Notebookcheck

MSI GL72 6QF Xotic PC Edition Notebook Review

Big screen, affordable price. The MSI GT72 may be the flagship model, but there are plenty of mainstream options from the same manufacturer. We check out the new GL72 starting for just under $1000 USD with GTX 960M graphics to see how it compares in the budget gaming market.

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Note: We reviewed a configuration from Xotic PC U.S. There can be differences compared to original manufacturer models in respect of the integrated components (memory, RAM, CPU, GPU, etc.) as well as their configurations. Components may have been overclocked. As a result, there can also be differences in terms of performance, emissions, and battery runtimes. The visual appearance of the devices can differ as well.

The MSI G Series holds some of the best gaming notebooks you can get in a 17.3-inch form factor. Its extreme performance comes at a cost, however, especially when considering that the new GT72S can easily run over $2000 USD. It's only natural for MSI to trim off features to lower prices to more affordable levels. Thus, the MSI GE, GP, and GL Series were born to allow gamers on smaller budgets to purchase powerful hardware without all the bells and whistles.

The entry-level GL Series is the most affordable in MSI's gaming lineup starting at just under $1000 USD. As expected, the GL72 shares many similarities with the GE72 albeit with some missing extras to save on costs. To the target audience, however, it's the core gaming performance that will matter most. Considering the price, is this the best gaming notebook you can get with a GTX 960M GPU?

Main competitors in the affordable 17.3-inch gaming market include the Acer Aspire V Nitro, Lenovo Ideapad Y700, and Asus GL771.

MSI GL72 6QF (GL72 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M - 2048 MB, Core: 1097 MHz, Memory: 5410 MHz, 354.35, Optimus
Memory
16384 MB 
, DDR4 SDRAM, 1196.5 MHz, 14-14-14-35, Dual-Channel
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, TN, ID: CMN1735, Name: Chi Mei N173HGE-E11, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM170 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe, 256 GB 
, Secondary: WDC WD10JPVX-22J3T0
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm microphone, 3.5 mm earphones, Card Reader: SD (XC/HC)
Networking
Qualcomm Atheros AR8171/8175 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000MBit), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 37 x 420 x 287 ( = 1.46 x 16.54 x 11.3 in)
Battery
43 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Additional features
Speakers: Quad speakers , Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Quick Start guide, Warranty card, Nahimic, MSI System Control Manager, MSI Afterburner, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.8 kg ( = 98.77 oz / 6.17 pounds), Power Supply: 460 g ( = 16.23 oz / 1.01 pounds)
Price
1000 USD
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

Visually, the chassis is almost indistinguishable from the GE72. Small differences include the removal of the decorative red striping underneath the hinges and on the front edge for an all-black look. The brushed aluminum surfaces of the GE72 are also simply matte black plastic on the GL72 and are much more prone to fingerprints and grease. In essence, it's an overall duller look to reflect the system's tail end position in the MSI G Series hierarchy.

While its appearance may be uninspiring, quality thankfully feels very similar to the GE72. The base is resistant to twists and does not creak with applied force. Weak spots include the center areas of the keyboard where visible warping will occur when pushing down on the surface. The lid is also of just average rigidity as we are able to twist it from the front corners and push down on the center of the outer surface with moderate force. Fortunately, none of the system's weaknesses are alarming enough to seriously affect the overall stability of the chassis. The small hinges are stiff enough to prevent rocking when typing and allow for a very wide angle close to 180 degrees.

In terms of size and weight, the GL72 is thicker than many of its competitors including the pricier GE72 that its chassis is based on. The Predator 17 and GT72 are both larger, but can be equipped with faster GPUs in return. The system is relatively light for its size class at about 2.8 kg, which is even lighter than the much thinner Gigabyte P37X.

Connectivity

Available ports are identical to the recent GE72 6QF including the newly added USB 3.1 Type-C port. This is only a Gen. 1 port, however, so don't expect Thunderbolt 3 compatibility or full compatibility with Gen. 2 docking stations. Three full-size USB ports is sill on the low side considering the size of the notebook. There are no ports on the rear and most are on the left-hand side of the system, so right-handed users will face much less clutter as a result.

