MSI GT640 early review: The world's fastest* laptop. *Except some other ones
We broke into a fit of laughter this morning when we powered up the new MSI GT640 laptop and, on its wallpaper, saw the words, 'World's fastest quad-core notebook makes its debut'. Did somebody move April Fools day? Because we never got that memo.
The machine looks almost identical to the admittedly impressive, but hideously ugly GT725. The big differences are the fact it's slightly smaller (it has a 15-inch 1,680x1,050-pixel display instead of a 17-inch one) and it comes with a more modern four-core Intel Core i7-720QM processor. We're aware this is a fast chip in its own right, but someone should probably tell MSI it sits below the Core i7 820QM and i7-920XM Extreme Edition chips being sold in Alienware laptops as we speak.
So, it's blatantly not the quickest, but that's not to say the GT640 is slow. The Core i7-720QM runs at a fairly pedestrian 1.6GHz by default, but its Turbo Mode feature can dynamically ramp up its clock speed to an impressive 2.8GHz when you need extra horsepower. The GT640 also gets 4GB of DDR3 RAM, though this is of the 533MHz variety, not the faster 667MHz or 800MHz type, plus a sizeable 640GB hard drive, a Blu-ray drive and an Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M.
All in all, it's an interesting proposition, particularly as it's selling for a not-too-shabby £1,255. If you're looking for a budget gaming machine that also plays Blu-rays, and you don't mind its brash styling -- or its lying wallpaper -- this could be the very machine for you. Take a look at some of the pictures in our photo gallery and be sure to pop back in a short while, when we'll have a full in-depth review available.
The lid accenting goes well with the red baise of our pool table, but we're not really feelin' it otherwise.
The keyboard is large and features a dedicated numerical keypad, but there are a couple of annoyances. The Enter key is ludicrously small, for example, and the Fn and Ctrl buttons are the wrong way round at the bottom left.
MSI has placed a strip of touch-sensitive shortcut buttons above the keyboard. They turn blue when you touch them.
The right side of the laptop has a four-pin FireWire port, memory card reader, two USB ports and an Ethernet port. The left gets another USB port, four audio jacks and the Blu-ray player.
HDMI and D-Sub VGA video output ports live round the back.