Notebookcheck

MSI WT72 6QM Workstation Review

Behemoth for Professionals. MSI’s WT72 now sports updated hardware in the form of a Skylake Xeon processor and a more powerful Nvidia Quadro GPU. The other specs remain largely the same and the workstation thus remains a solid choice for CAD work and 3D modelling.

Last summer, we took a look at MSI's WT72 workstation equipped with a Haswell Core i7-4980HQ CPU and came away pretty impressed. MSI is now offering an upgrade to last year's model with a new Skylake i7 CPU, but different graphics card depending on the version. There are actually four different notebooks with the same Intel Skylake i7-6700HQ CPU, ranging from the WT72 6QI-654US with NVIDIA Quadro M1000M for $1900 to the WT72 6QI-654US with Quadro M4000M, which sells for $3100. This time around, we are going to focus our attention at the top-of-the-line WT72 6QM-423US with Intel Xeon E3-1505 processor and high-end NVIDIA Quadro M5000M. This model comes equipped with 32GB of DDR4 2133MHz, both solid state and platter-based drives and sells for a mind-blowing $5000. The other version with Xeon processor isn't for the faint of heart either: equipped with Quadro M4000M, this particular workstation (model WT72 6QL-400) sells for $3700. Of course, we are talking about purpose-built machines here; for the intended user base, the price is likely less of an issue than overall performance and reliability. 

As before, the updated workstation is actually based on a gaming rig and from a physical standpoint almost identical to the Xotic PC MSI GT72S 6QF gaming notebook reviewed here. While there are quite a few larger gaming notebooks, high-end 17-inch workstations are a rare breed indeed. Competitors include the HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET or the Bullman E-Klasse Xeon 17 (note: review is only available in German). At the time of writing, Dell still offers the Dell Precision M6800 with 4th-generation Haswell Core i7 CPU, although there is also a new model called Precision 17 7000 (up to 6th-generation Intel Xeon CPU), which we've not had a chance to review yet. Since the chassis is almost identical, we will skip certain sections during our review or only cover them briefly. Please take a look at our previous reviews of the MSI's WT72 and the Xotic PC MSI GT72S 6QF Dragon for additional information.

MSI WT72-6QM (WT72 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA Quadro M5000M - 8192 MB, 10.18.13.5396, manuell
Memory
32768 MB 
, DDR4
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, no, LG Philips LP173WF4-SPF1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel CM236 (Skylake PCH-H)
Storage
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7, 256 GB 
, 128GB*2 SSD (PCIe Gen3x4)
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
6 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Mikrofon + Kopfhörer, Card Reader: SD (XC/HC)
Networking
Killer e2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Optical drive
Matshita BD-MLT UJ272
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 48 x 428 x 293.3 ( = 1.89 x 16.85 x 11.55 in)
Battery
86580 mAh Lithium-Ion, 9 Zellen
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1080p FullHD
Additional features
Speakers: Dynaudio Tech Speakers 3W*2 + Subwoofer*1, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
3.852 kg ( = 135.88 oz / 8.49 pounds), Power Supply: 1.072 kg ( = 37.81 oz / 2.36 pounds)
Price
5000 USD

 

Case

As noted, the case of the WT72 workstation-model mirrors the gaming-specific GT72-series. That said, the workstation is far from sleek with a thickness of almost 5 cm / 2 inches and a weight of 3.9 kg / 8.4 lbs. Of course, portability wasn't a design priority and most users will likely condemn the behemoth to desktop duty anyways. The massive, 230-watt power adapter alone weighs about 1 kg - close to the weight of some Ultrabooks. For a more detailed description of the case design, please take a look at our review of the GT72S 6QF

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Connectivity

Compared to the predecessor, the updated workstation now includes one USB 3.1 Type-C Gen. 2 (Thunderbolt 3) in addition to the Mini DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4.

Communication

Physical connection is now courtesy of a Killer e2400 10/1000MBit instead of the previous e2200 network card. According to Killer, the new network card features "Advanced Stream Detect 2.0" and "up to 6 levels of application and website traffic prioritization". While important for gamers, it's unlikely that the intended audience would notice any difference in perceived speed. Instead of the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260, the review notebook now features the updated Intel 8260 Wireless-AC Combo (2x2). The big - or maybe not so big - news here is Bluetooth 4.2 support, which promises faster connectivity and better security.

