Notebookcheck

MSI GP72 2QE Leopard Pro Notebook Review

Florian Glaser, Stefanie Voigt (translated by Ariana Brodsky), 09/21/2015

Family duel. Alongside the GT, GS and GE series of gaming notebooks, MSI has also released their GP62 and GP72 entry-level models. We just reviewed the 15-inch version -- now we turn our attention to the 17-inch model. We have recorded our impressions here.

For the original German review, see here.

Whether the MSI GP72 is a bona fide gaming platform or "just" a multi-purpose laptop is debatable. While the high-end graphics cards built into the GT, GS and GE models (the GeForce GTX 980MGTX 970M and GTX 965M) are equipped with quick GDDR5 video memory, the GeForce GTX 950M at work in the GP62 and GP72 only has DDR3 VRAM. As a result, we would classify the two laptops as midrange models. The results in our "Multimedia" tests support this assessment.

Compared to our test model's expensive siblings from the GE, GS and GT series, the GP72 lacks more than just GDDR5 video memory. Our GP72-2QEi781 does not have a solid-state drive, just an HDD -- though it does offer 1,000 GB of storage space. Other features include an 8 GB DDR3 RAM module (there is enough space for a total of up to 16 GB) and a classic DVD burner. A matte Full HD display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels completes the package.

We were disappointed by the lack of keyboard backlighting. Considering that it is 2015, we expect this feature on a laptop that costs over 1,000 Euros (~$1130). Depending on the model, the other members of this MSI family are outfitted with much better hardware (16 GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 4K panel, etc.). When it comes to the processor, however, buyers need not be wary of getting the short end of the stick. The Core i7-5700HQ from Intel's Broadwell generation (14 nm) runs at 2.7-3.5 GHz and is almost too fast for the GeForce GTX 950M. It seems to us that a dual-core CPU with Hyperthreading would have done the trick, and given MSI a chance to lower the price.

Speaking of cost: Since the AMD competition is currently rather weak (Nvidia dictates the prices at the moment) and the dollar is strong, the German edition of this device is not exactly cheap. Alone the mediocre GPU power should max out the price at 1,000 Euros (~$1130) rather than 1,100 Euros (~$1240), though without Windows, the notebook costs 100 Euros (~$112) less. In short: MSI has been known to make better decisions when it comes to the price-performance ratio. In their defense, many manufacturers are making the same mistake at the moment.

MSI GP72-2QEi781 (GP72 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M - 2048 MB, Core: 993 MHz, Memory: 2000 MHz, DDR3, ForceWare 353.62, Optimus
Memory
8192 MB 
, SO-DIMM DDR3-RAM PC3-12800 (1600 MHz), 1 of 2 slots occupied, max. 16 GB
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, CMN N173HGE-E11 (CMN1735), TN LED, Full HD, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel HM86 (Lynx Point)
Storage
WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0, 1024 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 2.5-inch HDD + 1 unoccupied M.2 slot (type 2280)
Soundcard
Realtek ALC892 @ Intel Lynx Point PCH - 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: Headphone, Microphone, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Networking
Qualcomm Killer e2200 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GUB0N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 34 x 420 x 288 ( = 1.34 x 16.54 x 11.34 in)
Battery
42 Wh Lithium-Ion, 6 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: FHD (720p @30 fps)
Additional features
Speakers: Two-way stereo (Nahimic Audio Enhancer), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Power supply: 120 Watts, Quick Start Guide, Warranty booklet, Recovery instructions, CyberLink PowerDVD 10, MS Office 365 Trial Version, Norton Security Trial Version, Various tools from the manufacturer, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.82 kg ( = 99.47 oz / 6.22 pounds), Power Supply: 428 g ( = 15.1 oz / 0.94 pounds)
Price
1100 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

MSI deserves praise for their new case. Our best description of the indirect predecessor's case was a "relic from the past" -- but the GP72 is a considerable improvement, in terms of both visual appeal and quality. In addition to the upgraded overall appearance (the design bears a great resemblance to the GE72), the material composition of the case is also much nicer. Unlike the GP70, the GP72's palm rest is made of aluminum, which goes a long way toward making the device feel like a high-quality product.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the laptop's stability. As is often the case with laptops, the lid can be twisted rather easily. The area around the optical disk drive yields perceptibly to pressure. Otherwise, the case's stability is acceptable.

