Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Design

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When the Apple MacBook Air originally debuted, geeks took note, and Windows laptop manufacturers ramped up efforts to meet that super-thin laptop on its own turf. Surprisingly, one of the first to respond was MSI, a company that is still struggling to define itself among a mainstream American market dominated by the likes of HP, Toshiba, Dell, and others.

MSI managed to significantly undercut the Air with its X340, but the build quality was also nowhere near what Cupertino’s engineers had managed. Yet MSI is not one to give up, and they’ve made moves to refine the X series over the years. As the price has dropped further, and the processor selection changed, comparisons to the Air have become less obvious. 

That’s particularly true with this latest MSI X370, which now makes use of the AMD E-350 Fusion APU. This processor is nothing new, and we’ve tested it before at PC Perspective. Yet this laptop is different from any previously we’ve reviewed product with this processor because of its size.

Continue reading our review of the MSI X370 Fusion Notebook!!

Putting the PCIe 3.0 slot before the card, MSI's new Z68 board

Subject: Motherboards | September 26, 2011 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: z68, msi, Z68A-GD65-G3, sandy bridge, lga1155

When [H]ard|OCP reviewed the MSI Z68A-UD3H B3, they took some time examining MSI's version of UEFI called Click BIOS; it did not come out well, they panned it as horrible.  MSI listened to their suggestions as well as comments from other sites and users and developed the Click BIOS 2, which is first hitting the market in the Z68A-GD65-G3.  That BIOS, barring a few small issues, came out much better and seemed more in line with the other main release of the UEFI from ASUS.  Apart from that feature, the board also a pair of PCIe 16x slots (which happen to be Version 3.0) as well as three PCIe 1x slots.  Externally it sports HDMI and DVI out, as well optical and analog SP/DIF ports, two USB 3.0 ports as well as four USB 2.0 ports; internally four SATA 6GB/s and four SATA II ports will keep storage fanatics happy.  The bundled control software received poor marks but for manual overclockers [H] leaves you with this comment ... "the only motherboard we have ever tested that allowed us to stably overclock our 2500K CPUs to 5GHz"

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"In the motherboard business, it’s about differentiating the product. Once in awhile a motherboard manufacturer like MSI does just that before "the other guy." And that’s where the Z68A-GD65-G3 comes in bringing PCI-Express Generation 3 support and a new UEFI interface to the table."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

IDF 2011: MSI Shows Off Upcoming X79 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 14, 2011 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: x79, sandy bridge-e, msi, idf 2011, idf

Many of Intel's partners are on hand at IDF to showcase upcoming products and I was able to stop by the MSI booth yesterday to get a peek into the future of the X79 chipset.  This chipset will launch with the upcoming Sandy Bridge-E processors (for enthusiast) sometime later this year and introduce a new processor socket (Socket 2011) as well as some new features like dozens of PCI Express connections and quad-channel memory.

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The flagship board on display was the X79A-GD65 (8D) that is one of the few X79 boards I have seen sporting 8 DIMM slots (hence the name) and capacities as high as 64GB!  Most of the MSI features we have come to love on current motherboards are going to be on this line as well including Military Class components, OC Genie II and the much updated and improved ClickBIOS II.

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The board is completely 3-Way SLI ready (and CrossFire as well) and sports three total PCI Express 3.0 slots at x16 bandwidth but also adds in three more PCIe 2.0 slots for good measure. 

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There are 4x USB 3.0 ports, 12x USB 2.0 ports, 4x SATA 6G ports and 4x SATA 3G ports.  Needless to say the X79 platforms are going to be an enthusiast's dream.

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MSI is also likely to include a new breakout box with X79 motherboards that will reside in a 5.25-in bay slot on your case (and honestly I need more things to use up there these days) and give you a couple of USB ports, an OC Genie button that will double as a BIOS reset button when held down, and even integrated WiFi and Bluetooth.  The above photo is just a mock up but the plans are in place to deliver them with these new boards.

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Finally, MSI did have the much improved and updated ClickBIOS II UEFI on display and without a doubt it kicks the first version's ass.  We are working on a review that includes this new implementation so expect more on that soon.