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Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: Optical drive, USB 2.0, SD reader, AC adapter
Right: Optical drive, USB 2.0, SD reader, AC adapter
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: Kensington Lock, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI-out, Mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 1, 3.5 mm microphone, 3.5 mm earphones
Left: Kensington Lock, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI-out, Mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 1, 3.5 mm microphone, 3.5 mm earphones

Communication

WLAN and Bluetooth are provided by the Killer 1535 wireless-ac M.2 adapter that's commonly found on other high-end gaming notebooks. We experienced no notable connectivity or dropout issues during our time with the GL72.

Accessories

Included extras are light outside of the Warranty card and Quick Start guide. Xotic PC sells branded accessories and offers paint/etching services for another layer of customization.

Maintenance

While the GT and GS series of notebooks are relatively easy to access, the GL72 is a bit trickier and tighter around the edges. Nonetheless, a simple Philips screwdriver is all that is needed to remove the bottom panel. Users are granted direct access to the M.2 2280 SSD, M.2 2230 WLAN module, 2.5-inch SATA III bay, and both SODIMM slots. The GPU is integrated instead of using an MXM 3.0b slot as on the much more expensive MSI GT72 series.

Warranty

MSI offers up to 24-month limited warranty and 12 months of accidental damage protection to those who register their purchases. Any modifications done by Xotic PC will be covered by the reseller for up to one year. Optional coverages include dead pixel protection and warranty extensions up to a total of three years.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Like on other MSI G Series notebooks, the GL72 uses a SteelSeries Chiclet keyboard with the same font and secondary Fn keys. This time, however, there are fewer auxiliary keys (only Control Manager and Turbo Fan) compared to the GT series and no backlight option at all, so the cut corners are already quite obvious. Key travel is also shallow for a very light feel when typing. Nonetheless, feedback is on the soft side and with little clatter. The keys themselves are firm and do not wiggle in place.

Touchpad

The touchpad (~11 x 6 cm) is exactly the same as the one on the GE72 without the brushed aluminum surface. Its smooth glide makes multi-touch gestures easy to use and without any major issues. Other 17-inch gaming notebooks like the Predator 17 offer touchpads of about the same surface area.

The two dedicated mouse keys are shallow in travel with a loud and firm feedback when clicked. They only require a light amount of force to push and are comfortable to use for extended periods if a mouse is not available.

Display

The screen is a 1080p TN panel as opposed to an IPS panel as found on many costlier gaming and multimedia machines. While contrast levels are good at just under 800:1, maximum brightness is quite low at under 200 nits compared to 300+ on competing 17.3-inch machines. A quick search for its Chi Mei N173HGE-E11 panel name shows that similar displays are also used for the MSI GE72 and GS70, both of which show just average backlight brightness levels as well.

Subjectively, color temperature is much too cool out-of-the-box and in dire need of calibration. Perhaps this was only specific to our test unit, but we still recommend our ICC profile below to at least alleviate the overly blue grayscale. Backlight bleeding is relatively uniform except at the bottom two corners of the screen. The bottom or top halves in general can be brighter or dimmer relative to the viewing angle of the user since this is a TN panel.

Slightly uneven backlight bleeding around bottom corners
Slightly uneven backlight bleeding around bottom corners
Subpixel array
Subpixel array
173.9
cd/m²
181.5
cd/m²
170.9
cd/m²
173
cd/m²
194.7
cd/m²
163.3
cd/m²
203.6
cd/m²
207.2
cd/m²
182.5
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 207.2 cd/m² Average: 183.4 cd/m² Minimum: 9.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 79 %
Center on Battery: 194.7 cd/m²
Contrast: 788:1 (Black: 0.247 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 11.44 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 11.36 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
95.3% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 60.8% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.12
MSI GL72 6QF
17.3, 1920x1080
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
17.3, 1920x1080
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
17.3, 1920x1080
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
17.3, 1920x1080
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
17.3, 1920x1080
Response Times
21%
-18%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
45.6 (23.6, 22)
37 (14, 23)
19%
58 (30, 28)
-27%
Response Time Black / White *
25.6 (8.4, 17.2)
20 (4, 16)
22%
28 (7, 21)
-9%
PWM Frequency
980.4 (99)
Screen
29%
19%
30%
44%
Brightness middle
194.7
343
76%
255
31%
337
73%
346
78%
Brightness
183
333
82%
246
34%
303
66%
326
78%
Brightness Distribution
79
92
16%
80
1%
85
8%
88
11%
Black Level *
0.247
0.38
-54%
0.2
19%
0.26
-5%
0.32
-30%
Contrast
788
903
15%
1275
62%
1296
64%
1081
37%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
11.44
7
39%
10.01
12%
5.92
48%
4.01
65%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
18.78
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.36
4.33
62%
10.5
8%
7.55
34%
3.58
68%
Gamma
2.12 104%
2.12 104%
2.25 98%
2.42 91%
2.23 99%
CCT
12948 50%
6111 106%
12631 51%
7270 89%
6426 101%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60.8
59
-3%
62
2%
56
-8%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
95.3
94
-1%
85
-11%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
29% / 29%
19% / 19%
26% / 28%
13% / 30%