The device's measurements are similar to that of other multimedia notebooks (for instance, the Asus N751JX). At a thickness of 34 mm (~1.3 inches), the 17-inch computer is neither fat nor extremely thin. Weighing in at 2.8 kg (~6.2 lbs), the GP72 is easy enough to carry and is actually lighter than the 25 mm (~1.0 inch) thick Acer V 17 Nitro (3.0 kg; ~6.6 lbs). The manufacturing quality also proved to be relatively good. Our only criticism is that the area between the panel and the display could be cleaner (the illumination from the screen shines through the crack in some spots).

Regarding the hinges, even though two hands are required to open the device (and the base unit swings upwards when pried from the lid), the lid bounces when something in the environment shakes hard enough. Overall, we liked the black case well enough. Disregarding the lack of keyboard backlighting and the somewhat inconveniently located status lights on the front of the notebook, MSI did not make any big slip-ups here.

Connectivity

Ports

The GP72's connectivity features mirror those of its 17-inch brother, the GE72. Because the only connections on the right side of the laptop are a USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader and the power input, there is nothing to get in the way of a mouse. Lefties, however, will not be too pleased with the GP72. The left side of the device is peppered with three USB ports, two audio jacks (microphone and headphone), an HDMI/Mini DisplayPort output and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The fancy hunk of circuitry can be secured with a Kensington lock, if desired.

Card Reader

The card reader's performance is rather pathetic. Our test model's Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II, which according to the manufacturer should transfer up to 260 MB/s, only managed 36.8 MB/s in our sequential benchmark (AS SSD). Relocating 250 images (1.07 GB) took about 34 seconds, which translates to about 29.6 MB/s.

Wireless Communication

The wireless module (an Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 3160) performs its duties more than satisfactorily. Even from a distance of 10-15 meters (~33 to 49 feet) and through several walls, the module still held a connection to the router -- though the connection was lost when Windows displayed an average of 1-2 bars (~10-20 Mbit/s). As the module's name suggests, the wireless adapter communicates not only over WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n, but also over the new ac standard (2.4 and 5.0 GHz). Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported.

Left side: Kensington Lock, RJ45-LAN, USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, 2x USB 3.0, Microphone, Headphone
Left side: Kensington Lock, RJ45-LAN, USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, 2x USB 3.0, Microphone, Headphone
Right side: Optical drive, USB 2.0, SD card reader, Power input
Right side: Optical drive, USB 2.0, SD card reader, Power input

Maintenance

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide photos of the inner life of this laptop. MSI stuck a warranty sticker on the bottom of the case, and we are not permitted to remove it from devices that we source from a store. Our article on the 15-inch GP62 offers a little insight here, as our American colleague was able to open that device. As the relevant picture from said review shows, laptops in the GP series only contain one fan. The singular fan is responsible for cooling both the CPU and the GPU (the GE62 and the GE72 are outfitted with two fans). Inside the case you will also find two RAM banks, an M.2 slot for solid-state drives and a 2.5-inch slot for SSDs, HDDs and hybrid models. Not ideal: In order to access the components or the 6-cell battery, the whole bottom of the case must be unscrewed.

Software

Although MSI did not go overboard when it comes to preinstalled programs, the software often pushes the system to its limits. Immediately following the boot process (which takes considerably longer than with an SSD), Windows 10 runs much too sluggishly. In extreme cases, it took several minutes before the operating system reacted normally and opened the web browser, etc.

