MSI GL72 7RD-028 Gaming Laptop Review

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March 16, 2017
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Is computer gaming a hobby you just can not resist? You are not alone, it’s one of the most common pastimes for younger folks of our time. There’s nothing wrong with playing a session or two (or ten), but there is complain I tend to hear very often from the gaming camp: it’s damn expensive hobby! Indeed, notebooks you use for gaming are darn pricey – the one we’re taking a look at today, the MSI GL72 7RD-028, being no different…

About gaming

It is true that MSI GL72 7RD-028 is, first and foremost, marketed as a gaming notebook. It looks like one, but does it function like one? Well, I must say that it could be better. The graphics card in this unit is GeForce GTX 1050, a new but low-end card. It is fairly sufficient for Full HD gaming, but upping the resolution above that might result in too low frame rates (yet the maximum resolution of this laptop is 1920×1080). And remember, the model in question is not the faster Ti version, just the regular one with 2GB GDDR5 memory. The following popular titles will work as such:

– The Witcher 3, high settings and 1080p, ~35FPS
– Fallout 4, ultra settings and 1080p, ~35FPS
– Battlefield 1, high settings and 1080p, 50FPS

As you can see, the frame rates are alright but nothing special. I recommend lowering the details on several new titles if top FPS is a high priority for you. The current card does not support Virtual Reality.

And general performance?

Well, there is nothing wrong with the processor in MSI GL72 7RD-028. The Intel Core i7-7700HQ is a big-time bit cruncher with its four cores and clock speed reaching a high 2.8GHz. Indeed, the turbo boost will take the clock frequency even higher, to 3.8GHz. The processor in question is really a desktop-level CPU, it beats the crap out of most other notebook units with the ~9000 score it receives in CPU Mark benchmark. The TDP being 45W this Intel shouldn’t even become too hot in intense use.

Like a real gaming notebook, two storage drives are present. The larger 1TB SATA 7200RPM HDD acts as the main storage for your files, I guess. In addition, there is also a 128GB M2.2 SATA SSD installed. The bad thing is, it offers limited space especially after Windows installation files. There’s around 100GB left for your files. You can still place few games on the SSD and enjoy the added performance.

The 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM is all a gamer could ask for. Leaving a lot of memory in reserves, when a tight spot comes there is enough in sixteen gigabytes to keep a player on top of things. One slot is open so you can easily upgrade to 32GB if you want – but to be honest, that is not going to give you performance boost as 16GB is already close to an overkill.

What ports and connections does it offer?

The sides of MSI GL72 7RD-028 are sprinkled with useful ports. There you will find four USB connectors to keep your peripherals happy. One of the ports is USB 2.0 while two are regular USB 3.0 and one the multifunctional USB 3.0 Type-C. The Type-C is becoming a standard in new laptops and indeed also the users of this notebook get to enjoy it.

The wireless connectivity is brought to you by the Intel Dual-Band AC WiFi card. Bear in mind it supports the ac standard which is faster and has longer range than the regular b/g/n you see in low cost laptops. Bluetooth 4 works as well, and Gigabit RJ-45 port is welcoming those who want to connect to Internet with cable.

There are quite many video outputs to choose from when you want to connect a monitor to this. Available are HDMI, miniDisplayPort and VGA. You will be able to connect at least two simultaneous displays to those, even three should work no problem.

DVD drive is quickly disappearing from laptops because so many things can be downloaded off Internet. Also this model does not include DVD burner, so if you really must access discs you need to get an external drive. A small consolation, SD card reader is still available.

What other essential things does the laptop have?

MSI GL72 7RD-028 has, for the better or worse, a large 17.3 display which maximizes gaming enjoyment but minimizes portability. The 1920×1080 resolution is pretty standard these days – more might be better for gaming, however the current graphics card isn’t really up for very high resolution gaming. The screen has matte coating and no touch support. The built-in webcam on top supports 720p resolution for video calls etc.

On this model, the 6-cell battery is internal. I could say “good luck with changing it” as replacing the unit will require tools and laptop disassembly. But you probably don’t need to replace it ever. Just remember that the battery life is not good on any gaming notebooks, you’ll be looking at a maximum 4 hours life with web browsing and half of that when playing games.

For some reason, the keyboard on this model is not backlit.

Verdict

MSI GL72 7RD-028 is alright gaming laptop but not a flawless one. The graphics card is OK if you keep your expectations in check and are ready to lower settings on the most heavyweight of titles. General performance is good, the solid-state drive is sweet if a tad small. The display works for an avid gamer and few people have left positive comments about it. All in all, the MSI works as a solid low-mid range notebook choice.


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