Warranty

A major disappointment in our eyes is the warranty, as MSI now only offers a 2 year limited warranty (with 1 year global support). For a high-end machine costing $5000, we would have expected at least 3 years of protection, which is the de facto standard for workstations. MSI doesn't seem to offer an upgrade or extension themselves but instead refers to the original store of purchase or the distributor of the product.

Input Devices

The utility to adjust the backlight colors
The utility to adjust the backlight colors

For details on the keyboard (which is part of MSI's "steelseries") and the touchpad, please check our reviews of the MSI GT72 and Xotic PC MSI GT72S 6QF. Our only comment here is regarding the keyboard backlight, which is a direct carry-over from the gaming series, complete with a rather colorful triple-zone layout. It's of course possible to choose a single - and for normal work more appropriate - color like white or light blue instead.

Display

Once again, the IPS panel is courtesy of LG Philips (LP173WF4-SPF1). The average brightness of 300 nits is decent enough - especially since the display is non-glare and the workstation likely won't be used outdoors. The same exact panel in the Xotic PC MSI GT72S 6QF is about 25 nits brighter; competitors like the HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET with DreamColor display (310 nits) or the Bullman E-Klasse Xeon 17 (335 nits)  either slightly exceed or - in case of the Dell Precision M6800 (250 nits) - trail our review unit. Unfortunately, higher-resolution 17-inch displays are not really available to this date, so the user needs to make do with a FHD-resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a corresponding pixel density of 127 PPI. Text and graphics are still reasonably sharp, however - and the user has of course the option to hook up an external 4K display, if desired.

290
cd/m²
291
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
295
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
294
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 309 cd/m² Average: 297.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 301 cd/m²
Contrast: 659:1 (Black: 0.46 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.77 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 4.87 | - Ø
85.27% sRGB (Argyll) 56.04% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 1.99
MSI WT72-6QM
17.3, 1920x1080
Bullman E-Klasse 5
17.3, 1920x1080
Dell Precision M6800
17.3, 1920x1080
HP ZBook 17 E9X11AA-ABA
17.3, 1920x1080
Schenker XMG U705
17.3, 1920x1080
Razer Blade Pro 17 inch 2015
17.3, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad P70
17.3, 3840x2160
Response Times
51%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
42 (13, 29)
44 (17.2, 26.8)
-5%
Response Time Black / White *
26 (7, 19)
27.6 (4.8, 22.8)
-6%
PWM Frequency
86 (10, 15)
228 (95)
165%
Screen
14%
-42%
32%
15%
-51%
15%
Brightness
298
335
12%
247
-17%
311
4%
317
6%
295
-1%
341
14%
Brightness Distribution
94
89
-5%
83
-12%
88
-6%
86
-9%
87
-7%
85
-10%
Black Level *
0.46
0.44
4%
0.477
-4%
0.359
22%
0.3
35%
0.822
-79%
0.4
13%
Contrast
659
807
22%
524
-20%
891
35%
1110
68%
384
-42%
913
39%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.77
3.73
35%
11.4
-98%
2.04
65%
5.24
9%
12.21
-112%
3.8
34%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.87
2.84
42%
12.97
-166%
2.45
50%
4.33
11%
13.4
-175%
6.09
-25%
Gamma
1.99 121%
2.12 113%
2.65 91%
2.28 105%
2.14 112%
2.39 100%
2.3 104%
CCT
7363 88%
6457 101%
18595 35%
6518 100%
6437 101%
19530 33%
6332 103%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
56.04
55.45
-1%
68
21%
93
66%
55
-2%
59
5%
76.01
36%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
85.27
84.39
-1%
100
17%
83.3
-2%
90.3
6%
99.97
17%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
14% / 14%
-42% / -42%
32% / 32%
15% / 15%
-51% / -51%
33% / 25%

* ... smaller is better

With a color space coverage of about 56 % for AdobeRGB and 85 % for sRGB, the workstation performs similar to the other notebooks with the same panel. HP's DreamColor-display is significantly better and offers AdobeRGB coverage of about 93 %. Given the price point, we would expect better coverage of the professional color spaces, although for CAD work the about average performance certainly isn't a deal-breaker.