It would be inaccurate, however, for us to exclusively blame the MSI tools for the pitiful performance (for a few examples, see below). "Thanks" to the trial version of Norton Security and the inescapable Windows 10 updates, which of course love to run directly following a boot, the HDD starts out under an even heavier load. Even after cleaning up auto-start programs and uninstalling unnecessary software, the GP72 never really gets into gear. In light of all this, we strongly recommend installing an SSD -- or just buying the GE72.

Recovery Image Backup
Recovery Image Backup
Dragon Gaming Center
Dragon Gaming Center
System Control Manager
System Control Manager
Killer Network Manager
Killer Network Manager

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Accessories

The laptop's packaging contains a Quick Start Guide, a warranty booklet and system recovery instructions (there are no recovery DVDs). The box also holds a 120-watt power supply that measures 14.5 x 7.5 x 2.5 cm (~5.7 x 3.0 x 1.0 inches) and weighs 428 grams (~0.9 lbs).

Warranty

The warranty covers the device for 24 months.

Input Devices

Keyboard

MSI's keyboard is a matter of taste. While Person X might appreciate the gamer-friendly layout, Person Y might be frustrated with the Enter key that is confined to one row (this key stretches over two rows on a standard German keyboard) and the relocated <|> key (the American keyboard layout has no such key). Prolific typists would be better off buying a competing product with a standard keyboard layout.

The keyboard's performance is superb in every other respect. When it comes to tactile response and click point, the keyboard can hold its ground against other models. The dedicated numeric keypad and the futuristic lettering are also appealing. While the keys on the main block measure 14 x 14 mm (~0.6 x 0.6 inches), the number keys on the right side of the keyboard are only 12 mm (~0.5 inches) wide. The extra buttons that MSI positioned to the left of the power key activate the Dragon Gaming Center and the Cooler Boost function. The latter increases the fan activity in order to lower the computer's temperature, but given the resultant level of noise, we would not recommend using it.

Touchpad

Like the keyboard, the touchpad does its job well. MSI chose not to use the mechanical system at work in many modern ClickPads -- which is just as well, since these often fail to live up to our standards. The separate mouse keys guarantee that right and left clicks are registered properly. In terms of precision and stability, the touchpad also performs better than most ClickPads.

Users' opinions will undoubtedly differ when it comes to the slightly roughened surface of the touchpad. The surface allows for better feedback, but fingers do not glide across the pad as easily. The touchpad is on the larger side: 10.9 x 6.2 cm (~4.3 x 2.4 inches) providing ample space to move the cursor across large areas of the screen in one sweeping motion. The pad of course supports touch gestures, though the zoom function is a bit stubborn, and scrolling has to be turned on in the driver.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Touchpad
Touchpad

Display

Like most current notebooks, the GP72 is outfitted with an anti-reflective Full HD display. That is a good thing, since the GeForce GTX 950M is much too weak to display images at resolutions as high as 3K and 4K (see benchmarks).

202
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
210
cd/m²
250
cd/m²
214
cd/m²
262
cd/m²
258
cd/m²
258
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 262 cd/m² Average: 231.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 77 %
Center on Battery: 250 cd/m²
Contrast: 1000:1 (Black: 0.25 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 10.3 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 10.83 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
95% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 61% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.51

Thanks to its matte surface, the GP72 is well suited for outdoor use. Theoretically, anyway -- maybe not in every lighting situation, as the panel is only moderately bright. At around 230 cd/m², the CMN N173HGE-E11 comes in about 100 cd/m² behind the LG Philips 173WF4-SPD1/SPF1 in the Asus GL771JW and Acer V 17 Nitro, respectively. The Schenker XMG A705 and the Asus N751JX (AU Optronics B173HW02 V1) both glow more brightly as well. However, the MSI GP72 wins points for its low black value. At 0.25 cd/m², dark screen content appears crisp and rich.