* ... smaller is better

Color coverage is about 60.8 percent and 95.3 percent of AdobeRGB and sRGB standards, respectively. The high sRGB coverage is indicative of a high-end panel with deep colors, which only become apparent after calibration in our particular case. Thus, gamut volume is similar to that of many of its competitors including the Asus GL771 and pricier Acer Predator 17.

vs. Asus GL771JW
vs. Asus GL771JW
vs. Acer Predator 17
vs. Acer Predator 17
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB

The outrageously cool color temperature leads to more inaccurate colors and grayscale than other notebooks as shown in our X-Rite measurements below. Calibration dramatically fixes these issues to bring grayscale and colors to overall excellent levels while flattening the RGB Balance. Colors will still become increasingly more inaccurate at higher saturation levels due to imperfect sRGB coverage.

Subjectively, it's worth noting that the ghosting on the display leaves a red trail that is most apparent when moving a white window with black text. The black text would simply become a gray blur on most other LCD panels, but the text blurring on our GL72 unit is much more red under the same conditions.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
25.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8.4 ms rise
↘ 17.2 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 44 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
45.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23.6 ms rise
↘ 22 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 72 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 980.4 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 980.4 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 980.4 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8629 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is below average due to the low maximum brightness of the matte display. Content is washed out under direct sunlight and already a bit dark if working under shade. The hinges fortunately allow for a very wide angle to reduce as much glare as possible, but this advantage is offset by the fact that the TN panel severely limits wide viewing angles.

Speaking of viewing angles, the sole user looking straight at the display will not see major color shifts. Viewing from the side will reduce relative brightness while viewing from below the normal will significantly degrade colors and grayscale as expected.

Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under direct sunlight
Outdoors under direct sunlight
 

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz for single-threaded processes
Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz for single-threaded processes

The current configuration at the sub $1000 price point is equipped with the Core i7-6700HQ and GTX 960M GPU. This same processor option exists on most other gaming notebooks including flagship models with much more powerful GPU options. Turbo Boost is supported up to 3.1 GHz for all active cores, though our stress tests show that the system is unable to reliably maintain this maximum when under extreme stress.

The Nvidia GPU VRAM has been factory overclocked from 5010 MHz to 5410 MHz. Its base clock rate is otherwise standard for a GTX 960M at 1097 MHz plus Boost for even higher speeds when appropriate.

System RAM is provided by two DDR4 SODIMM modules for a total of 16 GB with support for up to 32 GB. 

Processor

CPU performance is just a few percentage points above that of a Haswell i7-4700HQ and essentially neck-to-neck with the Broadwell i7-5700HQ. Multi-core performance is actually a hair slower than the i7-5700HQ as the GL72 is only able to sustain a maximum multi-core Turbo Boost of 2.9 GHz compared to the rated 3.1 GHz for this particular Skylake CPU. The desktop i7-6700K offers up to 15 to 30 percent faster performance over the i7-6700HQ at over two times the TDP (45 W vs. 91 W).

