Review: Works at 2.7GHz and have the looks
At last year’s CeBIT, MSI announced two new gaming laptops, the GX620 and GX720, and both of these reached their target audiences in the summer. Both of them are quite popular, where the reason for that is a nice configuration coupled with an equally appealing price. Today, almost a year since we laid our eyes on them, we are holding Megabook GX620X. Since it’s priced at €950, we doubt it’s possible to find another laptop with such gaming capabilities.
It’s a 15.4 inch laptop with the LCD WSXGA+/WXGA ACV(Amazing Crystal Vision) monitor at 1680x1050 resolution. If you find the 15.4 inch screen to be insufficient for your gaming needs, MSI also offers a 17 inch model dubbed the GX720.
Megabook GX620X is based on Centrino 2 platform and comes with Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor running at 2.26GHz. There are two more versions of the GX620 laptop, and they’re different from each other in processors used and in retail pricing. The cheaper version is called Megabook GX620-7345VHP and comes with a Core 2 Duo P7350 at 2.0GHz, whereas the other one is MSI Megabook GX620-9543VHP and comes with a better CPU, the P9500 at 2.53GHz.
Although an increasing number of laptops feature a WSXGA+ screen with 1680x1050 resolution, most of them still only support the lower 1280x1024 resolution. The gaming community really likes 1680x1050, as it matches 19 inch TFT monitor resolutions. After all, 1680x1050 resolution requires a good graphics card, especially if you plan on playing newer titles. The GX620X’s graphics is Nvidia’s mobile Geforce 9600M GT, which means that you’ll get a better graphics card than found in most today’s similarly priced laptops, and even in some higher price-segment ones.
Unfortunately, not even the desktop version of 9600 GT packs enough muscle to play new titles at 1680x1050 and high detail settings, so you’ll need to lower the settings to medium or minimum. Now we’ll try to paint the picture of how the 9600M GT came to be, as constant graphics card renaming game tends to cause some serious confusion.
Specs wise, the mobile 9600M GT is much alike the desktop chip found on 9500 GT cards. Basically, it’s the G96 core found on the 9500GT, and not the G94 core found on desktop Geforce 9600GT. The difference is that the second card has half the stream processors (the G96 has 32 SP and the G94 has 64) and a weaker, 128-bit memory interface (that results in 9600M GT’s lower consumption), whereas the 9600GT uses a 256-bit memory interface. In the desktop domain, the 9600 GT needs a power connector, which is not the case with the 9500GT. In order to lower consumption and make the card run cooler, the 9600M GT runs at lower clocks compared to the 9500GT card. Still, that will be enough to play games at 1280x1024.
When it comes to laptops, it’s quite important that the card comes with its own memory instead of using the system memory. In GX620X’s case, the mobile 9600M GT graphics processor comes with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.
This laptop is anything but lacking in the memory department, as it comes with no less than 4GB of DDR2 memory. The good thing about the GX620X is that the graphics card uses the MXM slot, meaning that if and when you decide to replace it, you should be able to do it yourself. However, that’s not as easy as it is with desktop components, and since MSI uses heatpipe technology to cool this baby, it might me a good idea to talk to them before doing it. The reason is not just for the warranty, but also to check whether the cooler will fit with the new graphics card. You can take a peek under the hood on the next page.
The following pictures show the processor and memory clocks.
In idle mode, as well as in certain scenarios when ECO engine is active, the processor runs at 1596MHz. In this laptop MSI used the Turbo Engine Technology, which enables overclocking by a simple push of a button. If you require more juice, you can use the provided button to overclock the processor to 1851MHz – we’re talking about idle clock.
We’ll talk more about Turbo and ECO technologies later, whereas for now it’s enough to know that Turbo overclocks the CPU from 2.26GHz to 2.6GHz. This is a great and extremely simple solution to push your laptop even further.
If you’re an experienced user then you’re in for a treat. The BIOS features an option that enables CPU overclocking of 15%, but a 20% option is also available. That means that CPU clocks will end up at 1.9GHz in idle or ECO mode, and up to 2.7GHz during operation.
The memory runs at 800MHz, but note that BIOS offers Auto, 667MHz or 800MHz speeds. Auto setting is the most appropriate for memory speeds, since it runs at 800MHz when combined with the Turbo engine anyway.
The memory in question is SODIM ELPIDA E1108ACBG-8E-E running at DDR2-800(5-5-5).
We installed Vista Business OS on Western Digital’s 320GB hard disk (WD3200BEVT-22ZCT0) and got the following scores: