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MSI MegaBook S425 review notebook performance benchmark
Posted:2006-06-09 By notebook review
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MSI MegaBook S425 review notebook performance benchmark

MSI is a new player on the notebook market, but it has made great progress in a very short while. The company’s model range is now comparable to that of a long-established brand, it’s simpler to say what MSI does not offer. It doesn’t offer a sub-compact model with a screen diagonal of 10” or smaller and it doesn’t transformers – that’s about all. Other market niches have a model from MSI. The MegaBook S425 is a new notebook which perfectly meets the requirements of this review and is also one of the most originally designed models here. The developers seem to have taken all the existing design ideas and mixed them up to produce the following:

MSI MegaBook S425 overview

When opened, the S425 resembles LG’s T1 – the same pearl-white plastic is here, even around the screen. But when the notebook is closed, it doesn’t look at all like the LG with its black stylish coloring and reasonable minimalism in details:

MSI MegaBook S425

MSI MegaBook S425 logo

I can put up with the red color of the lid, especially as there are other color schemes available, but the round insert in the center looks too obtrusive to me. It is also thick which doesn’t make it look any better:

MSI MegaBook S425

The same logotype looks more appropriate on the L7xx series of desktop replacement notebooks with a screen diagonal of 17” because the notebook itself is larger. Here, the logotype is too big. Well, you may like it if you are fond of visual effects – the letters MSI are highlighted.

A characteristic feature of all notebooks from MSI is that they have audio connectors on the front panel:

MSI MegaBook S425 audio connector

MSI MegaBook S425 microphone

hese are headphones, microphone and line-in sockets.

Again, I don’t think it’s a proper place for them, but there must be some reason for the company’s engineers to place audio connectors on the front panel. Next to them, a card-reader is located:

MSI MegaBook S425 card reader

The S425 is the second notebook in this review that supports xD in addition to the standard selection of card formats.

The notebook status indicators are designed as icons on a matte strip:

MSI MegaBook S425 status

Some of them have copies on the front panel so that you could figure everything out when the lid is closed.

It’s good to have support for both the new ExpressCard format and for old PCMCIA cards.

The keyboard is nearly ideal:

MSI MegaBook S425 keyboard

Everything’s in its right place without any innovations like combining Insert and Delete in one button.

The arrow keys are made properly, too:

MSI MegaBook S425 keyboard 2

Just press on the corresponding section of the strip to enable the corresponding function. That’s not the best implementation, I should say. It’s hard to tell if the button has really been pressed or not. The Power-On button is highlighted just like on other MSI notebooks, this time with a blue circle around it. The touchpad’s buttons are as unhandy as the additional functional keys:

MSI MegaBook S425 touchpad

They are part of the touchpad bezel and are made of some rubber-like material, too. I didn’t like using them, to tell you the truth. The touchpad itself is good and large enough, with a normal positioning accuracy.

The notebook sports two extra stickers:

MSI MegaBook S425 extra sticker

One sticker indicates a discrete graphics adapter, NVIDIA GeForce Go 6200 TC. The choice is strange because this core is below the average level as mobile graphics go, and it is TC, too! I don’t think this adapter is any better than an integrated graphics core – you can’t play new 3D games normally on either. The second sticker reports that the S425 is equipped with a new-generation HD audio codec and supports such technologies as Dolby Headphones, Dolby Virtual Speaker, Dolby Pro Logic II, and Dolby Digital Live. I guess a mobile user may only be interested in Dolby Headphones mode among all of this. The rest is virtually useless due to obvious reasons. Even putting the problem of speakers aside, the new HD Audio is inferior even to entry-level hi-fi equipment in quality. You shouldn’t expect much from it whereas stereo mode without any virtualization should be enough for decent headphones.

The display has good viewing angles, a now-fashionable glass matrix, high maximum brightness, and a good color reproduction and matrix response time. The backlighting isn’t uniform, but that’s not very conspicuous. All in all, the MSI S425 has one of the best displays among the notebooks tested in this review.

The battery isn’t the biggest in this test…

MSI MegaBook S425 battery

…but its parameters are not worse than the other batteries’.

