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MSI's Latest Workstation Laptop Packs Nvidia Quadro K4100M Graphics

At GDC 2015, MSI unveiled a new laptop: the WT72 Workstation. With this laptop, MSI aims to bring a new flagship workstation machine to the table. MSI hasn't finalized the product specifications yet, but hopes to do so over the coming weeks.

Inside the laptop, you will find an Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics. The graphics options are the Quadro K2200M with a 2 GB frame buffer, or K3100M or K4100M, both of which come with a 4 GB frame buffer. The choice for Quadro graphics is simple: they may cost a fair tad more than consumer gaming graphics parts, but they address a completely different audience -- mainly, content creators who need all the power they can get. And these chips work much better for various content creation tasks, including image manipulation and 3D modelling.

The laptop comes in a 17.3" format, with the display being a full-HD type. The panel is non-glossy, and MSI did not reveal whether it is an IPS panel or not. The way we see it, the display market is in a bit of an unfortunate place, because as it stands right now, the laptop makers have nowhere to turn to if they want a better 17.3" panel, simply because higher resolution, higher quality 17.3" panels are hardly ever made. Fortunately, MSI's new laptop is capable of being connected to up to three external displays.

As far as storage goes, the laptop comes with 16 GB of DDR3L memory, which runs at 1600 MHz, a 128 GB mSATA SSD, and 1 TB of hard drive storage. It is capable of swallowing additional mSATA SSDs (although we're not sure how many), and pairing them in a RAID configuration for storage speeds of up to 1600 MB/s.

Networking on the unit is taken care of by an Intel 7260 dual-band AC Wireless module, and wired networking is done with a Killer E2200 networking adapter. This part is a bit confusing, as the Killer E2200 is a gaming oriented NIC, and this is a workstation laptop; we'd imagine that most potential customers for this laptop would rather have it equipped with an Intel NIC.

One more feature to note is that the WT72 comes equipped with a USB 3.1 Type-A connection, so when supporting devices land on shelves, you will already have that ready at your disposal for some very high transfer speeds.

The keyboard on the unit is made by SteelSeries, like we've seen on a handful of MSI's past laptops. On this unit, MSI said they're still not sure whether they'll implement RGB backlighting on it, or just stick to plain blue backlighting. It does feature a numpad, which is good for the productivity oriented folks, making this laptop a little more suited as a desktop replacement.

All things considered, we're a bit confused by this laptop. Its large format isn't necessarily an issue; however, we'd expect a better display, considering it is a workstation. That isn't entirely MSI's fault, though. The issue we have with the laptop is that it looks like MSI simply took a gaming laptop, swapped out the consumer graphics for a workstation card, and called it a workstation. Of course, this may appeal to some folks, but we just think it has an identity crisis. What do you think?

MSI did not reveal pricing or availability at this time.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • WyomingKnott
    I have to ask - what's the battery life?
    Reply
  • edwd2
    People waiting for Maxwell Quadros.
    Reply
  • royalcrown
    The only thing it's really missing that's more workstation oriented is "ECC" ram. I don't really see the rest of components being a problem because they are "gamey" ;)
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    The only thing it's really missing that's more workstation oriented is "ECC" ram.

    The Core i7-4720HQ doesn't support ECC RAM and neither does any other mobile Haswell CPU (that I know of). Also, I don't think a workstation needs ECC RAM... a server, maybe. Can someone provide some statistics on how effective/useful ECC actually is, I recall reading quite a few forum threads where it was dismissed as completely overrated for non-critical setups?

    I really hope MSI comes to their senses and uses an IPS panel, there's no reason not to. The TN FHD panels they used in most of their recent gaming laptops are *horrible*, with extreme (DeltaE > 7-10) color deviations, unacceptable even for a gaming laptop. The misbelief that deep blacks are only possible with TN panels needs to go, just like the obsession with a few milliseconds shorter response time.
    Reply
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Networking on the unit is taken care of by an Intel 7260 dual-band AC Wireless module, and wired networking is done with a Killer E2200 networking adapter. This part is a bit confusing, as the Killer E2200 is a gaming oriented NIC, and this is a workstation laptop; we'd imagine that most potential customers for this laptop would rather have it equipped with an Intel NIC.

    I believe I know why this was done... they must be simply reusing GT72 motherboards. Why not, if they already reused the chassis (as it seems from the photos)? Unlike WLAN card, the wired NIC is soldered so swapping it would cost money.
    Reply
  • sullivang
    Sigh - still waiting for one with a 17" 3K+ display. .
    Reply
  • eriko
    I, for one, would pay a premium for ECC RAM in a mobile device.

    Though I'm sure there are many that would disagree...
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Im waiting for when I can actually game on my laptop, and not have it always conected to the socket wall.
    Id say... 6 more years?
    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    Nah. In six more years you'll be able to play 2015 games on a laptop without being plugged in. But the 2021 games will require mains power.
    Reply