MSI GP72-2QEi781
CMN N173HGE-E11 (CMN1735)
Asus N751JX-T4056H
AU Optronics B173HW02 V1
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
Chi Mei N173HGE-E11
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
LG Philips LP173WF4-SPD1
Schenker XMG A705
AU Optronics B173HW02 V1
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
LG Philips LGD0469 ÖP173WF4-SPF1
Screen
1%
7%
16%
-10%
10%
Brightness middle
250
337
35%
255
2%
343
37%
322
29%
347
39%
Brightness
231
312
35%
246
6%
333
44%
299
29%
326
41%
Brightness Distribution
77
86
12%
80
4%
92
19%
87
13%
90
17%
Black Level *
0.25
0.61
-144%
0.2
20%
0.38
-52%
0.57
-128%
0.409
-64%
Contrast
1000
552
-45%
1275
28%
903
-10%
565
-43%
848
-15%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
10.3
5.84
43%
10.01
3%
7
32%
9.29
10%
6.81
34%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.83
3.86
64%
10.5
3%
4.33
60%
9.58
12%
7.27
33%
Gamma
2.51 88%
2.59 85%
2.25 98%
2.12 104%
2.17 101%
2.4 92%
CCT
13595 48%
6859 95%
12631 51%
6111 106%
11114 58%
7546 86%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
61
64
5%
62
2%
59
-3%
59
-3%
57
-7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
95
97
2%
94
-1%

* ... smaller is better

The high contrast is also visible: Many competing devices do not come anywhere near the GP72's 1000:1. The same goes for the color space: With an sRGB color space coverage of 95% and an AdobeRGB coverage of 61%, the CMN173HGE-E11 sprints past most panels. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the color accuracy. Straight out of the factory, the display is plagued with a substantial blue cast -- however, this can be resolved with a calibration. According to our measurements with the professional CalMAN software, the grayscale and the gamma value also profited significantly from a "tuning".

CalMan: Grayscale
CalMan: Grayscale
CalMan: Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMan: Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMan: Saturation Sweeps
CalMan: Saturation Sweeps
CalMan: Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMan: Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMan: ColorChecker
CalMan: ColorChecker
CalMan: ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMan: ColorChecker (calibrated)
MSI GP72 vs. sRGB
MSI GP72 vs. sRGB
MSI GP72 vs. AdobeRGB
MSI GP72 vs. AdobeRGB

Let us look at the panel's viewing angle stability. In terms of how the screen content appears at wide vertical angles, the TN panel's accuracy does not match that of a good IPS panel, but for its kind, the display performs above average. Great: Our test device's panel is free from visible inconsistencies in lighting (despite the fact that at an evenness of an unimpressive 77% across the screen, its brightness distribution is second-rate).

Outdoor Use
Outdoor Use
Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance

The MSI GP72 is equipped with hardware aimed at multimedia fans who want to use their laptop for office, Internet, music, video and gaming applications. The device's performance is acceptable in all these areas, though its performance level never reaches that of a typical gaming notebook. The computer's main competitors are 17-inch notebooks that cost between 1,000 and 1,500 Euros (~$1130-1700) and are outfitted with a GeForce GTX 950M or GeForce GTX 960M. Weaker systems with 930M or 940M graphics cards are simply unfit for gaming.

Processor

MSI chose to integrate a Core i7-5700HQ processor into their GP72. This quad-core processor is strong as an ox and clocks at 2.7 to 3.5 GHz under load. Rather than using the older Haswell generation's 22 nm architecture, the chip is manufactured at just 14 nm. However, despite the new manufacturing technology, the Broadwell architecture's performance is hardly improved.

Single-Core Rendering
Single-Core Rendering
Multi-Core Rendering
Multi-Core Rendering
CPU- & GPU Load
CPU- & GPU Load

Looking at the results from the Cinebench R15 benchmark, it becomes clear that the Core i7-5700HQ is not even 10% faster than its extremely popular Haswell brother, the Core i7-4720HQ (2.6-3.6 GHz). Almost all of the GP72's competitors are equipped with this Haswell processor. One reason for the Broadwell chip's relatively minimal lead is that the Core i7-5700HQ is unable to demonstrate its full potential in the GP72. As proven by our test device's 17-inch brother, the GT72, theoretically the high-end model can run at its full 3.5 GHz under multi-core load (Haswell CPUs only reach their maximum clock frequency under single-core load).

