MSI GT72

Well, this is one shall we say “manly” laptop. I do have to say I’m spoiled by the industrial design of Apple. But nonetheless, it is certainly powerful (if amazingly thick and bulky). Here are some tips, tricks and traps:

Tricks on Magic Keys

The documentation is pretty unclear, but there is a BIOS setup and it uses the follow “standard” keys. I haven’t used Windows in so long I’ve forgotten. But holding a key down during boot does:

  • DEL. Puts you into the setup menu, there is a new feature called secure boot that makes it hard to install Ubuntu
  • F11. This gives you the boot menu so you can find say a USB key that you want to run (some guides say F3).

Tricks in installing Ubuntu

  1. Enable Intel Graphics. Well, this thing uses the GTX 980M graphics and it is on by default. That means that Ubuntu can’t install as it doesn’t have the drivers for it. This isn’t in the BIOS, instead, you need to boot to Windows and then hit the second magic key on the left. This is the discrete vs integrated graphics key. If the light is off you are using the integrated and that is what Ubuntu likes.
  2. Separate boot and data drives. The system QE2 comes with a 128GB M.2 boot drive and a 1TB data drive. You can also install three other M.2 drives if you tear the machine up.
  3. The Killer wifi N1525 card (from Qualcomm) isn’t supported by Ubuntu Live USB key so you have to live without it and used a wired connection at first then look for the drivers. And it looks like the Ath10k driver might some day support the 1525, but in the mean time, no Wifi under Ubuntu if you have this.
  4. Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2200. This is the gigabit ethernet and it is in the latest linux system.
  5. Bluetooth. This also does not work. Drivers stink!
  6. Enable GTX 970. You have to jump to Windows (?!!) to switch to the discrete graphics. So it sounds like you have to start the nVidia drivers (as ubuntu can’t handle the GTX 980M) and then install the nvidia drivers and then go back to Linux to start it. Ugh. Trying it now.

Tricks for installing memory and M.2 drives

Well this is actually easy and tricky at the same time, but basically you have to:

  1. Remove the seven phillips screws at the bottom. Note that the center screw has a label that says if you open it, you disable your warranty
  2. The cover on the bottom is friction fit, so you then pry it open carefully with a flat head screw driver.
  3. There is a carrier for no less than four m.2 slots that you unscrew. Make sure that when you insert the M.2 you push the drive all the way in. It has to cleanly click and you shouldn’t see any of the metal connector when it is in. There are holder screws at the top for these 80mm sticks.