MSI GT72 Dominator Pro Gaming Performance

We’ve already covered the GT72’s gaming performance with our preview article, so this is mostly a rehash. Simply put: the GTX 980M is screaming fast. I also find it a bit ironic that the notebook GTX 980M has 8GB VRAM while the desktop GTX 980 is currently still a 4GB part, even though you’re less likely to need the extra RAM on a notebook (especially one equipped with a 1080p display).

Depending on your desired FPS, the GT72 is either fast enough to handle just about everything at maximum detail (30+ FPS at 1080p), or you might need to drop a few extras like SSAA on titles like Metro: Last Light to get closer to 60FPS. Oh, and if you happen to use the GT72 with an external display that supports G-SYNC, that’s also supported. Here are the gaming results at our Enthusiast settings; Mainstream and Value are mostly not worth discussing as the GTX 980M makes short work of those, but you can view additional performance results in Notebook Bench.

Bioshock Infinite - Enthusiast

GRID 2 - Enthusiast

Metro: Last Light - Enthusiast

Sleeping Dogs - Enthusiast

Tomb Raider - Enthusiast

Our current suite of gaming tests for notebooks consists of just five titles, but I’ve run benchmarks on quite a few other games just for good measure. Metro: Last Light is the one game where the GTX 980M struggles at times, but it still manages to break 30FPS, which is the first time we’ve had a notebook with a single GPU accomplish that feat. There are other games where performance also struggles, but generally it’s with games that use SSAA, and if you turn off SSAA performance is usually much higher.

A noteworthy point of comparison is the Alienware 18, which has SLI 780M. While it's technically faster in most of the games, the single GTX 980M often comes dangerously close, and in at least one title it actually scores a win. In fact, the only game where the SLI configuration proved to be noticeably faster is BioShock Infinite, and considering we're well above 60FPS with maxed out settings the only reason you'd need SLI for BioShock is if you were using a higher resolution external LCD.

To help put performance of NVIDIA's latest GPUs in perspective, I’ve run a larger collection of 15 gaming benchmarks on the GT72 and GTX 980M. I’ve also run the same tests on the GT70, GS60, and GE60. Using maximum quality settings at 1080p, here’s what the performance breakdown looks like:

Average Performance - 15 Games

Some games easily break 60FPS and others are closer to 30FPS, but none of the games I tested had average frame rates fall below 30FPS on the GT72 and the average FPS sits at 70. In comparison, the previous generation GT70 with GTX 880M – and it has the benefit of a slightly faster CPU – averages 55 FPS, so the GTX 980M ends up being nearly 30% faster on average. The GTX 870M comes in at 46 FPS while the GTX 860M comes in at just 36 FPS, so all told the GTX 980M is a solid doubling of performance from the GTX 860M. Perhaps more telling is that the GTX 860M falls below 30FPS average in half of the games I tested (though dropping AA and reducing the graphical detail to High is usually enough to get it back above 30).

Simply put, if you’re looking for a gaming notebook that can run everything currently out there at maximum (or nearly maximum) quality without the need to pack around a 12 pound behemoth like the various SLI notebooks, the GT72 – and more importantly the GTX 980M – is the first notebook we’ve tested in quite some time that meets that requirement. It’s a gamers dream notebook, with performance that’s typically equal to (and perhaps a bit faster than) the desktop GTX 770. While that’s no longer the fastest desktop GPU, it’s still more than sufficient for most users, especially for 1080p gaming.

MSI GT72 Dominator Pro: Subjective Evaluation MSI GT72 Dominator Pro General Performance
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  • IgenIgen - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Radical overhaul: No. Incremental: Yes, at least part of the way. This years model has lost around 1 kg and is 0.8 cm slimmer, so there is that.

    Subjectively it was already a pretty good design, so I for one am happy that they did not re-invent it completely, and settled for shaving off a couple of pounds.

    My point with the IPS panel still stands.
  • dwade123 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Quite stupid to pay that much just to sign petition for console ports.
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Does something like this exist in non laptop form you can plug just monitor/kb/mouse into and works?

    I've yet to see someone offer a SFF case that has all that stuff in it, minus monitor/kb/mouse.
  • Richdog - Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - link

    Every time I see someone comparing a laptop to a desktop, I just want to slap my forehead at how mind-numbingly dense these people are.

    if I wanted a desktop I would buy a desktop. However, I would like osmething with desktop-esque power that I can actually move around my house when the situation demands it, hell, something I can take on family holidays, or to a friends, etc etc etc.

    Anyone who cannot see the point of that, or at least the basic concept behind it, seriously needs to go for an IQ test, and check that they reach the minimum levels required to use a computer.

    Personally I just bought an ASUS G751 with 4GB 980M, beautiful IPS screen and a 4710HQ for $1980. All I need to do now is add an SSD for $200 and I then have an awesome and most importantly portable gaming machine that holds its own with the average high-end desktop PC.... for $2200.

    IMO that is a hell of a good deal, and a worthwhile investment for the next few years. :)
  • inperfectdarkness - Monday, December 1, 2014 - link

    This is the crux for me. I would get so very little enjoyment out of a desktop rig--because I'm always on the go.

    Now for the cost ($3,000) this one is a little pricey for my blood--especially with the piss-poor 1080p screen (IPS or TN wouldn't matter, imho). I do think it's great that MSI has revamped their design...but case design is a very small factor for me. What I really need is high-performance, high-rez display, and just enough features to keep me from complaining.

    I got my GT60 3k IPS edition back in January...and I STILL insit that it's one of the best gaming laptops in the market--if not THE best in the segment. 3k IPS screen, 16GB ram, 128 SSD for the oS & 1TB HDD, and a 780mGTX. And that's ~$2100 of laptop. $2200 even if you count switching to an intel Wi-Fi card--which I did after I got it. I could easily have configured it to $3,000 with most of the SSD/CPU upgrades from this one...but it would still have that IPS panel.

    It's not a knock on MSI--it's an indictment of the market in general. I ordered mine the day it became available for widespread sale in the USA--THAT'S how long I'd been waiting for something better than 1080p in 15" size.
  • russblevins76 - Monday, December 22, 2014 - link

    Think I searched this old or rcblevins56
  • milan666 - Sunday, April 19, 2015 - link

    Guys, is there anyone who actually bought this machine and been using it for a while? I am seriously considering to buy either this particular model or the G751JY from ASUS.

    I have been thoroughly searched the net, read blogs, reviews about both of them and to be honest after seeing what people experienced with the ASUS (buggy USB ports, black screen boots, dead pixels, faulty keyboard and their quality assurance in general) I am shitting bricks and afraid to go for one.

    So, after all, I am about to buy a GT72 2QE with the very similar specifications, but before I invest ~2000 euros to a laptop that might serves me in the next let's say 2 years, I am about to ask you.

    Is there anybody who has the same laptop? What are your observations? Have you experienced something erroneous, like recurrring black screen at start or any mechanical issues? And finally, what are your experiences with its good old TN panel?

    Many thanks in advance, have a great day!


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