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Monday, 23 February 2009 18:21

MSI GX620 Gaming notebook with Turbo Engine tested - 3. A closer look

Written by Sanjin Rados

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Review: Works at 2.7GHz and have the looks


The design is simple, as we quite liked the red lines, but then again it’s a matter of personal preference. Thanks to clear and simple line design, this laptop looks and is quite thin. Its dimensions are 360 (W) x 259,5 (D) x 37,5 (H) mm.undefined
The front side features only the infrared receiver, whereas the rest of the connectors are placed on the sides. Towards the bottom on the front side, we found an unused slot for mini-PCI cards, most likely for DVB-T card. The documentation doesn’t mention this slot or its purpose. You can take a look at the last picture on this page.

The right side is mostly taken up by the fan’s outlet, and make sure you do not accidentally close it by pushing it against the wall or placing various objects. When the processor and the graphics card heat up, the fan can get a bit loud, but it’s still not too loud. In idle mode it runs almost inaudible. Although regular office and similar work will result in comfortably warm air blowing outward, make sure that you don’t put your hand there when gaming, as it gets quite hot. We’ll talk more about temperatures later.
 
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On the right of the fan is the LAN Port, whereas the left side features two USB 2.0 ports, IEEE 1394, Express Card and a 4-in-1 Card Reader.


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The card reader features MMC (Multi Media Cards), XD (eXtreme Digital), SD (Secure Digital) and MS (Memory Stick) card support. A total of three USB ports are available and two are located on this side, and although one of them is marked as E-SATA, you can use it as a USB at the same time. The USB2.0/E-SATA combination can come in quite handy, as E-SATA will enable external serial ATA devices or external hard disks, and much higher transfer speeds than when USB 2.0 is used.

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The left side houses a DVD Super Multi optical device. The DVD tray doesn’t always go smoothly, and it sometimes wouldn’t close on the first try.

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Audio connectors are easily accessible and listed as – Mic In, Line In, Headphone out/SPDIF out (regular speakers connector and SPDIF for digital audio out) and Line out.

Realtek’s integrated ALC888/1200 offers nice sound and 7.1 channel SPDIF audio out. The laptop also houses two speakers, nicely hidden above the keyboard, and although not loud or good enough, they can still come in handy.

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In case you end up needing a dial-up connection, the modem features an RJ-11 connector, and next to it you’ll find the Kensington Lock. This side features the third USB2.0 connector.

MSI GX620X comes with good multimedia support, and rich offer of video outs on the back serves as a proof to that claim.
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Although this laptop’s monitor doesn’t support full 1080p resolution, the HDMI out enables connecting an HD monitor or an HD TV device that does. The Geforce 9600M GT comes with PureVideo HD and VP3 engine which unloads some burden off of the CPU when playing video, and the HD decoding is partially managed trough the GPU. HDMI cable can also bring the audio to the external HD device, and you’ll also find the older, VGA out next to the HDMI out.


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The picture can be fed to two monitors simultaneously, and it’s up to the user to pick his configuration of choice – laptop monitor + external monitor or two external monitors. MSI’s laptop automatically recognized the external monitors, and everything went without a hitch.

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Capturing short video clips as well as video chat are an easy task for the internal 2MP camera, located on top center, above the monitor.
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MSI encourages its users to utilize the camera in the right way. One of those is introducing security measures, where users who downloaded MSI’s “Easy Face” program can make sure that their pet stays off until their face is in front of the camera. You can download this program here, and other programs here.

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The first thing we noticed is the numpad and sensorpad. Due to the additional space required by the numpad, other keys got reduced in size, and some were small enough to cause a couple of nervous fits on our side.

Most notable reduction has been done on the right Shift, but the arrow and Enter keys aren’t quite standard sized either. This is not the first laptop where MSI switched positions of the left shift and Fn key, and although many users have complained, MSI still decides to use this strange and hard to get used to layout.

As far as monitors go, we loved our GX620X’s one. It’s visible from all angles, and we didn’t even see the back lighting coming trough while we were watching a movie in the dark. The color contrast is exactly what you’d expect in this price range – pretty good. We forgot to mention that the packaging also includes a piece cloth intended for cleaning your monitor.


We were quite happy to see that MSI opted on the Sensorpad, so multimedia keys, camera, Bluetooth and WLAN are all one touch away, and glow blue when activated. The same row features playback keys as well as a P1, programmable key, which you can program the way you see fit.

The area around the Sensorpad is made of mesh grill-like metal, and it hides the speakers nicely.

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The most important sensor keys are Turbo and ECO, and we’ll say more about them on the following page.

The wrist-rest is aluminum and seems quite nicely built. Although black, it doesn’t leave too many smudge-marks but it’s not hard to clean either. The spot under your right hand can get hot during some more intensive work, but the aluminum is usually cold.
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The battery of choice is Lithium Ion “BTY-M66” 4800mAh. We measured about 2h and 10min of video playback (from the hard disk) and music playback and web browsing at about 10-20 minutes longer, but we wouldn’t recommend gaming on the battery. For such a feat you’ll need the AC mode, as running on battery alone offers lower performance levels, and we’ll talk about it some more later.

Let’s check what’s hidden under the hood.

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We really liked the easily accessible CMOS battery, as wrong BIOS settings might result in your laptop not booting up. Desktop systems’ motherboards feature a reset-BIOS jumper, but that’s not the case with laptops, so all you can do is disconnect the battery and reset the BIOS. Many laptops come with soldered on batteries, so the aforementioned method might not work, but MSI’s GX620X’s battery is connected to the motherboard via the 2 pin cable.

(Page 3 of 5)
Last modified on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 12:40
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