Coverage sRGB
Coverage sRGB
Coverage AdobeRGB
Coverage AdobeRGB

We had issues generating an ICC profile on our US machine even with the latest version of the iProfiler software. At this point, we don't know the cause - maybe we had a conflict with the pre-installed MSI TrueColor software. Fortunately, our colleagues in Germany were able to supply one and we have included the ICC profile in the graphic above (showing the brightness measured across nine quadrants). The Colorchecker, Grayscale and Saturation files included below are from the US model and differ slightly from the German notebook (the pre-calibration Colorchecker DeltaE-value, for example, was 4.95 for the workstation in the US and 5.78 for the German test sample). Since both workstations are equipped with the same panel, we are probably just looking at the normal variation we encounter quite frequently even when dealing with supposedly identical panels.

Our check with the X-Rite spectrophotometer shows decent enough colors even with the panel not calibrated. Typical for MSI is the "True Color" tool, which allows the user to adjust the color temperature, brightness, gamma, and specific RGB values, among others. There's even an "anti-blue" mode for different settings (reading, office, browsing, multimedia).

Colorchecker
Colorchecker
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation
Saturation
MSI True Color tool
MSI True Color tool

Thanks to the decent brightness and non-glare display, the WT72 can be used outdoors or in brighter environments. The panel is not quite bright enough to overcome direct sunlight, but working in the shade is possible. That said, we find it pretty unlikely that anybody would use a workstation of this caliber away from outlets - especially considering that the battery life will be a limiting factor fairly quickly when the work load is high. Thanks to the IPS technology, the viewing angle stability is high and the screen remains visible even at very shallow angles.

The WT72 outdoors - overcast sky
The WT72 outdoors - overcast sky
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

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
26 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 19 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. » 42 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 29 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. » 52 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (42.5 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 86 Hz10 % brightness setting
15 cd/m² brightness

The display backlight flickers at 86 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 10 % (15 cd/m²) and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 86 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

As the flickering occurs only on very low brightness settings, it should not be an issue in typical office settings. Nonetheless, use in low light conditions may be straining to the eyes.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8568 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

Our review workstation comes equipped with a 6th-generation Intel Xeon E3-1505 processor, 32 GB of ECC DDR4 2133 MHz RAM (64 GB maximum), 2x 128 GB SSD in a RAID 0 array, and an NVIDIA Quadro M5000M GPU. As we mentioned in our introduction, our version is the top-of-the-line model. All in all, MSI lists two workstations with Xeon E3-1505 CPU, four with 6th-generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, and three models with 4th-generation Intel Core i7-4720HQ CPU. None of the models are a bargain, with the lowest-cost model (WT72 6QI-654US with i7-6700HQ, 128GB M.2 SATA + 1TB HDD, 16 GB of RAM, and NVIDIA Quadro M1000M) starting at $1900. Our review notebook costs a whopping $5000. 

Processor

The Intel Xeon E3-1505, which the WT72 is equipped with, is a Skylake-generation and very high-end quad-core processor specifically designed for workstation notebooks. Aside from additional management features, this processor also supports ECC memory, which is something the Core i7 CPUs lack. Hyper-Threading is of course enabled and the four cores operate at frequencies from 2.8 - 3.7 GHz (4 cores: max. 3.3 GHz, 2 cores: max. 3.5 GHz). Although workstations make use of discrete graphics, the E3-1505 also features an integrated HD Graphics P530 GPU. With a TDP of 45 watts, the CPU is best suited for larger chassis with adequate cooling fan systems.

Compared to the workstation predecessor, which came equipped with the (also very high-end) Intel Core i7 4710MQ, the new model with E3-1501 offers a performance plus of up to 6 % according to Cinebench. The Bullman E-Klasse Xeon 17 (Clevo P771ZM) comes with an Intel Core i7-4790K - a desktop processor with a TDP of 88 watts - and outperforms the WT72 6QM-423US by roughly 11 % (single) and 17 % (multi) according to Cinebench R15. Still: under normal conditions, it's next to impossible to tap the full potential of the CPU.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
1.77 Points ∼78%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
1.54 Points ∼68% -13%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
1.95 Points ∼86% +10%
Dell Precision M6800
1.55 Points ∼68% -12%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
7.85 Points ∼3%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
7.11 Points ∼3% -9%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
9.14 Points ∼4% +16%
Dell Precision M6800
5.49 Points ∼2% -30%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
157 Points ∼79%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
135 Points ∼68% -14%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
174 Points ∼87% +11%
Dell Precision M6800
139 Points ∼70% -11%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
724 Points ∼34%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
657 Points ∼31% -9%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
843 Points ∼39% +16%
Dell Precision M6800
529 Points ∼25% -27%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
528.8 Seconds * ∼2%
Dell Precision M6800
534 Seconds * ∼2% -1%

