Posted:2006-06-09 By notebook review Number of View:85402
MSI MEGABOOK S425 REVIEW NOTEBOOK
By :notebook review
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MSI is a new player on the notebook
market, but it has made great progress in a very short while. The
companyвЂ™s model range is now comparable to that of a long-established
brand, itвЂ™s simpler to say what MSI does not offer. It doesnвЂ™t offer a
sub-compact model with a screen diagonal of 10вЂќ or smaller and it
doesnвЂ™t transformers вЂ“ thatвЂ™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:
When opened, the S425 resembles LGвЂ™s T1 вЂ“ the same pearl-white plastic
is here, even around the screen. But when the notebook is closed, it
doesnвЂ™t look at all like the LG with its black stylish coloring and
reasonable minimalism in details:
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 doesnвЂ™t make it look any
The same logotype looks more appropriate on the L7xx series of
desktop replacement notebooks with a screen diagonal of 17вЂќ because the
notebook itself is larger. Here, the logotype is too big. Well, you may
like it if you are fond of visual effects вЂ“ the letters MSI are
A characteristic feature of all notebooks from MSI is that they have audio connectors on the front panel:
hese are headphones, microphone and line-in sockets.
donвЂ™t think itвЂ™s a proper place for them, but there must be some reason
for the companyвЂ™s engineers to place audio connectors on the front
panel. Next to them, a card-reader is located:
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:
Some of them have copies on the front panel so that you could figure everything out when the lid is closed.
ItвЂ™s good to have support for both the new ExpressCard format and for old PCMCIA cards.
The keyboard is nearly ideal:
EverythingвЂ™s in its right place without any innovations like combining Insert and Delete in one button.
The arrow keys are made properly, too:
Just press on the corresponding section of the strip to enable the
corresponding function. ThatвЂ™s not the best implementation, I should
say. ItвЂ™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 touchpadвЂ™s buttons are as
unhandy as the additional functional keys:
They are part of the touchpad bezel and are made of some rubber-like
material, too. I didnвЂ™t like using them, to tell you the truth. The
touchpad itself is good and large enough, with a normal positioning
The notebook sports two extra stickers:
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 donвЂ™t think
this adapter is any better than an integrated graphics core вЂ“ you canвЂ™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 shouldnвЂ™t expect much from it whereas stereo
mode without any virtualization should be enough for decent headphones.
display has good viewing angles, a now-fashionable glass matrix, high
maximum brightness, and a good color reproduction and matrix response
time. The backlighting isnвЂ™t uniform, but thatвЂ™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 isnвЂ™t the biggest in this testвЂ¦
вЂ¦but its parameters are not worse than the other batteriesвЂ™.
You will find this mouse among the notebookвЂ™s accessoriesвЂ¦
вЂ¦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 вЂњalways put this material in to avoid the
keyboard scratching the screen when you close the lid.вЂќ 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
And here are the results produced by PCMark04:
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
The well-balanced LW40 is almost as fast as the two notebooks
on the new platform. Other notebooks are slower. The two slowest models
shouldnвЂ™t be used to run such applications at all вЂ“ 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
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 donвЂ™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 itвЂ™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 X11вЂ™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:
I put the results the notebooks achieved in ReaderвЂ™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 ReaderвЂ™s
mode. Besides the Sony, there are two more leaders: LGвЂ™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.
ItвЂ™s all clear with the first two diagrams, but then there are some things IвЂ™d want to single out. The LW40 is very fast in the memory test; itвЂ™s the best Centrino-based notebook IвЂ™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.
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.
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