See our dedicated CPU page on the Core i7-6700HQ for more technical data and comparisons.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
144 Points ∼68%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
166 Points ∼78% +15%
MSI GE62 2QC-468XPL
GeForce GTX 960M, 5700HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
144 Points ∼68% 0%
Eurocom Shark 4
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
136 Points ∼64% -6%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
125 Points ∼59% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
683 Points ∼22%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
865 Points ∼28% +27%
MSI GE62 2QC-468XPL
GeForce GTX 960M, 5700HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
719 Points ∼23% +5%
Eurocom Shark 4
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
596 Points ∼19% -13%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
490 Points ∼16% -28%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
1.58 Points ∼65%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
1.91 Points ∼78% +21%
MSI GE62 2QC-468XPL
GeForce GTX 960M, 5700HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1.68 Points ∼69% +6%
Eurocom Shark 4
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
1.59 Points ∼65% +1%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1.46 Points ∼60% -8%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
7.52 Points ∼28%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
9.56 Points ∼35% +27%
MSI GE62 2QC-468XPL
GeForce GTX 960M, 5700HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
7.96 Points ∼29% +6%
Eurocom Shark 4
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
6.45 Points ∼24% -14%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5.29 Points ∼20% -30%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
230.455 s * ∼3%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
178.464 s * ∼2% +23%
MSI GE62 2QC-468XPL
GeForce GTX 960M, 5700HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
206.294 s * ∼2% +10%
Eurocom Shark 4
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
246.964 s * ∼3% -7%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
323 s * ∼4% -40%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
551.698 Seconds * ∼2%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
498.33 Seconds * ∼2% +10%
MSI GE62 2QC-468XPL
GeForce GTX 960M, 5700HQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
573.691 Seconds * ∼3% -4%
Eurocom Shark 4
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO m.2 120GB
545.423 Seconds * ∼2% +1%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
569.349 Seconds * ∼3% -3%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6813
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
20439
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5521
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
46.56 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.52 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.58 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
54.53 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
683 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
144 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks rank the GL72 in the same ballpark as other competing gaming systems of similar configurations if not slightly higher. We experienced no software or hardware issues during our time with the Xotic PC test unit.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
5090 Points ∼78%
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
4660 Points ∼72% -8%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
4980 Points ∼76% -2%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
5009 Points ∼77% -2%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
4734 Points ∼50%
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
4810 Points ∼50% +2%
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
4320 Points ∼45% -9%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
4555 Points ∼48% -4%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
4371 Points ∼46% -8%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
3903 Points ∼64%
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
3880 Points ∼64% -1%
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
3751 Points ∼62% -4%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
3758 Points ∼62% -4%
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
3633 Points ∼60% -7%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3903 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
4734 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5090 points
Help

Storage Devices

Two internal storage bays are available in the form of 1x M.2 and 1x 2.5-inch SATA III. The optical drive can also be easily removed to hold a third 2.5-inch drive if necessary.

Surprisingly, the GL72 comes standard with an NVMe SSD and, in our case, it's the 256 GB Samsung SSD 950 Pro. Even a few pricier gaming notebooks are still limited to SATA III drives like the Acer Predator 17 and Asus G752, so the GL72 has a huge advantage in its price category in terms of transfer rates as shown in the table below. Our secondary 7 mm 1 TB WD Blue HDD returns an average transfer rate of just over 89 MB/s according to HD Tune, which is quite fast considering that it's a 5400 RPM drive.

See our growing comparison list of HDDs and SSDs for more benchmarks.

AS SSD (Samsung SSD 950 Pro)
AS SSD (Samsung SSD 950 Pro)
CDM (Samsung SSD 950 Pro)
CDM (Samsung SSD 950 Pro)
CDM (WDC HDD)
CDM (WDC HDD)
HD Tune (WDC HDD)
HD Tune (WDC HDD)
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
 
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
AS SSD
-49%
-82%
-103%
10%
Copy Game MB/s
1140.04
749.83
-34%
267.3
-77%
265.39
-77%
1209.49
6%
Copy Program MB/s
491.06
372.7
-24%
163.4
-67%
170.08
-65%
542.98
11%
Copy ISO MB/s
1519.7
749.1
-51%
315.3
-79%
339.24
-78%
1943.93
28%
Score Total
2340
1177
-50%
892
-62%
769
-67%
2568
10%
Score Write
501
354
-29%
262
-48%
285
-43%
688
37%
Score Read
1248
553
-56%
424
-66%
322
-74%
1281
3%
Access Time Write *
0.032
0.06
-88%
0.06
-88%
0.188
-488%
0.039
-22%
Access Time Read *
0.04
0.085
-113%
0.17
-325%
0.111
-178%
0.051
-28%
4K-64 Write
296.41
216.2
-27%
161
-46%
218.48
-26%
462.56
56%
4K-64 Read
998.17
418.96
-58%
352
-65%
258.95
-74%
983.86
-1%
4K Write
115.18
65.11
-43%
70.8
-39%
33.45
-71%
97.82
-15%
4K Read
46.38
23.79
-49%
21
-55%
15.09
-67%
42.98
-7%
Seq Write
897.33
727.84
-19%
458.1
-49%
332.92
-63%
1279.19
43%
Seq Read
2038.64
1107.09
-46%
508.7
-75%
483.58
-76%
2543.81
25%

