 2QE Dominator Pro using 512GB SSD; luxurious edition does not serve headset, mouse, backpack and more accessories.
Today’s major character uses highest level limited edition of GT72, CPU uses much higher class than Intel Core i7-4710HQ.

First of all, look up top of GT72, made by Mg-Li metal.
With brush metal and aesthetics lines inspired by matte black racing cars .Of course, MSI logo and Dragon Gaming badge are indispensable.
Compare to GT70, GT72 is much slim and light; dimensions the system is (WxDxH) 428 X 294 X 48mm and weighs 3.78KG.

GT72 goes with 17.3″ screen .The exclusive backpack size is much larger than 14-15.6”s’.
The appearances of backpack are: design with black, Dragon Gaming badge on front and two red line on broadside.

Picture of backpack back side, there are many specifics design for more protected and so does the inside of backpack.
It might seem a little heavy when carry it; however as long as being adjusted, you will feel better protection.

Packaging and Bundle:
Bundles with usual documentation – manual, two-year warranty and drivers software disc ;
Delta Electronics 230w model ,power code , MSI gaming mouse pad, keyboard projector skin ,
SteelSeries KINZU V2 gaming mouse , SteelSeries SIBERIA V2 headset.

Underneath of GT72 is a lot different than GT70, which laminar casing with huge area of red ventilation outlets.
The battery of GT72 has been switched into irremovable and featuring 9-Cell, 87Wh Lithium-ion battery.
Using a 2.1 sub system based around, and bottom right of red block is where the XBS bass place.

B-side goes with a FHD (1920?1080) non-glare display and it is an 17.3″ screen with LED backlight technology which comforts your eyes while using in a long time.
The webcam at the top of the screen is capable of 1080p at 30FPS and array mics on two sides with digital mic support.

C-side is a place where usually be touched by hands.
The above red-spot area of C-side is speakers – collaboration with Dynaudio(there would be details on following review).
The trackpad and tray is made by plastic while other place is made by metals with texture, it great artistic temperament.

The new design on left side is shot-cut function button.
From top to down : Power Button , GPU manual switch Button , Cooler Boost Button , Gamercaster Live Streaming , and SteelSeries Engine .
GPU manual switch Button: Users could manually switch from the describe GPU to the I-GP on processor.
Cooler Boost Button: Cooler Boost 3 is used to manually kick up the fan speed to provide more cooling and performance potential.
There are three modes can be easily switched to "Sport" (maximum power) – fan noise above 50dBA, "Comfort" (limited GPU clock),
or "Green" (limited CPU & GPU power) – fan noise below 45dBA via FN + F7.
Dec 1, 2008
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Rear I/O
From left to right : Lock \ 2 X Mini-DisplayPort \ HDMI \ RJ45 jack \ DC in
Large set of blood-red vents on two sides

Right I/O
From left to right: BD-RE BU20NODD \ 2 X USB 3.0

Left I/O
From left to right : 4 X USB 3.0 \ Line-in \ Line-out \ Mic-in \ Headphone-out \ SD (XC/HC)

The hinge design of GT70 is 2 small ones, on GT72 it became 2larger strong ones, it’s very stable when open up the monitor.
And the open angle to 180 degree, really improved a lot.

Windwithme did disassemble MSI GT72 Dominator Pro, there are two huge Cooler Boost 3 dual-fans on two sides in order to cooling both CPU and GPU.
GT72 features an upgradable MXM design, easily to upgrade higher level GPU in future.
On the middle, there are 4 RAM slots with 8GBX4 (32GB).
And the right side has two 2.5” SATA3 HHD. It’s a little waste of the 2.5” space couldn’t use SATA3 interface.
The left side is the 5W subwoofer of 2.1 channel sound system.
There are four 256GB M.2 SSD on upon middle. It’s the interior placement of GT72.
The dynamic design of subwoofer is not only to prevent vibration, but also stabilize the vibration from tables.

GT72 2QE Dominator Pro features Intel Haswell platform
CPU uses Intel Core i7-4980HQ (2.8GHz<up to 4.00 GHz>, L3 6MB, Lithography: 22nm),
Chipset: HM87. 4th Generation Intel? Core™ i7 Processors is now the highest class in Notebook CPU,
Processor Graphics is Intel? Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200.

Sound Blaster Cinema2 software
Five models setups and each model would have five different functions.

