MSI X610: Supersizing the Netbook?

by Jarred Walton on 10/6/2009 10:00 PM EST


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  • araczynski - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    big screen and low resolution = yuck, well, unless of course you wear glasses. Reply
  • Mugur - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    Old 690 chipset? With integrated video disabled and discrete video card? And a weak cpu? Target for this: low power=fail, long battery life=fail, performance=fail (unless compared with an Atom).

    I have an MSI S420 with 14", 1280x800, CeleronM 1.73 Ghz and Radeon Xpress 200m chipset/integrated video. It has only 1.9 kg without the charger (with 3 cell battery - 2h). I can see no difference :-)... I bought it for ~ 400 Euros.

  • Equ1n0x - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    Why are manufacturers still making these things with these big screens? Put this in a 12.1" or even better an 11.6" factor with these specs, and it will sell. People aren't going to buy big laptops with lower end specs no matter how light they are - if you are in the market for a large screen PC, you most likely want something performance oriented.

    The 11.6 and 12.1 market desperately needs some PC's with decent hardware (read, decent graphics chips). The last thing we need on the market is another Atom/GMA950 and the last thing we need is a large, slow laptop. We need small and decent for a change, without paying an arm and a leg.
  • qwertymac93 - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    you mean something like the msi u210?

    i do believe i just blew your mind.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    The MSI U210 has the same MV-40 CPU, but it uses the RS690E IGP, which is an X1270 (or X1250). Needless to say, GPU power is quite a bit lower than the HD 4330, but it's probably a better match for the MV-40. Battery life is reported as around 4 hours - nowhere near the Atom netbook level, but probably 50-100% better performance. Reply
  • Mugur - Monday, October 12, 2009 - link

    Not to mention the lack of 1080p video acceleration (just 720p is working and not always).

    Also the drivers for 690 platforms are not updated anymore at AMD...

    It should have a 780 chipset.
  • Mugur - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    ...bought it 4 years ago. Reply
  • vlado08 - Thursday, October 08, 2009 - link

    Hi Jarred,
    I'm glad that you've mentioned the POST times.
    For me it just does not make any sense. To have such fast SSDs made form flash chips and OS to load faster than the POST which is a small program written also on a flash chip.
    Something should be done here. I hope that Intel is going again to lead the way and probably every body else will follow. If they want Moblin to load for less than 10 seconds.
    But until then you should ask these questions again and again - Why so slow? How are you going to make people buy?
    And if you give information to us which system has faster POST we will make our choice (our vote)!
  • juampavalverde - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    This people still dont get that OLD CHIPSETS + DEDICATED VIDEO eat more power than NEW CHIPSETS (780/785g or lower speed variants)... This kind of garbage could be an easier sell on a nettop, but a netbook is about low power and mobility, if they can get good enough performance with less power, why keep choosing this kind of junk? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    My personal thought is that MSI made the X600 and people said, "cool but it costs $800 and that's too much." So they took the design and said, "let's do it with an AMD CPU instead to cut costs." What they needed to do was go with an AMD CPU and IGP and ditch the HD 4330. Even then, I'm not sure if they could keep it close to 5+ hours of battery, which is what you really want if you're going for this sort of thin and light design. Reply
  • stmok - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    It looks like the X610 is based on the elements of AMD's ultra thin notebook platform. (The first generation is codenamed: "Yukon".)

    The 2nd generation is "Congo". AMD's PR has a look at the prototype of Congo...Its actually an MSI X-series!

    This newer generation does feature the 780G chipset with Radeon HD 3200 IGP and dual-core CPU (also at 1.6Ghz).

    The PR rep reckons you'll gain an hour or so with the 2nd generation "Congo".

    Think I'll hold out for that...
  • ckistner - Thursday, October 08, 2009 - link

    LG P300/310 is a great little machine as well.

    13.3 LED
    Dualcore T8100 2.1 GHz
    4 gig ram
    Nvidia 8600m GS
    external dvd rom
    3-4 hrs battery life

    Its price is a bit higher than the x610 but worth it imo.
  • JimmyJimmington - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Dell Studio 14z is the better choice.
    Higher res screen.
    Nvidia 9400M
    A real processor
    Same weight, still relatively thin.