Legend

 
MSI WT72-6QM Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5, NVIDIA Quadro M5000M, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
 
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET Intel Core i7-4710MQ, AMD FirePro M6100, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
 
Bullman E-Klasse 5 Intel Core i7-4790K, NVIDIA Quadro K3100M, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
 
Dell Precision M6800 Intel Core i7-4800MQ, NVIDIA Quadro K3100M, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
8529 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
27938 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
7421 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8525
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
21475
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
5627
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
94.97 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
7.85 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.77 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
109.55 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
724 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
157 Points
Help

System Performance

As expected at this price point, the overall system performance is very high with a PCMark 7 score of 6657 points. The GT72S is faster still with 7163 points (+ 7.5 %) - presumably because of the better storage sub-scores. The PCMark 8 scores are not too shabby, either, with the WT72 6QM-423US besting the predecessor pretty handily (Work score of 5655 vs. 4997 points, to give an example). The Bullman E-class system (i7-4790K, Quadro K3100M, 32 GB of RAM, 256 GB Samsung SSD) doesn't score quite as well with 5372 points, although the difference isn't worth getting excited about (-  5 %). 

PCMark 7 Score
6657 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
4731 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
5655 points
Help

Storage Devices

One of the two 128 GB Toshiba NVMe drives
One of the two 128 GB Toshiba NVMe drives

Our review workstation is equipped with 2x 128 GB (two slots of four occupied) Toshiba-branded NVMe cards - model number THNSN5128GPU7 - in a RAID 0 configuration. While the read and write speeds are blisteringly fast - AS SSD reported speeds of 2638 MB/s and 810 MB/s, respectively - one could argue that the risk is also increased: a single card failure does not just necessitate a replacement of the drive, but also a full system restore. Regular backups are therefore absolutely crucial. The predecessor, which was equipped with 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU M.2 drives (also RAID 0) had slower reads (1523 MB/s), but faster writes (1143 MB/s) ; the gaming rig GT72S 6QF, which also houses 4x 256 GB, closely matches the read performance as well, but the writes are faster by about 55 %. We don't think that the speed difference will be noticeable at all as all of the machines mentioned are significantly faster than any consumer-grade notebook equipped with a "normal" SSDs. The lower-end HP ZBook 17 G2 we've reviewed comes with a single platter-based drive and doesn't compare at all. 

Our system also shipped with a conventional hard drive courtesy of HGST. The SATA drive has a capacity of 1 TB and a rotational speed of 7200 RPM is quite fast as well, with HD Tune attesting an average speed of 115 MB/s and an access time of just above 15 ms.

AS SSD  - primary NVMe RAID 0 SSD 2x 128 GB
AS SSD - primary NVMe RAID 0 SSD 2x 128 GB
CrystalDiskMark - primary NVMe RAID 0 SSD 2x 128 GB
CrystalDiskMark - primary NVMe RAID 0 SSD 2x 128 GB
HD Tune - secondary 1 TB hard drive
HD Tune - secondary 1 TB hard drive
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
Transfer Rate Minimum: 71.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 153.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 114.8 MB/s
Access Time: 15.4 ms
Burst Rate: 309.7 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3 %

GPU Performance

The NVIDIA Quadro M5000M is a very capable and high-end, DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5 compatible GPU. The drivers are certified and optimized to be stable in professional CAD and 3D applications. The graphics chip comes with 1536 shader cores and can access 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM via a 256-bit pipeline. The processor-integrated HD Graphics P530 GPU is neither permanently disabled nor utilized automatically via Optimus, but rather requires the user to press the dedicated GPU button on the left-hand side of the keyboard. After a subsequent reboot, which takes about 35 seconds, the discrete GPU is disabled and the P530 takes over. While a bit cumbersome, the system works very reliably. 