MSI GT72 Dominator Pro’s speakers collaborate with Dynaudio, a well-established audio from Denmark.
Here comes the experience of subjective feel about sound:
High frequency: Never hear high pitch sound, above the average.
Median frequency: The clarity is extremely great, but it should be little bit better.
Low frequency: Low frequency is best above these three models, and also the XBS bass is perfect and clear.
GT72 is much better than GT70 in HiFi sound quality.
If you would like to watch videos, playing games or listening music, GT72 would serve you a great sound quality.
SteelSeries Engine 2 SSE Software
85% of stylization in 74 keys, possessing: Keypress macro, Text macro, Launch and Disable functions.

Showing the hardware status, supporting applications, and mouse speed …etc plenty function
Premium with luxury Gamecaster software, you may use 1080P recording or live broadcast during gaming.
After register in V2 edition, you may have superior software, Broadcaster.

System Performance:
CrystalMark 2004R3 => 436364
GT72 gets really high scores, over 10,000 points higher than other high end gaming competitors I tested before.
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CPU => 601 cb
CPU(Single Core) => 141 cb

Fritz Chess Benchmark => 27.25/13081
FRYRENDER Running Time => 5m 14s

PCMARK7 - 6535

GT72 features Intel Core i7-4980HQ, the most powerful performance in Notebook CPU.
It did test single core, multi core CPU previously, and the result is competitive as Desktop’s
Plus nVIDIA GTX980M GPU, GT72 get remarkable comment by these two test software.
3DMark Vantage => P10929
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
Another highlight of GT72 is 3D performance, MSI is the first one of the candidates who have nVIDIA GTX 980M products.
Beside, this is my first time reaching Processor Graphics is Intel? Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200.
Here are the shares of these two newest GPU 3D performances.

3DMark Vantage => P34172

3DMark11 => P2639
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200
Some of you might be curious why test by this past software, 3DMark Vantage?
From my point of view, due to the fact that there’s few games support DirectX 11, basic 3D performance is important.
Through these test results, you would realize that nVIDIA GTX 980M is the best for sure while Intel Iris Pro Graphics 520 also does a great job in Processor Graphics.
3DMark11 => P2639
Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200

3DMark11 => P12000

At 3DMARK11, nVIDIA GTX 980M got a nice P12000.
Compare with N-15 nVIDIA GTX 880M SLI only got P15000.
It could tell that N-16 nVIDIA increases 40~50% performance improvement than N-15.
Even on Desktop, people discuss VGA of 970/980 graphics, notebook featuring newest GTX 970M/980M is beneficial in 3D performance boost.
Next test is for nVIDIA GTX 980M GDDR5 8GB
3DMARK => 8139 / 19776 / 23021 / 144286

Heaven Benchmark 4.0
DX11 1920 X 1080 => FPS 82.8

GRID Autosport Ultra mode
AVEGAGE FPS => 109.89
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FAR CRY 4 is one of the gaming heavyweights also requires high-end hardware.
Testing was performed at 1920?1080 with Ultra in-game settings.
Front scene - 141 FPS

Other scene - 68FPS
FAR CRY 4 is an extremely exquisite game , and even unhindered while full loading .

At mobile platform, GTX 980M is much powerful than previous GTX 880M.
Look up Desktop, GTX 980 and 980M are very close on the performance.
It helps Notebook sphere a lot in 3D performance, shrinking the gap between these two platforms.
nVIDIA GTX 980M could be suitable for most of 3D game series and own an advantageous position.
GT72 2QE Dominator Pro features perfect storage devices.
Since Super RAID 3 with 256GB SSD X4 + 1TB HDD 7200rpm , It transfer into M.2 , KINGSTONE RBU-SNS8100S3256GD1 256GB,
C: 256GB M.2 SSD X 4,actual capacity : 952GB
AS SSD Benchmark - 1875
Seq Read - 1360.28 MB/s Write - 1146.47 MB/s
4K - 64Thrd Read - 601.59 MB/s Write - 528.48 MB/s

SSD Benchmark - 7139.09
ATTO DISK Benchmark above 64k , it will reach read speed : 1539Mb/s,load speed : 1322 MB/s
Seq Read - 1311 MB/s Write - 1132 MB/s

GT72 designed with M.2 SSDs expandable 4 slots, and empty more space than mSATA .
Although SATA3 SDD is better than M.2 SSD, M.S SSD still offers high bandwidth and expandability
Super RAID 3 features SSD is extremely fast.
You could refer the test results, it brings Gaming laptop into speeding-storage level.
Temperature : 22℃ , CPU cooling testing
GPU with nVIDIA GTX 980M, full loading .
Turn off Cooler Boost 3 , standby mode : 42℃~45℃

