MSI CX640 Back to School Laptop

Mobile/Laptops & Netbooks by leeghoofd @ 2011-08-30

Where are the days that you couldn't afford a decent laptop ? And when laptops where just for bussinessmen, not for pleasure. Not even imaginable that you would have to buy one just to study at school. Things have changed, in fact they have changed a lot. Partly due to the extreme growth of the world wide web, fast internet and wireless access, gaming,... School Books and towers of papers are a thing that soon will be part of a museum. Most school courses at highschool are downloadable in Acrobat or alike formats via their intranet. Ofcourse to have access some schools advise you or even oblige you to buy a laptop. Some of them suggested laptops cost heaps of money, even though some are quite good deals for the specifications. Main point is, most are overspecced or priced accordingly. This is where MSI want's to target the CX640 laptop at. Being affordable, thus no longer for the parents required to sell vital organs, yet still offer some nice specifications without too much bling bling. Let's see what MSI has got to offer to the youngsters or elderly that want a laptop, to be used used for school purposes or just plain basic laptop usage.

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Test results

Comparing this laptop is quite hard, since Madshrimps was not really into portable stuff. So we don't have a huge database to fall back on. But we have to start somewhere, so the MSI CX640 has to go head to head with my own Acer 5750 laptop. The latter having a beefier Mobile SandyBridge based CPU, retailing at a higher price too. So it will be partly comparing apples to oranges. Though we found some nice results in the below tests.


Starting off with Superpi 1M and Wprime32. Clear win for the faster Acer CPU. Not even the best designed motherboard ram combo can make up for them extra 200mhz.



Similar results in the heavier SuperPi 32M and 1024WPrime test. Overal speed rules. It's raw Mhz that count here. again as stated in the intro, apples with oranges comparison.



Cinebench , the same cup of tea. Time to quickly go to what we found the interesting stuff...



Even though the PCmark05 looks similar to the above results where the 300mhz extra of the beefier i2410 CPU thrash it's little i2310 brother. There's more to it...



The HD speed is well up to scratch, even outperforming the data storage setup of the more powerfull Acer laptop. XP Startup, HDD general usage test and the HDD Virus scan are MSI territory. Imagine the total outcome with a similar specced CPU as the more expensive Acer 5750 laptop.



Also due to the added GT520M videocard, the Acer laptop get's a rough ride with it's 3000HD iGPU in the 3D tests. Though the 520M is not a stellar performer, but it could be the difference between playing a game at low resolution with just enough FPS, then when using the Intel solution. Let's see how she fares in Futuremarks 3Mark06 and Ubisofts Far Cry 2



A decent improvement over the integrated Intel HD3000. Though don't expect miracles from the MSI GT520M videocard. I also tried overclocking it, though the scores went down in stead of up. Could be temperature or voltage related (instability). No Mafia II, Crysis II tests as they ran too jerky on both of the setups. Though Far Cry 2 was playable when selecting DirectX9 and Low settings for all detail levels. The HD3000 however dipps often at the 20FPS mark, the GT520 keeps it fluid most of the times.





Another nicely result was the thermal performance of this laptop. The heatpipe design is very well executed as it cools not only the CPU but also the GPU via the same fan. Keep in mind that the Acer has got a slightly hotter CPU running ( 2300mhz vs 2100Mhz )


For the battery test, I downloaded Imtecs Battery Mark. While stressing the 4 cores at 100%, the system shut down after 190 mins of pure torture. The output file mentioned "estimated Windows battery life" would be around the 5 hour mark. Though when using the laptop for surfing ,I breached 4 hours easily, but never 5 hours. So I have some doubts about the used program in general. The other test passed flawlessly : playing one of my favourite DVD movies, "Der untergang", was no problem. Totalling 160 minutes of play time and still got close to 25% battery left. How eco is that :)



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