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.7 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.62 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
40.03 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
694 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
142 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
44.9 fps
Help

However, the limited turbo does not have a perceptible effect. 3.1-3.5 GHz in multi-core scenarios is still ample speed. Via Hyperthreading, the Core i7-5700HQ can even process eight threads in parallel. The processor only throttles under full load -- a circumstance that most users will never experience.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
142 Points ∼65%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
139 Points ∼64% -2%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
137 Points ∼63% -4%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
141 Points ∼65% -1%
Schenker XMG A705
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
132 Points ∼61% -7%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
133 Points ∼61% -6%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
694 Points ∼16%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
633 Points ∼14% -9%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
659 Points ∼15% -5%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
634 Points ∼14% -9%
Schenker XMG A705
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
645 Points ∼15% -7%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
643 Points ∼15% -7%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
1.62 Points ∼66%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.57 Points ∼64% -3%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.58 Points ∼65% -2%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.58 Points ∼65% -2%
Schenker XMG A705
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.58 Points ∼65% -2%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
1.13 Points ∼46% -30%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
Intel Core i7-5700HQ
7.7 Points ∼28%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
6.9 Points ∼25% -10%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.31 Points ∼27% -5%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
6.24 Points ∼23% -19%
Schenker XMG A705
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.03 Points ∼26% -9%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
Intel Core i7-4720HQ
7.03 Points ∼26% -9%

System Performance

As previously mentioned, the laptop's system performance is somewhat disappointing. Without an SSD as a Windows partition, it often feels like you are working with an antiquated notebook. The results from PCMark 7, which are heavily influenced by the speed of the mass storage device, are predictably unimpressive. An ordinary office or budget notebook can attain 3284 points. PCMark 8 is considerably more merciful to the GP72: A Home score of 3351 points and Work score of 4532 points are reasonable for a laptop in this price range.

PCMark 7 Score
3284 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3351 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4532 points
Help
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
4532 Points ∼70%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
GeForce GTX 950M, 4720HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
3521 Points ∼54% -22%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
4982 Points ∼76% +10%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
4980 Points ∼76% +10%
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU512HCGL
4910 Points ∼75% +8%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
3351 Points ∼55%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
GeForce GTX 950M, 4720HQ, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
3241 Points ∼53% -3%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
3705 Points ∼61% +11%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
3758 Points ∼62% +12%
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU512HCGL
3790 Points ∼62% +13%
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
3284 Points ∼38%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
5895 Points ∼69% +80%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU256HCGL
6058 Points ∼70% +84%
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Samsung SSD XP941 MZHPU512HCGL
6098 Points ∼71% +86%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
5669 Points ∼66% +73%

Storage Devices

MSI chose a 1000 GB HDD from Western Digital (a Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0) for their GP72. This drive runs at 5400 rpm and reaches over 100 MB/s in CrystalDiskMark's sequential test -- a respectable result for an HDD. It is also possible to add an SSD in the compact M.2 format to the GP72.

WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
Transfer Rate Minimum: 43.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 112.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 82.3 MB/s
Access Time: 16.8 ms
Burst Rate: 168.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 1.2 %

Graphics Card

Thanks to Nvidia's Optimus technology, the multi-purpose notebook can switch dynamically between the graphics unit integrated in the processor and the dedicated GeForce GPU. While the HD Graphics 5600 is designed for everyday tasks, the GTX 950M activates when faced with computationally intense 3D applications (games, etc.). Because Nvidia's mid-class GPU has to make do with DDR3-VRAM, its performance sometimes falls far behind that of the GeForce GTX 960M (which also contains 640 CUDA cores and 2048 MB of memory (128-bit interface)).

