As noted in the conclusion of our GTX 980M/GTX 970M launch article, we're going to be covering some of the notebooks that are being announced today in separate Pipeline pieces. MSI has the largest selection of notebooks, with four of their existing products receiving updates to support 980M/970M along with one all-new design, the GT72 Dominator. We'll start with the GT72 Dominator, as it's obviously the most interesting option. There are seven different models of the GT72 being offered, with varying storage, RAM, and GPU configurations. Here's a brief overview of the specs:

MSI GT72 Dominator (Pro) Specifications
CPU Core i7-4980HQ (2.8-4GHz)
Core i7-4710HQ (2.5-3.5GHz)
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 6GB
RAM 12GB up to 32GB DDR3L-1600
(Four SO-DIMM Slots)
SSD 128GB to 1TB M.2 SATA
(2-4 SSDs in RAID 0 for 256GB and up)
HDD 1TB 7200RPM
Optical Super Multi (9.5mm)
BD Burner 9.5mm
Display 17.3" Full HD eDP Anti-Glare (1920x1080)
Networking Killer Gaming Network
Killer N1525 Combo (2x2 802.11ac + BT 4.0)
I/O Ports 6 x USB 3.0
Flash Reader (SDXC/SDHC)
HDMI 1.4
2 x mini-DisplayPort 1.2
Input Steel Series Keyboard
Multi-touch Touchpad
Power 9-cell battery
230W AC adapter
Extras Full HD webcam (1080p30)
Configurable Multi-colored Backlighting
Anti-Ghost Key
OS Windows 8.1 Multi-Language
Dimensions 16.85" x 11.57"x 1.89"
(428mm x 294mm x 48mm)
Weight 8.4 lbs (3.82kg)
MSRP $2000-$3900

Fundamentally, there are two variants: the GT72 Dominator Pro comes with a GTX 980M while the GT72 Dominator comes with GTX 970M. All seven models come with some form of solid state storage (from 128GB with a single M.2 SATA SSD up to 1TB with four 256GB M.2 SATA SSDs in RAID 0), and they all include a secondary 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive. Pricing starts at $2000 for the GT72 Dominator with GTX 970M, while the top configuration tips the scales at nearly four grand ($3900) – obviously, the cost of four 256GB SSDs can add up. Finally, the NVIDIA GPUs seem to have twice the standard RAM on the GT72, so the GTX 970M comes with 6GB while the GTX 980M comes with 8GB GDDR5. These are clearly intended as high-end gaming systems, and the minimum price for a GT72 with GTX 980M is $2400, which will get you a Core i7-4710HQ, 2x8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a Blu-ray burner (along with the other common features listed above).

Note that there have been some significant changes to the GT72 compared to the previous generation GT70 platform, though we haven't reviewed the GT72 (which launched last month) yet. MSI has reworked the chassis and motherboard to provide six USB 3.0 and two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 ports, and the new GT72 chassis also comes with dual cooling fans, which should address one of our biggest complaints with the previous GT70 design. Support for up to four M.2 SATA SSDs is also new. Needless to say, we're definitely looking forward to testing the GT72; MSI provided some photos of the GT72 in the gallery below.

MSI GT60/GT70 Dominator Specifications
CPU Core i7-4710HQ (2.5-3.5GHz)
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3GB
RAM 8GB or 16GB DDR3L-1600
(Four SO-DIMM Slots)
SSD 128GB or 2x128GB mSATA
(None on base model)
HDD 1TB 7200RPM
Optical BD Combo
Super Multi (base model)
Display GT70: 17.3" Full HD Anti-Glare (1920x1080)
GT60: 15.6" Full HD Anti-Glare (1920x1080)
Networking Killer Gaming Network
Intel 7260 (2x2 802.11 ac + BT4.0)
I/O Ports 3 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
Flash Reader (SDXC/SDHC)
HDMI 1.4
1 x mini-DisplayPort 1.2
1 x VGA
Input Steel Series Keyboard
Multi-touch Touchpad
Power 9-cell battery
180W AC adapter
Extras Full HD webcam (1080p30)
Keyboard Backlighting
OS Windows 8.1 Multi-Language
Dimensions GT70: 16.85" x 11.34" x 2.17"
(428mm x 288mm x 55mm)

GT60: 15.55" x 10.51" x 2.16"
(395mm x 267mm x 55mm)
Weight GT70: 8.6 lbs. (3.91kg)
GT60: 7.7 lbs. (3.50kg)
MSRP $1600-$2100

Moving on, the GT60 and GT70 Dominator have also been updated with the GTX 970M (but not the 980M). The core differences from the new GT72 are easily summarized. GT70 provides four SO-DIMM slots but MSI only populates two of them on the new GTX 970M models. The SSDs are mSATA and you can get the GT70 with none, one, or two SSDs (and a 1TB 7200RPM HDD). In terms of I/O, there are two USB 2.0 ports, one fewer total USB ports, a VGA port in place of one of the mDP ports, and the chassis is a bit thicker and heavier. MSI doesn't mention multi-colored keyboard backlighting, so it looks like they're going with a standard white backlight. Finally, the AC adapter is only 180W for these models and the WiFi is a standard Intel 7260 module. As for the GT60, there's only one model and it matches the base model GT70 in specs, so it's basically a bit lighter and has a smaller display.

