MSI GE72VR-7RF Apache 17.3-inch Gaming Laptop Review

With its Apache Pro GE72VR, MSI is introducing another new gaming notebook outfitted with the newest hardware to its lineup. Inside we find a current generation Intel Core i7 processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, 16 GBs of RAM and a lot of storage space. This configuration is sure to guarantee high FPS and a smooth gaming experience. The gaming happens on a 17,3” Full-HD display and the SteelSeries keyboard with its programmable backlighting which is typical for MSI.

Price-wise, the MSI Apace Pro GE72VR plays in the under-1500$-league.

MSI GE72VR-7RF

MSI GE72VR-7RF

Display

This MSI gaming notebook sports a large 17,3” display with Anti-Glare coating and True-Color-Technology. The Wide-View-Panel also allows for very good viewing angles. It offers a 1920 x 1080 pixel (Full HD) resolution and an average brightness of 244cm/m2.

Display

Hardware

Powering this gaming notebook is a Core i7-7700HQ processor by intel with a base clock speed of 2,8 GHz and a maximum of 3,8 GHz made possible through Intel’s Turbo Boost technology. This technology dynamically overclocks the CPU when more power is needed. This processor also supports hyper threading allowing it to perform 8 tasks at any one given time.

cpu

cpu

Besides the integrated Intel graphics, an Nvidia GeFore GTX 1060 with its 3 GBs of DDR5 memory will handle the more demanding graphical calculations. This chip which is based on Nvidia’s Pascal architecture is also ideal for virtual reality.

gpu

The notebook comes outfitted with 16 GBs of DDR4 Ram via two 8 GB sticks. These can be manually swapped out to upgrade the machine to up to 32 GBs. The OS, Windows 10 in this case, has been installed onto a fast 256 GB M.2-SSD module which has 191 GB of free space remaining out of the factory. The SSD achieves write-speeds of over 560 MB/s (measured with Crystal Diskmark 5.1.2.). While writing data however, the transfer speeds slow down to around 336 MB/s.

SSD

Apart from the M.2-SSD memory, the notebook has also been outfitted with a 1 TB hard drive. This puts storage before read/write-speeds. When it comes to optical media, the notebook sports a DVD-writer. Internet and network connectivity is handled by AC-Standard Wi-Fi and a Gigabit LAN port.

The integrated 6-cell Lithium-Ion battery has a capacity of 4.730 mAh and is enough for around 3 hours of regular use such as MS Office or browsing the web. Battery life takes a serious hit however, when it comes to gaming.

Battery

The MSI GE72VR-7RF is characterized by the following specifications:

  • Display: 43.9 cm (17.3 “), anti-glare with true-color and wide-view technology
  • Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD)
  • Processor: Intel® Core ™ i7-7700HQ (4x 2.80 GHz, Turbo 3.80 GHz, 6 MB cache)
  • Memory: 16 GB DDR4, max. 32 GB
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 (VRAM 3GB GDDR5)
  • Hard Drive: 256 GB M.2 SSD + 1,000 GB HDD
  • Drive: DVD Super Multi Burner
  • Network:
    BigFoot Killer ™ E2400 gaming network card
    Gigabit Ethernet LAN (10/100/1000 Mbps)
    WLAN ac
  • Connections:
    1x HDMI
    1x miniDisplay port
    2x USB 3.0
    1x USB 2.0
    1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
    1x multicolor reader
    1x Kensington Lock
  • Audio: Headphone output, microphone input
  • Input Devices:
    Fully illuminated keyboard with number pad
    Multi-gesture touchpad
  • Webcam: Integrated HD webcam
  • Sound: HD Audio, Sound Blaster® X-FI® MB5, Onkyo 2.0 Speaker System
  • Battery: 6 cells Li-Ion, 4.730 mAh
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 420 x 288 x 29 mm
  • Weight: approx. 2.9 kg (including battery)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home

Ports

Around the notebook you will find plenty of connectivity options. On the right side you will find the DVD-writer, a USB 2.0 port, as well as an SD-card reader.

