The second coming of "Dominator" / Laptops and PCs

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Before proceeding to the review of the laptop, it is necessary to explain that the new family of gaming laptops MSI GT72 have the same names as the previous GT70 family – Dominator and Dominator Pro. As before, "Pro" will be added to the name in case the laptop has the most powerful – for its family – video card. So, for the old MSI GT70, the most powerful graphics will be NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880M, and for the new MSI GT72 – GTX 980M. In this article, we will often refer to our experimental "Dominator Pro", while we will always keep in mind the model from the GT72 family, namely, MSI GT27 2QE Dominator Pro.

The times when it was enough to create a gaming laptop with a fast graphics card and a powerful processor, pushing it into a thick case and lighting it with all the colors of the rainbow, are gradually disappearing into the past. Now, to attract buyers, manufacturers have to do their best to add something special to the powerful hardware. And if this "something" does not have competitors, the better for the manufacturer and worse for competitors. For example, one of the fashion trends can be called the ability to programmatically reassign buttons on the keyboard – this trend was successfully set in MSI and picked up at ASUS.

As you might guess, MSI did not limit itself to the possibility of "rebuilding" the keyboard. One of the main trump cards of the "Dominator Pro" we are considering is the possibility of upgrading its graphics. A discrete video adapter, together with its video memory, is an MXM board – a mobile module on a PCI-Express bus. In theory, to replace graphics, it's enough to replace the old module with a new graphics card, but in practice things are somewhat different. The first MXM-video card for such an upgrade is not suitable – in MSI they plan to launch the release of "upgrade kits", or, as they are called in the company, MXM Gaming Graphics Upgrade Kit. Such a set will include a video card and part of the laptop cooling system.

At the time of this writing, the MXM Gaming Graphics Upgrade Kit with NVIDIA GTX 980M graphics already exists. It is designed for models GT72 with graphics younger than the GTX 980M. That's just on sale in Russia such a set yet. The timing of its appearance, as well as the price, are still unclear.

As for the other "chips" of the notebook, in addition to the updated graphics and a customizable keyboard, it is worth noting several RAID 0 array assembled from four M.2 SSDs, Cooler Boost 3 cooling system, three independent audio amplifiers and MSI Shift system, Which is able to monitor the performance of the laptop depending on the selected profile.

All features of the MSI GT72 2QE notebook

# External appearance

MSI GT72 2QE completely changed its design: the new "Dominator Pro" looks much stricter and more pleasant than the previous one. As for the materials from which the laptop is made, its lid remains metal, which allows it to collect fingerprints as well as its predecessor. The maximum opening angle of the lid is almost 180 degrees.

The old MSI GT70 is depicted on the left, and the new MSI GT72 on the right

The work area is also made of metal, except for the palm rest, which was made of plastic and covered with "soft-touch". It is noteworthy that on the palm rest "fingers" are not collected as much as on the lid or on other parts of the working area. Probably, an oleophobic coating is used here.

The old MSI GT70 is depicted on the left, and the new MSI GT72 on the right

The updated "Dominator Pro" turned out to be a little thinner than the old one. Let's remind, that at MSI GT70 the maximum thickness of the case made 62 mm. And at our today's experimental, MSI GT72, the maximum thickness of the case is almost 54 mm, which is very good. The most powerful gaming laptops have never been slim – this is not feasible for technical reasons, but the reduction in the thickness of the device can not but rejoice.

The keyboard of our experimental was a success – thanks to the metal substrate, it will not bend even in the center, and the Windows button, transferred to the right side of the keyboard, excludes accidental pressing during the game. Pressing the buttons is pleasant and easily distinguishable. The function of the software reassignment of the keys remained in place, as the production of keyboards for MSI gaming laptops is still the responsibility of SteelSeries.

There are several multimedia keys on the left of the keyboard. Under the button [Power] there is a button for switching graphics, the start button for Cooler Boost 3, XSplit Gamecaster and the key for switching profiles of the keyboard.

Switching the graphics of the GT72 is made simply nowhere: after clicking on the desired key, a window appears on the screen in which you are asked to restart the laptop. If you agree with this proposal, after the reboot, either discrete or integrated graphics will be activated – it all depends on which video adapter was active before the reboot. This is nice, because when you use only the processor video core, the battery life will significantly increase. NVIDIA Optimus technology in MSI GT72 is not implemented, that is, the graphics can only be switched manually.

