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MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro – Review

MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro – Review

Gaming laptops used to be ruinously expensive, offering less power for more cash, but the emerge of Nvidia Pascal and Intel’s Kaby Lake have continued pushing the envelope in the opposite direction.

The latest beneficiary of the move to punchier and more affordable gaming notebooks is the MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro. This machine’s £1,276 price sees it undercut most other gaming laptops – and it still packs a modern GPU and a Core i7 processor.


The GTX 1050 Ti is this laptop’s key component. Its Nvidia Pascal architecture means it offers the same sort of speed as the desktop equivalent, and it has 768 stream processors, a 1,493MHz core and 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

That specification means it doesn’t hit the heights of other Nvidia Pascal cards, but it’s what we expect from an affordable laptop. It should be enough for this machine to nail 1080p gaming, even if it won’t handle outputting to VR headsets or multi-monitor rigs.

The high-end Core i7-7700HQ runs at 2.8GHz across its four cores, with a Turbo peak of 3.8GHz. It’s not strictly necessary to include a chip like this in a mid-range gaming laptop, but the Core i7 is hugely popular right now – and it’ll avoid any bottlenecks in games or work applications, with more Hyper-Threading ability than the equivalent Core i5.

The rest of the specification is more middling. There’s 16GB of DDR4 but it runs at 2,400MHz, and the 128GB SSD is small – it won’t hold many games, even if it is bolstered by a 1TB hard disk.

We’re pleased to see Killer Ethernet, which priorities games over wired internet connections, and that’s paired with dual-band 802.11ac wireless.

The whole machine is managed by MSI’s Dragon Center app. This multi-faceted tool has a System Tuner to switch between different speed and fan modes, and an LED Wizard to customise its RGB lighting. There’s a System Monitor for temperature and clock speeds, and an app portal for additional software.

It’s a solid app, with plenty of options and intuitive design – better than the software you’ll find on many other gaming machines.

Full Specification

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
Memory: 16GB 2,400MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
Sound: On-board
Screen size: 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS
Hard disk: 128GB Toshiba HG6z SSD, 1TB hard disk
Weight: 2.7kg
Ports: 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x mini-DisplayPort 1.2, 2 x audio, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x SD card slot
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 420 x 288 x 33mm
Extras: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, DVD writer
Warranty: 2yr RTB


There are no surprises when it comes to this machine’s design. The familiar MSI Dragon gaming logo sits on the lid between slats in the aluminium, and the buttons and base have red accents. There are dramatic vents at the back, with most of the system finished in dark brushed metal.

The MSI’s weight of 2.7kg is ordinary, and its 33mm-thick body is conventional. The budget means this machine can’t be particularly slim or light, but it isn’t the sturdiest – the screen is fine, but the wrist-rest and keyboard feel a little too hollow and weak. For that reason, we’d protect this machine with a sleeve when travelling.

Interior access isn’t exactly forthcoming, either – the base panel is held in place by about twenty screws and there’s no scope to add more hardware.

The MSI has a solid port selection. The left-hand edge has pairs of USB 3 ports and audio jacks alongside HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs, and there’s Gigabit Ethernet, a card reader and another USB port. This machine also has a DVD writer, which is increasingly rare on gaming notebooks – and good for running older titles.


The standard chiclet keyboard is used here. It has a reasonable amount of travel for one of these keyboards, and its typing action is fast and consistent. The base feels a little hollow, but it doesn’t move during typing or gaming – another attribute that bodes well for frantic gaming.

We’re not surprised that the keyboard is competent, because it’s designed by SteelSeries. It’s also backed up with RGB LEDs that can be customised in the Dragon Center app.

It might be one of the better examples of a chiclet keyboard, but it’s still only middling for gaming – to get anything sturdier and with more travel, you’ll need a notebook with a traditional keyboard or a discreet mechanical keyboard.

The reasonable chiclet design is undermined by minor layout issues. The Return key is only single-height, and the cursor keys aren’t isolated. There aren’t any macro keys, either, although the SteelSeries app can be used to configure them on normal buttons.

The trackpad is better. Its surface is great, and the two buttons are superb too – they have a fast, shallow click that isn’t far away from proper gaming mice.