Source: PCPer

MSI slims the notebook but doesn't trim the features

Subject: Mobile | August 25, 2011 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: msi, x-slim x460, ultraportable, 14

The 14" MSI X-Slim X460 Ultraportable laptop hides a little more power than the Ultraportable portion of its name implies.  The 2GHz Core i7-2630QM adds some serious processing power and also provides the graphics, making the machine good for video but not so good for gaming.  While TechSpot is unsure if the model they reviewed may be different from retail models, they saw 4GB of DDR-1333 and the storage was handled by a 500GB 7200RPM Western Digital Scorpio Black in their review sample.  Battery eater showed a range of battery life, from 63 minutes when fully stressed by gaming to 5hr 41min under the reader benchmark.  If you are looking for a laptop in the range of $1100 that is worth what you pay for, this laptop bears further investigation.

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"MSI recently expanded its ultraportable offerings with the addition of two last generation X-Slim notebooks. Although they're designed to be lightweight and compact, the X460 notebooks also strive to be powerful, courtesy of Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. The flagship model comes with Intel's Core i7-2630QM, packing the quad-core chip while boasting an 8-hour battery life.

There's also the X460DX, which can come configured with Core i3 or i5 processors and the Nvidia GeForce GT 540M GPU. Both the X460 and X460DX share the same dimensions using a 14" LED backlit screen. While ultraportable laptops generally carry a 12 to 13" display, MSI says the X460 strikes a fine balance between mobility and performance.

With enough power to put the average desktop PC to shame, the MSI X460 flagship model costs roughly $1,100. Even so, that price tag makes the X460 one of the cheapest second-gen Core i7 notebooks money can buy."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Source: TechSpot

Can two overclocked GTX 550 Ti's beat the competition?

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2011 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx550 ti, msi, sli, N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II

If you put a limit of $300 on your graphics subsystem, you are most likely shopping for an HD6950 or possibly a heavily overclocked GTX 560 Ti or a discounted GTX570.  [H]ard|OCP tested out a different choice, two of MSI's N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II card in SLI, which can also be had for under $300.   The testing did not go so well for NVIDIA's less powerful card, the HD6950 won in almost every test and consumed less energy doing so.  There were certain situations in which they would recommend running the cards in SLI, specifically when you already own a GTX 550 or other lower powered NVIDIA card and don't plan on playing at resolutions above 1920x1200.  Only then would this upgrade make sense.

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"Packing a GeForce GTX 550 Ti GPU each, we have a pair of N550GTX-Ti Cyclone II video cards that we are going to evaluate against a Radeon HD 6950, GeForce GTX 570 and even an overclocked GeForce GTX 560 Ti. At a total cost of only $260 we will find out if this dual-GTX 550 Ti action has what it takes to compete. "

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI's new line of Slim and Sleek Superior Performance notebooks

Subject: Mobile | August 16, 2011 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: msi, x460, x460dx, 14

Today MSI introduced three new 14" 1366 x 768 notebooks, the X460DX-008US, X460DX-006US and the X460-004US.  All but the X460DX-008US sport 6GB of DDR3, with the aforementioned limited to 4GB, the two DX models have a 500GB drive for storage while the non-DX has 750GB. All three have THX TruStudio Pro Technology for sound, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, 802.11 b/g/n Wireless LAN and extended battery life that MSI claims will provide all-day computing.  Check out the rest of the specs, including processor below, and click over to MSI if you are interested in purchasing one.

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Source: MSI

Podcast #165 - QuakeCon 2011, MSI's GTX580 Lightning, Intel 710 SSDs, Ultrabooks and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 11, 2011 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: podcast, pcper, nvidia, msi, Intel, GTX580, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #165 - 8/11/2011

This week we talk about QuakeCon 2011, MSI's GTX580 Lightning, Intel 710 SSDs, Ultrabooks and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:25:12

