MSI GT72: High Quality Gaming Performance

While the GTX 980M does manage to break 30FPS in all titles at our Ultra settings, there are times when dropping things down a notch can provide a better overall experience. Our High settings do exactly that, and if you're playing on battery power the added FPS headroom should yield overall improved battery life when BatteryBoost is enabled.

Again, full disclosure for the High settings is that I generally skip MSAA and SSAA, though if FXAA is available I do enable that. For Batman: Arkham Origins the settings are the same as Ultra (all DX11 features and other rendering enhancements enabled except for PhysX), but FXAA High is used instead of 4xMSAA. BioShock Infinite uses the VeryHigh preset (DX11 path), and Company of Heroes 2 uses High Image Quality and Textures, no Anti-Aliasing, with Snow and Physics set to Medium. GRID Autosport uses the High present with no anti-aliasing, and Metro: Last Light Redux uses High Quality and Tessellation without SSAA. Finally, Sleeping Dogs, Sniper Elite 3, and Tomb Raider all use the "High" defaults (which includes High FXAA and "Medium" SSAA for Sleeping Dogs).

1920x1080 High Performance

Batman: Arkham Origins - High

Bioshock Infinite - High

Company of Heroes 2 - High

GRID Autosport - High

Metro: Last Light Redux - High

Sleeping Dogs - High

Sniper Elite 3 - High

Tomb Raider - High

Average FPS for Eight Games - High

Here's where "beyond 1080p gaming" is really an option, as without SSAA and/or 4xMSAA many of the games push into the triple digit frame rates. Company of Heroes 2 seems to run into a CPU bottleneck or some other limit, as even at lower settings it doesn't get much above 60 FPS, making it the lowest performing game in our High settings. Metro: Last Light Redux actually breaks well past 60FPS for a change, Sleeping Dogs comes in at just under 100 FPS, and everything else is at the point where stereoscopic 3D at 60+ FPS is a viable option (though that's not supported on the MSI GT72 display).

Average performance compared among the GPUs is actually about the same as at our Ultra settings, meaning in general the games we're testing are still mostly GPU limited at 1080p High – they're just hitting much higher frame rates now. The exception is the desktop system, where the GTX 970 lead over the 980M grows a bit more (it's 29% faster now vs. 24% faster at Ultra settings). If I were to do another test at Medium quality settings, I think we'd really start to see CPU bottlenecks show up, but it's not really worth the effort as most games are already running well above screen refresh rates.

MSI GT72: Ultra Quality Gaming Performance Initial Thoughts
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  • Ironchef3500 - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    I'll take one.
  • Da W - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    I'll take one of those in a 27" touchscreen all-in-one
  • rodolfwelsh - Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - link

    I think you might be missing some of the best gaming laptops when you consider MSI GT72 (see for example), at least in my opinion.
  • Highlanderwolf - Monday, April 20, 2015 - link

    And I think that you've clearly missed the difference between a "best gaming laptop" and a "best general use" laptop, considering the fact that you linked a chart placing THREE CHROMEBOOKS above an Asus ROG laptop. At least, that's my opinion.
  • Aegrum - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Curious to see what the thermals look like. I know this class has suffered from a less-than-ideal cooling solution in the past, but this new chassis leads me to believe they've addressed that...?
  • Khenglish - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Seconded. If MSI picks up their cooling then there is no reason to pick Clevo over them anymore.
  • Khenglish - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Well I did some google searches and the CPU cooling looks on par with clevo, but the GPU cooling looks inferior. The fan is not quite a large and spins the wrong way. In addition the GPU core heatpipes only appear to be 5mm, which is the same as the older HM and EM series, but smaller than the dual 6mm on modern SM series. If MSI doesn't warp their die contact plates like clevo does though then unmodded cooling may end up better anyway.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    I haven't looked into this in detail yet, but it looks like the cooling is doing better than before. Clevo's fans are still larger and more powerful, but the laptops are also thicker to accommodate those fans. ASUS still has the quietest gaming solution in my experience, but the G750 is larger than the G72 I'm pretty sure.
  • xenol - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    ASUS's G series has really good cooling without having the laptop take up as much volume as a boat anchor.
  • Meaker10 - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    The G750 series are just as big and do not offer upgradable cards.

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