* ... smaller is better

Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
Transfer Rate Minimum: 1012.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 1090.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 1082.9 MB/s
Access Time: 0 ms
Burst Rate: 309 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.1 %

GPU Performance

Raw GPU power according to 3DMark benchmarks is slightly ahead of the similarly equipped Asus Zenbook UX501, which is at least partially attributed to the overclocked memory on our GL72 configuration. Otherwise, the system sits firmly between the GTX 950M and GTX 970M in raw performance as expected. The jump from the 960M to the 970M is quite large and prompted Nvidia to relaunch a stronger version of the GTX 965M earlier this year to fill in this gap.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Ultra
Fire Strike Ultra
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
5861 Points ∼32%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
10625 Points ∼59% +81%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
8099 Points ∼45% +38%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5439 Points ∼30% -7%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
3682 Points ∼20% -37%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
1801 Points ∼10% -69%
1280x720 Performance Physics (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
9099 Points ∼49%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
11011 Points ∼59% +21%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
8717 Points ∼47% -4%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
8464 Points ∼46% -7%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
6776 Points ∼36% -26%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
3738 Points ∼20% -59%
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
5825 Points ∼11%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
12967 Points ∼25% +123%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9615 Points ∼19% +65%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5220 Points ∼10% -10%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
4457 Points ∼9% -23%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
2366 Points ∼5% -59%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
6161 Points ∼20%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
12364 Points ∼40% +101%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9297 Points ∼30% +51%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5562 Points ∼18% -10%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
4596 Points ∼15% -25%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
2423 Points ∼8% -61%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Combined (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
1804 Points ∼15%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
3748 Points ∼31% +108%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
2737 Points ∼22% +52%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1678 Points ∼14% -7%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
1033 Points ∼8% -43%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
462 Points ∼4% -74%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
9655 Points ∼36%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
12752 Points ∼47% +32%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9800 Points ∼36% +2%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9559 Points ∼35% -1%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
9499 Points ∼35% -2%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
3937 Points ∼15% -59%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
4705 Points ∼12%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
9963 Points ∼25% +112%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7335 Points ∼18% +56%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4290 Points ∼11% -9%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
3174 Points ∼8% -33%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
1589 Points ∼4% -66%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
4340 Points ∼16%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
8793 Points ∼33% +103%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
6489 Points ∼24% +50%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3998 Points ∼15% -8%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
2866 Points ∼11% -34%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
1376 Points ∼5% -68%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
6805 Points ∼17%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
9187 Points ∼23% +35%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
6934 Points ∼18% +2%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
7057 Points ∼18% +4%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
6747 Points ∼17% -1%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
2745 Points ∼7% -60%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
33474 Points ∼18%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
62938 Points ∼34% +88%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
46213 Points ∼25% +38%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
25748 Points ∼14% -23%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
21500 Points ∼12% -36%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
8549 Points ∼5% -74%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
17891 Points ∼31%
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
27362 Points ∼47% +53%
Aorus X3 Plus v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
20458 Points ∼35% +14%
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SM951 MZVPV512HDGL m.2 PCI-e
16208 Points ∼28% -9%
Asus N752VX-GC131T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
14469 Points ∼25% -19%
Lenovo Ideapad 500s-14ISK
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Samsung PM871 MZYLN256HCHP
5816 Points ∼10% -67%
3DMark 11 Performance
6161 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
94088 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
17891 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
4340 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
2169 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Real-world performance in games is again slightly better than the average GTX 960M. In this case, the new Dell XPS 15 9550 returns consistently slower frame rates than our GL72 in all tested games despite carrying the same i7-6700HQ CPU and GTX 960M GPU. In Dell's case, however, its GPU is slower in both base clock rate (1032 MHz vs. 1097 MHz) and memory clock rate (5010 MHz vs. 5410 MHz) than our MSI configuration.

Users can expect to be able to play the latest demanding titles at the native 1080p resolution and on Medium to High settings with frame rates hovering 30 FPS. Batman: Arkham Knight crashed when applying our Ultra settings, so its results are left blank in the table below.

