MSI has been known to create some of the best and coolest looking gaming laptops in the last 4-5 years. Recently MSI has begun focusing on ergonomics and form factor, since that seems to be the direction in which high performance gaming laptops are going. No longer do we have to lug around a massive 15-pound behemoth of a laptop that you might as well call a compact desktop PC on your back. The latest laptops from notable gaming laptop manufacturers such as ASUS and MSI are not only powerful, but are also insanely slick and lightweight for the power that they pack.
This is partly because of the latest advancements in processor technology which has made CPU’s and graphics chips more powerful than ever before while at the same time increasing efficiency and decreasing die size to reduce overall power consumption and heat output. CUK (Computer Upgrade Kings) is a company that takes barebone platforms from OEM’s such as MSI and ASUS, then rebadges them and customizes them according to the user’s demand.
The MSI GE72VR Apache Pro has a long and intimidating name, but trust us when we say this- this laptop is worth every penny and lives up to its name. For a 17.3” laptop it is surprisingly light at just 5.95 pounds (that is with the battery pack loaded!). And with dimensions of just 16.49” x 11.02” x 1.14” it is incredibly compact. There is more to this laptop than just looks, so let us take a closer look at the specifications, build quality, features, as well as storage and connectivity options, and finally- its gaming performance.
Now, let’s talk about the real interesting stuff- the processor and graphics. The brain of this beast is the Intel 6th generation i7 6700HQ processor. The 7th generation processor version is also available, we’ve included it at the top of the page under Introduction. It has a base clock of 2.6 GHz and a boost clock of 3.5 GHz, with 4 physical cores and a total of 8 threads thanks to hyperthreading. That is enough processing power to run just about any modern AAA title at maximum settings.
You can multitask effortlessly as well, we are talking 30+ browser tabs opened together, a software update, antivirus scan, movie, and video editing software, all running at the same time. The eight threads coupled with the insane IPC and generous clock speed of the Intel i7 6700 HQ allows you to do more than ever, while at the same time consuming less battery power thanks to the extremely efficient architecture.
For the graphics, we have a full-blown NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 GPU. This is not a mobile version with cut down or disabled cores, or reduced clock speed. Nope, you have all 1280 CUDA cores enabled with a base clock of 1506 MHz, and with NVIDIA BOOST technology, the GPU will automatically boost its clock speed when the game requires extra graphical power. Six GB of GDDR5 is running on a 192-bit memory interface, with an effective memory speed of 8 Gbps. It is VR-ready, supports NVIDIA ANSEL as well as NVIDIA G-Sync and GameStream.
The 17.3” screen on this laptop is unique in the sense that it is one of the few laptop-displays, that runs at a native refresh rate of 120Hz. That allows you to take full advantage of the extremely powerful CPU and GPU, since both of those can really stretch their legs and run games at 100+ fps to give you the ultimate mobile gaming experience.
In case you are not sure how much difference there is between 60 fps and 120 fps, it is quantitatively the same as going from 30 to 60 fps. That change will be noticed immediately by your eyes, and you will be able to react faster than your enemies in online games, especially shooters and racing games such as Counter Strike Global Offensive, Rainbow Six Siege, Battlefield 1, Forza Horizon 3, Trackmania, etc.
But it is not just the refresh rate that is impressive, the response time of this display is a mere 5ms, so you will see things a few fractions of a second quicker than your peers, and you can react faster to visual input. The display is of course an IPS display, meaning that colors appear true to life, and the brightness as well as contrast is perfect for both gaming and professional applications such as photo or video editing.
Of course, you can open MSI Dragon Center console to change the SRGB balance and color/ contrast settings. You can also customize the SteelSeries gaming keyboard settings, choose from 16.9 million colors, and store macros for complex key combinations in fighting games or MMO’s. You can choose to customize each individual key on the keyboard, change lighting patterns, control 3 different lighting zones on the keyboard, and overclock your GPU or CPU for added performance.
Build Quality and Design:
In terms of build quality, there is no flaws that we could find in this machine. It features an aluminum panel around the keyboard and the bezel around the display is a nice matte finish that does not attract dust or dirt easily, and the display itself features an anti-glare matte finish that allows you to focus on the game without worrying about reflections on the screen.
The back of the laptop features nice bold cuts on the brushed aluminum panel with a nice red MSI badge planted right in the middle. It almost looks like the hood of a sports car when you look at it from the top. The rear of the laptop features dual exhausts on either side along with a red LED lighting strip. MSI’s latest Cooler Boost 4 cooling system keeps the laptop internals cool and ensures that the processor and GPU perform at maximum all the time without ever being bottlenecked by thermal issues.
