MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
Less power, less weight, less money could be just what competitive gamers are looking for
You’re allowed to be confused by MSI’s Gaming laptop range(s). While Apple eschews simplicity of range by offering only a handful of products, at the other end of the spectrum lies MSI offering a bewildering range with different ranges within that range and then different SKUs within thos… and some of those have different specs!
This is not necessarily a bad thing as the target market will likely want to tailor their gaming beast just so. Nonetheless, here’s MSI’s GE72 7RE Apache Pro with an SKU of 074AU that has an additional part code of 9S7-179941-074.
17.1-inch, matte, 1920 x 1080, 120Hz, non-touchscreen LCD; 2.8-3.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor; 16GB RAM; 1TB mechanical HDD; 120GB SSD; Nvidia 4GB GeForce GTX 1050 Ti; Blu-ray writer; 6-cell 53Wh battery; 3KG. SKU: 074AU. Full specs here.
So basically the Apache Pro is exactly the same as the GT72VR Dominator Pro that we reviewed a few months ago but for a smaller (six instead of nine-cell) battery, and less-powerful graphics chip – an Nvidia 1050 Ti instead of a 1070. This all brings down the weight from 3.85KG to 3KG and the price down from a sobering $3,400 to $2,199. (Note: we've also now reviewed the MSI GE62 Apache which is just like this but 15-inches in size and with an Nvidia 1050 graphics chip instead).
As before, you can get the Apache Pro with a Full HD screen, a 4K screen or a Full HD 120Hz screen (as reviewed).
We’re not going to re-review this laptop as it’s basically the same as before and you can read the MSI Dominator Pro review, here.
However, we are interested in comparing the performance which comes from the 1050 Ti (read more on that, here).
Performance and Battery Life
Not surprisingly, reducing a computer’s spec by $1,200 lessens performance as the following graphs demonstrate.
Despite having the same processor, RAM and hard drive(s) the general PC Mark score dropped from 4,174 to 3,519. It will still be fast for most general applications with it’s impressive, Intel 7th Gen i7 7700HQ chip, it’s just not up there with extreme performance machines. For reference, our super-fast desktop PC World Test Rig scored 4,040 so it’s not too far behind.
In 3D Mark itself, the 1070-wielding Dominator Pro blitzed the 1050 Ti of the Apache Pro, scoring 5197 to 2302. This isn’t surprising given the vast difference here – it’s what’s primarily responsible for the main price hike. What it means is that while the Dominator Pro will be able to hit very smooth framerates on the latest games, the Apache Pro will struggle with the latest and greatest - averaging well under 20fps. However, to eSports players, who stick with the likes of Counter Strike, anything more is overkill - in the DirectX 10-based 3D Mark Cloud Gate test you can expect average frame rates of over 170fps.
In terms of battery life, despite offering less power, the Dominator Pro has a much larger battery. As such it ran the intensive, PC Mark Battery Life test for 2hrs 1min compared to the Apache Pro’s 1hr 23mins. It also played a Full HD movie at moderate brightness for 3hrs 30mins over the Apache Pro’s 2hrs 37mins. This is borderline irrelevant though as you’ll be forced to lug the big power brick round for most functions. At least the 600g Apache Pro one is another 400g less than the Dominator Pro’s.
We’ve been impressed with MSI’s gaming laptops as they’ve represented impressive power and good value. For many this Apache Pro will be underpowered as a portable gaming machine, but for others it will be exactly what they’ve been looking for: powerful enough to play competitive (older) games really very well but without the overkill of paying for power that won’t be used.
It’s not cheap, but if you want a game-focused beast that’s for competitive-oriented gaming rather than the visually-stunning latest games, this is a decent buy. The 1.2KG weight drop is a boon too.
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