Touchpad "Dominator Pro" is very interesting. The large sensor area (110 × 65 mm) is flush with the working area, and it is made of the same material, and from the "insensitive" plastic it is separated by frames that glow in the dark and are completely invisible to the touch. Working with the touchpad is convenient: the gestures were handled without problems, and the keys located separately make the work much easier. Due to the large size of the touchpad, the absence of tactile frames did not affect the usability of the work, however, we are not ready to state that such a move of the manufacturer will appeal to all users.

Touchpad GT72 with front facing back

Connectors from "Dominator Pro" enough for all occasions. On the left side of the laptop is a memory card reader, 4 USB 3.0 ports (one of which can charge phones and tablets with the laptop's power off) and the same 3.5 mm mini jacks – headphone and microphone jacks, as well as linear Output and input. On the right side of the laptop is the last pair of USB 3.0 and an optical drive. In our modification, the BD-RE drive is installed, which allows you to burn BD-R and BD-RE discs.

There is nothing on the front panel, except for battery power indicators, wireless network activity and hard drive activity, which are located closer to the left side. But on the rear panel of the GT72 you can find two Mini DisplayPort (V1.2) ports, turned upside down by HDMI 1.4 and a gigabit Ethernet port.

# Specifications

Here you can confirm the accuracy of the information specified in the description.

Here you can confirm the accuracy of the information specified in the description.

Here you can confirm the accuracy of the information specified in the description.

Here you can confirm the accuracy of the information specified in the description.

Approximate price

The MSI GT72 2QE-240RU The Dominaor Pro
The processor Intel Core i7-4710HQ;
2.5 GHz (up to 3.5 GHz in Turbo Boost mode); 6 MB L3;
Four computing cores, eight streams, TDP 47 W
The graphic controller NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M (8 GB GDDR5), the standard MXM;
Processor video core Intel HD Graphics 4600;
There is a possibility of an upgrade of discrete graphics in the future
Switching between adapters is carried out with the help of a special key
Displaying the display 17.3 inches;
The resolution is 1920×1080 (129 PPI), the type of the matrix is ​​TN;
Frosted cover, LED-backlight;
Matrix Model: CHIMEI INNOLUX N173HGE-E11
Operative memory 32 GB DDR3L-1600 (four expansion slots,
four 8 GB modules are installed, partial replacement of modules is provided)
Hard drive RAID-0 512 GB (actually – 475 GB), made up of four M.2 SSD Toshiba THNSNJ128G8NU with a capacity of 128 GB each;
HDD 1 TB (HGST HTS721010A9E630);
Form factor 2.5 ", thickness 9.5 mm
Interfaces 6 × USB 3.0;
2 × Mini DisplayPort v1.2;
1 × HDMI v1.4;
1 × Ethernet;
1 × headphone output (mini-jack 3.5 mm);
1 × microphone input (mini-jack 3.5 mm);
1 × line output (mini-jack 3,5 mm);
1 × line input (mini-jack 3,5 mm);
Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, 1×1, 2.4 GHz, (Realtek RTL8723BE Wireless LAN 802.11n PCI-E NIC)
Bluetooth 4.0
The network adapter 10/100/1000 Mbit / s (Qualcomm Killer e2200)
Optical drive BD-RE (Hitachi-LG HL-DT-ST BD-RE BU20N)
The connector of the flash-card SD (SDHC / SDXC)
The sound of the One microphone, two speakers, one subwoofer
Battery Built-in, 83.25 Wh (7500 mAh, 11.1 V), 9 cells
The power supply unit 230 W (19.5 V, 11.8 A)
The size 428 × 294 × 53.8
Mass 3.8 kg
Operating system software Microsoft Windows 8.1 for one language (64 bit)
Warranty 2 years 160 000 rubles

* According to the data of "Yandex.Market" for December 25, 2014.