There is a total of 2 fans and 6 copper heat pipes, distributed evenly between the CPU and GPU, so you have 3 heat pipes and one cooling fan EACH for the CPU as well as GPU. This ensures low temperatures across the board and even heat dissipation. MSI also optimized the air intake and outtake paths to ensure 20% better airflow over their previous gaming laptop models. This keeps the laptop cool while also reducing noise output, something that is very important when you are playing demanding games inside your home or college dorm room.
The audio is provided by 4 Dynaudio speakers and a subwoofer, along with a Nahimic 2 Audio Enhancer Interface built in so you can customize your audio experience for movies and games. This audio interface can handle everything from stereo headphones and 2.1 desktop speakers to 5.1 and even 7.1 surround audio configurations.
Storage and Connectivity:
This version of the GE72VR laptop comes with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2133 MHz, along with a 256GB NVMe SSD. The SSD is best used as a boot drive, and a storage drive for software and games that you use most frequently. Mass storage is provided by a 7200 rpm 1TB HDD, if you want you can customize the storage by popping out the HDD and throwing in an SSD or HDD of your own based on your needs.
The 1TB HDD is there so you can store all your movies, songs, photos, and extra games that you plan on playing later or don’t play that often. There is also an optical drive installed on the left side, a SuperMulti 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer unit. You could also swap this out for a hard drive/ SSD bay and mount an additional storage drive. The RAM can be upgraded up to an insane 32 GB of high speed DDR4, in case you plan on doing content creation such as 3D rendering, video editing and encoding, etc.
For connectivity, you have a single USB 3.1 port, dual USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port. There is a SD card reader (XC/ HC), along with a single HDMI 1.4 port, a mini Display Port 1.2, and a Thunderbolt 3 connector. For wireless, you are getting 802.11 AC WIFI and Bluetooth 4.1. There is an excellent onboard microphone and a 30fps 1080p webcam for seamless high-quality video conferences and chats. Battery life is more than 4.5 hours thanks to a 6-cell Li-ion battery pack.
There is not much to say here, because anyone who has even the slightest experience with gaming and gaming hardware can tell you that when you pair an Intel 6th gen core i7 processor with one of NVIDIA’s latest and greatest GTX series GPU’s, you can play just about any AAA title at maximum settings and 60+ fps.
With an i7 6700HQ and GTX 1060 under the hood assisted by a lightning fast NVMe SSD and 16 GB of high speed DDR4 RAM, you won’t be thinking what game you can run, rather you will be challenged to find something that this beast cannot run. The 120 Hz IPS display with a super-fast 5ms response time only enhances the gaming experience by making everything silky smooth and the colors are very accurate. Be prepared to run the latest titles such as Battlefield 1, Forza Horizon 3, GTA V, Prey, The Surge, Mass Effect Andromeda etc. at high or very high settings. The incredible audio and fully backlit SteelSeries keyboard serves as the cherry on the cake, ensuring a premium gaming experience that few laptops can hope to deliver at this price.
Conclusion and Final Verdict:
This is not the biggest and meanest gaming laptop out there, nor is it the most powerful. But we dare call it the most balanced portable gaming experience that you can get for less than 1500 dollars. And when we say, “portable gaming experience” we don’t just mean laptops- we also include consoles, ultra-compact desktop PC’s, and custom gaming configurations. Not only are you getting a solid GPU and CPU combo, but you are also getting a super-fast SSD and a nice 1TB HDD for mass storage, the connectivity is great with Mini Display Port, 802.11 AC, HDMI 1.4, and Thunderbolt 3.
To top it off, this laptop stays cool as an ice cube even after hours of gaming, and it packs one of the best displays we have ever seen on ANY gaming laptops, even ones that cost twice as much. With a thickness of just 1.14” and weight of 5.95 lbs. this is one of the slimmest and lightest high-end gaming laptops on the market. And did we tell you that you can customize the lighting on the SteelSeries backlit keyboard of this laptop to glow in specific patterns based on your in-games status?
For example, you can program certain keys to blink, pulse, or glow in specific colors to denote your bullet count in a shooter game so you can know when to reload, or you can know how much hit points you have in a game like DOTA 2/ LOL based on the light pattern of your keys. The customization is endless, up to you and the game you play. Grab this laptop while you can, it is one of the few gaming laptops that offer a truly unique experience.
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