    Seriously what is the appeal of a super thin computer? Weight is absolutely important when you wanna carry your laptop around, but thinness just means more heat, or a crap CPU to keep the laptop from getting hot.
  • AznBoi36 - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Considering the Radeon card has 512MB vram, couldn't you have set the quality settings to medium perhaps? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    As mentioned at the bottom of the page, I tested most of the games at medium details as well (at least, the games where the CPU wasn't such a huge bottleneck that the game wasn't playable at minimum detail). Many of the playable games remained playable at 1366x768, and a couple could handle medium quality as well. Actually, Fallout 3 (27 FPS) and Empire TW (21 FPS) are the only games playable at medium 1366x768 - everything else is under 20FPS. Empire would also be a problem at 21, except mouse input isn't tied to the rendering rate (just like Maxis does with Sims and Spore), so lower frame rates are still okay. Reply
  • Totally - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    the X610 is in dire need of a stronger CPU. As-is it doesn't have an argument against the nv58/nv52. Reply
  • Abhilash - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    recent launched 45nm dual core neo on the X610 would have been great Reply
  • qwertymac93 - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    why are dual core neos so rare? if this thing had a dual core neo instead of that dumb 4330, it would actually make sense. why is the 780g chipset so rare as well? these companies act like using a dual core neo and 780g in the same computer would rip a whole in the space/time continuum! Reply
  • togaman5000 - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    I've got the x600, and despite the lower number, I've gotten five or more hours of battery life and better performance out of it. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Yeah, that's what I've heard. I actually requested the X600 for review and they accidentally sent the X610 instead. I figured it would be interesting to see what the AMD Neo had to offer, but it's really difficult to say when we've got Neo + HD 4330. If the X600 offers two hours more battery life and the only difference is the CPU/chipset, that's not a good sign for the Yukon platform. Still, it's tough to draw any firm conclusions with just one sample. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    1366x768 sucks.

    You can get a Dell 15.6" 1600x900, dual core pentium T4200, 6-cell battery, with DVD drive for $514. Or with the HD4330 for $614. The X610 is $735. The Dell weighs 1.5 pounds more, though, so you'll need to hit the gym.
  • Mint - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    That's a pretty big "though". 4.5 lbs is just about the limit for fairly comfortable portability, and comparing it to a 6 lb notebook is ludicrous.

    1366x768 on a 15.6" is similar pixel size to most desktop monitors, and 1440x900 isn't that much better yet it's the highest resolution you get in a 4.5 lb notebook, AFAIK. Compare it with the top rated notebooks at this weight, like the Timeline 4810 (same res) and MacBook Pro 13" (1280x800).
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Comparing 4.5 pounds to 6 pounds is ludicrous? If you're that picky about weight, you'd better go for a 2 pound netbook. I would gladly take the 1.5 pounds for the high res screen and fast CPU. Reply
  • gstrickler - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Actually, Dell lists it at 5.54 pounds with 6 cell battery and DVD drive. It's under 6 pounds no matter how you configure it. Yes, the extra pound will make a difference, but anything under 6 pounds is very portable.

    Certainly, the Dell Studio 15 sounds more interesting than the MSI X610, and I would like to see how a Dell Studio 15 and/or 13" MacBook compare in performance and battery life. The Dell has the Intel X4500HD IGP standard, offers HD4570 discrete GPU as an option. The MacBooks uses the Nvidia 9400M G chipset. Both IGPs are slower than the HD4330, but they're not terrible and they use a lot less power. Both use C2D (the Dell base price has the dual core Pentium T4200, which is a C2D with less cache and slower FSB, but that's still a big step up from a single core 1.6GHz Athlon).
  • Mint - Thursday, October 08, 2009 - link

    The market has proven both of you wrong for many years now. Why do you think Vaios and Lifebooks cost so much? Or why Apple charges more for the Air than the Pro 13"? Why do you think the M1330 was such a hit, despite costing much more than 15" Dells? Why do you think the X60/X200/X300 Thinkpads sell for so much more than 15" Thinkpads?

    5 lbs really is where it starts getting uncomfortable for the majority of people. 4 lbs is nice, 3 lbs is desireable. Netbooks took off when they weren't any cheaper than much faster value notebooks.
  • sxr7171 - Friday, October 09, 2009 - link

    Ha Ha, that's what I was thinking the whole time reading this article. I'm sitting here with a 2.4lb Thinkpad X200s laughing in my head wondering about in what parallel universe would a 4.5lb laptop be considered light.

    This thing weighs 2.4lbs and packs a Core 2 Duo. There is no way they will allow these "netbooks" to cannibalize the sales of ultraportables hence the awkward netbook form factors as this machine. The only netbook that could even tempt me is the 1.4lb Vaio-P or actually now the Vaio-X. There could not possibly be a better machine made for surfing the internet while lying on the couch.

    Also that Dell E4200 - great specs, nice 2.2lb weight.
  • Mint - Saturday, October 10, 2009 - link

    If you're laughing at me, then what do you think about the guys that I replied to who are suggesting a 6lb notebook is light enough and comparable to this?