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:27 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:02 Quakecon 2011 and our Workshop - Postmortem
    1. Day 1 Coverage
    2. Day 2 Coverage
    3. Day 3 Coverage
  6. 0:18:05 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  7. 0:18:54 MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition Review: What a GTX 580 Should Be
  8. 0:30:18 Antec High Current Gamer HCG-750 PSU Review
  9. 0:31:30 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Review - The Best Android Tablet?
  10. 0:32:16 Just Delivered Exclusive: PNY XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580 Combo
    1. ZOTAC Unveils Water-Cooling Solutions
  11. 0:36:40 Let us do some math, shall we? The cost of consoles
  12. 0:41:46 Intel 710 SSD Prices Leaked
  13. 0:47:40 ExpressCard trying to pull a (not so) fast one?
  14. 0:55:30 NVIDIA Outlines Multi-GPU and Cloud Graphics With Project Maximus and Virtual Graphics Technologies
  15. 1:06:50 Will Intel's Ultrabook form factor come with an integral Achilles Heel?
    1. Intel bets $300m on their Ultrabook-ie. Next step: broken legs.
  16. 1:09:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Blackmagic Intensity card 
    2. Jeremy: Strangely, I find myself thinking kindly upon BigFoot Networks
    3. Josh: http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm
    4. Allyn: http://pastebin.com and Ghostery
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. 1:23:50 Closing
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Manufacturer: MSI Computers

A Thing of Beauty

Tired of hearing about MSI’s latest video cards?  Me neither!  It seems we have been on a roll lately with the latest and greatest from MSI, but happily that will soon change.  In the meantime, we do have another MSI card to go over.  This one is probably the most interesting of the group so far.  It also is very, very expensive for a single GPU product.  This card is obviously not for everyone, but there is a market for such high end parts still.

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The N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition is the latest entry to the high end, single GPU market.  This is an area that MSI has been really leading the way in terms of features and performance.  Their Lightning series, since the NVIDIA GTX 2x0 days, has been redefining that particular market with unique designs that offer tangible benefits over reference based cards.  MSI initially released the N580GTX Lightning to high accolades, but with this card they have added a few significant features.

Continuing reading our review of the MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition!!

Just Delivered: MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 Motherboard with PCI Express 3.0 Support

Subject: Editorial, Motherboards | July 29, 2011 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: z68, pcie 3.0, msi

Just Delivered is a section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

As we gear up for the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop at Quakecon 2011 next weekend, August 6th, we are starting to get in some very interesting products.  The coolest part?  All of this is going to be GIVEN AWAY to attendees!! 

MSI is supplying us with a pair of new motherboards for our system build contest that will be held during the workshop - faster person to get a system up and running will get some killer prizes.  Even better, these are some of the FIRST Z68A-GD65 G3 boards in the US - the very same ones we saw at Computex in June sporting the world's first PCIe 3.0 implementation.

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Sporting an LGA1155 socket and the new Z68 chipset, you get all the features associated with it including SSD caching and integrated graphics support.

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The classic features from MSI continue to exist here with the Military Class II components as well as the always well-received OC Genie button.

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It sports a total of 4 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI and VGA outputs and a lot more.  

One thing to note: this motherboard will ONLY support PCIE 3.0 speeds once the Ivy Bridge processors are released later this year so unless you have some unreleased hardware (and please do share!) then you aren't going to be seeing the advantages of this tech quite yet.  

Still, future proofing is good news!! 

Thanks to MSI for these boards and if you are coming to our workshop be prepared for your chance to win one before the rest of the worlds gets their hands on them!

Source: MSI

Phone in your overclocking, MSI Afterburner App for Android

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | July 25, 2011 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: msi, Android

Are you a hardcore PC user who likes to tweak your computer? Naturally there is an app for you. MSI has launched an application for the Android Marketplace this morning to allow users wishing to monitor and overclock their computers the ability to use their Android-powered smartphone or tablet for that purpose through their wireless network. This version allows you to monitor temperature, voltage, fan speed and adjust clock rates, voltages, and fan speeds.

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Let's hope Angry Birds doesn't see this: Some systems' power consumptions are pigs!

MSI Afterburner APP has relatively modest requirements: a tablet or smartphone device running Android 1.6 or higher, a system running Windows XP or later with a discrete graphics card, access to a network with wireless access for the Android device to link into, and Afterburner 2.1.0 or later installed on the PC. Setting up your PC is relatively simple once you have Afterburner installed as you just need to run, not even install, an application “Remote Server” that you can download from the MSI website linked to from the Android Marketplace link. While this application is too new to be rated, it is free and thus there is little reason to not simply try it out yourself.