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MSI CX640 review

Barry de la Rosa
5 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
630
inc VAT

A fast processor can't make up for the CX640's poor keyboard and terrible touchpad, and build quality isn't the best either.

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.6kg, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

The new MSI CX640 is a 15.6in laptop with a new Intel Core i5-2410M processor running at 2.3GHz. It also has a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 520M graphics card and uses Nvidia's Optimus technology, which can switch between the Nvidia card and the Core i5's integrated graphics chip depending on whether you need 3D performance or longer battery life.

It's immediately apparent when looking at our benchmarks that the new Core i5 is not just more powerful, but more efficient than the previous Core i5 generation. An overall result of 55 in our new benchmarks compares well to the score of 45 for the older Core i5-460M. Needless to say, the CX640's performance is more than enough for most applications, and it won't slow down as much as older Core i5 laptops with multiple applications working.

MSI CX640

We weren't quite so impressed by the CX640's graphics performance. A score of 22fps in Call of Duty 4 means that you'll be able to play some games, but you'll probably have to disable some effects including anti-aliasing to achieve playable frame rates. Another benefit of fitting such a card is its support for CUDA, Nvidia's GPU acceleration technology, which can speed up some operations in applications such as Photoshop, but it's a marginal improvement at best.

The CX640's case has a brushed-metal effect, but it's not convincing and the way the lid rattles if you tap it doesn't inspire confidence in the build quality. The keyboard has flat-topped keys, but their action is spongy, they wobble and the whole keyboard flexes. The layout is standard, thankfully, apart from the numeric keypad on the right which has only three columns.

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