3DMark 11 Performance
4574 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
52209 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
14362 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
2911 points
Help

Besides the VRAM type, the biggest difference between the two GPUs is the clock rates. Instead of 1097-1176 MHz, the GTX 950M core only reaches 993-1124 MHz. Even so, the turbo (also called GPU Boost) in the GP72 comes into its own and shrinks the difference between the clock rates somewhat. In direct comparison, the 17-incher's performance is more or less on par with that of the Asus N751JX, which is equipped with a GTX 950M. Notebooks with a GeForce GTX 960M are quite a bit faster. In the current 3DMark Fire Strike test, the laptops with the 960M come in nearly 40% ahead of our test device.

3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
3225 Points ∼8%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
3175 Points ∼8% -2%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
4372 Points ∼11% +36%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
4252 Points ∼10% +32%
Schenker XMG A705
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
4313 Points ∼11% +34%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
4304 Points ∼11% +33%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
2911 Points ∼11%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
2863 Points ∼11% -2%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
4078 Points ∼15% +40%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
3897 Points ∼15% +34%
Schenker XMG A705
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
3978 Points ∼15% +37%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
3974 Points ∼15% +37%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
4474 Points ∼9%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
4431 Points ∼9% -1%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5267 Points ∼10% +18%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5083 Points ∼10% +14%
Schenker XMG A705
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5250 Points ∼10% +17%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5103 Points ∼10% +14%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
4574 Points ∼15%
Asus N751JX-T4056H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
4575 Points ∼15% 0%
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5577 Points ∼18% +22%
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5308 Points ∼17% +16%
Schenker XMG A705
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5579 Points ∼18% +22%
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
5410 Points ∼17% +18%

Gaming Performance

Users should not try to push the MSI GP72 beyond 1920x1080 pixels and high settings. Extremely demanding titles like Watch Dogs and Batman Arkham Knight can only be played at medium details and/or reduced resolution. However, those who tend to play harmless titles (like FIFA 15) can turn on all the options and activate top-quality anti-aliasing.

#ff7777;">0 game wont start (crash)
low med. high ultra4K
Battlefield 4 (2013) 118.883.157.22210.9fps
Watch Dogs (2014) 62.153.120.812.7fps
Sims 4 (2014) 168.497.957.447fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 169.9133.991.341.6fps
Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) 5646204fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 59.959.637.526.710.4fps
Mad Max (2015) 75.43834.911fps

Emissions

The MSI GP72's noise level is somewhat reminiscent of the Asus N751JX-T4056H. At 31-35 dB(A) in idle mode, the 17-inch laptop is not silent, but the unobtrusive fan and hard drive noises could hardly bother anyone. However, when the computer is carrying out somewhat taxing processes (installations, etc.), things do not look as good: Every now and then the case fan ramps up its speed, which is not really necessary, considering the device's hardware temperatures.

But the GP72 never reaches an uncomfortably loud level of noise. Even in our stress test (FurMark and Prime95 running simultaneously), the fan only reached a maximum of 43 dB(A). We see the same number when the computer is running "normal" 3D applications. Notebooks with stronger GPUs often tend to emit closer to 50 dB (see table), which can indeed be bothersome.

Noise Level

Idle
31.4 / 32.2 / 34.6 dB(A)
HDD
32.2 dB(A)
DVD
38 / dB(A)
Load
42.8 / 43.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ
Asus N751JX-T4056H
GeForce GTX 950M, 4720HQ
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Noise
0%
-3%
4%
-3%
-4%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
31.4
33.2
-6%
29.4
6%
30.6
3%
29.4
6%
29.6
6%
Idle Average *
32.2
33.3
-3%
34
-6%
32.6
-1%
30.6
5%
32.1
-0%
Idle Maximum *
34.6
33.6
3%
36
-4%
33.2
4%
38.2
-10%
35.4
-2%
Load Average *
42.8
40.4
6%
44.4
-4%
39.4
8%
44.4
-4%
47.3
-11%
Load Maximum *
43.4
42.4
2%
47
-8%
41.4
5%
48
-11%
48.1
-11%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Stress Test
Stress Test

One of the GP72's greatest weaknesses is the fact that it grows relatively hot. Even in idle mode, the left half of the case warms up palpably -- though 35 °C (95 °F) around the palm rest is still acceptable. Asus makes a better impression here. Both the N751JX and the GL771JW remain cooler than 30 °C (86 °F) in idle mode.

