Review part I: Excellence in notebooks
When someone mentions MSI, the first thing that comes to mind is probably motherboards and maybe graphics cards, but usually your first thought won't be a notebook. As the times are changing and the big three, MSI, Asus and Gigabyte, want an even bigger piece of the market, they had to go after some alternative markets.
MSI decided to go for notebooks and the Micro Star International did an excellent job in a very short time frame. The new MSI PR200 is a notebook that got MSI the prestigious red dot design prize in 2007. Best of all, the company really deserves it.
This prestigious design award certainly means something, but we have been a bit skeptical about it. We received the test sample with a grain or salt and we wanted to try to see how good this notebook really is.
At first glance this notebook really did impress us. MSI certainly paid a lot of attention to every single detail of the design. The PR 200 is a 12 inch notebook with crystal clear display, 1280x800 resolution and excellent brightness. As it is the case with every notebook, the brighter you go, the less battery life you get. The standard model will be delivered with 8 cell 4500 mAh battery and it will be enough for about four hours or work with wireless turned on.
The tested model was equipped with a 160 GB Western digital hard drive, 1 GB Intel Robson flash memory and 2 GB of "real" 533 MHz memory. It is powered with Merom based T7300, 2 GHz Core 2 duo that worked between 800MHz and 2GHz at an average 0.9V.
The notebook ships with Windows Vista Home Premium and it will have Vista Aero up and running. Aero Glass really looks nice on this notebook and it suits its futuristic design. It looks that Vista has a lot of battery power management and even with Vista's power hungry Aero this notebook could survive about four hours with wireless and about 4.30 to even 5 hours without wireless and contrast tuned down.
We have to mention that this is a Santa Rosa platform and that this notebook has the new 802.11n wireless. The new wireless module worked well in G mode with most of the networks we tried it on. The notebook also has a Realtek 1GB LAN card that works just fine.
Santa Rosa is now known as Centrino Duo, and this platform performs really well.
The Realtek HD audio served its purpose well, and the sound was clean even when paused. We cannot complain about this one either as it works well.
In Vista performance tool the weakest link is Intel's 3100 integrated graphics, since this notebook scores 3.4 in Aero performance and 3.5 in gaming performance. You can forget about playing future games on this notebook as its simply not good for that purpose. It will be great for watching video and flipping windows in Vista.
The CPU scores quite well 4.9, the memory 4.8, while the hard drive scores 4.8 in Vista performance index. The notebook uses a Western digital hard drive and, depending on the region, it can be equipped with drives of up to 240GB capacity.