MSI MegaBook S425 battery

You will find this mouse among the notebook’s accessories…

MSI MegaBook S425 additional accesoire

…and a napkin to clean the display. A funny thing about this display: on the cloth between the screen and keyboard which I at first regarded as an ordinary detail of packaging for the purpose of transportation there was a text like “always put this material in to avoid the keyboard scratching the screen when you close the lid.” Instead of just making the keyboard a bit sunken in (the MSI S425 is not the thinnest notebook in this review, by the way), they ask you to put some damping material on it! :)


First I checked the notebooks in Business Winstone 2004 and Content Creation Winstone 2004 benchmarks

MSI MegaBook S425  winstone benchmark

MSI MegaBook S425  winstone benchmark

MSI MegaBook S425  winstone benchmark

And here are the results produced by PCMark04:

MSI MegaBook S425  pcmark performance

MSI MegaBook S425  pcmark performance

MSI MegaBook S425   pcmark performance

MSI MegaBook S425  pcmark performance

MSI MegaBook S425  pcmark performance

MSI MegaBook S425  pcmark performance

The results of the Photoshop CS are indicative of the overall performance of the CPU, platform and hard drive:

MSI MegaBook S425  adobe photoshop

MSI MegaBook S425  adobe photoshop

The well-balanced LW40 is almost as fast as the two notebooks on the new platform. Other notebooks are slower. The two slowest models shouldn’t be used to run such applications at all – they are only capable of performing office tasks like processing text and spreadsheets, browsing the Web, etc.

The next test shows what you can expect from these notebooks in gaming applications:

MSI MegaBook S425  gaming benchmark

MSI MegaBook S425   3dmark benchmark

MSI MegaBook S425   3dmark benchmark

performed this test using the maximum display resolution of each notebook, except for the LG T1 (I used 1280x800 with it because 1440x900 would have been too much for its integrated graphics core). The Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi is the best and can cope with modern games if you don’t use the highest graphics quality settings. Among other notebooks, only models with the X600 are interesting. The Samsung X11 is second after the TravelMate 3222WXMi but I doubt it’s going to be that fast in real games.

I also published the results of the CPU subtest to show you that 3DMark03 favors the Centrino Core Duo platform. This is indicated by the Samsung X11’s results. This platform is the most promising one when it comes to games, considering that all the leading game developers have confirmed support for dual-core processors in their upcoming products.

And now, the results of the most important test:

MSI MegaBook S425   battery life

I put the results the notebooks achieved in Reader’s mode and under maximum load into one diagram because the difference between the two is indicative of how well the manufacturer set up the power-saving parameters. The Sony VGN-FJ1SR looks best here as it yields you its full computing power under max load but is very economical in Reader’s mode. Besides the Sony, there are two more leaders: LG’s T1 with a high-capacity battery and an L series Core Duo processor which features low power consumption, and ASUS W3H00V. The latter proved to be a bit of a cheater, though. Even under max load with the portable/laptop power management scheme selected this notebook never increased its CPU frequency higher than 1.3GHz.

It’s all clear with the first two diagrams, but then there are some things I’d want to single out. The LW40 is very fast in the memory test; it’s the best Centrino-based notebook I’ve seen in this benchmark. The Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi is unrivalled in the graphics subsystem test just because it has the fastest graphics adapter among the tested notebooks.

Nvidia’s GeForce Go 7400 is downright disappointing. If you need fast graphics, buy a notebook that has dedicated graphics memory. Graphics subsystems of other kind (with such suffixes as TC, HM) are not much better than integrated graphics and cannot ensure high performance in 3D. In the disk subsystem test the notebooks rank up according to the spindle rotation speed of the hard drive they use.

Other related notebook:

Acer TravelMate 3222WXMi notebook review
Acer TravelMate 2423NWXMi notebook review
ASUS W3H00V notebook review
LG LW40 notebook review
LG T1 notebook review
MSI MegaBook S425 notebook review
Samsung X1 notebook review
Samsung X11 notebook review
Sony VGN-FJ1SR notebook review
Toshiba Tecra A6-S513 notebook review

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MSI MegaBook S425 review notebook performance benchmark

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MSI MegaBook S425 review notebook performance benchmark

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