The MSI GP72's cooling behavior in the stress test is mediocre as well. After an hour under full load, the case reaches an average of 40 °C (104 °F) on top and 39 °C (102.2 °F) on the bottom. At those temperatures, the 17-inch laptop is not necessarily safe on your lap. Since the computer's maximum temperature hits 50 °C (122 °F), it would be unwise to play demanding games for extended periods. The area around the WASD keys remains a somewhat cooler 46 °C (114.8 °F).

Max. Load
 46.3 °C
115 F
45.6 °C
114 F
35.6 °C
96 F
 
 45.9 °C
115 F
45.4 °C
114 F
33.9 °C
93 F
 
 40.3 °C
105 F
40.7 °C
105 F
28.9 °C
84 F
 
Maximum: 46.3 °C = 115 F
Average: 40.3 °C = 105 F
36.1 °C
97 F
42.3 °C
108 F
50.1 °C
122 F
32.9 °C
91 F
41.9 °C
107 F
47.1 °C
117 F
26.6 °C
80 F
33.4 °C
92 F
37 °C
99 F
Maximum: 50.1 °C = 122 F
Average: 38.6 °C = 101 F
Power Supply (max.)  56.2 °C = 133 F | Room Temperature 23 °C = 73 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 40.3 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46.3 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 50.1 °C / 122 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(±) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 33.9 °C / 93 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(-) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 40.7 °C / 105.3 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-11.6 °C / -20.9 F).
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ
Asus N751JX-T4056H
GeForce GTX 950M, 4720HQ
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Heat
25%
-4%
15%
3%
8%
Maximum Upper Side *
46.3
38.3
17%
56
-21%
44
5%
49.1
-6%
49.6
-7%
Maximum Bottom *
50.1
43
14%
46.8
7%
53.4
-7%
48.4
3%
51.7
-3%
Idle Upper Side *
39
25.7
34%
38.3
2%
27.8
29%
34.6
11%
29.5
24%
Idle Bottom *
39.4
26.5
33%
41.1
-4%
27.3
31%
37.3
5%
33
16%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

Nahimic
Nahimic

While the GP62 received a grade of little over 40% in the realm of audio quality, the GP72 managed to secure a considerably better score. The improvement can be traced to the subwoofer, which is missing on the 15-inch model. Still, that does not mean the sound quality is great. The speakers integrated into the front of the device are mediocre and fail to measure up to those on the Asus N751JX.

Without the "Nahimic Audio Enhancer", the distance between our test device and its competitors in this area would probably be even greater. With its attractive, clean interface and numerous options, the software is definitely a success. The program deserves another point for making it possible to use the sound system at its maximum volume. The volume cannot be turned up so loud on other notebooks. It should be noted, however, that as the volume increases, the sound grows noticeably tinnier.

