MSI WT72 Workstation

MSI recently released the WT72, a workstation-focused variant of the excellent GT72 Dominator. It features Intel Skylake hardware, masses of DDR4 memory, enough solid-state storage to make you woozy, and a Steelseries-designed backlit keyboard to mash your fingers on all day. It also comes with NVIDIA Quadro graphics as standard, and offers everything under the sun from the Quadro M1000, to the monster that is the Quadro M5500 with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. But that’s not the interesting part of MSI’s announcement. The interesting part, really, is that these GPUs are all using the MXM form factor.

MXM is a standard created by the MXM-SIG organisation. Many laptop manufacturers make use of it for their high-end models where graphics upgrades are encouraged because of the long lifespans of these units, and MSI is one of the biggest brands using them today. The use of the MXM standard isn’t new, but it is new in the context of the WT72.

NVIDIA Quadro M5500 MXM

With the WT72 offering customisable graphics, as well as accommodating future upgrades using the MXM standard, I think there’s a definite chance that we’ll see the same GPU options appear for MSI’s Vortex G65, their nifty and tiny little desktop tower, that looks a lot like the Apple Mac Pro. If this is their aim, and I certainly hope it is, then this might mark their entry into the business market, using their strong “Gaming” brand as a shield to break through the walls set up by Dell, HP, and Lenovo, which are barriers to newcomers who try to offer their own products to small-to-medium enterprises.

Having a cheaper option to the Mac Pro is certainly an enticing one, and MSI’s build quality on their high-end products is quite good. Having an option for Quadro graphics would make the G65 a viable option for businesses to adopt for professional applications, and might end up creating a framework for others to make similar designs. I’d like to see MSI take a stab at this, and offer external graphics solutions with the G65 that match the colour scheme and industrial design.