MSI has refreshed its gaming laptop lines with the new GT Dominator and GE Apache laptop ranges. The GT Dominator machines feature high-end, gaming-orientated specs and price tags to match, while the GE Apache laptops offer more modest specs in a thinner and lighter form factor. Both new ranges come in 15.6 and 17.3-inch varieties and feature newly-announced Nvidia GeForce 800M GPUs.
The design of the 15.6-inch GT60 and 17.3-inch GT70 Dominator laptops is similar to the GT70 2OD laptop we discussed in a recent comparison, while the GE60 and 70 Apache machines offer a thinner and lighter design, with specs more suited to casual gaming.
In addition to the game capture/streaming and Battery Boost tech brought to the systems courtesy of Nvidia’s new 800M GPUs, the ranges also feature Dynaudio audio technology and XSplit Gamecaster software that automatically adjusts streaming settings based on hardware and ISP constraints.
All models and specs of the new machines feature SteelSeries colour-backlit keyboards with SteelSeries Engine support, which allows for full customization and backs-up user preferences to the cloud. Though all laptops in the new ranges take advantage of Killer LAN networking, only the pricier GT Dominator laptops offer Killer E2200 Game Networking tech.
The high-end configurations of the GT Dominator range are available with the company’s SuperRAID storage solution which uses three RAID 0 SSD drives to achieve speeds of up to 1,000 MB/s.
Choice of specs
MSI is offering a wide range of different configurations with the new machines. We’ll try not to go into too much detail here, but below is a (fairly) brief overview of what’s on offer.
The GT60 Dominator starts at US$1,499.99, for which you get a full 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display, an Intel Core i7-4800MQ processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M GPU (with 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM), 8 GB of DDR3L RAM and a standard 1 TB 7200 rpm HDD.
The system is configurable up to a $2,399.99 price point, for which you get a beefier GTX 880M GPU (8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM), a higher resolution 2880 x 1620 display, 16 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD / 1 TB 7200 rpm HDD hybrid storage solution.
The 17.3-inch GT70 Dominator features a similar level of configuration choices, with prices ranging from $1,999.99 to up a hefty $4,099.99. Even the bottom end model here will provide a GeForce GTX 880M, an Intel Core i7-4800MQ and 12 GB of RAM, but opt for the higher end and you’ll get a Core i7-4930MX, a full 32 GB of RAM and the 3x 128 GB RAID 0 SSD (what MSI calls SuperRAID) plus 1 TB HDD storage solution.
It is perhaps a little surprising that the higher-end GT70 Dominator configurations stick with the 1920 x 1080 resolution rather than the higher quality panels available on the GT60 Dominator.
Configurations for the Apache models are a little more straightforward, with the 15.6-inch GE60 version available in just two flavors. The lower model, priced at $1,299.99, features an Intel Core i7-4700HQ, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M GPU (with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM), 8 GB of DDR3L RAM and a 1 TB HDD. For an extra $50 you can opt for a wide viewing angle display rather than the standard anti-reflective offering. Both display options have a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Like the GE60, the larger GE70 Apache laptop comes in just two configurations, priced at $1,199.99 and $1,399.99. Both systems feature 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 displays, 12 GB of DDR3L RAM, GeForce GTX 860M GPUs and 1 TB HDDs. The lower cost configuration features an Intel Core i5-4200H CPU, while the more expensive option comes fitted with an i7-4700HQ.
Even though the GE Apache laptops are thinner than the GT models, all laptops in the range are still fitted with DVD drives. The GT Dominator laptops feature either DVD or Blu-ray drives, dependent on your choice of configuration.
MSI’s new machines aren’t your only choice if you’re in the market for an 800M-touting machine, with Razer having just announced its updated Blade laptop, featuring a GeForce GTX 870M GPU.