• Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5
  • Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro M2000M
  • Memory: 32GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD, 1 TB HDD
  • Others: Bluetooth 4.1, Full HD webcam, Gigabit LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, SD card reader
  • Dimensions: 418.5 x 287 x 19.9 mm
  • Weight: 2.55kg
  • Pros:
  • Software
  • Audio
  • Cons:
  • Heat

Mobile Creative Station

When companies go shopping for workstation they usually go for desktop PCs or an iMac. But those aren’t portable, so what if you actually want to do design work on the go? In that case, MSI’s WS72 Workstation could be an option.

The WS72 is actually a workstation with hardware designed for rendering work, with MSI’s tagline for it being: ‘‘Best Laptop for CAD & 3D modelling”. It looks like many of MSI’s usual laptops, with a black body that’s mostly aluminium and a brush finishing. The workstation sports a 17.3-inch display, making it one of the bigger laptops we’ve reviewed in recent months.

Being a workstation, it’s geared towards multi-tasking so there are a few display-related ports for multiple screens, which included a HDMI and two mini-DisplayPorts. On the other hand, the workstation is also meant to be mobile. Thus, it has two USB 3.1 and two USB 3.0 ports for users to plug in accessories that may be useful for those in the creative field, such as a mouse, Wacom tablet, or an external hard drives. Additionally, it has the standard SD card reader slot, which would be useful for photographers.

At 2.55kg it’s relatively light when compared to many other laptops, but at the same time it seems to lack the heatsinks that MSI’s other laptops have. Indeed, this lack of cooling and its aluminium body contribute to the high temperature that is felt when the WS72 is running on high load. During benchmarks, its surface becomes noticeably warm to the touch.

One of the best features of the WS72 is its display. The IPS Full HD display has one of the most colour accurate screens for a laptop, which is a crucial point for design and 3D modelling. A colour accurate screen means that, for example, a designer can visit a client’s office and show the client an accurate representation of a commissioned work.

Of course, what this workstation excels in is graphics rendering. Thanks to the Intel Xeon CPU, NVIDIA Quadro GPU, and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, the WS72 is able to deliver renders very fast and thus cut down on wait time. This is useful for those who work on the go, and might not necessarily have the time to wait in a café for a render to finish.

Also very useful are the pre-bundled software with this workstation: Adobe Creative Suite and Maya 2016. This allows designers to be mobile and work on the go, or easily meet up with clients to discuss and work on commissions on the spot. Other software includes the Shortcut Manager, which lets the user create shortcut that can either execute commands or easily launch programmes, a fun programme called 3D builder, and the Microsoft Office productivity suite.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you are need a workstation that you can carry wherever you go, this is the one you should be looking at.

(previously published in issue March 2016)