MSI plans to take the idea of thin and light laptops to all new levels in 2014 with the upcoming release of the MSI GT72 Dominator (which will replace the current flagship gaming notebook, the GT70, later this year. We had an early look at the new GT72 and the upcoming MSI WS60 Workstation and it’s clear that MSI is paying attention to the competition … and trying to raise the bar.
We gave the current MSI GT70 Dominator some of our highest marks for a gaming notebook, but the 17.3-inch GT72 Dominator takes that same level of extreme gaming performance and squeezes it into a thinner and lighter chassis made of quality matte black plastics and weighing just 8.59 pounds with a thickness of only 1.9 inches in the rear. MSI promises the battery will last for around four hours of real-world use for web browsing and watching videos or just under an hour if you’re playing a game at the maximum possible settings.
The GT72 uses an updated SteelSeries keyboard with customizable LED backlighting and a reasonably large touchpad. As with the previous-generation keyboard, the keys feel solid and responsive and there is virtually no flex under heavy typing pressure.
MSI chose to stick with a 1920x1080p full HD display in order to keep costs reasonable for gamers and I doubt many people will complain about the lack of a 3K or 4K display given the fact that MSI plans to pack this notebook with the latest Nvidia GeForce GPU at the time of launch. You’ll also find quality Dynaudio speakers and a built-in subwoofer for quality sound.
The most impressive change in the GT72 other than the thinner and lighter design is the cooling system. MSI has switched to multiple fans of different sizes and completely changed the bottom air intake and rear ventilation to help keep this new gaming laptop cool … and look cool in the process. The bottom of the GT72 reminds us of the see-through panels on custom desktop gaming rigs.
In terms of specs, the GT72 will ship with Windows 8.1, an Intel Core i7 processor and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M graphics card (or newer, depending on Nvidia’s release schedule). At launch, the GT72 will offer 32GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM and four 128GB solid state drives in a Raid 0 configuration with a 1TB HDD.
Interestingly, the power brick for the GT72 is a new 230 Watt model that is only slightly larger than the physical dimensions of a normal power brick for a 17-inch consumer laptop. It might seem odd that we point this out, but most gaming laptops have GIANT power bricks.
MSI WS60: Life isn’t all fun and games
While the latest gaming notebooks are always impressive, we were equally blown away by MSI’s newest mobile workstation, the MSI WS60 Workstation. If it looks somewhat familiar, that’s because the WS60 is essentially a heavily modified MSI GS60 Ghost gaming laptop that has gone through additional workstation certification with a minor redesign. The WS60 weighs just 4.36 pounds and features a 15.6-inch screen available in either a 1920x1080p resolution or an premium model with 3K WQHD (2880×1620) resolution.
As a workstation, the WS60 will ship with Windows 7 Professional and come with a fourth generation Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia Quadro K2100 graphics. We were also pleased to see the WS60 will feature a Thunderbolt 2.0 port for users who need the highest-speed data transfers available.
The GT72 Dominator will be available for pre-orders this month in the US starting at around $2499 depending on configuration. The MSI WS60 is expected to be available in August with a price tag of around $2000.