Gaming Performance and Conclusions
The short version here is that the MSI GT72S with the GeForce GTX 980 GPU in it is going to provide (probably) the best mobile game experience you can buy today. To prove that, I tested a handful of games on the notebook against a desktop configuration using a Haswell-E platform and a reference GTX 980 graphics card.
In all four games, running at 1080p (the resolution of the monitor on the MSI GT72S) with maximum image quality settings (except for GTA V), the mobile variant of the GeForce GTX 980 is able to nearly match the performance of the desktop graphics card. That is no small feat, and is truly something that hasn't been seen before. Yes the GTX 980M was a fast GPU, no doubt about it, and it remains so. And yes, the GTX 980 Ti exists in the desktop form factor and can beat the results we see here with the GTX 980 in the GT72S, but never have I come across a mobile concoction that has the gaming potency that you witness here.
It's also worth pointing out that the inclusion of a 75Hz G-Sync display on this notebook gives you some added flexibility in how you configure your games. Take Crysis 3 at Very High settings for example: at 45-50 FPS on average you would normally see judder and/or tearing with V-Sync on/off with a 75Hz refresh rate display. Instead, thanks variable refresh technology, the game play is smooth and silky. Being able to get that experience in a mobile form factor is still a new addition and is unique to systems with GeForce hardware today.
You will be able to find some GTX 980 SLI notebook configurations in even larger machines, like MSI's own GT80 Titan with an 18-in screen, but you are digging down an even larger hole of cost, size and weight. And of course that comes with the added complication of utilizing dual-GPU technology like SLI, driver support, game support, etc.
Pricing and Availability
As I mentioned on the first page, the MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G is going to cost you a pretty penny. At $3,099, this gaming notebook has the same budget as a killer desktop gaming rig and that would include a larger, higher resolution monitor to boot. Not only that, but the version of this notebook with the desktop-class GTX 980 is $500 more than the exact same configuration with a GTX 980M. That also is a steep asking price jump for a 20-25% upgrade in gaming performance.
- MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G Dragon with GTX 980 – $3199
- MSI GT72S Configurator on Newegg.com – $3099
- MSI GT72S GTX 980M – $2599 (Amazon.com)
This is clearly not a product for everyone. For most PC gamers a DIY desktop is going to be the best way to spend your money. However, for those of you that need a mobile gaming powerhouse, and are prepared to pay for one, it's hard to see this not being my current favorite!
MSI has built a name for itself in the market of gaming laptops and our look at the new GT72S Dominator Pro G with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPU will only further that reputation. No matter what your budget it appears that MSI has a gaming machine for you – starting from the ~$1,000 level to well beyond $4,000+! MSI is able to keep competitive prices on its lineup while also providing compelling feature sets that make for awesome designs. The unit reviewed here today, for example, includes an unlocked, overclockable Skylake quad-core processor, 32GB of system memory, a full-spec GTX 980 GPU, 75Hz G-Sync capable LCD, RAIDed NVMe SSDs, an RGB SteelSeries keyboard, Killer Networking wired and wireless connections, six USB 3.0 ports and three display outputs.
If you want to make all of your friends jealous at the next LAN party you attend, and you have the spare scratch without using your next five semesters of book money, the MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G with the GTX 980 has to be one of the best mobile gaming rigs on the market.