See our dedicated GPU page on the GTX 960M for more benchmarks and comparisons.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
51.6 fps ∼100% +102%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
37.1 fps ∼72% +45%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
25.6 fps ∼50%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
21.2 fps ∼41% -17%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
60.4 fps ∼100% +75%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
44.6 fps ∼74% +29%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
34.6 fps ∼57%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
23.8 fps ∼39% -31%
Asus N552VX-FY103T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
21 fps ∼35% -39%
BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
92.4 fps ∼100% +85%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
69.7 fps ∼75% +40%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
49.9 fps ∼54%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
44.1 fps ∼48% -12%
Asus N552VX-FY103T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
27.7 fps ∼30% -44%
1366x768 High Preset
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
205.5 fps ∼100% +71%
Gigabyte P55W v5
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Samung SM951 MZVPV128 NVMe
133.1 fps ∼65% +11%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
120.2 fps ∼58%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
106.9 fps ∼52% -11%
Asus N552VX-FY103T
GeForce GTX 950M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
84.3 fps ∼41% -30%
Metro: Last Light
1920x1080 Very High (DX11) AF:16x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
70.6 fps ∼100% +106%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
34.3 fps ∼49%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
30.9 fps ∼44% -10%
1366x768 High (DX11) AF:16x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
125.8 fps ∼100% +59%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
79 fps ∼63%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
55.7 fps ∼44% -29%
Fallout 4
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:T AF:16x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
59.7 fps ∼100% +126%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
26.4 fps ∼44%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
24.2 fps ∼41% -8%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:T AF:16x
DogHouse Systems Mobius SS
GeForce GTX 980M, 6700K, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB
73.8 fps ∼100% +120%
MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
33.6 fps ∼46%
Dell XPS 15 9550 i7 FHD
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
31 fps ∼42% -8%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 133.5120.249.9fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 109.47934.3fps
Thief (2014) 69.358.829.7fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 6533fps
Fallout 4 (2015) 59.233.626.4fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 64.834.625.6fps

Stress Test

The GL72 holds up very well even when under extreme stress with no throttling. Its CPU maintains a consistent Turbo Boost of 2.9 GHz when under Prime95 stress, which is 200 MHz slower than its rated maximum for all active cores. Running both Prime95 and FurMark simultaneously will cause the CPU and GPU to run at a constant 2.5 GHz and 1163 MHz, respectively, with core temperatures hovering in the low 70 C range. This should allow for ample GPU overclocking headroom with the included MSI Afterburner software.

Both the CPU and GPU will run Unigine Heaven at higher clock rates and lower core temperatures. Note that activating the Turbo Fan option will not necessarily increase raw performance, but will instead reduce the core temperatures of the CPU and GPU even further. The feature isn't imperative when gaming as core temperatures are already quite acceptable. Users may only notice small gains in CPU power when under very high processing stress with this feature active.

Running on battery power will limit both CPU and GPU performances. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns Physics and Graphics scores of 6830 and 4519 points, respectively, compared to 9099 and 5825 points when on mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Unigine Heaven Stress
Unigine Heaven Stress
Unigine Heaven Stress (Turbo Fan on)
Unigine Heaven Stress (Turbo Fan on)
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress (Turbo Fan on)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Turbo Fan on)

CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average CPU Temperature (C) Average GPU Temperature (C)

Prime95 Stress

2.9 -- ~71 --

FurMark Stress

-- 1163 -- ~64

Prime95 + FurMark Stress

2.5 1163 ~73 ~69

Unigine Heaven Stress

3.2+ 1262 ~64 ~62

Emissions

System Noise

Fan noise (Gray: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Heaven, Yellow: Prime95 + FurMark, Green: Turbo Fan)
Fan noise (Gray: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Heaven, Yellow: Prime95 + FurMark, Green: Turbo Fan)

The cooling system consists of twin 50 mm fans and four heat pipes for the CPU, GPU, and VRAM modules. It's very roomy in the sense that there is considerable space between the heat pipes and PCB compared to other thinner systems with the same GPU like on the Acer Aspire Nitro VN7 or XPS 15. The cooling potential of the GL72 is quite proficient as shown in our stress test results above.

The downside to the factory overclocking and generally low core temperatures is the high fan noise. We were able to record fan noise of just above 35 dB(A) even when sitting idle on desktop and on the Power Saver profile. Competing gaming notebooks tend to settle in the much lower 30 dB(A) range against a silent background reading of 27 or 28 dB(A). In other words, get used to hearing a constant whir from the GL72 whenever it is powered on. On the bright side, the fans will not pulsate during everyday browsing or multi-task use, which would have made the system even more annoying.

