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MSI GX600 review

Offering gaming prowess in a portable format, this is a good all-round laptop

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Our Verdict

Some nice features and a decent performance, but there's nothing to really distinguish it from the crowd

For

  • Turbo button function
  • Portable
  • Sturdy build
  • Strong performance

Against

  • No head-turning features

MSI entered the gaming laptop market in 2007 and the GX600 (£965 inc. VAT) is the first refresh of the line.

The casing has a gloss black finish and comes with tribal decals on the lid and palm rests. There is also an embossed MSI logo, which looks as though it stepped out of an anime feature, such as Naruto or Full Metal Alchemist.

Open the lid and, along with the decals, there are cooling grills and highlighted WASD keys - the favoured keys for gamers. The case is made from plastic and, while it isn't as thick as we're accustomed to seeing on gaming machines, it feels robust for daily use.

Impressive gaming performance

Weighing in at 2.8kg, MSI is aiming this machine at users who don't want a cutting-edge gaming system at the expense of weight, as this is a semi-portable machine with a cut-down GPU.

The nVidia GeForce 8600M GT comes with 512MB of its own dedicated DDR3 memory and as long as you're not trying to run the very latest releases, it will handle most games with ease.

With a 3DMark 2003 score of 11203, we were impressed with the performance of this machine.

A powerful package

The screen is a 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel that had a surprisingly wide brightness range, which is fine when you're on mains power as you can switch it to full. However, when on battery power you will need to alter the settings to get the most from it.

Aside from the GPU, you'll find this laptop has plenty of performance for its size. Powered by the Intel Core 2 Duo T7250, you'll find the 2GHz processor is backed by 2048MB of memory.

Turbo charge your laptop

When you need a little more performance, MSI has included a neat little Turbo button that effectively overclocks the processor. In tests, we found the processor ran at 1995MHz in normal conditions, but clocked in at 2396MHz under Turbo power.

Naturally, this function is disabled in battery mode, as it would soon drain the battery. Using Turbo does mean the fan needs to constantly run, so you won't want it on all the time, as the noise is a little distracting.

However, it's great for gaming, or even video editing, as you'll see a real boost to performance.

Quality keyboard

The keyboard sports a numeric pad, which adds to the usability of the system both in everyday use and when gaming. The keys are of a good size and we found them firmly mounted.

Although there is a degree of rattle as you type, we found the keyboard very comfortable to use.

The MSI GX600 doesn't contain any real surprises in either form or function, but it's a great mid-performance gaming machine that is a good compromise between portability and power.