MSI GE72 Apache Pro review

An aggressively-styled machine with performance to match

MSI GE72 Apache Pro review

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This is a big laptop. There's no denying it. But even at 5.95 pounds (2.69kg), it's downright svelte compared to the Asus ROG G751JY, which tips the scales at an astonishing 10.5 pounds (4.76kg). Its weight is even less an issue when compared to the 15-inch Gigabyte P55K V4, which weighs 5.51 pounds (2.49kg) in spite of being a smaller machine.

The GE72 measures 16.49 x 11.02 x 1.14 inches (419 x 280 x 29mm), making it considerably thicker than the ROG, which measures 16.3 x 12.5 x 0.79 inches (414 x 317 x 20mm) despite its hefty weight.

MSI GE72 Apache Pro review

Here is the MSI GE72 Apache Pro configuration sent to techradar for review:

Spec sheet

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M (2GB GDDR5 RAM)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,133MHz)
  • Screen: 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD, eDP, non-reflection matte display
  • Storage: 128GB M.2 SATA SSD; 1TB SATA HDD (7,200RPM)
  • Optical drive: DVD Super-Multi
  • Ports: LAN, HDMI 1.4, mini DisplayPort, USB-C, 2 x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, headphone jack, microphone jack, SD reader
  • Connectivity: Killer E2400 Game Networking, WLAN Intel 3165 Stone Peak 1 (1x1)
  • Camera: 1080p FHD
  • Weight: 5.95 pounds (2.69kg)
  • Size: 16.49 x 11.02 x 1.14 inches (41.9 x 27.9 x 2.89cm; W x D x H)

For $1,299 (about £1,029, AU$1,829), there's an awful lot of machine that comes with the MSI GE72. Up against the ROG G751, the GE72 falls away, but the former costs $2,749 (£2,399, AU$2,999) fully-configured. The entry-level Asus ROG G571, the JL model, is $200 less than the GE72, but doesn't include an SSD, has a 5,400 RPM HDD, and an older i7 chip.

The P55K has a stronger GPU, but a smaller screen. The GE72 lags slightly in clock-speed, but has double the RAM of the $1,650 (£1,049, AU$1,799) P55K. Even with its shortcomings, the Apache Pro's 17-inch screen and price tag put it ahead of both its competitors in this case. It's almost a no-brainer, the GE72 hits a really sweet spot for price and performance.

MSI GE72 Apache Pro review


On a day-to-day basis, the GE72 works wonderfully. The first thing I did when I set it up was download my copy of Fallout 4 to it and continue my cloud save. When you first install Fallout 4 on PC, it analyzes your rig and sets the graphics accordingly. There's a brief five or so seconds of waiting to see where Fallout 4 wants to set itself, and I was a little disappointed when it decided to run the game on "Low".

However, the GeForce experience software that comes with Nvidia's cards was a little more optimistic about the hardware, and turned up many of the settings the game itself had decided were too much. I was perfectly happy wandering the wastelands using this laptop, even if it couldn't hit Ultra, like my personal desktop.

Streaming movies look sharp and vibrant on the big screen, but one of the nicest and most surprising features I found while using the GE72 is its sound quality. This is easily the best-sounding laptop I've tested. The Dynaudio speakers produce a surprising richness of sound, whether I am in-game, watching a movie or listening to music.

It's not most perfect sounding system – I won't be trading out my stereo, but anything below 90% volume sounds exactly how I want it to. At full volume, it sounds undistorted but it still seems like it's stretching itself a little outside the peak performance curve. Still, the audio quality was surprising and welcome.

MSI GE72 Apache Pro review

While the computer has no trouble playing games for hours, I do have a real problem keeping it on my lap. It's so bulky, after a while I can't find any comfortable way to keep it resting on my lap while I play. Since I'm using an Xbox One controller (gasp!), I am able to put the machine on my coffee table and still play, but for general surfing, it's a laptop in name only.

The only real performance problem I encountered with the GE72 was its 128GB SSD. Between the included software and a fully-updated Windows 10, the SSD fills up fast.

I don't know for sure whether games like Fallout 4 are improved by living on an SSD, but I did eventually uninstall it because the machine kept hitting me with pop-ups to tell me I was near-capacity. For programs like Lightroom or Photoshop, which see a huge performance boost when installed on an SSD, the lack of space is a bummer you might want to upgrade pronto.


Here's how the MSI GE72 Apache Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 17,078; Sky Diver: 13,126; Fire Strike: 4,079
  • Cinebench CPU: 678 points; Graphics: 48 fps
  • GeekBench: GeekBench: 3,645 (single-core); 13,454 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,371 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 1 hours and 55 minutes
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 31 fps; (1080p, Low): 78 fps
  • Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 17 fps; (1080p, Low): 78 fps

When it comes to benchmarking, the GE72 falls behind both the Asus ROG G751 and the P55K in most tests. Up against the P55K specifically, a smaller machine that costs more, the performance difference is only around 5% on 3DMark tests, but the GE72's newer i7 just beats both its competitors in the Cinebench CPU test. The ROG G751, however, turned in a Cinebench Graphics score of 101 frames per second (fps), far surpassing the 48 fps of the GE72.

Even the battery life can't stack up to its competitors. Our real-world battery test, watching Guardians of the Galaxy on repeat at 50% brightness and volume, yielded 2 hours and 57 minutes of battery, which is still a bummer. But again, those other two machines as-tested cost significantly more than the GE72, which helps make up for any performance shortcomings it has.

Bundled software

  • Xsplit Gamecaster: The GE72 includes a year subscription to this streaming service, making the laptop Twitch-ready right out of the box.
  • GeForce Experience: As is the case with all Nvidia-equipped systems, this software will optimize game video settings and keep the GPU updated.
  • Norton Anti-virus: this intrusive piece of software comes pre-loaded on the machine and really made the first day or so of use somewhat unpleasant.