When under gaming or Unigine Heaven loads, the MSI is not any louder or quieter than competing models and sits comfortably in the middle. Note that activating the Turbo Fan will bump fan noise to 56 dB(A), which can be distracting to others nearby and is too loud for comfortable gaming without a pair of headphones.

MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
Asus G771JM-T7025H
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
Lenovo Ideapad Y700-17 80QK7709PB
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
Noise
11%
7%
-1%
5%
5%
off / environment *
29.3
Idle Minimum *
35.3
30.9
12%
30
15%
32
9%
32.6
8%
31.4
11%
Idle Average *
35.4
31.3
12%
30.2
15%
33
7%
32.6
8%
31.4
11%
Idle Maximum *
35.4
32.3
9%
33
7%
37
-5%
33.4
6%
34.3
3%
Load Average *
40.9
37.3
9%
40.4
1%
44
-8%
36.5
11%
41.3
-1%
Load Maximum *
45
39.5
12%
46.2
-3%
49
-9%
48
-7%
44
2%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
35.3 / 35.4 / 35.4 dB(A)
DVD
39.9 / dB(A)
Load
40.9 / 45 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29.3 dB(A)

Temperature

Surface temperatures are flat across the board when the system is idling. Interestingly, the touchpad is noticeably warmer than the rest of the notebook possibly due to the secondary HDD and RAM modules that are essentially directly underneath it. This is opposite of most notebooks where the frontal areas are generally cooler compared to the rest of the notebook.

When under maximum stress, the rear portions of the notebook closer to the heat pipes and processors become much warmer as expected. This unfortunately means that the center areas of the keyboard can become quite warm at just over 50 C at worst. The front side of the notebook is also generally warmer than the bottom side, which is not ideal for comfortable use on a flat desk.

Prime95+FurMark stress (Top)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Top)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Bottom)
Prime95+FurMark stress (Bottom)
Max. Load
 43 °C
109 F
47.2 °C
117 F
42.8 °C
109 F
 
 37.6 °C
100 F
46.4 °C
116 F
29.8 °C
86 F
 
 32.2 °C
90 F
38.6 °C
101 F
24 °C
75 F
 
Maximum: 47.2 °C = 117 F
Average: 38 °C = 100 F
45.4 °C
114 F
42 °C
108 F
49 °C
120 F
24.8 °C
77 F
30.2 °C
86 F
34.4 °C
94 F
25.2 °C
77 F
28.6 °C
83 F
31.8 °C
89 F
Maximum: 49 °C = 120 F
Average: 34.6 °C = 94 F
Power Supply (max.)  45.4 °C = 114 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 32.9 °C / 91 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 47.2 °C / 117 F, compared to the average of 39.2 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the bottom side is 49 °C / 120 F, compared to the average of 41.6 °C / 107 F, ranging from 21.1 to 78 °C for the class Gaming.
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 24.4 °C / 76 F, compared to the device average of 32.9 °C / 91 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 38.6 °C / 101.5 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.7 °C / 83.7 F (-9.9 °C / -17.8 F).

Speakers

The four speakers are positioned on the front edge of the notebook. Unlike pricier gaming or multimedia notebooks, however, there is no dedicated subwoofer for improved bass performance.

Sound quality is very narrow and almost completely lacking in bass even from a subjective standpoint. Pink and White noise measurements as shown on the right suggest that playback of bass frequencies lower than 125 Hz is essentially non-existent. On the other hand, maximum volume is very loud and with no static if such high settings are required. The system's lack of bass, however, is even more apparent at higher volume settings.

Front-facing quad speakers
Front-facing quad speakers
Speakers (Yellow: System idle, Pink: Pink noise, Gray: White noise)
Speakers (Yellow: System idle, Pink: Pink noise, Gray: White noise)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power demand from the GL72 is relatively high at just over 22 W when idling on the desktop with WLAN radios inactive and at minimum display brightness. This is compared to single-digit numbers from most other 17-inch competitors under similar conditions. Otherwise, maximum power draw when under heavy stress (Prime95+FurMark) is a bit higher than competing models with the same GTX 960M, albeit still lower than systems with the much more powerful GTX 970M.

The power adapter itself (~15 x 7.5 x 3.5 cm) is rated for an output of 120 W compared to our maximum load calculation of 134 W.