The GTX 1050 Ti is a great 1080p chip. It sprinted through Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor with an average of 55fps at the game’s Ultra settings, and it ran Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 with averages of 44fps and 39fps.

Those averages are solid – and, crucially, they’re bolstered by minimums of 32fps or more. That means these games will run smoothly even in demanding scenes, and you’ll likely to find similar performance levels in other modern, triple-A titles.

The MSI’s theoretical scores support those assertions. Its Cinebench OpenGL result of 104.9fps trades blows with machines that have GTX 1060 graphics, and its 3D Mark result of 6,422 is in the middle of the pack.

These tests were recorded using the MSI’s default Sport mode, but there’s more performance to be had from this chip. Using Dragon Center to select Turbo mode boosts the GPU’s core and memory clocks by 200MHz and 250MHz, which resulted in three or four more frames in our test titles – enough to make games a little smoother.

There are Comfort and Eco modes, too, which regulate clock speeds and fan performance based on component temperatures. The former option had a negligible impact on performance, while the latter reigns in speeds and is no good for gaming.

The Sport and Comfort modes made little difference to the MSI’s solid CPU performance. Its Sport mode Geekbench results of 4,286 and 13,835 are fine, and enough to ensure good speeds in games and applications.

Eco mode saw the CPU reigned in to 1.4GHz, which had a big impact on performance – those Geekbench scores dropped to 1,990 and 6,295.

The three beefiest modes of operation didn’t have a huge impact on noise and temperatures. The Turbo, Sport and Comfort options saw the GPU hover around 70°C with the CPU about twenty degrees higher – entirely normal for a gaming notebook.

During all of these tests the keyboard only became a little warmer and the base stayed cool. It’s quieter than most of its rivals, too, which is a boon – it only produced a modest whirr during our toughest tests.

The 128GB SSD paired its underwhelming capacity with middling pace. Its read speed of 513MB/s is fine for a SATA drive, but its write speed of 353MB/s isn’t great. The Toshiba drive is better than a hard disk, sure, but it’s miles behind the NVMe drives found in slightly more expensive machines.

There’s not much to shout about in the battery department, either. This machine can’t last a full hour in a gaming test with its screen at full brightness, and Eco mode only saw that figure extend by another hour. In our PC Mark 8 test the MSI only managed an hour and a half.

In short, then, don’t stray far from the mains if you want to play games on this notebook.

Screen and Sound

The screen’s 1080p resolution looks a little pixelated on this panel, but it makes sense given the GTX 1050 Ti graphics card inside – and its matte finish makes gaming easier too.

The high brightness level of 319cd/m2 is plenty, and the black level of 0.23cd/m2 is good – so the contrast of 1,387:1 is one of the best levels we’ve recently recorded from a gaming laptop. That’s a good start: black levels are suitably deep, and colours are bright and punchy elsewhere.

The average Delta E of 7.04 is underwhelming, though, and the 7,094K colour temperature is too cool – so colours are washed-out and not particularly accurate. Those figures were measured in the screen’s default Gamer mode, and the RGB, Movie and Designer options are no better – they all suffer from an off-putting red pall.

The colours aren’t great, then, but that’s hardly a surprise coming from a relatively affordable gaming laptop, and the panel’s resolution and contrast ensure that it’s still absolutely fine for gaming.

The speakers are reasonable. The Music mode provides clear vocals and there’s a subwoofer to provide some solid bass, although the mid-range is a little murky. This option is the best here, and it’s fine for gaming – the Movie mode has vocals that are too dominant, the FPS option is tinny, and the strategy and racing profiles are too quiet and bassy.


This machine doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but MSI has got the important stuff right – and that makes it a compelling and affordable gaming machine.

The GTX 1050 Ti handles 1080p gaming smoothly, and the Core i7 processor, SSD and memory are fine – even if they’re not going to break speed records. There’s plenty of versatility when it comes to clock speeds, and its reasonable looks are paired with acceptable ergonomics.

The screen is fine for gaming, the speakers are reasonable, and battery life is underwhelming – but that’s only what we expected.

It’s easy enough to get a better gaming machine if you spend a few hundred quid more, but this is a solid and reliable effort for a comparatively low price.


Review Date
Reviewed Item
MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro
Author Rating

Review Overview

About Author

Mike Jennings

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