Gaming notebooks were something of an irrelevance for a long time, but Intel's new high performance Skylake mobile CPUs and NVIDIA's M series mobile GPUs have both bridged the gap between desktop and mobile architecture performances. And that leads us to MSI's snappily-titled GT72S Dominator Pro G220 - unless you bought or built your desktop machine in the last couple of months, this notebook very likely has it bested for gaming performance.
Its specs include an Intel Core i7-6820HK CPU with four cores, eight threads, and a base clock of 2.7GHz. Interestingly, that 'K' at the end of the model name means it's an overclockable chip - something of a recent phenomenon in mobile CPUs.
The big ticket component beneath the keys though is NVIDIA's GTX 980M GPU. In terms of raw power, it operates at about 75% of the desktop GTX 980's performance, which is about as close as mobile GPUs have ever come to parity with their bigger, better cooled desktop brethren.
It's equippable with up to 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD storage and a 256GB SSD. The IPS screen's just 17 inches, so the silicon below it seems a bit overqualified for the display. Oh, and it starts at $2599 (available over at XOTIC PC).
Yeah, this is why we're not all playing on gaming notebooks. In addition to worrying about weight and battery life (2.5 hours and 8.4lbs in this model's case), the limited practicality of gaming on a teenie-tiny 17-inch screen, IPS or otherwise (heck, there are even G-Sync ready lappies elsewhere in MSI's range) will always herd the majority of gamers away from mobile machines and back to the warm familiarity of a desk teeming with braided cables, LED lights and whirring fans.
Still, the disparity between mobile CPUS and graphics cards and their desktop equivalents is diminishing with every generation of architecture, indicating that it may not be too long before top-end gaming laptops will be capable of something approaching top-end desktop frame rates and processing power.
What's more, it's becoming an increasingly competitive market, and the arrival of new manufacturers in that space is bringing prices down.
And in the meantime, anyone who buys a gaming notebook like this MSI offering at least has bragging rights over the majority of us when it comes to raw specs. Let's give them at least that much, eh?