Nvidia just pulled the cover off its most recent innovation: notebook PCs with desktop-class GTX 980 graphics cards inside, and this news is already bearing fruit, as OEMs are starting to roll out official specs for these high-powered laptops. MSI is one of the first companies to announce a GTX 980 laptop offering, and it isn't just updating its product line to include the powerhouse graphics processor. It is also releasing a limited edition GT72 Dominator gaming laptop to commemorate MSI's 29th anniversary.
For whatever reason, the forthcoming details apply to the version of the GT72 Dominator that will be released internationally, but MSI was more tight-lipped about the final details of the U.S. version. We've been led to believe that the U.S. version will differ only slightly, though. (For example, it will have the same CPU, GPU and display panel, but it may not have identical storage and RAM).
MSI's refreshed GT72 Dominator also includes the unlocked Intel Core i7-6820HK CPU, which we pegged in our Skylake SKU overview as a mobile chip to wait for. These 17.3-inch 1080p G-Sync gaming notebooks can be configured with up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, but at the moment there isn't much more official information on the device's connectivity or storage options. MSI still seems to be working out the finer details of the new GT72 Dominator line, but it did provide completed specs for its limited edition GT72S Dominator Pro G, a special version of the GT72 that celebrates MSI's 29th (what an odd number to celebrate) anniversary.
The GT72S 6QF Dominator Pro G is also preconfigured with an Intel Core i7-6820HK processor, with a base clock of 2.7 GHz, 8 MB of L3 cache and an unlocked multiplier combined with MSI's thermal design, this laptop is potentially one of the most powerful systems in MSI's army of mobile gaming machines, with some serious overclocking potential for both the host processor and the graphics engine.
The GTX 980 inside the GT72S is advertised with 8 GB of GDDR5, which is either a typo, a translation error or completely legitimate, which would give this special limited edition gaming laptop a truly special amount of graphics memory. The GT72S Dominator Pro G can be configured with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2133 due to its four DIMM slots, and storage options include one 2.5-inch HDD and up to "Super RAID 4," an optional dual-M.2 PCI-E 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD setup in RAID 0, which MSI said boosts read speeds up to an incredible 3300 MB/s or higher.
If the promise of that soul-crushing amount of performance isn't enough, the GT72S also has a 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 75 Hz G-Sync display that can also connect to higher-resolution screens using an HDMI 1.4 port, mini DisplayPort and a coveted USB 3.1 Type-C "Super Port" (which is MSI's proprietary name for its souped-up Type C port, the features of which are still unknown) all with support for 4K resolutions at 60 Hz. The GT72S Dominator Pro G also features Killer DoubleShot Pro Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and a Blu-ray/DVD writer. It's also worth mentioning (although it's fairly obvious) that this laptop also supports VR devices like the Oculus Rift and should perform admirably with specs well above the reported minimum.
If you're worried this may not be the most merciful hardware configuration for a laptop battery, you're probably right. MSI needs a 230-watt AC adapter to power the gaming notebook, and it used a massive 9-cell lithium-ion battery to help keep you unplugged for longer, although we still can't imagine it gaming for copious amounts of time away from the wall.
The whole unit weighs a whopping 3.85 kg (nearly nine pounds), so it won't be a device you casually place on your lap while lazily lounging in your hammock. This is a beast of a gaming laptop. Is it practical? Gosh no. But it is a very powerful choice for enthusiasts with disposable income and a penchant for the extreme, even as it pertains to their mobile devices.
MSI isn't the only company putting GTX 980 graphics cards into high-end gaming notebooks, it just happens to be one of the first to the gate with finalized specs (at least for one version). We should start seeing more GTX 980-featured laptops from other OEMs soon, and if this is just the tip of the iceberg, we may yet see even more extreme configurations of unlocked Skylake processors and GTX 980 GPUs inside large, heavy-set laptops.
Check out MSI's full line of GT72 Dominator gaming laptops here, and act fast if you hope to catch the 29th Anniversary Limited Edition GT72S Dominator Pro G. It even comes with a stuffed MSI dragon key chain.