Turn on Cooler Boost 3 , standby mode : 30℃~33℃

Turn off Cooler Boost 3,running LinX 0.6.5 with CPU full loading : 80℃~87℃

Turn on Cooler Boost 3,running LinX 0.6.5 with CPU full loading : 72℃~77℃

In past days, MSI GT70 is weaker than DELL Alienware in cooling system.
However , we improve our cooling system in GT72 .
The previous test result shows that dual-fan design with plenty of heat pipes not only cool the GPU or CPU ,
but much obvious when turning on Cooler Boost 3 -- 12℃ differ by standby mode , 8~10℃ differ by full loading .
It is quit quiet during using GT72. As long as turning on cooler Boost 3 would come out some noise but it is below acceptance.
With SteelSeries KINZU V2 gaming mouse, the look and feel are so excellent.
DPI : 3200CPI、3600FPS、65IPS…etc .
With SteelSeries SIBERIA V2 gaming headset, it’s high price in gaming headset market.
Its provide MSI limited edition, specially a Dragon Gaming badge on earmuffs.

Let’s see how the battery life goes, setting full power loading on Windwos 8.1.
Playing DVD for two hours with nVIDIA GTX 980M, the battery life remains around 10%.
Playing DVD for two hours and 40 minutes with processor graphics by Intel? Iris™ Pro Graphics 5200 , the battery life remains around 10% .
Such high end Gaming battery life in GT72 is a lot satisfying.
Summary of MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro
1.GT72 is better than before by its stylish ID and also by simplifying the weight and height.
2.Featuring nVIDIA GTX 980M GPU, the most powerful 3D GPU now.
3.Either wire or wireless features Killer Gaming chip, using Killer DoubleShot Pro technology.
4.Super RAID3 with M.2 SSD X 4 and 2.5” 1T HHD could make great balance between speed and capacity.
5.Featuring FullHD resolution LCD comforts eyes while playing games or videos.
6.Keyboard by SteelSeries with full color LED back light, KLM light management and four types of virtual function make itself a lot useful.
7.Cooler Boost3 with due fan design makes GT72 a cooling master in high end Gaming.
8.Audio Boost 2 by Dynaudio with 3 independent AMP makes best sound experience.
9.Matrix Display supports max 4 displays to expand the vision.(with up to 4K resolutions or multitask effectively by HDMI )
10.Finest GT72 featuring Intel Core i7-4980HQ, the most powerful processor graphics now.
1.Pad / clicks usage is not clever. It needs time to get with it.
2.Recommend that the weight and size of backpack should optimize in order to get more portable and handy.
3.SteelSeries keyboard is a little soft, it could strength its solid feedback.
4.The trackpad and tray is made by plastic makes GT72 lower in quality, compares to GT70’s metal design.

Performance ★★★★★★★★★☆ 92/100
Material ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 88/100
Specification ★★★★★★★★★☆ 92/100
ID design ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 88/100
C/P value ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 72/100
You could see that there are two types of GT72 2QD Dominator on MSI website, they might use SSD,DDR3 or SKUs to distinction .
That makes GT72’s price zone much wider. In my point of view, featuring GTX 970M might not be as better as GTX 980M in GT72, but it’s suitable in most conditions.
Speaking to price, GT72 with GTX 970M is much cheaper than GT72 2QE Dominator Pro and better C/P value.
Windwithme has used GT72 for 3 weeks, I feels that GT72 could be best in high end Gaming market, but GT72 still could improve in some aspects.
GT72 is unbeatable on different aspects : CPU、GPU、DRAM、SSD、Cooling system .
Hopes MSI would provide more editions of GT72 for consumers who could have more choice by their budget coditions.
Above comments and test results came from windwithme, offer advanced users and enthusiast gamers a reference.
At last , windwithme would like to share the Spyder color calibration file to any one bought GT72 .
windwithme - MSI GT72 2QE Dominator Pro
This article also posted on my personal blog WIND3C , welcome your visit.


sugar 'n spikes
Mar 5, 2002
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Ever since I had two, yes - two, MSI motherboards crap out on me one after the other some years ago (at least 12 years ago, maybe more) I've steadfastly ignored MSI products (ok, apart from one video card) but it looks as if they may at last be worth trying again.

Perhaps when I need another motherboard I may try an MSI board.

And yes, that machine does look rather good.

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