MSI GT72 Dominator Pro: Performance Previewby Jarred Walton on October 8, 2014 9:00 AM EST
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
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.