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GDC 2015 | MSI shows its new WT72 mobile workstation

The bulky 17.3-inch laptop is equipped with an Nvidia Quadro GPU and features a USB 3.1 port, but otherwise strongly resembles MSI's own GT72.

Several weeks after teasing a new 17.3-inch mobile workstation, MSI has officially introduced it during GDC 2015. The new WT72 looks suspiciously similar to MSI's gaming flagship GT72, leading us to believe that its chassis has been re-used. That's not a bad thing, since the latter has impressed us with its good thermal management and reasonable noise levels, and WT72 will probably require just as much cooling. An Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor is installed alongside 16 GB of DDR3L RAM (possibly expandable up to 32 GB), but instead of a gaming GPU the buyers will have to choose one of three Nvidia Quadro professional models: K2200M (2 GB VRAM), K3100M or K4100M (both 4 GB VRAM). These graphics cards are better suited for professional tasks such as 3D modeling than their gaming counterparts, although their price is usually considerably higher.

MSI hasn't revealed whether an IPS panel is installed (it was specified that it's matte, though), but we hope so, since GT72's TN panel disappointed with very inaccurate color reproduction and limited viewing angles. Up to three external monitors can be connected simultaneously, should the laptop's screen prove insufficient for one's purposes.

The rest of the hardware is nearly identical with the GT72, so unfortunately it is possible that MSI decided not to alter the screen either. The only thing that changed is the WLAN module: Qualcomm Killer 1525 has been replaced with Intel Wireless-AC 7260, though both modules offer same features (dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1/4.0). The Ethernet module Qualcomm Killer e2200 remains, hinting that the motherboard from GT72 might have been reused as well. We're not entirely sure about that, since a USB 3.1 port (regular, not the new Type C) is now present, but it could have also been added by means of an updated daughterboard.

Storage starts with a single 128 GB mSATA drive but can be expanded with an unspecified number of additional mSATA SSDs for a RAID 0 array. There's also a 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD for large data that doesn't require fast access, such as multimedia and backups. Keyboard is made by Steelseries and features backlit keys, though only blue LEDs were shown - MSI said they do not know yet whether RGB backlighting will be implemented. Given that WT72 is a workstation, we doubt that such a feature would really be needed. Judging by the logos on the chassis, it appears that the sound system is still provided by Dynaudio and that Windows 7 is installed instead of 8, as is often the case with workstation-class laptops.

At this point, MSI did not provide any information about pricing or availability and even a product page on the company's website is still missing, but some retailers in Malaysia are already listing basic (8 GB RAM, Quadro K2200M, no SSD) configurations priced at $2400 equivalent.

MSI WT72 mobile workstation seems to use GT72's chassis but offers a professional GPU. (Photo: MSI Malaysia)
MSI WT72 mobile workstation seems to use GT72's chassis but offers a professional GPU. (Photo: MSI Malaysia)


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Andrey Konstantinov, 2015-03- 6 (Update: 2015-03- 6)