Energy Management

The GP72's energy usage in idle mode is somewhat higher than that of the Asus N751JX. Instead of 9.1-17.8 watts, the MSI notebook consumes 13.8-23.2 watts. In 3DMark 06, however, the Asus device uses more power. In the first scene, we only squeezed an average of 78.8 rather than 89.7 watts out of the GP72. Because the GP72's CPU throttles, the maximum energy consumption cannot be compared 1:1.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 13.8 / 19.6 / 23.2 Watt
Load midlight 78.8 / 103.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ
Asus N751JX-T4056H
GeForce GTX 950M, 4720HQ
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Power Consumption
17%
-19%
7%
-12%
20%
Idle Minimum *
13.8
9.1
34%
16
-16%
8.8
36%
13.5
2%
5.8
58%
Idle Average *
19.6
13.8
30%
21.8
-11%
14.8
24%
18.8
4%
13.1
33%
Idle Maximum *
23.2
17.8
23%
28.5
-23%
24.3
-5%
25.5
-10%
14.5
37%
Load Average *
78.8
89.7
-14%
102
-29%
88.8
-13%
95.8
-22%
98
-24%
Load Maximum *
103.2
92.3
11%
118
-14%
111.2
-8%
140
-36%
104.9
-2%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The MSI GP72's battery life is more reminiscent of a gaming notebook than a multimedia notebook. Depending on the level of load, the display brightness, and whether the system is in energy-saving mode, the laptop's battery lasts 1-6 hours. Under realistic conditions, as simulated in our WLAN and HD video tests, the user can expect to go about 2-3 hours unplugged. Because of its more powerful battery (56 vs. 42 Wh), the Asus N751JX holds out 50% longer.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 59min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
2h 40min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
1h 56min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 50min
MSI GP72-2QEi781
GeForce GTX 950M, 5700HQ
Asus N751JX-T4056H
GeForce GTX 950M, 4720HQ
MSI GE72-2QDi716H11
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Asus GL771JW-T7082H
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Schenker XMG A705
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Acer Aspire V Nitro 7-791G-70TW
GeForce GTX 960M, 4720HQ
Battery Runtime
53%
36%
74%
67%
28%
Reader / Idle
359
498
39%
601
67%
324
-10%
H.264
116
172
48%
238
105%
228
97%
WiFi v1.3
160
244
53%
210
31%
271
69%
258
61%
204
28%
Load
50
62
24%
78
56%
109
118%

Pros

+ Graphics switching with activity notifications
+ Runs relatively quietly
+ Some parts made of metal
+ Good touchpad
+ Attractive design
+ M.2 slot
+ 3x USB 3.0

Cons

- Not a true gaming notebook (GTX 950M with DDR3-VRAM)
- System performance sometimes greatly impaired by pre-installed software and forced Windows 10 updates
- Lots of cutbacks compared to the GE series (lacks keyboard backlighting, etc.)
- Speakers could be better
- Battery not easily accessible
- TN panel with a blue cast
- Mediocre battery life

Verdict

In review: MSI GP72 2QE Leopard Pro. Test model provided by Notebooksbilliger.de
In review: MSI GP72 2QE Leopard Pro. Test model provided by Notebooksbilliger.de

Directly compared with the similarly priced Asus N751JX-T4056H, it is hard to make a case for the GP72-2QEi781. Our test device's 17-inch competitor offers not only longer battery life, but a better sound system as well. Those who like to travel with their laptop will be pleased with the N751JX's brighter display, though the GP72 weighs less (2.8 vs. 3.4 kg; ~6.2 vs. 7.5 lbs).

It is a matter of taste which notebook is more attractive. With its lighter colors, the Asus device certainly looks fresher. The N751JX leaves a general impression of superior quality, including in the realm of manufacturing. When it comes to connectivity features, performance and input devices, the two notebooks are nearly identical.

Since the case temperatures are above average, the GP72's final grade comes in just under the 80% mark. With its more effective cooling, the Asus N751JX achieves an overall grade of 85% -- 6% higher than our MSI device. MSI fans who are in the market for a gaming notebook are better off taking a look at the more expensive GE, GS and GT series.

MSI GP72-2QEi781 - 09/16/2015 v4(old)
Florian Glaser

Chassis
74 / 98 → 76%
Keyboard
75%
Pointing Device
80%
Connectivity
72 / 81 → 89%
Weight
58 / 20-67 → 81%
Battery
71%
Display
81%
Games Performance
90 / 85 → 100%
Application Performance
81 / 92 → 88%
Temperature
74%
Noise
76 / 95 → 80%
Audio
60%
Average
74%
79%
Multimedia - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > MSI GP72 2QE Leopard Pro Notebook Review
Florian Glaser, 2015-09-21 (Update: 2018-05-15)