    Regardless of screen size, you can rarely get more than 1366x768 in a 4.5lb notebook for less than twice the price. No Apples, only two Dells (the 14z's), no IdeaPads (Thinkpads are way too expensive), etc.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Thursday, October 08, 2009 - link

    I don't really understand your last sentence. I think netbooks took off since they were dirt cheap and ultra portable.

    Weight-aside, at 15.6", 1600x900 is a must.
  • Bull Dog - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    I recently owned a MSI GT735 laptop and it too had the integrated GPU disabled. On the other hand, my family has a couple of old Asus laptops with 2.0GHz Turion 64 X2 CPUs and Mobility Radeon 2600 GPUs and x1250 integrated graphics and Asus gave users to option in the bios to switch between the two. And this was long before AMD was talking about doing this.

    Additionally the 1366x768 LCD screens are just fail. 800 vertical pixels is bad enough, now I'm supposed to step down to 768? No thank you. Why didn't MSI include AMD's dual core Athlon x2 Neo cpu instead? Probably cost reasons but it would have made the laptop far more convincing. Personally, I'm loving my HP dvz2.
  • dingetje - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    "If MSI could keep the price close to $500 (€500)"

    eh, 500 Euro is about 735 US Dollar ... oops?
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Yeah, but often the prices are about the same in Euros and USD because of taxes and such... at least, that's been my experience. Anyway, without the product in the US it's pretty much a moot point, but I'd like to see it at $500 or less. Reply
  • samspqr - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    you can't use the exchange rate to convert hardware prices

    here in europe we have higher direct taxes (around 18% por this kind of goods), and some other legislation that makes this stuff more expensive (like a mandatory 2 years warranty by the seller), plus quite often we just get ripped off

    the X600 is selling for $800 in and 720eur in, so for the X610 those 500eur should mean something like $560
  • samspqr - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    (sorry, I meant indirect taxes) Reply
  • max347 - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    With such a low speed cpu, I wouldnt really see the point in a dedicated card. I would rather have either- stronger cpu/dedicated, or igp/better battery life. Reply
  • Mint - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    At a given pricepoint, I would have the ability to play somes games with AA, AF, and full shaders than have a strong CPU with a weak GPU that can play all games at 640x480.

    A 1.3 GHz C2D isn't going to be that much faster for games, but it's the best you can get in a reasonably priced lightweight notebook. I would totally go for this notebook if they engineered the power saving properly and got 5+ hours of battery life, and a Neo X2 option would be icing on the cake. Instead I'm pleading for the substantially more expensive 3810TG to eventually arrive in NA.
  • LarsAlereon - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    It needed a discrete GPU because the IGP (X1250) isn't good enough for basic usage. Ideally you'd use an IGP in value systems, and only use a discrete GPU if you want gaming capabilties. In this case they were forced to use a discrete GPU, but the unit wasn't positioned somewhere that needed gaming performance. Is there a reason they couldn't have used the RS780E (HD 3300) instead? I look forward to seeing an IGP based on the R5000-series architecture at some point. Reply
  • Mint - Tuesday, October 06, 2009 - link

    15.6 inches in a 4.5 lb chassis for that price is fantastic, especially when you get better-than-atom performance and HD 4330 graphics. Too bad battery life is so mediocre. You'd think that ATI's hybrid power technology would be able to shut down the discrete graphics when idling.

    Still, have you considered reviewing Acer's Timeline 3810TG? That can be equipped with a Core 2 Duo (albeit low clock speed), 4330 graphics that can be shut off, and claims to have 7-9 hours of battery life. Unfortunately, this particular Timeline is also unavailable in the US...
  • bjacobson - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    I think I'm going to start defining netbook by weight and battery life nothing else.

    IMO it needs to be at or below ~3lbs and have a 7-8 hour charge.
    Size never mattered to me, it was all about weight and battery life.
    At 7h I can safely consistently leave the charger at home if I have a full charge. Needs vary but I haven't had to worry about it once this semester, and that's with 8 hour days of classes and I still usually have 15-20% battery life left.

  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    Yeah, unfortunately the part of the netbook this laptop used was the "low performance CPU". It's rather disappointing to me that a CPU that's only ~50% faster than Atom can use 3X as much power. They also took the MacBook Air part that consisted of "thin" without worrying about providing great battery life and reasonable performance. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 06, 2009 - link

    I've been trying to get any Timeline for review... hopefully some day soon Acer will send me one. I'm still a little confused as to why the X610 has an IGP and discrete graphics with no apparent way to use the IGP (unless I'm just totally missing it). Reply
  • Mint - Wednesday, October 07, 2009 - link

    It's really insane that the GS45E in the Timeline can shut of a 4330 but the RS690 in this notebook can't. It's gotta be an MSI screw up, right? Reply

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