MSI showcased several new gaming notebooks with unique features along with a number of updates to existing lines at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show. All of the 2016 MSI gaming notebooks run Windows 10 and feature full HD (1920 x 1080) displays, SteelSeries gaming keyboards, and Killer Gaming Network E2400 Wi-Fi as standard.
GT72S G Tobii
One of the most interesting gaming notebooks we spotted at CES is the all new MSI GT72S G Tobii, which includes integrated Tobii EyeX Controller cameras for enhanced facial recognition and eye tracking.
This might sound like a strange thing to put into a gaming notebook, but Tobii is already working with multiple game developers to incorporate eye tracking into the latest AAA game titles. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate already fully supports Tobii and that allows the game to auto-target enemies and grapple points as soon as you look at them. Likewise, when your character travels around the game environment the camera will move left or right as your eyes move over to the left or right sides of the screen. As an added bonus, the Tobii software will automatically pause your game if it sees you get up and walk away from the computer.
The main point we want to make here is that the Tobii eye tracking is remarkably accurate, seemingly instantaneous, and incredibly immersive. Think of it as a way to create a virtual reality environment without the goofy-looking VR headset. We can easily imagine a future where every first person shooter uses eye tracking to allow you to lock onto enemies with nothing more than a glance. This technology is the very definition of game changing; players with eye tracking will have a tremendous competitive advantage over opponents who are stuck using only a controller or a keyboard and mouse.
The rest of the specs for the GT72S G Tobii are pretty standard for a high-end 17.3-inch gaming notebook in early 2016. You’ll get a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6820HK processor (2.9-3.8 GHz), Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics with 8GB of GDDR5, 32GB of DDR4 system memory, a 256GB SSD (NVMe M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4) and a 1TB SATA HDD (7200RPM) for storage.
Sometimes you need to have a more affordable product that is “almost” as good as your premium, Halo product for those customers that don’t want extra bells and whistles. That is where the new GS72 Stealth comes in. The GS72 Stealth shares much of the same chassis design and hardware as the previously mentioned GT72S G Tobii, but without the fancy eye tracking and facial recognition.
The GS72 Stealth is another premium 17.3-inch gaming notebook but this one includes less bleeding-edge technology and a more affordable price tag. The GS72 comes with a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor (2.6-3.5 GHz), Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics with 3GB of GDDR5, 16GB of DDR4 system memory, a 128GB SSD (PCIe Gen3 x4) and a 1TB SATA HDD (7200RPM) for storage.
MSI revealed the 13.3-inch GS30 Shadow and Gaming Dock last year as the company’s first notebook with external desktop graphics. This year, the 14-inch GS40 Phantom features completely new (and optional) gaming dock for a desktop-class graphics card.
The GS40 features a sixth-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. Unlike the old GS30 which only included Intel integrated graphics inside the notebook, the GS40 features the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GPU for mobile gaming.
We were pretty impressed by the original MSI Gaming Dock last year because the proprietary docking station connector provides a full-bandwidth pass-through for the desktop PCIe 3.0×16 slot used for desktop graphics cards. Our only complaint about the old gaming dock was that it was too massive … almost like sticking your laptop on top of a full-size desktop PC.
The new MSI Gaming Dock is more streamlined but still has room for a desktop graphics card inside. Now our only quibble is that MSI hasn’t figured out a way to allow you to switch between the notebook graphics and the external desktop graphics card without restarting Windows.