Equipped with a 2.5 GHz fourth generation Intel Core i7-4710HQ CPU, with a whopping 32 GB of RAM, an NVidia GeForce GTX 980M GPU (with 8 GB of DDR5), four incredibly fast 125 GB SSDs (with Super RAID 3 configuration) and a 1 TB HDD (7,200 RPM) the GT72 offers fantastic performance. The powerful processor and ample memory reserve allow the device to tackle a wide multitude of tasks with ease. While testing the device we were able to run 10 open web tabs, stream music, watch an HD video stream, and play a game of Hearthstone without any drop in performance.
Of course the most essential component of any gaming desktop is its GPU and the NVidia GeForce 980M GPU certainly packs a punch. With 8 GB of DDR5 the chip is more than capable of handling graphically demanding tasks such as 4K and 3D video editing along with playing the most demanding game titles. To test the MSI GT72 Dominator we ran Dragon Age Inquisition on ultra-settings a 4x anti-aliasing, even in intense fights loaded with particle effects the frame rate remained steady average at 44fps. Running a demanding title like Dragon Age Inquisition at the highest settings ensures that the GT72 Dominator is capable of playing any game currently on the market with excellent performance.
Our review unit of the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro had the following specifications:
- Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
- Intel Core i7-4710HQ (2.5 GHz, 6 MB Cache, Turbo up to 3.5 GHz)
- 17.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) anti-glare LCD
- NVidia GeForce GTX 980M 8GB DDR5
- 32 GB of DDR3
- 4 x 125 SSDs (Super RAID 3)
- 1TB HDD (7,200 RPM)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- Killer e22200 Ethernet
- Killer Wireless n/a/ac
- Dimensions: 16.85 x 11.57 x 1.89 – inches
- Weight: 8.4 pounds
- Starting price: $1,800
- Price as configured: $2,900
wPrime processor comparisons (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark 11 is a benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test (SSD on left, HDD on right):
Heat and Noise
MSI boasts that its new Cooler Boost 3 technology is quieter than ever, but we beg to differ. The laptop’s fan produces a steady hum even while idle. The cooling system becomes far more noticeable when the fans heat up and the machine is under duress. But honestly that’s okay, gaming machines, especially desktop replacements, don’t need to be silent.
In fact it’s much more important that the machine keeps the expensive equipment inside cool and secure, and the MSI GT72 Dominator manages to do that just fine. Under normal wear and tear the GT72 Dominator remains comfortably cool, at most a small amount of heat can be felt around the middle of the keyboard and at the bottom of the chassis. While playing games that heat intensifies slightly, with surfaces nearing the mid 80’s at the highest.
To test battery life, we used our new PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than our previous test, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate real life use. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than our previous benchmark.
Powermark battery life benchmark (higher score means longer battery life):
Armed with incredibly powerful specs, it comes as little surprise that the MSI GT72 Domiantor Pro is a power hog. In our test the laptop ran for 2 hours and 15 minutes before shutting down. That’s relatively short, even for a desktop replacement, but considering the weight and dimensions of the device, it’s unlikely you’ll be using the laptop for extended periods of time while away form a power source.