An established brand in the gaming market, MSI has offerings in all things PC. From motherboards, gaming laptops, GPUs, and even keyboards and mice, you’d probably heard of MSI when your shopping around for anything branded as gaming.
In this review, we’ll be taking a look at the MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro. This gaming laptop comes with a 4-core, 8-thread Intel Core i7-7700HQ with a base clock of 2.8GHz and a boost of up to 3.8GHz. Complementing the CPU is 16GB of DDR4 RAM at 2400MHz. Meanwhile, storage is handled by a 120GB M.2 SSD and a 1TB HDD. As for graphics, this laptop comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GDDR5 to help you process games. Here are the full specs of the MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro:
|MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro|
|CPU||Up to 7th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor|
|OS||Windows 10, Windows 10 Pro|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 4GB GDDR5 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 2GB GDDR5|
|RAM||Up to 32GB, DDR4-2400MHz|
|Display||17.3-inch FullHD IPS, 17.3-inch FullHD IPS 120Hz, 17.3-inch UHD IPS|
|Storage||1x M.2 SSD (SATA or PCIe NVMe). 1x 2.5-inch SATA HDD|
|I/O Ports||1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A 1x USB 2.0 Type-A 1x RJ-45 1x SD Card Reader 1x HDMI 1x Mini DisplayPort|
|Audio||4x 2W satellites, 1x 3W Subwoofer|
|Dimensions||419.9 x 287.8 x 29.8 – 32mm|
Up close with the MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro
The MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro is clad in a sleek-looking aluminum. The material used for its construction gives it a well-built finish and feel to the hands. This well-built feel, however, comes at a cost. The notebook weighs in at a hefty 2.7kg. The rear of the screen also sports the MSI logo, which looks straight out of a sports car.
The Apache Pro can be decked out to carry a 17.3-inch UHD IPS screen. In this case, our unit came with a more reasonable and gaming oriented 17.3-inch FullHD 120Hz display. The screen is a blessing since this is a gaming laptop and we all know that if we want to dominate in a multiplayer game, we want not just pretty graphics but high refresh rates as well. Colors and brightness of the screen is decent and can be further tweaked using MSI’s True Color app, which we’ll discuss later on in the review. As far as viewing angles go, the IPS display doesn’t show any color shift when looking at it at an off-angle.
The track pad is the notebook is usable but it’s not the best track pad we’ve experienced. It comes with a brushed aluminum feel with several bumps on it that gives it a more tactile feel, but we’ve experienced some skipping when we’re using the track pad for productivity. It won’t really take away from the experience since you’re going to be using your own mouse while playing games anyway.
The GE72 7RE’s keyboard was developed with SteelSeries like most laptops in MSI’s gaming laptop range. It uses chiclet-style switches to deliver decent actuation. It does the job most of the time but it isn’t a replacement for a mechanical keyboard. RGB is also thrown in on the mix but unlike most mechanical keyboards on the market, the Apache Pro uses a diffuser to light up three different zones in the keyboard. Colors are good, although you might notice some bleed on some of the areas. The notebook supports keybinding and macros in any key on the keyboard. You can bind any keystrokes or macros through the SteelSeries app.
As for cooling, the notebook comes with MSI’s Cooler Boost 4. This new cooling system uses more heat pipes to cool down the notebook. This system also blows away the heat away from the user using two vents at the back of notebook.
If you find that the automatic setting of the cooling system is a bit too hot or if you want to get more performance out of your notebook, MSI has included a turbo fan button near the power button to run the fans at their maximum RPM.
The notebook’s audio is pumped out from four 2W speakers and a single 3W woofer placed at the front of the device. Sounds coming from the laptop have punchy bass and a bit of depth though the highs does get a bit muddled especially on higher notes. The audio can be customized through MSI’s Nahimic 2.
At the right-hand side of the Apache Pro are its DVD-ROM, a USB 2.0 port, an SD Card reader, and a DC-in port.
The other side of the notebook are its Ethernet LAN port, one USB 3.1 Gen2 port, two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, an HDMI port, a mini-DisplayPort, and 3.5mm jacks for the headphone and microphone.
The MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro can be customized through MSI’s Dragon Center. Most of the apps you’ll need to adjust the settings, lighting, performance, and system monitor can be accessed here.
The App portal gives you access to the SteelSeries Engine III, MSI True Color, Nahimic 2, and the free XSplit Gamecaster that the laptop comes with. You can also add other shortcuts in this tab.
The system monitor, like its name suggests, help you monitor your system’s usage and temperature. All the usual suspects are here: CPU, Memory, GPU, Disk, Fan RPM, Internet usage, and temperature.
The LED wizard tab helps you customize the keyboard’s lighting. You can set up to 5 scenarios with different lighting modes such as Normal, Gaming, Breathing, Audio, and Wave. You can see here the three customizable zones for the keyboard.
In the system tuner tab, you can change the performance and power draw of the notebook. If you want more power, then you can choose Sport Mode. But if you want lower power usage, you can choose its ECO Mode. The audio and display settings can be changed here as well.
The mobile center allows you to connect your laptop to your smartphone to help you monitor your laptop even if you’re away from your device.
The MSI Dragon Center only offers basic customization. If you want even more options, there are other several programs that you could use that come pre-installed in the Apache Pro.
The SteelSeries Engine allows you to change the LED settings of the keyboard as well as assign macros in the keyboard. You can also use this program to change the settings of any SteelSeries peripheral you have, so long as the device supports it.
As for the display, you can further change the color and brightness of your screen through the MSI True Color app. You can even tie-in a program to a mode so that when you launch that program, the screen automatically switches to that mode.
Lastly, the Nahimic 2 audio software enables you to choose from several profiles and adjust the EQ of your audio.
Realistically, you don’t want to play on a gaming laptop without plugging it in to a wall socket. But as for mobile use for productivity, the Apache Pro lasted around 3 – 4 hours depending on power mode and brightness settings.
Let’s not forget that despite its Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, the MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro still rocks a relatively entry-level NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB as its GPU. So it might not have any problems running multiplayer titles such as Overwatch, DotA 2, or League of Legends, but as far as triple A games go, it does decently based on our benchmarks.
Its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti does take some FPS hit when running games on its highest settings. In order to achieve higher performance, however, you might need to turn down some settings to achieve a steady 60fps in triple A games.
For temperature, Auto can get a bit too hot at times especially if you’re in a toasty room or playing in a mid-summer day. Turbo helps a bit but it does produce a significant amount of noise since the fans are spinning at full speed.
With the introduction of both Intel’s Kaby Lake and NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture last year, we were closer than ever before in bringing desktop performance to a mobile form factor. The MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gives most people what they need: a high-end processor for editing and daily tasks, and an entry-level GPU for a bit of casual gaming.
As we’ve said in our benchmarking section, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB does have some problems when it comes to heavier games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and other triple A games. But as for mainstream multiplayer games such as DotA 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch, this notebook won’t have any problems running them. The deal is made much sweeter with its 17.3-inch FullHD IPS display running at 120Hz offering much better frame rates compared to a 60Hz display. With these in mind, we recommend the MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro if you want to play multiplayer games on-the-go. Just keep in mind that you might want to turn down some settings If you want to play heavier games at a steady 60fps.