The laptop has an Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor with a frequency of 2.5 GHz (up to 3.5 GHz in Turbo Boost mode), a L3 cache of 6 MB and a 47 W heat pump. According to the official MSI website, GT72 2QE versions with a more powerful processor can be on sale: i7-4980HQ with a frequency of 2.8 GHz (up to 4 GHz in Turbo Boost mode).

RAM in the laptop is enough not only for games, but for serious work. Inside the "Dominator Pro" is 32 GB DDR3L-1600, scored by four modules of 8 GB each. In this case, two memory modules are located under the keyboard – the user will not be able to reach them, and the other two modules can be found under the service panel, which is dismantled without any problems.

The laptop has two video adapters: Intel HD 4600 processor core and discrete video, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with a huge amount of video memory – 8 GB GDDR5. Such an abundance of memory is explained by the fact that you can connect three external monitors to the laptop and at the same time continue to use the display of the most portable PC. In other words, the GT72 has support for NVIDIA Surround. For games running in this mode, just such a large amount of video memory is useful. True, it is not yet clear how the mobile video adapter will cope with such a high load in modern top games like Far Cry 4.

But with the wireless networks, our hero is not very good. The Realtek RTL8723BE module installed in our GT72 version does not support the 802.11ac standard and operates at 5 GHz. Support for Bluetooth 4.0, of course, is available. In addition, in some forums you can find reports on problems in the operation of the Realtek RTL8723BE module. Therefore, the 3DNews test lab recommends paying attention to the GT72 modifications with the Killer DoubleShot Pro network adapter, which supports 802.11ac wireless networks and 5 GHz frequencies. In any case, no complaints were received on this module.

The disk subsystem MSI GT72 – which the manufacturer calls Super Raid 3 – consists of four M.2 SSDs, integrated into an array of RAID 0. On the one hand, such an array can show excellent read and write speeds. On the other hand, if one of the drives fails, you will have to forget about all the data that was in the RAID array. Therefore, the most important files are best stored on a regular hard drive, which is also installed inside the laptop. Its volume is 1 TB.

The battery of our experimental is built-in, with a very impressive capacity: 83.25 W · h (7500 mAh, 11.1 V), and it consists of 9 cells. As for the power supply, its power is 230 W (19.5 V, 11.8 A).

Find MSI GT72 laptops on sale, but the prices will vary greatly from store to store and depend on modification. This is caused by the unstable ruble exchange rate and the hype that has engulfed citizens, under the influence of which they began to buy up all electronics urgently. At the time of this writing, the MSI GT72 2QE laptop was found in only a few online stores, and its average price was about 160,000 rubles. Most likely, this is a temporary, inflated price, due to the rapidly growing dollar rate – in early December MSI GT72 2QE cost much less: about 115,000 rubles. Also note that for various reasons, the configuration of MSI samples that fall into our test lab is most often different from what goes on the shelves of stores. That is, most likely, this is exactly the configuration that we are considering, it will not be on sale, but it will be possible to find both more powerful and cheaper options.

# The internal device

The bottom of the laptop is held by 7 screws with a cross head and a large number of plastic latches. Nevertheless, it is quite easy to remove, mainly thanks to the arm rest, which can be found on the back of the laptop, under the connectors.

After dismantling the bottom, you can access almost all the important components of the notebook: a hard drive, a daughter board with M.2 SSD drives, two RAM modules, a Wi-Fi module and a cooling system. The remaining components of the laptop are closed with a plastic frame.

The processor and video card "Dominator Pro" are cooled using a massive cooling system, which includes two turbines 22 mm high. For comparison, let's say that the thickness of many ultrabooks does not exceed 21 mm, so the dimensions of the "Dominator Pro" SO are respected.

On the left is the video card of the laptop, and on the right is the processor, unplugged on the board

Processor cooling system

By the way, when you upgrade graphics, you do not need to remove the whole cooling system. You can do with the dismantling of its left part and the removal of the casing, which presses the heat pipe from the left radiator to the heat spreading plate of the processor.

Removed cooling system MSI GT72 2QE assembly

After complete dismantling of the SB, it is possible to tackle the MSI GT72 2QE plastic frame, but there will not be much sense in this – there are no nodes under it that could attract the attention of a simple user.

If you notice an error – select it with the mouse and press CTRL + ENTER.

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