MSI GL72 6QF
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 950 Pro 256GB m.2 NVMe
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ128G8NU
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
GeForce GTX 970M, 6700HQ, Lite-On CV1-8B256
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Toshiba MQ02ABD100H
Lenovo Ideapad Y700-17 80QK7709PB
GeForce GTX 960M, 6700HQ, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
Power Consumption
28%
4%
17%
41%
28%
Idle Minimum *
22.1
8.8
60%
16.7
24%
11
50%
5.8
74%
4.3
81%
Idle Average *
28.3
14.8
48%
23
19%
17
40%
9
68%
13.8
51%
Idle Maximum *
29.8
24.3
18%
31.7
-6%
22
26%
14.7
51%
19.8
34%
Load Average *
87
88.8
-2%
97.4
-12%
96
-10%
85
2%
115.9
-33%
Load Maximum *
134.1
111.2
17%
141.4
-5%
164
-22%
121.5
9%
123.5
8%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.74 / 1.28 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 22.1 / 28.3 / 29.8 Watt
Load midlight 87 / 134.1 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Life

Runtimes are poor on our GL72 configuration, which seems to be the norm from our overclocked Xotic PC test units so far and should be unsurprising given the high power consumption readings above. We were able to clock in just under four hours at the most conservative of conditions (Minimum display brightness, Power Saver profile, WLAN off, integrated GPU active, idling on desktop) compared to at least six or eight hours on the Asus GL771 and Acer Aspire Nitro VN7 under the same conditions. Recorded WiFi runtime (150 nit brightness setting, Balanced profile, looping browser script) is even shorter at just under two hours before automatic shutdown.

Charging from near empty to full capacity will take roughly two to two and a half hours. The integrated battery cannot be easily swapped and is quite small in capacity (43 Wh) compared to other 17-inch gaming notebooks.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
MSI GL72 6QF
43 Wh
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
56 Wh
MSI GE72-6QF8H11
51 Wh
Acer Predator 17 G9-791-75PV
88 Wh
Acer Aspire V Nitro Black Edition VN7-792G-74Q4
53 Wh
Lenovo Ideapad Y700 17ISK 80Q0
60 Wh
Battery Runtime
111%
31%
170%
89%
150%
Reader / Idle
238
601
153%
403
69%
702
195%
410
72%
688
189%
WiFi v1.3
107
271
153%
154
44%
358
235%
254
137%
334
212%
Load
61
78
28%
49
-20%
109
79%
96
57%
91
49%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
3h 58min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
1h 47min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 01min

Pros

+ low core temperatures under load
+ strong CPU and GPU performance
+ affordable for the hardware
+ relatively easy accessibility
+ USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 1
+ modular optical drive
+ wide sRGB coverage
+ NVMe SSD

Cons

- poor bass reproduction; no dedicated subwoofer
- overly cool color temperature out-of-the-box
- no native Thunderbolt 3 support
- warm touchpad and keyboard
- low display brightness
- no keyboard backlight
- poor battery life
- no IPS options
- loud fan noise

Verdict

In review: MSI GL72 6QF. Test model provided by Xotic PC.
In review: MSI GL72 6QF. Test model provided by Xotic PC.

The key advantage of the MSI GL72 lies in its starting price of just $1000 USD. Given this price, users get a powerful Core i7-6700HQ CPU, GTX 960M GPU, NVMe SSD, modular optical drive, and generally accessible internals for troubleshooting or basic upgrading of storage or RAM. Core temperatures and performance are both excellent for today's titles at 1080p and with reasonable GPU overclocking headroom via MSI Afterburner.

Many of the cut corners are unfortunately quite clear. Aside from having no backlit keys, the display backlight is below average and its TN panel is in dire need of calibration out-of-the-box. Speakers are severely lacking in bass and battery life is very low even for a gaming notebook. Fan noise is high and always audible under the lowest of system loads and advanced upgrade options are impossible since the GPU and CPU are integrated. The chassis is also on the thick side and lacking in the design department.

If budget is tight, users can consider the GL72 for its solid core gaming performance. Otherwise, the system is moderately loud and is very limited in terms of battery life and outdoor usability.

MSI GL72 6QF - 03/16/2016 v5
Allen Ngo

Chassis
72 / 98 → 73%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
78 / 81 → 96%
Weight
58 / 10-66 → 86%
Battery
59%
Display
76%
Games Performance
86%
Application Performance
94%
Temperature
89 / 95 → 94%
Noise
70 / 90 → 78%
Audio
50%
Average
74%
80%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI GL72 6QF Xotic PC Edition Notebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2016-03-16 (Update: 2016-06-29)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.