According to the 3DMark benchmark tests, the Quadro M5000M outperforms the older Kepler-based Quadro K4100 in the predecessor - sometimes by a substantial margin. Case in point: 7980 points vs. 3580 points for the DirectX 11-specific Fire Strike Standard test. The difference are much smaller when we take a look at other, Maxwell-based mainstream high-end GPUs like the GTX 980, which was almost 40 % faster in the same test.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
11110 Points ∼39%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
6167 Points ∼21% -44%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
4074 Points ∼14% -63%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
3662 Points ∼13% -67%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
12645 Points ∼44% +14%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
7979 Points ∼34%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
3579 Points ∼15% -55%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
3644 Points ∼16% -54%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
2731 Points ∼12% -66%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
2259 Points ∼10% -72%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
11066 Points ∼47% +39%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
22786 Points ∼46%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
17342 Points ∼35% -24%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
16199 Points ∼33% -29%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
15497 Points ∼31% -32%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
12079 Points ∼24% -47%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
25302 Points ∼51% +11%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
137273 Points ∼12%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
126937 Points ∼11% -8%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
123260 Points ∼11% -10%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
118906 Points ∼11% -13%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
81160 Points ∼7% -41%
MSI GT72S 6QF
GeForce GTX 980 (Laptop), 6820HK, 2x Micron M600 MTFDDAV128MBF NVMe (RAID 0)
125241 Points ∼11% -9%
3DMark 06 Standard
29317 points
3DMark 11 Performance
11110 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
137273 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
22786 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
7979 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
4205 points
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SPECviewperf

We use the benchmarks SPECviewperf 11 and 12 to test the GPU performance with different professional 3D applications. SPECviewperf 11 uses OpenGL exclusively, while SPECviewperf 12 test the performance of both OpenGL and Direct X application programming interfaces. Both benchmarks make use of the graphics content and behavior from actual applications. The results are overall impressive, but the Quadro M5000M only clearly pulls ahead of the Quadro K4100 in the SPECviewperf 12 tests. The SPECviewperf 11 results are much less convincing, with the M5000M slightly ahead overall, but trailing slightly in some sub-tests. It is also surprising that AMD's FirePro M6100 - which was released mid 2013 - can still outperform the Quadro in Lightwave and Maya. As the different tests show, it crucial to know exactly what program(s) the workstation will run, as the differences can be pretty significant.

SPECviewperf 11
1920x1080 Siemens NX (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
61.76 fps ∼55%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
45 fps ∼40% -27%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
47.84 fps ∼43% -23%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
39 fps ∼35% -37%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
38.53 fps ∼35% -38%
1920x1080 Tcvis (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
55.94 fps ∼94%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
50 fps ∼84% -11%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
28.37 fps ∼48% -49%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
42 fps ∼70% -25%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
41.83 fps ∼70% -25%
1920x1080 SolidWorks (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
49.26 fps ∼67%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
54 fps ∼73% +10%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
68.72 fps ∼93% +40%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
52 fps ∼70% +6%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
48.25 fps ∼65% -2%
1920x1080 Pro/ENGINEER (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
17.87 fps ∼74%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
24 fps ∼100% +34%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
10.66 fps ∼44% -40%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
21 fps ∼88% +18%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
18.27 fps ∼76% +2%
1920x1080 Maya (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
71.59 fps ∼58%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
58 fps ∼47% -19%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
99.72 fps ∼80% +39%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
55 fps ∼44% -23%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
54.89 fps ∼44% -23%
1920x1080 Lightwave (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
59.58 fps ∼71%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
53 fps ∼63% -11%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
77.78 fps ∼93% +31%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
56 fps ∼67% -6%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
50.95 fps ∼61% -14%
1920x1080 Ensight (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
73.98 fps ∼35%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
52 fps ∼25% -30%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
55.74 fps ∼27% -25%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
39 fps ∼19% -47%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
34.18 fps ∼16% -54%
1920x1080 Catia (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
55.25 fps ∼67%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
57 fps ∼69% +3%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
49.28 fps ∼60% -11%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
47 fps ∼57% -15%
Dell Precision M6800
Quadro K3100M, 4800MQ, WDC Scorpio Black WD7500BPKT-80PK4T0
50.34 fps ∼61% -9%
SPECviewperf 12
1900x1060 Solidworks (sw-03) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
101.01 fps ∼61%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
83 fps ∼50% -18%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
66.53 fps ∼40% -34%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
62 fps ∼37% -39%
1900x1060 Siemens NX (snx-02) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
86.87 fps ∼47%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
45 fps ∼25% -48%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
50.73 fps ∼28% -42%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
32 fps ∼17% -63%
1900x1060 Showcase (showcase-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
44.14 fps ∼28%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
23 fps ∼15% -48%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
26.31 fps ∼17% -40%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
19 fps ∼12% -57%
1900x1060 Medical (medical-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
31.35 fps ∼44%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
14 fps ∼20% -55%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
16.27 fps ∼23% -48%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
10 fps ∼14% -68%
1900x1060 Maya (maya-04) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
69.57 fps ∼36%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
39 fps ∼20% -44%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
39.17 fps ∼20% -44%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
28 fps ∼14% -60%
1900x1060 Energy (energy-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
6.86 fps ∼29%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
2.12 fps ∼9% -69%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
0.59 fps ∼2% -91%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
2.1 fps ∼9% -69%
1900x1060 Creo (creo-01) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
81.34 fps ∼62%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
38 fps ∼29% -53%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
42.61 fps ∼32% -48%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
29 fps ∼22% -64%
1900x1060 Catia (catia-04) (sort by value)
MSI WT72-6QM
Quadro M5000M, E3-1505M v5, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPU7
94.45 fps ∼61%
MSI WT72-2OL32SR311BW
Quadro K4100M, 4980HQ, 4x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
48 fps ∼31% -49%
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
FirePro M6100, 4710MQ, HGST Travelstar 7K1000 HTS721075A9E630
44.02 fps ∼28% -53%
Bullman E-Klasse 5
Quadro K3100M, 4790K, Samsung SSD SM951 256GB MZHPV256HDGL
33 fps ∼21% -65%