MSI GS60/GS70 Specifications
Notebook GS60 Ghost Pro GS70 Stealth Pro
CPU Core i7-4710HQ (2.5-3.5GHz) Core i7-4710HQ (2.5-3.5GHz)
GPU GeForce GTX 970M 3GB/6GB GeForce GTX 970M 3GB/6GB
RAM 12GB or 16GB DDR3L-1600
(Two SO-DIMM Slots)
12GB or 16GB DDR3L-1600
(Two SO-DIMM Slots)
SSD 128GB or 2x128GB M.2 SATA 128GB to 3x256GB mSATA
HDD 1TB 7200RPM 1TB 7200RPM
Optical N/A N/A
Display 15.6" Full HD eDP WVA (1920x1080)
15.6" WQHD+ 3K IPS (2880x1620)
17.3" Full HD eDP Anti-Glare
(1920x1080)
Networking Killer Gaming Network
Killer N1525 Combo
(2x2 802.11ac + BT4.0)
Killer Gaming Network
Killer N1525 Combo
(2x2 802.11ac + BT4.0)
I/O Ports 4 x USB 3.0
Flash Reader (SDXC/SDHC)
HDMI 1.4
2 x mini-DisplayPort 1.2
4 x USB 3.0
Flash Reader (SDXC/SDHC)
HDMI 1.4
2 x mini-DisplayPort 1.2
Input Steel Series Keyboard
Click Pad Touchpad
Steel Series Keyboard
Click Pad Touchpad
Power 6-cell battery
150W AC adapter
6-cell battery
150W AC adapter
Extras Full HD webcam (1080p30)
Multi-colored Backlighting
Full HD webcam (1080p30)
Multi-colored Backlighting
OS Windows 8.1 Multi-Language Windows 8.1 Multi-Language
Dimensions 15.35" x 10.47" x 0.78"
(390mm x 266mm x 20mm)
16.47" x 11.29" x 0.85"
(418mm x 287mm x 22mm)
Weight 4.2 lbs. (1.91kg) 5.7 lbs. (2.59kg)
MSRP $1900-$2300 $1900-$2600

Wrapping up, the GS60 and GS70 have both been updated as well with support for the GTX 970M. There are six GS70 models coming out and four GS60 models, with the GS60 having two 3K variants. The base model on both comes with 12GB RAM and a 3GB GTX 970M and a 128GB SSD; all of the other models have 16GB RAM, but there are options with 3GB VRAM and 6GB VRAM. The GS60 only supports two M.2 SATA SSDs while the GS70 can support three mSATA SSDs, and the top configuration of the GS70 comes with 768GB of SSD storage. The display options on the GS60 trump the GS70, however, as you can get either a wide viewing angle (IPS or similar) 1080p panel or a 3K IPS panel, while it appears the GS70 only has a standard 1080p display – the same display used in the GT70/GT72 most likely.

Source: MSI

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  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Wowzers, I just saw the specs on the 970 and 980...if I'm remembering correctly based on how much faster Maxwell is with a given number of cores, even the 970 should be a monster. The 980 should just stomp on the 880, which was already impressive.

    My 680 is starting to get jealous :-D
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Yeah, based on NVIDIA's figures it looks like GTX 970M should be pretty close to the performance of GTX 880M, only it should be more power efficient (maybe?) and costs less. Reply
  • rodolfwelsh - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    The ASUS ROG G750JM-DS71 is a lot better gaming laptop in my opinion (see laptop ranking such as http://cli.gs/52ahp4p for example). Reply
  • dunemessiah - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    These all use Haswell CPU's? No Broadwell? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Quad-core Broadwell isn't expected until early next year; we'll see Broadwell-Y (Core M) in Ultrabooks and tablets/hybrids this year, but that's about it. Reply
  • dunemessiah - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Disappointing they couldn't release with new Intel CPU's, but this makes sense considering the impending holiday season. Thanks for the quick response! Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    That's the question not to MSI, but to Intel, since Intel hasn't released quad core Broadwell CPUs yet. Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Yes, since the index starts with "4", then it's Haswell, and not Broadwell. Reply
  • En1gma - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    why msi use soldered cpu? Reply
  • TiGr1982 - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Two guesses:

    1) The higher end one (Core i7-4980HQ) has Iris 5200 graphics, which is BGA-only for Haswell CPUs.
    2) Soldered CPUs have smaller vertical size ("thickness"), so then the laptop can be made thinner or more space for cooling is left.

    There is obvious downside to this - soldered BGA CPU is not user upgradeable, but, really, how many laptop owners upgrade their CPUs? Less than 5%, I suppose, so this may be not a big deal.
    Reply

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