Man, technology moves fast. Four months after we got up our review of the MSI GT70 2PC Dominator it's already time to talk about its successor, the 17.3-inch MSI GT72 Dominator Pro, the latest in the long line of desktop-killing laptops.
But in the battle of heavyweight portable PCs there's no time for hesitation and thus, armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU and a ludicrous 32GB of memory, the GT72 is prepared to make its big debut.
This is a numbers game, though, so what exactly should you expect to get for the GT72's $2,499 (about £1,461, AU$2,673) price tag? A lot, actually. A redesigned case that uses a sleek brushed metal finish instead of the bulky plastic we saw on last year's models, plus a solid one-piece chassis that sports a large, light up touchpad that accompanies a slew of red accent marks.
The touch-sensitive keys located along the top of the keyboard below the screen have changed positions too, making them easier to reach with your left hand in a pinch.
From top to bottom you'll see a power button, a GPU button, a fan button, XSplit streaming button, and finally a SteelSeries button that will switch between your on-board macro profiles.
Having the ability to switch between the discrete graphics card and the built-in motherboard GPU should save you a few hours of battery when you're not gaming, while the fan button can instantly set their speed to full blast when you feel your system running hot.
What's the XSplit button for? Well, like most products in their gaming range, MSI packs in six months of XSplit game-streaming software for free. One touch of the side streaming button and you'll be broadcasting live on Twitch via the GT72's built-in webcam. And, like previous models, all the laptop keys' colors and functions are customizable thanks to the SteelSeries Engine 3 software that comes pre-installed on every unit – all you need to do is hit the SteelSeries button to switch between profiles.
Guts and glory
From everything I heard from the team at MSI, this thing is stacked. A fourth generation Intel i7 processor, 32GBs of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 880M GPU, three external display ports, plus up to three 125GB SSDs in RAID 0 configuration and a 1TB, 7,200rpm mechanical hard drive to top it all off.
All things considered, it's hard to get better components into a laptop.
MSI stopped by the TechRadar office to show off its new war horse, and even let me get some hands on time with Titanfall. And despite having a K/D ratio in the decimals, it was awesome to mess around on this machine.
I was told to expect blazing fast connection speeds, too, considering this thing is equipped with Killer Doubleshot Pro – a completely new technology built off the back of the standard Killer ethernet technology. In theory, using DoubleShot Pro allows the Dominator to combine both your wired and wireless connection speeds to give even more bandwidth to your top prioritized apps.
Playing a game of League of Legends while streaming to Twitch? No problem. The traffic needed to play League of Legends can go through the ethernet port while incoming and outgoing signal needed for Twitch can be taken care of by the 802.11ac wireless card.
Released worldwide on July 18, the GT72 looks like a really promising contender. The 17.3-inch screen should be large enough for media streaming sessions and its insanely powerful components can easily withstand whatever the next few years can throw at it. As long as MSI can tune the GT72 for a halfway-decent battery life and carefully considers the heat output, it should be all-systems-go. (Update: an MSI representative told me to expect the battery to last 3-4 hours under "normal operation" i.e. without doing any gaming.)
I thought the Razer Blade was an all-around great representation of what a gaming laptop could be. But with even better specs and a refreshed design, the MSI GT72 Dominator is going to give it a real run for its money as the best "portable" (I use that term loosely) gaming machine.