Gaming Performance

As far as gaming is concerned, the WT72 can certainly hold its own as well with a performance roughly 40 % lower across the board compared to dedicated gaming notebook like the GT72S 6QF. Metro: Last Light, for example, was still easily playable at about 61 fps on ultra; the high-end gaming system Xotic PC MSI GT72S 6QF Dragon managed 85 fps. The picture is similar for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, with the review notebook clocking 64 fps (ultra) vs. 95 fps for the GT72S with the GeForce GTX 980.

low med. high ultra
Dirt 3 (2011) 211202.7171.4158.2fps
Hitman: Absolution (2012) 83.575.967.250.3fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 406.8319.6227.9107fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 127.5125.3104.360.8fps
GRID 2 (2013) 176.3145.6134.5102.7fps
Company of Heroes 2 (2013) 53.45251.434.4fps
Thief (2014) 97.692.389.480.5fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 167.8143.287.463.6fps

Emissions

System Noise

Just like its gaming-oriented sibling, the WT72 is equipped with a dual fan system to combat the generated heat. A dedicated button to the left of the keyboard enables the "Cooler Boost" feature to aid in cooling under extreme conditions.

The fans are always on, so the notebook remains audible even during idle and emits about 33 dB. Under full load (stress test), the noise level can increase to about 40 dB, which is still acceptable. Enabling Cooler Boost results in a noise level of about 53 dB, which is quite obtrusive during longer sessions. Under normal condition - and the lower ambient temperatures during wintertime - this really isn't necessary.

Noise Level

Idle
33.3 / 33.4 / 33.5 dB(A)
DVD
34 / dB(A)
Load
38.8 / 40.2 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1 Arta (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Since the fan system is always on, the notebook doesn't get hot at all during idle (power saver mode; dGPU active) and normal workloads. During the stress test, we only observed a maximum of 43 degrees, which is very acceptable for a system this powerful. The palm rests remain remarkably cool at 26 degrees, so there are no concerns even during prolonged use.

Temperature under load - top
Temperature under load - top
Temperature under load - bottom
Temperature under load - bottom
Max. Load
 32.4 °C40.6 °C34.8 °C 
 28.8 °C35.2 °C28.8 °C 
 23.6 °C22.8 °C25.6 °C 
Maximum: 40.6 °C
Average: 30.3 °C
42.6 °C34 °C34.4 °C
25.4 °C22.2 °C23 °C
22.8 °C23.2 °C23.8 °C
Maximum: 42.6 °C
Average: 27.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  46 °C | Room Temperature 19 °C | Raytek Raynger ST

Stress Test

To see how the workstation handles stress above and beyond what would normally be encountered - even during gaming - we subject the WT72 to our stress test with Prime95 and FurMark. Since the workstation is equipped with a powerful additional "Cooler Boost", we decided to use it - after all, this feature is supposed to keep the notebook cool and performing well even under adverse conditions. 

