MSI GE600 Laptop Review - Where to Buy

By on January 20, 2011

Proper gaming on a budget?

MSI GE600 Laptop Review

Nowadays there are a lot of manufacturers who focus their attention on the PC gaming market. A lot of these laptops usually end up being desktop replacements which are too unwieldy for transportation or too weak to play games properly. However, for each type of gaming laptop, the price is the most defining characteristic. Today I’ll be looking at the MSI GE600 laptop which, based on its price and the way MSI have positioned it, is a decent all round performer with a very reasonable price.

The MSI GE600 looks pretty plain from the outside, that is to say there’s nothing remarkable about it. It’s subtle, slightly boring with the dull color scheme, but has a nice glossy black finish out top. The same finish carries inside on the keyboard palm rest area as well. Inside the keyboard looks very static, the keys are thin and typing on it is not what I’d call a pleasant experience. It gets the job done, sure, but while typing or playing, you will feel the whole keyboard depress near the center, giving it a very hollow feeling. Outside of that the MSI GE600 has a pretty decent build, it feel like a solid machine all round, not that I tried to drop it from the table or anything to check out it’s sturdiness.

At the center you have the multimedia touch panel which is flanked on either side by the SRS Premium Sound speakers. Underneath the GE600 the only interesting thing you’ll find is the subwoofer which adds a little bass to the otherwise decent sound, especially when kept on a flat surface. Outside of that the additional connectors (sound, 3x USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, LAN and Power) and be found spread on the sides.

The screen itself is pretty impressive given that the 16 inches of display is being run at a resolution of 1366x768. It's glossy and therefore painful under any source of direct light, but it does a decent enough job to keep things looking good.

CPU Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
OS Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium
(MSI recommends upgrade to Genuine Windows® 7 Professional)

Chipset Intel® HM55
Memory DDR3 1066, Max: 8GB Note: If you want to upgrade the memory by yourself, please make sure to use the same model from the same brand. Besides, if your notebook is overclocking, we are not guarantee the function would be working properly.

LCD Size 16" TFT-LCD Display
Graphics ATI® Radeon™ HD 5730
Graphics VRAM DDR3 1GB
HDD (GB) 2.5" 500GB SATA
Optical Drive Super-Multi
Audio 2 HD Speakers + 1 Subwoofer
Webcam HD Webcam
Card Reader SD/MMC/MS/XD
LAN 10/100/1000
Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth optional
D-Sub (VGA) 1
USB 2.0 port 3
USB 3.0 port N/A
eSATA/USB Combo 1
Mic-in/Headphone-out 1
Express Card N/A
Modem port 1
Line-in N/A
Keyboard 103 keys
AC Adapter 90W
Battery 6/9 cells
Dimension 374(L) X 246(D) X 26.8~35(H)mm
Weight (KG) 2.7

In case you haven’t seen the specs sheet on the previous page, the MSI GE600 comes with an Intel Core i5-430M (@ 2.26GHz), 4GB DDR 1066MHz RAM, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 1GB Graphics card (clocked at 650Mhz Core and 800MHz Memory speeds) and a WD 500GB HDD (@ 5,400RPM). All of this is displayed on a glossy 16” screen running at a resolution of 1366x768 pixels.

For comparisons I have selected the HP dv6, the Sony VAIO Z11 and the ASUS N61Ja notebooks for review, all of which are similarly specced.

As you can see the MSI GE600 performs exceptionally well compared to its counterparts which are actually priced higher than the GE600. Of course, this performance, especially in games, comes with the caveat that the screen only has a resolution of 1366x768, so the HD 5730 is not trying to outperform its capabilities. That’s not to say that games, movies and general viewing is hindered in any way, the 16” screen is bright and keeps things crisp despite the low resolution.

Speaking of performance, all of these benchmarks immediately turned the fan to full speed, which wasn’t irritating, but in a quiet room it does get to you. However, whatever game you’re playing on the GE600 which is pushing the fan to full speed will be engaging enough that you won’t even notice the sound, so that’s not exactly a big deal. It does get hot near to top right underside (close to the vent), so keeping it on your laps while gaming is not advisable at all.

The price/performance ratio on the GE600 is undeniable, and the whole system is very well balanced in terms of the components used, i.e. the processor, ram and graphics card which all work in perfect harmony. The standard HDD is good enough, but not great. I’m sure that a reasonably priced SSD will significantly improve performance, but then you’ll be losing out on a lot of storage.

Eventually I’ll have to say that the MSI GE600 is a great bargain for what you’re getting out of it, just don’t play games on your lap!
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