The MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation is a powerful virtual reality ready laptop with a 17.3 inch screen and excellent reviews online based on its professional-grade graphics chip utilizing the Nvidia Quadro M5500 GPU technology that packs a powerful 2,048 CUDA cores. Is it the right mobile workstation for you? Find out today in our review.
What is the MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation?
The MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation is a 17.3-inch virtual reality ready professional mobile workstation introduced at GDC 2015 (annual Game Developers Conference).
The workstation is similar to the GT72, which is the company’s flagship gaming laptop. The Micro-Star International WT72 emphasizes productivity tasks over gaming, although you can still outfit the laptop with up to 4GB of VRAM if you need enhanced graphics power.
Today, the laptop is priced at around $2000 to $3000 from online retailers like NewEgg and Amazon. When it initially launched back in 2015, it was priced at around $4500 USD.
Tech Specs for the MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation
MSI’s flagship workstation comes with the following tech specs:
- Intel Core i7 2.6 GHz
- 16GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 1024GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 128GB Solid State Drive
- 17.3-inch Display with 1920×1080 Resolution (IPS LED)
- Windows 8.1
- 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ Processor
- NVIDIA Quadro K4100M (4GB VRAM)
- 3.72kg (8.2 Pounds) Weight
Certain versions of the WT72 also come with Windows 7 professional installed.
Connectivity on the MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation
Like all workstations, the WT72 emphasizes connectivity to ensure you’re able to work seamlessly with all devices and platforms.
With that in mind, MSI has placed all of the important ports needed for stationary use on the rear of the workstation, which is a helpful decision because it prevents connected peripherals from getting in the way of critical cables.
In terms of connection performance, both the card reader and USB 3.0 port perform admirably. When using high-speed UHS-II memory cards on your WT72, you won’t encounter the 90 Mbps limitation that we typically see with UHS-I cards. Testers on NotebookCheck.net reported a high speed of 172 Mbps using a Toshiba Exceria Pro US-II.
Meanwhile, an external T1 SSD transferred data at 301 Mbps (read) and 312 Mbps (write) over the USB 3.0 port.
MSI is famous for its True Color displays, which emphasizes realistic-looking colors, extended color space, and calibrated color reproduction.
This makes the display particularly well-suited to tasks like image editing, construction projects, and graphic design.
Unlike other workstations on the market, MSI doesn’t offer alternative display models.
You can, however, connect external 4K monitors thanks to the Display Port, which means you can access resolutions of up to 3840×2160 at 60 Hz.
Colors can be adjusted to suit different tasks and needs. In MSI’s Designer mode, you can adjust color space and color temperatures (like warm, neutral, or cool). It’s not quite as extensively customizable as Asus, Dell, HP, or Toshiba color customization tools, but it does an adequate job for most professionals.
As one reviewer explained, there’s no obvious bottleneck on the WT72. With 4 SSDs in a RAID array and 32GB of RAM combined with a premium CPU and 4GB of VRAM, it’s easy to see why the WT72 has great benchmark scores.
Here’s what our friends at NotebookCheck.net learned from their benchmark testing:
Like most workstations, the WT72 features a better warranty than most other MSI products and traditional notebooks. The warranty lasts 3 years.
That doesn’t cover any self-induced damages. No additional support or warranty options are available through MSI, although you should be able to purchase extended warranties from your computer retailer.
One reason why the WT72 has impressive battery life is the Intel Iris Pro 5200 onboard graphics card, which can be enabled when you’re not performing graphically-intensive tasks (although you have to restart to swap between the Nvidia Quadro K4100M, which can be annoying).
Even when you’re using the main Quadro K4100M card, you benefit from GPU throttling. Testing on average usage revealed an average battery life of 4 or 5 hours. It also lasts for about one hour on the Battery Eater’s Classic test, where the high-performance profile is enabled with maximum screen brightness and all consumers on.
You won’t be able to swap out the battery on the WT72: it’s an internal, non-removable battery that cannot be replaced with a higher-capacity battery or supplemented by a secondary battery.
The WT72 has a minimum system noise level of 33.2 dB. That base noise level comes from the constantly spinning fan in the workstation. During full performance loads, the noise level can increase to 51.3 dB. As you can see, this isn’t the quietest workstation on the market.
The WT72 has impressive temperature control (due to the constantly spinning fan we just mentioned). MSI’s Cooler Boost feature is hardly even required even when performing at maximum loads. Maximum temperatures after two hours of permanent loads were 37.7 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).
Is the MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation Your Next Workstation?
The MSI WT72 is a powerful workstation that emphasizes performance, cooling power, and battery life at the expense of noise, weight, and form factor.
It offers impressive performance compared to other workstations in this class, and the 17 inch display is one of the best (and biggest) in the industry. You also have a wide range of interfaces and screen customization options from which to choose, making it an ideal choice for professionals who rely on the display.
One major restriction with the WT72 is the inability to switch between graphics cards on the fly: if you want to switch from the onboard GPU to the discrete GPU, you’ll need to reboot. That may be a problem for people in certain industries, but a non-issue for others.
Prices are dropping on the MSI WT72 Mobile Workstation after the workstation was initially sold at a price of $4500 USD. We’ve seen prices as low as $1999 and $2499, which is a great deal on a workstation that remains very powerful lined up next to today’s modern workstations.