With only Prime95 running, the four CPU cores remained at 3.2 GHz for the duration of the test - not quite the possible theoretical Turbo-maximum of 3.3 GHz, but still impressive, especially considering that the CPU maintained a temperature of around 63 degrees C. With Furmark active, we saw an initial GPU speed between 772 and 800 MHz at a temperature of 60 degrees C. After about 15 minutes, the GPU only reached a maximum of 785 MHz; the temperature averaged about 63 degrees C. 

Even with Prime95 and Furmark running at the same time, we saw no significant drops in performance: after about 15 minutes, the CPU stabilized at frequency of between 3.1 and 3.2 GHz with the temperature at 68 degrees C; the GPU fluctuated between 772 and 785 MHz and stabilized at 68 degrees. Even two hours later, there was no change whatsoever. Running the workstation on battery power is not a good idea: the GPU drops to about 324 MHz and the CPU dips down to 800 MHz. 

Stress CPU only
Stress CPU only
Stress GPU only
Stress GPU only
Stress CPU + GPU
Stress CPU + GPU

Energy Management

Battery Life

The battery life is decent considering the size and performance. Keep in mind though that a halfway decent battery life requires switching to the integrated GPU. The WT72 shut down after a little over 4 hours during our WLAN test, which is about an hour shorter than what we recorded for the previous version. The HP ZBook 17 G2, however, only lasted half as long. Under load, the workstation lasted one hour and 15 minutes - although at the cost of a vastly reduced performance, as we've seen earlier. The battery is integrated and thus not removable.

WLAN test
WLAN test
Battery Eater Classic test
Battery Eater Classic test
MSI WT72-6QM
87 Wh
HP ZBook 17 G2 J8Z55ET
75 Wh
Bullman E-Klasse 5
83 Wh
Dell Precision M6800
97 Wh
Schenker XMG U705
82 Wh
Battery Runtime
-49%
-30%
9%
-24%
Reader / Idle
413
162
-61%
166
-60%
492
19%
138
-67%
WiFi v1.3
245
144
-41%
Load
76
49
-36%
85
12%
75
-1%
91
20%
WiFi
149
352
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 53min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
4h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 16min

Pros

+ very good overall and CAD/3D performance
+ outstanding temperature management
+ USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3)
+ easy to maintain with lots of slots and interfaces
+ decent IPS display

Cons

- rather expensive
- large and heavy
- GPU switching requires a reboot
- performance heavily throttled on battery
- color space coverage could be better
- based on gaming platform

Verdict

With the WT72-6QME workstation, MSI delivers a solid update to an already very decent product. While the performance of the Xeon E3-1505M CPU isn't groundbreaking, it does offer support for ECC RAM, which in turn increases reliability. Speaking of reliability: while a RAID 0 array might make perfect sense for a gaming notebook, we still wonder if it wouldn't be better to include fault tolerance on a system where stability and reliability are key. Originally designed for gaming, the chassis features an exceptionally well-designed cooling solution and even all-day, maximum-load work sessions are possible without caveats. Activating the "Cooler Boost"-feature might infuriate coworkers though, as the noise level is pretty substantial. The display - used in many 17-inch gaming systems - is decent as well, although we would wish for better coverage of the professional color spaces.

MSI's updated WT72 workstation is once again a solid choice in this segment - although the top-of-the-line configuration seems almost prohibitively expensive for a modified gaming notebook.

MSI WT72-6QM - 03/17/2016 v5
Bernie Pechlaner

Chassis
83 / 98 → 85%
Keyboard
81%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
68 / 81 → 83%
Weight
51 / 66 → 73%
Battery
76%
Display
84%
Games Performance
99%
Application Performance
98%
Temperature
91 / 95 → 96%
Noise
83 / 90 → 92%
Audio
82%
Camera
50 / 85 → 59%
Average
80%
88%
Workstation - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > MSI WT72 6QM Workstation Review
Bernie Pechlaner, 2016-01-23 (Update: 2016-04-13)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).