Ports

On the left you’ll find the two USB 3.0 ports, DisplayPort and HDMI, USB 3.1 (Gen 2 type C), audio input and output, and of course the RJ-45 port.

Ports

Keyboard and Trackpad

The MSI GE72VR-7RF has a full-size QWERTZ (or QWERTY) keyboard with a seperate numpad. All the keys are decently sized and have a good amount of travel. The only keys that where made shorter are the function keys. Some keys also don’t conform to the usual QWERTZ layout with the Windows, Ctrl and “>”-keys not being placed to the left of the space bar, but to the right. This has the advantage that you won’t be accidentally pressing them during gaming.

Keyboard

The background illumination of the SteelSeries keyboard can be controlled using the proprietary pre-installed software. It is divided into three zones whose colors can be individually adjusted. Apart from continuous illumination you can also set up different lighting effects through the software.

Keyboard

Temperature and Noise

When performing tasks demanding for both CPU and the Graphics chipset, all side of the plastic body warm up noticeably. While the areas that your palms rest on stay at room temperature, the trackpad heats up to over 37°C. The center of the keyboard however, will get a lot hotter. Here, we were able to measure temperatures over 46°C. Our CAT S60 heat-imaging camera showed temperatures of up to 32,8°C on the bottom of the notebook and up to 53,5°C at the exhaust vents where the warm air is propelled outward. Even after an gaming session of over one hour we were able to measure these temperatures. The cooling system, otherwise almost inaudible, was kicking up noticeably during these tests, however not as loud as was the case with other MSI gaming notebooks.

Temperature

Temperature

The external power supply which weighs 462 grams also warmed up during these tests. We measured peak temperatures of 43,2°C.

Expandability

This gaming laptop by MSI can be opened very easily. After undoing a dozen screws the bottom can be lifted off with very little effort. What you’ll see is a lot of hardware but no free sockets or slots for RAM or drives. The only free space in that particular moment was the bay for the DVD-writer which we removed beforehand.

Expandability

Expandability
Benchmarks (System / CPU / SSD / Akku)

PCMark 8 Work Accelerated

PCMark 8 Work Accelerated

Storage (Test SSD&HDD performance)Storage (Test SSD&HDD performance)

ApplicationsApplications

Home AcceleratedHome Accelerated

SSD and HDD Test

SSD and HDD Test

Pro & Against

+ Newest CPU and Nvidia-Graphics
+ Lots of ports
+ Additional 1 TB hard drive
+ 17,3” Full-HD-Display with Anti-Glare coating, True-Color- and Wide-View technologies
– Fans audible under load
– M.2-SSD-Module– not the fastest out there
– Plastic body

Conclusion

With the GE72VR-7RF MSI introduces a decent gaming notebook. The 17,3” display offers great viewing angles due to its Wide-View-Panel technology which makes viewing the screen from different angles a pleasure. At 244 cd/m2 the brightness of the screen however is acceptable at best. Inside, its current-gen Intel Core i7 processor and GTX 1060 graphics chipset with 3 GBs of memory make sure that current titles run at respectable framerates. For storage you get a 1 TB hard drive and a 256 GB SSD. The latter however, is a bit disappointing, especially when considering that other MSI products come with faster modules by now. With 560 mb/s maximum read and write speeds it sure is fast, but it’s just not as fast as we had hoped.

The optical highlight of the MSI GE72VR-7RF is definitely the SteelSeries keyboard which can give you quite the colorful lightshow. That feature can of course be turned off. The keyboard layout has been altered from the norm in a few cases and the Windows and Ctrl keys are placed to the right of the space bar, not the left. This makes sure that you won’t accidentally press them while gaming. Speaking of games: The plastic body of the laptop heats up to above 53℃ and the fans kick can be heard kicking in quite audibly when the system is operating under load. It is quieter than other MSI gaming notebooks though.

The battery in the MSI can last you for over four hours when you’re on the move.

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